Wiki of Westeros

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Wiki of Westeros
Wiki of Westeros
This page is about the short. For the city-states, see: Free Cities

"The Free Cities"[3] is the fifteenth short of the second season of Histories & Lore. It is the thirty-ninth short of the series overall. It was released on February 19, 2013 in Game of Thrones: The Complete Second Season. It was narrated by Iain Glen as Jorah Mormont and written by Dave Hill.


Jorah Mormont explains the rise of the "Free Cities" of Essos in the wake of Valyria's Doom, detailing how the cities differ and what one can expect to find in each one.[3]


Jorah Mormont: At its height, the Valyrian Freehold ruled over half the known world. Not bad for former shepherds.

But the Doom fell on them and sent their capital into the sea.

Now Volantis is the ember of Old Valyria, ensuring its flame does not go out of this world. As any Volantene will tell you. Pentoshi say the same about Pentos, Lysenes about Lys, and so on. But after enough time in the Nine Free Cities, is hard to see them as anything but ashes of glory.

Volantis is the oldest, the first colony of Valyria. After the Doom, the Volantenes tried to rebuild the empire under their rule. They failed. Not least because the last Valyrian with dragons, Aegon Targaryen, entered the war against them. Now they are content to dominate only their lower classes. Or so they say.

Braavos is the strangest, a city erected not by the Freehold but against it. A labyrinth of illusion and deceit to hide the refugees from Valyria's slave lords. After the Doom, the city emerged from the shadows to become one of the greatest banking centers in the world.

A man can get anything in Braavos for a price. Especially death. Your own if one offends one of the swaggering swordsmen that pollute the city. Or, if you're very rich or very desperate, anyone else's.

Lys is the easiest of the Free Cities, full of pleasure houses catering to every taste, no matter how peculiar. Many men lose themselves in Lys and are never found, at least alive. When a man runs out of coin, the Lysenes may grant him their other specialty on the house: poison.

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.

On the New Year, to bring good fortune to Pentos, this Prince must deflower the Maid of the Field and the Maid of the Seas. I confess I don't know how each is chosen or what becomes of them after serving their purpose. But, if a crop should fail or a war be lost, the Magisters will slit the Prince's throat and choose another.

The other Free Cities are known for what they make. Myr has its lenses and finery; Norvos, its axes; Qohor, its smiths who can reforge Valyrian steel; Tyrosh, its colors?

I'm sure Lorath adds something to the world, but I can't think of it.

Frankly, the nine of them are more alike than they would care to admit. They hire the same soldiers to fight the same wars for the same rulers. The rich, be they called Magisters, Archons, or what have you. When a Dothraki khalasar approaches, they give the same tribute to avoid the same sacking.

For thousands of years, the disgraced of Westeros have rained east to pool in the Free Cities. For a man of honor counts for less than nothing unless it raises his price. Better men than I have learned that what a man sells for gold, he can never buy back.

He must earn it by fire and blood.










Behind the scenes[]

  • Jorah remembering Tyrosh for its colors is a reference to their production of various dyes and custom of its people to dye their hair and beards in bright colors such as green and blue.


  1. Charlie Harwood (November 19, 2012). Release Date & Details for Game of Thrones Season 2 DVD/Blu-Ray. HBO Watch. Retrieved December 15, 2023.
  2. Histories & Lore: Season 2, Short 15: "The Free Cities" (2013).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Game of Thrones: The Complete Second Season (2013).
  4. Vanessa Cole (July 22, 2017). Game of Thrones writer Dave Hill gives a behind the scenes look at the creative process. Watchers on the Wall. Retrieved December 15, 2023.