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Battle on the Honeywine

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Battle on the Honeywine
Conflict Dance of the Dragons
Date 130AC
Place the banks of the Honeywine
Result Victory for the greens
Combatants
The greens The blacks
Commanders
Lord Ormund Hightower
Daeron Targaryen
Lord Thaddeus Rowan
Tom Flowers+
Ser Alan Beesbury
Lord Alan Tarly
Lord Owen Costayne+
Strength
thousands of foot soldiers (estimated)
Tessarion
a great host of mounted knights, thousands of foot soldiers (estimated)
Casualties
Unknown but heavy (estimated) Unknown but heavy (estimated)
Tom Flowers+
Ser Alan Beesbury (captured)
Lord Alan Tarly (captured)
Lord Owen Costayne+

The Battle on the Honeywine was one of many battles fought during the Dance of the Dragons, between the greens of Aegon II Targaryen and the blacks of Rhaenyra Targaryen for control of the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms after the death of their father, Viserys I Targaryen.[1]

Contents

Prelude

When Viserys I died in 129AC there was an immediate question over the line of succession. Some lords favored Aegon II as the rightful heir in the Andal custom of male ascension over female in the line of succession. Other lords supported Rhaenyra Targaryen, as her father's wish was that she become queen after his death.[1]

The blacks had suffered a major setback when Borros Baratheon sided the Stormlands with the greens. Given that Borros's father had been a staunch supporter of Rhaenyra, she had anticipated the Baratheons' support, and took Borros's action as a shocking betrayal. The greens, however, were in for their own rude surprise: given that Aegon II's main supporters were House Hightower (his mother's family), the greens had assumed that all of the fertile lords and lands of the Reach would side with them. Instead, many of the major lords from the north and east of the Reach declared for Rhaenyra, including House Rowan of Goldengrove, House Caswell of Bitterbridge, and House Tarly of Horn Hill. Even several of the Hightowers' own major vassals declared for Rhaenyra, such as House Costayne and House Beesbury. It is unclear why the greens assumed that the Beesburys would fall in line, given that Master of Coin Lyman Beesbury was the first casualty of the succession war, his throat personally slit by Criston Cole at the small council table in front of Alicent Hightower.

Nor did House Tyrell side with the greens as they had anticipated. While the Tyrells had sided with Aegon the Conqueror after it became clear that the Targaryens were winning the War of Conquest, the Reach was so evenly divided between blacks and greens that the Tyrells could not determine which side was more likely to win, and therefore chose neither. In addition, the current lord of Highgarden was only a baby, and his regent mother did not want to take any risks by picking one of the evenly matched sides, so Highgarden declared its neutrality, not committing its large armies to either faction.

Therefore, instead of quickly marching Reachmen armies up from the south to join up with the other green armies in the north to overwhelm the blacks, the Hightowers and their allies had to waste time slowly fighting their way up through the Reach itself.

Just prior to the Battle on the Honeywine was the Battle in the Gullet in which both sides suffered heavy losses, including Prince Jacaerys Velaryon and his dragon, Vermax. For that reason alone it was seen as a loss for the blacks.

The Battle

A fortnight later on the banks of the Honeywine in the Reach, Lord Ormund Hightower found himself caught between the forces of Lord Thaddeus Rowan and Tom Flowers, the Bastard of Bitterbridge, coming in from the northeast with a large host of mounted knights. From behind his retreat was cut off by Ser Alan Beesbury, Lord Alan Tarly and Lord Owen Costayne.[1]

Attacked from the front and the rear, Lord Hightower's lines were starting to crumble and defeat seemed all but a forgone conclusion. Just then, a massive shadow appeared in the sky above them, Prince Daeron Targaryen on his dragon, Tessarion. It was then that the battle turned to the favor of Aegon II's forces and the rout was underway with heavy losses in the retreat.[1]

Aftermath

This was the second defeat in a row for Rhaenyra Targaryen and her supporters, the blacks, at the hands of Aegon II and his supporters, the greens. These losses proved this would not be an easy war for either party and no quick end was in sight. Rhaenyra also lost many seasoned commanders in Tom Flowers, Ser Alan Beesbury, Lord Alan Tarly and Lord Owen Costayne. Both sides, however, suffered heavy casualties.[1]

Daeron Targaryen was hailed as a hero that day and knighted by Lord Ormund Hightower with the Valyrian steel longsword, Vigilance. Daeron was first called "Daeron the Daring" after the battle, though Daeron himself modestly said that Tessarion was the true hero of the battle.[1]

The battle did succeed in slowing down the massive Hightower army that set out from Oldtown on its march north. Indirectly, this prevented the green-aligned forces in the Reach from aiding the green-aligned armies to the north: the Westerlands' armies were annihilated in the Battle by the Lakeshore, while the green armies from the Crownlands were destroyed in the Battle at the stony ridge.

Black forces continued to harass the Hightower army as it slowly advanced up the Roseroad, though Daeron flew on Tessarion to scout ahead for ambushes that they set. Eventually it began to approach King's Landing itself, resulting in the First Battle of Tumbleton.

Quotes

My Lord is kind to say so, but the victory belongs to Tessarion.[1]
Daeron Targaryen responding to Ormund Hightower's praises after the battle

References and Notes

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