The Geography of Game of Thrones: Part 7 – The Riverlands

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A fertile heartland region of Westeros, the Riverlands is a frequent scene in Game of Thrones. Mostly because it’s a frequent battle setting in the civil wars afflicting the Seven Kingdoms along with the wars that took place between old nations on the continent before the Targaryen Conquest. As a borderland region between the strong kingdoms, it was once ruled by the Ironborn House Hoare and the Storm Kings at one point. As of Season 7, the region is currently in anarchy after the Red Wedding and the Frey assassinations. During the War of the Five Kings, it pledged allegiance to Robb Stark as King of the North but Roose Bolton and Walder Frey betrayed him at the Red Wedding. Since Arya Stark assassinated the Freys, its political situation remains ambiguous.

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Location: Along the Trident River and borders every region of Westeros but Dorne. It’s close to the center of the continent.

Size: It’s of considerable size.

Capital: Riverrun (Though the Freys ran the Riverlands from the Twins).

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Climate: It’s a mostly temperate region with warm summers and moderately cold winters. Experiences moderate rainfall.

Environment: Dominated by the Trident River and its numerous tributaries, creating a major watershed in Westeros.

Resources: A bountiful region for agriculture. But with the War of the Five Kings and being a general battlefield venue, the landscape can descend into a desiccated wasteland. Though its vast size, significant population, and fertility has made it able to recover from all the wars fought there.

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Population: This is one of the most populous regions in Westeros.

Key Cities: Principal port cities are Seagard, Saltpans, and Maidenpool. Other notable towns include Stoney Sept, Penny Tree, Mummer’s Ford, Wendish Town, Fairmarket.
Culture: Noble bastards take the surname Rivers. Practice Viking funerals.
Religion: Worship the Faith of the Seven.

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Great House: Formerly House Tully, but their rule ended with the Red Wedding when Lord Edmure was taken prisoner after consummating his marriage while his sister Lady Catelyn and her family were killed by Walder Frey. Lord Edmure was later stripped of his land and titles. House Frey then took the region over until Arya Stark assassinated Lord Walder and the male members of his family in a plot of revenge. As of Season 7, the Lannisters have pretty much taken this place over.

Vassal Houses: House Frey (extinct), House Whent, House Mallister, House Bracken, House Mooton, House Blackwood, and House Smallwood.

History: Once known as the Kingdom of the Rivers and the Hills during the First Men, the Riverlands were conquered by the Stormlands who ruled for 200 years before the land was overrun by the Ironborn a century before Aegon the Conqueror’s invasion. Under the rule of House Tully, they assisted the first Targaryen king in a separate uprising.

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Current Status: As of Season 7, the Riverlands are currently in anarchy after Arya Stark assassinated the male Freys at the Twins over the Red Wedding. Though a Lannister host has been deployed to try to keep the peace after Ser Brynden “the Blackfish” Tully and many river lords managed to retake Riverrun. The Lannisters responded with a siege.
Best Known for: The Riverlands is the networking region connecting all the major kingdoms. So it’s common for travelers to have surprising chance random encounters. On the flip side, due to lack of natural geographical defenses and a center location, the Riverlands ends up involved in most Westerosi conflicts and are dragged into wars they don’t cause, resulting in their turf becoming a major battlefield. So House Tully had to broker marriage alliances to ensure peace with their rivals.

Home of: Pot Pie, Catelyn Tully, Lysa Tully, Walder Frey, Edmure Tully, Hoster Tully, Roslin Frey, Walder Rivers, Brynden “Blackfish” Tully, and Walda Frey.

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Landmarks: There’s the haunted castle remains of Harrenhal, but I’d advise against it.

What to Avoid: Stay out of ruined castle remains of Harrenhal. Though the largest castle of Westeros built by the Ironborn during their occupation, the Targaryens invaded the very day upon its completion and hosted a royal family barbecue inside (with dragon fire). Since then, any family who attempted to lay claim or quickly occupy it has quickly descended into ruin. Also, watch out for opposing militaries. Also stay out of the Twins since that’s the scene of the Red Wedding.

For Those Who Want to Visit: This is an easy place to stop by since it’s often frequented by travelers, especially at the Crossroads Inn. So feel free to spend some time within its many taverns along the roads that facilitate many chance encounters with your favorite characters. That is, if they didn’t die yet in the series. Oh, and if you save some inn employee or owner’s life, you may even get free food for life. Also, proceed with caution to the Hollow Hill which is the hideout for the Brotherhood Without Borders.

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