The Reach is one of the constituent regions of the Seven Kingdoms, and was formerly a sovereign nation known as the Kingdom of the Reach before the Targaryen conquest. It is one of the larger regions of the Seven Kingdoms.
The Reach is the most fertile part of Westeros, blessed with vast, blooming fields of crops and flowers, and numerous and well-populated villages and towns. The Reach is also the most heavily-populated part of Westeros and is one of the richest, though not as rich as the Westerlands, ruled by House Lannister. Due to this, the Tyrells can traditionally field the largest army in the Seven Kingdoms, in some cases larger than two others combined.
The Reach is watered by the immense River Mander and its many tributaries. The borders of the Reach are held as the Sunset Sea to the west and south-west, the Red Mountains of Dorne to the south-east, the hills of the Westerlands to the north-west and the Blackwater Rush to the far north-east. The northern Red Mountains also form the Reach's border with the Stormlands: known as the Dornish Marches, and currently possessed by the Stormlands, these rugged mountains have for centuries been the site of shifting border wars between the Reach, the Stormlands, and Dorne.
All told, the Reach borders five other regions of the Seven Kingdoms, six if the ocean border with the Iron Islands is counted (in past centuries, the ironborn have indeed raided the coasts of the Reach). Thus the Reach matches the Riverlands in the number of regions it borders, though the mountain borders to the northwest and southeast, as well as ocean borders, make it somewhat more defensible than the Riverlands. The regions that the Reach borders, clockwise from northwest to southeast, are the Westerlands, the Riverlands, the Crownlands, the Stormlands, and Dorne.
The large island of the Arbor, located off the southwest shore, is a major subsection of the Reach, famed for its warm vineyards and central place in the wine industry.
- Highgarden, the seat of House Tyrell and the regional capital. Located on the Mander where it crosses the Roseroad.
- Oldtown, the region's only city and the seat of House Hightower. Located in the south-west of the region at the mouth of the Mander.
- Brightwater Keep, the seat of House Florent. Located west of Highgarden.
- The Arbor, an island off the south-western coast of Westeros and the seat of House Redwyne.
- Tumbleton, a town in the far north-east of the region near the border with the Crownlands.
- Bitterbridge, a castle in the north-east of the region where the Mander first crosses the Roseroad.
- Grassy Vale, a holdfast on the Blueburn river near the border with the Stormlands.
- Long Table, a holdfast at the meeting of the Mander and the Blueburn.
- Cider Hall, a holdfast at the meeting of the Mander and Cockleswhent.
- Ashford, a holdfast on the Cockleswhent.
- Goldengrove, a holdfast north of Highgarden.
- Red Lake, a holdfast north-west of Highgarden near the border with the Westerlands.
- Old Oak, a holdfast north-west of Highgarden on the Searoad near the border with the Westerlands.
- Horn Hill, the seat of House Tarly. Located south-east of Highgarden.
- Uplands, a holdfast south of Highgarden and west of Oldtown.
- Honeyholt, a holdfast between Oldtown and Brightwater Keep.
- Sun House, a holdfast on the southern coast of the region.
- Three Towers, a holdfast south-west of Highgarden and Oldtown.
- Blackcrown, a holdfast south-west of Highgarden and Oldtown.
- Bandallon, a holdfast west of Brightwater Keep.
- The Shield Islands - at the mouth of the River Mander
- The Redwyne Straits - separating the Arbor from the mainland
In the books
While the Andals first landed in the Vale of Arryn when they invaded Westeros, in the four thousand years since their invasion the Reach has been seen as more or less their cultural heartland. During these long millennia the Reach contained the largest city on the continent, Oldtown, which also served as the headquarters of the Andals' religion, the Faith of the Seven. For this reason, the Reach has also always been seen as the heartland of chivalry in Westeros. It is in the Reach that knights most strictly observe the code of conduct promoted by chivalry, and most stringently follow the rules of the knightly tournament (though of course, the degree to which these values are upheld is ultimately dependent on the character of the knight, even in the Reach).
This status as the center of Westeros' culture was only somewhat displaced relatively recently in historical terms, three hundred years ago during the Targaryen Conquest. Aegon the Conqueror built a new and slightly larger capital city on the east coast of Westeros, King's Landing, and forced the leadership of the Faith to move their headquarters there (in the Great Sept of Baelor). Even so, the Reach can field more noble houses with more prestigious histories than the recently created Crownlands.
The Reach can raise armies almost twice as large as those of any of the other kingdoms. Some of the other kingdoms have smaller populations than average and thus smaller armies, such as the Iron Islands, and Dorne. Still, the armies of the Reach are nearly twice as large as those of another populous kingdom such as the Westerlands of House Lannister, though due to their wealth, soldiers from the Westerlands tend to be better equipped. While not quite as wealthy as the Lannisters in the Westerlands, the Reach is still a very fertile and productive land, and its knights are so wealthy that they can afford full plate armor (in contrast with the hardscrabble lands of the North, whose soldiers often have to settle for cheaper chainmail). While the Reach has very rich lands and can field a vast army, it wasn't able to conquer all of the other kingdoms in the centuries before the Targaryen Conquest, but this was largely due to simple geography: while the Reach can raise armies twice as large as any other kingdom, it also has twice as many hostile borders. Most other kingdoms only directly border two other hostile kingdoms (plus the Riverlands, which were a weak border-zone): the North borders the Vale and is close to the Iron Islands (plus the Riverlands), the Westerlands border the Reach and the Iron Islands (plus the Riverlands), the Stormlands border the Reach and Dorne (plus the Riverlands), and Dorne borders the Stormlands and the Reach. The Iron Islands, on the west coast off the continent, are within range of naval attack from the three kingdoms on the west coast (the North, the Westerlands, and the Reach), but their isolated location off of the mainland grants them some added protection. In contrast, the Reach is bordered by the Westerlands, the Stormlands, Dorne, and a close naval frontier with the Iron Islands (plus the Riverlands). With twice as many soldiers but twice as many hostile borders, any military advantage the Reach had evened out. For example, many centuries ago King Giles III Gardener of the Reach attempted to conquer the Stormlands to the east, only for the Reach to be invaded from the north by the Westerlands, so he had to withdraw from the Stormlands to repulse the invasion.
As The Reach is the heartland of chivalry and knighthood in Westeros, has a fully developed culture of sophisticated manners, and is highly fertile, it seems to be loosely based on medieval France. Also like France, which borders Spain, the Reach borders the arid region of Dorne to the south - and George R.R. Martin has stated that Dorne is loosely analogous to Moorish Spain.
Castles of the Reach
- Highgarden, the seat of House Tyrell, the ruling house of the Reach.
- The Arbor, an offshore island and seat of the Reach's large fleet, ruled by House Redwyne.
- Brightwater Keep, the seat of House Florent.
- High Horn, the seat of House Tarly.
- Oldtown, the principal city and port of the Reach, ruled by House Hightower from the High Tower, the tallest building in Westeros.
Regions of the Known World
|Westeros:||Dorne · The Iron Islands · The North · The Reach · The Stormlands · The Vale of Arryn · The Westerlands · The Riverlands · The Crownlands · The Wall & The Gift · Beyond the Wall|
|Essos:||Dothraki Sea · Free Cities · Stepstones · Ibben · Lhazar · Qarth · Slaver's Bay · Red Waste · Valyrian Peninsula · Asshai & the Shadow Lands|
|Sothoryos:||Basilisk Isles · Naath · Summer Islands|
|Settlements:||Old Oak · Red Lake · Goldengrove · Bitterbridge · Tumbleton · Grassy Vale · Cider Hall · Ashford · Horn Hill · Brightwater Keep · Bandallon · Honeyholt · Oldtown · Uplands · Blackcrown · Three Towers · Sun House · The Arbor|
|Rivers:||Honeywine · Mander · Blueburn · Cockleswhent|
|Islands:||Shield Islands · The Arbor|
|Geographic Features:||Redwyne Straits|
|Lord:||Lord Mace Tyrell||Heir:||Ser Loras Tyrell|
|Title(s):||Lord Paramount of the Reach · Lord of Highgarden · Warden of the South · High Marshal of the Reach|
|Ancestors:||Garth Gardener · Harlen Tyrell|
|Current members:||Olenna Tyrell · Alerie Tyrell · Margaery Tyrell · Tyrell lady|
|Deceased members:||Luthor Tyrell|
|Overlord:||House Baratheon of King's Landing|