Men of the Night's Watch
Geography of Westeros
Geography – Map
Westeros is long and relatively narrow, it extends from Dorne in the south, to the lands of Always Winter the far north. it’s roughly equivalent in area to real life South America. However, there is a large amount of land to the far north that remains uncharted, due to the extremely cold temperatures and hostile inhabitants known as wildlings. The northern lands of Westeros are less densely populated than the south despite its roughly equivalent size. The five major cities of Westeros are, in order of size: King’s Landing, Oldtown, Lannisport, Gulltown, and White Harbour.
Westeros was originally divided into several independent kingdoms before the consolidation of the War of Conquest. After this war all the regions south of the wall were united under the rule of House Targaryen into a nation that is known as the Seven Kingdoms.
Beyond the Wall – Map
The lands Beyond the Wall are primarily wild and uncharted, For the most part it’s covered by the Haunted Forest and comprised of many lakes and rivers, and shelters strange beasts among the Frostfangs Mountains. In there areas present a hard climate, especially to the far north in the lands of Always Winter, allowing only small number of inhabitants in small villages.
The North – Map
The North is the area north of the Neck, and has been ruled by House Stark from Winterfell, first as Kings of the North and later as lords, for thousands of years. It is colder and much less populated than the south part of Westeros. Most of its residents still follow the Old Gods, but some, mainly around the area of White Harbor, have taken the Faith of the Seven. Its northern border is the Wall, home of the Night’s Watch. The North is separated from the South by the Neck, a small triangle of swampland between two oceans. It is home to small, marsh-dwelling crannogmen and ruled by House Reed, bannermen of Winterfell. The narrowness of the region and the difficulty of the terrain make it a natural border for the North, protecting it from invasion. Bastards in the North are given the surname Snow.
The Iron Islands – Map
The Iron Islands are a group of seven islands in Ironman’s Bay, including Pyke, Great Wyk, Old Wyk, and Harlaw, lying off the western coast of the continent. The inhabitants of these harsh isles are known as Ironmen in the rest of Westeros, ‘The Ironborn’ amongst themselves. They are ruled by House Greyjoy of Pyke, chosen to rule the Ironmen after Black Harren’s line was extinguished during the Conquest. Prior to the arrival of Aegon the Conqueror, the Ironmen ruled over the Riverlands and much of the western coast of Westeros. The Ironmen are men of the sea, and their naval supremacy was once unmatched. The Faith of the Seven of the Andals find small favor with the Ironborn, as their allegiance is given to their native Drowned God. Bastards in the Iron Islands are given the surname Pyke.
The Riverlands – Map
The Riverlands are the fertile areas between the forks of the Trident. They are the domain of the Tullys of Riverrun. At the time of the conquest, the Riverlands were ruled by House Hoare of the Iron Islands, and thus the Tullys were never kings of the Riverlands, but were rebel riverlords who left Harren the Black in favor of Aegon the Conqueror. Bastards in the Riverlands are given the surname Rivers.
The Vale of Arryn – Map
The Vale is the area surrounded almost completely by the Mountains of the Moon. The Vale is under the rulership of House Arryn, one of the oldest lines of Andal nobility and, before Aegon’s conquest, Kings of Mountain and Vale. Their seat, the Eyrie, is a castle high in the mountains, small but unassailable. The only way to the top is a treacherous goat path. Due to the Vale’s harsh winters, travel is only possible through the mountains at certain times of the year. Rebellious mountain clans make travel even more dangerous. Notable houses of this region include Hunter, Corbray, Redfort, and Royce. Bastards born in the Vale are given the surname Stone.
The Westerlands – Map
The Westerlands are the lands to the west of the Riverlands and north of the Reach. They are ruled by House Lannister of Casterly Rock, formerly Kings of the Rock. People of this region are often called “Westermen”. Lannisport, lying hard by Casterly Rock, is the chief town of the region and one of the great ports and cities of Westeros. Bastards in the Westerlands are given the surname Hill.
The Crownlands – Map
The Crownlands are lands ruled directly by the crown on the Iron Throne. These lands include King’s Landing and the surrounding areas, including the town of Rosby. They are south of the Vale, southeast of the Riverlands, east of the Westlands, and north of the Reach and Stormlands. Bastards in the Crownlands are given the surname Waters.
The Reach – Map
The Reach is the fertile ground ruled by House Tyrell from Highgarden. The Tyrells were stewards to House Gardener, the Kings of the Reach before Aegon’s conquest. After the last Gardener King was killed on the Field of Fire, the Tyrells surrendered Highgarden to Aegon and were rewarded with both the castle and the position of overlords of the Reach. Bannermen of the Tyrells frequently fight with the Dornishmen of the south. The borderlands between the two regions, called the Dornish Marches, are populated on the north side by marcher lords loyal to the Tyrells. The most prominent city in the Reach is Oldtown. It is the oldest city in Westeros, home to the maesters’ Citadel, and the previous seat of the Faith. Bastards in the Reach are given the surname Flowers.
The Stormlands – Map
The Stormlands are the areas between King’s Landing and the Sea of Dorne. In the east they are bordered by Shipbreaker Bay. Before Aegon’s conquest they were ruled by the Storm Kings, and afterwards by Baratheons, bastard relatives to the Targaryens. The Dornish Marches are located within this region, having been conquered by the Storm Kings, and are ruled by House Caron and lesser marcher lords. The marches are common battlegrounds for skirmishes between the Stormlands, the Reach and Dorne. Bastards in the Stormlands are given the surname Storm.
Dorne – Map
Dorne is the southernmost land of Westeros. It stretches from the high mountains of the Dornish marches to the southern coast of the continent. It is the hottest kingdom in Westeros and features the only desert on the continent. Dornishmen have a reputation for hot-bloodedness as well. They differ both culturally and ethnically from other Westerosi due to the historical invasion of Rhoynish people. Their food, appearance, and architecture resemble those of Mediterranean cultures such as Greece and Turkey more than the Western European feel of the other kingdoms. They have adopted many Rhoynish customs as well, including equal primogeniture. Dorne was the only kingdom in Westeros to successfully resist Aegon’s conquest. Lords of the ruling house Martell still style themselves “Prince” and “Princess” in the Rhoynish fashion. Bastards in Dorne are given the surname Sand. Dorne is currently not part of the Kingdom ruled by Alphonse Felegris, but a separate nation.
Seasons and climate
Westeros’s climate shifts from arid and dry desert climate in the furthest south to cold and harsh Winters in the north and icy wasteland in the lands of Always Winter in the furthest north.
Westeros and Essos both experience extremely long seasons of varying length, usually lasting at least a couple of years each. The maesters try to predict the length of the seasons, monitoring the temperature and days length, to advise on when to plant and when to harvest and how much food to store. However, given the random nature of the seasons, this is not something that can be relied on.
It’s noted that winter means that the days grow shorter. It’s not simply that the weather becomes really cold or really warm, but it was explicitly stated by George R. R. Martin and more than once stated that the explanation of the Planet’s climate is magical in nature and will be revealed at the end of the series.