The Riverlands is a central region of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, consisting of the rich, fertile, and populous areas around the three forks of the Trident and the northern Blackwater Rush. At the time of Aegon’s Conquest, the Riverlands and the Iron Islands were ruled by House Hoare, the Kings of the Isles, and the Rivers, although native river kings ruled centuries earlier.
Because of their central position in Westeros and lack of natural boundaries, the Riverlands has been a frequent battleground. The people of the Riverlands are known as “rivermen” or occasionally “Riverlanders”, and they are a mixture of hardy warriors, peaceful fisherfolk, and devout smallfolk. Their lords have a reputation for being notoriously quarrelsome, and are referred to as “river lords”. Noble bastards born in the Riverlands are given the surname Rivers. The Riverlands are ruled from Riverrun by House Tully, the Lords Paramount of the Trident.
The Riverlands encompass a region of plains, forests, hills, and endless rivers, and borders on every single kingdom except Dorne. Their northern border is near the swamplands of the Neck, the southernmost region of the north. To the east, the Riverlands extend to the Vale of Arryn’s Mountains of the Moon and Crackclaw Point in the crownlands. A stream forms part of the boundary between the Riverlands and the crownlands, with the hills of House Wode in the former and the lands of House Hogg in the latter. To the south the Riverlands border the crownlands and the Reach. The Riverlands extend west to Ironman’s Bay and the mountainous Westerlands. The heavily fortified Golden Tooth guards the entrance to the Riverlands but belongs to the Westerlands. Some of the eastern hills of what is now the Westerlands were once ruled by Kings of the Rivers and the Hills, such as the Mudds and Teagues. Some river kings also fought over territory with the Kings of the Reach to the south.
The Riverlands are named for the number of rivers that are present. The Red Fork runs from its source in the western mountains to Riverrun where it combines with the Tumblestone and then runs to the east. The Blue Fork flows southeast from its sources near Seagard, while the Green Fork runs south from swamps in the Neck, near the Kingsroad. The three forks come together with a short distance from Lord Harroway’s Town to form the Trident, which then pours into the Bay of Crabs at Saltpans. The northern Blackwater Rush and a river from the Gods Eye run through the southern Riverlands.
The Riverlands do not contain any major cities but have a number of towns, such as Fairmarket, Harrentown, Harroway, Maidenpool, Saltpans, and Stoney Sept. Their major castles include Darry, Harrenhal, Raventree Hall, Riverrun, Seagard, Stone Hedge, and the Twins. Additional noteworthy places in the Riverlands are the old ruins at Oldstones, where in ancient times House Mudd had its castle and the Gods Eye lake with the Isle of Faces in it. The Lady of the Leaves lives in a village hidden in trees, while a ghost is said to be at High Heart. The Quiet Isle is located at the mouth of the Trident.
The river road runs from Casterly Rock in the Westerlands to Riverrun and then on to the crossroads, where it meets the Kingsroad and the high road. The Duskendale road connects Maidenpool with Duskendale in the crownlands.
People and Economy
The Riverlands are rich and fertile and populous. The numerous rivers that run across their expanse are used for trading and the transport of goods. In times of peace fisherfolk in skiffs and grain barges pole downstream and merchants on floating ships sail on the rivers.] With so much trade on the rivers, villagers will haul their grain and other goods to it to see it sold and carried elsewhere by the merchants. Wine can be made from small, tart grapes grown in the Riverlands.
Although they are Lords Paramount of the Trident, the Tullys have historically fielded fewer men than the Blackwoods, Brackens, Freys, and Vances. The Mallisters have a more prestigious lineage, while the Mootons are wealthier.
During the Dawn Age, the First Men settled in the Riverlands, coming into conflict with the native children of the forest. After centuries of fighting, a pact was signed at the Isle of Faces, the children withdrew to their forests, while the First Men raised their kingdoms in the lands ceded by the mysterious folk.
During the thousands of years that followed, various families ruled the Riverlands as river kings, claiming the titles King of the Trident or King of the Rivers and the Hills. Many dynasties claimed these lands during the Age of Heroes, including Fishers, Brackens, Blackwoods, and Mudds, who were the last of the First Men to claim the Riverlands as their own.
The time of the First Men river kings came to an end with the coming of the Andals. Remembered in the song are the Fall of Maidenpool, the Widow’s Ford, the White Wood, and the Battle of Bitter River. King Tristifer IV Mudd raised his armies and met the Andal invaders. Tristifer was said to have won ninety-nine out of his hundred battles against the Andals, but in the final battle, he was killed. His son and successor, Tristifer V, was not as successful as his father and the kingdom fell.
The victorious Andals raised their own kingdoms and dynasties. House Justman united the Riverlands for almost three centuries, and King Benedict II Justman expanded their realm east to Duskendale, Rosby, and the mouth of the Blackwater Rush. However, the sons of King Bernarr II Justman were murdered by Qhored Hoare in the Bloody Keep of Pyke in the Iron Islands, and the Riverlands fell into anarchy when Qhored sacrificed Bernarr to the Drowned God, ending the Justman line.
The Riverlands were then disputed by Houses Blackwood, Bracken, Vance, Mallister, and Charlton for a century. The Hooks were also river kings of old who claimed the mouth of the Blackwater. The various kings were pressured by the Kings of the Iron Islands, the Kings of the Rock, the Vale mountain clans, the Kings of the Reach, the Storm Kings, and pirates from the Stepstones and the Three Sisters. Torrence Teague finally reunited the Riverlands, but he and his heirs were disliked by their rebellious subjects. According to a semi-canon source, House Teague may not have had an uninterrupted rule, instead of being contested by other river dynasties for generations.
The last native river kings were Humfrey I Teague and his kin. Humfrey founded numerous septs and motherhouses in his kingdom, and he repressed the worship of the old gods. A rebellion began by Lord Roderick Blackwood led to the deaths of the Teagues in the Battle of Six Kings and their replacement by the Storm King, Arlan III Durrandon.
The Storm Kings, in turn, were defeated by the Iron King, Harwyn Hardhand, who established his own kingdom from the Iron Islands to the Riverlands. The era of the Kings of the Isles and the Rivers is included in The Iron Chronicle. Harwyn’s son, Halleck Hoare, made his seat in Fairmarket instead of the Iron Islands.
Harwyn’s grandson, Harren the Black, ordered the construction of an immense castle, Harrenhal, as a display of his wealth and power. The construction of Harrenhal took forty years and a huge amount of resources and money to build. Feuding between the Blackwoods and the Brackens during the construction led Harren to punish both houses. Ironically, the same day the most immense castle in history was finished, Aegon Targaryen, the Lord of Dragonstone, landed in Westeros with his dragons.
Harren the Black was unpopular within the Riverlands when Aegon’s Conquest began. Rather than support House Hoare, the river lords rose in rebellion and joined House Targaryen. The first to do so was House Tully, followed by the Blackwoods, Mallisters, Vances, Brackens, Pipers, Freys, and Strongs.
Harren thought if he refused to battle to Aegon I Targaryen, the invaders would have to besiege Harrenhal with the river lords. Instead, Aegon let his dragon attack. The heat produced by Balerion was so great that much of Harrenhal burned and melted, killing Harren and his children. After the burning of Harrenhal Aegon raised Lord Edmyn Tully to dominion over the Riverlands, below the sovereignty of the Targaryens, as the Lord Paramount of the Trident.
Rivermen made up the bulk of Aegon’s army at the Field of Fire. The Inn of the Kneeling Man on the Red Fork was built where Torrhen Stark, King in the North, is believed to have submitted to Aegon.