This is a listing of the various ethnic groups in A Song of Ice and Fire.
For the main character index, see here
The Westerosi are inhabitants of the continent of Westeros, consisting of a diversity of ethnic groups of different origins. Most of these ethnic groups (if not all of them) are originally from the continent of Essos, as in ancient times Westeros was inhabited mainly by the Children of the Forest, Giants, and other magical creatures plus some sparse human settlements. The major ethnic groups inhabiting Westeros are a combination of the First Men, the Andals and the Rhoynar in different proportions according to the location, alongside a marginal in numbers (but extremely important) Valyrian influx. Politically, Westeros is divided into the Seven Kingdoms and the Lands Beyond the Wall.
- Badass Army: The Westerosi appear to have a good 1,000+ year military tech edge on everyone except the higher end Free Cities (and possibly Yi Ti): the formations of steel-armored pikemen, crossbowmen, dismounted men-at-arms with halberds and axes, and lance-using plate-armored heavy cavalry stand in stark contrast to the poorly armed and armored formations of the Essosi. It's not for nothing that the greatest mercs in Essos come from Westeros (with Bittersteel's band of exiles even crushing Qohor, defended by the famed Unsullied), or that the vast majority of cross continental wars are known to have ended in Westerosi victory.
- When Barristan trains and arms a few dozen Essosi in the style of Westerosi squires, they end up shattering a force of slave soldiers tens of times their size in a charge at Meereen. In the same battle, the light infantry reavers of the Ironborn are shown going through the legions of New Ghis like a hot knife through butter.
- Badass Normal: Westerosi warriors are known abroad due to their resilience and endurance, yet in some instances they're not particularly admired for their swordsmanship (especially by the Braavosi).
- Blood Knight: People from Westeros, particularly the nobility, have this reputation in Essos.
- Child of Two Worlds: Invoked. The Westerosi are mainly a mixture of First Men and Andals with some Rhoynar thrown in the south. Though Valyrians had some foothold in the southron territories, they focused largely in a handful of families (Targaryens and Velaryons) who practiced incest; however, whenever the Valyrians got into relations with a house of First Men, the results were special (like in Bloodraven's case, a child of Targaryen and Blackwood parents). There's implied power to be had in those unions.
- Didn't Think This Through: The War of the Five Kings, currently taking place among the Westerosi, has left the land razed and burnt, with crops destroyed and thousands dead. The only regions that have been out of the conflict are the Vale and Dorne, while the Reach is mostly supplying the Tyrell forces and the city of King's Landing, while currently being attacked by the Ironborn. Everyone involved is unequipped and unmanned for the coming winter, and it promises to be the longest winter in recent memory... and that's not counting the invasion by the Others.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: A literary equivalent to Medieval Western Europe if they all lived on the British Isles, with the Dornish being analogous to Spain, the Reach to France, the Westerlands to England, the Riverlands to the Low Countries and Rhineland, the Stormlands-Crownlands to Germany, the North to a combination of Kievan Rus and Scotland, and the Iron Islands to Denmark-Norway.
- The polity as a whole has some resemblance to the Holy Roman Empire: a large and powerful but very decentralized entity encompassing many pseudo European states (German, Italian, French, Czech, and others) where one sovereign is de facto recognized, but de jure, the kingdoms, principalities, and duchies largely decide their own policy (and even go to war internally).
- Funny Foreigner: There are customs unique to the Westerosi that are not practiced elsewhere in the world, such as their type of feudalism and the institution of knighthood. Some of their practices are frowned upon by the Essosi, like the use of full-body armor in battle. Serfdom and indentured servitude vs chattel slavery is also a hard concept for most educated Essosi to come to grips with.
- Here There Be Dragons: In the geographical immediacy of the continent, the Sunset Sea and the lands beyond the Wall are still unexplored. The latter are somewhat charted, but permanent establishments and reference points start getting increasingly scarce the further north one goes. Curiously, and fitting to the trope, there happen to be dragons in the ASOIAF world, so the trope would be more fittingly called Here There Be Who Knows What.
- Hot-Blooded: Invoked. Westerosi people are known in Essos for being notoriously humorless and easy to enrage; there's also the notion that they take everything too seriously.
- Language Drift: The Westerosi standard is the Common Tongue, a language brought by the Andal Invasion. Its great success is the product of its writing system, which is vastly superior to the archaic runic records of the First Men's Old Tongue. There are only a handful of exceptions to the rule, like the Thenns, and instances where there is still use of archaic wording, like some members of the Mountain Clans. There are also differences pervasive in the social strata of Westerosi society, as there are marked contrasts between the lowborn version of the baseborn and the educated version of the nobility. The Dornish also have a notoriously fast and heavily accented version of their own due to the Rhoynish influence (a language which in turn also withered). This brought some setbacks, however, because the Common Tongue rendered the Old Tongue's writing system completely unintelligible, leaving out information that could be extremely important, if not crucial, for the cataclysmic wars to come.
- Mighty Glacier: This is how Westerosi warriors, especially knights, appear to Essosi. Most fighting styles in Essos tend to revolve around speed and manoeuvrability, wearing little or no armour (usually cloth or leather), and using light slashing blades or rapier-like thrusting weapons. Meanwhile, Westerosi favour strength and endurance, wearing steel armour and wielding comparatively heavier longswords, battle axes, etc. As such, they are generally much slower than lightly armed and armoured Essosi, but can shrug off what would be killing blows to an unarmoured man and can hit a lot harder.
- The Outside World: Invoked. Up until the conquest, Westerosi trade with Essos was scarce bordering negligible. Aegon I's conquest basically opened the trade routes and allowed for exploration of foreign cultures, like the travels of the Sea Snake Corlys Velaryon. Still, there are parts of the world the Westerosi dare not explore, like the continent of Sothoryos, the Lands beyond the Wall, and what lies beyond the Sunset Sea; concerning the latter, while there were ventures to explore, no one ever came back alive to tell the tale (not even the fearless Ironborn). More so, even after opening the trade with Essos, Westerosi are still not very given to venture.
- Pop-Cultural Osmosis:
- A majority of Essosi (especially the Dothraki) refer to all people from Westeros as "Andals", even when the person is from First Men origin.
- The political subdivision of the settled lands of Westeros is called the "Seven Kingdoms" as a whole, though technically not all of them were "Kingdoms" and there's more than seven subdivisions. The ones that were Kingdoms include the North, the Reach, the Westerlands, the Vale, the Stormlands and the Iron Islands; the ones that were part of other kingdoms before the Conquest include the Riverlands and the Crownlands; Dorne in particular was a "Kingdom" in all but name, as it's actually a Principality. To avoid this confusion, the landmass is referred to as the "Seven Kingdoms and Dorne".
- To elaborate on the previous point, the "Seven Kingdoms" name predated the Conquest, as Westeros was subdivided into:
- # the Kingdom of the North
- # the Kingdom of the Isles and the Rivers
- # the Kingdom of the Rock
- # the Kingdom of the Reach
- # the Kingdom of the Storm
- # the Kingdom of the Mountain and Vale
- # the Principality of Dorne
- As pointed out by a character in the books, there were never "Five Kings" warring at the same time during the War of the Five Kings; at the most, there were three or four. When the war began, the "Kings" included Joffrey, Stannis and Renly; when Ned Stark was executed, his son Robb was named King in the North. Renly then was killed and most of his supporters joined Stannis. Upon seeing the bulk of Northerners pushing south, Balon Greyjoy crowned himself King of the Iron Islands and started razing the western coast of the North. Then, he himself was killed and his brother Euron took the reins. Robb and his bannermen were slayed during the Red Wedding; later Joffrey then was assassinated during his own wedding reception, and then his brother Tommen took his place. Then the Golden Company landed, headed by a young man claiming to be Aegon Targaeryn, making his own claim of kingship. As of ADWD, the remaining Kings are Tommen Baratheon, Stannis Baratheon, Aegon Targaeryn and Euron Greyjoy. So, that's eight Kings total... so far. Nine if you count Mance Rayder.
- Proud Warrior Race: Many Essosi see the Westerosi this way, likely helped by the large amount of Westerosi soldiers who end up there as mercenaries. This matches the real world perception of "Franks" by outsiders such as the Arabs, Turks, and Mongols in the High Middle Ages: backwards in many ways, but very potent fighters and surprisingly ingenious in matters of war (especially military engineering and siegecraft).
- Skewed Priorities: One of the main plot points of the story. The Westerosi are currently fighting among themselves in a huge civil war that is basically a petty squabble compared with the threat of the Others coming from the North. Some have been informed, but most are too busy fighting each other to care. How bad is it? The threat is big enough to threaten the existence of humankind itself.
- Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: Westerosi traditions in the Old Gods and the Faith of the Seven oppose slavery: for instance, Ned Stark regarded Jorah's selling of captured poachers into bondage as grounds for immediate summary execution. The Ironborn, who practise thralldom, file off serial numbers to differentiate thralldom from the chattel slavery of Essos — thralls must be taken in battle and cannot be sold, and thralldom is not inheritable. Tyrion Lannister, for his part, on arriving in Essos believes that most Essosi slaves are treated no different or worse than how Westeros treats its peasants, with some Essosi slaves actually having it better, since they can buy their freedom and eventually rise to some prominence whereas peasants in Westeros are tied forever to their lands.
- Succession Crisis: The very match that sparked the War of the Five Kings, a conflict so big that it involved the Wildlings even when it had nothing to do with them, and the Night's Watch even when they're not supposed to be involved. It mainly deals with the illegitimacy of the late King's successors, dividing the parties into the loyalists (Lannisters and later Tyrells), the claimants (Baratheons of Dragonstone and Florents, and Baratheons of Storm's End and Tyrells at first), the seceding (Starks, Tullys), the Opportunistic Bastard (Greyjoys), and the non-participating neutrals (Arryns and Martells).
- The Unfettered: Westerosi culture is notoriously militaristic and honor-bound, so mercenary groups containing Westerosi knights and warriors thrive in Essos (such as the The Golden Company and the Second Sons) because of their reliability.
- We ARE Struggling Together: Even after the Targaryen Conquest, Westerosi people are still very fond of infighting and raising in war; old habits simply do not die.
The First Men
- Abduction Is Love: That they too practiced bride stealing is certain, considering the Free Folk, the Mountain Clans and, in an even more twisted way, even the Ironborn still practice it.
- The Cavalry: Rode horses for the first time.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture:
- Of the Celtic Brythons (below the Neck) and the Picts (north of the Neck).
- The manner of their migration to Westeros (through the Arm of Dorne) is reminiscent of the real-world theory of the Asiatic migration to the Americas through Beringia, before it flooded to form the Bering Strait.
- Going Native: In time, the First Men eventually set aside their religion to worship the Children's secret gods of the wood. Like the Children they would carve faces into the weirwoods.
- Golden Age: The Age of Heroes ushered in after the war between Men and Children.
- Magic Versus Science: They beat the Children of the Forest even though the latter had magic, via the use of bronze weapons.
- Non-Indicative Name: They were not the first race of men. They are called 'First Men' because they were the first humans in Westeros. And The World Of Ice And Fire speculates about some human settlers predating the First Men.
- Our Founder: The First King. His remains are supposedly interred in the Great Barrow in the Barrowlands.
- The Remnant:
- The North still keeps the culture of the First Men, the Good Old Ways from their point of view.
- Likewise, the Thenns consider themselves the last of the First Men, still speaking the Old Tongue and making weapons and armors of bronze.
- The Mountain Clans of the Vale are the last remnants of the First Men holdouts that were displaced from their original kingdoms by the Andals.
- Sacred Hospitality: The most important tradition in First Men culture.
The First KingThe mythical leader of the First Men migration from Essos to Westeros and believed to be buried in the Great Barrow of Barrowton.
- Curse: Some tales claim that a curse was placed upon the Great Barrow so no living man would rival the First King; this curse made pretenders grow corpselike as the curse sucked away their life.
- Founder of the Kingdom: House Dustin, who once ruled as Barrow Kings, boast direct descendance from him.
- Long Dead Badass: By the time the books take place, he's been dead for millennia.
First Men Descendants
Mainly settled below The Neck, the Andal Invasion of Westeros took roots in the Vale first, displacing and assimilating several First Men houses through war and alliances. Though successful, the Andals were unable to settle in the North and the Iron Islands as both them and their religion were overwhelmingly repelled by the locals.
- Bold Explorer: The Faith teaches that they were moved by divine providence to spread their religion to the new land.
- Divine Right of Kings: The invasion of Westeros and their abandoning the Hills of Andalos was mainly due to a religious endeavor that claimed that the Andals had a divine right to the continent of Westeros. They were able to take root in the South, but the North was able to repel them successfully. As such, the whole continent was referred to as the "Land of the Andals" by various Essosi cultures henceforth.
- The Exile: Maesters believe Valyria chased them off from their own country.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Divided Westeros into seven kingdoms like the Anglo-Saxons in England, though in many cases they simply moved in to take over kingdoms that were already established. Almost everything else about them, from their system of writing to their architecture to their language, is reminiscent of the Normans. Their role as the originator for the main semi-monotheistic religion in the setting, which is also a thinly veined Fantasy version of mediaeval Catholicism, may also make them the local equivalents of Semitic peoples, such as Jews or Arabs.
- Insistent Terminology: The Essosi usually refer to the people of Westeros as "Andals" regardless of whether they're Andals, First Men or Rhoynar. As a matter of fact, in a number of languages, Westeros is known as the "Land of the Andals"
- Knight in Shining Armor: Introduced the concept of knighthood.
- Knight Templar: The original Andal invaders were following religious revelation and carved the seven-pointed star of the Seven on their chests.
- Last Lousy Point: The Andals did not fully achieve their goals in Westeros, having lost the invasions of the North and the Iron Islands; though their religious endeavors were more successful, they still weren't able to excise neither the Old Gods of the First Men nor the Drowned God of the Ironborn.
- Macho Masochism: Again, many Andal warriors proclaimed their faith by carving seven-pointed stars on their own bare chests, which they proudly displayed in battle.
- "Rashomon"-Style: There are differing reasons as to why the Andals invaded Westeros. Andal tradition maintains that prophecy lead them across the sea to conquer a land promised to them by the Seven. Secular historians suspect that it was at least equally about fleeing from the expanding Valyrian Freehold, which had recently conquered Old Ghis and was making advances against the Rhoynar, the only bulwark between the Andals and the Dragonlords.
- Written by the Winners: Thanks to their superior writing which supplanted the First Men's runes. This makes them partially responsible for the fact that there is little to no information regarding the Others, as the method for reading the runes was lost in time.
Hugor of the Hill
- The Father reached his hand into the heavens and pulled down seven stars and one by one he set them on the brow of Hugor of the Hill to make a glowing crown... The Maid brought him forth a girl as supple as a willow with eyes like deep blue pools and Hugor declared that he would have her for his bride. So the Mother made her fertile, and the Crone foretold that she would bear the king four-and-forty mighty sons. The Warrior gave strength to their arms, whilst the Smith wrought for each a suit of iron plates...—excerpts from The Seven Pointed Star
King Hugor of the Hill was the first King of the Andals in Andalos. He may also be the figure called Hukko by Pentoshi singers.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: According to the Faith of the Seven, Hugor was crowned by the Father himself.
- The Champion: Of the Seven. They each gave him a gift to show their favor.
- Founder of the Kingdom: Legend has it that he was apointed first king of Andalos by the Seven themselves.
- Human Sacrifice: If he's Hukko, then he sacrificed seven maids in honor of the Seven.
- Warrior Prince: By the favor of the Warrior himself.
Argos SevenstarAn Andal warlord who lost the invasion of the North.
- Dead Guy on Display: King Theon defeated him, tied him to the mast of his ship and sailed to Andalos to kick the ass of any other warlord that might think of invading the North. He later brought the heads of the defeated warlords back to Westeros and planted them in spikes along the western coast to fend off any other fool that would dare do the same.
- Epic Fail: He lost through an alliance of House Stark and House Bolton. King Theon Stark tied him to the mast of his ship and sailed to Andalos to kick their collective asses. According to legend, he was able to exact vengeance there.
- For Want of a Nail: Argos Sevenstar's defeat is singled out as the main reason why the Andals did not get a foothold in the Kingdom of the North like they did in the Southron kingdoms.
The Corpse-MakerAn Andal warlord who lost in an invasion of the Stormlands.
Erreg the KinslayerA mythic Andal king who cut down the weirwoods and slew the Children of the Forest at High Heart.
Valyrian descendants are found scattered in the Free Cities, especially in Volantis (comprising the city's nobility) and Lys (occupying various berths in the city's social strata). Four remaining Westerosi noble houses are of Valyrian descent, namely the Targaryens, the Velaryons, the Celtigars and the Longwaters. Extinct Westerosi houses that claimed Valyrian descent included the Blackfyres and House Qoherys. Houses that have tangential ties to Valyria, though with otherwise unconfirmed descent (through their distinct appearance or by mere rumor) include the Daynes, the Baratheons and the Hightowers.
Out of all Valyrian Dragonlords, only the Targaryens remained to successfully breed and ride dragons.
- See the Valyrians page
- Arch-Enemy: The Valyrian Freehold, who eventually drove them from the shores of the Rhoyne River, which had been their home for thousands of years.
- The Blacksmith: The Rhoynar were great with metal and taught the Andals metalworking.note
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Whereas the Dornish are the equivalent of what became Moorish Spain, the Rhoynar are the Moors themselves.
- Their division into independent city states brings Classic Greece to mind.
- Their homeland destroyed with the survivors fleeing into exile in search of a new home is heavily reminscent of the Trojans according to The Aeneid.
- Fighting for a Homeland: While most Rhoynar chose to stay behind and fight to the last against the Valyrians, a small group under Nymeria, who believed such a fight would ultimately be hopeless, chose instead to sail the seas in the "Ten Thousand Ships" to seek a new home to call their own. They eventually settled in Dorne, and many Dornishmen count the Rhoynar among their ancestors.
- Gender Is No Object: The eldest child inherited regardless of gender, a custom that was adopted in Dorne.
- Making a Splash: The wizards of the Rhoynar specialized in raising waterspouts and "walls of water", and expected this to be an adequate countermeasure against Valyrian dragons. It served for a long while until the Valyrians overwhelmed them with hundreds of dragons at once.
- Martial Pacifist: They preferred to be left alone, but could raise up a good army when needed. Their advanced metallurgy helped make weapons superior to those of their enemies.
- Racial Remnant: Most modern Dornishmen claim descent from the Rhoynar, and they do practice many of their customs, but the Orphans of the Greenblood are the most like their ancestors. The Orphans refused to assimilate into Andal/First Men culture, choosing instead to ply the Greenblood River and worship their goddess Mother Rhoyne from afar. Some of the Orphans, however, have returned home to the Rhoyne. There is also a colony of Rhoynar on Walano (aka the Isle of Women) in the Summer Isles.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After the Valyrians defeated Prince Garin the Great, the remaining Rhoynar, mostly women, children, and the elderly, followed Princess Nymeria out to sea, from which they searched for a new home.
- Trauma Conga Line: The flight of the Ten Thousand ships of the Rhoynar under Nymeria. After losing most of their men in an attempt to fend off conquest by the Valyrians, the Rhoynar flee Essos, traveling to Naath, Sothoryos, and the Summer Isles to find a new home, only to encounter slavers, pirates, disease, and other such awful occurrences. It's only when the Rhoynar reach Dorne and the protection of the Martell family that they find a permanent home.
Prince Garin of Chroyane
The GreatA historical prince of the Rhoynar who led 250,000 men to their deaths in an attempt to stop the Valyrians. Known as Garin the Great because, even though he was defeated, he gave them pause in their conquest of Essos.
- Forced to Watch: Imprisoned by the Valyrians to witness the deaths of his surviving men and, later, the destruction of Chroyane.
- "Just So" Story: Greyscale is said to be his Dying Curse put on his Valyrian conquerors.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Of Hannibal with a bit of Phyrrus.
- Shrouded in Myth: It's believed he came Back from the Dead and became the Shrouded Lord.
- Taking You with Me: The men of Volantis and Valyria hung Garin in a golden cage and mocked him as he called upon Mother Rhoyne to destroy them. That very night, the waters rose and drowned the invaders of Chroyane. From that day, the spirits of the fallen conquerors remained beneath the waters, and their breath rises from the murk to make the fogs that infest the ruined city.
- Warrior Prince: Personally led his fellow Rhoynar into battle.
Physically, the Ibbenese are a very unusual people. They are very short — rarely more than five and half feet high — and with very stout limbs, thick brow ridges above sunken eyes, and massive jaws filled with square teeth. They're also very hairy and heavily bearded, even their women sporting mustaches. As a result of this and their (supposed and doubtful) inability to produce fertile children with other peoples, it is speculated in-universe and out that they might not be the same species as other humans.
- An Axe to Grind: The Ibbenese favor axes as their weapon of choice.
- Ambiguously Human: Maester Yandel claims that they are not human because they are incapable of producing fertile offspring with the people of other races. However, some characters in the series claim partial Ibbenese descent, which might indicate Yandel is wrong or just racist.
- Arch-Enemy: One of the Dothraki's many enemies, and one of the few they were never able to subdue. The Ibbenese colonized the northern coasts of Essos, but then the Dothraki hammered them during their great wave of expansion. The problem is that the Dothraki have zero presence at sea and are even afraid to travel on boats, so they're never going to be able to destroy the core territories and powerbase of the Ibbenese, a very large island in the northern ocean (Ib). Thus even when the Dothraki manage to wipe out some of their footholds on the coasts, the Ibbenese will just return eventually and start a new colony somewhere else.
- Determinator: The Ibbenese colonists in the Forests of the Ifequevron absolutely refused to pay tribute to the Dothraki khals and fought them ferociously, destroying several khalasars.
- Early-Bird Cameo:
- The Ibbenese whalers have actually been mentioned in the background since chapter three of the first book (at Daenerys and Drogo's wedding in Pentos), and one or two named Ibbenese even appeared in passing, but it wasn't until the World of Ice and Fire that any detailed description or history was given for them — and first mention that they're, you know, basically Neanderthals.
- The first Ibben character mentioned in the books is Togg Joth, a full Ibbenese mercenary who works for the Brave Companions. There's also the sea captain Casso Mogat, the son of an Ibbenenese father and a Sisterman whore, who takes Davos Seaworth from Sisterton to White Harbor.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Are noted for whaling, chewing blubber, and wearing sealskins, similar to Inuit or Siberian Yupik people. Everything else matches what is known of non-Homo sapiens hominins, especially their status as a race displaced by modern humans.
- God-Emperor: For most of their history they were ruled by God-Kings until they were overthrown around the time of the Doom of Valyria.
- Human Subspecies: If Maester Yandel's claims are correct, the Ibbenese cannot be fully human as any crossbreeds will be either sterile or too deformed to survive birth. They basically seem to be a relict population of Neanderthals—but given that there were once very exotic non-human races in the world such as giants and the Children of the Forest, people in the story simply consider these fellow hominids to be a really weird kind of "human" instead of a separate race altogether.
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same: They share a suspicious number of similarities with the standard issue fantasy dwarf:
- They're short and squat but ferociously strong, bearded and hairy (even their women are hairy).
- They are skilled craftsmen and badass warriors.
- They are very greedy, stingy, insular and suspicious of outsiders.
- They favor axes in battle.
- Pintsized Powerhouse: The Ibbenese are never more than five and a half feet in height, but they are renowned for the great strength.
- The Remnant: The Ibbenese are probably the last remaining part of the race called the Hairy Men, who occupied vast territories all over Essos in ancient times but were later driven off or exterminated by other peoples. It is not known if the Hairy Men originated in Ib and colonized Essos, or if it was the other way around.
- Arch-Enemy: The Kingdom of Sarnor drove them straight out of the Grasslands.
- Butt-Monkey: They spent centuries filling this role in Essos. They lost most of their wars with the Sarnori and retreated until they ended up in the least desirable piece of real estate west of the Bone Mountains, a region which promptly started turning into a desert. Then, after the Doom of Valyria the Dothraki came along and wiped out most of their city-states until only Qarth remained.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: The Qaathi are so pale that the Dothraki refer to their Qartheen descendants as Milk Men.
- The Remnant: Qarth, and its satellite colonies, is the only surviving city-state of the Qaathi people.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: After centuries of misfortunes, defeat in war and near-annihilation at the hands of the Dothraki, the Qaathi of Qarth were able to gain control of the Jade Gates, becoming fabulously wealthy from trade and levied tolls.
- Animal Motifs: Monkeys are often mentioned along with the YiTish. Men wear hats with monkey tails hanging from them and there's an ancient legend about a woman with a monkey's tail saving the world.
- Arch-Enemy: The Jogos Nhai, a nomadic people similar to the Dothraki who ride zorses (a zebra-horse hybrid). They've turned countless YiTish cities and towns into ruins.
- Authority in Name Only: The title of god-emperor is now a mostly empty one. His influence extends only as far as the walls of the capital. Hundreds of princes, priest-kings, warlords, and even tax collectors rule various domains of the nation.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Each dynasty is named after a color.
- Cultural Posturing: Big time. They claim to be the first and greatest civilization, disregarding other ancient peoples as "savages and children". Of course, this is kind of justified, in that their civilization has lasted for eight thousand continuous years, since right after the Long Night. Old Ghis was only a couple of centuries older than them...but got wiped out by the Valyrians about 3,000 years later. The Valyrians themselves lasted for 5,000 years but then fell within a day. Yi Ti was flourishing before Valyria and is still flourishing long after the dragon-lords fell to ruin. Because their civilization has lasted so long and never got reset to zero by one calamity or another, it's a lot more advanced than the others, with a lot of arcane rules about court etiquette and refined behavior (again, think Imperial China circa the year 1000 compared to the squalid conditions in Medieval Europe at the same time).
- God-Emperor: The traditional title of their supreme ruler, though these days it doesn't mean much.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: To Imperial China.
- Look on My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair!: Yi Ti is full of ruins. Its said that for every living city, three dead ones are buried underground.
- Vestigial Empire: The Golden Empire of Yi Ti is supposed to be one for the mythic Great Empire of the Dawn.
The Nine Eunuchs
The Eunuch EmperorsNine members of the pearl-white dynasty of God-Emperors. They gave the Golden Empire of Yi Ti 130 years of peace and prosperity. One of their contributions to the empire was a great web of stone roads without equal in all the world, save for the dragonroads of the Valyrians.
- Eunuchs Are Evil: Subverted. They voluntarily castrated themselves even after marrying and fathering heirs so they could fully serve the empire.
- The Good King: As far as history knows, all nine were this.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Neither their personal names nor the last name of their dynasty is known.
Lo Tho, God-Emperor of the Golden Empire of Yi Ti, Twenty Second Scarlet Emperor
Lo Longspoon, Lo the TerribleTwentieth-second emperor of his dynasty, and the most feared ruler of his dynasty. A reputed sorcerer and cannibal who ate the brains of his enemies with a long, pearl-handled spoon, after the tops of their skulls had been removed.
- The Dreaded: When you are called, the Terrible, you're certainly this.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Famed for eating the brains of his enemies with a long spoon.
- Sorcerous Overlord: God-Emperor and reputed sorcerer, so he technically qualifies.
Empress Bathi Ma LoThe wife of God-Emperor Lo Doq, thirty-fourth Scarlet Emperor of the Golden Empire of Yi Ti. Because her husband was a lackwit, she must likely ruled in his stead.
- The High Queen: Empress and probably the one who ran the Empire.
- The Woman Behind the Man: The thirty good years of rule of her husband are attributed to her.
Lo Bu, God-Emperor of the Golden Empire of Yi Ti, Forty Third Scarlet Emperor
The Boy Too Clever By HalfThe last emperor of the scarlet dynasty of Yi Ti, who led a war of extermination against the Jogos Nhai, who had become bolder since the reign of his father Lo Han. He chased them all the way into the plains of Jogos Nhai, but when he divided his massive army into thirteen smaller hosts, each was hunted down by the jhattar of the Jogos Nhai Zhea, until his own host was surrounded and he was killed, with his skull dipped in gold and turned into a drinking cup passed down through the jhattar ever since.
- Divided We Fall: His biggest mistake was dividing his army in smaller hosts when they were in an unknown territory.
- Too Clever by Half: Its in his nickname, since while he was good at conventional tactics, he failed to realize that dividing his army was a bad idea until it was too late.
- Last of Its Kind: He died without leaving any heirs, making him the last of the scarlet emperors.
- Warrior Prince: Fought alongside his men.
- Action Girl: They have no problems with the womenfolk taking up arms. In fact, their most famous jhattar (jhat of jhats) was woman named Zhea.
- Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: Jogos Nhai, unlike the Dothraki, do not make war upon their own people. While young men are expected to steal animals from other bands, and girls to steal husbands, these are holy rituals during which no blood may be shed.
- Arch-Enemy: The YiTish consider them this, but the Jogos Nhai have a much stronger enmity with the warrior women of the Bone Mountains.
- Bald Woman: Men shave all but one stripe of hair down the center of the skull, but women go completely bald, and even shave their pubic hair.
- Blood Knight: They're a fierce, warlike people who have antagonized their neighbors for thousands of years.
- Born in the Saddle: Like the Dothraki, but with zorses instead of horses. Though unlike the Dothraki they tend to travel in small bands rather than great hordes.
- Calling a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Their prized zorses are basically zebras.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: To the Mongols and their expansion to the East. Their China, in turn, would be YiTi. Even more accurately, the Jogos Nhai can be compare to the Jurchens (who were later named the Manchu), a nomad tribe from what is today northeastern China who were also longstanding enemies of Imperial China. Both the Jogos Nhai and the Dothraki share many customs and culture, in the same way that the Mongols and Jurchens did. Also, Jurchen men shaved their head like the Jogos Nhai do.
- The presence of female riders also brings to mind the Scythian women. Like the Jogos Nhai, Scythians were originally nomadic.
- Transgender:Possibly. Women who chose to be jhats, a war chief similar to a khal, dress and live as men; men who chose to be moonsingers, a combination of a judge, priestess, and healer, dress and live as women.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Possibly. Women who chose to be jhats, a war chief similar to a khal, dress and live as men; men who chose to be moonsingers, a combination of a judge, priestess, and healer, dress and live as women.
The Barren, The Cruel, Zhea ZorsefaceThe first Jhattar of the Jogos Nhai. A woman who had chosen the life of a male warrior, he unified a thousand rival clans to fight against the army massive army of Lo Bu, the God-Emperor of the Golden Empire of Yi Ti, which threatened the hunt down the Jogos Nhai into extinction.
When Lo Bu divided his massive armies into thirteen hosts, Zhea isolated each of the emperor's armies, slaying their scouts and foragers, starving them, denying them water, leading them into wastelands and traps, and so each of the YiTish armies was destroyed. Finally, his riders descended on Lo Bu's own host.
Lo Bu's severed head was presented to Zhea, who commanded that the flesh be stripped from the bone and his skull be dipped in gold and made into his drinking cup, which has passed from jhattar to jhattar through generations. To this day, Zhea is remembered in the Golden Empire, where mothers whisper his name to frigthen unruly children into obedience.
- Action Girl/Dark Action Girl: A female warrior who also struck fear into the YiTish.
- Creepy Souvenir: After Lo Bu's armies were crushed by his forces and the emperor himself was killed, Zhea turned Lo Bu's skull into a drinking cup, which the jhattars of the Jogos Nhai still keep to this day.
- Lady of War: She became a Jhattar to her people, uniting them to fight against the God-Emperor of Yi Ti.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: She has gone into YiTish histories as a boogeyman to frighten unruly children.
- Homefield Advantage: How he defeated each host of Yi Ti.
- Transgender: Possibly. Born as a woman, he lived and dressed as a man.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Possibly. Born as a woman, he lived and dressed as a man.
- All There in the Manual: They are only mentioned in Archmaester Gyldayn's Histories as the source of a jade tiara Prince Daemon Targaryen gifted his niece Rhaenyra. All other information about them comes from The World of Ice & Fire.
- Ambiguously Brown: As if being described as having skin the color of oiled teak wasn't vague enough, the only illustration of them shows the woman looking rather pale and having the same skin-tone as a YiTish man.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: They're a vague mixture of a couple of influences: they are the indigenous people that originally inhabited a large island off the coast of their world's Imperial China analogue, which were pushed to one corner of the island as settlers from the mainland encroached on their territory, though later the settlers broke away from the mainland - so they're sort of like Japan's Ainu people or the indigenous Taiwanese. Physically, they share some common ground with the Nilotic peoples of the Horn of Africa, especially their stature, their slenderness, their physical prowess, and especially the uniqueness of their racial characteristics compared to their closest neighboring cultures. The climate, skin tone, matrilineal element and tension with Chinese settlers also evokes various Southeast Asian cultures.
- God-Emperor: Well, god-empress, since the Lengii are matriarchal.
- Heir Club for Men: Inverted. They have a daughter-preferred matriarchal inheritance system.
- Our Elves Are Different: Even more so than the Valyrians:
- They're inhumanly tall.
- They're reputed to be among the most beautiful people alive.
- They're wary of outsiders.
- They have possible connections to magic.
- Lady Land: The Lengii are traditionally a matriarchy.
- Lineage Comes from the Father: Nope, only from Mom.
- Polyamory: Following the example of Khiara the Great, the rulers of Leng take two husbands, one Lengii (who commands her armies) and one YiTish (who commands her navies).
- Statuesque Stunner: The Lengii are famously tall, up to seven or eight feet on average (though they tend to be slender), and their women are said to be among the most beautiful in the world.
- Supernatural Gold Eyes: They have large golden eyes that may help them see better. They might also have magical blood, since legend claims that the god-empresses of old mated with the Old Ones, gods that lived deep below in the island's subterranean ruins.
- Action Girl: It was the custom among the Sarnori for men and women to wage war together. Sarnori women were chariot drivers, usually for their husbands or fathers, and light cavalry.
- All There in the Manual: We only heard of them in The World of Ice & Fire.
- Ambiguously Brown: They had long limbs, brown skin, black eyes, and black hair, which is rather vague.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: As conquerors, they are one to the Scythians, even having a name similar to the Sarmathian people. The presence of women among their warriors also brings to mind the Scythian women, who may have inspired the legendary amazons. As a settled empire, they resemble Achaemenid Persia.
- Law of Chromatic Superiority: Black mares were used by regular riders, while blood-red stallions were reserved for the greatest warriors.
- The Remnant: While it was only ever unified nominally, as the various city-states that made it up bickered almost constantly, Sarnor once covered much of the land east of Qohor and Lorath, including the entire Sarne River Valley. During the Century of Blood, the Dothraki systematically destroyed the Sarnori cities until only the relatively small settlement of Saath remained. Though Saath remains standing in the setting's present, it exists as a pale shadow of the Sarnori's former glory.
- Underestimating Badassery: They ignored the Dothraki threat until it was far too late.
- We ARE Struggling Together: The Sarnori were very proud and quarrelsome. Their inability to unify against the Dothraki lead to their downfall.
High King Huzhor AmaiMythical ancestor and first king of the Tall Men of Sarnor.
- Famous Ancestor: To the Tall Men as a nation.
- Founder of the Kingdom: He brought together the Gipps, the Cymmeri and the Zoqora into a single people, who became the Sarnori.
- Marry Them All: He had three wives, the daughters of the greatest lords and kings of the Gipps, Cymmeri and Zoqora.
- The Magnificent: His name means "The Amazing" in Sarnori.
- Nemean Skinning/Genuine Human Hide: He wore a cloak made of the pelt of a king of the Hairy Men. The legends are unclear about whether or not the Hairy Men were human.
High King Mazor AlexiThe last High King of the Tall Men of Sarnor, who fell on the Field of Crows against the Dothraki during the Century of Blood.
- Divided We Fall: He realized the threat of the Dothraki and united their remaining forces to try and repel the aggressors. We all know how that went.
- Outgambitted: Fell for a feint retreat by the Dothraki, which allowed the remaining Khals to surround and destroy his forces from behind and the sides.
- Hope Spot: His initial attack during the Field of Crows was very successful, even killing one of the Khals. The remaining Dothraki managee to route and destroy his host soon after.
- Last of Its Kind: Last High King of Sarnor.
- Action Girl: Women are trained in the art of combat from the earliest possible age. They fight topless, with iron rings piercing their nipples and rubies in their cheeks.
- All There in the Manual: Daenerys sees some women from Kayakayanaya, Shamyriana, and Bayasabhad in A Game of Thrones, but apart from that most of what we know about them comes from The World Of Ice and Fire.
- Arch-Enemy: The Jogos Nhai are their most bitter foes. The enmity between them goes back to ancient times.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Of the ancient Central Asian city-states such as Samarkand, Bukhara and Bactria which were positioned on the Silk Road and prospered from trade.
- Human Sacrifice: They sacrificed tens of thousands Jogos Nhai to their gods in an ancient war.
- Lady Land: Subverted. The women are warriors and ninety-nine percent of men are gelded, but the three remaining cities are all ruled by a council of ungelded men called the Great Fathers. These men, chosen from the most promising young boys, also sire all the children.
- Named After Someone Famous: The whole nation was named after Hyrkoon the Hero, the one who ended the Long Night.
- The Remnant: Kayakayanaya, Shamyriana and Bayasabhad are all that remains of the Patrimony of Hyrkoon
- World of Action Girls: All their warriors are female, due to the belief that only those who can give life are permitted to take it. The men work as scribes, priests, scholars, servants, cooks, farmers, and craftsmen.
- Pirate: Some Shadow Men engaged in reaving on the Jade Sea. The maroon emperors of Yi Ti kept their court in Jinqi to better guard the borders of the Golden Empire from reavers from the Shadow Lands.
- The Faceless: Shadow Men do not show their faces, instead covering them in red lacquer wooden masks, like Quaithe or the Shadow Men Daenerys sees in the Eastern Market of Vaes Dothrak.
- Tattoo as Character Type: Their bodies are covered in tattoos, which, combined with their masks, serves as the cultural identifier.
- Animal Motifs: Naath is famous for its butterflies, whom the Naathi believe are the messengers of their god, the Lord of Harmony.
- Butt-Monkey: Being regarded as the best choice for new slaves isn't much fun. Since the Century of Blood, when more slavers, pirates, and rogues began sailing, the Naathi have been forced to retreated from their coasts into the hills and forests.
- The Immune: Anyone not from Naath will come down with butterfly fever once they come onto the island. This diseases helps to protect the Naathi from conquerors. Although, slavers have found a way around it: they won't get sick if they don't stay more than a few hours and the butterflies who carry the disease aren't as active at night.
- Made a Slave: Men, women, and children are often carried off by slavers in droves.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Butterfly fever, and the Naathi's immunity to it. On the one hand, some species of butterflies are poisonous to the touch, and the Naathi might simply be acclimated to the toxins by reason of having been exposed to them their entire lives. On the other hand, the indisputable (though often unobtrusive) presence of magic in the setting means that there might very well be someone or something actively protecting Naath.
- Perfect Pacifist People: They don't kill anything, not even animals. Unfortunately this makes them attractive targets for slavers since they won't fight back.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: They may be pacifists but they're not stupid. After years of continuous slave raids the Naathi got as far away from the coast as they possibly could.
- Veganopia: As part of their vows not to kill anything, they never eat the flesh of animals, only fruit.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Averted. While the Sothoryi of the deep Sothoryos are savage cannibals and ghouls, some of those who live close to the sea interact with outsiders and talk the Trade Talk.
- I'm a Humanitarian: The Sothoryi who dwell deep in the jungle are cannibals and ghouls.
- Dumb Muscle: Ghiscari consider them too slow-witted to make good slaves but still fierce fighters, which is why they are used in the fighting pits.
- Frazetta Man: They seem to be relatives of humans, probably an offshoot of early hominids, but are extremely savage.
- Human Subspecies: This is what they are at best. Yandel describes them as having long arms, sloped foreheads, with huge square teeth, heavy jaws, coarse black hair, flat, snout-like noses and thick brindled skin.
- Our Orcs Are Different: Their description makes them sound like the setting's version of orcs.
- The Savage South: The Sothoryi who dwell deeper into the jungle, closer to Yeen and the Green Hell are the most barbaric and cruel.
- Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: Like the Dothraki, the Basilisk Isles Corsairs are key players of the Essosi Slave Trade. They commonly abduct Naathi, Sothoryi, and Summer Islanders in coastal raids, and sell them off to Free City and Slavers' Bay slave markets. The Corsairs also enslaved a number of Roynar refugees, after Queen Nymeria refused to deliever a handful of their children as tribute.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: From what little is known of them, the Corsairs of the Basilisk Isles seem to be inspired by Caribbean buccaneers of the 17th century and the Barbary corsairs of the Mediterranean sea.
- Pirate: Piracy is the hat of the Basilisk Islanders. They often attack merchant ships that dare to sail on the Summer Seas, and raid the coasts of Naath and the Summer Islands for slaves.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: The population of the Basilisk Isles has been described as "escaped slaves, slavers, skinners, whores, hunters, brindled men, and worse."
- Always a Bigger Fish: The Corsairs themselves are occasionally the targets of ambitious Ironborn kings and captains.