Seven Kingdoms

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Seven Kingdoms
Feudal monarchy
Location Westeros, south of the Wall
Capital King's Landing
Type of Government Feudal monarchy
Ruler King of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men
Religion Faith of the Seven
Old gods (North)
Drowned God (Iron Isles)
Founded 1 AC
Preceded by Lordship of Dragonstone
Kingdom of the North
Kingdom of the Isles and the Rivers
Kingdom of Mountain and Vale
Kingdom of the Rock
Kingdom of the Reach
Kingdom of the Storm
Principality of Dorne (187 AC)
Notable places Red Keep
Great Sept of Baelor
The Citadel
The Wall
Oldtown
Notable organizations Night's Watch
Order of Maesters
Faith of the Seven
Kingsguard
Small council
The Seven Kingdoms, as they stood after unification by Aegon and before Robert's Rebellion. From top-left to bottom-right: the north, the Iron Islands, the riverlands, the Vale, the westerlands, the crownlands, the Reach, the stormlands, and Dorne.

The Seven Kingdoms is a realm located on the continent of Westeros, ruled by the Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, the king who sits on the Iron Throne in the capital city, King's Landing. The name derives from the situation three centuries ago when Aegon the Conqueror set to unite the lands of Westeros, which then contained seven independent realms. The new realm created from Aegon's Conquest contains nine distinct regions or provinces.[1]

Origin

Aside from House Targaryen's island "kingdom" of Dragonstone, the continent of Westeros was ruled by seven monarchs at the time of Aegon's Landing:[2]

House Stark.svg Torrhen Stark, King in the North.
House Arryn.svg Ronnel Arryn, King of Mountain and Vale.
House Hoare.svg Harren Hoare, King of the Isles and the Rivers.
House Lannister.svg Loren I Lannister, King of the Rock.
House Gardener.svg Mern IX Gardener, King of the Reach.
House Baratheon.svg Argilac Durrandon, the Storm King.
House Martell.svg Meria Martell, Princess of Dorne.

Aegon and his sisters conquered only six of the seven kingdoms, consolidating them under the rule of House Targaryen and the Iron Throne. Among the titles that Aegon received when crowned king in the Starry Sept in Oldtown, however, was "Lord of the Seven Kingdoms" - laying claim to Dorne, the seventh kingdom, though in truth the Iron Throne would not add Dorne to its domains for another two centuries, when it joined through peaceful marriage-alliance.[3]

Government

For most of their history the regions of Westeros were independent kingdoms. The number of these kingdoms and their borders have changed many times. Following a successful conquest of all the lands of Westeros south of the Wall but Dorne, and their consolidation under the rule of the Iron Throne, Aegon established his new empire's capital on the spot of his landing, for which it was known as King's Landing.

Due to the vast size of the new kingdom, in each region Aegon raised Great Houses who swore fealty to him. The lords were granted a degree of autonomy and granted authority over their minor lords and small folk.[3]

Houses that survived the Conquest

House Stark.svg House Stark chose to submit and was confirmed as overlords over the north.
House Arryn.svg House Arryn submitted and retained the Vale of Arryn.
House Lannister.svg House Lannister was allowed to keep their family holdings after they bent the knee, following defeat at the Field of Fire.
House Martell.svg House Martell retained its independence for a time.

Houses established by the Conquest

House Targaryen.svg House Targaryen obtained dominion over most of Westeros, and settled in the Crownlands.
House Tully.svg House Tully of Riverrun was awarded over-lordship of the riverlands as Lord Paramount of the Trident, for supporting Aegon against Harren.
House Greyjoy.svg House Greyjoy was granted the Iron Islands after the death of King Harren the Black.
House Tyrell.svg House Tyrell was granted over-lordship over the Reach as Lord Paramount of the Mander.
House Baratheon.svg House Baratheon married into the Durrandons and were awarded the stormlands as Lord Paramount of the Stormlands, after the defeat of the Storm King Argilac the Arrogant.

Royal bureaucracy

Treasury

The master of coin or lord treasurer sit on the small council and oversees the treasury for the kingdom. He has authority over:

Justice

The master of laws or lord justiciar sit on the small council and oversees the law and justice for the kingdom. He has authority over:

Navy

The master of ships or lord admiral sit on the small council and oversees the royal fleet for the kingdom. He has authority over:

  • Captains of the royal fleet

Other offices

Regions and Territory

Despite its name, the Seven Kingdoms is a realm divided into nine administrative regions or provinces: the crownlands, Dorne, the Iron Islands, the north, the Reach, the riverlands, the stormlands, the Vale of Arryn, and the westerlands. These include former kingdoms such as the north, the Reach, the stormlands, the Vale, and the westerlands. The riverlands had been independent centuries ago, but had fallen to the Storm Kings and more recently to the ironborn, who jointly ruled both realms as Kings of the Isles and the Rivers. The rivermen regained independence after the local lords rebelled against Harren the Black and swore fealty to Aegon during the conquest, with the Iron Islands becoming a separate region. Dorne is a principality instead of a kingdom, while Aegon's island realm of Dragonstone, ancient seat of the Targaryens, was not counted as one of the Seven Kingdoms at the time of the conquest.[2] The area around King's Landing, which had also been a battleground between several kingdoms, constituted the royal demesne and became known as the crownlands. Within the crownlands, Dragonstone was successively granted to the heirs apparent to the throne.

The realm's territory includes all but the northernmost lands on the continent of Westeros, where the Wall defines its northern border. The king on the Iron Throne also controls the many islands off the coast of Westeros, such as the Arbor, Bear Island, Claw Isle, Dragonstone, Driftmark, Estermont, the Shields, Skagos, Tarth, and the Three Sisters. The kingdom has occasionally been drawn into conflicts over the Stepstones off its southeastern coast, but it has rarely controlled a significant portion of them.

Population

The population of the Seven Kingdoms numbers in the millions.[3] The monarch on the Iron Throne use the title King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men, referring to the major ethnic groups from which most Westerosi descend.

The Reach is the most populous of the Seven Kingdoms,[6]} while Dorne is the least populous.[7] Like Dorne,[8] the North, due to its large size is also regarded as thinly peopled.[6] When Robert I Baratheon travels to Winterfell, he complains that the North is "a vast emptiness", without people to be seen.[9]

Cities, towns and villages

The kingdoms are speckled with holdfasts, towns, and villages, but only five settlements can be called cities. Listed in decreasing order of size, they are:

King's Landing is the youngest of the five cities. It started in 2 BC as a small town, but within two years grew into a village with a few thousand people in it. By 10 AC, it had grown almost as large as Gulltown and White Harbor, and could be called a city. By 25 AC, it had surpassed both cities.[10] By 33 AC, King's Landing's population had grown to a hundred thousand.[11] During the reign of Jaehaerys I Targaryen (48103 AC), the population of King's Landing increased fourfold.[12] Eventually, although similar in size, King's Landing became even more populous than Oldtown,[13] and with its population of approximately half a million[14] is now considered the most populous city of the Seven Kingdoms.[13]

Oldtown is the eldest of the cities, its origins are lost in the mists of time in the Dawn Age, extending back to when the First Men first settled in Westeros, if not earlier. By the time of the Andal invasion, Oldtown was already consdered a city.[citation needed] Today, it is still the largest city in the Seven Kingdoms, although during the past three centuries has gone from being the most populous to the second-most populous city within the realm.[13]

Lannisport is the second-oldest of the cities, founded by the descendants of Lann the Clever. Within a few generations it quickly grew from village to town to city. By the time the Andals arrived in Westeros, Lannisport had become the second largest city in Westeros.[15] It currently is the third largest city of the Seven Kingdoms.[N 1]

Gulltown and White Harbor are the smallest cities of the realm. Gulltown was a prosperous port-town which grew into one of the foremost cities of the realm under the rule of House Arryn.[16] White Harbor is newer than Oldtown, Lannisport and Gulltown, having been build after House Manderly came north following their exile from the Reach.[17] White Harbor is the North's only city, and the smallest city in the entire Seven Kingdoms.[18]

Culture

The people of the Seven Kingdoms are a mixture of several ethnic groups which have migrated to the continent over the centuries and intermarried. As such these original ethnicities are more of a blurred trend than firm political units. Today they are mostly identified through their place of residence, where each kingdom retains its unique flavor. The influence of the Andals is strongest in the south, while the northmen still follows many customs of the First Men. Dornishmen are heavily influenced by the mass immigration of the Rhoynar. Small groups, such as the ironmen of the Iron Islands and the Vale mountain clans, maintain different cultures from the rest of the realm.

Its feudal society is based on the model of the old kingdoms on which the Targaryen dynasty was built with each region retaining some sovereign rights and ruled by a high lord that answers only to the King.

Commerce and Currency

Most transactions in Seven Kingdoms involve currency. The coinage is minted by the master of coin appointed by the King on the Iron Throne. There are golden dragons, silver stags and copper stars. Golden dragons are worth the most and have a dragon stamped on one side and a king's face on the other.[19] Most smallfolk would never own a gold dragon, using mostly copper stars for their needs.

Trade within the Seven Kingdoms is quite vigorous, as the products of Dorne are very different from those of the north. However, long distance trade is almost entirely in luxuries, as transport is very expensive, not to mention dangerous. Transport by land is around ten times as expensive as transport by ships, which means that almost all goods travel by river or coastal ship for at least part of their journey. Furs from the north, silks and gems from the south, fine craft work from anywhere these are the items that are gathered at great markets. Grain, meat, and fish are also found there, but they have almost exclusively come from nearby areas.[20]

There is regular trade between the Seven Kingdoms, Essos, and the Summer Isles.

Religion

The people of the Seven Kingdoms follow several different faiths. The Faith of the Seven is the primary religion of the realm, the only regions where it is not practiced are the Iron Islands, where worship of the Drowned God holds sway, and the north, where worship of the old gods of the forest remains strong.

  • The old gods are worshiped in the north and the lands beyond the Wall. The faith of the children of the forest, who used to inhabit the land thousands of year ago, a faith that worship numerous and nameless gods of the forests, who are always watching through the faces carved into the bark of ancient weirwood trees.
  • The Drowned God, the indigenous deity of the Iron Islands, is a harsh deity who rewards those who plunder in his name.
  • R'hllor, the red god, is a deity popular in Essos but little-known in Westeros, although gaining in popularity. The followers of R'hllor claim their deity is the Lord of Light and will stand against the Great Other, the god of darkness and cold, in a war that is to come.

Quotes

The Seven Kingdoms have a very long history, and I haven't mentioned all of it... nor will I.

Ours by blood right, taken from us by treachery, but ours still, ours forever. You do not steal from the dragon, oh, no. The dragon remembers.

This talk of Seven Kingdoms is a folly. Aegon saw that three hundred years ago when he stood where we are standing. They painted this table at his command. Rivers and bays they painted, hills and mountains, castles and cities and market towns, lakes and swamps and forests ... but no borders. It is all one. One realm, for one king to rule alone.

References

  1. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 13, Tyrion II.
  2. 2.0 2.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The North.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Fire & Blood, A Time of Testing - The Realm Remade.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 17, Tyrion IV.
  6. 6.0 6.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach.
  7. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 40, Princess In The Tower.
  8. The World of Ice & Fire, Dorne.
  9. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
  10. Fire & Blood, Three Heads Had the Dragon - Governance Under King Aegon I.
  11. Fire & Blood, The Sons of the Dragon.
  12. Fire & Blood, Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Their Triumphs and Tragedies.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach: Oldtown.
  14. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 38, Tyrion V.
  15. The World of Ice & Fire, The Westerlands.
  16. The World of Ice & Fire, The Vale.
  17. The World of Ice & Fire, The North: The Kings of Winter.
  18. The World of Ice & Fire, The North.
  19. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 45, The Blind Girl.
  20. A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying, Campaign Guide
  21. So Spake Martin: Social Structure, Moat Cailin, and More (June 10, 2002)
  22. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 3, Daenerys I.
  23. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 36, Davos IV.


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