In the TV series, Game of Thrones (GOT), Westeros comprises seven realms, each with its own ruler. Together, they formed the administrative bases that ruled the entire Westeros continent, including offshore islands. The name Westeros dates back to the “War of Conquest” era, when there were seven kingdoms in the vast lands of the realm.
The events in GOT begin almost 300 years after Aegon Targaryen sailed to Blackwater Rush at the company of his sister-wives, Visenya and Rhaenys. During this time, the land was already divided into separate territories. They included, The North, which was ruled by Torrhen Stark; Kingdon of the Isles and the Rivers, ruled by Harren Hoare; The Mountain & the Vale, managed by Ronnel Arryn; The Reach belonging to House Gardener’s Mern IX, the Rock, owned by the Lannisters; the Stormlands, run by Argilac Durrandon; and Dorne, overseen by Princess Meria Martel.
1. The North
The North is the largest, dreary district located north of The Wall. The first inhabitants settled here during the Dawn Age, the era of the First Men. In fact, the first rulers, and the entire Stark family are believed to be descendants of the First Men.
The lineage has ruled this country for over 8,000 years. Still, they keep their old traditions of worshipping under a tree, despite being invaded by the Andals. Robb Stark became the first ruler in the Stark family-tree to control The North after Torrhen.
2. The Kingdom of Mountain & Vale
With its administrative center in The Eyrie, the Vale of Arryn was part of the greater Kingdom of Mountain & Vale. Six thousand years before the “War of Conquest,” this land was under the Andals and was the first place they set foot when they started their Westeros invasion.
The Vale was under the rule of a boy-king called Ronnel Arryn, who persuaded his patronizing mother to bend the knee to Aegon Targaryen’s sister, Daenerys. It’s believed that the Arryns are one of the first Andal families in Westeros.
3. The Stormlands
There were sporadic disputes between The Crownlands, the coastal area where Kings Landing City was located. The Stormlands were perched to the south and was ruled by House Durrandon. The kingdom stretched deep into the center of the continent up to the Reach’s boarders. After years of mismanagement, the kingdom shrunk to the limits we know from Game of Thrones. When the Stormlands’ ruler, Aguilac, refused to bend the knee to Targaryen, his daughter was betrothed to House Baratheon.
4. Kingdom of the Isles & Rivers
Several scenes from the initial episodes of GOT that take place outside King’s Landing, happen in the Riverlands, a region located to the east. The land became a target for several invaders including the First Men, the Andals, who conquered the Vale, The Stormlands, and House Hoare of the Iron Islands. They named the land Kingdom of the Isle and Rivers, and constructed Harrenhal as the center of control.
Like some rulers, House Hoare refused to bend the knee and what followed was the burning of Harrenhal by dragonfire. House Tally was named the rulers for their assistance in driving out the Iron Islanders. The Tallys later assumed the title: Wardens of the Riverlands.
5. The Rock
The Rock was the land ruled by House Lannister. It maintained its name until Aegon Targaryen arrived, but was later changed to The Westerlands. The Lannisters took over The Rock by duping House Gardener, ruler of the Reach, to let them keep it. Andal invaders attempted to take their land, but instead, the Lannisters struck a deal with them in their favor.
During the battle of “The Field of Fire”, the Lannisters joined forces with the Reach troops but they lost the war to the Targaryens. The defeat compelled them to bend the knee, and they got to keep their land holdings. They were the Wardens of the West.
6. The Reach
The Reach is the one of the two largest kingdoms in Westeros after The North. It was an expansive country that thrived on agricultural abundance because of the temperate climatic conditions that dominated the region. The House Gardener lineage is believed to have occupied the area since the Dawn Age. Before Aegon’s conquests, they won many battles against Dornish and had even taken part of The Stormlands, near Kings Landing.
7. Kingdom Dorne
Originally, Dorn was not part of the 7 kingdoms of Westeros, but a free-state that was conquered by the Rhoynar, the arch rivals of Valyria. The conquest wasn’t about swords and spears, but through assimilation. That was as a result of mass migrations that led to intermarriages. They influenced the Dornish culture, bringing with them their high regard for women, sex, and bastards. The Rhoynar also brought with them new dialect and lingo. Instead of the title “king”, one was named Prince while a queen was a princess– hence, Princess Meria Martel. Unlike other Westeros kingdoms, Dorne did not bend the knee. In fact, they won the battle against Targaryen.