The narrow sea is the sea between the continents of Westeros to its west and Essos to its east. The sea is relatively narrow and easy to cross, but large enough to make large-scale invasions and military incursions between the Seven Kingdoms and the Free Cities difficult. There is regular trade across the narrow sea between the two continents and the Port of Ibben. Westerosi nobles are sometimes fostered or seek refuge in the cities across the water.
The narrow sea can be rough in autumn, when storms are common. In winter, the storms are worse but less frequent. The stormlands are especially hit hard by storms which develop in the warmer waters of the Summer Sea to the south. It is suggested that a journey from the Shield Islands to the far side of the narrow sea is so hazardous in autumn that two-thirds of a fleet might be lost in the attempt. Trading galleys are sometimes better off crossing in the safety of the Stepstones.
The narrow sea connects the Shivering Sea and the Bite in the north, the Sea of Dorne in the west, the Sea of Myrth in the east, and the Summer Sea in the south, which it is separated from by the island chain known as the Stepstones.
Sources conflict regarding the boundaries of the narrow sea and the Shivering Sea. A semi-canon source states the Shivering Sea begins north of the Wall, and A Dance with Dragons has Eastwatch-by-the-Sea reporting of storms upon the narrow sea. A semi-canon source also states that Widow's Watch is along the narrow sea. Maester Yandel, however, writes that Skagos and the Grey Cliffs, regions of the north within the Seven Kingdoms, are found along the Shivering Sea. The Lands of Ice and Fire depicts the eastern coast of the north, including as far south as Widow's Watch, as being along the Shivering Sea, with the narrow sea beginning further south, with the Vale of Arryn to the west and the Braavosian Coastland to the east.
Across the Bay of Crabs to the south is Crackclaw Point with the Whispers in the crownlands. The Gullet separates the narrow sea from Blackwater Bay, upon which are located King's Landing and Duskendale. Lords of the narrow sea sworn to Dragonstone include House Celtigar of Claw Isle, House Velaryon of Driftmark, House Sunglass of Sweetport Sound, and House Bar Emmon of Sharp Point. Further south is Massey's Hook with Stonedance.
Within the stormlands, the isle of Tarth and the Straits of Tarth separate the narrow sea from Shipbreaker Bay. Located on Tarth is Evenfall Hall. South of Tarth on Cape Wrath are Rain House near the rainwood and the Weeping Town, and nearby is Greenstone on the isle of Estermont.
The Stepstones, including Bloodstone and Grey Gallows, divide the narrow sea from the Summer Sea to the south. Tyrosh is on the northeasternmost of the Stepstones. The sea lanes of the Stepstones can control travel to and from the narrow sea.
The First Men of antiquity crossed the Arm of Dorne from Essos to Westeros. According to legend, however, the hammer of the waters shattered the land bridge and created the Stepstones between the narrow sea and the Summer Sea.
During the coming of the Andals, longships crossed the narrow sea from Andalos to the east coast of Westeros. When Andals attacked the north, King Theon Stark retaliated by raiding the coast of Andalos. The Wolf's Den was built to protect the White Knife from raiders from the east.
After conquering the Old Empire of Ghis, the Valyrian Freehold expanded west and established several colonies, which are now called the Free Cities. These included Pentos and Myr along the narrow sea and Tyrosh, which was founded to control trade in the Stepstones. Refugees from Valyrian slavery founded Braavos where the narrow sea meets the Shivering Sea.
Overcoming the resistance of the local lords of the narrow sea, Dragonstone was raised as the westernmost outpost of the Valyrian Freehold two centuries before the Doom of Valyria. Having resettled at Dragonstone before the Doom, the Targaryens controlled the skies above the narrow sea with their dragons, while the fleets of their Valyrian allies, the Velaryons and Celtigars, controlled the middle region of the sea. Aegon the Conqueror formed a new realm, the Seven Kingdoms, through the Conquest. The Company of the Rose chose to exile themselves across the sea rather than remain in Westeros.
King's Landing, Aegon's new capital on Blackwater Bay, grew to surpass Duskendale as the largest Westerosi port of the narrow sea. Prince Maegor Targaryen fled across the sea to Pentos in 40 AC after refusing to put aside Alys Harroway, but Maegor returned to claim the Iron Throne two years after the passing of his brother, King Aenys I Targaryen.
Lord Rogar Baratheon considered extending the Iron Throne's power across the sea by having King Jaehaerys I Targaryen wed the daughter of the Archon of Tyrosh, but the king instead wed his sister, Alysanne Targaryen. Agents and informers throughout the narrow sea sought Elissa Farman after she fled Dragonstone with three dragon eggs. In 58 AC Jaehaerys hosted the Archon of Tyrosh and the Prince of Pentos in King's Landing to resolve a war which had disrupted trade in the narrow sea.
The Triarchy, formed in 96 AC, conquered the Stepstones and killed hundreds of pirates among the islands. While sailing from King's Landing to Lys, the pregnant Mysaria, paramour of Prince Daemon Targaryen, lost her child during a storm in 105 AC. Westerosi had come to resent the tolls imposed on merchants by the Triarchy in the past decade. Daemon and Lord Corlys Velaryon began a war for the Stepstones against the Triarchy in 106 AC, and three years later Daemon was crowned King of the Stepstones and the Narrow Sea. Daemon eventually abandoned his island kingdom, however. According to Septon Eustace, Ser Criston Cole unsuccessfully begged sixteen-year-old Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen to flee across the narrow sea with him in 113 AC.
The shy dragon Grey Ghost hunted fish in the narrow sea. When the Dance of the Dragons broke out, Ser Tyland Lannister appealed across the narrow sea for aid, and the Triarchy eventually decided to aid the greens against the blacks. Heavy losses in the Battle of the Gullet led to the collapse of the Triarchy, with the Daughters' War breaking out in the narrow sea after the murder of Sharako Lohar. Near the end of the Dance, Tyland, Ser Marston Waters, and Ser Julian Wormwood were sent across the sea in seek of sellswords in the Free Cities. In the aftermath of the civil war, the Wolf Pack and the Stormbreakers crossed the narrow sea to serve as adventurous sellswords in Essos. Racallio Ryndoon, self-styled King of the Narrow Sea, fled for the Basilisk Isles. Roggerio Rogare sailed Mermaid's Daughter up and down the narrow sea after the Lysene Spring.
King Viserys II Targaryen encouraged greater trade across the narrow sea during his brief reign. Exiled in Essos, the Blackfyre Pretenders plotted to cross the narrow sea and claim the Iron Throne.
In the aftermath of Robert's Rebellion, the fleet of House Targaryen at Dragonstone was destroyed by a fierce storm. Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen were smuggled across the narrow sea by Ser Willem Darry before the assault on Dragonstone. Daenerys spent much of her childhood fleeing across the sea from one city to the next.
A Game of Thrones
A Clash of Kings
Stannis Baratheon hires sellswords from Lys and Myr across the narrow sea to support his claim in the War of the Five Kings. Stannis sends Ser Davos Seaworth on Black Betha and Allard Seaworth on Lady Marya to spread word of his claim to both coasts of the sea. The pirate and sellsail Salladhor Saan styles himself Prince of the Narrow Sea.
A Storm of Swords
Stannis grants the title of Admiral of the Narrow Sea to Davos. Davos sends Edric Storm from Dragonstone to the Free Cities to protect him from Melisandre. Stannis's remaining ships carry him from Dragonstone north to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea for the defense of the Wall.
A Feast for Crows
A Dance with Dragons
Eastwatch at the Wall and Arnolf Karstark of Karhold report of savage storms in the narrow sea. Salladhor's Lysene fleet is scattered by storms in the narrow sea while sailing south from Eastwatch. Storms also scatter the sellsword fleet of Aegon Targaryen during the landing of the Golden Company in the stormlands.
Robert: This Khal Drogo is said to have a hundred thousand men in his horde. What would Jon say to that?
Eddard: He would say that even a million Dothraki are no threat to the realm, so long as they remain on the other side of the narrow sea. The barbarians have no ships. They hate and fear the open sea.
Autumn in the narrow sea could often be wet and rainy, he remembered from years past.—thoughts of Davos Seaworth
Words are wind, and the wind that blows exiles across the narrow sea seldom blows them back.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: Ib.
- Fire & Blood, The Sons of the Dragon.
- The Hedge Knight.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 38, Tyrion V.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 24, The Lost Lord.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 15, Samwell II.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Stormlands.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 29, The Reaver.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Shivering Sea.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 10, Jon III.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Widow's Watch.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: The Shivering Sea.
- The Lands of Ice and Fire, The Known World.
- The Lands of Ice and Fire, Westeros.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 25, Davos III.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Braavos.
- The Lands of Ice and Fire, The Free Cities.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: The Quarrelsome Daughters: Myr, Lys, and Tyrosh.
- Fire & Blood, Heirs of the Dragon: A Question of Succession.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Dorne: The Breaking.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Arrival of the Andals.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The North: The Kings of Winter.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 66, Bran VII.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: Valyria's Children.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 7, Arya I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: Ten Thousand Ships.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Doom of Valyria.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
- Fire & Blood, The Year of the Three Brides - 49 AC.
- Fire & Blood, Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Their Triumphs and Tragedies.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Red Dragon and the Gold.
- Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Hooded Hand.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Short, Sad Reign of Aegon II.
- Fire & Blood, The Lysene Spring and the End of Regency.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Viserys II.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys I.
- The Winds of Winter, Chapter , Arianne I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 3, Daenerys I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 8, Daenerys I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 18, Catelyn IV.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 77, Tyrion XI.
- A Clash of Kings, Prologue.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 10, Davos I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 58, Davos III.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 41, Tyrion IX.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 36, Davos IV.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 63, Davos VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 75, Samwell IV.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 6, Arya I.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 7, Cersei II.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 31, Brienne VI.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 35, Samwell IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 1, Tyrion I.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 17, Jon IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 9, Davos I.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 61, The Griffin Reborn.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 12, Eddard II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 5, Davos I.
- The Winds of Winter, Chapter , Theon.