The Geography of Game of Thrones: Part 3 – The Crownlands

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As the capital region of Westeros, the Crownlands is a prevalent setting in Game of Thrones, particularly if It’s King’s Landing. A place of palace intrigue, it is home to the Iron Throne that so many are willing to kill for. Yet, it also includes the Targaryen ancestral home of Dragonstone. Created by Aegon the Conqueror since it was where 3 of the major kingdoms met, the Crownlands are the newest region of Westeros since they were once part of the Riverlands. So it’s no surprise that both areas seem culturally similar. Anyway, for most of 3 centuries, the Targaryens ruled the area and Westeros until Robert’s Rebellion overthrew them. House Baratheon ruled the next two decades until King Robert died in a “boar hunting accident.” After that, King Joffery and King Tommen ruled but they’re basically Lannisters. But after Tommen committed suicide following the Destruction of the Great Sept of Baelor, Cersei Lannister assumed the throne as Westeros’ first reigning queen and House Lannister became the most powerful region in Westeros at last. But given that being on the Iron Throne will put you in the hot seat, it will only be a matter of time until Cersei falls in the upcoming Season 8.

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Location: Situated close to the Narrow Sea and above the Stormlands and stretching from Blackwater Bay.

Size: It’s about moderate size.

Capital: The Red Keep at King’s Landing, built by House Targaryen.

Climate: Mostly temperate.

Environment: Environment is similar to the Riverlands with plains and river valleys and consists of 3 main areas the mainland, the islands, and Dragonstone. Though Cracklaw Point is forested with hills and bogs.

Resources: Other than agriculture and tourism, there’s not much else.

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Population: This is rather densely populated given the importance of King’s Landing.

Key Cities: Of course, there’s King’s Landing which is the capital city of Westeros as well as its largest city. Actually it’s overpopulated. Notable townships include Duskendale and Rosby. While notable islands comprise of Dragonstone, Driftmark, and Claw Isle.

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Culture: Noble bastards take the surname Waters. Since it’s the newest region in Westeros, it doesn’t have much of a distinct cultural identity than this.

Religion: Worship the Faith of the Seven. Headquarters of the Faith Militant and the Great Sept of Baelor (well, formerly). High Septon is based here as well.

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Great House: House Lannister now that Cersei has declared herself Queen of Westeros in her own right. Before then, it was House Baratheon during the reign of King Robert. While before then, it was House Targaryen who united the Seven Kingdoms and ruled for centuries before Robert’s Rebellion.

Vassal Houses: House Stokeworth, House Ryker, and House Rosby.

History: Once contested territory between the Riverlands, the Iron Islands, the Reach, and the Stormlands. The Crownlands were created by Aegon the Conqueror through his conquest of Westeros. So this land section was set aside for his castle.

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Current Status: Basically run by the Lannisters since the death of King Robert Baratheon. Though Dragonstone is now a base for Daenerys Targaryen.

Best Known for: Considered the capital region of Westeros.

Home of: Qyburn, Varys, Gendry Waters, Joffey Baratheon, Myrcella Baratheon, Shireen Baratheon, Tommen Baratheon, and Davos Seaworth.

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Landmarks: The fortress castle of Dragonstone has been the Targaryens’ ancestral home in Westeros and was usually occupied by the heir to the Iron Throne. In King’s Landing there’s the Great Sept of Baelor (now destroyed), the Guildhall of the Alchemists with the pyromancers.

What to Avoid: Keep away from the Faith Militant at all costs, especially if they’re royal pawns. Also, stay out of Fleabottom. You might want to stay out of the Red Keep, too.

For Those Who Want to Visit: You might want to obey the law at all times. Since the King’s Landing legal system usually holds trials as a mere formality and often determines effective guilt before then. Also, though King’s Landing may have a pretty skyline, it’s a wretched hive underneath with rampant poverty. Anyway, feel free to watch a tournament or see a play. In addition, if you’re into that sort of thing, Littlefinger’s brothel looks kind of nice.

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The Geography of Game of Thrones: Part 2 – The Westerlands

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Second, we venture to the Westerlands, home of the Great House we love to hate, the Lannisters (though with the exception of Tyrion). Thanks to their hills being filled with mines of gold and other precious metals, they’re said to be the wealthiest family in Westeros while their bannermen are also said to have plenty of wealth. So they can amass a large army. But the mines eventually run dry that the Tyrells had to pay half the wedding bill and the family’s taking loans from the Iron Bank. Nonetheless, while we see a lot of the Lannisters on Game of Thrones, we don’t see much of the Westerlands. But while it’s small in size, it’s densely populated. As of Season 7, the Lannisters are the most powerful family in Westeros. But we must acknowledge that power is fleeting when you play the game of thrones as Tyrion managed to capture Casterly Rock for Daenerys.

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Location: West of the Riverlands. North of the Reach.

Size: One of the smaller regions of the 7 Kingdoms.

Capital: Casterly Rock, now captured by Tyrion Lannister with Daenerys’ Army of the Unsullied.

Climate: Somewhat temperate.

Environment: Surrounded by natural defenses like thick forests, low mountains and hills, and the sea at the region’s back. Home to wild mountain lions.

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Resources: Its mountains are home to mines of gold, silver, iron, and other precious metals that have made the Lannisters and their vassals immensely wealthy. Though as of Season 7, these mines have already run dry after the War of the Five Kings (or at least the ones owned by the Lannisters). Since they’ve had to secure a marriage alliance with the Tyrells who footed half the wedding bill and have taken tremendous loans at the Iron Bank of Bravos.

Population: Has one of the larger populations of Westeros.

Key Cities: The port town of Lannisport is the Westerlands’ largest city and main source of trade. A notable village is Oxcross.

Culture: Noble bastards take the surname of Hill.

Religion: Worship the Faith of the Seven.

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Great House: House Lannister, considered the richest family in Westeros (though the real richest family on the continent is most likely the Tyrells. Nonetheless, the Lannisters are definitely the most powerful by a longshot). Yet, after the War of the Five Kings, their mines have run dry. Since they’ve had to take tremendous loans from the Iron Bank of Bravos while they secured a marriage alliance for House Tyrell who footed half of the royal wedding bill. While the death of Tywin has put the family in a delicate position while Tyrion’s exile has left no suitable heir for Lord Paramount and Warden of the West. Also has a reputation for incest.

Vassal Houses: House Clegane, House Payne, House Lefford, House Reyne (extinct), House Mabrand, House Westerling, House Lefford, House Crakehall, House Swyft, House Sarsfield, House Serrett, and House Tarbeck (extinct).

History: Legend states that Lannister patriarch, Lann the Clever successfully swindled House Casterly out of their castle of Casterly Rock. Was known as the Kingdom of the Rock before the Targaryen Conquest.

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Current Status: For the first time in history, Casterly Rock has fallen to a foe. Utilizing a secret passageway constructed by Tyrion Lannister, Daenerys’ Unsullied armies infiltrated and captured the castle. Whil the Lannisters have deliberately left Casterly Rock underdefended so they can focus more on capturing Highgarden, which they did. But Daenerys’ forces smashed the Lannisters in the Battle of Goldroad so they’re in charge of the capital. But the Lannisters still rule the rest of the place.

Best Known for: Said to be the richest of the Seven Kingdoms. Also has the best equipped army in the realm with heavily-armored soldiers and cavalry.

Home of: Tyrion Lannister, Podrick Payne, Gregor Clegane, Cersei Lannister, Tywin Lannister, Jamie Lannister, The Hound, and Bronn.

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Landmarks: The ruins of Castamere which was owned by House Reyne. Until Tywin Lannister suppressed a rebellion and destroyed the castle. Another is the ruins of Tarbeck Hall raised when they joined the Reynes.

What to Avoid: When you hear “The Reynes of Castamere” head for the hills since it means the Lannisters will send their regards. Also, don’t piss off the Lannisters. Not to mention, you might want to beware of lions in the mountains.

For Those Who Want to Visit: Know that the saying “A Lannister always pays his debts,” can also be about seeking revenge. So be nice to them (though that may not mean they’ll be nice to you). Can be accessed through the Riverlands from the Golden Tooth. Possesses a number of navigable rivers as well.

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The Geography of Game of Thrones: Part 1 – The North

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Based on George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, the long-running HBO series Game of Thrones is filmed in many exotic locations, mostly in Europe and the Middle East. Since the continents of Westeros and Essos are home to various kinds of people with their own customs on lands of various terrain. While Essos seems to have more variety, Westeros is home to the Seven Kingdoms. So here I give you a guide on all the places in the characters’ known world. This information is taken from the hit HBO show as of Season 7 so there will be plenty of differences from A Song of Ice and Fire books which I never read. Then again, George R. R. Martin still has a couple of books to write so I don’t think I’m missing much. The first several posts will concern the 7 Kingdoms of Westeros while the others will focus on the places in Essos.

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First, we go to the North, home to our favorite Great House in Westeros, the Starks at Winterfell. Of course, during the series, this family goes through hell with Ned’s beheading, the Red Wedding, and the Bolton takeover. But after the Battle of the Bastards, the Starks have re-taken the North with Jon Snow as its king. Bordered by a swamp called the Neck, it’s a rather hostile place of forest, ice, and snow. As the only region to resist the Andal invaders, the Northmen the Old Golds of the Forest of the First Men. But they still remember the Long Night and the White Walkers. And they know when winter comes, the White Walkers may pass the wall and wreak havoc onto humanity.

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Location: Stretches from the Sunset Sea to the Shivering Sea as wells from the Wall to the bogs of the Neck.

Size: The North is the largest region in Westeros by area, big enough to house the other six kingdoms in Westeros.

Capital: Winterfell, which is situated atop hot springs and has existed for millennia. While winding tombs below the castle contain Stark king and lord remains as well as record the ancient family’s history.

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Climate: It’s the coldest region in Westeros since some areas experience snow during the summer, especially close to the Wall. While snowfall increases as your move further along the Kingsroad. And this is in any a fantasy world where the seasons can last for years. When it’s winter, it’s especially harsh. Yet, the southern areas enjoy comparatively mild temperatures.

Environment: The nothernmost areas in the region could consist of subarctic tundra as well as the Wolfswood forest (the largest in Westeros) along with rivers and plains. The Neck is a swamp which serves as a natural barrier to the North proper. Only House Reed and the area’s crannogmen can properly navigate through its treacherous landscape and fierce creatures. While many have died trying to find their way through it unaided.

Resources: Aside from agriculture in the Neck, there’s not many resources here.

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Population: Due to the forbidding climate and environment, the North isn’t known for having a dense population. In fact, it’s one of the most sparse. People usually have dark hair and white skin akin to the First Men. Neck inhabitants are called crannogmen while Wildlings inhabit the northernmost areas.

Key Cities: The port town of White Harbor is the North’s primary source of trade and the only place that can be considered a city there. Barrowton is another notable town.

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Culture: Place a high value on honor while believing in White Walkers and the Long Night as undeniable truth. Noble bastard children have the name Snow. Are particularly zealous about cultivating and preserving their resources since surviving winter is often a life-or-death struggle. Have fewer wars amongst themselves since cooperation is essential for survival. Practice strict observance of guest right and the laws of hospitality. Don’t hold tournaments (though participate in those in the southern areas) and have little regard for southern political intrigues.

Religion: Worship the Old Gods that the First Men adopted from the Children of the Forest and pray underneath the weirwood trees dotting the land. Because the Andals found little foothold in the North, its warriors aren’t regularly designated as “knights” since “knighthood” is a code of values associated with the Faith of the Seven.

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Great House: House Stark (though there was a stint when the Boltons ruled between the Red Wedding and the Battle of the Bastards) Ruled by Warden of the North Jon Snow and Lady Sansa Stark. The Starks have also been the dominant family in the North for thousands of years. Believe that he who passes sentence should swing the sword.

Vassal Houses: House Bolton (extinct), House Karstark, House Reed, House Mormont, House Umber, House Glover, House Cerwyn, House Hornwood, House Tallhart, House Manderly, House Dustin, House Flint, House Forester, House Dormund, House Whitehill, House Ryswell, and House Glenmore.

History: According to legend, the Kingdom of the North was established by House Stark’s founder Bran the Builder who built the Wall as a shield against the possible return of the White Walkers. Stark rulers were known as Kings of the North before King Torren submitted to Aegon the Conqueror who made him Lord Paramount of the region. Though Torren got criticized for this, bending the knee is the main reason why House Stark managed to survive for this long. Since nobody stood a chance against dragons.

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Current Status: Has recognized Daenerys as its sovereign while still ruled by House Stark. Still, though Jon Snow may no longer be King of the North, he has a strong claim to the Iron Throne as a Targaryen. In addition, he and Daenerys will most definitely get married and have a child in Season 8.

Best Known for: Hardened warriors and honorable leaders. Also, for being the only region of the Seven Kingdoms that holds the traditions of the First Men.

Home of: Jon Snow, Meera Reed, Jorah Mormont, Ramsay Bolton, Ned Stark, Osha, Bran Stark, Robb Stark, Sansa Stark, Arya Stark, Rickon Stark, Jojen Reed, Benjen Stark, Lyanna Mormont, Jeor Mormont, Old Nan, Osha, and Hodor.

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Landmarks: Well, there are weirwood trees. Then there’s the ruined castle of Moat Cailin in the Neck, which was built by the First Men but has been unoccupied for centuries.

What to Avoid: Stay away from the Boltons since they have an infamous reputation for torture on all occasions (though they’re extinct so you need not worry even at the Dreadfort). Also, watch out for White Walkers.

For Those Who Want to Visit: Take warnings of winter and White Walkers very seriously. Make sure take a fur coat along. Also, be nice to the Wildlings. Further you stay away from the wall, the better.

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A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Musical – “Southern Cross”

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The Baudelaires remain on the island for a year as they raise baby Beatrice. By this time, they’ve just read their parents’ last entry of them being kicked off the island and that their mom’s pregnant. If the baby was a girl, she intended to name  her Violet. If it was a boy, she as going to name him Lemony. Thank God, Violet turned out to be a girl or she would’ve been saddled with the name of her mom’s ex who was presumed dead at the time. Then again, I think the Baudelaire parents named their son Klaus two years later was either because they knew Lemony was alive at the time or that it was Bertrand’s turn and didn’t want to saddle a name like Lemony on a kid. Also, that their dad built a boat they named after her. Anyway, Violet decides that despite all the treachery in the world, it’s time to get off the island and back to the mainland. And since a flood is due on the coastal shelf, they don’t have long. Violet patches up the boat and takes off the sign with “Count Olaf” on it revealing it to be the very boat the Baudelaire parents set sail on. They decide to leave the chronicle behind on the island since it might be useful to future castaways who come along. And as soon as the Baudelaires and baby Beatrice get on the boat, the little baby says her own name which is the boat’s name, Mrs. Baudelaire’s, and the name of whom Lemony dedicates each book to. Though Lemony Snicket doesn’t exactly know what happened to the Baudelaires after that, earlier books and The Beatrice Letters strongly imply that all three survived and are now adults (though Beatrice is about 10 when she wrote her letters to her Uncle Lemony, meaning that Sunny would’ve been at least 12 years old at the time.)

 

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Thus, I end the series with Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young’s “Southern Cross” which is about a man sailing the Pacific after a failed love affair. Though he admires the sea’s beauty, music is his final consolation. The last lyric is filled with the sad irony that he’s trying to convince himself that he’ll eventually forget about his lover. But he knows that this will never happen any more than he can forget the beauty of the Southern Cross. In this version, I have the Baudelaires discuss leaving the island and taking baby Beatrice in tow.

 

“Southern Cross” (ASOUE Version)

Sung by Violet and Klaus Baudelaire

Violet:
Get on our boat, it is time, to depart from the island
To sail a reach before a following sea
Decision Day’s coming in with the high tide
To wash us up on the Briny Beach

Our dad built this boat for their island departure
Named it after our mom as Ishmael drove them away
How the hell would Mom know a Lemony?
Though we somehow we realize why they kept some things at bay

Think about
Think about how many times we have fallen
World’s full of treachery, but we can’t hide out
What Heaven brought us right here cannot be forgotten

Around the way (We have been around the way)
Lookin’ (lookin’ for a peaceful place)
Where we’re left alone (we know it’s quite secure)
And we know it will

Klaus:
When you see the Southern Cross for the first time
You understand now why you came this way
‘Cause the truth you might be runnin’ from is so small
But it’s as big as the promise, the promise of a comin’ day

So we’re sailing for the mainland our dreams are a-dyin’
There are questions still unanswered to (and unanswered they remain)
So I’m sailing for tomorrow my dreams are a-dyin’
We have our ship and all her flags are a-flyin’
She is all that we left and Beatrice is her name

Think about
Think about how many times we have fallen
World’s full of treachery, but we can’t hide out
What Heaven brought us right here cannot be forgotten

Around the way (We have been around the way)
Lookin’ (lookin’ for a peaceful place)
Where we’re left alone (we know it’s quite secure)
And we know it will
And we know it will

So we cheated and we lied and we bested
And we never failed to fail it was the easiest thing to do
We will survive being tested
We’ll make a life, we’ll raise Beatrice, and find our friends when we all could
At the southern cross

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Musical – “Dear Baby Beatrice”

595b6846fc8cf56aa6bb3749c05e06bbThe Baudelaires don’t have much time to mourn for Kit Snicket and their archenemy Count Olaf who they bury and whose graves they bestow wildflowers on. Because they have a baby Beatrice to raise. Through the next year, Violet invents baby equipment, Klaus researches baby care and makes note on Beatrice’s development, and Sunny uses wild sheep to make food and milk for her. They also cultivate bitter apple trees to keep the island protected as well as add to the island’s chronicle.

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As for songs, I selected “Dear Theodosia” from Hamilton where both Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr promise their newborn children that they’ll be around for them and be the fathers they never had. What’s heartwarming is that both men live up to their promise. But unfortunately Theodosia Burr and Philip Hamilton would die before their parents would. Theodosia and her husband would be lost on a journey to the Caribbean. Philip would be killed in a duel at 19. In this version, the Baudelaires promise their new charge that they’ll raise her and take care of her like the guardians they never had.

 

“Dear Baby Beatrice”

Sung by Violet and Klaus Baudelaire.

Violet:
Dear Baby Beatrice, what to say to you?
You have Kit’s eyes. You have our mother’s name
When you came into the world, you cried and it broke my heart

We’re dedicating every day to you
Domestic life was never quite our style
When you smile, you knock me out, I fall apart
And I thought I was so smart

We will come of age while we raise you
We’ll bleed and fight for you, we’ll make it right for you
If we lay a strong enough foundation
We’ll pass it on to you, we’ll give the world to you
And you’ll blow us all away…

Someday, someday
Yeah, you’ll blow us all away
Someday, someday

Klaus:
Oh Beatrice, when you smile I am undone
Our girl
Look at our girl
Pride is not the word I’m looking for
There is so much more inside me now
Oh Beatrice, you outshine the morning sun
Our girl
When you smile, I fall apart
And I thought I was so smart
Our parents are not around

Violet:
Your parents are not around

Klaus:
We swear that

Both:
We’ll be around for you

Klaus:
We’ll do whatever it takes

Violet:
We’ll make a million mistakes

Both:
We’ll make the world safe and sound for you…

… We will come of age while we raise you
We’ll bleed and fight for you, we’ll make it right for you
If we lay a strong enough foundation
We’ll pass it on to you, we’ll give the world to you
And you’ll blow us all away…

Someday, someday
Yeah, you’ll blow us all away
Someday, someday

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Musical – “Kit’s Death”

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Shortly after Count Olaf dies, Kit gives birth to a baby girl. But because the horseradish apples may not be safe for babies in utero,  she quickly succumbs to the Medusoid Mycelium poisoning. Despite the fact that her daughter was already on her way out of the birth canal so the potential for harm is minimal. But Kit’s not taking any chances. Nonetheless, while the birth of a baby is a happy occasion, the moment is very sad. The Baudelaires name her after their mom, Beatrice as Kit had requested and take her in. Still, Beatrice’s entry into the world is a very tragic one. Her mother died giving birth to her. Her father was harpooned before she was born. But fortunately, she won’t have a horrible childhood since the Baudelaires raise her s one of their family.

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For Kit’s death, I went with “Lament” from Evita in which Eva Peron is in the death throws as she loses her battle with cervical cancer at the age of 33 as she looks back in her life and wishes she could more time to live. In this version, I have Kit dying of the Medusoid Mycelium and giving her last requests to the Baudelaires, particularly on her daughter, Beatrice.

 

“Kit’s Death”

Sung by Kit Snicket

Kit:
The choice was mine, and mine completely
I could have any prize that I desired
I could burn with the splendor of the brightest fire
Or else,
Or else I could choose… time.
Remember, your folks were our good friends
Take my daughter, raise her all your days
Tell her about me and my Dewey
I see the lights and now I’m on my way.
And how I lived!
How they shine!
But how soon the lights are gone…

The choice was mine, and no one else’s.
I could save the world in V.F.D.
Give my life to the people I might never meet.
Or else…
To children of my own.
Remember, I was close to your folks
Your mom almost became my brother’s bride.
But a frame up made her dump him for your dear old dad.
Well, such things could not be rectified.
Oh my daughter!
Oh my girl!
Understand what I have done…

Violet:
The choice was yours and no one else’s.
You can cry for a body in despair.
Hang your head because she has her daughter here
And so, Beatrice shall be her name.

Klaus:
But now
But now we are all mournful
We will be orphan kids now forevermore
As the stars won’t allow our folks to grow old…
But we, we will tell them all…

Violet and Klaus:
Eyes, hair, face, body…
We must dig two graves.
Both be buried forever.
No less than they deserved.

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Musical – “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes”

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After carrying Kit Snicket in the only good deed he’d ever do in his life, Count Olaf kisses her as he lays her down on the sand before he collapses beside her. Because while he’s cured of the Medusoid Mycelium, he’s still profusely bleeding from a harpoon wound thanks to Ishmael. Kit reaches out and tenderly touches his ankle as she recites a poem “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes” while Olaf answers it with the last stanza of “This Be the Verse” before biting the dust with a “HA!” A poignant end to one of the most iconic villains in literature. It’s heavily hinted that the two may have had a relationship in the past, but I’m sure Kit dumped Olaf at some point because well, do I really need to get into that? Because he’s a bastard. I’m sure this leads the Baudelaires stunned out of their minds since they’ve never seen Count Olaf like this before. However, he has realized that he has nothing left to live for since he’s lost all his henchmen, his parents, his girlfriend, and his true love. All his plans are ruined. And he has no chance of obtaining the Baudelaire fortune or anyone else’s, which has made him too depressed to go on living for a time. And what’s interesting is despite everything Count Olaf did to them, the Baudelaires would sometimes visit his grave during their time on the island.

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The song I went with is “On this Night of a Thousand Stars” from Evita, which introduces Augustin Magaldi who took Eva Duarte to Buenos Aires as far as the musical is concerned. Despite that this incident never happened in real life because they never met. In real life, Eva got into Buenos Aires through family members since the city offered the promise of a better life. She didn’t bet on winning the lottery like meeting an ambitious army colonel named Juan Peron and becoming the First Lady of Argentina. In this version, Kit and Count Olaf recite poetry to one another as the Baudelaires look stunned while helping Kit give birth.

 

“The Night Has a Thousand Eyes”

Lemony Snicket:
Now Count Olaf had nothing left to live for
His past methods and tactics don’t work
No henchmen, no cash
No girlfriend, no true love
No chance of obtaining a fortune
At the age of fifty

Now dying from a harpoon wound
The dreaded Count Olaf
Carried my sister to from the shore
His only good deed

Kit Snicket:
The night has a thousand eyes
And the day but only one
Yet the light of the bright world dies
Dies with the dying sun

The mind has a thousand eyes
And the heart but only one
Yet the heart of the whole life
Dies when love is done

Violet:
I never dreamed that Count Olaf could be as kind as this
But now I know that he can

Klaus:
He was always there putting us through nightmares
Now he’s a shell of that man
Now all my hate disappeared and all my troubling fears
Isn’t there anymore
On this terrible day when he seems slipping away
To no more
On this night
On this night

Count Olaf:
Man hands on misery to man.
Deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can.
Don’t have kids yourself.