The Shadow Lands are a region in a remote part of Essos, approximately six thousand miles to the east of Westeros. They lie north and east of the Jade Sea, east of the kingdom of Yi Ti and north of the city-state of Asshai. They form the northern coast of the Saffron Straits.
The Shadow Lands are an area of extensive mountains, hills and uplands, drained by several large rivers. The area is covered by ghost grass, a form of white grass that kills other living things and prevents them from growing. According to the Dothraki, ghost grass will overrun and consume all of the world, thus bringing about its end. The mountains of the Shadow Lands may be an extension of the Mountains of the Morn, a major range located to the north. There appear to be no major cities within the Shadow Lands, although a ruined city named Stygai appears on some maps. This city is located in a river valley in the mountains, north and east of Asshai.
The Shadow Lands have a reputation as an area of mystery, intrigue and sorcery. People of the Shadow Lands usually go masked when amongst others, and tend to refer to themselves as "of the Shadow." They also tend to wear tattoos. Although often linked due to their proximity, natives of the Shadow Lands are a distinct people from the Asshai'i, who go unmasked in public. According to myth, dragons still exist in the Shadow Lands and mighty feats of magic (such as shadowbinding) are possible there.
The reason for the name of the region is not known. Few from Westeros or the lands west of the Jade Sea ever go there, most preferring to trade with natives of the region via Asshai.