- "Pentos is the most ruthless. The Magisters make a great show of choosing the Prince of Pentos from the Great Families, and granting him the powers of trade, justice and war... as long as he checks with them first."
- ―Ser Jorah Mormont discusses the Free Cities.
Pentos is one of the Free Cities, located on the western coastline of Essos, across the Narrow Sea from Westeros. It is a large, rich city-state of merchant lords. People and things from Pentos are known as Pentoshi.
Pentos is located at roughly the mid-latitude of the Free Cities, between Braavos in the north and Volantis in the south. It is due east of King's Landing, directly across the Narrow Sea. It is surrounded by fertile coastal plains known as the Flatlands.
Pentos' economy is based mostly on trade and commerce of products such as cheese. As a result, Pentoshi traders like Illyrio Mopatis are often referred to derogatorily as "cheese-mongers". They conduct brisk trade with the Seven Kingdoms across the Narrow Sea and use their wealth to pay tribute to the Dothraki to avoid being sacked by the nomadic people.
Pentos is nominally ruled by a Prince chosen by the city's Magisters from among the Pentoshi noble families. The Prince supposedly holds the powers of trade, justice, and war, and on every new year he must deflower the Maid of the Field and the Maid of the Seas to bring good fortune to the city. However, should a crop fail or a war be lost, the Magisters slit the Prince's throat and choose another. In truth, the Prince's power is only nominal, and the true rulers of the city are the council of Magisters, wealthy merchant-princes.
- Illyrio Mopatis, a wealthy Magister of Pentos.
Daenerys and Viserys are guests of Illyrio in his manse just outside the city of Pentos. Drogo visits the manse to "view" Daenerys. They hold the wedding ceremony on the beach below the manse. Afterwards the Dothraki depart eastwards for the Dothraki sea, Daenerys and Viserys going with them. A few months later, Illyrio secretly travels from Pentos to King's Landing to consult with Varys.
Davos tries to convince the pirate-lord Salladhor Saan to take a contract for his fleet of thirty ships to supplement the faction of Stannis. Davos successfully wins over Salladhor by saying that he could spend the rest of his career making easy but small raids on the ships of "Pentoshi cheese-mongers" and "Meereenese silk merchants", or he could help Stannis take King's Landing, which while more difficult will make Salladhor fabulously wealthy if they succeed.
While in Astapor, Jorah Mormont and Barristan Selmy debate whether or not Daenerys should purchase an army of Unsullied. Selmy is opposed to having slaves for soldiers, and opts instead for hiring sellswords in Pentos and Myr.
After a rough journey in a crate after escaping the capital, Tyrion arrives in Pentos with Varys where they take rest for a short period. Varys informs Tyrion that he and the Magister of Pentos were secretly supporting the Targaryen cause. Varys convinces Tyrion to depart Pentos with him and head to Meereen to meet Daenerys Targaryen.
Tyrion manages to convince Jaime to flee with Cersei to Pentos to start a new life before the Battle of King's Landing. Previously he aranged for a small dingy to meet them at the shoreline of the Red Keep near the dragon skull cavern. However, when Jaime and Cersei try to get to the dingy to take them there, they find themselves trapped under the Red Keep and are killed when the cavern collapses in on them.
In the books
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Pentos was founded by Valyrian settlers as a trading outpost - though some sources claim Pentos existed before and its inhabitants decided to pay homage to the Freehold.
Pentos is a large seaport consisting of squat brick buildings and a number of large palaces and holdings, both within the walls and outside on the plains known as the Flatlands. Pentos's location makes it especially vulnerable to raids from the Dothraki. As such the Pentoshi merchants are prone to feasting and gifting the passing Dothraki warlords with lavish parties and gifts to appease them into not destroying their holdings.
Slavery is technically illegal in Pentos due to a treaty imposed by Braavos a hundred years before the events in the novels. However, the wealthy Magisters flout this law and keep bronze-collared "servants" that are slaves in all but name. Some Magisters are even involved in the slave trade.
According to the TV series official pronunciation guide developed for the cast and crew, "Pentos" is pronounced "PEN-tos", as opposed to "Pen-TOES", etc.
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