Meera Reed: Mudmen. Bog devils. Those are just the most pleasant names our fellow Northerners have for us, the crannogmen who live in the swamps of the Neck. Because we do not live in castles like them. Because we do not farm like them. Because we are not tall or rich like them. But through our veins flows the same blood of the First Men, and (at times) maybe something more.
We still live much as they did, on floating islands in houses of thatch and woven reeds. We fish, hunt, and tell our children of our heroes — the Knight of the Laughing Tree, who fought in the Year of the False Spring; the last Marsh King who challenged the Starks and lost his crown and his daughter; and other stories, older still, since lost to the world.
The Neck was not always a swamp. In the Dawn Age, it was as dry and fertile as the rest of the North. But during the war with the First Men, the Children of the Forest brought down the hammer of the waters on the Neck, trying to break Westeros in two. When the waters finally receded, they left the bogs and swamps we known today.
Many of the First Men decided to fight on, but my ancestors wisely chose to heed the Children's power and advance no further. They beat their swords into frog-spears and fish-hooks and settled a land forever devastated by the folly of war.
Unlike the rest of Westeros, we keep no garrisons and raise no soldiers for petty spats with our neighbors. Our land protects its own. An outsider will find in the Neck an endless morass of suckholes, quicksands, and green grass that looks solid to the unwary eye but turns to water the instant you treads on it. If you are lucky enough to be armored, you will only drown inside your own steel.
If you're not, you get to meet what swims in that water — serpents, and monstrous lizard-lions with teeth like daggers and never enough to eat. Don't worry; only your horse will live long enough to feel their poisons burning through it. If you somehow survive all this, you may find that a well-placed dart can be as deadly as any blade, not that you'll see us blowing it your way.
Since the fall of the last Marsh King, House Reed has ruled the Neck beneath the banner of a black lizard-lion on a grey-green field. We are not wealthy, powerful, or known - even to their own countrymen. Our home, Greywater Watch, is no castle you have ever seen. And seeing it once does not mean you'll ever find it again. For Greywater Watch moves.
Many would-be conquerors have died trying to find us. With war all around and our Stark lord besieged on all sides, many more will doubtless soon try. They will look at us on a map and see a stranglehold for the North. And they will forget that the sea itself once entered the Neck and not all of it returned.
- Knight of the Laughing Tree (mentioned)
- Dawn Age (mentioned)
- Wars of the First Men and the Children of the Forest
- Year of the False Spring (mentioned)
- Children of the Forest (mentioned)
- Marsh King (mentioned)
- Lizard-Lions (mentioned)