Why It’s Called 7 Kingdoms (When There’s Really 9)

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Returning to the Seven Kingdoms in House of the Dragon, the Game of Thrones spinoff series goes back to Westeros, referred to as the Seven Kingdoms – but why is this the case when there are really nine of them? Given that this is where House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones spend the vast majority of their time and that numerous characters refer to “the Seven Kingdoms,” it’s surprising that the shows never explain this odd little piece of nomenclature.

Finding the genesis of the Seven Kingdoms involves going back to the time of Aegon’s Conquest, which happens before House of the Dragon‘s Targaryen civil war, and around 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones. When Aegon Targaryen landed at Blackwater Rush with his sister-wives, Rhaenys and Visenya, it was part of a Westeros that was divided into seven separate realms:

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  • The North: ruled by Torrhen Stark.
  • The Mountain & the Vale: ruled by Ronnel Arryn.
  • The Isles & the Rivers: ruled by Harren Hoare.
  • The Rock: ruled by Loren Lannister.
  • The Reach: ruled by Mern Gardener IX.
  • The Stormlands: ruled by Argilac Durrandon.
  • Dorne: ruled by Princess Meria Martell.

Related: House Of The Dragon’s Release Date Already Breaks A GOT Tradition

House of the Dragon‘s Seven Kingdoms feature vastly different landscapes and political practices, despite being ruled under one head. The North, led by House Stark, was one of the main locations shown in GOT, along with King’s Landing. The Tyrell’s Highgarden was not seen. However, it was described as a beautiful place filled with flowers. The mountainous Vale had an interesting form of punishment for their prisoners, in the form of a gate on the floor that would force their inmates to fall to their deaths. Dorne is a mixture of desert and tropics, featuring a rather standard-looking prison. Casterly Rock was only seen a handful of times in Game of Thrones, though the rolling hills should return in House of the Dragon (despite the lack of Lannisters afoot). House Tully’s Riverlands were featured in several episodes too. A stark contrast to these is the Iron Islands, which are dark and stormy, a perfect complement to the dangerous seas surrounding them. The rest of Westeros remained largely unexplored in GOT, but House of the Dragon could change that.


How Game Of Thrones’ 7 Kingdoms Became 9 Realms: The Full History

Map of Westeros and Essos from "Game of Thrones"

The Seven Kingdoms were the seven lands that Aegon set out to conquer and unite before House of the Dragon, which he mostly did over the course of the next two years, bringing them together under the rule of House Targaryen and the Iron Throne. When Aegon was eventually crowned at the Starry Sept in Oldtown, he was proclaimed ‘Lord of the Seven Kingdoms,’ although it wasn’t entirely true even then. The Dornish resisted Aegon’s attempts to conquer them by hiding out in the Mountains and engaging in guerilla warfare, and Princess Meria refused to yield.

It wasn’t until 187 years after Aegon’s Conquest that Dorne officially joined the Seven Kingdoms thanks to a peaceful marriage pact between Prince Maron Martell (the ruler of Dorne at the time) and Princess Daenerys Targaryen (not that one), the younger sister of King Daeron II Targaryen, thus finally making the realm whole. However, this was actually turning Game of Thrones‘ Seven Kingdoms into nine, because Aegon had long since made some big changes to his newfound empire.


The Riverlands, which had long ago been independent, were ruled by House Hoare during Aegon’s Conquest. However, as a reward for supporting the Targaryens against the Hoares, the Kingdom of Rivers & Isles was split into two: House Tully was granted lordship over the Riverlands. At the same time, House Greyjoy assumed control of the Iron Islands. That made it into Eight Kingdoms, while Aegon Targaryen also decided to make King’s Landing and the surrounding area into a principality of its own, known as the Crownlands, which was loyal solely to the crown. Because of their service during the Conquest, command of the Reach passed to House Tyrell, while House Baratheon was granted the Stormlands. Therefore, House of the Dragon should feature all nine kingdoms, considering it takes place at the beginning of the end of the Targaryen reign.


Related: House Of The Dragon: Matt Smith Hopes GoT Prequel Can Evolve Franchise

The Current 9 Realms of Westeros

So, the Seven (or nine) Kingdoms of Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon are made up as follows:

  • The North – House Stark
  • The Vale – House Arryn
  • The Iron Islands – House Greyjoy
  • The Riverlands – House Tully
  • The Westerlands – House Lannister
  • The Stormlands – House Baratheon
  • The Reach – House Tyrell
  • The Crownlands – House Targaryen
  • Dorne – House Martell

If that looks familiar, it’s because it’s a status quo that existed from the events of House of the Dragon until Robert’s Rebellion. At this point, the Baratheons took the crown, and then further changes were made following Game of Thrones‘ War of the Five Kings. The Seven Kingdoms as people know them were established with Aegon’s conquest, or when Dorne officially joined, and remained so throughout the entire run of Game of Thrones until the finale.


Will House Of The Dragon Show Us New Parts Of The Seven Kingdoms?

House of the Dragon's Matt Smith Hopes Prequel Will Be Different to GoT

The Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon has truly branched out its filming locations, which means its in-story locations may well also be expanding. While most of the action is being filmed in the UK, a lot of production has also been completed in Spain and California. The new series will likely feature more of the Seven Kingdoms than was seen in Game of Thrones. The TV show kicks off with the Targaryen civil war, so most of the beginning of the series will probably focus on King’s Landing. However, Dornish members of the cast, such as Fabian Frankel’s Ser Criston Cole, suggest a more in-depth view of Dorne. The Hightowers are also major players in House of the Dragon. While they mostly stay in Oldtown, they share roots with the Gardeners, meaning Highgarden might finally be seen.

This is all speculation. But based on the array of filming locations, House of the Dragon will show more of the Seven Kingdoms, despite there being 9 in the prequel’s timeline. In “The Iron Throne,” Sansa demands that the North be granted independence because they will never again bend the knee to someone who rules from the south. That is agreed upon, and so Bran Stark is proclaimed “Lord of the Six Kingdoms” but, in reality, is the Lord of the Eight Kingdoms by the end of Game of Thrones.

Next: House Of The Dragon Hints At A Perfect Game Of Thrones Retcon

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