The scions of the Old Blood are influential and consider themselves to be of superior breeding. In Volantis, only those who can trace their ancestry back to Valyria can be triarchs, and only those of the Old Blood are allowed to live within the Black Walls of eastern Volantis. Furthermore, only they can invite slaves, freedmen, or foreigners to pass beyond the Black Walls. Inside the Black Walls, Volantenes of the Old Blood still keep court in ancient palaces, attended by armies of slaves.
Only members of the Old Blood can run for election as one of the three Triarchs in Volantis, though anyone who is freeborn and owns land can vote for them (including women, if they own land). The Old Blood are not a united front, however, but divided into two long-standing political parties. The tiger party is made up of old aristocracy and warriors: they tend to be imperialists and advocate the sword. The "elephant" faction, meanwhile, consists of Old Blood candidates who advocate trade, such as Vogarro. Common-born rich merchants can support the elephant party, but cannot become actual candidates if they are not of the Old Blood.
Many of the Old Blood of Volantis still keep the old gods of Valyria.
A Dance with Dragons
According to Qavo Nogarys, a customs officer of Selhorys, the actions of Daenerys Targaryen has smashed the slave trade which Volantis and Qarth relied on. This has made Daenerys enemies among the Old Blood behind the Black Wall and beyond. Qavo tells Tyrion Lannister,
Behind the Black Wall, lords of ancient blood sleep poorly, listening as their kitchen slaves sharpen their long knives. Slaves grow our food, clean our streets, teach our young. They guard our walls, row out galleys, fight our battles. And now they look east, they see this young queen shinning from afar, this breaker of chains. The Old Blood cannot suffer that.
Some of the first elephants were women, the ones who brought the tigers down and ended the old wars. Trianna was returned four times. That was three hundred years ago, alas. Volantis has had no female triarch since, though some women have the vote. Women of good birth who dwell in ancient palaces behind the Black Walls, not creatures such as me. The Old Blood will have their dogs and children voting before any freedman.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Volantis.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 6, The Merchant's Man.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 14, Tyrion IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 27, Tyrion VII.
- Elio Garcia, October 24, 2018.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Volantis.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 2, The Captain Of Guards.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 22, Tyrion VI.