The Free City of Lys is one of the states in Essos. It is on the coast of the Disputed Lands, to the southeast of Tyrosh, south of Myr, and west of Volantis. Considered a paradise by the Valyrian Dragonlords of old, the city has a rich history intertwined with trading, slavery, and Old Valyria. It has one of the most beautiful people in the known world. Its citizens have many Valyrian features like silver-gold hair, pale skin, and purple, pale-blue, or lilac eyes. For many years, nobles from the known world have traveled to the city looking for paramours.
For years, The Free City of Lys has conflicted with its neighbor Tyrosh, over the disputed lands. The city is also one of the most populous places in Essos, having more people than Astapor. The most prominent religions are Rh’llor, Saagael, Pantera, Yndros of the Twilight, Bakkalon, and a love goddess thought to be the Weeping Lady of Lys.
The Free City of Lys Details
- Name: Lys.
- Location: Essos.
- Government: Conclave of Magisters.
The Free City of Lys is a mercantile island built on fertile soil. Many palm fruit trees thrive in the region, the sunsets are beautiful, and the blue-green waters have many fishes. Because of its fertility, the Valyrian dragonlords visited it as a resort. The city hires sellswords to guard its high walls.
Wealth is the most significant indicator of power in Lys, as it thrives on trading goods and services with other regions of Essos and even Westeros. One prominent service the city sells is pleasure. There are many pillow houses with the finest women, and these pleasure houses get noble visitors from every corner of the known world.
Besides the pleasure gardens, there are many temples in Lys. As the city is a multi-religious state, many gods got worshipped, and there are many houses of worship, including the Red Temple of Rh’llor, the Temple of Trade, and the Temple of Yndros.
The Lyseni are one of the most beautiful people in the known world. As the blood of Old Valyria still runs through their veins, many of the smallfolk have features like silvery hair, purple, lilac, or pale-blue eyes. Some Targaryen Kings have sought wives for themselves or their children from the nobility of Lys.
Lysene Tongue is a bastardization of High Valyrian. It got described as a fluid language that sounds like one is singing, and like the Braavosi and Pentoshi, the Lyseni love music. The city got ruled by a group of Magisters chosen from the wealthiest families. The First Magister is the most important of the conclave. There is also an elected military leader called the Gonfaloniere.
Lys has been at war with Tyrosh and Myr over the disputed lands. However, it does not use its citizens in the war as it hires sellswords. There are also pirates from the city who nest in the Stepstones.
Lys heavily relies on slavery for its income. It has the best bed slaves and pleasure gardens in the known world, and many nobles from other regions flock to the city to indulge in many pleasurable experiences. The Lyseni breed slaves by combining the most beautiful bed slaves to make even finer people.
Lyseni coinage is oval-shaped and features a naked woman, the love goddess. The city also exports red and white wine, and the alchemists make deadly poisons like the Strangler and the Tears of Lys. Other materials produced in Lys include fine long dirks and heady sweet perfumes.
Lys got founded by some noble merchants as a colony of the Valyrian Freehold. It got built on an island in the Summer Sea near the Broken Arm of Dorne. Due to its favorable climate, it became a relaxing spot for many Valarian Dragonlords.
Some Valyrian Dragonlords remained in Lys after the Doom of Valyria. However, they got killed. The Century of Blood came, and Volantis defeated Lys and Myr in battle. For two centuries, they got governed by Volantis. However, when the city tried to take control of Tyrosh, Pentos entered the war against Volantis. Storm King Argilac Durrandon led an army against Volantis to help Myr and won, and later Lord Aegon Targaryen used his dragon Balerion to destroy the Volantene fleet. Volantis got defeated, and Lys gained its independence.
Many beauties traveled to the Seven Kingdoms for the Golden Wedding to entertain Lord Rogar Baratheon. When Saera Targaryen fled Westeros, she served at one of the pleasure gardens in Lys. Prince Daemon Targaryen, King Viserys I Targaryen’s brother, had a Lyseni paramour named Mysaria.
Lys, Tyrosh, and Myr created the Triarchy after Volantis’ defeat in the Battle of the Borderland in 96 AC. Though many people initially praised the Triarchy for subduing pirates, resentment started growing for Lyseni pirates who took comely children and women to the pleasure houses in Lys. One such woman was Johanna Swann, who rose to become the Black Swan.
During the Dance of the Dragons, the Triarchy agreed to an alliance with the Greens after they accepted Ser Tyland Lannister’s offer. The Triarchy fell when the Myrish and Lyseni ships admiral Sharako Lohar of Lys got killed. Lys declared war on Myr, and Tyrosh sent Racallio Ryndoon to claim the stepstones, but he declared himself the King of the Narrow Sea. Eventually, Braavos, Pentos, and Lorath entered the war, and most of the Lyseni nobles got killed. The disputed lands got shared between Myr, Lys, and Tyrosh.
During the Daughter’s War, House Rogare rose to power. Lysandro Rogare, the house’s patriarch, acquired Prince Viserys Targaryen, brother to Aegon III Targaryen, from Bambarro Bazanne. Lysandro wed the prince to his daughter Larra Rogare.
While in Sunspear, Dorne, Lord Alyn Velaryon learned of Viserys from Drazenko Rogare. He then traveled to Lys and negotiated Viserys’ release. Eventually, the prince returned to King’s Landing with Larra and three of her brothers. Drazenko eventually married Aliandra Martell and got named Lord of the Stepstones.
The Rogares rose in power as Lysendro became the First Magister for Life. As news of the Rogare Bank being better than the Iron Bank of Braavos began circulating, Lysandro and Drazenko mysteriously died a day apart. With their deaths, the princes and merchants of Lys started fighting. Lysaro, Lysandro’s son, attempted to take control but failed at being an effective ruler.
When rumors of the Rogare Bank being unsound started spreading, Lysaro fled with one thousand unsullied soldiers, emptying all the treasures in the bank. Because of his actions, the magisters of Lys seized all the Rogares’ assets and sold many family members into slavery.
Eventually, the Rogares lost their power in Westeros. Lotho, a member of House Rogare, lost his hand for stealing from the Rogare Bank branch of King’s Landing. However, he eventually formed the Bank of Oldtown. Larra, Viserys’s wife, gave birth to Prince Aemon and Princess Naerys before leaving for Lys.
King Aegon IV Targaryen, a half Lyseni through his mother Larra, had a mistress Serenei, the last daughter of an ancient but improvised noble family in Lys. She gave birth to Shiera Seastar, and when Aegon was on his deathbed, he legitimized all his bastards. Lord Tywin Lannister traveled to Lys during King Aerys II Targaryen’s reign. When Prince Oberyn Martell killed Lord Edgar Yronwood, he got sent to Lys, and no one called it an exile.
According to many rumors, Lord Jon Connington drank himself to death in Lys. After fleeing from King’s Landing, Daenerys Targaryen and her brother Viserys Targaryen spent some time in Lys. After marrying a Lyseni woman, Ser Jorah Mormont tried selling slaves to fund her lifestyle. However, he got caught and fled Westeros. After losing all his money, his wife became a concubine to Lord Tregar Ormollen, a Lysene merchant. Lord Varys, the Master of Whisperers, was born as a slave in Lys, according to Grand Maester Pycelle. Hizdahr zo Loraq has visited Lys, and Asha Greyjoy lost her virginity to a beautiful Lyseni sailor when she was sixteen.
Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire
When she gets wed to Khal Drogo, Daenerys Targaryen gets Doreah, a maiden from Lys whom Magister Illyro Mopatis found while in the city. Dany smells the sweet perfumes of Lys when she visits the market of Vaes Dothrak.
After King Robert Baratheon’s death, Stannis Baratheon declares himself King and brings in sellswords from Lys and Myr. One of the prominent fighters brought in is Salladhor Saan, a man who self-named himself Prince of the Narrow Sea.
After the Battle of the Blackwater, Ser Davos Seawoth gets rescued by Khorane Sathmantes. When Stannis agrees to sacrifice Edric Storm, Davos puts the boy on a Lysene galley and smuggles him out of Dragonstone. While checking out the Unsullied, Kraznys mo Nakloz cuts the flesh of a Lysene Unsullied soldier.
Edric hides out in Lys with his guardians. Meanwhile, Quentyn Martell’s party stops in Lys on their journey to Meereen. Before reaching the Stormlands, the Golden Company stops in Lys. Meanwhile, Arya Stark, in Braavos, learns the Lysene dialect as she studies to become one of the Faceless Men. Victarion Greyjoy sends his ships to sell slaves in Lys as he heads for Meereen to meet Daenerys. While in Pentos, Magister Illyrio Mopatis sends a Lyseni-trained bedwarmer to serve him.
Relevance in Adaptation
In HBO’s Game of Thrones, Lys impacted Westeros’ politics. When Lord Eddard Stark investigates Lord Jon Arryn’s death, Lord Varys tells him that the former Hand of the King got poisoned by the Tears of Lys. Ned later learns of Queen Cersei Lannister’s infidelity, but he gets arrested and killed.
The Free City of Lys: A Land of Beauty and Terror
Though the Lyseni are among the most beautiful people in the world, they have one of the most archaic practices; slavery. They saw humans as nothing but pleasure meat sacks whom they could breed like animals.
Is Lys in Westeros?
No. Lys is one of the Free Cities of Essos, a continent in the known world of A Song of Ice and Fire. It is known for its pleasure houses, the finest bed slaves, and poisons like the Tears of Lys.
Are there Valyrians in Lys?
No, there are no Valyrians in Lys, but the people have the blood of the Valyrians in them; this led to beautiful men and women with silver or blond hair and blue or purple eyes.
What are the Lyseni notorious for?
The Lyseni are known for breeding bedslaves. They take a beautiful woman and mate her with a beautiful man to hopefully create an even finer child they can use in their pleasure houses.
Why did Lys fight with Tyrosh?
The Lyseni and Tyroshi fought with Myr after the disbandment of the Triarchy. Their dispute was over the Disputed Lands and Steptones.