4

Trade seems to be very important in both Essos and Westeros and we see different entities vying against each other for mercantile supremacy such as the Free Cities, Slaver Cities etc.

For trade, there have to be products. So naturally, surplus and efficient production means that the state with those characteristics will gain a massive share in the mercantile monopoly. These can be created by forming an industry with focus on a certain kind of goods i.e. 300 skilled smiths working for one employer together as a team to produce swords.

We know there are some guilds such as Tourmaline Brotherhood, Ancient Guild of Spicers, the Thirteen, etc. However they appear to be more like councils/alliances of traders who buy goods from local producers and move them around.

Hypothetically, it is plausible that some rich merchant might decide to produce goods in an industrial fashion i.e. hire/buy some pot-makers to make fancy pots for him to fill the market with while providing them with tools and resources needed by them to do their jobs. Based on that hypothesis, are there any industries that we know of in Westeros or Essos?

  • 3
    Can't we consider that Astapor have a nationalised Unsullied factory ? – Kepotx Feb 6 '18 at 16:01
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George R.R. Martin answered this in an un-televised Q&A session with fans in St. Petersburg, Russia on 19th August, 2017.

The account of the session was provided by a Russian fan by the name of Masha on her tumblr account, which was then posted on the "Citadel: So Spake Martin" by Elio Garcia, co-author of The World of Ice and Fire, so the account seems to be by all means authentic and endorsed by GRRM's team.

Q: “Are there industries in ASOIAF?”

GRRM: No.

So that settles it, there are no industries in Westeros or Essos. All the trade seems to be revolving around local craftsmen producing the goods on small workshop scale and merchants buying the goods from them to distribute throughout the world.

1

It would appear that Littlefinger has a chain of brothels and so has a localised industry set up to make him money. He explicitly states he owns the one where he takes Cat when she comes to King's Landing. In the show it's implied he owns more but I can't find a quote for this in the books yet.

"Just what it appears," Littlefinger said, easing himself onto a window seat. "A brothel. Can you think of a less likely place to find a Catelyn Tully?" He smiled. "As it chances, I own this particular establishment, so arrangements were easily made. I am most anxious to keep the Lannisters from learning that Cat is here in King's Landing."
A Game of Thrones Eddard IV

He also later states a philosophy on owning brothels and states he may buy another one run by a competitor.

"Chataya runs a choice establishment," Littlefinger said as they rode. "I've half a mind to buy it. Brothels are a much sounder investment than ships, I've found. Whores seldom sink, and when they are boarded by pirates, why, the pirates pay good coin like everyone else." Lord Petyr chuckled at his own wit.
A Game of Thrones, Eddard IX

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    A very improper industry. – M. A. Golding Feb 6 '18 at 17:42

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