Lying on the Bay of Pentos, Pentos is the westernmost of the Free Cities in Essos. Landlocked by fertile coastal plains called the Flatlands, its proximity to King’s Landing made it a crucial setting in the events of A Song of Ice and Fire. As many Pentoshi trace their origins to Old Valyria, the Andals, and slaves, there is little segregation and cultural pride in the city. A crucial criterion for power in Pentos is wealth. However, there is still a tradition for a Prince’s coronation.
- Location: Essos, Free Cities.
- Rulers: The Prince, Council of Magisters.
- Notable Religions: R’hllor the Lord of Light.
- Cultures: Andals, Valyria.
- Allegiances: The Nine Free Cities.
Pentos got founded by merchants, traders, farmers, and seafarers from the Valyrian Freehold as a trading outpost. As most of its inhabitants were of low class, they interbred with the Andals, creating a diverse city with mixed bloodlines. Some accounts state it got founded before its colonization by the Valyrians and its first native inhabitants decided to change the tale of their history in allegiance to the Freehold.
After its creation, Pentos grew to become one of the wealthiest cities in Essos. Its size grew and stretched from the Velvet Hills to as far as the Narrow Sea. However, After the Valyrian Freehold’s destruction, Volantis tried to conquer the Free Cities of Essos, and conflicts began.
The Century of Blood
After Volantis began its conquest of the Free Cities, Lys and Myr fell under its control after getting defeated. Pentos entered the conflict and supported the conquered cities, sparking a rebellion against Volantis. With many of the Free Cities and Aegon Targaryen joining the resistance, Volantis fell and decided on peace with its neighbors.
After Volantis’s defeat, Pentos maintained its cordial relationship with the Targaryens. Upon Maegor Taragyen’s exile by his brother, Aenys I Targaryen, he traveled to Pentos and remained there until the death of his brother. On Aenys’s death, Maegor returned and ruled as king until his death. In 49 AC, the magisters traveled to King’s Landing to attend the Golden Wedding. An inter-political relationship between some of the wealthy individuals of Pentos and Westeros got established.
In 55 AC, a conflict between Tyrosh and Pentos started. Disrupting the trade across the Narrow Sea, the war destabilized Westeros’s economy as the Narrow Sea was a primary trade route. During the war, some of Jaeherys’s men got killed by the Pentosh, but Jaehaerys refused to make them pay for their crimes. After three years of warring, the cities decided to negotiate an end to the war and asked Jaehaerys to foresee the negotiations. After the Treaty of Eternal Peace got formed, the conflict ceased. However, the Magisters sacrificed their Pince.
The War with Braavos
After becoming an independent city, Pentos excelled in trade, and its economy grew. However, it became a contender for power and control of the rich lands with Braavos, and over centuries, conflicts between the two cities arose. Six wars got fought between it and Braavos, and though it was large, it was no match for the military capabilities of Braavos. It lost four of its wars, and in trying to end the conflict with its neighbor, it became subservient to them. With Braavos gaining control over its military capabilities, it abolished slavery from the city and ensured that the city’s military might never exceed a limit.
Pentos is a trade-oriented city founded in the Bay of Pentos. Most of its economy centers around the movement of goods across the Narrow Sea. Because it is the westernmost city in Essos, it is the crucial link that connects Westeros to Essos.
Because the people of Pentos are of different races, there is no primary culture. Many of its citizens are of Valyrian and Andal descent, and some are the progeny of slaves. As slavery got abolished by Braavos, the city did not trade slaves like some of the Nine Free Cities. Instead, there are free bond servants, free men who work as servants for others. The people are lovers of music and cheerful givers. There are many religions, including R’hllor, the Lord of Light.
Pentos follows a representative monarchy type of system where the council of Magisters chooses an adult male to serve as the Prince. Though he serves as the head of the city, the Prince does not indulge in political governance but presides over balls and feasts. He gets protected by a handsome guard, and according to custom, he deflowers two maidens every new year, the maid of the sea and the maid of the fields.
Though he lives luxuriously, the Prince’s power is irrelevant before the city’s magisters as he can get killed as a sacrifice and replaced with a new prince if the city suffers a defeat, famine, or long drought; this practice is a way of appeasing the gods. Pentos also pays tribute to the Dothraki to prevent the nomadic people from attacking the city.
Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire
After Robert’s Rebellion, Viserys Targaryen and his mother, Rhaella, left King’s Landing for Dragonstone. Rhaella gives birth to Daenerys, and she and her brother leave Westeros for Pentos, where they stay with Magister Illyrio Mopatis for years.
Believing that he is bound to return to King’s Landing as the king, Viserys offers his sister, Daenerys Targaryen, to Khal Drogo in hopes of using his massive Dothraki army to march on the seven kingdoms. The wedding ceremony between Daenerys and Drogo takes place outside Pentos, and Drogo departs with Viserys and his newlywed bride to Vaes Dothrak.
After Daenerys travels to Quarth, Illyrio sends three Pentoshi ships to the city to bring Daenerys back. Arstan Whitebeard and Strong Belwas travel to New Ghis and Quarth, where they meet the dragons’ mother.
On the seas sailing for Pentos, Jorah Mormont advises Daenerys that she should sail to Astaphor and acquire her army and fleet. Following his advice, she changes direction and heads to Astaphor, where she meets Krazynys, who gives her the unsullied and gets killed.
After killing his father, Tywin Lannister, Tyrion Lannister gets smuggled by Varys to Pentos, where he meets Illyrio Mopatis. Illyrio tells Tyrion that his actions have proven that he may be of some use to the owner of the Iron Throne. He explained that he had initially planned for Daenerys to return to Pentos and use the Golden Company to invade Westeros, but his plan failed when she headed for Slaver’s Bay instead. He then decides to transport Tyrion to Slaver’s Bay so he can be of service to Daenerys.
Meanwhile, Quentyn meets with the Tattered Prince. Quentyn tells the Prince of his plans to steal one of Daenerys’s dragons and asks for his help. The Prince agrees to help Quentyn on the condition that he gets the city to him after successfully gaining control of one of Daenerys’s dragons. However, everything fails as Quentyn gets killed.
Pentos: The Crucial Trade City
As an Essosi city, Pentos is a crucial player in the events in Westeros. Its relationship with the Targaryens made it become part of the politics of the seven kingdoms. Its presence changed Daenerys’s life as her rise to power got facilitated by it.
Is Pentos stronger than Braavos?
Not at all. It is far weaker than Braavos and lost most of the wars it fought with the city. Because Braavos is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, of the Nine Free Cities, its military strength is almost unmatched.
Were the Pentoshi fond of the Targaryens?
Yes, they had a cordial relationship with the Targaryen that spanned for years. From Aegon Targaryen to Maegor, Daemon Targaryen, and Rhynaera Targaryen, many prominent members of the House Targaryen have stayed in Pentos.
Why did Pentoshi merchants host feasts for the Dothraki?
The Pentoshi hosted feasts for the Dothraki to prevent them from raiding their city. The lavish parties they hosted were a way of keeping the nomads on their good side.
Why do Pentoshi Magisters kill their Prince?
The Prince of Pentos gets killed because he becomes a sacrifice to the gods when Pentos face a calamity or lose a war.