Some Quick Links

Featured

If you want to go to the very first post on the Atlas of Ice and Fire, click here.

Some other useful links:

How big is the world anyway?

The Size and Extent of Westeros and The Size and Extent of Essos, Sothoryos and Ulthos.

A Political Map of the Known World.

Terra Incognita: Beyond the Known World.

The Population of the Seven Kingdoms and The Population of the Free Cities.

Unreliable Timelines and Confused Dates.

A Song of Lines and Latitude.

Wonders Made by Man and The Seven Natural Wonders of the Known World.

Historical Map 1: The Dawn of Days and other Historical Maps.

Geographic Map 1: The Known World and other Geographic Maps.

Malazan Book of the Fallen Atlas.

Wheel of Time Atlas.

The Size of Westeros (revisited)

This is a sequel to an article I originally posted four years ago when we looked at the size of Westeros. In that article I made arguments for the placement and location of Westeros on its planet and its extent in the hemisphere.

Those arguments all still stand, but I thought it might be interesting to revisit the map with a view to looking at the size and area of the Seven Kingdoms and their constituent regions, a matter of some debate on fan forums and Reddit for many years.

Working out the area of the Seven Kingdoms is pretty straightforward, using the Wall as a scale bar (the Wall is almost exactly 300 miles long) and tracking this with the other distances given in the books (Deepwood Motte to Winterfell being 300 miles, Westeros being roughly 1,200 miles wide in the south around Dorne, etc). By “lassoing” each area in Westeros in turn in a painting program, you can discover how many pixels fall in each area. This can then be converted via the scale into square miles.

Although a precise figure is given, these figures are certainly approximate and should not be taken to be 100% accurate. I spoke to Elio Garcia (co-author of The World of Ice and Fire) who had undertaken a similar exercise over a decade ago and his figures were very similar, but not 100% the same.

Westeros 2020 Updated

A map of Westeros. Please click for a larger version.

This gives us the following values for the Seven Kingdoms and its nine major regions. Note that these numbers include the offshore islands relevant to each region.

The Seven Kingdoms: 3,062,967 miles² (square miles)

  • The Gift: 63,347 miles²
  • The North: 1,132,154 miles²
  • The Vale: 255,016 miles²
  • The Iron Islands: 11,136 miles²
  • The Riverlands: 268,881 miles²
  • The Crownlands: 130,148 miles²
  • The Westerlands: 192,720 miles²
  • The Reach: 479,135 miles²
  • The Stormlands: 201,967 miles²
  • Dorne: 328,472 miles²

To contrast with real-world equivalents, the Seven Kingdoms as a whole is larger than Australia (2,947,336 miles²) but smaller than Brazil (3,266,584 miles²). If the Seven Kingdoms were real, they’d be the fifth-largest country in the world.

The North is smaller than European Russia (1.5 million miles²) but larger than Argentina (1,056,640 miles²).

The Reach is often compared to France (247,270 miles²), but in fact is almost twice the size in area.

Dorne is often compared to Spain (192,660 miles²) but is considerably more than twice the size in area.

This also allows us to list the areas of Westeros in order of size:

  1. The North: 1,132,154 miles²
  2. The Reach: 479,135 miles²
  3. Dorne: 328,472 miles²
  4. The Riverlands: 268,881 miles²
  5. The Vale: 255,016 miles²
  6. The Stormlands: 201,967 miles²
  7. The Westerlands: 192,720 miles²
  8. The Crownlands: 130,148 miles²
  9. The Gift: 63,347 miles²
  10. The Iron Islands: 11,136 miles²

As we can see from this, the North is about one-third the total size of the Seven Kingdoms (King Robert’s geographic assessment that the North is as big as the other kingdoms combined is erroneous, although perhaps not on a quick eyeball of the map) and the Reach is the second-largest region. Dorne is surprisingly large, for its relative lack of population, and the Westerlands is surprisingly small for what appears to be the second-most-populous region of the continent.

 

A few notes:

“Westeros” and “the Seven Kingdoms” are often used interchangeably in the books, but there is a strong technical distinction between them: Westeros is the name of the entire continent, including the Seven Kingdoms, the Lands Beyond the Wall (the home of the wildlings) and the Lands of Always Winter (the home of the Others).

The size and extent of Westeros is considerably greater than that of the Seven Kingdoms, probably twice the size, explaining Martin’s oft-quoted statement that Westeros is “the size of South America” (6,890,000 miles²) when the mapped portion in the books is more like half that size.

In a future entry, I’ll be looking at the relative size of areas in Essos, Sothoryos and Ulthos.

Thank you for reading The Atlas of Ice and Fire. To help me provide better content, please consider contributing to my Patreon page or by other funding methods, which will also get you exclusive content weeks before it goes live on my blogs.

The Wheel of Time Atlas: The Size of the Westlands

As part of the Wheel of Time Atlas project, I thought it would be interesting to break down the nations of the Westlands by size and try to work out their size more precisely.

To do this I returned to my new map of the continent, for which I had assembled the scale by taking all of the distances given in the text and in Robert Jordan’s notes and then averaging them to reach a scale that would agree with all available sources. Once I did that I was then able to approximately map how many pixels were in each country and then apply a conversion to convert them into square miles. The results are as follows (with a real-world equivalent for comparison):

NewWoTBase

A map of the Westlands. Please click for a larger version.

The Westlands: 7,299,234 miles²

  1. Andor – 504,072 miles²                                    Peru – 494,209 miles²
  2. Cairhien: 497,964 miles²
  3. Saldaea: 439,492 miles²                                   Colombia – 401,000 miles²
  4. Altara: 382,073 miles²                                      Ethiopia – 390,000 miles²
  5. Tarabon: 350,233 miles²                                  Nigeria – 351,649 miles²
  6. Arad Doman: 210,488 miles²                          France – 210,020 miles²
  7. Illian: 201,814 miles²                                        Thailand – 197,260 miles²
  8. Tear: 190,954 miles²                                         Spain – 192,660 miles²
  9. Ghealdan: 174,530 miles²                                New Guinea – 174,850 miles²
  10. Amadicia: 158,213 miles²                                Paraguay – 153,399 miles²
  11. Arafel: 158,059 miles²                                      Zimbabwe – 149,362 miles²
  12. Shienar: 142,072 miles²                                   Japan – 140,752 miles²
  13. Murandy: 139,593 miles²                                Germany – 134,623 miles²
  14. Kandor: 130,521 miles²                                    Rep. of the Congo – 131,900 miles²
  15. Malkier: 120,583 miles²                                   Poland – 120,421 miles²
  16. Mayene: 8,794 miles²                                       Belize – 8,805 miles²

 

Some interesting points can be seen in this information:

  • The Westlands (delineated by the Mountains of Dhoom and Spine of the World, so not including the Aiel Waste, Malkier or Great Blight, or the offshore islands) are larger in area than South America (6,890,000 miles²) but smaller than North America (9,540,000 miles²).
  • Saldaea is slightly larger than the other three extant Borderlands – Kandor, Arafel and Shienar – combined.
  • Shienar is approximately the same size as Japan (140,752 miles²) and Tear is approximately the same size as Spain (192,660 miles²), the two countries which arguably inspired them in Jordan’s writings.
  • Murandy is one of the smallest, poorest and least-powerful countries in the Westlands but is still somewhat larger than Germany (134,623 miles²), the economic and industrial powerhouse of Europe.
  • The five largest nations are all larger than any American state bar only Alaska (which is larger than all of them).
  • Mayene is the smallest kingdom but still larger than the four smallest American states.

 

Thank you for reading The Atlas of Ice and Fire. To help me provide better content, please consider contributing to my Patreon page or by other funding methods, which will also get you exclusive content weeks before it goes live on my blogs.

A New Map for The Book of Words & Sword of Shadows by JV Jones

Last year I created a map of the known world in J.V. Jones’s two fantasy series, The Book of Words trilogy and the ongoing Sword of Shadows sextet. I decided to revamp the map to the new style employed by my more recent maps, as well as increasing the size so I could integrate all of the Clanhold locations on the same main map.

Sword of Shadows Map 2020

A map of the Known Lands and the Northern Territories. Please click for a larger version.

Jones explores the southern part of this map in The Book of Words (The Baker’s BoyA Man Betrayed and Master and Fool, 1995-97), which sees the scheming wizard Baralis seeking to manipulate the mad Prince Kylock into conquering the Four Kingdoms, Halcus and the city-state of Bren. He is opposed by Jack, an apparently simple baker’s boy who is anything but; the Lady Melliandra, who seeks to escape Kylock’s attentions; and the disgraced knight Tawl, whose search for redemption leads him into the machinations of the redoubtable Archbishop Tavalisk. This series is noted for its jet-black sense of humour mix of adventure and melancholy.

The Sword of Shadows (which consists so far of A Cavern of Black IceA Fortress of Grey Ice, A Sword from Red Ice, Watcher of the Dead and Endlords, expected next year, with one more volume projected) moves the action north of the great mountains into the Northern Territories. The Clanholds are divided, partly by long-standing feuds but also the manipulations of Penthero Iss, Surlord of Spire Vanis, who plans to unite the city-fortresses under his leadership to conquer the Clanholds. Key to his plans is his adopted daughter Asarhia, who harbours powers of unknown origin. When Asarhia escapes and falls in with an exiled Blackhail warrior Raif Sevrance, she discovers they share a joined destiny and a mutual threat from the slumbering, evil Endlords.

As people are hopefully now aware, J.V. Jones had to put the fifth Sword of Shadows book, Endlords, on hold for several years due to a series of unfortunate events in her personal life. However, in 2017 she restarted work on the novel and it is now in the “six figures” of word count, with the author hoping to complete the book this year for publication in 2021. Jones continues to provide updates via her Patreon page and Twitter.

Thank you for reading The Atlas of Ice and Fire. To help me provide better content, please consider contributing to my Patreon page or by other funding methods, which will also get you exclusive content weeks before it goes live on my blogs.

A New & Almost-Definitive Malazan World Map

My longest continuous online mapping project has been an attempt to produce a semi-definitive map of the world of the Malazan saga by Steven Erikson and Ian Esslemont. I started trying to come up with crude world maps all the way back in 2005, and these have continued intermittently ever since, especially when the authors released new regional maps in the books.

This is a totally new, ground-up redrawing of the world map on a new and extremely large scale (apologies for those who have problems loading it).

World of the Malazan Empire

Please click for a much (much!) bigger version.

This map was created by combining the individual regional maps from the books with Steven Erikson’s original world map that he created back in the 1980s. Although that map was superseded by the later maps he created for the books with artist Neil Gower, it still proved extremely useful for the areas of the world that have still not appeared on any official map (such as Bael, western Seven Cities, Genostel and Umryg).

A few areas have survived from the older world maps created by D’rek on the Malazanempire forum, most notably Stratem. D’rek created the original outline of Stratem which I then modified when it became clear that the Sea of Chimes was virtually landlocked. Steven Erikson’s map of Korelri-Stratem wasn’t much help because it had been thoroughly revamped for the novels, so I kept Stratem much the same as in previous maps. It remains the only continental outline to be pretty speculative.

Other areas are still pretty speculative, such as most of western Seven Cities: we know where Perish, Nemil, Shal-Morzinn, Cabal, Ekhran, Grol Etur and Drammatan are located but not much more than that. The location of Farrog, Nightmaria and the Great Dry is also purely speculative.

Other locations are speculative in detail even when their general location is correct: Lamentable Moll, Spendrugle, Trygalle, Seven Ruins Island and the Glass Desert are all in the right general area, but their precise location may be slightly off.

globe (3)

As a bonus you can also see the map on a globe via this link.

As always, leave thoughts on the map in the comments and please let me know if you find any errors or mistakes.

Thank you for reading The Atlas of Ice and Fire. To help me provide better content, please consider contributing to my Patreon page and other funding methods, which will also get you exclusive content weeks before it goes live on my blogs.

The Wheel of Time Atlas: The Dragon Reborn

Narrative Atlas 5: The Dragon Reborn – From Falme to Tear

These maps cover the third part of our heroes’ journey in The Dragon Reborn (Book 3 of The Wheel of Time). For a detailed summary of The Dragon Reborn please follow this link.

This part of the narrative atlas covers our heroes’ journey from Falme to Tear. My previous maps drew on Steven Cooper’s excellent Wheel of Time chronology for dates. However, Mr. Cooper’s chronology was not created with a concern for the geographic distances involved. In the case of The Dragon Reborn, in particular, these dates break down when subjected to geographic scrutiny, with characters sometimes travelling twice the distance in a single day that normally would be expected from people on horseback. Fortunately, The Dragon Reborn has some narrative flexibility with regards to dates and I have adjusted the dates to make such travel more feasible. Please see the appendix at the end of the article for how these dates were reworked.

Journey 06 - Dragon Reborn 0

A map of the character journeys during the three months that elapse between The Great Hunt and The Dragon Reborn. Please click for a larger version.

Between the Books

As was relatively common in the early books in the series, the action does not immediately resume from the end of the previous volume (or even before). Instead, it opens several months later. Based on Mr. Cooper’s timeline, the battle at Falme that ends The Great Hunt takes place on Day 243 (that is, 243 days elapsed since Winternight, the start of The Eye of the World and the series as a whole). On Day 244 Egwene, Verin, Nynaeve, Elayne, Hurin and Mat depart for Tar Valon. Around Day 248, Moiraine and Lan join the characters on Toman Head and they leave the town for the Mountains of Mist, where they establish a camp in the mountains.

Journey 08 - Dragon Reborn 1

A map of the character journeys from the Mountains of Mist to Illian. Please click for a larger version.

From the Mountains of Mist to Illian

The action of the book proper opens on Day 337 (Saban 8th in the WoT calendar, or around February 23rd 999 NE converted to our calendar) with the Trolloc attack on the camp in the Mountains of Mist. Rand disappears afterwards, having decided to travel by himself overland to Tear to see if he really is the Dragon Reborn. Moiraine, Lan, Loial and Perrin resolve to follow Rand with their Shienaran troops, whilst Min is dispatched to Tar Valon to bring news of the events to the Amyrlin Seat.

Rand’s path, and that of his pursuers, leads down from the mountains, through the foothills and into the Kingdom of Ghealdan, then across Ghealdan and the narrowest part of Altara to the River Manetherendrelle, then downriver from there to Illian and overland to Tear. Rand leaves a trail of chaos – spontaneous marriages, deaths, celebrations and other random events – in his wake.

Illian

A map of the city of Illian. Please click for a larger version.

On Day 344, in Jarra, in the Ghealdanin foothills, Moiraine decides they need to move faster and resolves to leave the Shienaran troops behind, under the command of Uno, Ragan and Masema. Masema has become a fanatical believer in the Dragon Reborn and Moiraine believes it will be a good idea to leave him behind (note: she is wrong). The Shienarans are given directions to hook up with an ally of Moiraine’s, whilst she, Loial, Lan and Perrin head out. They eventually reach Remen on the Manetherendrelle on Day 379, where Perrin meets two people who will become important to his future: the Aiel Gaul, whom he rescues from execution, and Faile, a Hunter for the Horn of Valere. Faile attaches herself to Moiraine’s party.

The group reach the city of Illian on Day 390 and discover that the Forsaken Sammael has taken possession of the capital. They quickly depart, surviving a Darkhound attack, and hit the road to Tear.

Journey 07 - Dragon Reborn 2

A map of the character journeys from Tar Valon towards Tear, via Jurene, Aringill and Caemlyn. Please click for a larger version.

Journey 09 - Dragon Reborn 3

A map of the character journeys to Tear. Please click for a larger version.

From Tar Valon to Tear

Egwene’s party, meanwhile, reaches Tar Valon on Day 361. Despite interference from Whitecloaks, they reach the White Tower and face an awkward situation where they are to be publicly punished for leaving the Tower without permission whilst also rewarded for what they have discovered about the Dragon Reborn and the Seanchan would-be invaders. Egwene and Elayne are raised to the rank of Accepted, the Horn of Valere is placed in the Tower storerooms and Egwene is also shown how to Dreamwalk in Tel’aran’rhiod, the World of Dreams. Mat is also Healed of his link to the dagger from Shadar Logoth, but wakes up with holes in his memory.

With limited resources, Siuan decides to use Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne as hunters to flush out the Black Ajah. When they uncover evidence that the Black Ajah is headed to Tear, she agrees to send them after the Darkfriends. She also gives them letters of passage, one of which Elayne gives to Mat Cauthon to take to her mother. Mat meets Thom Merrilin in an inn and convinces him they should team up again.

Egwene’s group leaves Tar Valon on Day 364, Mat and Thom a day later, travelling down the River Erinin to Tear, some 1,600 miles further south. On Day 379 Egwene’s ship runs aground. Unwilling to wait the several days it might take to float the ship again, the three Accepted disembark and head overland to the nearby Cairhienin port of Jurene. However, they are attacked by Myrddraal along the way. With the help of a band of Aiel led by Rhuarc and accompanied by Aviendha, they defeat the Myrddraal and resume their journey. Unbeknown, the Aiel follow overland. The Aiel’s superior fitness and stamina means they are only somewhat slower than travelling by boat, although to be fair the ship Egwene’s group picks is the awful, slow-moving Darter (which leaves both Egwene and Nynaeve sick for almost the entire voyage). They eventually reach Tear on Day 405.

Mat and Thom have a less eventful trip from Tar Valon to Aringill, Andor’s main port on the Erinin. After rescuing Aludra, a former member of the Guild of Illuminators (who rewards them with fireworks), they travel overland to Caemlyn, deliver Elayne’s message to her mother (discovering that Queen Morgase’s new paramour, “Lord Gaebril,” is up to no good) and quickly return to Aringill and another ship downriver to Tear.

Tear

A map of the City of Tear. Please click for a larger version.

In Tear

Events culminate in Tear. Egwene, Nyaneve and Elayne try to find the Black Ajah sisters, helped by thief-taker Juilin Sandar, but are captured by the Black Ajah and imprisoned under the Stone of Tear. Mat and Thom follow their trail, join forces with Juilin and blast their way into the Stone using Aludra’s fireworks, where they effect a rescue. At the same time they see the Aiel led by Rhuarc entering the Stone by climbing the exterior.

Meanwhile, Moiraine’s group arrives overland and learns that the “High Lord Samon” is in reality the Forsaken Be’lal. Perrin discovers that Faile is in danger from a ter’angreal trap and uses the Wolf Dream to save her. Rand enters the Stone by stealth, only to be faced by Be’lal. Be’lal wants Rand to seize Callandor, the Sword That is Not a Sword, one of the most powerful sa’angreal ever created. Once Rand has done so, Be’lal can kill him and claim the sword for himself. This plan is undone when Moiraine arrives and simply vapourises him with balefire.

Rand claims Callandor and declares himself the Dragon Reborn. The fighting ends quickly. The Aiel reveal that one of their ancient names is “The People of the Dragon,” further confirming the fulfilment of prophecy. For the first time (and the last, for many, many months), the group from the Two Rivers is able to reconvene with their new friends and allies.

Tar Valon

A map of the city of Tar Valon. Please click for a larger version.

Revised Timeline and Travel Notes

The main deviation from the Cooper Timeline is beginning the main thrust of the action on Day 337 rather than 354. This 17 day discrepancy is relatively minor, but expands the travel times by road to saner levels.

The biggest timeline problem is synchronising the journey of Mat and Thom with that of Team Egwene. Egwene’s group proceeds by ship almost directly from Tar Valon to Tear with a day’s distraction when their boat runs aground and they encounter Aiel and Myrddraal before boarding a new ship at Jurene. Mat and Thom have a much longer side-adventure in which they depart their ship at Aringill, travel just under 600 miles on foot (a round-trip from Aringill to Caemlyn) and then board another ship for Tear. However, the book’s narrative as them arriving in Tear relatively shortly after Egwene’s group.

This doesn’t make sense, so the only solution was to extend Egwene and her group’s voyage on the Darter from Jurene to Tear. This makes sense because Egwene notes that the ship travels slowly and “corkscrews” in the water, leaving her and Nynaeve extremely nauseous. This still leaves Egwene and her companions in Tear two weeks ahead of Mat and Thom, which is not reflected in the text but not ruled out by it either. As it stands, this is the best solution I have found.

Day 244 (Nesan 27th/November 22nd 998 NE) – Egwene’s party leaves Falme for Tar Valon.

Day 248 – Rand wakes, the party begins moving towards the mountains.

Day 337 (Saban 8th/February 23rd 999 NE) – attack on the mountain camp. Rand disappears. Pursuit begins the next day. Min leaves for Tar Valon.

Day 344 – Rand reaches Jarra. Perrin’s party arrives a few hours to a day later (138 miles in 7 days – 19.7 miles per day).

Day 359 – Perrin’s party passes through Sidon (211.5 miles in 15 days – 14.1 mpd).

Day 361 – Egwene’s party reaches Tar Valon (very approximately 2,000 miles by road and across country in 117 days, averaging 17 miles per day).

Day 364 – Egwene’s party leaves Tar Valon by boat for Tear.

Day 365 – Mat and Thom leave Tar Valon by boat for Aringill (note: one year since Winternight and the events of The Eye of the World began).

Day 369 – Perrin’s party reaches Willar (204 miles in 10 days – 24 mpd).

Day 374 – Perrin’s party passes through Samaha, Tallan and Fyall (157.5 miles in 6 days – 26.25 mpd).

Day 379 – Perrin’s party reaches Remen, meets Faile and takes ship for Illian (128 miles in 5 days – 25.6 mpd).

Day 379 – Egwene’s party abandon their boat after it runs aground. They meet the Aiel, defeat three Myrddraal and take a new ship at Jurene, leaving on Day 380 (664.85 miles in 15 days – 44.3mpd by ship).

Day 380 – Mat and Thom arrive at Aringill, meet Aludra and receive some fireworks. They head for Caemlyn (839 miles in 15 days – 55.93mpd by ship).

Day 390 – Perrin’s party reaches Illian (861.9 miles in 11 days – 78.35 mpd by ship). They depart for Tear.

Day 392 – Mat and Thom reach Caemlyn. Mat sees the Queen and they immediately head back to Aringill (299 miles in 12 days – 24.92mpd).

Day 404 – Mat and Thom take ship again at Aringill (299 miles in 12 days – 24.92mpd).

Day 405 – Egwene’s party reaches Tear, meets Juilin Sandar (979.05 miles in 25 days – 39.16mpd by ship).

Day 419 – Mat and Thom arrive at Tear (804.95 miles in 15 days – 53.66mpd).

Day 421 – Perrin’s party reaches Tear (779.63 miles in 31 days – 25.15mpd).

Day 422 (Saven 9th/May 19th 999 NE) – Battle of the Stone.

Thank you for reading The Atlas of Ice and Fire. To help me provide better content, please consider contributing to my Patreon page and other funding methods, which will also get you exclusive content weeks before it goes live on my blogs.

The Wheel of Time Atlas: Journey Maps Updated

Having recently updated my Wheel of Time world, continent and city maps, I thought I’d update my travel maps for the series and start looking at completing the series.

The journey maps for The Eye of the World follow:

Journey 01 - Eye of the World 1

A map of the first part of The Eye of the World, showing the route from Emond’s Field to Caemlyn. Please click for a larger version.

Journey 02 - Eye of the World 2

A map of the second part of The Eye of the World, showing the route from Fal Dara to the Eye of the World. Please click for a larger version.

The journey maps for The Great Hunt follow:

Journey 03 - Great Hunt 1

A map of the first part of The Great Hunt, showing the route from Fal Dara to the River Erinin. Please click for a larger version.

Journey 04 - Great Hunt 2

A map of the second part of The Great Hunt, showing the route from the River Erinin to Stedding Tsofu (via Cairhien). Please click for a larger version.

Journey 05 - Great Hunt 3

A map of the third part of The Great Hunt, showing the routes culminating in the battle at Falme. Please click for a larger version.

You may note that I stopped marking dates on the maps. After a careful reading of the existing fan timelines for the books and the distances on the maps, it became much harder to reconcile the two, especially in The Dragon Reborn where certain characters (i.e. Rand) walk most of the way across the continent in an unfeasibly short space of time. Completely reconstructing the Wheel of Time timeline to take into account the distances on the maps was too large and ambitious a project to consider at the moment so I’ve left the dates off for now.

Thank you for reading The Atlas of Ice and Fire. To help me provide better content, please consider contributing to my Patreon page and other funding methods, which will also get you exclusive content weeks before it goes live on my blogs.

The Wheel of Time Atlas: City Maps

After updating my Wheel of Time maps with new maps of the main continent and of the entire world, I’ve now updated my previously-published city maps to the new standard and added a new one of Ebou Dar. I’ll be going through the old atlas entries over the coming days and weeks and replacing the old maps on each entry, but I thought it might be useful to have all the existing maps in one place.

Tar Valon

The city of Tar Valon. Please click for a larger version.

Tar Valon

Tar Valon is an independent city-state located in the north-east of the Westlands. It is located on a large island in the middle of the River Erinin, roughly thirty miles from the towering, solitary peak known as Dragonmount which rises to the south-west. The island is fortified by massive curtain walls which are painted a white that is so dazzling it glares in the sun, the infamous Shining Walls of Tar Valon.

Tar Valon is the most populous and richest city on the continent, although not the largest (at least, not if only the island city itself is counted). More than half a million people are to be found in Tar Valon or its surrounding towns at any one time and the city is the most important trade hub in the known world. Vast amount of goods and travellers pass through the city from the Borderlands to Andor, Cairhien and Tear on a daily basis.

The city is also the home of the Aes Sedai sisterhood, who are based in the 600-foot-tall White Tower, the tallest artificial structure on the continent (although the Stone of Tear occupies a greater volume). The Aes Sedai rule Tar Valon and project an air of stability and confidence which ensures the city’s continued prosperity.

Caemlyn Walls

A map of the city of Caemlyn. Please click for a larger version.

Caemlyn

Caemlyn is the capital and largest city of Andor and one of the oldest cities on the continent. The city rises on a series of hills out of the flat plains between Braem Wood and the Tunaighan Hills. Unusually, the city is not located on a major waterway and relies on natural springs, cisterns and daily imports of water from the River Cary to the west and the Erinin to the east.

The city is divided into two regions: the inner city or Hai Caemlyn (Old Caemlyn) was built by the Ogier shortly after the Breaking. Besieged many times in the Trolloc Wars, it nevertheless survived. The city later expanded beyond the walls, with the New City established some two thousand years ago. This part of the city was walled off centuries ago, but the city has again expanded beyond their boundaries. The current permanent population of Caemlyn is estimated at 300,000, but this increases dramatically during the peak trading season.

Caemlyn is defended by formidable walls and is the home of the Royal Palace of Andor, from where the Queen on the Lion Throne issues her commands.

Cairhien City

A map of the city of Cairhien. Please click for a larger version.

Cairhien

Cairhien is the capital city of the nation of the same name, located on the River Alguenya some miles south of its confluence with the Gaelin. It is roughly equal in size and population to Caemlyn, but where Caemlyn is natural curves and graceful roads built to accommodate the shifts in the landscape, Cairhien is a rigid geometric square, with its streets built at right angles for maximum efficiency.

The city’s most notable feature are the “Topless Towers.” These are seventy-one tall, slender towers rising into the sky, several exceeding 300 feet. The towers are in varying states of disrepair, many having been set ablaze during the Aiel War. Noble families hold some of the Topless Towers as a sign of prestige, whilst others have been abandoned and others are in the control of the crown.

The other main notable landmarks are the Royal Library of Cairhien, the grandest and most impressive library open to the general public in the known world (although the Tower Library in Tar Valon is both larger and has many more esoteric and rare texts, but access is more strictly controlled by the Aes Sedai), and the Sun Palace, the seat of the Cairhienin monarch.

Tear

A map of the city of Tear. Please click for a larger version.

Tear

Tear is the capital city of the nation of the same name, located on the River Erinin just north of that river’s enormous, marshy delta, known as the Fingers of the Dragon. Tear is a hugely important trading hub, well-situated at the mouth of the Erinin where it can influence trade from other port cities and the major ports on the river, most notably Tar Valon (roughly 1,600 miles upriver).

Tear is divided into several districts, with the nobles living near the city centre in impressive villas and the poorer folk crowded out beyond the walls in the unwalled port and warehouse districts, the Maule and the Chalm, or the Tavar farmer’s district. The city skyline is dominated by the massive Stone of Tear, the largest enclosed space in the Westlands. The Stone is located in the north-west of the city, immediately overlooking the river, and extends well over a mile inland. Over 300 feet high, the Stone has never fallen in battle and is defended by additional walls and a formidable military unit known as the Defenders of the Stone.

Tear is considered one of the great cities of the land for its wealth and importance as a trade hub, although it is somewhat smaller than Tar Valon and Caemlyn.

Far Madding

A map of the city of Far Madding. Please click for a larger version.

Far Madding

Far Madding is an independent city-state located on an island in the midst of a broad lake nestled in the foothills of the Hills of Kintara. The city is roughly equidistant between Caemlyn and Tear, and not much more from Illian, and benefits from land-based trade between the three great cities.

Far Madding is dominated by the broad, domed structure known as the Hall of the Counsels. The structure is the home of the Guardians, powerful and ancient devices which block all channelling in the city. As such, Far Madding is considered a secure place to do business away from the prying eyes of Aes Sedai.

Far Madding is a trading city with no less than three great markets and many places of business and commerce. It is a bustling and thriving city, although not one of the larger cities of the land.

Illian

A map of the city of Illian. Please click for a larger version.

Illian

Illian is the capital of the nation of the same name and is located at the mouth of the River Manetherendrelle. Illian’s bay is one of the largest and most impressive on the continent, rivalled only by Ebou Dar’s, and is usually full of ships. Illian is an important stop for ships headed east for Tear and the Erinin, west to Ebou Dar and the Aryth Ocean ports, and north upriver towards Murandy, Altara, Andor and even distant Saldaea.

Illian is built on a series of large islands and is almost unassailable from the landward side of the city, which is effectively a huge swamp with only a single access point, the heavily-defended Causeway of the Northern Star. Illian has never fallen in battle and has almost never been attacked, the last offensive being mounted by Shadowspawn during the Trolloc Wars.

Illian is ruled from the Square of Tammaz, with the King’s Palace and Great Hall of the Council (identical in every respect apart from being two feet smaller in every dimension) glaring at one another across a pleasant plaza. The Palace of the Assemblage and several notable noble villas are other landmarks of interest in the city.

Ebou Dar

A map of the city of Ebou Dar. Please click for a larger version.

Ebou Dar

Ebou Dar is the nominal capital of Altara, although the power of the King or Queen of Altara waxes and wanes with every generation; some monarchs struggle to control even all of the city, whilst others control several hundred miles of surrounding territory. The King or Queen of Altara rules the city and the nation (at least in name) from the Tarasin Palace, located on Mol Hara Square near the heart of the city.

The city is quite large and is located on the mouth of the River Eldar, between the Cordese and Rhannon hill chains. It commands arguably the greatest port in the Westlands, a vast, sheltered harbor which can contain thousands of ships at a time. The shelter is important during the autumn, when massive storms known as ceranos batter the Sea of Storms, forcing ships to take refuge. Two great lighttowers flank the entrance to the harbour.

Ebou Dar is riddled with canals and waterways, many more than Illian (although not as wide or impressive), with buildings crowding one another to the point where some of the waterways are barely even visible.

The city is divided in two by the wide Eldar. The eastern half of the city is known as the Rahad and is considered ruder, more vulgar and more lawless, with criminal gangs holding sway over much of its territory. This part of the city used to Barashta, the capital city of Eharon before and during the Trolloc Wars. Barashta was captured by Shadowspawn during the fighting, representing the maximum southward penetration by Shadowspawn armies, but they were driven back in a counter-offensive. The fighting left Barashta in ruins. The city was rebuilt west of the river as modern Ebou Dar, but old Barashta eventually recovered and started rebuilding (the remains of the old city walls being dismantled as a source of stone). The Eldar is too wide and fast-flowing to be easily bridged, so ferries shuttle travellers and traders back and forth between the two halves of the city.

Located several miles to the north-east of the city is a large farm complex, which serves as a retreat and place of contemplation for a society of women known as “the Kin.” They are afforded great honour in Ebou Dar.

Falme

A map of the town of Falme. Please click for a larger version.

Falme

Falme is a large trading town and port on the Aryth Ocean, located at the far western tip of Toman Head on an enclosed bay. Falme is not very large, with only a few thousand residents and no walls, but it is an important waystop for ships headed further north to Arad Doman, west to the Sea Folk isles or south to Tarabon and the Sea of Storms ports.

Falme is also the home of the Watchers Over the Waves, a society whose headquarters and lighthouse overlooks the bay from tall clifftops. The Watchers supposedly keep watch for any sign of the return of the fleet Artur Hawkwing sent over the Aryth Ocean some 1,141 years ago, but in practice are now merely a society keeping watch over the ocean to benefit the town’s trade prospects.

The town, small as it is, is a hotbed of political intrigue as it serves as a useful, neutral point of contact between the normally antagonistic nations of Arad Doman to the north and Tarabon to the south.

Whitebridge

A map of the town of Whitebridge. Please click for a larger version.

Whitebridge

Whitebridge is a fortified town on the River Arinelle in Andor. It is Andor’s second-largest and most important port (after Aringill on the Erinin) and is a vital trade link to the more remote, far less populous western parts of the nation.

Whitebridge is also the site of arguably the most impressive human-made structure in the world, after the Stone of Tear and the White Tower. The White Bridge is a mile-long structure built of some kind of crystal or glass-like substance, spanning the width of the Arinelle. The structure is believed to be a remnant of the Age of Legends. Despite being well over 3,500 years old, it has survived the passage of time and even the Breaking without a single spot of age, wear or stress on its frame.

The Caemlyn Road passes through Whitebridge, linking the capital to the east with the remote mining towns in the Mountains of Mist to the west, making the town a vital communications link.

Emond's Field Large

A map of the town of Emond’s Field. Please click for a larger version.

Emond’s Field

Emond’s Field is the largest settlement in the Two Rivers, a rural and farming district in the far south-western corner of Andor. Remote and bucolic, the Two Rivers has not seen a tax collector from Caemlyn in several generations and is only nominally part of the realm. It has no lord or lady, with the administration of the district being handled by  village councils of the four major towns and villages: Emond’s Field, Deven Ride, Taren Ferry and Watch Hill.

Emond’s Field is built around a central green, with the impressive structure of the Winespring Inn rising to the east. The buildings in the town are a jumble of shacks, well-built townhouses, older stone buildings and even entire farms which have gradually accumulated over the passage of two thousand years. The town is located on the site of Aemon’s Field, the site of a great battle during the Trolloc Wars.

The town is favourably placed for trade, with tabac and wool from the Two Rivers being sent north to Baerlon. However, a potential route south across the Manetherendrelle into Ghealdan is blocked by the thick, unruly Forest of Shadows and the fast-moving rapids of the White River (as the Manetherendrelle is known locally).

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A New Wheel of Time World Map

After my new map of the main Wheel of Time continent, I’ve created a new map of the entire world.

Wheel Of Time World Map

A new map of the Wheel of Time world. Please click for a larger version.

This map draws upon the canonical world map in The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time, but I have replaced the very rough details of the continents with the more detailed continental maps. For the most part they match exactly and consistently.

 

Description of the World

(note: this is a partial reprint of a previous article)

The world a great sphere, some 24,900 miles in circumference. Most of its surface is covered by water, in liquid form as the great oceans and in ice at the poles. It is circled by a single moon, and is the third of at least six great planets circling the sun (ancient records suggest that there may be either eight or nine planets – the records seem to argue the point rather heatedly – but the others are too distant to be seen easily).

There are three major landmasses known to exist. In the northern hemisphere lies a large landmass with no single unified name: the western third is known – with a slight lack of creativity – as the Westlands or “wetlands”; the central area is known as the Aiel Waste; and the eastern part is known (most commonly) as Shara. The Westlands are the home of great kingdoms such as Andor, Illian and Saldaea and the seat of Aes Sedai power at Tar Valon. To the north of all three regions lies the vast, forbidding and hostile Great Blight, the home of Shadowspawn who plague the north of all the lands.

South of the Westlands and south-west of Shara lie two large island archipelagos. These are the home of the Atha’an Miere, the “People of the Sea” or, in common parlance, the Sea Folk. The Sea Folk spend most of their lives at sea aboard huge ships, the greatest vessels afloat, and facilitate trade between the nations of the world, although they do not cross the Aryth Ocean.

Far to the west of the Westlands, across the colossal Aryth Ocean (successor to the World Sea of the Age of Legends), lies the continent of Seanchan. Divided into two landmasses by a huge dividing channel, Seanchan is the largest continent in the world. It almost girdles the planet from pole to pole. It is home to hundreds of distinct cultures, races and societies, but they all live under the authority and yoke of the Seanchan Empire, the most powerful and populous nation on Earth. Founded by colonists from the Westlands more than a thousand years ago, the Seanchan have long dreamt of returning to their homeland and re-establishing communications…and dominance.

Far to the south of the Westlands, across the tempestuous Sea of Storms, lies an obscure continent known only as the “Land of the Madmen.” The Breaking of the World remains ongoing in this land, as the male channelers were never wiped out. Instead, they continue to ravage the land and the landscape, resulting in near-constant earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and floods. This has prevented any kind of civilisation from emerging, leaving even the non-channelling population in a constant state of turmoil, trauma and dread. The inhabitants of the continent attack strangers on sight. Despite multiple attempts by the Sea Folk to establish a peaceful dialogue with the inhabitants, they have been unable to visit the land without being assaulted. They have declared the continent off-limits and forbidden all travel there.

South of the Land of the Madmen lies a vast region of ice, many thousands of miles across. According to ancient records from the Age of Legends and even before, an entire continent once existed at the south pole, but its fate in the Breaking is unknown. Some believe it is still there, frozen under miles of glaciers.

North-west of the Westlands lies a foreboding region of water which is completely lifeless. No fish or aquatic life can be found here at all, north of the latitude of the southern edge of the Great Blight. The Sea Folk call stretch of ocean the Dead Sea, and it continues westwards for as far as they have explored. North of the Dead Sea lies the northern polar ocean, which is impassable at all times of year due to being frozen solid.

To the east, beyond Shara, lies the Morenal Ocean (sometimes called the Sea of Omerna), which separates that land from the Seanchan continent. Curiously, linear measurements show that the distance from Shara to Seanchan across the Morenal Ocean is far smaller than the distance from the Westlands to Seanchan across the Aryth, raising interesting questions about why the most well-travelled sea lanes between the two landmasses are the longer route across the Aryth Ocean. This suggests that the Morenal Ocean may be too dangerous to traverse, or a past confrontation between Shara and Seanchan convinced the Seanchan to give that nation a wide berth. The truth of this remains speculative.

NewWoTBase

A new map of the Westlands. Please click for a larger version.

Speculation

The world of the Wheel is, of course, Earth in a remote future epoch (I would estimate between 15,000 and 20,000 years from now). The continents have been dramatically rearranged by the Breaking of the World, with only Australia being vaguely recognisable and even that have been altered significantly in shape and apparently increased somewhat in size.

Contrasting the time of the Wheel with our own, it appears that the world is cooler. Both the polar icecaps are huge, much larger than our own, with Antarctica (or whatever part of it survived the Breaking) completely buried under reams of ice. The larger icecaps increase the albedo of the planet and reflect more sunlight into space, likely cooling it further. The known deserts are much smaller than in our time (with the possible exception of dry lands deep in the Seanchan interior) and temperate forests exist at tropical latitudes. The world is likely rainier than now, due to the much vaster oceans giving rise to larger rain clouds (this is indicated by the vast ceranos storms that ravage the southern coast of the Westlands).

Robert Jordan declined to provide a name for the main continent (the one containing Andor, Tar Valon, Illian etc). The closest presented in the books was “the wetlands,” a descriptive name created by the Aiel. Fans coined the name “Randland” early on, but this was clearly impractical for an in-universe name. Finally, The Wheel of Time Roleplaying Game came up with the name “The Westlands” which Jordan seems to have reluctantly adopted (he used the name himself in several articles and notes), but not been very keen on. In-universe, the name Alindhol may have been appropriate: alin means “west” in the Old Tongue and dhol means “land.”

Robert Jordan was well aware that Seanchan was much closer to Shara across the Morenal Ocean than to the Westlands across the Aryth, specifying as much in the geographic notes (presented below) that he gave to John M. Ford to make the world map in The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time in 1995. Jordan never addressed why the Seanchan embarked on a lengthy 11,000 mile journey across the Aryth Ocean rather than nipping around the south coast of Shara to invade the Westlands via Mayene and Tear, which was less than half that distance (and maybe closer to a third). Fans have presented various ideas, including a previous confrontation between Seanchan and Shara that resulted in a bloody defeat and Seanchan backing off (this seems unlikely); insufficiant infrastructure on the west coast of Seanchan, with all of the major ports and shipyards for the invasion located on the east coast; much more favourable currents heading east across the Aryth then west across the Morenal; and potential manipulations by the Forsaken. The truth remains unclear.

From Robert Jordan’s notes to John Ford:

“The world of the books is the same size as our world.  After all, it’s supposed to be our world, with all the tectonic plates shifted.  Some reference points:

  • Falme to Seanchan across the Aryth Ocean is about 11,000 miles.
  • Seanchan to Shara across the Sea of Omerna is about 3,000 miles.
  • The Aiel Waste is about 1,200 miles across, while Shara is about 2,000 miles (W-E) by 5,000 miles (N-S), with the Great Blight extending further south in Shara than in the Borderlands.
  • Seanchan is about 16,000 miles from the southern tip to the Mountains of Dhoom (named by Hawkwing’s armies) in the north—yes, the same mountain range that girdles the world on land and under the ocean.  The north of Seanchan is about 2,000 miles across at its widest, and there is a span of 6,000 miles at its widest in the south.
  • South of the known world is an island continent known only to the Sea Folk, but avoided by them, which they call “the Land of the Madmen.”  Its dimensions are about 3,000 miles (W-E) by 2,000 miles (N-S), with its southern coast less than 500 miles from the southern ice cap in places.  Some speculate on the resemblance of this continent, in all respects, to current-day Australia, but on this we have no opinion.

“There are both northern and southern ice caps.  The southern ice cap completely covers whatever land is beneath it, and is larger than Antarctica.  The northern ice cap also stretches somewhat further south than in our world.”

 

Thank you for reading The Atlas of Ice and Fire. To help me provide better content, please consider contributing to my Patreon page and other funding methods, which will also get you exclusive content weeks before it goes live on my blogs.

A New Wheel of Time Map

Over a year ago I embarked on the Wheel of Time Atlas project, which unfortunately stalled due to dissatisfaction with the maps I was using. After some consideration I decided to redraw the main map at a much higher scale to make continuing that project easier. This has taken a while but has now been done.

NewWoTBase

A new map of the Westlands. Please click for a much larger version.

The main differences are the much higher scale, a new and clearer way of depicting mountains, the use of coloured backdrops and the addition of flags and more locations that were missing from the previous versions of the map. Hopefully this is much better for everyone checking the map out.

Technical note: I’m informed that these very-high-resolution maps are not rendering correctly on some mobile devices, particularly some types of Android mobile phone. As far as I can tell this is an automatic process to save memory and space. At the moment I am not aware of a work-around. The maps should register at full resolution via PC, tablet and most other devices.

Thank you for reading The Atlas of Ice and Fire. To help me provide better content, please consider contributing to my Patreon page and other funding methods, which will also get you exclusive content before it goes live on my blogs.

A New Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones World Map

It’s been a long time coming, but I have completed my new complete map of the known world in A Song of Ice and Fire (aka Game of Thrones).

ASoIaF Known World New Mountains

Please click or tap for a much, much bigger version.

My previous map was a sneak peak at Westeros, but since then I’ve redone the mountains to look at least a bit better and then completed work on Essos, Sothoryos and Ulthos. This new map is the most complete world map ever assembled for A Song of Ice and Fire, drawing not just on the world map in Lands of Ice and Fire but also the extended map in The World of Ice and Fire (which goes further north and south) and information that came to light only in Fire and Blood (can you spot the islands Elissa Farman discovered?).

This new map is huge at 10,000 pixels wide, so you may find it easier to download the image to peruse as your leisure.

My previous serious of historical and geographical maps should be updated in the future with information from this new, more colourful map, although it’s going to take some considerable time to update everything. As usual, thanks to everyone for their support.

ASoIaF Known World New Mountains

This is a .png version which may display better on some smartphones. Please tap for a larger version.

Thank you for reading The Atlas of Ice and Fire. To help me provide better content, please consider contributing to my Patreon page and other funding methods, which will also get you exclusive content before it goes live on my blogs.