Curse of the Crimson Throne
People of Korvosa
Buildings, infrastructure, and politics make a city livable (or intolerable, in some cases), but the people who live in a place truly make it a city.
Barely more powerful than the lord magistrates who preceded them, the monarchs of Korvosa must share power with the strict governmental entities existant at the founding of the monarchy. The command King Erodred II exerts over the city is constantly checked by the arbiters, magistrates, and nobles, the city's most politically powerful groups. More than judges, the arbiters not only determine the guilt or innocence of defendants in a court of law, but also have legislative oversight. No one exactly knows what the 23 magistrates or their staffs do, but most Korvosans suspect the entire purpose of city hall is to waste the time and money of the city's people.
Finally, two overlapping divisions define Korvosa's aristocracy: the five most powerful families bear the coveted title of Great Houses, giving their members special privileges within the city, and 21 noble houses make up the Dock Families, allowing them to charge berthing fees on one or more docks in the city.