Journeys – the lifelines of Westeros

The last map from the Lands of Ice and Fire is the map of Journeys – all the paths taken by the characters in the novels of A Song of Ice and Fire (up to the end of Dances with Dragons). This map contains spoilers, so don’t look too carefully if you’ve not read to the end of A Dance With Dragons.

Journeys map of the character routes for Game of Thrones
Journeys, © George RR Martin 2012, used with permission

The characters in A Song of Ice and Fire certainly cover some ground. In this map all the named characters get a path and we can follow their progress (and often their untimely end) by following their lifelines. Each line has a colour that corresponds in most cases to their house. So the Starks are in shades of blue, the Lannisters get golden yellows, and Melisandre of course is a deep red. The paths in these maps were all researched and charted by Elio and Linda at This map could not have been created without their thorough and painstaking work.

If you’ve not read to the end of Dance with Dragons, don’t look too closely as this definitely contains spoilers.

Some locations act as natural hubs in the books. Obviously the Kingsroad looks like a multi-lane highway, and as I mentioned earlier in the week – everyone stops for a drink and a bite of food at the Inn at the Crossroads:

Harrenhal and the Inn at the Crossroads
Harrenhal and the Inn at the Crossroads © George RR Martin, used with permission

I cheated a little here, and the parade of characters from Winterfell to King’s Landing that begins the books is a single golden yellow. However once things go south in King’s Landing, the lines burst forth in a multicoloured web of intrigue. You can also see here that when two characters travel together they get a dashed line. Can you guess the colours heading over the Mountains of the Moon?

Winterfell is another hub throughout the books, and the convergence of lines tells the story of the hands it passes through in the course of the books:

Winterfell Routes
Winterfell © George RR Martin, 2012, used with permission

There was some discussion about adding a legend to this map with each of the character colours. It was decided to drop it, as the colours themselves give the hint as to the character, and there are labels on the lines regularly to help you pull out which character you’re following. The background on this map was faded intentionally to make it a little easier to pull out the lifelines.

Off to the West we have Pyke – another family seat, and once Theon goes home we get a lot of points of view from the Iron Islands:

Iron Islands
Iron Islands © George RR Martin, 2012, used with permission

Finally, the paths aren’t just confined to Westeros. There’s a parallel tale taking place across the Narrow Sea. Daenerys gets purple, and her line travels East – followed by an ever increasing number of lines as the series progresses:

Pentos And The Rhoyne
Daenerys © George RR Martin, 2012, used with permission

The routes are complex but they tell the story of intrigue, alliance, capture and ransom. And, like a transit map, often the end of the line means the service has terminated. The parallel to a transit map is unmistakeable, and for fun I quickly threw together a version of this in the style of the classic Tube map. It’s not the best parallel (this still places lines at their actual locations – more or less – rather than prioritising connections) but it’s amazing how much of the story you can tell just from the lines:

Character Paths from A Song of Ice and Fire
Character Paths

As with the other maps – you see the full resolution images in twelve 2 foot by 3 foot posters in the Lands of Ice and Fire map folio.


4 thoughts on “Journeys – the lifelines of Westeros”

  1. I don’t understand why there are so many maps from the Game of Thrones that aren’t high enough resolution. If you’re going to post a map, make sure the map contains enough resolution so a person can actually zoom in far enough to actually READ what’s on the map please!!! 😀

    1. The map is copyrighted, and Mr Martin holds the copyright. Now we all know what he does to characters he likes, so I don’t want to know what will happen to me 🙂 The maps in the the folio are huge – 24″ by 36″. They are more than large enough to see all the detail. I’m glad you like them, an dI hope you get a chance to see the full size maps close up.

  2. You should disable ligatures in text when the letters are letterspaced (e.g., Little Rhoyne, whith that font —possibly Brioso— has a ligature in the “tt” which looks awful).

    In any case, astonishing work! Really! They are beautiful.

    What I don’t like is that you do not provide high quality images; but if you did, they would instantly proliferate around the internet. So it’s a tricky solution. Still, I hope that at some moment I have the chance to look at the full resolution images.

    You could try to convince George to publish an open map (in vector format, may be similar to this so it becomes THE reference map, rather than having tons of maps which are not perfect (nor that beautiful).

    1. Good call on the ligatures. That’s a fix that was needed.

      As for the high res maps, I’m not allowed (by contract) which makes the decision very easy! I agree that a single high res source of truth reference map would be awesome 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *