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Summer Islands

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Summer Islands
Summer Islands opening
The Summer Sea, far northwest of mainland Sothoryos, northwest of Naath.
Hot, tropical islands.
Summer Islanders
Regional capital
Places of note
Date of founding
"In the Summer Isles they worship a fertility goddess with sixteen teats."

The Summer Islands (or Summer Isles) are an archipelago of large islands in the Summer Sea. They are located southeast of Westeros, southwest of Volantis and northwest of mainland Sothoryos. The island of Naath is located to the east, between the Summer Islands and mainland Sothoryos. The inhabitants of the Summer Isles are notably dark-skinned.

Known Summer IslandersEdit

  • {Xaro Xhoan Daxos}, established in Qarth, where he rose to become a member of the Thirteen. Locked inside his own vault for betraying Daenerys Targaryen.
  • Salladhor Saan, a pirate-lord and mercenary sailor. Moved to the Free City of Lys many years ago, and generally considers himself to be a Lysene by geography if not ethnicity.
  • Grey Worm, birth name unknown, captured by slavers as an infant and forcibly trained as an Unsullied by the Great Masters of Astapor. Now serving Daenerys Targaryen as a free man and commander of the eight thousand Unsullied she freed.


Season 2Edit

Xaro Xhoan Daxos was born in the Summer Islands, but has since become resident in the eastern city of Qarth.[1]

According to Varys, the Summer Islanders worship a fertility goddess with sixteen teats. Tyrion jokes that they should sail there immediately.[2]

Season 4Edit

The Unsullied commander Grey Worm says that he was taken from the Summer Islands by slavers as a baby. Missandei, who is from the neighboring island of Naath, asks if he remembers anything of the Summer Islands or his life before becoming an Unsullied, but he says that "Unsullied" is all he remembers. He does not even remember when the slavers castrated him at the beginnning of his forced training to be one of the Unsullied.[3]

Image galleryEdit

In the booksEdit

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, the Summer Islands are among the southern-most explored parts of the known world. An ancient and advanced civilization, Summer Islanders are quite distinct- ethnically and in many ways culturally- from the peoples of both Westeros and Essos.

People from the Summer Islands are dark-skinned and tend to wear colorful clothes, including cloaks made of interwoven tropical bird feathers. They are famed sea-farers, as they have to rely on extensive maritime transport due to the archipelago nature of their homeland. Many Summer Islanders re-applied these skills to take part in international shipping: the islands are rich in natural resources- spices, gemstones, hardwood timber, and exotic animals- and possess a large merchant fleet which operates across much of the known world. Swift and well-crewed, Summer Islander merchant ships can be found in most major ports across both Westeros and the Free Cities, from Oldtown to King's Landing, and from Braavos to Volantis. Many crews also make the long trade route around the Jade Sea far to the east, visiting Qarth and distant Asshai. Summer Islanders are also famed as skilled archers, using powerful bows that far outrange similar weapons from Westeros. Ship crews make use of these archers to drive off pirates and raiders at long range, before they can attempt to board their vessels.

Summer Islander culture is very much what might be called "sex-positive" in real life. Summer Islanders believe sex to be a gift from the gods for humanity to enjoy, regarding it as a joyous and life-affirming act. Although specific details about the Summer Islander religion have not been revealed, it is said that they consider sex to be an outright "holy" act, and therefore nothing to be ashamed about. Prostitution is considered a very respectable profession in the Summer Islands and is even practiced by highborn islanders (who do not financially need to do it, but perhaps as some form of temple-prostitution). Funerals are not somber occasions mourning the dead but celebrations of the lives they led, with wine and lovemaking. Summer Islanders also have great respect for their elderly. Being warm islands, the diet of the islanders consists mostly of fruit and fish.

In the novels, a Summer Islander prince named Jalabhar Xho has taken up residence in the Red Keep for the past several years. He repeatedly asked King Robert Baratheon for military aid in retaking his principality, Red Flower Vale, but has been repeatedly turned down. Robert kept him around because the idea of invading the Summer Islands intrigued him. Jalabhar Xho has not yet appeared in the television series.

Other minor characters in the books that hail from the Summer Islands are Chataya, a madame, and her daughter, a prostitute named Alayaya. During his tenure as acting Hand of the King, Tyrion pretends to visit Alayaya while having secret encounters with Shae instead, and Cersei has Alayaya arrested to spite Tyrion. This last development is fulfilled by Ros in the TV show.[4]

Grey Worm's backstory and ethnic origins are not given in the books: when directly asked, George R.R. Martin said he had no specific plans to develop it. The TV series invented the backstory that he was taken from the Summer Islands by slavers as a baby - though Grey Worm also says in the TV series that he has no memory of the Summer Islands or of life before being an Unsullied. While it is invented for the TV series, this backstory is entirely plausible within the books.

The World of Ice and Fire reveals that Queen Nymeria did not lead the Rhoynar refugees directly from the Rhoyne River (in the modern Free Cities) west to Dorne in Westeros, when they were fleeing from the advance of the Valyrian Freehold. Rather, Nymeria's fleet first sailed to the Summer Islands, regrouping on what later became known as the Isle of Women (most of her followers were women and children, because most of the Rhoynar men had been killed in battle against the Valyrians). The Rhoynar refugees stayed there for some time, before leaving the Summer Islands to migrate into Dorne.


The Lands of Ice and Fire (a companion map collection for the novels) reveals that the Summer Islands lie due south of the Narrow Sea and are a chain of islands located along a northwest-to-southeast axis. The tip of the northern-most island is at the same latitude as the southern-most coastline of Valyria, and at the same longitude as Tyrosh on the west coast of Essos. The southernmost islands are located slightly further south than Naath or Basilisk Point (on the mainland of Sothoryos), and roughly at the same longitude as the Orange Shore (just west of Volantis). Visible on the maps are three large islands and several smaller ones, but it is possible the chain extends further south than the edge of the map. The northernmost island is roughly equidistant between Westeros and Essos, while the southernmost island is roughly equidistant between Essos and mainland Sothoryos. The island of Naath, to the east, is the closest other land to the Summer Islands. The area of the Summer Islands as a whole is roughly similar in size to that of the Valyrian Peninsula.

According to The Lands of Ice and Fire, the major islands are named, north to south, as Walano, Omboru, and Jhala. The Smiling Sea divides Walano and Omboru, while the Indigo Straits divide Omboru from Jhala. The largest city of the Summer Islands, Lotus Port, is located on Walano. The towns of Last Lament and Tall Trees Town are also located on Walano. The settled valleys of Red Flower Vale (former home of Jalabhar Xho) and Sweet Lotus Vale are located on Jhala, along with the city of Ebonhead. Koj and the Isle of Birds are amongst the numerous smaller islands.

Official maps for the TV series, including the online HBO Viewer's Guide map, have not included the Summer Islands so far. The map which the TV series uses for Essos is actually slightly outdated, as it was produced before The Lands of Ice and Fire was released. The biggest differences are mostly in the far east, beyond Qarth and Vaes Dothrak: the TV series map assumed that Qarth is on the southern end of the Jade Sea, when Lands of Ice and Fire revealed that Qarth is actually located at the northern end of the Jade Sea.

Starting in Season 4, the astrolabe map which appears in the opening credits of the TV series finally portrayed the Summer Islands for the first time, as the camera swings from Westeros to Slaver's Bay in Essos. The design, which only briefly appears, does not correspond to the map of the Summer Islands revealed in The Lands of Ice and Fire, which revealed that the northwestern-most of the islands is located at the same longitude as Tyrosh, and the same latitude as the southern end of the Valyrian peninsula. The TV series's opening sequence depicts the northernmost island as being located further to the northwest, nearly as far west as the Red Mountains of Dorne, and nearly as far north as Volantis (which is located at the base of the Valyrian peninsula). This may have been done simply to fit them onto the screen, and not to specify actual distances, as the islands were viewed out of focus and at an angle as the "astrolabe" in the opening sequence swung around.

See alsoEdit


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