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Missandei: "I am from an island called Naath...when did they take me? I was five years old."
Grey Worm: "You remember your home?"
Missandei: "I remember when they rowed us away from shore. How white the beaches were, how tall the trees. And I remember my village burning, smoke rising into the sky."
— Missandei recalls how she was taken in a slaving raid as a child.[src]
Sothoryos Title Sequence

Naath in the opening credits of Season 2. On the bottom of the screen, west of the main landmass of Sothoryos, the island that is shaped like a backwards question-mark.

Missandei season 3 ep 1

Missandei of Naath

Naath is an island in the Summer Sea located off the northwestern coast of the continent of Sothoryos, west of the Basilisk Isles and east of the Summer Islands. It is the home of Missandei.

Naath has a beautiful tropical climate, filled with palm trees, and is famed for its butterflies.[1]

History

Background

Naath is a frequent target of slaving raids from Slaver's Bay, a region of Essos on the opposite side of the Summer Sea.

Missandei's village was attacked and burned by slavers when she was five years old, and she was captured and taken to the slaver-city of Astapor.[2]

Season 4

Missandei recalls to Grey Worm that she is from an island called Naath, and was taken by the slavers when she was five years old.[2]

Season 7

Ser Davos meets Missandei and asks her where she's from, since he can't place her accent. Missandei reveals that she was born on the Island of Naath, to which Davos replies that he's heard that it's beautiful there, with palm trees and butterflies. He admits that he hasn't been there himself.[3]

Some time later, Missandei is talking with Jon and Davos again, and she politely enquires why Jon's surname is "Snow" even though House Stark has ruled the North for centuries, and his father Ned and brother Robb both had the surname "Stark", while he doesn't. Jon and Davos explain to her the system of regional surnames used in Westeros for bastard children of the nobility. Missandei doesn't know what they mean, so they literally explain that Jon's parents weren't married. Davos asks if they have similar customs for bastards on Naath island where Missandei is from. Quizzically, Missandei explains that "Marriage" as such does not exist in Naath, so she finds the idea of a "bastard" to be quite an alien concept. Davos remarks that it sounds liberating.[4]

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Naath is a large, curving island. It is known as a land of peace where war does not exist. The people of Naath, the Naathi, are also known as the Peaceful People. As is typical of the peoples of Sothoryos, the Naathi are dark-skinned. In addition, typical Naathi features include a round flat face and golden eyes.

Naath is located on the same line of longitude as Old Valyria, though much further south and separated by a great distance across the Summer Sea.

The Naathi worship a single deity called the Lord of Harmony, who created the entire universe and everything in it. Due to their religious beliefs the Naathi do not harm any living thing, refusing to eat the flesh of animals and abstaining from violence and martial endeavors. As a result the Naathi are vegetarians - their main diet consisting of fruit - and their main recreational activity is the making of music. The Naathi religion is so utterly devoted to pacifism that they will refuse to engage violence even to defend themselves from direct bodily harm.

The World of Ice & Fire sourcebook stated that Naath is also known as the "Isle of Butterflies" due to the many species of the insect that inhabit the island (this detail has been subtly included in the TV series; in the opening credits, the small image appearing next to Nathalie Emmanuel, who portrays Missandei, is a butterfly).

The sourcebook also mentions that because the island's climate is very conducive to insect life, Naath was once a major exporter of silk (from silkworms) to both sides of the Narrow Sea. Naathi silk was often found in the markets of King's Landing, Oldtown, and the Free Cities, along with spiced wines and various handicrafts they also produced.

Unfortunately, because of their tranquil nature, the peaceful Naathi are a favored target for slavers. They raid the island's coastal areas and take numerous captives back to nearby Slaver's Bay (to the northeast), or even to the Free Cities (to the northwest). The slavers were always a problem, but after the Doom of Valyria, with no Valyrian fleets to control the seas, the slaving raids drastically increased and devastated Naath. The island's silk industry was mostly destroyed as the inhabitants fled to the hills of the interior, and Naathi exports are now a rare sight in foreign markets.

A large species of butterfly on Naath is a carrier for a horrific disease that makes the flesh literally slough off of a man's bones, but the Naathi themselves are immune to it. For centuries, would-be foreign invaders would end up succumbing to the "butterfly fever", and the Naathi say none maintained a presence on the island for more than a single year. It also deterred slavers for generations. However, slavers eventually realized that if they only stayed on the island for a few hours in quick raids and then departed with captives, they would not contract the disease - and better still if they attacked only at night, because the butterflies are only active during the daylight hours. Naath has still technically never been "conquered" by outside forces due to fear of staying too long and catching the butterfly fever, but otherwise the island's society has been severely damaged by frequent slaver raids.

In the Season 7 episode "The Spoils of War", Missandei states that marriage isn't practiced in Naath, thus the concept of bastardy doesn't exist in the island. So far, there hasn't been a hint of this cultural trait existing in the novels - no married people have been mentioned from Naath, but it has never been stated that marriage doesn't exist. In contrast, marriage is mentioned as existing in the Summer Islands (though what specific customs this entails are unknown).

See also

References