Westeros = Prince of Wales Island, Alaska

Back in August, my family and I went west to Prince of Wales Island (POW) to go camping at a cabin on Sdéiyi Héeni—known in English as Staney Creek. I was reading George R. R. Martin's book A Game of Thrones at the time, and at one point I had a thought:

POW looks quite a bit like Westeros—the main setting of Martin's series.

I then decided to compare the two in a map, as I did in the past with Alsace and Southeast Alaska. Here is the result:

my map of Westeros imagined on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska

If you're familiar with the geography of Prince of Wales Island, you'll see I've placed a bunch of foreign names on the Prince of Wales Archipelago and nearby islands. If you're familiar with the geography of Westeros, you'll see that I've placed the continent's eight primary cities on the map—the capitals of each of the seven kingdoms, plus the capital of the Seven Kingdoms, King's Landing. I also labeled Essos, the eastern continent, and three smaller archipelagos.

In comparison to the "real" Westeros, this map is the opposite in its arrangement from north to south. In the real Westeros, an enormous wall lies far to the north, separating the Seven Kingdoms from the wild lands "beyond the wall." In Southeast Alaska, the biggest barrier between the Prince of Wales Archipelago and other nearby lands is Dixon Entrance to the south. Put more poetically, I would call it "the Straits," which I believe is what it's called in X̱aad Kíl (Haida). In this analogy, then, Winterfell lies to the south of all the other capitals, and Haida Gwaii must be where the Wildlings and the Others live.

Hereʼs a list of which POW towns each Westerosian city corresponds to, plus their populations:
  • Port Protection (63 people) — Sunspear (Dorne)
  • Coffman Cove (199) — Highgarden (The Reach)
  • Kasaan (39) — Stormʼs End (Stormlands)
  • Craig (1,201) — Casterly Rock (Westerlands)
  • Klawock (854) — Riverrun (Riverlands)
  • Hollis (112) — Kingʼs Landing (Crownlands)
  • Old Kasaan (0) — The Eyrie (The Vale)
  • Hydaburg (376) — Winterfell (The North)
The Neck is north
of Winterfell here.

As you can see, POW is far less populated than Westeros, but it's geography still makes for a great comparison. Both places are elongated and surrounded by smaller islands, with a "narrow sea" to the east and a seemingly endless one to the west. With multiple isthmuses or choke points along its length, POW has several potential counterparts to the Neck, including the one just to the north of Winterfell (Hydaburg) on my map. As the North differs from the rest of Westeros, so too is Hydaburg culturally distinct. I chose Old Kasaan as the location of the Eyrie because of how inaccessible it is by land, and I matched King's Landing with Hollis since Hollis is the landing point for travel coming from Essos (Ketchikan).

In the context of POW populations, Riverrun (Klawock) and Casterly Rock (Craig) are the two most important cities in Westeros, which matches well with my current reading in A Storm of Swords, where the struggle between Starks and Tullys at Riverrun and Lannisters at Casterly Rock and King's Landing is the most significant in the story.

I realize POW doesn't match Westeros in its urban details nearly as well as Alsace and Southeast Alaska, but I did enjoy making this new map, and I'll continue to enjoy reading GRRM's series, A Song of Ice and Fire. I'm sure there will be more posts to come on this blog about the books and the TV series. Now I'll get back to my book.

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