[KL’s south bank] So what’s on the other side of the river?

Augurex

Faith Militant
With King’s Landing receiving its fabulous makeover, it seems to me that now is as good a time as any to start a bainstorm about what kind of settlement, perhaps even sprawl, has emerged on the south bank of the Blackwater Rush. Additionally, Kor has spearheaded the talk of a Stormlands overhaul; even though the south bank is technically part of the Crownlands according to our map, there would doubtless be a lot of overlap.


But first, what canon can be collected about such a settlement?


The earliest clue comes in AGOT, Catelyn IV, as the the Storm Dancer approaches the city:


“ferrymen poled back and forth across the Blackwater Rush”


This suggests multiple ferrymen on the Rush at the peak of activity—around noontime. Later in the chapter has Catelyn in the inn on Eel Alley in the afternoon and before dusk.


Another significant piece of canon is found in Fire and Blood:


“…as the girl made her way to the city, escorted by her father and a brother, they stopped for the night at an inn on the south bank of the Blackwater Rush, beside the ferry landing.” p. 158


This would have been circa 48 AC. It’s more than a minor possibility that any settlement on the south bank would have only grown in size. Additionally, considering there’s an interim of about 250 years until the time our server is set, the inn could have been demolished, rebuilt, demolished again, rebuilt again, etc. There could also have been more ferry landings as KL grew in size and importance over the centuries.


I’m having a little bit of difficulty finding it, but in one of AFFC’s Cersei chapters, Cersei dreams of building a castle on the other side of the Blackwater. From my recollection, she doesn’t think of any buildings or settlements that are already there, but I can’t be sure without the exact quote(s).



Taking inspiration from real life, London’s aptly named Southbank was the designated area for all of the sordid and disreputable elements of town life. This included brothels and theaters. The Thames is quite a bit narrower than Blackwater Rush, I imagine, so maybe Constaninople and the straits might be more of an appropriate comparison.


Here’s what I think is called for:

3-4 inns (1 large, 1-2 medium, 1 small)

A few brothels

Mayhaps a theater

Perhaps a royal hunting lodge on the outskirts (does such a thing already exist?)

Hunters’ houses? I’m not sure if this is viable and if hunting in the Kingswood would be considered poaching. Has anything been mentioned about this canonically?


I don’t think there would be any walls.


Roads- mainly two: a north-south one emerging from the wood, and an east-west one parallel to the Rush.


Farms—not much. The kingswood should encroach quite close to the rush, IMO. In the way of food supply, there’s probably a lot ferried over from KL. Maybe there could be some fishmongers and fishermen’s homes. Oysters, clams, and cockles?

To elaborate on the theater, it could be a stage with some trouper wagons. No walls. While people wait for a ferry, they catch a show or part of one.

Also, in my humble opinion, this isn’t a settlement like most others in Westeros. It should lack a lot of the things that other towns or hamlets have, while also possessing features that most others don’t have. There shouldn’t be a sept, imo, or at least not a very fancy one.



What are your ideas and insights?
 
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In The World of Ice and Fire Aerys II also dreams of building a city on the south bank out of white marble. Since it is said that he always pursued these follies for a few months at most before dropping them there could be some weird abandoned construction project since it would be plausible for a king to start commissioning stuff that is so close to where he lives within that time span. Maybe something like a weirdly large unfinished marble townhall with a statue of aerys in front of it. Also it would‘ve been fairly recent still and potentially a symbol of Targaryen failure/madness so it might have been kept. Idk
I also think that maybe the area to the west of the sprawl should be swampy, possibly with no road through it because it‘s always been bugging me that the rose road does such a weird dip when it would be much more reasonable to go through Tumbleton. But alas we know the rose road circumvents Tumbleton so that‘d be kind of a solution.
 
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DutchGuard

Necromancer
Pronouns
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I think these are all great ideas, and I have wanted to implement some of them myself over the years. Another good bit of semi-canon evidence is from the Lands of Ice and Fire map, which shows a small settlement on the south side of the river. The Kingsroad technically continues south of KL at this point, and its the starting point for the Roseroad, so it should be quite a busy area for travellers.

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That said, I would try to keep it fairly small. This area is more or less inside the Kingswood, and the Kingswood Brotherhood no doubt raided this small settlement when they were active and it might for that reason have been stunted in its growth. For this reason also I wouldn't add a theatre (I've also previously argued against theatres in Westeros full stop), as you'd have to pay to take a ferry across the river just to get to the theatre, making it less appealing as a venue.

As for the hunter's lodges and hunting stand, I would leave those for the inevitable Kingswood megabuild.
 
Hunters’ houses? I’m not sure if this is viable and if hunting in the Kingswood would be considered poaching. Has anything been mentioned about this canonically?

Tyrion's actions in early Clash indicates that there was some sort of poaching ban beforehand.

ACOK 19 (Tyrion III): "Bronn was waiting by the gate with his litter and an escort of mounted Black Ears. "You know where we're bound," Tyrion told him. He accepted a hand up into the litter. He had done all he could to feed the hungry city—he'd set several hundred carpenters to building fishing boats in place of catapults, opened the kingswood to any hunter who dared to cross the river, even sent gold cloaks foraging to the west and south—yet he still saw accusing eyes everywhere he rode. The litter's curtains shielded him from that, and besides gave him leisure to think" (my emphasis).

Also, there are Kurz and Koss, two of the recruits Yoren took from the dungeons, who had been taken as poachers. I assume that if they had been poaching in lands belonging to regional Lords, they would have been punished/imprisoned there, as I don't see an advantage in centralizing that part of the justice system.

However, this doesn't mean that there was an absolute poaching ban. Banning all non-Royal hunting would be completely nonsensical, considering the enormous size of the Kingswood, and how dependent King's Landing is on food. Rather, the phrasing "any hunter" implies that the ban might have been limited or conditional. It could have been temporal, only allowing hunting in specific time periods (fx seasons). There could also be a license system, where only hunters with special permission can legally hunt game (and/or only a limited number), maybe managed by a Guild. I think the latter possibility is the likeliest one, since it would provide King's Landing with food while limiting the extent of the hunting to prevent overhunting or making it too hard for Robert.

Regardless of whether there is a hunting facility for regular hunters, I bet there is some sort of structure build specifically for Robert, to prepare him for when he goes on a hunt. This structure would probably be build at the intersection of several roads / game trails, so I agree that it is best to integrate it with the Kingswood project.

(Also, first post, yay!)
 

15PB

Storyteller
Guest
I think maybe there should be more substantial infrastructure for the Kingsroad on the south side of the Blackwater, as the road (according to the dynmap) does cut across the bay. It might make sense for the roads between the capital and the Stormlands to be a little more developed.
 

AerioOndos

Donkey Lord
definitely. The stormlands are one of the regions that are least developed in Lore, but are still productive and quite important. Its suffered from us knowing too little to give it any large settlements.
There should definitely be small settlements around the ferries South of KL. And I agree that they should be lacking many things a self-sustainable settlement should have. They mostly get grain and other food from traders passing through or from the city. They can shop at the KL markets as they're under a day's travel away.
Inns, stables, some warehouses maybe to store anything left on the southern side that couldn't be quickly, cheaply transported into the city before the owner can come back again, would help make an interesting area.
On the note of theatres, there could be a space between the walls of two larger buildings turned into a temporary open air theatre.
 

qBBQ

Street Preacher
"Tyrion cantered on ahead to where the ferry barges waited on the south bank of the Blackwater."
- ASoS, Chapter 38 Tyrion V, last paragraph

"Dawn was breaking, and pale ripples of light shimmered on the surface of the river, shattering under the poles and reforming when the ferry had passed. Timett had taken his Burned Men into the kingswood two days before."
"And then it was time for him to lead his garron onto the ferry. Tyrion watched them push off and pole out toward the center of the Blackwater."
- ACoK, Chapter 49 Tyrion XI, beginning of the chapter

At the very least, there is a ferry landing/dock of some sort at the south bank of the Blackwater Rush. There must be some sort of industry on the other side, even though AFAIK it's not mentioned. We know there's an inn from Fire and Blood. Warehouses, taverns, maybe a town?
 
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Augurex

Faith Militant
I’m with you on thinking it shouldn’t be sprawl, but my first thought on looking at the size of the settlement in Dutch’s image was, “Oh, no, that’s much too large,” lol!

Thank you for finding those quotes, BBQ!

Did ferries operate at nighttime?

DutchGuard said:
For this reason also I wouldn't add a theatre (I've also previously argued against theatres in Westeros full stop), as you'd have to pay to take a ferry across the river just to get to the theatre, making it less appealing as a venue.

The theater would be geared towards the people on the Kingswood side of the river, the people that are waiting. But I’m curious about your reasoning for why there shouldn’t be theaters in Westeros, full stop.

I think the psychology of the settlement would be primarily one of waiting, except for the people that live there, and even then, most of their livelihoods would be centered around the people that are waiting for ferries to the great big city just across the rush—inns, stables, brothels, warehouses to keep goods safe, barge makers, etc.
 

qBBQ

Street Preacher
Thanks Augurex! I like researching this kind of stuff. Not sure if the ferries operated at night, but Tyrion saw one at the break of dawn, morning.

"...the hulls of smashed ships could be seen along both sides of the Blackwater, charred masts poking from the shallows like gaunt black fingers. The only traffic was the flatbottomed ferry that took them across the river, and when they reached the kingswood they found a wilderness of ash and charcoal and dead trees."
- ASoS, Chapter 16 Sansa II

There's a lot of talk of ferries crossing the Blackwater Rush but never about anything on the other side, other than Kingswood and general wilderness. The inn mentioned in Fire & Blood exists around 40ish maybe 50ish AC. Eddard Stark dies in 299 AC. Does the inn still exist during our server's point in time? We can't be sure.

Notice the above quote only says the wilderness was burned but does not mention any burnt villages/towns/infrastructure. The Battle of the Blackwater doesn't mention troops arriving at any settlement on the south bank. So even though a settlement centered around people waiting for a ferry seems to make sense, the evidence or rather, the lack of it, indicates there's nothing on the south bank of Blackwater Rush except for a ferry landing.
 

15PB

Storyteller
Guest
Whether or not there is evidence for it, would it not be realistic to expect some sort of settlement around an important crossing point and place of trade between the northern stormlands and the crownlands? If there is nothing planned, perhaps there could be some travelling merchants and basic houses for those profiting off the ferry.
 

DutchGuard

Necromancer
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The theater would be geared towards the people on the Kingswood side of the river, the people that are waiting. But I’m curious about your reasoning for why there shouldn’t be theaters in Westeros, full stop.

I'm not sure how many people you are suggesting live on this side of the river, but it doesn't feel like it would be enough to warrant the construction of a permanent theatre, bearing in mind that the Kingswood itself isn't a populated area (or least, legally).
Have a look through this thread for my thoughts on theatres.
 
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AerioOndos

Donkey Lord
Can we not have a permanent theatre but instead a temporary one, as theatres were before large companies set themselves up? We have no equivalent of the King's or Duke's Men in Westeros, who could afford to have permanent theatres maintained (we see this in Braavos though, large companies and acting houses) but certainly stages could be set up and curtains strung between buildings to create interesting impromptu places.

Also, I blame the lack of information on the southern side of the Blackwater on GRRM's dislike of telling us much about the Stormlands. :C
 
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qBBQ

Street Preacher
I say no to theatres on the south Blackwater. People are waiting to cross the river, they don't want to stay and watch a play. For the performers, the tips are probably better inside the capital than on a river bank. The city has outdoor, open-air theatres as well. Imagine asking for donations from disgruntled people waiting for a ferry. As for people who do stay, it's because they missed the last boat and are forced to stay at the dockside inn. By then, it's too dark to do a play anyway.
 
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AerioOndos

Donkey Lord
Brilliant rationale! You've changed my mind completely. Perhaps around the mudgate could be a possible location for plays though, rather than the South Bank? It and Fleebottom function similarly to London's Southwark
 

Vinnie

Playwright
Regardless of whether there is a hunting facility for regular hunters, I bet there is some sort of structure build specifically for Robert, to prepare him for when he goes on a hunt. This structure would probably be build at the intersection of several roads / game trails, so I agree that it is best to integrate it with the Kingswood project.
I would second this idea! I am recalling an interview GRRM gave in which he details that the fateful hunt King Robert partook in was supposed to be a much larger affair than what was depicted in the show. Maybe there ought to be a private landing or structure for royal barges. I think it would make sense for there to be permanent or semi-permanent structures as well to fully accommodate a royal entourage for a week of boar and stag hunting.