- "The Reach is aptly named. We're the ones who give your hand something to do at the table. As the most fertile region of the Seven Kingdoms, we grow the lion's share of the grains and fruit that feed this country."
- ―Margaery Tyrell
It is the most fertile part of Westeros, blessed with vast, blooming fields of crops and flowers, and numerous and well-populated villages and towns; it traditionally helps supply other less fertile parts of the Seven Kingdoms (most notably King's Landing) with grain, fruit, wine and livestock. The Reach is also the most heavily-populated part of Westeros and is one of the richest, second only to the Westerlands, ruled by House Lannister. However this claim is suggested to be rather outdated as Lannister gold mines—the source of their wealth—have dried out, and have been weakened by the War of the Five Kings, thus making the Reach actually the wealthiest region. Due to this, the Tyrells could traditionally field the largest army in the Seven Kingdoms, almost as large as the armies from two of the other populous kingdoms combined. This vast supply of manpower, land, and food production gives the Reach enormous strategic value during the War of the Five Kings.
The Reach withdrew from the sovereignty of the Iron Throne due to the deaths of virtually all its liege lords in the destruction of the Great Sept of Baelor, an act perpetrated by Cersei Lannister, who quickly became Queen due to the resulting suicide of King Tommen Baratheon.
After the battle and the ultimate death of Lady Olenna Tyrell, House Tarly was made Warden of the South for its betrayal of its liege lords for what Jaime Lannister had described as allying with "foreign barbarians and eunuchs." Thus the Reach was presumably briefly controlled by the Lannister-Tarly houses, before their host was smashed in the Battle of the Goldroad, leaving the region in an ambiguous status and likely a power vacuum. Ser Bronn of the Blackwater offers to join Jaime and Tyrion with the forces of Queen Daenerys Targaryen should he be named Lord of Highgarden due to its vast size in comparison to Riverrun, a deal to which Tyrion reluctantly agrees. Bastards born in the Reach are given the surname Flowers. People of the Reach are collectively known as Reachmen.
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 southwest, the Red Mountains of Dorne to the southeast, the hills of the Westerlands to the northwest and the Blackwater Rush to the far northeast. 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.
Castles and Cities
- Highgarden, the seat of Bronn's house 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. A great port located in the southwest of the region at the mouth of the Honeywine River. Home of The Citadel.
- Brightwater Keep, the seat of House Florent. Located west of Highgarden near the headwaters of the Honeywine River.
- Bitterbridge, a castle in the northeast 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, the seat of House Fossoway. A holdfast at the meeting of the Mander and Cockleswhent.
- Goldengrove, a holdfast north of Highgarden.
- Red Lake, a holdfast northwest of Highgarden near the border with the Westerlands.
- Old Oak, the seat of House Oakheart. A holdfast northwest of Highgarden on the Searoad near the border with the Westerlands.
- Horn Hill, the seat of House Tarly. Located southeast of Highgarden.
- Uplands, a holdfast south of Highgarden and west of Oldtown.
- Honeyholt, the seat of House Beesbury. A holdfast between Oldtown and Brightwater Keep.
- Sun House, the seat of House Cuy. A holdfast on the southern coast of the region.
- Three Towers, a holdfast southwest of Highgarden and Oldtown.
- Blackcrown, the seat of House Bulwer, a holdfast southwest of Highgarden and Oldtown.
- Bandallon, a holdfast west of Brightwater Keep.
Towns and Settlements
- Ashford, a holdfast on the Cockleswhent.
- Tumbleton, a town in the far northeast of the region near the border with the Crownlands.
Islands and Coastal areas
- The Arbor, a great island off the southwestern coast and the seat of House Redwyne.
- 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's 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.
Due to its southern location, the Reach has a more temperate climate than most other regions of the Seven Kingdoms, except for Dorne. Snowfall is practically unheard of in Dorne; it sometimes snows in the Reach during the harshest winters, but snowfall is still unusual in its southern regions. Samwell Tarly of Horn Hill, in the south of the Reach, states that he never saw snow in his life before he came to the Wall (though Sam has never lived through a particularly harsh winter lasting three or more years). This temperate climate supports its status as one of the major breadbasket regions of the Seven Kingdoms, along with the Riverlands. It also results in the Reach being one of the largest and best wine-producing regions in Westeros, particularly on the large off-shore island known as the Arbor.
The Reach can raise armies almost twice as large as those of any of the other kingdoms; it also has a fleet larger than any except that of the Iron Islands. 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. Therefore, the rulers of the Reach usually form an alliance with at least one of their land neighbors.
The Reach has remained untouched by the War of the Five Kings. That changes in the fourth novel: shortly after Euron Greyjoy is coronated, he launches a military campaign against the Reach, taking advantage of the fact that most of the Redwyne fleet is away, besieging Dragonstone. The ironborn first conquer the Shield Islands, then the The Arbor and its neighboring islands, using them as bases to prey on shipping bound for Oldtown. They penetrat even to the sheltered waters of Whispering Sound. They have also tried to raid Oldtown, but the city defenders repelled the attack.
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. Like the Reach, France was one of the most fertile regions of medieval Europe, but was also bordered by a larger number of hostile neighbors (England, Spain, pre-modern Germany and Italy) than any of its rivals, so this advantage was balanced out. 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.
- Horn Hill, 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.
Old Oak · Red Lake · Goldengrove · Bitterbridge · Tumbleton · Grassy Vale · Cider Hall · Ashford · Horn Hill · Brightwater Keep · Bandallon · Honeyholt · Oldtown (The Citadel · The Hightower · Starry Sept) · Uplands · Blackcrown · Three Towers · Sunflower Hall · The Arbor
Houses from the Reach
|Lord:||None, extinct||Heir:||None, extinct|
|Title(s):||High Steward of Highgarden · Lord of Highgarden · Lord Paramount of the Reach · Warden of the South|
|Ancestors:||Garth Gardener · Harlen Tyrell · Lyonel Tyrell|
|Deceased members:||Luthor Tyrell · Mace Tyrell · Margaery Tyrell · Loras Tyrell · Olenna Tyrell · Tyrell lady · Alerie Tyrell|
|Household:||Mira Forrester · Sera Durwell|
|Overlord:||House Targaryen · House Baratheon of King's Landing (formerly) · House Gardener (formerly)|