- "All hail Bran the Broken, the First of His Name, King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Six Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm."
- ―Tyrion Lannister
The Six Kingdoms is the name given to the realm that controls southern Westeros and its numerous offshore islands established after the Great Council of 305 AC. It is ruled by the elected King of the Andals and the First Men from the Red Keep in the capital city of King's Landing.
The realm was formed from the monarchy of the Iron Throne that ruled the vast area of Westeros known as the Seven Kingdoms. The Iron Throne was destroyed by Drogon in a rage after the assassination of Daenerys Targaryen, and it is unknown if a new throne was constructed for the new monarchy. The name "Six Kingdoms" was coined by Tyrion Lannister during the aforementioned Great Council, after it was formally agreed upon that the North would secede from the Red Keep's rule. It consists of eight constituent regions (the Crownlands are considered part of the Kingdom of the Stormlands and the Kingdom of the Isles and the Rivers, while the Iron Islands and Riverlands are also part of the latter kingdom).
The first monarch elected by the Great Council is Bran the Broken, First of His Name.
- See also: Lordship
Whereas the Seven Kingdoms were ruled as a hereditary absolute monarchy, the Six Kingdoms are an elective monarchy. The elected king or queen rules for life. After or nearing the sovereign's death or abdication, the Great Council names a successor. The sovereign's head of government is the Hand, who may assume the full responsibilites of the sovereign, and even claim the sovereign's title of "Protector of the Realm," should he or she be absent or incapacitated.
The central government of the realm is the small council, a chamber of lords that advise the sovereign and/or the Hand in matters such as economy, intelligence, or law. The permanent small council positions and their current occupants are:
- The Master of Laws: vacant
- The Master of Coin: Bronn, Lord of Highgarden
- The Master of Ships: Lord Davos Seaworth
- The Master of War: vacant
- The Master of Whisperers: vacant
- The Grand Maester: Samwell
- The Lord Commander of the Kingsguard: Ser Brienne of Tarth
The sovereign may appoint other advisors to the council at his or her discretion, but they hold no official office (they operate "without portfolio").
Beneath the King of the Andals and the First Men, the Hand of the King, and the small council, but still enjoying a great degree of autonomy, are the rulers of the administrative regions of the Six Kingdoms. They are almost all referred to as Lords Paramount of their respective region, with the only two exceptions being Dorne, the ruler being referred to as the Prince of Dorne, and the Iron Islands, the ruler being referred to as the Lord of the Iron Islands. The Lords Paramount are the paternal heads of the Great Houses; each Great House rules a region.
Additionally, some lords may be named as Wardens, who are regional commanders sworn to defend the realm from threats posed in and around their region. The three Wardens are the Warden of the West, the Warden of the East, and the Warden of the South (the position of Warden of the North was abolished when the independent Kingdom of the North was established). Wardens are traditionally rulers of administrative regions, but this is not always the case. If such a lord is in his minority, someone else may temporarily be named Warden.
Below the Lords Paramount lie their vassals: lords and landed knights who rule in the name of their liege lord and are sworn to answer their summons when the need arises. These lords may, in turn, have their own vassals and sworn knights ruling over portions of their own lands. The lowest in the social ladder are the smallfolk, or commoners, who make up the majority of the population. Most smallfolk are serfs, legally bound to work for their lord in exchange for the privilege of land and home.
The following table goes in descending order from north to south of Westeros.
|The Vale of Arryn||House Arryn||The Eyrie||Kingdom of the Mountain and the Vale||Ruled by Lord Robin Arryn|
|The Riverlands||House Tully||Riverrun||Kingdom of the Isles and the Rivers||Ruled by Lord Edmure Tully|
|The Iron Islands||House Greyjoy||Pyke||Kingdom of the Isles and the Rivers||Ruled by Lady Yara Greyjoy|
|The Westerlands||House Lannister||Casterly Rock||Kingdom of the Rock||Ruled by Lord Tyrion Lannister|
|The Crownlands||King of the Andals and the First Men||King's Landing||Kingdom of the Isles and the Rivers
Kingdom of the Stormlands
|Ruled directly by the monarch, Bran I|
|The Stormlands||House Baratheon||Storm's End||Kingdom of the Stormlands||Ruled by Lord Gendry Baratheon|
|The Reach||Bronn's house||Highgarden||Kingdom of the Reach||Ruled by Lord Bronn|
|Dorne||House Martell||Sunspear||Principality of Dorne||Ruled by Prince Martell|
Additionally, in the North, the Wall and the Gift are directly controlled by the Night's Watch and its Lord Commander. The Night's Watch is sworn to remain neutral in the conflicts involving the realm. It is not known whether the Gift is part of the Six Kingdoms or the Kingdom of the North, or whether the two realms share jurisdiction of the region.
As the Riverlands were under ironborn rule during the War of Conquest, they do not count as one of the "Six Kingdoms." Similarly, the Crownlands were formed from lands that were divided between the ironborn and Stormlander kingdoms at that time, and as such are not a kingdom either.
The legal system of the Six Kingdoms is presumably as it was during the age of the Seven Kingdoms. As demonstrated by Jon Snow's exile, criminals may still be sent to the Wall to serve in the Night's Watch, despite the current lack of a threat from the Free Folk or White Walkers. Matters of law and justice are still handled by the Master of Laws on the small council.
Economy and currency
It is unknown whether the Six Kingdoms underwent an economic reform or kept the system of the Seven Kingdoms.
With the creation of the office of Master of War, the military force of the Six Kingdoms may be more centralized than it was during the age of the Seven Kingdoms. The idea of a standing "royal army" was previously entertained by Robert Baratheon as well as his successor Joffrey, though neither did anything to bring this idea to fruition. The position of "Master of War" was first conceived by Cersei Lannister, adopted by Daenerys Targaryen, and later formally created by King Bran.
The Royal Fleet, stationed in Blackwater Bay, is commanded by the Master of Ships. Other navies serving the crown include the Iron Fleet in the Iron Islands and the Redwyne Fleet in the Redwyne Straits.
- See also: Laws and customs
The mainland of the Six Kingdoms is predominantly populated by the Andals, who originally came to Westeros from the hills of Andalos in Essos. The Andals uphold a fierce tradition of knighthood, chivalry, and feudalism.
Dornishmen are most widespread in the administrative region of Dorne, located on the southern mainland. The Dornishmen are the descendants of First Men and Rhoynar who united into one people when Princess Nymeria of Ny Sar conquered the region's many petty kingdoms after fleeing from Essos due to having lost a war against the Valyrian Freehold. Culturally the Dornishmen are similar to the Andals, but have a much more liberal view on sexuality, gender equality, and bastardy.
The Iron Islands are inhabited by the ironborn, a culture of sailors and pirates. It is rooted deep within the ironborn tradition to seize by force what they consider necessary: "paying the iron price."—though there have been efforts by the current Lady of the Iron Islands, Yara Greyjoy, to phase out this so-called Old Way. This has been attempted since the Iron Islands were brought into the Seven Kingdoms, and has always failed in the long term.
Among the noble houses of the Six Kingdoms, there are very few who still follow the customs of the First Men, House Blackwood of Raventree Hall among them. These houses reject the concept of knighthood, and worship the Old Gods of the Forest. Out of respect for these houses, many Andal houses have godswoods in their castles.
The rarest race of men in Westeros are the Valyrians. Most of those with more-or-less pure Valyrian blood in the Six Kingdoms are remnants of the old Valyrian Freehold who either colonized part of the continent or fled the Doom of Valyria. The known Valyrian houses are the Celtigars and Velaryons, while the last known scion of House Targaryen, Jon Snow, is exiled to the Night's Watch and was last seen north of the Wall (and is in truth a Northman culturally). Additional Valyrian houses in Westeros that are now extinct include House Blackfyre and House Qoherys. Valyrian families often speak the High Valyrian language amongst themselves, while also being fluent in the Common Tongue of the Andals as a second language. They are said to possess the blood of the dragon, and have historically been known to ride dragons.
- See also: Religion
The dominant religion in the Six Kingdoms is the Faith of the Seven, upheld primarily by Andals and Dornishmen and originally brought to Westeros during the Andal Invasion. Although it is said that followers of this religion worship seven gods, it is actually one god consisting of seven aspects: the Father, the Smith, the Warrior, the Mother, the Maiden, the Crone, and the Stranger. Some refer to this deity as the "Seven-Faced God" to avoid confusion. The Faith is highly organized, led by the High Septon from the Starry Sept in Oldtown. The male and female clergy respectively are the septons and septas.
Unorganized and less common, the worship of the Old Gods of the Forest is practiced mostly by noble families who still follow the customs of the First Men. Highly personal and spiritual, this religion has no clergy or sacred texts, and prayer is done before a weirwood tree in a godswood. The Old Gods were originally worshiped by the Children of the Forest and the giants who once dominated the continent. The gods were adopted by the First Men after a long period of war against the Children, which ended with the peace treaty known as the Pact.
The ironborn of the Iron Islands revere the Drowned God, a harsh sea deity who favors and rewards those who undertake war and plunder in his name, and whose enemy is the Storm God. The Drowned God's clergy are called the Drowned Men, who are initiated by being literally drowned and revived. The Drowned God is unrecognized on the mainland; when mainlanders swear sacred oaths, they swear "by the Old Gods and the New" without mention of the Drowned God.
Some in the Six Kingdoms worship the fire god known as R'hllor, the Lord of Light. This deity is popular in Essos, where Red Priests and Priestesses roam the land to preach His word. The enemy of R'hllor is the Great Other, the god of darkness, cold, and death. While worship of R'hllor most commonly includes lighting fires and praying, the clergy and the most devout of the faith perform human sacrifices by burning. Until recently the religion has failed to gain a following in Westeros, but the conversions of Stannis Baratheon and the Brotherhood Without Banners have made the worship of R'hllor slightly more widespread. It is unknown if former followers of Stannis still worship R'hllor or if they have returned to the Faith of the Seven.
Empires and kingdoms of the known world
Six Kingdoms · Kingdom of the North
Valyrian Freehold · Ghiscari Empire · Kingdom of the Mountain and the Vale · Kingdom of the Isles and the Rivers · Kingdom of the Rock · Kingdom of the Stormlands · Kingdom of the Reach · Principality of Dorne · Kingdom of the Iron Islands · Seven Kingdoms