Your Guide to the 12 Major Locations on Game of Thrones
When you start watching Game of Thrones, there are two things that take a while to get to know: all the houses with their various members and the many, many locations where the action happens. The show has taken us (and the cast) to dozens of places throughout Westeros and beyond, and it can get a little overwhelming. Now that season seven has arrived, here's a cheat sheet to all the important locations in the wild world of Game of Thrones!
The northernmost (duh) region in the Seven Kingdoms and just south of the Wall, the North is a vast, cold place where a lot of Game of Thrones action goes down with many of our favorite characters.
- Winterfell: Sigh. This is where all the Starks should have just stayed forever. Winterfell is the seat of House Stark and the key to the entire North. The Starks lose Winterfell to the Greyjoys in season two, but it's then taken by the Boltons after Roose Bolton helps the Lannisters kill Robb Stark at the Red Wedding. The Boltons hold Winterfell until season six, when Jon Snow and Sansa Stark take it back.
- Bear Island: Though we've only seen this island off the Northern coast once, it's the home of two major characters: the ever-faithful Jorah Mormont and the badass Lyanna Mormont. Jon and Sansa visit Bear Island in season six when they first meet Lyanna to ask for her support against the Boltons.
- The Dreadfort: The seat of the now-extinct House Bolton (huzzah!), this is where poor Theon Greyjoy is held captive and tortured by Ramsay in season three.
Dorne is the farthest south of all the kingdoms in Westeros and is ruled by House Martell. So far, Dorne hasn't seen too much central action other than Ellaria Sand's coup, but the season six finale shows the Martells joining forces with Varys in support of Daenerys, so who knows it that could change in season seven . . .
- Sunspear: This is the seat of the kingdom, where poor doomed Myrcella Baratheon lives with her fiancé Trystane until her untimely death at Ellaria's hand. It's also where Prince Doran rules from until his untimely death at Ellaria's hand. The woman is ruthless.
The Reach is a kingdom we haven't seen much of yet, but we've met many characters who call it home. North of Dorne but south of King's Landing, the Reach grows much of the crops that feed other parts of Westeros.
- Highgarden: We haven't seen the main city of the Reach, but the ruling Tyrell family is one we know well. Er, knew well. Most of the Tyrells are tragically killed at the end of season six.
- Horn Hill: South of Highgarden, the impressive Horn Hill is the seat of House Tarly. We see Horn Hill in season six during the most painful family dinner ever.
- Oldtown: This is the location of the Citadel, where all the maesters in Westeros are trained. It's also the location of the coolest library ever. Sam, Gilly, and baby Sam are currently calling Oldtown home after arriving there at the end of season six.
The Iron Islands
Probably the most depressing place in the Seven Kingdoms, the Iron Islands are located off the western coast of Westeros. They're currently experiencing a serious lack of ships.
- Pyke: This is the one major Iron Islands city we've seen on the show; it's the seat of the ruling family, the Greyjoys. Theon Greyjoy lives in Pyke before he's taken by the Starks to live at Winterfell (prior to the events of Game of Thrones), and it's where he returns in season two before deciding to betray Robb Stark. Euron Greyjoy is the current king in Pyke after throwing his brother Balon off a bridge.
Game of Thrones hasn't shown the kingdom of the Stormlands much, but it is once ruled by one of the most powerful now-defunct families in Westeros: the Baratheons. Geographically speaking, the Stormlands are located east of the Reach and southeast of King's Landing.
- Storm's End: The seat of the (former) ruling Baratheon family, we see Renly Baratheon's army camp near Storm's End in season two — when we're first introduced to his wife, Margaery Tyrell. This is also where we first meet Brienne when she pledges her service to Renly and where Renly is assassinated by Melisandre's creepy shadow baby.
- Tarth: An island located off the coast of the Stormlands, Tarth is Brienne's home. We briefly see Tarth in season five, when Jaime and Bronn are sailing south to Dorne to bring Myrcella home.
The Vale itself doesn't play a central role in Game of Thrones, but it does have a connection to House Stark via Catelyn's sister Lysa and Littlefinger's creepy obsession with Sansa. The knights of the Vale also save Jon Snow's butt in the Battle of the Bastards in season six.
- The Eyrie: Currently ruled by House Arryn (but unofficially ruled by Petyr Baelish, because Robin Arryn doesn't really have a clue what he's doing). Catelyn brings Tyrion Lannister to the Vale way back in season one after capturing him on suspicion of plotting to have Bran killed. It's also where Littlefinger brings Sansa after helping her escape King's Landing when Joffrey is assassinated in season four. Finally, this is where Littlefinger pushes Lysa Arryn to her death through the moon door.
It's sort of surprising that a kingdom we haven't seen at all in the show is one that has given us characters who are so crucial to the plot: the Lannisters. As the name suggests, the Westerlands are located on the western coast of Westeros and north of the Reach.
- Casterly Rock: The seat of House Lannister, where Jaime, Cersei, and Tyrion are born and where Tywin Lannister had ruled from.
- Castamere: This is the former seat of House Reyne, a Lannister vassal house that rebels and is destroyed by Tywin before the events of Game of Thrones. If Castamere sounds familiar, it's because it inspired "The Rains of Castamere," the song that now makes us all think of the Red Wedding and cry.
The Riverlands are located right in the middle of Westeros — south of the North, east of the Westerlands, and north of King's Landing.
- Riverrun: This is the seat of the ruling family, the Tullys. It's where Catelyn and Lysa were born and where Jaime faces down the Blackfish in season six.
- The Twins: Consisting of two twin towers, this is the seat of House Frey, which becomes the ruling house in the Riverlands in season three after the Red Wedding. Walder Frey and his sons are killed at The Twins in season six by Arya Stark.
- Harrenhal: This is a gigantic castle used as a camp by the Lannister army in season two during the War of the Five Kings. It's where Arya serves Tywin in disguise as his cupbearer after escaping King's Landing in season one. Arya is also introduced to Jaqen H'ghar at Harrenhal, and he helps her escape along with Gendry and Hot Pie. Control of the castle is given to Littlefinger in season two.
As the name implies, the Crownlands are where the King of the Seven Kingdoms rules from the Iron Throne. It's located on the eastern coast of Westeros, north of the Stormlands, and south of the Riverlands.
- King's Landing: Obviously. King's Landing is the location of the Red Keep and is where the king lives. It's also where Ned Stark is executed in season one, where Joffrey Baratheon is assassinated in season four, and where like, everyone dies in season six when Cersei blows up the Sept of Baelor. Not exactly the happiest of places.
- Dragonstone: An island off the coast of King's Landing, Dragonstone is separated from the city by Blackwater Bay. It is once the home of the Targaryen family, but in Game of Thrones it's where Stannis Baratheon is camping when we first meet him. This is also where he plans his attack on King's Landing in the Battle of the Blackwater. The teaser trailer for season seven hints that Dragonstone is where Daenerys first lands when she arrives in Westeros. How fitting.
East of Westeros and across the Narrow Sea is a huge expanse of land that's very different from the Seven Kingdoms we know. There's no king in Essos, and that means there's no king's law.
- Vaes Dothrak: This is the main city of the Dothraki people in the middle of the Dothraki Sea. It's where Dany is brought in season six after being captured by the Dothraki at the end of season five.
- Qarth: Dany comes to Qarth in season two with what remains of her people after Drogo's death. It's where she gets (read: takes by force) the funds for her first ship and where her dragons are captured by the warlock Pyat Pree in the House of the Undying — until they barbecue him, that is.
- Astapor: The first city in Slaver's Bay that Daenerys visits after leaving Qarth and sailing west. This is where she acquires the army of the Unsullied and meets Missandei.
- Yunkai: Yunkai is the next stop on Daenerys's tour of Slaver's Bay, and it's where she acquires the support of the Second Sons (led by her future boy toy Daario Naharis) to help take the city and free the slaves inside.
- Meereen: The final city in Slaver's Bay that Daenerys conquers, although it's not as easy as the first two. This is where she runs into her troubles with the Sons of the Harpy, discovers that Jorah used to spy on her for Varys, and is introduced to Tyrion Lannister. Daenerys sets sail from Meereen to Westeros at the end of season six, (finally) leaving Essos behind for good.
- Volantis: Another ancient free city in Essos, west of Slaver's Bay. This is where Jorah runs into (and captures) Tyrion, who's on his way to meet Daenerys with Varys in season five. It's also one of the cities that funds the Sons of the Harpy.
- Valyria: Though it doesn't play much of a part in Game of Thrones, Valyria is packed with enough history to be worth noting. Once the greatest city in the world, Valyria is destroyed hundreds of years before the events of Game of Thrones. Everyone in the city is killed except the Targaryens, who had fled to Dragonstone some time earlier. Much later, Jorah and Tyrion sail through the ruins of Valyria on their way east back to Meereen. They're attacked by Stone Men in Valyria, and Jorah is tragically infected with greyscale.
Far north of Winterfell, at the edge of the border of the Seven Kingdoms, is the massive architectural feat known as The Wall. The Wall separates the Seven Kingdoms from the wild lands to the far north and keeps everyone to the south safe from whatever lurks in the snowy shadows.
- Castle Black: This is the main settlement on The Wall and the headquarters of the Night's Watch. It's where Jon begins proving his leadership potential and serious badassery, and where he meets his best bro Sam Tarly. The battle between the Wildlings and the Night's Watch in season four happens at Castle Black, where Ygritte is killed (sniff). Oh, and Jon dies, is resurrected, and reunites with Sansa here. No big deal.
- The Nightfort: A deserted castle on The Wall west of Castle Black that has an entrance under The Wall. Bran, Meera, Jojen, and Hodor take shelter here in season three and run into Sam and Gilly.
Beyond the Wall
Unsurprisingly, the freezing land north of The Wall doesn't have much in the way of civilization, but the Wildlings call it home. Unfortunately there are also many White Walkers and wights who call it home.
- Craster's Keep: This is the homestead where we're introduced to Gilly, one of Craster's many daughter-wives. It's also where the Night's Watch mutiny occurs in season three, resulting in the death of Lord Commander Jeor Mormont. (Side note: Sam and Gilly take shelter at an abandoned cabin near Craster's Keep after making their escape, where they run into a freaking White Walker. Sam, ever underrated, kills the White Walker with a dragonglass dagger.)
- Hardhome: A large settlement of Wildlings on the shore of the Shivering Sea, Hardhome is where Jon and Tormund Giantsbane travel in season five to warn the Free Folk about the threat of the White Walkers. Unfortunately, the White Walkers don't trust Jon to really describe how scary they are, and they crash the party to kill a bunch of Wildlings who then rise up as wights. You all remember it from your nightmares.