The Smoking Sea is the place where the sea flooded into the shattered remnant of the Valyrian peninsula after the Doom of Valyria. The sea is filled with volcanoes and smoking stacks of rock. It is said to boil and smoke, and to be haunted by demons.
In 102 BC, every hill surrounding Valyria for five hundred miles exploded, filling the air with ash and smoke and fire. Huge fissures opened in the ground, and earthquakes destroyed palaces, temples, and towns, while lakes boiled or turned to acid. The Fourteen Flames, the volcanoes of Valyria, sent molten rock a thousand feet into the air, and red clouds rained down dragonglass. To the north, the ground splintered and collapsed, and the surrounding Summer Sea rushed in. The cataclysmic Doom of Valyria fragmented the Valyrian peninsula into numerous smaller islands, creating the Smoking Sea between them.
Brightroar, the ancient Valyrian steel greatsword of House Lannister, was lost after the Doom, when King Tommen II Lannister carried it with him when he sailed to Valyria and never returned. Circa 292 AC,[N 1] Gerion Lannister went on a quest to Valyria to find Brightroar, and any other treasures that might have survived the Doom, and also never returned. Lord Tywin Lannister sent men to look for his lost brother, who traced the course of the Laughing Lion as far as Volantis, where half of Gerion's crew had deserted him because of his intent to sail into the Smoking Sea. He was forced to buy slaves to replace them.
A Storm of Swords
While traveling on the Balerion in the Summer Sea from Qarth to Pentos, Ser Jorah Mormont convinces Queen Daenerys Targaryen to instead sail for Astapor, buy an army of Unsullied, and continue to Pentos overland. When she points out that there are dangers on such a long march, he tells her that there are dangers at sea as well, such as storms, krakens, corsairs and pirates in the southern route, or the demon-haunted Smoking Sea in the northern route.
A Feast for Crows
A Dance with Dragons
In Meereen, Daenerys Targaryen examines Xaro Xhoan Daxos's old tapestry, which was made before the Doom that took Valyria. Dany notices that there is no Smoking Sea depicted, and that Valyria is not yet an island.
Aboard the Selaesori Qhoran, Tyrion Lannister remembers his Uncle Gerion Lannister's quest to Valyria, recalling that Gerion had bought slaves to crew his ship, as his intent to sail the Smoking Sea had caused half his original crew to desert him.
No free man would willingly sign aboard a ship whose captain spoke so openly of his intent to sail into the Smoking Sea.—Tyrion Lannister's thoughts
Men who have dared the Smoking Sea do not return.
Euron: I am the storm, my lord. The first storm, and the last. I have taken the Silence on longer voyages than this, and ones far more hazardous. Have you forgotten? I have sailed the Smoking Sea and seen Valyria.
Rodrik: Have you?
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Smoking Sea.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 8, Daenerys I.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 29, The Reaver.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Doom of Valyria.
- A Game of Thrones RPG and Resource Book, Guardians of Order
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 33, Tyrion VIII.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 14, Tyrion IV.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 32, Tyrion IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 8, Tyrion III.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 16, Daenerys III.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 56, The Iron Suitor.