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    What Are The Free Cities In ‘House Of The Dragon’? Why King Viserys Doesn’t Want War With Them?

    After the unparalleled success of ‘Game Of Thrones’, the ‘House Of The Dragon‘ was next on the list for the fans and the viewers. The prequel to the events of the original show, the ‘House Of The Dragon‘ looks into the reign of House Targaryen, some 200 years before the storyline of ‘Game Of Thrones’. It was released on August 21. Promising a civil war, characters, new locations, and loads of dragons, the TV show is receiving mixed responses.

    Just like Westeros, where most of the events of ‘Game Of Thrones’ take place, the events of ‘House Of The Dragon,‘ are happening on the continent of Essos. There are nine city-states on this continent, which are independent cities, often called the ‘Free Cities’. They are involved in trading and economic pursuits with Westeros. Here’s why these free cities are so significant in the show.

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    What Is The Significance Of The Free Cities In ‘House Of The Dragon’?

    What are the free cities of Essos and how are they important to Westeros?
    What are the free cities of Essos and how are they important to Westeros?

    The seven kingdoms are very essential to George R.R. Martin’s ‘Song Of Ice And Fire‘. The author had given prime focus to these seven kingdoms, spread across the Westeros continent, where all the major events ensue. These kingdoms are ruled by a solitary monarch, and so, understandably, the quest for the power of the Iron Throne ruled much of the narrative as well.

    Essos is another continent we’re introduced to in the spin-off prequel, which has a completely different life unfurling in the east, and it is the home to the nine free cities. These nine cities are situated on the west coast of the Essos continent. This also makes them geographically facing Westeros. The name of these cities are Braavos, Lorath, Lys, Myr, Norvos, Pentos, Qohor, Tyrosh, and Volantis. The cities were established as a result of the Doom Of Valyria and warfare, which fragmented the empire and established these independent entities, also called the colonies of Valyria. These cities flourished even in the absence of the leadership of Valyria. All of these free cities have different histories and backgrounds, and different reasons for their establishment. These cities also have different functions. While some are trading hubs, others are military-focused cities.

    The Free Cities have emerged in the ‘Game Of Thrones’, best remembered when Arya Stark trained as a faceless man in Braavos, before returning to Westeros. The strategic position of the nine states has managed to make the cities available for trading with Westeros and also provide military assistance when needed.

    Why Does King Viserys Fear The Free Cities?

    Why does not King Viserys want to wage a war with the free cities?
    King Viserys, Crabfeeder, and Corlys Velaryon

    In episode two of ‘House Of The Dragon’, Corlys Velaryon is heading to raid the Stepstones (groups of islands that connect the southeastern portion of Westeros with Essos, controlled by the Free cities). However, he needs a king to help him with this. He asks for King Viserys’ help to war against the Crabfeeder (a ruthless pirate attacking ships who has a scarred, scary and rough look) and the Triarchy (an alliance between the free cities of Lys, Myr, and Tyrosh arose, calling itself the Triarchy and becoming the preeminent power in the region). The Crabfeeder was sinking Westerosi ships and killing its sailors, all the while affecting the livelihood of the Velaryons. Another thing to note is that Velaryon House survives dominantly on trading.

    The reason why King Viserys does not want to announce war with Crabfeeder and the free cities is solely because he doesn’t want to ruin the ties of trading, which are the primary foundational structures of the economic prosperity of the seven kingdoms. Angering any of the free cities means disrupting the promised exchange of trade that happens between Westeros and Essos. The goods harvested and produced in Westeros are sold in the Free Cities, while the city-states themselves also trade goods with the merchants of Westeros. Moreover, the city of Braavos is considered one of the most powerful cities in the world, as it is the home to the Iron Bank, which is the greatest bank in both Westeros and Essos. The monarchy of the seven kingdoms has also been indebted to the Iron Bank.

    Moreover, the very simple reason that the combined power of the nine free cities is greater than the power of Westeros is a reason enough for King Viserys to not wage a war on the cities openly.

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    Aliya Khan
    Aliya Khan
    Aliya Khan is currently an undergraduate English student. Growing up, she surrounded herself with all kinds of fiction she could possible get her hands on. Indeed, she loves all things literature and music! Writing is something that came out of all the reading, and today, she is looking to pursue it professionally. Oh, and she wouldn't miss a good zombie apocalyptic series to binge watch!

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