Hey, Arya Stark — What's West Of Westeros On Game Of Thrones?

Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
The internet isn’t happy with the ending of Game of Thrones. Refinery29’s dedicated GoT recapper Anne Cohen isn’t happy with the ending of Game of Thrones. I’m not happy with the ending of Game of Thrones. Still, I can spot a silver lining in all of the dragon mess left behind by series finale “The Iron Throne:” The closing of Arya Stark’s (Maisie Williams) wild, bloody, and heroic journey.
While Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) were crushed by their ambition, and Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) somehow became king, Arya Stark’s farewell made perfect sense. Winterfell’s youngest daughter takes a ship to start her biggest adventure yet. “What’s west of Westeros?,” she asks her siblings, explaining the goal of her voyage.
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It’s likely fans of the series were left asking the same question. After all, Arya adds, “That’s where all the maps stop.” But, if you dig into the books Thrones is inspired by, George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice And Fire series and their related works, you may just get a hint about where Arya is headed and what kind of fate lies ahead.
From the jump, let’s explain why we need to go to books when Bran is right there when Arya brings up the mystery of the known world’s geography. King Bran is still the Three Eyed-Raven, and essentially serves as Google for Westeros. Shouldn't Bran be able to tell his sister what’s west of Westeros, saving her what may be a deadly trip into the unknown? Especially since Arya may have taken a boat before — her final scene is a direct mirror to her first trip to Braavos back in season 4 — but she’s not an experienced sailor like Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan). This is dangerous.
Unfortunately for Arya, Bran can’t help her. Since no one in history has actually made the journey far west and returned to Westeros, he can’t tap into those memories. Because Bran’s magic seems to be tied to the physical land of Westeros — it’s not like he knows what’s happening in Essos — this makes sense.
All of this would be moot if Bran could find the memories of Elissa Farman, a long-dead Westerosi noblewoman and accomplished sailor. As detailed in 2018’s Fire And Blood, Elissa was a close friend of Rhaena Targaryen, a one-time queen consort for her uncle and the sister of Westeros’ best king, Jaehaerys I. Elissa and Rhaena, who were rumored to be lovers, eventually had a falling out, and the former stole three dragon eggs from the latter’s seat of Dragonstone. However, Elissa didn’t want to become a dragon rider — she wished to sail west of Westeros, just like Arya. A vanished Stark king named Brandon also once attempted a trip like this, but there are no detailed tales of his expedition.
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Elisa doesn't suffer from that problem. The noblewoman, using the pseudonym Alys Westhill, took the three stolen eggs to Essos, where she traded them to the Sealord of Braavos (it’s suspected these are the eggs Dany will one day possess). The Sealord gave Elissa enough money to build Sun Chaser, the ship of her dreams. She then used that ship, and two brought to her by young Hightower lads with a taste for adventure, to finally travel west on the Sunset Sea, the western-most body of water in the known world. It’s worth noting Elissa had a much better exit point, from Oldtown harbor’s extreme southwest placement, than Arya does from King’s Landing, an eastern port city.
In the first leg of the trip, Elissa found three islands southwest of Westeros, and named them Aegon, Rhaenys and Visenya for the first Targaryen conquerers. During this portion of the voyage, one of the Hightower boys, Ser Norman, died in a boat-wrecking storm. After finding the Targaryen islands, Norman's brother Ser Eustace announced he would be returning to Westeros with his own battered ship. However, Elissa pressed on with Sun Chaser, never to be seen alive again.
All this drama does speak to what is west of Westeros besides three islands smaller than Dragonstone. Over two decades after Elissa’s disappearance, Corlys Velaryon, a different famed seaman and a distant relative of Elissa’s Targaryen princess Rhaena, spotted Sun Chaser in the port of Asshai by the Shadow. That means Elissa Farman wound up in the Eastern-most port in the known world seemingly by sailing west.
Therefore, Arya Stark may find herself in the same situation, bringing her to the birthplace of Melisandre (Carice van Houten). Such a trip would confirm the known world has been fully mapped out. Or, Arya could happen upon another set of islands like Elissa before her, or, even some other land mass entirely. It’s not like anyone in Thrones has even tackled the huge enigma of Sothoryos, the third continent of the known world. While we have heard about Sothoryos’s Summer Islands and Naath, there is still so much more unknown about the huge continent, which is analogous to Africa. Arya could even wind up on criminally underdeveloped quandary of Ulthos, which only appears as a small blip in the corner of Game of Thrones maps. Is it an island? Another continent? Even the world’s mastermind, Martin, won’t comment on that question.
And, of course, there’s the possibility the only thing west of Westeros is Westworld, giving HBO the synergy it never even knew it needed. That would certainly explain how so many modern beverage containers keep ending up in Game of Thrones.
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