“The ships of Braavos sail as far as the winds blow, to lands strange and wonderful, and when they return their captains fetch queer animals to the Sealord’s menagerie. Such animals as you have never seen, striped horses, great spotted things with necks as long as stilts, hairy mouse-pigs as big as cows, stinging manticores, tigers that carry their cubs in a pouch, terrible walking lizards with scythes for claws. Syrio Forel has seen these things.”
— Syrio Forel to Arya Stark, A Game of Thrones
Braavos, a coastal sea port of the East renown for its seafarers and master swordsmen, is arguably the most powerful of the Free Cities. It spans a hundred islands connected by stone bridges and is ruled by the Sealord. Braavos is situated at the northern tip of the Eastern continent, far north of the coastal city of Pentos, by the Shivering Sea. A giant statue, called the Titan of Braavos, guards the harbor entrance to the city.
Braavosi speak a dialect evolved from a corrupted form of Valyrian, which was primarily used for trade. Braavos is noted for the bravos, sellswords and street thungs; and Water Dancers, who practice a graceful style of fencing. Water dancers use a narrower blade that focuses on agility and light, darting strikes, rather than the cleaving sword-and-shield technique of the Seven Kingdoms. Braavos is also infamous for its Guild of Faceless Men, renowned and feared assassins.