First published in 1996, George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice And Fire series has grown into one of the most popular fantasy series to-date. It now rivals even J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth novels like The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings thanks in part to HBO’s Game Of Thrones, which will air its 7th season later this year. The series, adapted from Martin’s works, first hit the airwaves in 2011 and has since amassed a cult-like following of both book readers and show watchers alike. Whether you’re a book purist or a show-only fan, the popularity of the world of ice and fire cannot be denied.
Both the show and books have taken us to many cities, towns, castles, and far-away lands like Winterfell, Dorne, and Braavos, but the sheer vastness of Planetos has left a ton of mentioned locations up to the imagination of fans. This list will highlight some of the locations in this world that have not been visited by HBO’s Game Of Thrones, or any of the novels and short stories released by Martin.
Often referred to as Asshai-By-The-Shadow in the novels, this mysterious land is home to the red priestess Melisandre. Asshai is the easternmost and southernmost of the great cities in the known world, being built completely from black stone. The residents of Asshai are unaware of the origin of their city’s construction, saying that the city has stood since the world began and will remain until the world ends. The nights in Asshai are black as pitch and even the brightest of days are said to still be grey and gloomy.
Asshai is a port city inhabited by the likes of warlocks, wizards, alchemists, moon singers, red priests, black alchemists, necromancers, aeromancers, pyromancers, blood mages, torturers, inquisitors, poisoners, godswives, night-walkers, shapechangers, worshippers of the Black Goat and the Pale Child and the Lion of Night, and is devoid of children. These magic-touting citizens are free to practice their spells without regulation. Despite the city being dark and full of terrors, it remains as one of the most sought-after ports by travelers seeking gold, gems and other treasures only spoken of in whispers.
16. CASTERLY ROCK
Both the novels and show have mentioned Casterly Rock, the ancient seat of House Lannister, quite frequently, yet we’re never actually shown the location on-screen or on the printed page. Casterly Rock is located in The Westerlands along the western shore of Westeros overlooking the Jade Sea. The Rock is shaped as a lion in repose with towers, turrets, watchtowers, stone walls, oaken gates and iron portcullises and is said to have been measured at three times the height of the Wall and the Hightower of Oldtown.
A landmass in the far east, south of Asshai, Ulthos is a mysterious land that has not been mentioned on Game of Thrones or in the novels, only in the compendium book The World Of Ice And Fire and the map collection The Lands Of Ice And Fire. It is unknown if Ulthos is its own separate continent, as existing maps show only the northernmost portion. Other than its location, the only thing known about Ulthos is that it is covered in dense jungle.
In a 2014 interview, George R.R. Martin spoke on Ulthos. Martin explained that the idea of Ulthos is to highlight that people from Westeros do not know much about the world east of Qarth and the Summer Sea. In a quote from the interview, Martin spoke on the mysterious land, saying “Some of that is, Here there be dragons,” Martin cautioned. “It’s beyond the world they know. Even though Africa was known to Europe from the earliest days of ancient Greece,” he said, “we knew relatively little about sub-Saharan Africa.”
He chuckles at the complaints he gets from fans about the lack of boundaries on his maps: “What’s this Ulthos thing over here? Is it just a big island? Or is it another continent?”
Another mysterious location, the continent of Sothoryos lies south of Essos across the Summer Sea. The largely unexplored continent is said to be covered in jungle and riddled with plague such as blood boils, green fever, dancing plague, sweetrot, bronze pate, the Red Death, greyscale, brownleg, wormbone, sailor’s bane, pus-eye and yellowgum. Though little is known regarding locations on the continent, the northern coast has been mapped, with ruined cities like Zamettar, Yeen, Gogossos and Gorosh being established by the Ghiscari Empire. The Basilisk Isles and Naath lie to the northwest of Sothoryos.
In chapter 52 of A Dance With Dragons Daenerys describes men from Sothoryos as “brindle-skinned half-men from the jungles” as there as some Sothoryosi gladiators in Daznak’s Pit in Meereen. Their brindled skin is thick, often in patterns of brown and white. They are big-boned and massively muscled with long arms, sloped foreheads, huge square teeth, heavy jaws and coarse black hair. The women are said to be unable to breed with men from Westeros or Essos.
13. ISLE OF FACES
Located in the southeastern Riverlands below Harrenhal, the Isle Of Faces is a small island in the center of a lake known as the God’s Eye. The island serves as one of the few remaining locations for weirwood trees in the south and is considered a sacred place. Legend tells that during their war with the First Men, the children of the forest used a mythical weapon known as the Hammer of the Waters on the island to break the arm of Dorne, destroying the natural land bridge connecting to Essos.
The island would also serve as the location where the First Men and children of the forest would later sign their peace pact at the end of the Dawn Age, ending their wars that had lasted for centuries before. To celebrate the newly signed pact, every weirwood tree on the island had a face carved into it so that the gods could witness the pact. The order of the green men was then formed to tend to the weirwoods. In A Storm Of Swords Meera Reed tells a story of a crannogman who went to the island before traveling to the tourney at Harrenhal.
12. GREYWATER WATCH
Located in the North, Greywater Watch is the seat of House Reed. The castle itself is built upon a man-made floating island in the swamps of The Neck, never staying in the same place. Due to its location in the swamp and the fact that it never stays in place, the castle has never been taken by invading forces, though the Ironborn and House Frey had tried unsuccessfully. During A Game Of Thrones, Rob Stark had sent word to Howland Reed to defend the Neck from Lannister forces should they try to invade the North.
The ancestral seat of House Dayne, Starfall is located on an island near the western Red Mountains in Dorne. Legend tells that the castle was built upon the place where the first Dayne found a magic stone after he followed the path of a shooting star. Though the Daynes would become one of the most powerful houses in all of Dorne, they would later submit to House Martell during Nymeria’s War and would later be attacked by Targaryen dragons during the first Dornish War.
The Sword Of The Morning Arthur Dayne would meet his demise at the Tower Of Joy when Eddard Stark led a charge to save his sister, Lyanna, during the end of Robert’s Rebellion. Eddard would return Arthur’s sword, Dawn, to Ashara Dayne at Starfall, prompting her to throw herself from the Palestone Sword Tower into the sea due to her grief over Arthur’s death. A glimpse at one of the most prominent places in all of Dorne would help to understand more of the region’s culture, as the show has only given us glimpses of the Water Gardens.
Seat of House Tyrell, Highgarden is located in the Reach and serves as the region’s capital. Highgarden is one of the most beautiful castles in all of Westeros, with features such as groves, fountains, colonnades, shady courtyards and fields of golden roses. The sept at Highgarden rivals the likes of the Starry Sept and the Great Sept of Baelor in King’s Landing.
Legend tells that Highgarden was built by the mythical Garth the Gardener. Its curtain wall was constructed during the Andal invasion. Though the Gardeners were the original lords of Highgarden, they were defeated in battle by Aegon the Conqueror, giving ownership to House Tyrell, its stewards. Highgarden is mentioned several times in both the novels and the show by Mace Tyrell, Olenna and Margaery. Olenna tells Sansa that she’ll take her to Highgarden to escape the Lannisters, but Sansa had been plotting to escape with Ser Dontos to go back to Winterfell. A vision of such a lush and beautiful place like Highgarden would look incredible on-screen.
Located near Slaver’s Bay, Mantarys is a city north of the Lands Of The Long Summer at the northern tip of the Sea of Sighs. Ancient Valyrian roads connect Mantarys to ruined cities like Bhorash and Oros, and the infamous Demon Road also passes through it. Mantarys was originally founded by the Valyrian Freehold, which sent men and women to rule it, never truly being counted amongst one of the Free Cities.
Mentioned periodically throughout the novels and even the series, the port city of Ib, or Ibben, is located on an island north of Essos in the Shivering Sea. In The World Of Ice And Fire, the Ibbenese people are described as a heavy, broad about the chest and shoulders, but seldom standing more than five and a half feet in height, with thick, short legs and long arms. The Ibbenese are very strong and have a fondness for arm wrestling, their favorite sport, which no man of the Seven Kingdoms can hope to equal them in. Ibbenese men are covered in wiry hair all over their bodies and their women, too, are hairy and fabled to have six breasts.
After Bran and Rickon escape the sacking of Winterfell, the wildling Osha is theorized to have taken Rickon to Skagos in order to keep him hidden. Located to the east of Castle Black, Skagos is an island in the Bay of Seals. Many rumors surround Skagos, including the thought that unicorns roam the island and that the Skagosi are cannibals. In the Old Tongue of the wildlings, Skagos means “stone”. The hazardous conditions around the island including extreme cold and treacherous waters make it a dangerous place to visit, though its waters are bountiful for fishing.
There are known towns and Houses on Skagos: House Crowl rules Deepdown, House Magnar rules Kinghouse and House Stane rules Driftwood Hall. Legend tells that Bael the Bard entered Winterfell by way of Skagos, posing as a singer named Sygerrik, which translates to “the deceiver” in the Old Tongue. Ser Davos is tasked with venturing to Skagos to return Rickon, as Lord Wyman Manderly believes him to be on the island.
Qohor, the city of sorcerers, is the easternmost of the nine Free Cities on Essos. Qohor is known as the gateway to the east, with the Forest of Qohor bordering its western walls. The city was originally founded as a lumber camp, as it’s famed for its hunters and foresters, gaining wealth from the lumber it’s able to produce for trade. Practice of the dark arts, such as divination, blood magic and necromancy are said to take place in Qohor according to Westerosi masters. The Qohorik people follow the Black Goat, a dark god, whom requires daily blood sacrifice.
Daenerys passes Qohor on her way to Vaes Dothrak with Khal Drogo’s khalasar. When Jaime and Brienne are captured by bandits, Vargo Hoat, a sellsword from Qohor, cuts off Jaime’s hand. Hoat is later killed by The Mountain after having both of his hands cut off. Qohor sounds similar to Asshai by way of its magical practices and would make for a great POV location.
5. THE BASILISK ISLES
Named for the beasts that formerly inhabited them, the Basilisk Isles are located in the Summer Sea to the northwest of Sothoryos. The inhabitants include escaped slaves, slavers, skinners, whores, hunters and brindled men. There are 6 separate islands that make up the chain:
The Isle of Tears, the Isle of Toads, the Isle of Flies, Talon, Skull Isle and Ax Isle.
Also known as the island of butterflies, Naath is an island off the coast of Sothoryos close to the Basilisk Isles. The Naathi people are described as having flat faces, dark skin and golden eyes and are generally known as a peaceful people. The Naathi eat only fruit and do not kill animals for any reason. Slavers consider the Naathi the best slaves due to their pacifist nature. The Lord of Harmony is the god on Naath, as he is believed to be the source of creation. Due to the prominence of slaving raids on the island, the inhabitants abandoned their coastal towns to move further inland, taking refuge in the hills and forests.
Butterflies are revered as messengers of the Lord of Harmony and are said to protect the island and its people. The butterflies are said to give invaders “butterfly fever” which causes its victims to spasm violently before dying. The Naathi are immune to this disease, as the butterflies serve as their protectors. Could you imagine sea-faring slavers being killed by unsuspecting butterflies? Who needs fire and blood?
3. THE SUMMER ISLES
The Summer Isles are located south of Westeros and Essos, separating the Summer Sea and the Sunset Sea. Though comprised of an estimated 50 separate islands, the three main islands, Walano, Omboru and Jhala are the most inhabited, with 9 out of every 10 Summer Islanders living on them. Port cities on the islands are renowned for their exports, including gemstones, spices, hardwoods and exotic animals.
The ebony-skinned inhabitants are famously known for their capes made from brightly colored feathers and swan ships shaped like swans. The golden wood from the islands make some of the best bows in the world, like-wise producing some of the best archers. Summer Islanders are present at some of the major events in the series, such as the exotic dancers at Joffrey’s and Margaery’s wedding, guests at Daenerys’s and Khal Drogo’s wedding, and fighters in the Meereen fighting pits. These colorful islands would be a welcome addition to the visuals of Game of Thrones.
2. STORM’S END
Seat of House Baratheon, Storm’s End is located in the Stormlands on the northern coast of Shipbreaker Bay. Storm’s End is said to be protected by spells woven into its walls, much like The Wall. Legend tells that the first Storm King, Durran, built the castle after claiming that the gods killed his family and wedding guests with their storms. Durran would construct 6 castles, all of which were destroyed, before finishing the seventh castle which still stands. The Baratheons would later take custody of Storm’s End from House Durrandon after Orys Baratheon became Lord Paramount of the Stormlands during Aegon’s Conquest.
1. LAND OF ALWAYS WINTER
Perhaps the most mysterious region of all, the Land of Always Winter is said to be The Others’ place of origin during The Long Night. Aptly named, this part of the world is permanently locked in winter and is perpetually frozen. The LOAW is the farthest northern point on the map, extending past The Wall, the haunted forest, the Frostfangs and the land of Thenn. The children of the forest and giants are said to have once inhabited these lands during the Dawn Age before the coming of the First Men in the Age of Heroes. Little is known about this part of the world, as it is mostly unexplored by man.
Though we may seen a glimpse of the LOAW in season 4, there is much more to this region (if that was really what we saw) than a circle of ice pillars.
A quote from A Game of Thrones chapter 3, possibly regarding the LOAW, reads: “And he (Bran) looked past The Wall, past endless forests cloaked in snow, past the frozen shore and the great blue-white rivers of ice and the dead plains where nothing grew or lived, to the curtain of light at the end of the world, and then beyond that curtain. He looked deep into the heart of winter, and then he cried out, afraid, and the heat of his tears burned on his cheeks.” Could we see The Others come in full force to conquer Westeros from this frozen wasteland?
There you have it, some of the most mysterious places on the planet and some only referenced in passing. What other locations not mentioned in this list would you like to see visited? Leave your comments below!