The Volantis conspiracyEdit
As some of you may know from reading my writeup about Characters significantly changed between books and TV series, Talisa Maegyr was changed from being a minor Westerlands noble to be a noblewoman from Volantis, because the writers had just read A Dance with Dragons and wanted to "start introducing" Volantis....even though Talisa actually introduces nothing significant or even specific about Volantis. I mean think about it: other than that they own slaves, which many of the other Free Cities do, we learned nothing about Volantis from her character (there was a fleeting, blink or you'll miss reference to the long bridge). She doesn't even look Volantene. Why not make her from Myr? Myrish people are notable olive-skinned.
But after the Season 4 premiere, I began to notice a trend:
Whenever the TV series needs to say that someone or something was "from the Free Cities", they switched to saying "from Volantis" to sound more specific. Always Volantis.
Volantis has practically become a synonym for "Free Cities". Rather than developing a healthy mix of references to the nine different cities.
- Changing Jeyne Westerling to being Talisa Maegyr, a noblewoman from Volantis.
- Olenna Tyrell, when meeting with Tyrion in Season 3, is annoyed at how long it took Podrick to come back with a plate of figs (which was really under 5 minutes), and sarcastically says "where did you go to get them, Volantis?!"
- Kayla the contortionist is described as "famous from here to Volantis, in certain circles, for being one of only four women who can perform a proper Meereenese Knot"
- Most recently and prominently, the Season 4 premiere changed Tobho Mott of Qohor reforging the sword Ice, to just "a blacksmith from Volantis!" That's Qohor's thing! The thing Qohor is famous for is for having the only blacksmiths in the world skilled enough to reforge Valyrian steel!
Now, granted, Volantis is indeed one of the more important Free Cities. Certainly the most populous, quite influential. Maybe Westerosi consider it "exotic" and romantic as someone in Medieval English might think of "southern Italy". Braavos is closer to Westeros (it's not that far from Gulltown in the Vale, actually), and is located in the north, so it's colder and wetter there (someone in Medieval England saying "as far away as Bruges" just doesn't have the same effect).
And, other than specifically the Tobho Mott reference, Norvos and Qohor, or Lorath of course, aren't as prominent as Volantis. Really the two most important may well be Volantis and Braavos. But can't they show a little attention to Lys and Myr? We've even been to Pentos! (Well, at least they do consistently remember that Lys is where the best pleasure houses are, making references to them in Season 1 and Season 3).