“Essos is East. Westeros is West, but what’s west of Westeros?”
On Sunday night’s (June 12) “Game of Thrones” episode, Arya Stark (Maisie Wiliams) ponders traveling “west of Westeros,” which she describes as the place “where all the maps stop.” After nearly six seasons of hopping between the Seven Kingdoms, audiences are stewing over the news that there might be a piece of uncharted territory that neither dedicated viewers or book readers knew about. What’s out there? Is it dangerous? Why does no one live there? Or, better yet, why haven’t we met anyone that lives out there? Most of all, how is this just now coming up in conversation?
All this time, we’ve been discussing the weather — fearing that “winter is coming” — and wondering about Jon Snow’s (Kit Harington) fate. No, lo and behold, there’s apparently an entire place in George R.R. Martin’s mythical world that a king or queen has not yet conquered. Or perhaps, it is conquered? Are there actually Eight Kingdoms? Just how vast is Martin’s fictional planet ?
Let’s see what can be figured out:
Martin has gone on the record to say that the planet in which “Game of Thrones” takes place is similar to Earth, except that it’s slightly larger. The world of the Seven Kingdoms’ climate patterns and gravitational pull are homogenous to Earth’s and the land of Essos matches that of Eurasia. However, the characters in Westeros don’t seem to know what lies past the Sunset Sea.
“No one has ever traveled past the Sunset Sea to learn what’s on the other side,” Martin has also mentioned. The most western area we know of has been referred to as The Lonely Light — a cluster of 13 land masses known as The Iron Islands. The only person that has ever attempted to travel further than that is former King of the North, Brandon the Shipwright. He was never seen again.
If the similarities between the real and fictional worlds are as Martin describes, it might be safe to assume that if one travels far enough east — setting sail after crossing through the land of Assahi — that path will lead right back to Casterly Rock. That would be like someone traveling from New York, across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe. Then, proceeding to cross all the way through Russia to the Pacific Ocean, once again hitting North American shores in California. Are the people of the Seven Kingdom’s unaware that their planet is round, not flat? According to Martin, this topic is still up for debate for his characters.
Khaleesi’s (Emilia Clark) prophecy told her “you have to go east to go west.” By this logic, the Mother of Dragons is going to have to travel through this unknown territory to finally take on Westeros and claim the crown. While it’s much shorter to travel west, the fates of those that have attempted to travel through Slaver’s Bay and the Narrow Sea have all had tragic endings.
Daenerys Targaryen has conquered so many unknown lands, it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for her to be the first person to conquer this mysterious last of the west. We’d expect her to even persuade whoever lives there to adopt her as Queen. What will this land look like? Will it resemble America in any way? Or will it be filled with White Walker-like villains?
It’s truly hard to guess when this part of the story may not even be written yet. Come on, Martin. You really need to hurry up.
“Game of Thrones” airs on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.