First Blackfyre Rebellion

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First Blackfyre Rebellion
Part of Blackfyre Pretenders
Redgrass Field.png
Daemon Blackfyre leads the charge during the Battle of the Redgrass Field, as depicted by Jose Daniel Cabrera Pena in The World of Ice and Fire

Date 196 AC[1][2]
Location Westerlands, the Riverlands, the Reach
Battles Battle of the Redgrass Field
Result Decisive Targaryen victory
Exile of House Blackfyre to Essos

House TargaryenHouse Blackfyre
Notable commanders
King Daeron II Targaryen
Brynden Rivers
Lord Hayford, Hand of the King
Prince Baelor Targaryen
Prince Maekar Targaryen
Daemon I Blackfyre
Ser Aegor Rivers
Ser Quentyn Ball
"Blackfyre Rebellion" redirects here. For the other Blackfyre Rebellions, see Blackfyre Pretenders.

The First Blackfyre Rebellion,[3][1][4][5][6] originally called the Blackfyre Rebellion,[1][7] developed out of a dynastic dispute involving the children of King Aegon IV Targaryen. The conflict was between House Targaryen and the pretenders of House Blackfyre and resulted in open civil war that divided the Seven Kingdoms over the Iron Throne.


King Aegon IV publicly bestowed the Targaryen sword of kings, Blackfyre, on his bastard Daemon Waters instead of his legitimate son, Daeron Targaryen. Some felt that the sword symbolized the monarchy, as it had been the blade of Aegon the Conqueror, so the gift was the seed from which the Blackfyre Rebellions grew.[8][9]

Aegon IV legitimised all of his bastards on his deathbed. His noble bastards were called the Great Bastards, the most notable of whom was Daemon, a great warrior and wielder of the Targaryen Blackfyre. He took the name Daemon Blackfyre from the sword.

In 184 AC, Aegon IV was succeeded by Daeron II Targaryen. King Daeron was a cultured, scholarly man and reigned over a sophisticated court, attended by maesters and learned men, which was perceived as effete and overly-refined, not pleasing to many of his more martial courtiers and nobles. His marriage to the Dornish princess Myriah introduced foreign influences and manners to the court, further adding to the displeasure with his reign. In addition to the aggravation of the Dornish influences at court, popular rumours held that King Aegon IV's sister-wife Naerys had shared her affections with their other brother, Prince Aemon Targaryen, leading to the possibility that Daeron II was not the son of Aegon IV.


Open rebellion

After more than a decade of building tension, the Blackfyre Rebellion finally broke out in 196 AC engulfing all of Westeros, the seeds of this rebellion were planted early on, but it took years for them to bear fruit. There was no final insult, no great wrong that led Daemon Blackfyre to declare a war against Daeron. If it truly was love for Daenerys as some whisper why did Daemon wait eight years before rebelling. Especially since his wife Rohanne of Tyrosh had already given him seven sons and a daughter, while Daenerys had already had several children by Prince Maron. [1]

In truth the war broke out because the seeds had found fertile ground because of Aegon the Unworthy. Aegon hated the Dornish and many Lords and Houses who spent centuries at war with Dorne longed for the return of those days. Many great warriors looked with dismay on a realm no longer at war and did not like a peaceful, scholarly king who filled the court with learned men, Septons, Dornish and women. They looked at Daemon and saw a Warrior. Many lords and knights with grievances against the Iron Throne soon sought Daemon out.

Other factors include Daemon's growing resentment at having the status of a bastard and what it meant. Another was that he took on councillors who urged him to it.[10] Daeron sent the Kingsguard to arrest him, but Daemon escaped with the aid of Ser Quentyn Ball, the master-at-arms of the Red Keep.

Daemon mustered a sizeable army against Daeron and was joined by his half-brother Aegor "Bittersteel" Rivers, a fellow Great Bastard. Brynden "Bloodraven" Rivers, another Great Bastard, remained loyal to the king. On the small council, Bloodraven advocated a hard line against the rebels, winning out over Prince Baelor Breakspear's desire to pardon. Daemon began to mint his own coinage.

Heavy fighting erupted over the next year, with the Riverlands particularly afflicted. Ser Quentyn Ball, known as "Fireball", attacked the Westerlands, killing Lord Lefford at the gates of Lannisport and then defeating Lord Damon Lannister in turn. At the crossing of the Mander, Ser Quentyn slew all of Lady Penrose's sons except for the youngest, whom he spared as a favour to the lady. A key general, Fireball was slain on the eve of the Battle of the Redgrass Field by an archer.[3]

The Battle of the Redgrass Field

Finally, at the Battle of the Redgrass Field in 196 AC, Daemon and Bittersteel led a strong force against a royalist army commanded by Prince Maekar Targaryen and Lord Hayford, the Hand of the King. The fighting was heavy and Lord Hayford was slain.

During the battle, Daemon came face-to-face with Ser Gwayne Corbray of the Kingsguard, wielder of the Valyrian steel blade Lady Forlorn. Their duel was said to have lasted nearly an hour before Daemon gained the upper hand. However, by this time, a second royalist force was approaching from the south led by Prince Baelor.

Perhaps even more critical was that Bloodraven and his archers, the Raven's Teeth, captured and assumed a position atop the Weeping Ridge, which overlooked the battlefield and allowed them to rain arrows down among Daemon and his commanders. Bloodraven himself slew his half-brother Daemon Blackfyre and Daemon's twin sons Aemon and Aegon. The rebels began to rout, but Bittersteel rallied them by leading a charge that decimated the Raven's Teeth, taking out Bloodraven's eye in the process. However, Prince Baelor's Dornish spearmen gained the battlefield and crushed the rebel army against Maekar's shield wall.[7]

It is unknown how many men took part in the final battle, but it is known that more than ten thousand died in the engagement, earning it the name Redgrass Field. With Daemon dead and his forces defeated, the rebellion was finished.


Singers would later immortalize the Battle of Redgrass Field with the song "The Hammer and Anvil", referring to Baelor and Maekar's strategy.

Years after the war, Eustace Osgrey, a Blackfyre supporter, lamented that some houses supported both sides, that Manfred Lothston had proven treacherous to Daemon's cause, that storms had delayed the arrival of Lord Bracken with Myrish crossbowmen, and that Quickfinger had been caught with stolen dragon eggs. The timing of those events is unknown, but they probably occurred before or during the Redgrass Field.[7]

Bittersteel was able to recover the sword Blackfyre from the battlefield and escape to the Free Cities, where Daemon's remaining sons had already fled. In exile, Daemon's descendants continued their struggle for the Iron Throne. Daemon's third son, Daemon II, was captured in the Second Blackfyre Rebellion. The last Blackfyre of the male line, Maelys the Monstrous, was slain during the War of the Ninepenny Kings by Ser Barristan Selmy, presumably ending the Blackfyre threat to the throne.

Houses by Allegiance

Loyalist (Targaryen supporters)

Rebels (Blackfyre supporters)

Supporters of both sides


So many ifs, ser ... had any one come out differently, it could all have turned t'other way. Then we would be called the loyalists, and the red dragons would be remembered as men who fought to keep the usurper Daeron the Falseborn upon his stolen throne, and failed.[7]
- Eustace Osgrey to Dunk

Some old dead king gave a sword to one son instead of another, that was the start of it.[3]
- thoughts of Dunk

References and Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Daeron II.
  2. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Maekar I Targaryen.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 The Mystery Knight.
  4. The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys I.
  5. The World of Ice and Fire, The Vale: House Arryn.
  6. 6.0 6.1 The World of Ice and Fire, The Reach: House Tyrell.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 The Sworn Sword.
  8. So Spake Martin: SF, Targaryens, Valyria, Sansa, Martells, and More, June 26, 2001
  9. So Spake Martin: Targaryen History, April 20, 2008
  10. So Spake Martin: Private Meeting (Santa Fe, NM), May 4, 2004
  11. The World of Ice and Fire, The Riverlands: House Tully.

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