The history of Yi Ti is beyond fascinating. The region was formerly home to a dynasty known as “The Great Empire of the Dawn.” According to legend, the Empire’s first ruler was a being known as the Gon-on-Earth, the only son of Lion of Night and the Maiden-Made-of-Light. The God-on-Earth ruled for 10,000 years before passing the keys to the kingdom off to his son, the Pearl Emperor. After that, subsequent dynasties were named after precious jewels like The Jade Emperor and the Opal Emperor.
This history resembles a very basic reading of China’s long history, in which various dynasties conquer others, but each reign is viewed as a continuation of the other due to the “Mandate of Heaven.” In any case, the Great Empire of the Dawn ended when darkness fell in the Long Night and an unnamed hero wielded the sword Lightbringer to bring back the light. Yes, terms like “The Long Night” and “Lightbringer” should sound very familiar as Westeros and western Essos have similar legends that play on those same things. It really does seem as though Game of Thrones’ planet experienced a truly cataclysmic event thousands of years ago.
Now the governing body of Yi Ti is the Golden Empire. It is ruled by a series of God-Emperors whose dynasties take their names from various colors. According to The World of Ice & Fire, the current God-Emperor is the 17th azure emperor, Bu Gai. Of course, this wouldn’t be Game of Thrones if there weren’t some political intrigue. It appears as though the age of empires is waning. Bu Gai’s supremacy in the capital city of Yin is challenged by a sorcerer lord claiming to be the 69th yellow emperor in Carcosa, and a general named Pol Qo styling himself the first orange emperor in Trader Town.
To complicate matters, the Golden Empire exists in a constant state of war against the Jogos Nai, a nomadic people akin to the Mongols. It also has a complicated relationship with an island nation in the south known as Leng (which is likely based on Japan).
While there haven’t been any current day stories told about Yi Ti or the Golden Empire in the Game of Thrones TV series or books, it’s quite undeniable that the set up for compelling tales is all there. It’s certainly frustrating that we’ve gone more than a decade without updates on Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister, and the like. But at least Yi Ti provides the opportunity for a whole new tale to become obsessed with all over again.