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"Lannister. Targaryen. Baratheon. Stark. Tyrell. They’re all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that one's on top, and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground."
Queen Daenerys Targaryen, First of her Name

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     In General 
One of at least three continents in the known world, Westeros is divided into two realms: the 7 Kingdoms which is a single nation ruled by a hereditary monarch, and the Lands Beyond the Wall which is a cold frozen wasteland.
  • Bizarre Seasons: Each of the four seasons can last for years on end, and of variable length; three year long winters are rare and only occur once a generation, while ten year long winters occur only once a century or so. Talisa establishes in Season 2 that these seasons affect Essos as well. Its heavily implied that the magic used by the Children of the Forest to create the White Walkers is also responsible for Westeros' seasons and the conditions in the Far North and Beyond the Wall, since these areas used to be lush and green.
    • After the final defeat of the White Walkers, the weather is shown to be more mild, with the snow North of the Wall notably thinner, and some foliage starting to sprout up implying that seasons are returning to normal.
  • Civil War: Has been subjected to quite a few of these, particularly the Dance of the Dragons and most recently the War of the Five Kings.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The main religion of Westeros is the Faith of the Seven, a monotheistic faith centered on a deity with seven faces (akin to the Holy Trinity). It serves as a counterpart to the Roman Catholic Church, including a Pope-like figure known as the High Septon; however, the Faith is much more subservient to the crown than the Church was in most of medieval Europe. With few exceptions, the religion is rare in both the North and the Iron Islands; the former still follows pagan rituals of the Old Gods and the latter worships "the Drowned God."
  • Characters Dropping Like Flies: During the intervening civil wars, several famous Great Houses disappear and are extinguished — House Bolton and House Tyrell being among the most prominent. House Frey is singlehandedly destroyed by Arya and House Tarly (who replace the Tyrell following the death of their last members) loses its head and heir, with only its female members and a disowned male left alive. It looked like House Baratheon (in both legitimate and In Name Only branches) was gone for good but then Daenerys legitimized Robert's lowborn bastard and raised him to Lord Gendry Baratheon and giving him Storm's End. House Martell likewise recouped its seat with another Martell Prince in charge at the end. In the course of the Long Night, House Karstark, House Umber, House Mormont are extinguished in defense of the North, while in Daenerys' conquest of King's Landing, House Greyjoy ends in the male line. With Daenerys' death and Jon Snow exiled and disinherited, House Targaryen is virtually finished. House Stark's current male heir, Bran, is an elective monarch who cannot father children, leaving Sansa as the ruler of the North, with House Stark surviving in the female line as well.
  • Elective Monarchy: How Westeros ends the series; chosing to elect their own monarch among a council of its great lords rather than allowing dynasties to rule over the continent and risk the rise of tyrants.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture:
    • Westeros is essentially the British Isles as an entire continent (estimated to be the size of South America). While meant to represent Britain, there are influences from other medieval European countries as well.
    • Geographically, Westeros is essentially Medieval Europe flipped into a vertical position, with Dorne being analogous to Spain and the North being analogous to Russia.
    • By the end of the series, they have become analogous to the Holy Roman Empire and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth where a series of crisis and the last dynasty dying out without an heir left the nobility opting to elect an monarch that would keep stability rather than passing on to their heirs. The electorate is noble-exclusive only much in the case of the other two.
  • Fictional Currency: Monetary affairs are conducted with gold dragons, silver stags, and copper pennies.
  • Founder of the Kingdom: Aegon the Conqueror is the one who united the majority of the continent and remains a revered figure to the present day.
  • Location Theme Naming: Noble bastards are given a particular surname based from the region where they were born: Snow (The North), Stone (The Vale), Rivers (The Riverlands), Hill (The Westerlands), Flowers (The Reach), Pyke (Iron Islands), Waters (Crownlands), Storm (Stormlands) and Sand (Dorne).
  • Non-Indicative Name:
    • The Realm called the "Seven Kingdoms" is actually composed of nine distinct regions: North, Westerlands, Vale, Riverlands, Iron Islands, Crownlands, Stormlands, The Reach, and Dorne (with the Wall and the lands beyond it, not considered part of Westeros). The title comes from the composition of the Realm at the time of Aegon's Conquest, where there had indeed been seven kingdoms (Kings in North, Westerlands, The Reach, Stormlands, Vale, Dorne, with King Harren Hoare governing a region composed of the Iron Islands and the present-day Riverlands which Aegon split into two districts with the Crownlands forming a third). Even then, it only became seven kingdoms when Daeron II married a Martell Princess and officially brought Dorne into the realm. The Targaryens claimed authority over Dorne long before it became a reality, and even then made many concessions to the Dornish.
    • At the end of Season 6, the Seven Kingdoms is mostly an entity on paper. House Lannister controls the Iron Throne but The North has returned to the control of their hated enemies House Stark, who still claim their independence. The Iron Islands have remained defiant and set to launch a fresh campaign, the Vale has declared for the North. The Tyrell-Lannister alliance has disintegrated after Cersei had their heirs assassinated and the remaining Tyrells are now working with renegade Ironborn and the Martells to restore the Targaryens back to the throne. In the Season 7 premiere, Jaime points out that Cersei controls merely the Riverlands, the Westerlands and the Crownlands. And then the Freys die, throwing the Riverlands into chaos; if the Tullys take the region back then they're with the North as well.
    • By the end of the series, Westeros has officially become the Six Kingdoms and the North with a new system of monarchy that makes it far less powerful than before with a more decentralized government.
  • Sacred Hospitality: Westeros treats hospitality religiously. When formally welcoming a guest, they are given protection in the Light of the Seven. To break the guest right is considered to be unthinkable.
  • Succession Crisis:
    • There almost was one after the death of King Jaehaerys, then his grandson Viserys became king, much to the frustration of Rhaenys "The Queen Who Never Was". House of the Dragon depicts another one that came about due to Heir Club for Men having been enforced to allow Viserys to access the throne then challenged by himself once he chose Rhaenyra as heir to the throne.
    • After King Robert dies the realm falls into this hard. His heirs are considered illegitimate bastards born of incest by many (which they are). This leads to multiple claimants for the throne and whole regions working to break away and form their own kingdoms. This seems to be resolved with the victory of the Lannisters in the War of the Five Kings and they seem to reestablish control of the throne over the kingdoms. After the death of King Tommen, Cersei kills all of her rivals in the capital and declares herself Queen, which brings this trope into play again. Whole regions are either seceding or rising in revolt against her.
  • Unobtanium: Valyrian steel is this for Westeros. The ancient Valyrians of Essos were able to forge a steel that was lighter than ordinary steel, but far stronger. Nothing cuts like Valyrian steel, going through a knight in full armor like a hot knife through butter. With the Doom of Valyria, the secret of forging it has been lost, partially due to the fact that magic is used in its forging, and magic is nigh extinct. However, a handful of smiths are able to rework it. It's used by the Order of Maesters to signify mastery of the higher mysteries and a number of houses possess swords made of Valyrian steel, such as House Stark (whose sword Ice was reforged into two for House Lannister) and House Mormont (whose sword Longclaw was passed to Jon Snow of the Night's Watch).

     The North 
"Ride seven hundred miles that way, you're still in the North. Four hundred miles that way. Three hundred miles that way. The North is larger than the other six kingdoms combined."
Roose Bolton describing the region's size to Ramsay Snow

The North is a cold region and largest of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, able to potentially house the other six inside of it by its sheer size alone. The people of the North have a bit of an idiosyncratic culture compared to those south of The Neck, as they still worship the Old Gods that the First Men adopted from the Children of the Forest and pray (or take their vows, for Northborn Night's Watch members) underneath the weirwood trees that dot the land. They also place a high value on honor, and still hold the belief that the man who passes sentence should be the one to swing the executing sword. They are also the only region that still hold the tales of the Long Night and the White Walkers as truth (however distant), as evidenced by the words of House Stark; Winter Is Coming. While formerly ruled over by House Stark, the titles of Lord Paramount and Warden of the North passed on to Roose Bolton, awarded to him by Tywin Lannister after the fall of House Stark. Upon the revelation of his betrayal to House Lannister, Queen Cersei has ordered the extermination of his house. After the Second Battle of Winterfell, House Bolton was exterminated by House Stark, which has reclaimed leadership of the North under its new King in the North, Jon Snow. By the end of Season 7, they have relinquished their independence to Daenerys Targaryen in exchange of her help to defend Westeros from the White Walkers. By the end of the series, they are again an independent kingdom (though presumably with diplomatic and economic ties to the Six Kingdoms) ruled by Sansa of House Stark, the Queen In The North.

  • Adaptational Villainy: In the books, the Northern lords are loyal to House Stark, and only submitted to Bolton rule in the face of hopeless odds and in the absence of a unifying leader (and because the Boltons hold hostages). When Stannis shows up with a strong (though small) army and announces his desire to take the fight to the Boltons and reinstall the Starks (and proves his intentions to defend the North by routing the Wildlings and pushing the Ironborn out of Deepwood Motte), he immediately gets the support of the Mountain Clans, House Glover, House Umber, and House Mormont. He's set to get the support of House Manderly as well, likely after dealing a hard blow to Bolton strength in the Battle in the Ice at the crofter's village. In the show, the Northern lords all stay put while Stannis marches alone and is killed. Even in the next season, when the Starks themselves in the form of two of Ned's trueborn children personally show up and ask for help, next to no one answers the call. Not even the Houses who lost families to the Boltons care enough to help. In the end, Jon and Sansa gather a few hundred Northern soldiers and a couple thousand Wildlings, while the Boltons were stated mid-season to have over six thousand Northern soldiers at Winterfell alone, showing that either the Boltons were overwhelmingly more popular than the Starks or that the Northern lords were too cowed to defy their summons.note  Their loyalty is also very easy to change. As soon as Jon is away, the Lords are quick to suggest that Sansa becomes the new ruler instead.
    Sansa: “Yes, they turned their backs on Jon when it was time to retake Winterfell, and then they named him their King, and now they're ready to turn their backs on him again. How far would you trust men like that? They're all bloody wind vanes.”
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole:
    • In Season 5, Roose Bolton tells Ramsay that their position in the North is precarious, they are widely unpopular and he cites this as his justification for engaging Ramsay to Sansa, a fugitive in the eyes of his Lannister patrons. Roose's motivation for taking such a giant risk was that the Boltons needed legitimacy, and he kept the wedding so secret that he didn't invite any of the Northern lords, presumably waiting for Stannis' defeat for a public announcement. The popularity of the Starks is confirmed in stray comments made by smallfolk, and by Lyanna Mormont's message to Stannis. Yet in Season 6, it turns out that the Starks are not as popular as they once were, that the Boltons have the support of House Karstark, who resent Robb Stark executing Rickard Karstark for killing child hostages, and that Sansa herself is not quite popular as a result of her association with the Lannisters. In other words, the political context in the North was never dire enough for the Boltons to even need to risk burning their bridges with the Lannisters.
    • Ramsay Bolton in Season 6 claims the title Warden of the North, and demands acknowledgment as such. He also insists that his name is Ramsay Bolton, yet it is apparently known among his supporters and several others that he married a wanted fugitive and is essentially biting the hand that fed him his legitimacy, and furthermore murdered Walda Frey, their principal Riverlands ally and another Crown puppet. Legally, Ramsay can't truly claim those titles and yet he still commands others to fight alongside him and refers to himself and uses it to command authority, compromising some of the rules of the feudal society that was established in the earlier seasons.
  • Animal Motifs: Wolves for House Stark, bears for House Mormont, moose for House Hornwood, and "lizard-lions" for House Reed (they being akin to alligators and crocodiles.)
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: The Neck is this, and it also serves as a natural barrier into the North proper. Only the crannogmen of the Neck and House Reed can properly navigate its treacherous landscape and fierce creatures, and many have died trying to find their way through it unaided.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: By Season 7, Houses Mormont, Umber, and Karstark are being lead by prepubescent members, as the adult members had all been killed during the intervening wars.
  • The Dog Bites Back: After years and years of being stabbed in the back and ridiculed by the South, having to live under the abysmal rule of House Bolton due to Lannister scheming, and losing untold lives in the war against the White Walkers while the South left them to die against the undead horde, the Northmen completely embrace the chance to extract some revenge with interest when they sack King's Landing in "The Bells". Even after the Lannister forces surrender and Jon orders his troops to stop they proceed to pillage the city to finally give the South some Northern justice, and only stop when the fall back order is given since the city is crumbling around them.
  • Endurance Duel:
    • This is how the North has survived throughout its long history. Whenever they were invaded they simply deployed their army at the Neck or Moat Cailin and stopped the enemy force long enough for their famous harsh winters to arrive. Forcing the invading army to simply give up and return home.
    • This carries over to the War of Five Kings where Robb, indeed most of the Northern army, simply thought that if they could win enough battles that they'd win the war as they'd never had to think of a strategy longer than 'beat them and win'.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Northerners are known for their Raven Hair, Ivory Skin and has a grim reputation among southerners.
  • Fantastic Racism: Northerners are generally seen as "unwashed" savages slightly above Wildlings by people in the South, chiefly the Lannisters (even the good ones like Tyrion who attributes Ser Davos' seeming non-sequitur about Jon taking a knife for his people, to a fancy story Northerners tell in the winter), an attitude that extends to the Citadel who basically dismiss any warnings that come from the North that are of a serious nature, even by Maesters they dispatch there (who they argue go native). The fact that they worship another religion, the Old Gods, certainly doesn't do them favors. They are however respected and valued by the Vale, the Stormlands, and the Riverlands due to the close relationship between the region's leaders in recent memory, and some of House Stark's most loyal allies and supporters are Southrons (Brienne, Ser Davos, and Samwell Tarly).
    • And on the giving end, the Northerners are hostile to Wildlings (at first) and show no warmth toward Daenerys' foreign army, regarding them with suspicion at best.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture:
    • The North as a whole draws inspiration from Northern England and Scotland. In turn, the First Men, of whom the Northmen descend, are this to the Picts. You could also make cases for Scandinavian/Viking influences, since GRRM has basically said that he based the Old Gods on the Norse Gods to an extentnote 
    • You can make a fairly convincing case that the First Men are the Anglo-Saxons given that they were originally invaders from the mainland European continent (Essos) who came into conflict with the original inhabitants of Westeros, the Children of the Forest, from whom they received much of their late pre-Roman "Celtic" motifs.
    • It's pretty easy for Canadians to identify with The North when watching the show considering the similarities of famously harsh winters, tough, bearded men with a penchant for honourable actions and a sparse and unforgiving hostile landscape to inhabit.
    • Its position, vastness, cultural differences with the reat of the continent as well as its climate making it hard to invade by southrons are traits that make the North similar to Russia.
  • Grim Up North: Boy is it ever, and this is normally what most Southerners would tell you about the North. The Northmen still love it though, much to the bewilderment of the South.
  • Holier Than Thou: On the other side of the coin (from Fantastic Racism), the North in general tend to have a kind of superiority complex to the South, seeing them as less honorable, more dishonest, than they are, with Ned Stark mocking Ser Jaime and having contempt for the latter for being The Kingslayer and a Lannister, whose fighting prowess is good for tournaments rather than the battlefield. Even among the Starks, the likes of Arya Stark mock her sister Sansa as No True Scotsman for her more Southron airs, which the latter rebuffs by pointing out that it was she who masterminded the return of House Stark while Arya was in Braavos:
    • As the series evolves, the North proves to be very similar to the House. The likes of Roose Bolton and his son Ramsay make the Greyjoys and the Lannisters look mild, the Histories and Lore state that House Stark more or less became hegemon of the North by conquest and occupation (totally different from House Targaryen), the likes of House Karstark and House Umber are just as ruthless and willing to throw children under the bus for their short-sighted greed and bitter grudges, and as for the "North" remembers, well they prove more often than not to be Fair-Weather Friend.
    • The two Kings in the North in the series (Robb Stark, Jon Snow) more or less pretend that whole kingdoms and regions (Riverlands, The Vale) which form part of their armies are mere sidekicks. It's also forgotten that the King who first answered the summons of the Night's Watch and came to its aid is the Southron Stannis Baratheon. The likes of Ser Davos, Lady Melisandre, the Vale, and Lady Brienne played decisive roles in the retaking of Winterfell from House Bolton, and none of them are from the North.
  • Home Field Advantage: Any invading army from the south would have to deal with the North's harsh climate. Northerners are used to fighting in the cold, but southerners are more greatly affected by the snow and cold.
  • Honor Before Reason: A defining trait of most Northmen, and what led to the fall of House Stark.
  • Like Father, Unlike Son: After the War of Five Kings has ended and the fallen lord's sons took charge, most of them aren't as honorable or fond of the traditional feudal system. That's mostly because they saw what the old way of oaths and loyalty gave to their fathers and with the Boltons instead of the Starks in charge, you don't show respect as much as you show usefulness. Even those who aren't that extreme refuse to help the Starks simply because they asked.
  • Mirroring Factions:
    • The North is not above betrayals and realpolitik that Ned accuses the South. While they were praising Robb as he was winning battles on the field, the stronger houses started going against his orders when the going got tough and after losing they put all the blame on him. The Undying Loyalty from most houses was a case of Fair-Weather Friend. Indeed, in Season 6, Jon and Sansa's true supporters against the Boltons are mostly outsiders. Southrons like Davos and Brienne, Essosi like Melisandre, the Wildlings and the Knights of the Vale, while Northern stalwarts like Umbers betrayed Rickon and the Glovers sat on the fence.
    • Horrifyingly, the Northmen aren't above the type of rapacious and underhanded warfare that their southern counterparts engage in, as shown when the Northern armies join right alongside the Unsullied and Dothraki in pillaging King's Landing after the Lannister forces surrendered in "The Bells". They even willfully ignored their commander (and Warden of the North) when Jon ordered them to stop.
  • Oop North: The Northmen speak with various Northern English accents, given that Westeros as a whole is basically a Fantasy Counterpart Culture to (roughly) 13th to 14th century England.
  • Pretty in Mink: Due to the very cold weather, majority of the Northerners wear fur coats. This works well with both House Stark and House Mormont, whose respective Animal Motif are the wolf and the bear.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: From the crannogmen in the Neck to the Umbers of Last Hearth, Northmen have this reputation throughout Westeros. This was mostly taken as rumor before the War of Five Kings as every time Northerners met an enemy outside of their homeland they repeatedly underestimate the Northerners and are crushed. This ranges from escaped Wildlings from beyond the Wall to the mountain clans of the Vale to even the Lannister army.
  • Port Town: White Harbor is this for the North. It's their source of trade and the only settlement in the North that can be considered a city.
  • Token Evil Teammate: The North is generally cast as one of the more "heroic" of the setting. Despite this, House Bolton might be the single most evil teammate on any side, before becoming The Starscream.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Season 7 indicates that the Northern Houses intend to fight the Army of the Dead alone... with very few weapons to fight them: two Valyrian Steel swords and that's about it. When Jon says that part of the reason he's going to bargain with Daenerys is for dragonglass, the lords still protest the move.
  • Undying Loyalty:
    • The people of the North, both the high lords and the smallfolk have this for their Stark overlords. So much that they will refuse to follow anyone else even on pain of death. This is a bit of a deconstruction as no one in the North will ally themselves with one of the few people who can and is willing to help them because he is both of the south and not a Stark. Even if it's in their best interest. This dates back to even Robert's Rebellion as Stannis Baratheon notes that even with the much loved Ned Stark, the future and charismatic king Robert had trouble controlling them.
    • Tragically, Season 6 reveals Robb's actions in the War of the Five Kings have broken this, with many in the North blaming him and his house for all they've lost, especially at the Red Wedding. Not only have the Karstarks and Boltons betrayed them, but the Umbers use Jon's actions as Lord Commander (letting the Wildlings through the Wall) to side with the Boltons, the Glovers refuse to aid Sansa and Jon in taking back Winterfell, and the Mormonts refuse to give their help until heavily persuaded.
    • By the end of Season 6, the bonds of loyalty are seemingly restored as the Stark victory over the Boltons and many Northern Houses ashamed of not standing by them when Jon and Sansa first called for aid leads them to not only re-declare for House Stark, but also crown Jon Snow the new King in the North.

     The Westerlands 
"Fools look at the Westerlands and see gold. Fools see our wealth and call it strength. Gold is just another rock. The Westerlands are strong because of House Lannister. From strong leadership comes unity; from unity comes power."
Tywin Lannister

The richest of the Seven Kingdoms, The Westerlands are ruled over by House Lannister from their seat of Casterly Rock. While The Reach has its fields of food and the Riverlands and The North its hardened warriors and honorable leaders, The Westerlands draws its power from the gold and silver and other precious items found in their mountain mines. They are surrounded by three natural defenses; thick forests, mountains, and the sea at their back, making it very hard to try and invade to get at their riches. Unfortunately for House Lannister, the Westerlands gold mines (or at least the Lannister owned ones) have run dry, leaving the status of the region in a delicate position, particularly after the death of Tywin Lannister and the exile of Tyrion Lannister leaving no suitable heir for title of Lord Paramount of the Westerlands and Warden of the West.

  • Animal Motifs: The lion seems to be the predominant one for this region, having been featured on the Lannister banners as well as those of the Reynes of Castamere. The region is also home to wild mountain lions, one of which mauled Tywin's father, Lord Tytos, who was saved by the intervention of his kennelmaster, the grandfather of Sandor and Gregor Clegane.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: If the North is Scotland under William Wallace, the Westerlands is England under Edward Longshanks.
  • One-Product Planet: According to Tywin, each of the houses of the Westerlands contributes a unique skill or service to further the whole of the region. House Clegane provides fierce knights, particularly Ser Gregor "The Mountain" and Sandor "The Hound." House Payne provides loyal servants. Finally, House Lefford guards the main mountain pass into the Westerlands, though Tywin muses that because of the Starks' incursions into the region, "perhaps [we] need a new gatekeeper."
  • Port Town: Lannisport, an Egopolis that is the Westerlands' largest city and main source of trade. It's also the location where the Greyjoys torched the Lannister fleet.
  • Rags to Riches: A famed Westerlands story tells of how Lann the Clever, patriarch to House Lannister, managed to swindle the ruling House Casterly out of their castle of Casterly Rock.
  • Riches to Rags: By the end of the War of the Five Kings, the gold mines of the Westerlands had run dry three years prior. The Lannisters had gone through a lot of effort in order to keep that secret. Mostly by taking tremendous loans from the Iron Bank and depending on their new partners the Tyrells to foot half the bill to their own Royal wedding.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Even the lower Westerlands Houses can get in on this considering the Lannister fortunes have enriched almost every noble house of the region.

     The Crownlands 
Home to King's Landing and the Red Keep, the Crownlands are considered the capital region of Westeros, situated close to Narrow Sea and above the Stormlands. This region was not one of the original Seven Kingdoms, having been created after Aegon the Conqueror got through living up to his name, and this section of land was set aside for his castle. Because of the importance of King's Landing, a lot of wealth and power flows through this region, although the small folk tend to see very little of it. It is currently ruled in name by House Baratheon of King's Landing but is de facto under the control of House Lannister, headed by King Tommen Baratheon and Queen Margaery Tyrell. With their passing, Queen Cersei Lannister ascends to the throne.

Little of the Crownlands, apart from King's Landing itself, has appeared in the TV series. Generally in the novels they are also thought of as more of an extension of King's Landing, though local politics often involve these lords in subplots at the royal court. Dragonstone is also technically part of the Crownlands. Otherwise, the first Crownlander seen on the show was Ser Dontos Hollard in Seasons 2 and 4, though his House is not significant. The first major Crownlands House that was introduced, separate from the royal families (holding King's Landing and Dragonstone), was House Stokeworth in Season 5.

  • Animal Motifs: Formerly dragons from House Targaryen, now the lion of House Lannister and the stag of House Baratheon.
  • Church Militant: The Faith Militant is headquartered in King's Landing. It was disbanded 200 years before the start of the series for causing problems for the monarchy at the time. And now thanks to Cersei they're causing problems for the entire noble class. Way to go Queeny.
  • Church Police: The Faith Militant has basically taken over as the police force of King's Landing from the Goldcloaks. They're much better at it and can't be bought off, much to the dismay of everyone who breaks the law... which just happens to be almost everyone in a city like the capital. Following the explosion of the Great Sept of Baelor, where their leader the High Sparrow was located as well most (if not all) of the Faith Militant, the entire order is effectively extinguished.
  • Decadent Court: This region houses the royal court in the city of King's Landing.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: It is most noticeably similar to the District of Columbia in the United States. Uniquely so, since the other realms are based on Medieval European cultures, whereas D.C. is located in the modern-day Americas. Both are divisions of their nation set aside for the express purpose of housing the capitol, so it wouldn’t be potentially at the mercy of one of its own subdivisions. Both are situated near the east coast of their continents, resulting in a continental power gap filled in by the cities it is farthest from, leaving the interior comparatively neglected. And the inhabitants of both are known for seeing little of the vast wealth and power that circulates through their city.
  • Kangaroo Court: The legal system in King's Landing heavily works on this, with guilt effectively being determined before the trial (which serves merely as a formality).
  • The Maiden Name Debate: The two post-Targaryen era queens, Cersei Lannister and Margery Tyrell, are still addressed by their maiden names rather than their husband king's surname (in both cases, Baratheon).
  • Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering: Well, more like outright snarking rather than bickering, really. However, with one Mad King, followed by one supremely uninterested king and then one brat king as the supposed head of government... is it all that surprising the ruling council is a divided, unsupervised mess?
  • Wretched Hive: Quite a lot of King's Landing can be said to be this underneath some lovely or even outright stunning architecture: in a Stepford Smiler kind of way. Flea Bottom, however, doesn't try masking what it is, at all.

     The Stormlands 
A rocky, storm ravaged land, the Stormlands are ruled over by House Baratheon of Storm's End and Dragonstone. Originally ruled by the Storm Kings of old and worshiping the Storm God (bitter rival to the Drowned God of the Iron Islands), this land and the castle at Storm's End was given over to Aegon the Conqueror's half-brother, Orys Baratheon, to rule when the Storm King fell in battle rather than bend the knee. The one place not constantly ravaged by inclement weather on a near constant basis is the Isle of Tarth, otherwise known as the Sapphire Isle and ruled by House Tarth.

Despite not being very politically active in the series save for Robert Baratheon being on the Iron Throne, the region is set for a Succession Crisis after the deaths of all three Baratheon brothers and their families (trueborn, bastard, and both in blood and name) leaving no suitable Lord Paramount of the region or Lord of Storm's End with the exception of Gendry, Robert's only surviving bastard.

  • Animal Motifs: Stags for House Baratheon.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Riverlands is full of rivers; take a wild guess what you get a lot of in the Stormlands and around its coastline...
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Though much less pronounced than any of the other regions, the Stormlands as a whole are loosely like medieval Germany, though there’s a mish-mash of other factors. Like Germany, the Stormlands are the most densely forested part of the Seven Kingdoms (of the three major forests, two are located in the Stormlands, the third in the North; but while the North is vast, those two forests take up most of the Stormlands). Similarly, medieval Germany was densely forested. The other similarities have more to do with their history, which is a lot like the Holy Roman Empire. From the Books... 
  • Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter: The Storm Kings of old had this sort of relationship with their Storm God, and it was this attitude the fueled the creation of Storm's End, it being a castle that was repeatedly destroyed by the weather but was continued to be rebuilt out of sheer mule-headed stubbornness until they built one that finally could withstand the beating.

     The Iron Islands 
"Where the North has its honor and the South its chivalry, the Iron Islands has its strength."
Theon Greyjoy

A small collective of islands west of The Neck and northwest of The Riverlands, the Iron Islands are home to the Ironborn and headed by House Greyjoy. In their past the Ironborn were fierce pirates and plunderers, raiding the mainland for gold, glory, and prisoners to tend their fields and work their docks, for as House Greyjoy's words go; "We Do Not Sow." The Ironborn once ruled the Riverlands and Harren the Black had his massive castle of Harrenhal built as a monument to his subjugation of them. This was not to last, as the day the last brick was lain in his tower, Aegon the Conqueror landed and reduced the great castle to a pile of smoking ruins. The Ironborn were then pushed back to their islands, but Aegon allowed them to keep their hold over it and appointed House Greyjoy as rulers of the islands. They still long for their pillaging ways though, but the Ironborn's golden age is far behind them.

  • Adaptational Wimp: The Ironborn in the series are less competent and rougher and dumber than their book counterparts. For instance, Dagmer Cleftjaw is an Obviously Evil Mentor rather than the more avuncular figure in the books. He goads Theon into doing evil actions like killing children (in the books, this is done by Ramsay Bolton acting as the first "Reek") and they openly sell him out to the Boltons in a Cavalry Betrayal which was again part of a gambit undertaken by Reek/Ramsay. The death of Ralf Kenning comes from poisoning by crannogmen from the Neck and not an axe to the head and the fall of Moat Cailin happens because of a series of political factors depriving the fort of their main force, leaving only a smaller garrison reduced to straits. It's like they have become the Flanderization of the usual insults given to them in the books.
  • Animal Motifs: The Kraken for House Greyjoy.
  • Badass Decay: In-universe. Once, they had been the most feared people in Westeros. They had basically conquered the entire Riverlands, which involved beating the shit out of the Stormlords. Then they successfully defeated and drove back the Andals, eventually subsuming them into their society and not the other way around as in the rest of Westeros (even the North's been affected to a certain extent by Andal culture in a way the Iron Islands never have), and built the single strongest fortress in the continent that was only brought low because of fucking dragons! And according to legend one of their ancient kings slew a sea dragon. Things went downhill after Aegon the Conqueror burned Harrenhal and helped the river lords drive their Ironborn overlords back into the sea. Balon Greyjoy tried to reverse this by seceding from the Seven Kingdoms, but this backfired spectacularly when the Baratheons and their allies beat them into submission.
    Cersei: They have ships, and they're good at killing.
    Jaime: They're not good at anything. I know the Ironborn, they're bitter, angry, little people. All they know how to do is steal things they can't build or grow themselves.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: They are, at the end of the day, sailors and raiders, not soldiers, and their ships and tactics are meant for lighting raids, not prolonged campaigns.
    Ramsay: Kraken: strong, as long as they're in the sea. When you take them out of the water, no bones. They collapse under their proud weight, and slump into a heap of nothing. You'd think they'd know that."
  • Culture Justifies Anything: Whenever confronted about their violent, unyielding practices, an Ironborn's general response is to shrug and answer "It's our way". They were extremely loathed to have had to surrender these, and would jump at every opportunity they had to return to them, despite it, without fail, always ending badly for them.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Ironborn in general are this to the Vikings, and Viking domains in the smaller British Isles (Man and the Orkneys) in particular. Their different religion, restive nature and the fact that they and the mainlanders mutually despise each other also likens them to the Irish. The show's costumes and props, however, tend to de-emphasize the more obvious Viking-like aspects that they have in the books.
  • Grim Up North: While not in The North, the Iron Islands have this vibe, being grey and dreary due to their location, and the people are not much better. They're still well north of most of the rest of Westeros, though.note 
  • Horny Vikings: Less so than in the books, but they still bear more than a passing similarity.
  • Might Makes Right: In their culture, they hold that only those strong enough to take something, and hold onto it, have any right to anything. That being said, they seem to believe this only applies to themselves, as they often moan about having to subordinate themselves to the mainland, despite being overpowered by them multiple times.
  • Pirate: A whole society of them.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Although they're seen as the Butt-Monkey of the Seven Kingdoms, the Ironborn are still fearsome warriors and unparalleled in the seafaring arts, despite their other failings. Stannis even admits that individually they're the strongest warriors in Westeros, the only reason his victory over them was possible was because they're too individualistic to fight cohesively as a group.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: Their specialty.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer:
    Theon Greyjoy: You're not a man in the Iron Islands 'till you've killed your first enemy!
  • Soldier vs. Warrior: The Warriors to the rest of Westeros's Soldier.
    Stannis Baratheon: As sailors and warriors, the Ironborn are unparalleled, [...] but they're not soldiers. They have no discipline, no sense of unity. In battle, each man fights only for his own glory.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: One of their defining traits, if the Greyjoy Rebellion is any indication. They simply cannot admit defeat and insist on paying for everything with the "iron price", taking it by force rather than paying for or negotiating for what they need.
  • Things That Go "Bump" in the Night: People on the mainland whisper tales of the ironborn to frighten their children.
  • Wooden Ships and Iron Men: A medieval example, but true nonetheless.

     The Vale 
"Only twenty years ago, the knights of the Vale rode behind Jon Arryn, Ned Stark, Robert Baratheon. They fought together to overcome the Mad King. And since then, Arryn and Royce, Corbray, Waynwood, all the great houses of the Vale watched from the corner. A timid boy at a tavern brawl... By staying out of the fray, you've allowed Tywin Lannister to destroy his rivals on every compass point."
Petyr Baelish

The high mountainous region of eastern Westeros, the Vale of Arryn is considered nigh impregnable by most of the rest of the kingdoms. As the name would imply, the Vale is ruled by House Arryn, whose lord also holds the title of Lord Paramount of the Vale and Warden of the East. The Vale is also home to many barbaric hill tribes in the areas between the mountain fortresses and the fertile valleys, a problem that the Lords of the Vale haven't really done much to combat since they all have a seeming blindness to any problems in the region and a very distinct sense of pride and honor regarding their mountains. There is only one way into the Vale proper and that is through the Bloody Gate, so named because during the Age of Heroes twelve different armies beat themselves bloody against it trying to get in, all without success. The seat of House Arryn is the Eyrie, located beyond a long and treacherous road at the top of a high mountain.

Despite not being featured much on the show, characters from the Vale have major roles in much of the goings-on of the series: Jon Arryn's sudden death kicks off the plot in the very first episode; his wife Lysa provides a great deal of conflict for Catelyn, Tyrion, and Sansa whenever they visit her; and Petyr Baelish (from a tiny constituent region in the Vale) is one of the series' major players for control of the Iron Throne.

  • Aerith and Bob: Denizens of the Vale tend to have common sounding names for a fantasy setting, with pronunciations and spellings slightly altered - Jon, Lysa, Petyr, Anya and Yohn - alongside names like Ser Vardis and Ser Waymar.
  • Animal Motifs: Falcons for House Arryn and birds in general for the other Houses of The Vale.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture:
    • As noted by Harry Lloyd in the DVD audio commentary. The Vale being the most mountainous part of Westeros and its ethnic division between fortress-dwelling Andals (i.e. Anglo-Saxons) and restive mountain tribes that descend from the First Men (i.e. Celts) likens it to Wales. Coincidentally, Ser Vardis Egen speaks with a Welsh accent in the show.
    • On the other hand, the fact that the Vale is located high in the mountains with narrow bottlenecks makes it very similar to the real-life Switzerland which is notoriously hard to invade.
  • Fatal Flaw: The intense pride that the Vale Lords hold for their homeland has blinded them to any flaws within them, and whenever danger comes knocking at their door they are more than content to simply hole up in their mountains and ride it out relatively unscathed. Notably averted during Robert's Rebellion when Jon Arryn rallied the Houses of The Vale against the Mad King, and then played brutally straight during the War of Five Kings while under the leadership of Lysa Arryn.
  • Head-in-the-Sand Management: In the History and Lore videos on The Vale, Petyr Baelish, admittedly biased, regards this as the chief failing of the Vale, noting that their geographical defenses have kept themselves isolated from matters of real concern, like making peace or destroying the Hill Tribes and it feeds them an unjustified sense of security and superiority.
  • Team Switzerland: They remain consistently neutral on Westeros affairs, specially during the War of the Five Kings due to Lysa Arryn refusing to chose a side.

     The Riverlands 
"They say that 'The King eats and the Hand takes the shit.' Such is the same with our home; The Seven Kingdoms piss themselves, and the Riverlands change clothes."
Ser Brynden the Blackfish

A bountiful region located on The Trident river, and formerly presided over by House Tully, while currently ruled by House Frey. The Riverlands are located between "everything and everything else," at a primary junction between The North, The Crownlands, The Westerlands, The Reach, and The Iron Islands, leading to them often getting embroiled in wars and conflicts they didn't start. Still, The Riverlands always seem to press onward despite it, and remains the second most bountiful region land-wise after The Reach. Currently the region is being ravaged by brigands and deserters from the War of Five Kings, in addition to being mismanaged by the Freys, so the recovery for the region may take longer than usual without House Tully to guide them along. With House Frey being seemingly wiped out in the Season 7 premiere, the Lannisters have pretty much annexed the Riverlands by direct taking control of the region.

  • Animal Motifs: Trout for House Tully, and fish for the area in general. Bats for House Whent. Eagle for House Mallister.
  • Butt-Monkey: They're pretty much the red-headed stepchild of the Seven Kingdoms, as they not only get dragged into wars they never caused and are a primary raiding target of the Ironborn, but most of those battles and wars are fought in The Riverlands rather than in the regions that started them. They're basically World War II era Poland, and the rest of the Kingdoms are either Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You:
    • How Brynden "Blackfish" Tully describes the Riverlands, they have no geographic defenses and are bordered by the Westerlands, the Vale of Arryn, the Reach, the Crownlands and the North. It almost always ends up being a major battlefield in most Westerosi conflicts and House Tully have to ensure peace with their rivals through marriage alliances.
    • Even both the Iron Islands and the Stormlands once occupied the Riverlands and fought a war over dominion of its territory. Dorne is basically the only region that's not bordering on the Riverlands or used to be in direct conflict with them. Despite this, a host of Dornishmen (reluctantly) fought at the Trident on the opposing side.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture:
    • They are a region with no natural defenses, surrounded on all sides by antagonistic regions and will always be drawn to the fight when there is political turmoil in the land. Several countries could be described that way, but the Low Countries (Belgium and the Netherlands) come first to mind.
    • The fact that the Riverlands used to be ruled by the Ironborn prior to the Targaryen conquest and their location within Westeros also likens them to the English Danelaw, and/or post-Viking Russia. Though, unlike both of those regions, the Riverlands don't seem to have held on to much, if any, Ironborn culture beyond (possibly) the Viking Funeral.
  • Haunted Castle: The Riverlands are home to Harrenhal, a castle built by the Ironborn during their occupation of the region. It's the largest castle in Westeros, by a wide margin. It was intended to be unconquerable, but Aegon and his dragons breeched it and killed its masters in short order. Ever since then, the castle has been rumored to be cursed, as every family that's held it was ultimately brought to ruin. The more mundane explanation is that the ridiculous size of the castle makes it impractical to man and maintain. Anyone who holds it either bankrupts themselves trying to keep it up, or watches it decay around them. And the superstition means that it's rarely given to a truly powerful family anyway, so most recipients are already on shaky ground.
  • Scenery Gorn: Especially after the Red Wedding when the Freys take over the Riverlands. Arya and Sandor Clegane trudge through the countryside on their way to the Vale and the landscape is a desiccated wasteland.
  • You All Meet in an Inn: Several inns at the Riverlands facillate chance encounters between characters. Catelyn and Tyrion in Season 1, Arya, the Brotherhood without Banners and Sandor Clegane in Season 3, Arya and the Hound with Polliver and Mountain's Men in Season 4, Brienne and Pod meeting Hot Pie at the same Inn where he, Arya and Gendry last parted in Season 4, and later the two encounter Sansa and Littlefinger in Season 5. This is justified because the Riverlands is the networking region that connects all the major kingdoms so it would be common for travellers to have surprising chance random encounters.

     The Reach 
"The Reach is aptly named; we're the ones that give your hand something to do at the table."
Margaery Tyrell

The breadbasket of Westeros, the Reach is the second-most spacious after the North and the primary food provider for the Seven Kingdoms. Historically they were ruled by House Gardner, but when the last Gardner King died to Aegon the Conqueror on the Field of Flames House Tyrell (who had been their faithful stewards for thousands of years) yielded the castle of Highgarden to Aegon and were awarded Lord Paramountship of The Reach and Wardenship of the South. The Reach is often heavily tied to the Crownlands because of this, and they stood beside Aerys II Targaryen when Robert Baratheon raised up the North, Stormlands, Vale, and Riverlands against him. During the war, the Tyrells and their Tarly vassals inflicted Robert's only defeat and lay siege to the Stormlands until Prince Rhaegar's death at the Battle of the Trident. Robert allowed the Tyrells to keep their titles at the cost of food and paying off the war debt after the Rebellion, and now the Reach is seeing an influx of political power due to the marriage of Margaery Tyrell to King Joffrey Baratheon and later Tommen.

Upon the destruction of the Great Sept of Baelor by Cersei Lannister and the poisoning of Olenna Tyrell by Jaime Lannister following the Sacking of Highgarden, Lordship Paramount of the Reach and Wardenship of the South is set to fall to House Tarley as thanks for Lord Randyll Tarley siding with the Lannisters against the rebellious Tyrells, but with Lord Randyll's and his heir Dickon's passing the Lordship Paramount is vacant.

  • Animal Motif: Foxes for House Florent.
  • Bread and Circuses: Being a bountiful region allows them a lot of food and money to throw around on extravagances for their people to keep them happy and satisfied.
  • Chivalric Romance: The Tyrells and other houses of the Reach put a lot of effort into making the Reach at least seem like the stereotypical Chivalric Romance setting. Chivalry is very Serious Business in the Reach, and Catelyn even calls its soldiers "the knights of summer." Highgarden is reputed to be one of the most beautiful cities on the continent, providing leisurely entertainment such as a grand Masquerade Ball on the night of the harvest moon and pleasure barges on the river Mander. Loras and Margaery work very hard on their respective Knight in Shining Armor and Princess Classic/The High Queen persona, and they were once in a three-way marriage to Renly Baratheon, who saw himself as The Good King.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Many locations in the Reach fall under this. Particularly Oldtown, which is the oldest city in Westeros.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: As the heartland of chivalry, with refined court culture, and the most fertile of the Seven Kingdoms, basically medieval France. Like France, they have a larger population and resources than their neighbors — but they also have twice as many hostile borders, which evens out any potential advantage.
  • Flower Motifs: Roses for House Tyrell, and plant-life in general for the region.
  • Hypocrite: The most chivalrous region of Westeros is also the most opportunistic one.
  • I Fight for the Strongest Side!: Pretty much the modus operandi of House Tyrell and their vassals. They will always back the winning team and will drop anyone at the drop of a hat if they become a liability. If both sides of a war appear to be evenly matched they'll simply stay out of it. The one time they stayed loyal to anyone they lost a war.
  • The Professor: The Reach is also home to the Citadel, which is the seat of the Order of Maesters. These learned men serve as advisers and healers for all the Great Houses of Westeros.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Particularly House Tyrell, but all the Houses of the Reach do this to a certain extent by cultivating their Bread and Circuses image to throw people off to their political wheelings and dealings. House Florent is a particular example, as they play nice around the Tyrells despite having had their right to Highgarden taken after the fall of the Gardners when the Tyrells gave up Highgarden to Aegon. They often ally themselves against the Tyrells when they can get away with it, such as Selyse Florent marrying Stannis Baratheon, who opposed his brother Renly, who was married to Margaery Tyrell.
  • Succession Crisis: With the deaths of every major member of House Tyrell at the Great Sept save Olenna (who is only Tyrell by marriage and far too old to bear more heirs), the Reach has had the stage set for one of these.
  • Team Chef: The Reach is the provider of food for most of the Seven Kingdoms.
  • We Have Reserves:
    • While power is measurable by many standards, no other family can match House Tyrell for sheer numbers. The Reach is the breadbasket of Westeros, so it can sustain a large population of people and animals (like horses). The Tyrells, by themselves, can muster about 15,000 men, cavalry and infantry, meaning that (given feudal economies), they probably hold personal fief (i.e. have no other vassals between them) over at least 100,000 peasants. And then you throw their bannermen into the mix...
    • Much like real-life France (which they're sort of an expy for) the Reach has twice the numbers as the next largest kingdom, but they've also got twice as many hostile borders, facing the Westerlands, the Stormlands, Dorne, and a close ocean border with the Iron Islands (most other kingdoms only border two other major ones, i.e. the Stormlands border the Reach and Dorne). So the advantage evens out. Moreover, they don't have many major defensive boundaries with their neighbors: the mountains of the Westerlands, and the Red Mountains of Dorne, are a barrier to invasion by the Reach but not the other way around. The Mander River runs east-west instead of north-south, so it does not present a strong defense against invasion from the Stormlands.

The last of the Seven Kingdoms, Dorne was the only one that was able to resist the initial Targaryen conquest of Westeros and remained independent until the ruling family, the Martells, joined the Targaryens through marriage, nearly a century before the War of the Five Kings. Because of this, the land remains considerably more autonomous than the other kingdoms. For instance, the ruling family is allowed to stylize themselves as Prince or Princess, whereas the rest of the Seven Kingdoms are given the title of Lord Paramount.
  • Animal Motifs: Snakes, despite not being on any sigils. Oberyn is called the Red Viper, his daughters are called the Sand Snakes, and the depiction of Dorne on the opening credits features a snake encircling a spear.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Compared to the rest of Westeros, Dorne's people at large have some mix of Andal and Rhoynar blood.
  • Determinator: Of all the Seven Kingdoms, Dorne was the last to bend the knee to the Iron Throne. Not to mention having the honor of successfully resisting Aegon Targaryen and his dragons, something that not even the fiercely independent North accomplished.
  • Eternal Sexual Freedom: Dorne is considerably more liberal when it comes to sexuality. Their bastard children, given the surname Sand, are not treated with the same stigma as they are in the rest of Westeros. The Dornish are also far more tolerant of same-sex relationships than other Westerosi cultures.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture:
    • To Spain. The Dornish speak with a vaguely Hispanic accent (as opposed to the ubiquitous English and Irish accents everywhere else in Westeros) and are traditionally Hot-Blooded and sexually adventurous. More specifically, as the only part of Westeros with Rhoynar (an Essosi river culture) influence in their culture, Dorne has parallels to Moorish Spain, the largest and longest-surviving Arab-Islamic state in medieval Europe, and the only one to achieve a majority Muslim population. From the Books... 
    • Dorne is also similar to Wales. Both used to be separate countries, both have "Marches" at their edge, both still see themselves as culturally different from the rest of the kingdom, and both are ruled by Princes, rather than by Lords.
  • Foil: To the North in many respects, such as existing on the opposing extremes of the continent, which are known for harsh climates that they've otherwise adapted to (harsh cold in the North, and brutal heat in Dorne), that provide natural defenses. They are also ethnically and culturally distinct from the rest of Westeros, with the Northerners being the last stronghold of the First Men, and Dornish being the descendants of the Rhoynar. Their differences ultimately lie in their approach to things: the Northerners pride themselves on their honor, whereas the Dornish freely admit that they rely on more underhanded practices such as poisons and assassinations. Also, during Aegon's invasion, Meria Martell opted to resist Aegon's conquest through guerrilla warfare, which ultimately lead to the preservation of Dorne's independence, but at the cost of many of her people; Torrhen Stark, by contrast, yielded to Aegon when it became apparent that he couldn't win, and while no Northerners died to Aegon's army or dragons, the North still lost its independence.
  • Fragile Speedster: Their overall battle doctrine, though not to the extent of the Dothraki (who wear no armor at all). A knight would cook inside of heavy steel plate armor in the hot deserts of Dorne, so Dornish tactics opt for lighter scale, ring mail, and leather armor, and rely more on speed and agility. This is a real-life principle about armies fighting in arid regions: Saladin's armies in the Crusades similarly had lighter armor and similarly had to rely more on speed and agility.
  • Heir Club for Men: Averted. Dornish law provides for absolute primogeniture, meaning that the oldest child inherits, regardless of gender. The rest of Westeros operates under agnatic primogeniture (which permits inheritance only in the male line, and under which females can occasionally have superior claim to the decedent's property even when there are potential males) or male-preference primogeniture (wherein females only inherit if the decedent has no male children). Westeros does not appear to use Salic law, which forbids female inheritance and requires the decedent's property to go to cousins or brothers or nephews.
  • Queer People Are Funny: Most of Westeros frown upon Dorne's openly tolerant attitude towards non-heterosexual relations, as demonstrated in "Two Swords" by Bronn's and the two Lannister soldiers' offensive joke about Dornishmen fucking goats, and Tyrion mentions Oberyn's notorious reputation for having sex with half of the continent.
  • The Savage South: How the middle of Westeros sees them; they are regarded as different and less civilized. Not unlike the North, weirdly enough. The fact that they have a different skin tone and have more relaxed cultural norms in terms of sexuality and class doesn't help matters. When Tywin and Cersei try to invoke this to Oberyn though, the latter quickly points out the hypocrisy of the Lannisters, whose fame and power comes from vicious atrocities, calling other people savage, especially since the Queen's daughter is living in Dorne and engaged to the Martells' youngest son.
  • Team Switzerland: Much like the Vale, Dorne is geographically isolated from the rest of Westeros, and their autonomy means they can afford to not take sides in the War of the Five Kings.
  • Thirsty Desert: Dorne's otherwise inhospitable geography played a key role in its maintaining a measure of autonomy.
  • Vestigial Empire: After a fashion. Dorne's Rhoynar elements are descended from refugees fleeing their old homeland in Essos as it burned under the Valyrian Freehold.

     The Wall and Beyond 
"We don't kneel for anyone beyond the Wall."
Mance Rayder

"One day, I hope maesters write stories about how we beat [Mance] back, because if we don't, there may not be any more stories to write."
Samwell Tarley

Though technically not part of the Seven Kingdoms, the northern border is defined by the Wall, a massive fortification of ice seven hundred feet tall which stretches across the continent. The northern frontier is manned by the Night's Watch, an order that protects the realm from the Wildlings, who are the non-aligned clans which live beyond the Wall. There are more than ninety tribes of Wildlings, including the Thenns, the Hornfoots, and even giants. Occasionally, a great number of tribes rally behind a lone figure who calls himself the King-Beyond-The-Wall, but otherwise, they attempt to slip through the Wall and raid the North in small numbers.

While initially largely populated by the Wildling tribes with minor incursions by wights, the Lands Beyond The Wall have been largely abandoned by humankind following the slow march south by the Night King's army of wights and White Walkers, with the last of the Wildlings either dying at Hardhome or making it south on Jon Snow's orders. The security of the Wall, as well as Castle Black and the Shadow Tower are also in jeopardy following the destruction of Eastwatch-by-the-Sea by an undead Viserion and the subsequent incursion by the army of the dead into Westeros proper.

  • Abandon Ship: Now that the Wall has been breached and no longer needs defending, Jon Snow has a message sent to Castle Black and the Shadow Tower that all the Watchmen there are to retreat to Winterfell to await the coming army of undead and White Walkers.
  • An Ice Person: The White Walkers appear to be made out of and can generate ice weapons. When hit with dragon glass they dissolve into a puddle of water or a pile of white clear ice.
  • Badass Decay: In-universe. The Night's Watch was once a highly-regarded order on par with the Order of Maesters, attracting the best and most elite of Westeros. In recent centuries, the Wall has essentially become a dumping ground for the bastard or unfit sons of lords, along with various criminals, rapists, or those who fought on the wrong side in a war, who join in order to receive a full pardon.
    • There are exceptions to this rule, however. House Stark, especially, takes its responsibilities to the Night's Watch seriously, providing many Lords Commander and senior leadership to the present day, such as Osric Stark (a very successful Lord Commander mentioned in the books), Benjen Stark (First Ranger at the beginning of the series), and Jon Snow. Ser Jeor Mormont is the Lord Commander before a mutiny takes place at Craster's Keep. House Royce also shows more support than most; the first person killed in the series Ser Waymar Royce, was Lord Yohn's third and youngest son From the Books... .
  • Barbarian Tribe: The Wildlings in a nutshell. The only time they prove a significant threat to the realm is when they band together behind a King-Beyond-The-Wall. The rest of the time, they're more of a nuisance south of the Wall, occasionally raiding towns and farms in the Gift (a stretch of land meant to help sustain the Night's Watch).
  • Bleak Border Base: The three castles of the Night's Watch are all this.
  • Cassandra Truth: When the Night's Watch receives proof that the White Walkers are returning, Stannis Baratheon is the only southern lord who marches to the Wall to provide assistance.
  • Eldritch Location: The Land of Always Winter. It's the home of the White Walkers!
  • End of an Era: Following the destruction of Eastwatch-By-The-Sea and the eastern end of the Wall, the settling of the Wildlings in the Gift and their subsequent integration into Westeros, and the death of the Night King and the Army Of The Dead at Winterfell, the state of the Wall and the Lands Beyond is up in the air since the Wall now no longer needs to be defended by the Night's Watch. Additionally, the complete erasure of the White Walkers as a species may have the side-effect of eliminating the constant arctic climate from Northern Westeros, returning it to the state it was in before the Children of the Forest created the Walkers.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Wall is based on Hadrian's Wall, a fortification in Northern England that the Romans built to keep out the Picts and more northerly Caledonians. The Wildlings themselves are based on those tribes, coming from an inhospitable area of the land with pale skin and red hair being a common trait. Though only appearance, mind. Their naming conventions, some aspects of culture and egalitarian/libertarian views towards leadership and nobility make them more similar to the early medieval Norse, Danes, Svear, and Geats. Not to mention their love of axes and tribal organisation.
  • The Fair Folk: Both the Children of the Forest and the White Walkers live there and have been since the Long Night. Though no one is really aware of this below the Wall. And as far as the Walkers are concerned, they weren't always like this. The first White Walker was a human that the Children performed some sort of ritual on to turn him into the Night's King, making them Was Once a Man Humanoid Abominations in addition to this.
  • Gaia's Lament: The lands Beyond the Wall and the Lands of Always Winter weren't always blasted tundra; "The Door" reveals that these areas used to be lush and green, but whatever magic the Children of the Forest used to create the White Walkers also brought the eternal snow with it (or the Walkers brought it with them). Even worse is the implication that the creation of the White Walkers is also what fucked up Westeros' seasons.
  • The Great Wall: The Wall itself is 700ft high and stretches 500 miles from coast to coast.
  • Grim Up North: Even worse than the North. Beyond the Wall, there is little vegetation or arable land, along with a number of dangerous animals. Even further north is the Land of Always Winter, which is just as treacherous as it sounds and is the home of the White Walkers.
  • Our Wights Are Different: It's not just people, dead animals get raised, too.
  • Penal Colony: What the three castles of the Night's Watch are. Criminals fill a good portion of the ranks as they picked joining the Watch over execution. The rest are low-ranking highborn sons, bastards of nobles, or those who fought on the losing side of a war.
  • Port Town: The Wildlings, believe it or not, actually have one that just barely manages to count: Hardhome.
  • War Elephants: The freefolk use the mammoth version of this trope.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: The renewed threat of the White Walkers is pushing the Night's Watch and the Wildlings to work together. Also applies to the Wildlings themselves, as they are barely able to refrain from killing each other and only join a King-Beyond-The-Wall in times of great peril.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Well on its way. The White Walkers can raise the dead to act as their mindless unstoppable foot soldiers. Apparently, the White Walkers have been gathering up their forces since the Long Night. They can only be killed by fire, dragon glass (obsidian), and Valyrian steel. Most below the Wall have no idea they even exist.note