Conquest of Dorne

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Baelor in the Boneway.png
Baelor I does a walk of penance through the Boneway, as depicted by Arthur Bozonnet in The World of Ice and Fire

Date 157 AC-161 AC
Location Dorne
Result Short-lasting conquest of Dorne, followed by a Dornish rebellion
Belligerents
Iron ThroneDorne
Notable commanders
King Daeron I Targaryen
Alyn Velaryon
Lord Lyonel Tyrell
Strength
unknownHouse Martell
+forty noble families
Dornish smallfolk

Lys[1]

Pentos[1]
Losses
50,000 to 60,000[2][3]
King Daeron I Targaryen
Lord Lyonel Tyrell
Ser Olyvar Oakheart
Rickon Stark
unknown

The conquest of Dorne was a war in Westeros, fought between the Iron Throne and Dorne. Upon ascending to the throne, King Daeron I Targaryen wanted to complete the campaign begun by his ancestor, Aegon the Conqueror. Daeron the Young Dragon was only fourteen years old when he began his war in 157 AC. Although Daeron quickly conquered Dorne, the Dornishmen successfully rebelled.

Prelude

Shortly before Aegon's Conquest, Princess Meria Martell, the ruling Princess of Dorne, offered an alliance to Aegon Targaryen against the Storm Kings. Aegon, looking not for alliances but for submission, did not accept, and began his Wars of Conquest. His sister-wife, Queen Rhaenys Targaryen, led an army into Dorne during the first war. However, the Dornish refused to give battle, and instead hid, melting away in their mountains and deserts. Rhaenys captured holdfasts, but it made no difference, for there was no man to be found, only women and children. Eventually, Rhaenys flew to Sunspear on her dragon, Meraxes, where Princess Meria told her to leave, as she was not wanted in Dorne. Rhaenys left with Dorne untaken.[4] House Targaryen conquered the other six kingdoms of Westeros during Aegon's Conquest.

In 4 AC, Aegon the Conqueror launched a second attempt to conquer Dorne, the devastating First Dornish War. Notable events included the maiming of Lord Orys Baratheon, the death of Queen Rhaenys and Meraxes at Hellholt in 10 AC, and the formation of the Kingsguard following a failed assassination attempt on King Aegon I.[5][6] When Princess Meria died in 13 AC, her successor, Prince Nymor Martell, sent his own heir, Princess Deria, to King's Landing with the skull of Meraxes and a letter for King Aegon I. Though the gift of the skull was ill received, Aegon signed a peace after reading the letter, whose contents are unknown.[5]

Dorne remained independent from Targaryen rule. Though King Viserys I Targaryen considered wedding his heir, Rhaenyra, to the Prince of Dorne as a way of bringing Dorne into his realm, he did not follow through on this idea.[7]

The Conquest of Dorne

King Daeron I Targaryen ascended the throne at the age of fourteen in 157 AC. He had long felt that the continued independence of Dorne represented unfinished business for the Targaryens, and vowed to rectify this, planning to "complete the Conquest". When his councilors at first opposed him, informing their young king that he lacked the dragons that Aegon I Targaryen had used, Daeron replied "You have a dragon. He stands before you". His advisors became more convinced in the success of the plan after Daeron revealed the plans he had made with Lord Alyn Velaryon.[3]

Three hosts went to war against the Dornish. One was led by Lord Lyonel Tyrell, who marched through the Prince's Pass, entering Dorne at the western end of the Red Mountains. Alyn led another by sea, while the king led a host down the Boneway, using goat tracks.[3] While Daeron conquered the Prince's Pass, where the main Dornish strength was occupied, Alyn the Oakenfist and his fleet broke the Planky Town, allowing them to sail upriver on the Greenblood. This prevented the eastern and western Dornish armies from giving one another aid in battle. A series of battles followed.[3][8]

Submission of Sunspear

Within a year, the Targaryen armies arrived at the gates of Sunspear and battled their way through the shadow city. In 158 AC, the Prince of Dorne and forty of the most powerful Dornish lords bent their knees in the Submission of Sunspear, with all Seven Kingdoms now ruled by the Iron Throne in fact as well as name.[3]

The few rebels who remained managed to cause trouble on several occasions. Once, they attempted to hit Daeron with a poisoned arrow. Daeron's cousin, Prince Aemon Targaryen, the Dragonknight, was hit instead, and was sent home to recover. Daeron was quick to consolidate his rule, and by 159 AC returned to King's Landing, leaving Lord Lyonel Tyrell to keep the peace in Dorne.[3] Fourteen highborn hostages were taken to ensure the loyalty of the nobility in Dorne.[3] They were escorted to King's Landing by Prince Aegon Targaryen, the Dragonknight's older brother.[9]

Many accounts have been written about the conquest of Dorne, including a book by the Young Dragon himself. Titled The Conquest of Dorne, Daeron's account is considered to have been written with an elegant simplicity.[3][10] However, according to Doran Martell, the current Prince of Dorne, Daeron exaggerated the strength of the Dornishmen, in order to make his own victories sound more grand.[11]

Open rebellion

Though the hostages taken by Daeron I Targaryen ensured the loyalty of the Dornish nobility, the smallfolk continued to rebel against Targaryen rule. Lord Lyonel Tyrell moved with his train from one keep to the next each month, chasing the rebels and punishing those who had given them aid. The rebels attacked his train, stealing or destroying supplies, killing soldiers or horses, and burning camps.[3][12]

True rebellion began when Lyonel reached Sandstone, the seat of House Qorgyle. It was his custom to turn the lords of the keeps he stayed in out of their chambers, to sleep in their beds. One night at Sandstone he found himself in a bed with a heavy velvet canopy, and was informed that he could summon a wench by pulling on the sash. When he did so, the canopy opened and a hundred red scorpions fell upon him. The news of his death led to a rebellion throughout Dorne, and in a fortnight all the work of the Young Dragon was undone.[13][3][12] Letters recorded in Red Sands by Maester Gareth suggest that Lord Qorgyle himself had arranged for the murder, though his motives are uncertain. Lord Qorgyle had shown his loyalty to King Daeron I early on, and some suggest that he was angry about the little consideration that Lord Tyrell had shown him. Others claim that his early show of loyalty had been part of a ploy to win the trust of Daeron I and the Tyrells.[3]

Daeron had been intending to wed one of his sisters to the Sealord of Braavos, hoping to seal an alliance to removing pirates from the Stepstones, as they were hindering trade with Dorne. However, Braavos was at war with Pentos and Lys at the time, and talk of such an alliance between the Iron Throne and Braavos encouraged Pentos and Lys to lend aid to the Dornish that proved to be crucial.[1]

Daeron returned to Dorne in 160 AC, and won several victories while fighting through the Boneway. Lord Alyn Velaryon once more descended on the Planky Town and the Greenblood. One of the notable people who died during the battles outside of Sunspear was Rickon Stark, the heir to Winterfell.[14]

In 161 AC, the Dornishmen agreed to meet to discuss terms and renew their fealty. It was a ploy to kill King Daeron I, however, and the Dornish attacked the Young Dragon while under a peace banner. Of Daeron's Kingsguard knights, three died, Ser Aemon the Dragonknight was captured, and another yielded. Ser Olyvar Oakheart of the Kingsguard died at the side of King Daeron I,[15] though it is unknown whether he was one of the three Kingsguard knights who died with Daeron, or whether he died earlier during the war, in defense of his king. Alester Oakheart blew his warhorn while dying in the Prince's Pass,[15] but it is unconfirmed if this was the same incident as Daeron's death.

The conquest of Dorne ended with Daeron's death, after having lasted only a summer.[2][16] It is said that ten thousand men had died conquering Dorne,[2][3] but many more died trying to hold it; According to Maester Yandel, Daeron lost another forty thousand men during the three years after the conquest had completed,[3] but according to Benjen Stark the true number was fifty thousand.[2]

Aftermath

Baelor I saves Aemon Targaryen from a viper pit, as depicted in The World of Ice and Fire.

With Dorne again independent, the body of King Daeron I Targaryen returned to the lands of the Iron Throne via the Weeping Town in the stormlands; the town received its name from its people's sadness at the king's murder.[17] The Hand of the King, Prince Viserys Targaryen, ordered the fourteen highborn hostages taken after the Submission of Sunspear thrown in the Red Keep's dungeons to await their execution.

The newly-crowned Baelor I Targaryen, however, desired peace with Dorne, and he walked the Boneway barefoot to Sunspear, returning the hostages. At the Dornish capital, he spoke with the Prince of Dorne, and negotiated a betrothal between his cousin, Prince Daeron Targaryen, and the eldest child of the Prince of Dorne, Princess Mariah Martell, as part of the peace negotiations.[18]

From Sunspear, Baelor travelled to Wyl, where his cousin, Aemon the Dragonknight, had been imprisoned in a cage above a pit filled with vipers. Baelor was given the key to open the cage by Lord Wyl. While the songs say that the vipers bowed their heads to Baelor and refused to bite him because he was pure and holy, in truth Baelor the Blessed was bitten many times,[18][19] and he collapsed almost before Aemon could open the door to his cage and pull him inside. With Baelor flung across his back and his cage now opened, Aemon was able to get both of them to safety. The Dragonknight travelled from Wyl to Blackhaven with an unconscious Baelor and on to Storm's End, where he stayed for half a year before he could continue his journey to King's Landing.[18]

The betrothal between Daeron and Mariah that Baelor had negotiated eventually resulted in a fruitful marriage. Prince Daeron ascended the throne in 184 AC as Daeron II, and his good relations with Dorne led to an increased Dornish influence at court. There were some lords, however, who felt that the Dornish influence over Daeron II was too much, which in turn made them more sympathetic towards the Blackfyre cause.[20]

Early in his reign, Daeron the Good began negotiations with his brother-in-law, Maron Martell, the Prince of Dorne, to unify his realm with Dorne. He arranged a betrothal between his younger sister, Princess Daenerys Targaryen, and Maron. The marriage took place at King's Landing in 187 AC, and peacefully joined Dorne with the Seven Kingdoms.[20]

Quotes

The arms of House Martell display the sun and spear, the Dornishman's two favored weapons, but of the two, the sun is the more deadly.[21]
- excerpt from The Conquest of Dorne by Daeron I Targaryen

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The Quarrelsome Daughters: Myr, Lys, and Tyrosh.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 5, Jon I.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Daeron I.
  4. The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
  5. 5.0 5.1 The World of Ice & Fire, Dorne: Dorne Against the Dragons.
  6. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon I.
  7. The Rogue Prince.
  8. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 17, Jon IV.
  9. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon IV.
  10. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 54, Davos V.
  11. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 40, Princess In The Tower.
  12. 12.0 12.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach: House Tyrell.
  13. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 66, Tyrion IX.
  14. The World of Ice & Fire, The North: The Lords of Winterfell.
  15. 15.0 15.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 13, The Soiled Knight.
  16. A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
  17. The World of Ice & Fire, The Stormlands.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Baelor I.
  19. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 59, Sansa IV.
  20. 20.0 20.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Daeron II.
  21. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 21, The Queenmaker.

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