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What are the Stepstones and the Free Cities in House of the Dragon?


Trouble is definitely brewing round King’s Landing in House of the Dragon, with a succession plot looming nearly as massive as one of many dragons. But as we see on this week’s episode, there are different components of the continent which have Game of Thrones’ hazard going for them already. And the primary plot, which is usually about sea-based transport strains, may additionally be essentially the most complicated.

[Ed. note: This story contains spoilers for House of the Dragon episode 2.]

Corlys Velaryon’s rant towards the start of the episode units up his troubles with transport, but it surely additionally features a flurry of correct nouns, enemies, allies, and cities which can be all fairly simple to overlook. The massive image concept is that Corlys (together with many different retailers of Westeros) are shedding ships to a pirate known as the Crabfeeder who has his base on the Stepstones. But as Viserys makes clear, the entire thing is much more sophisticated than that.

To enable you to sustain with Westeros’ latest battle, right here’s a breakdown of Daemon and Corlys’ conflict and why it issues, even when Viserys can’t formally sanction it.

Where are the Stepstones and why do they matter?

The Small Council meeting with Rhaenyra standing at the table

Photo: Ollie Upton/HBO

The Stepstones are a small rocky island chain south of King’s Landing between Westeros and Essos close to Sunspear. On their very own, they’ve basically no worth in any respect. They can’t actually be constructed on, and there’s no soil to farm and no minerals of any worth. However, as a result of commerce between Westeros and Essos is a important a part of each continents’ economies, the Stepstones might present an acceptable base of operations for any pirate who wished to harass ships as they journey the southern a part of the Narrow Sea or cost outrageous tolls for secure passage. Which is strictly the place the Crabfeeder comes into play.

Who is the Crabfeeder?

While the present doesn’t go into a lot element, Fire & Blood (the novel that House of the Dragon is predicated on) tells us that the Crabfeeder was truly a Myrish prince named Craghas Drahar. In the ebook, Drahar truly cleaned out the pirates of the Stepstones himself after which arrange a toll system that charged ships for secure passage. While the retailers of Westeros accepted this for some time, they finally turned fed up with the ever-rising costs.

However, plainly all this can be a little completely different within the present. For one factor, plainly the Crabfeeder isn’t so instantly related with the Triarchy in House of the Dragon, and is as an alternative being equipped by the free cities covertly. The Crabfeeder can be apparently harassing ships himself and performing a bit of extra like a pirate than the grasping landowner he’s within the ebook.

One factor the present does spruce up (or down?) considerably is the Crabfeeder’s look. We don’t get many particulars about how Drahar seems to be in Fire & Blood, however in House of the Dragon it’s clear his journeys throughout the ocean have left him scarred and burned and possibly even with a little bit of Greyscale from quests within the ruins of Chroyane. Plus, he has a cool masks.

Who are the Triarchy and the way are they related to the Free Cities?

There are 9 free city-states that make up the Free Cities of Essos: Braavos, Lorath, Lys, Myr, Norvos, Pentos, Qohor, Tyrosh, and Volantis. While these cities are consistently vying for energy with each other, there was a short time period when an alliance between Lys, Myr, and Tyrosh arose, calling itself the Triarchy and turning into the preeminent energy within the area.

Why can’t Westeros go to conflict with the Free Cities?

As usually because the Free Cities squabble with each other, their mixed power is much higher than absolutely anything Westeros might muster. On high of that, the Free Cities are an necessary commerce ally to the Seven Kingdoms, and the Iron Bank of Braavos homes fairly a little bit of Westerosi wealth. In different phrases, there’s actually no upside to preventing the Free Cities brazenly and loads of downsides.

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