The Crownlands is one of the nine constituent regions of the Seven Kingdoms. It was never a sovereign nation, instead being contested between the Riverlands, the Stormlands, and other regions until Aegon the Conqueror seized control of the area during his invasion and made it his primary foothold on the continent, three centuries before the death of King Robert Baratheon. It is therefore the newest of the regions in Westeros, and as a result, does not have much of a distinct "cultural identity", so much as it is shaped by its distinction as the region containing the capital city.
The Riverlands were always more of a borderland frequently changing hands between rival strong kingdoms and were not an independent kingdom at the time of the Targaryen Conquest, and thus are technically not counted as one of the "Seven" Kingdoms, instead loosely making up the eighth "kingdom" or region. The Crownlands are even younger than the Riverlands, which at least existed as a loose cultural area for thousands of years even if they weren't always politically independent, thus the Crownlands functionally make up the ninth "kingdom" within the realm anachronistically known as "the Seven Kingdoms". Culturally and historically, the Crownlands were primarily an extension of the Riverlands, but with cultural influences from neighboring regions which periodically captured territory in the region, such as the Stormlands, the Vale of Arryn, and even the Iron Islands. One of the main reasons Aegon the Conqueror begin his invasion in the area which would become the Crownlands is because is was where the borders between these three powerful rival kingdoms met. None of them wanted to deal with the Targaryen threat directly, and each wasted so much time arguing that Aegon was really the problem of the other two respective kingdoms that the Targaryens were able to land all of their forces and establish a firm beachhead unopposed.
Instead of being ruled by a Lord Paramount, the Crownlands are ruled directly by the King on the Iron Throne from the city of King's Landing, the largest city in Westeros and the capital of the Seven Kingdoms. Thus for most of its three centuries of existence the Crownlands were ruled directly by House Targaryen and their subordinate vassals. When House Targaryen was deposed at the end of Robert's Rebellion, seventeen years before the War of the Five Kings, Robert took the throne, and his new House Baratheon of King's Landing took up the rule of the Crownlands. On Robert's death, control of the Crownlands and King's Landing passed to King Joffrey Baratheon, backed by House Lannister.
The Crownlands is divided into two areas: the mainland part administered directly by the King on the Iron Throne and his Small Council from the city of King's Landing, and the offshore islands under the authority of the Prince of Dragonstone, traditionally the heir to the throne.
Bastards born in the Crownlands are given the surname Waters.
The Crownlands are located on the east coast of Westeros, on the shores of the Narrow Sea, north of the Stormlands and south of the Vale of Arryn. The Reach borders it to the southwest, and the Riverlands border it to the northwest. The Crownlands do not directly touch the lands of the Vale, as the Bay of Crabs separates them by sea, and a small strip of the eastern Riverlands separates them by land. Gods Eye lake forms the southern part of the border between the Riverlands and the Crownlands, but the northern part of the border with the Riverlands is arbitrary, not defined by geographical features.
The Crownlands consist of two major regions: the mainland area which is ruled from King's Landing itself, and the islands of Blackwater Bay, which are ruled from Dragonstone island by the heir to the throne.
The mainland itself is divided into three regions. The main region lies between the Blackwater river in the south, and Crackclaw Point in the north. The Blackwater Rush, as it is known, is the major waterway of the Crownlands, flowing out of Gods Eye lake. King's Landing itself sits on the north side of the Blackwater. This area is a warm coastal plain with fertile fields that feed the capital city. Besides King's Landing itself, the major towns of Rosby and Duskendale are also located here.
Crackclaw Point itself in the north is a forested, hilly region filled with bogs and pine barrens. This backwater region is sparsely populated by local hill-lords who have been feuding with their neighbors and each other since the days of the First Men, but who submitted to the Targaryens. South of the Blackwater river, the Crownlands extend to include a narrow strip of the southern coast of Blackwater Bay, ending in Massey's Hook. This southern strip of land is sparsely populated, and dominated by the northern half of the Kingswood, a large forest which spills across the border into the Stormlands.
As befitting the region containing the capital city, many major roads link the Crownlands with the rest of Westeros. The Kingsroad extends south to Storm's End in the Stormlands, and continues north through King's Landing, passing up through the Riverlands, then to Winterfell in the North and ultimately to The Wall. The Roseroad passes from King's Landing to Highgarden in the Reach, before continuing on to Oldtown, the second largest city on the continent. The Goldroad passes from King's Landing through the Riverlands to the west to reach the city of Lannisport in the Westerlands. It is also relatively easy to reach King's Landing by ship from the two other port-cities on the east coast of Westeros, White Harbor in the North and Gulltown in the Vale of Arryn. A multitude of ships and foreign merchants from the Free Cities on the east shore of the Narrow Sea frequently visit the city for trade.
- King's Landing, the capital city of Westeros, currently ruled by King Joffrey Baratheon.
- The Red Keep, the castle that towers over King's Landing.
- Rosby, the seat of House Rosby.
- Antlers, a holdfast north of King's Landing near the border with the Riverlands.
- Dragonstone, the ancestral home of House Targaryen, currently ruled by King Stannis Baratheon.
- The Whispers, a ruined castle on the tip of Crackclaw point.
In the books
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, the Crownlands are an administrative region under the direct control of the Iron Throne. The Crownlands are the Royal Domain, or Desmesne (derived from the Latin, "dominus" which means "lord") of the united Seven Kingdoms. In real-life medieval countries such as England or France, kings did not sit at the top of a delegated hierarchy of power. Instead of relying on national taxation, they drew support from lands ruled directly by the monarchy and the wealth they generated. Over time, fines and tariffs did go to the monarchy, and eventually taxes were implemented, but monarchies only came to actually rely on centralized taxation in the Early Modern era. Thus, there were no large permanent standing armies of professional soldiers, paid for by regular taxation. Author George R.R. Martin has stated that the societal and technological level of Westeros is loosely equivalent to Western Europe during the War of the Roses or Hundred Years' War, which was a long period of transition from the medieval to Early Modern periods. Joffrey himself states in "Lord Snow" that while administrative regions like the North do pay some taxes to the crown, the kingship doesn't have a standing royal army of professional soldiers, instead relying on the regional Lords Paramount like House Stark to supply soldiers as feudal vassals of the crown. Thus, the military forces of the royal House itself are raised from within the Crownlands, which they directly control. This is comparable to how in medieval France, the king directly ruled the area of Île-de-France, essentially as the lead duke among the several dukes (or counts, barons, etc.) who ruled the other large regions of the country, such as Burgundy, Champagne, or Normandy.
Castles of the Crownlands
- The Red Keep of King's Landing, the capital city of Westeros, currently ruled by King Joffrey Baratheon.
- Castle Stokeworth, the seat of House Stokeworth.
- Duskendale, the seat of House Rykker, a major port north-east of King's Landing.
- Rosby, the seat of House Rosby.
- Dragonstone, the ancestral home of House Targaryen, currently ruled by Lord Stannis Baratheon.
- Claw Isle, the seat of House Celtigar.
- Driftmark, the seat of House Velaryon.
Houses from the Crownlands
|Narrow Sea Houses:|
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