Fan-made maps of A Song of Ice and Fire began appearing in the late 1990s, shortly after the appearance of the first fan forums and websites based around the books. However, the number of such maps really exploded after the publication of A Storm of Swords and its new maps of Slaver’s Bay and Beyond the Wall. For budding cartographers, the desire to combine these maps and “fill in” the gaps proved overwhelmingly strong.
One of the earliest maps to appear, circa 2000-01, was by westeros.org forum member “Tbonest” and depicts Westeros, Essos and Sothoryos. This early map postulates a much smaller size for Essos and suggests that locations such as Asshai and Yi Ti are on a “Further Eastern” continent. Oddly, despite a lack of textual evidence, this was a common assertion on early fan maps. Also, as was traditional for such maps, the Narrow Sea is not actually all that narrow. Some textual evidence, that as early as A Clash of Kings had established that Braavos was the northern-most of the Free Cities, was also ignored at this point.
My own first attempt at a map of the Free Cities, circa 2005-06. This map is actually not too far off from the final one, but it dramatically underestimates the scale of the Free Cities region and tries to cram everything into too small an area. It also misses the fact that Volantis is at the mouth of the Rhoyne (which was not confirmed by Martin until a few years later).
Elio Garcia, Jr. (“Ran”) and Linda Antonsson from westeros.org created their own map circa 2006-07. This map, of Westeros alone, combined details from the book maps and the map from the Guardians of Order RPG, along with information they sourced from Martin directly.
In 2009 forum-member “Tear” from the Cartographer’s Guild created what is, for many, the most definitive map of Westeros to date. George R.R. Martin has expressed approval of it, and the map was blown up, printed out and used as a reference during the creation of the TV series Game of Thrones. Fans have hoped that Tear would return to create a map of Essos in the same style, but so far he has not done so (although “The Mountain Goat” from Westeros did have a stab at a map in the same style, although this was later superseded by the release of the canon maps of Essos in 2012).
Some of the best ASoIaF fan maps have been created by Narwen, a senior member of the excellent Russian fan site 7kingdoms.ru. Before the Dance with Dragons maps appeared Narwen created an excellent map of Westeros and a (pretty good) interpretation of the Free Cities.
More recently, they have also put together a full map of the world in the same style. I really like these maps for their Tolkien-esque mountains.
Another mapper (unfortunately the original source has been lost) has tried to compare the size of Westeros and Europe and not gotten it quite right (Westeros should be a bit bigger in this image, stretching down well into Morocco), but it’s a valiant effort.
There are a lot more fan maps out there, as any Google image search will quickly reveal. We may look at some more of them in future entries.