What if Westeros never existed
Westeros is a large continent in the far west of the known world. It is separated from the continent of Essos to the east by the strait. Almost the entire continent, apart from the lands on the other side of the wall, belong in their entirety to the Seven Kingdoms over which the King rules on the Iron Throne in King's Landing. The terms "Seven Kingdoms" and "Westeros" are usually used synonymously.
Most of the plot of game of Thrones takes place on Westeros. George R.R. Martin, the author of the novel series, explained that the size of Westeros corresponds to the existing continent of South America. In its geography and geometry it closely resembles the British and Irish Isles.
People and things from Westeros are called Westerosi designated.
Westeros is bordered by the Dusk Sea to the west, the Summer Sea to the south, and the Strait and Shaking Sea to the east. The far north of the continent is not mapped, but it is believed that it extends as far as the northern polar cap. It is narrow, about 900 miles at its widest, but elongated, with nearly 2,000 miles from the Summer Sea to the wall which forms the northern boundary of the Seven Kingdoms. According to George R. R. Martin, the area beyond the wall encompasses much of Westeros and is possibly larger than Greenland. This corresponds to about 2,166,000 km². Subtracting the approximately 550,000 km² of the known countries, about 1.6 million km² are still undiscovered.
The terrain in Westeros is very different. There are significant mountain ranges such as the Moon Mountains in the Arryn Valley, the Red Mountains of Dorne or the Frostffang.
The following named rivers flow through Westeros (from north to south): Milchwasser, the river of antlers near Hartheim on the other side of the wall. The Last River, the White Blade, the Whimpering Water in the north. The Trident with its 3 river arms. There are also extensive river basins that gave the Flusslande its name, especially those of the Trident and its numerous tributaries, as well as the Black Water, the Mander and the Green Blood.
The climate varies widely between extreme heat and cold across the continent. The north is the only region where snowfall occurs regularly, even during the long "summer" periods. Beyond the wall, the temperatures are even cooler and more hostile, with the Taiga of the Cursed Forest to the actual polar regions in the "Land of Eternal Winter", in the unspecified regions of the extreme north. In the deepest south the climate becomes hotter and drier, in Dorne there is even the only desert, Westeros. Notable offshore islands are Bear Island, Skagos, the Iron Islands, Tarth, Drachenstein and the Arbor.
There are also vast areas of forest on the continent, such as the Cursed Forest Beyond the Wall. To the south of the wall are three other forests: the wolf forest around Winterfell, the Königswald south of Königsmund, on both sides of the northern border of the Sturmlande, and the rainforest in the south of the same region. Numerous smaller forests shape the continent.
Westeros is separated from the eastern continent of Essos by the strait and the island chain of stepping stones in it. Legend has it that the stepping stones are the remnants of an ancient land bridge that once linked Westeros and Essos but was destroyed in a disaster more than ten thousand years ago.
In addition to the vast eastern continent of Essos, other countries are barely noticed. The summer islands are south of Westeros and there is regular trade with them. A remote and unknown continent called Sothoryos exists in the southeast of the Summer Sea, but with little contact with Westeros. Some islands are known to lie in the dusk sea to the west of Westeros, but the true dimensions of this ocean are unknown. To the east of northern Westeros is the island of Ib, home to traders and whalers who occasionally trade in the Seven Kingdoms and the Free Cities.
Climate and seasons
The climate of Westeros is shifting from a subarctic area in the far north, beyond the wall, to a desert climate in the far south, on the Dornic Peninsula. Normally there is snowfall in the north even in the longest summers, while in Dorne there is almost no snow, even in the harshest winters.
Westeros and Essos experience the same effects of seasons of different lengths that last for at least a few years. The length of the seasons is unpredictable and varies. The maesters of the citadel closely watch the climate to make predictions about how long a current season will last, but it's an imprecise science at best.
At the beginning of the plot, the world had a summer that lasted nine years; an unusually long time, which makes the maesters fear that it will be followed by an equally long winter. Westeros is further north than Essos, which is why it is more affected by longer winters than Essos with its consistently Mediterranean climate.
Winter is at its worst in the north of Westeros. Lords store non-perishable food for this time, while many of the great castles of the north were built right in favorable areas such as Winterfell at a hot spring or gray stone at a volcanic rift. Other castles, such as Winterfell, operate elaborate greenhouses that allow vegetables to be grown even in the toughest winters. Despite these measures, starvation and death are not uncommon at this time, and it is one of the reasons the north is so sparsely populated despite its enormous size.
There is evidence that the persistent seasons do not have a natural origin, but were caused by the mythical event of the Long Night about 8,000 years ago. It is reported from this that the White Walkers used a winter that lasted a generation and a night that lasted for years to conquer Westeros. They were defeated in the Battle of Dawn, driven back to the far north, and the wall was built to prevent them from returning, but the seasons remained. Maesters are skeptical of this theory and dismiss it as a legend, despite the undeniable existence of the wall.
Twelve thousand years ago, Westeros was inhabited by the few children of the forest, a non-human race who lived in peace and harmony with nature and worshiped the ancient gods of the forest. The first humans settled Westeros over the arm of Dorne, armed with weapons made of bronze. In the major military conflict in which the Children of the Forest allegedly magically destroyed Dorne's arm and inundated the Eng, neither side could win and a pact was made to restore peace. The first humans took over the belief in the ancient gods of the forest.
Four thousand years later, the White Walkers invaded Westeros during a winter that lasted a generation. In the Twilight War they could be repulsed by an alliance of the first humans and the children of the forest, but at a high price. The latter disappeared from Westeros from this point on. Brandon Stark, called Bran the Builder, had the wall built against a return of the White Walkers and founded the Night's Watch as their defender. He established House Stark as ruler of the Kingdom of the North and built Winterfell as their seat. Two thousand years later, the Andals invaded Westeros from across the Strait, beginning in the Valley of Arryn. They swept across the continent and conquered the lands south of the Eng. Submission of the north failed several times at Maidengraben. The multitude of kingdoms established by the Andals eventually merged into several great empires.
A thousand years ago a war broke out between the Rhoynar, a people who lived on the Rhoyne River in Essos, and the Free State of Valyria. The Valyrians conquered and destroyed the cities of the Rhoynar with their dragons. Nymeria, the warrior queen of the Rhoynar, led her people across the Summer Sea in ten thousand ships to Dorne. She formed an alliance with Prince Mors Martell von Sonnspeer, subjugated the innumerable small kingdoms and lords of Dorne and thereby established a powerful, proud and independent kingdom.
Four centuries ago, Valyria was destroyed by a natural disaster known as the sinking. A century later, the descendants of the Targaryen family, who ruled the Valyrian outpost on Drachenstein Island, landed in Westeros with three dragons. Aegon the Conqueror was able enough to unite six kingdoms under his rule, while Dorne could not be incorporated into a peaceful alliance until several generations later, hence the name "Seven Kingdoms".
For centuries the Seven Kingdoms were marked by rebellions and war. Despite ongoing civil wars and the loss of their dragons, the Targaryen managed to retain control of the entire continent for more than 280 years. This changed with Aerys II Targaryen, called the Mad King, against whom Robert Baratheon rose in rebellion. By the end of the conflict, the Mad King and most of the Targaryens were dead, and his surviving children were forced to choose exile in the Free Cities. Robert Baratheon ascended to the throne and ruled the empire for 17 years at the beginning of the series.
- Main article: Seven Kingdoms
The Six Kingdoms, formerly the Seven Kingdoms, are divided into nine administrative districts, seven of which were once independent kingdoms before the Targaryen Wars of Conquest. Each region, with the exception of the Crown Lands, is ruled by one of the great houses, which in turn are under the command of the King on the Iron Throne.
|Ruled by House Stark from Winterfell Castle. Bastards born in the north are given the surname "snow". The most important city and port in the region is Weißwasserhafen. The north forms the largest region in terms of area and is almost as large as the other eight combined. However, it is also the region with the lowest population density due to the harsh and long winters. "The Faith of the Seven" is not very widespread in the north. The main religion is "The old gods of the forest". The north also includes the wall and the lands that have been left to the night watch, which are technically independently managed.|
The Arryn Valley
|Ruled by the Arryn family from Hohenehr Castle, the descendants of the kings of the mountain and the green valley. Bastards born in the valley are given the surname "Stein". The most important city and port in the region is Seagull City. The valley is in the east of Westeros. The region is isolated from rugged mountains to the west and the sea to the east. The landscape is dominated by the moon mountains, which make up the majority. Its borders are populated by hostile hill tribe.|
The river lands
|Ruled by the Tully House from Schnellwasser Castle. Bastards born in the river lands are given the surname "Strom". The most important ports in the region are Seegart, Salzpfann and Jungfernteich, with cities like Steinsepte. According to the name, the landscape is dominated by rivers such as the mighty Trident and its numerous tributaries, including the tumbled stone. The region is almost in the center of the continent. Although the river lands are not one of the Seven Kingdoms, the rulers are on an equal footing with the rulers of other regions due to administrative purposes.|
The western lands
|Ruled by House Lannisters from Casterlystein Castle. Bastards born in the Westlands are given the surname "Hill". The capital and most important port of the region is Lennishort. The Westlande are a small but powerful region in the west. They are known for their hills and low mountains, which are abundant in silver and gold, which gives the Lannisters and their vassals enormous wealth.|
The iron islands
|Ruled by the Graufreud family from Peik Castle. Bastards born on the Iron Islands are given the surname "Peik". The most important islands are Groß Wiek, Alt Wiek, Harlau, Schwarzfluth, Orgmont, Salzklipp and Peik itself. The Iron Islands are the smallest region in Westeros in terms of area. Rainy and cold, they are home to a harsh warrior people known as the Iron Men. They live for war and piracy, which is why they are the most reluctant and rebellious subjects of the Iron Throne.|
The Crown Lands
|Ruled by House Baratheon from Storm Cape Keep. Bastards born in the Stormlands are given the surname "Storm". The Stormlands include several offshore islands, such as Estermont and Tarth. Due to the many and sometimes violent storms, they are referred to as storm lands. They also include the largest forest areas in Westeros, particularly south of the Eng. These include the rainforest, in the south of the Sturmlande, but also a large part of the Königswald, in the north, where it extends into the crown lands. They are considered to be moderately populated, with a humid climate and partially fertile areas.|
|Ruled by House Tyrell from Rosengarten Castle. Bastards born in the vastness are given the surname "flowers". The most important city and port in the region is Altsass, the largest city in Westeros, after King's Landing and seat of the Maester Citadel. The Expanse is the second largest region on the continent and by far the most fertile and populous, giving the Tyrells immense wealth and troops. Some offshore islands, such as the shield islands and the arbor, also belong to the expanse.|
|Ruled by the Martell family from Sonnspeer Castle. Bastards born in Dorne are given the surname "Sand". The most important ports in the region are Sonnspeer itself and Plankenstadt at the mouth of the Grünblut. It is the southernmost of the regions and consists largely of desert. It is very different from the other eight in ethnic, legal and political factors. Dorne people live isolated from the rest of the continent, separated by the Dornish Sea and the Red Mountains, which has given them a strong sense of national identity, more than any other people in the Seven Kingdoms, including Iron and Northmen.|
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