What are the Seven Kingdoms in Game of Thrones?

Trudie Graham
Emma D'Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon.

The map of Westeros is stained by blood, politics, and torn loyalty. Here are the Seven Kingdoms in Game of Thrones explained, and the Houses that rule them.

Game of Thrones lore isn’t the easiest pill to swallow, but getting to grips with one of the best TV shows‘ universe makes watching it all the more fascinating.

We’re only going to explore Westeros more since other spin-offs are set to follow House of the Dragon Season 2. These shows will likely reveal new pockets of the kingdoms to us, so now is a great time to get up to speed.

Here are the Seven Kingdoms and who holds their seats in the original show and beyond.


What are the Seven Kingdoms?

The Seven Kingdoms comprise the realms and islands under the control of the reigning king or queen in Westeros.

The Seven Kingdoms in Game of Thrones:

  • The North
  • The Vale
  • The Riverlands
  • The Westerlands
  • The Reach
  • The Stormlands
  • The Crownlands

Two more regions — Dorne and the Iron Islands — expand the realm beyond the traditional seven, but they are not officially recognized as kingdoms.

HBO’s official viewing guide website isn’t maintained anymore, but thankfully, its maps have been archived so we can see where everything’s situated.

Who rules the North?

House Stark rules the North. The North is the largest Kingdom and ruled from the castle of Winterfell.

A map of Westeros showing the North.

Jon Snow even mentioned, “It can fit the other six inside it.” However, it’s also considered the poorest region. The North was established eight thousand years ago by Bran the Builder (can we fix it?), the founder of House Stark.

The North was a key location in the main Game of Thrones show because of the Wall, which was constructed to defend against the return of Whitewalkers. Naturally, the North gets extremely cold and isn’t for the faint of heart.

Who rules The Mountain and Vale?

House Arryn rules The Mountain and Vale from the Eyrie. It was one of the independent kingdoms before Aegon’s Conquest.

A map of Westeros showing the Vale.

During Aegon’s Conquest, the last King of the Mountain and the Vale was a young boy, Ronnel Arryn. His mother, Sharra Arryn, ruled Vale on his behalf.

At one point, Visenya Targaryen flew over the mountains on Vhagar, going directly to the Eyrie. Ronnel met her and asked if she would give him a ride on the dragon, and she did. When Sharra arrived at the Eyrie and saw her son with Visenya’s lap on Vhagar, the implied threat made her surrender the Eyrie to the Targaryen.

After that, the Arryns ruled under the Targaryens’ thumb.

Who rules the Isles and the Rivers?

The Isles and the Rivers are ruled by House Tully. Often referred to as the Riverlands, its history was shaped by House Hoare before Tully rose to power.

A map of Westeros showing the Riverlands.

The Riverlands used to be an independent kingdom known as the Kingdom of Rivers and Hills. Located at the center of Westeros, it’s a borderland between surrounding kingdoms.

It was also a battleground during many conflicts, including Robert’s Rebellion and the Targaryen Civil War. Despite that, the Riverlands remained a vital hub of trade and politics.

Who rules the Westerlands?

The Westerlands are ruled from Casterly Rock by House Lannister. It’s one of the smallest regions of the Seven Kingdoms but has a large population.

A map of Westeros showing Casterly Rock.

It’s the Lannister’s seat, a tower carved into the heart Westerlands’ heart. Tyrion Lannister ruled Casterly Rock by the end of Game of Thrones. He became Lord of Casterly Rock, inheriting the title from his sister, Cersei. The Lord of Casterly Rock is also usually the Warden of the West.

Ruling the Westerlands comes with the boon of great wealth, as the region is rich in natural resources such as metals. Gold and silver mined from the mountain ranges made the Lannisters very rich. Not to mention, an abundance of metals comes in handy when forging armor and weaponry for armies.

Who rules the Reach?

The Reach is ruled by the cunning House Tyrell, known for their cleverness and diplomacy.

A map of Westeros showing the Reach.

The Reach’s beauty and strategic location make it a coveted seat in Westeros politics and a beacon of prosperity, with expansive vineyards and gorgeous fields making it an illustrious region.

Formerly known as the Kingdom of the Reach before the Targaryen conquest, it’s the second largest, behind only the North. Because of its fertile ground, it supplies other parts of the Seven Kingdoms with food and livestock.

Who rules the Stormlands?

House Baratheon rules the Stormlands from Storm’s End. The House is known for its strength and resilience.

A map of Westeros showing the Stormlands.

At the start of Game of Thrones, the Stormlands was led by Robert Baratheon. Later, his brother Stannis claimed the seat at Storm’s End. As Brienne of Tarth explained, “The storms that blow through the bay water,” gave the Stormlands its name.

It’s located on the south-east coast, on the shores of the Narrow Sea, south of the Crownlands, and north of Dorne. It was a sovereign nation called the Storm Kingdom before Aegon united Westeros.

Who rules the Crownlands?

The Crownlands are ruled directly by whoever sits on the Iron Throne in King’s Landing.

The Crownlands in Westeros.

That seat, in the largest city in Westeros and the capital of the Seven Kingdoms, rules the Crownlands instead of a Lord Paramount.

It was contested between the Riverlands, the Stormlands, and other regions for thousands of years until Aegon the Conqueror seized control three centuries before Robert Baratheon’s death. That makes it the youngest region in Westeros.

Who rules the Iron Islands?

After the Burning of Harrenhal, House Greyjoy became the ruler of the Iron Islands.

A map of the Iron Islands in Westeros.

The Iron Islands are seven small, rocky islands off the western coast. The islands are one of the least-populated regions in Westeros, but the naval skills of its inhabitants make up for this. Though they had a rather brutal history of pillaging, this was somewhat curbed after Aegon’s conquest.

Following the deaths of King Harren Hoare and his sons, the Ironborn retreated to the Iron Islands. That’s when House Greyjoy swooped in, ruling it from Pyke castle.

Who rules Dorne?

House Martell rules Dorne from Sunspear. Dorne is a southern realm with a history of independence, having resisted the Targaryens’ conquest for centuries.

A map of Westeros showing Dorne.

Known for its cuisine and formidable warriors, Dorne’s culture sets it apart. It’s the southernmost part of Westeros and has a desert climate. Dornishmen are mostly descended from Rhoynar refugees who married Andals and First Men a thousand years ago. As a result, they have unique customs.

It was a sovereign kingdom during Aegon the Conqueror’s invasion and was the only kingdom to remain independent by weathering his assault. It joined the Seven Kingdoms through arranged marriages centuries later, before Robert’s Rebellion. As a result, Dorne kept much of its customs and laws, such as equal inheritance for male and female heirs.

House Martell’s ancestral seat is in Sunspear.

Are there actually nine realms in Game of Thrones?

There are technically nine regions or ‘kingdoms’ in Westeros. That’s because Dorne and the Iron Islands are ruled by the Iron Throne, but are not officially recognized as their own kingdoms.

They’re often lumped together and called Seven Kingdoms because two were established after the Targaryen conquest, so they are not considered kingdoms.

The additional two regions are Dorne, ruled by House Martell, and The Iron Islands, ruled by House Greyjoy. However, all nine were controlled by the Iron Throne.

Will House of the Dragon reveal new parts of the Seven Kingdoms?

The majority of the Targaryen Civil War took place in the Riverlands. It has also been confirmed that we will see more of the North in House of the Dragon season 2.

Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower and Emma D'Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon.

The series begins around 100 years after the Seven Kingdoms were united under the Targaryen conquest. With conflict about to spill into the surrounding lands, though, we’ll set eyes on environments we didn’t visit in the main series. This will be particularly interesting in the case of the North — as the largest region in Westeros, we have only just begun to scratch the surface as to what is in the area.

The Riverlands were ravaged and burned during the Targaryen Civil War. Harrenhal was a key reason why: Daemon Targaryen initially took the castle in Rhaenyra’s name and used it as a kind of base. This made the Riverlands a battleground during the Greens versus Blacks conflict.

Stone Mill was also the setting for a battle where the Blackwoods sided with the Blacks, and The Fishfeed housed a particularly bloody battle involving the Riverlords.

How will the Game of Thrones spinoffs affect the Seven Kingdoms?

The spin-off series A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms and Ten Thousand Ships will reveal unseen parts of the Seven Kingdoms’ history, including parts of the Reach.

Ten Thousand Ships is reportedly set around 1000 years before Game of Thrones and will follow Princess Nymeria, a House Martell ancestor who founded Dorne. If it sticks to the source material, it’ll show us pre-conquest Dorne, which will look very different from the kingdom we saw in Game of Thrones Season 5.

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms is set about 90 years before Game of Thrones and will adapt the Dunk & Egg novels. Those are about Duncan the Tall and his squire Aemon, who grows up to be the Targaryen King, Aegon V. They explored the Reach, a place we haven’t seen much of on-screen.

While the new TV shows probably won’t make massive changes to lore, we’ll explore new locales in the Seven Kingdoms.

For more great small-screen stories, check out the TV shows streaming and the best streaming services to watch them. Or, remind yourself of what episode does Jon Snow die in Game of Thrones, how a new Game of Thrones spin-off can solve one of series’ biggest mysteries, and the best dragons in Game of Thrones.

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