Defiance of Duskendale

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The aftermath of the Defiance of Duskendale - by Marc Simonetti ©

The Defiance of Duskendale, which took place in 277 AC, was a landmark event during the reign of King Aerys II Targaryen. The Defiance began when the Lord of Duskendale refused to pay taxes, demanding a new town charter and certain rights for citizens and ended with the extirpation of one noble family and a severe rift between the King and his Hand of the King, Lord Tywin Lannister.

The Defiance

According to semi-canon sources, Lord Denys Darklyn of Duskendale, asked King Aerys II for certain rights for his citizens and a new town charter for Duskendale. Aerys refused and this led to an escalation of events, some say driven by the influence of Lord Denys' Myrish wife Lady Serala.

The Darklyns refused to pay more taxes to the crown, and since Aerys wished to distance himself from his Hand, Lord Tywin, he decided to deal with the problem himself. Aerys went to Duskendale with only one Kingsguard knight and a small force of men, to arrest and execute Lord Denys. Instead he was imprisoned.[1] During the capture, Ser Symon Hollard slew Ser Gwayne Gaunt of the Kingsguard.[2]

Lord Denys continued his defiance, even as a large host sat outside his walls, commanded by Tywin Lannister. Tywin's ability to act had been paralyzed when Lord Denys sent word that at the first sign that Tywin intended to storm the town, Lord Denys would kill the king.[2]

The Defiance ended when Ser Barristan Selmy sneaked into the Dun Fort, the seat of House Darklyn, and rescued his king. Many songs would later be made about Selmy's daring infiltration. Selmy disguised as a hooded beggar climbed the walls of Duskendale in the dead of night, walking through the town streets. Cloaked and hooded he approached the walls of Dunfort, scaling the walls of the castle, and slaying a sentry before the man could raise the alarm. Selmy through stealth and courage found his way to the dungeons and freed Aerys and led him to the upper levels. During the escape attempt, Barristan slew two guards and Ser Symon Hollard, avenging the death of his sworn brother, Ser Gwayne Gaunt. He and the king rushed to the stables, Selmy slaying all those who tried to intervene as the alarm was being raised. Selmy and his king mounted on stolen horses charged out the Dunfort gates before they could be barred and raced through the streets of Duskendale to the towns walls eventually escaping.[3]

Lord Denys, no longer having a hostage, immediately opened his gates and begged for mercy. He was beheaded, along with the rest of his family. Not one Darklyn remained alive. The same was the case for House Hollard, who had sided with House Darklyn during the defiance, with the exception of Dontos Hollard who was a child at the time. Ser Barristan asked that his life to be spared, King Aerys II could not refuse the man who had saved his life, and granted this boon.[2]

Aftermath

Aerys was never the same afterwards. A severe rift appeared between Aerys and his Hand, who he believed had left him to rot in the dungeons of the Dun Fort. House Darklyn was wiped out and the lands and incomes of Duskendale were given to House Rykker. The lands of House Hollard were taken and the castle torn down.[2]

Recent Events

A Feast for Crows

The story of the Defiance of Duskendale is recounted to Brienne of Tarth when she travels to Duskendale in search of Sansa Stark.[2]

A Dance with Dragons

Now in Meereen, hoping with a heavy heart for Queen Daenerys Targaryen's return, Ser Barristan Selmy reflects on how many kings he has known. He remembers that he stood in his white cloak beside the Iron Throne as madness consumed Jaehaerys II's son Aerys. Stood, and saw, and heard, and yet did nothing. He tells himself that he did his duty and kept his vows, but admits that some nights, he wonders if he had not done that duty too well. As Aerys Kingsguard he had seen things that pained him to recall. More than once he has wondered how much of the blood was on his own hands. Ser Barristan thinks that if he had not gone into Duskendale to rescue Aerys from Lord Darklyn's dungeons, the king might well have died there as Tywin Lannister had sacked the town. Then Prince Rhaegar would have ascended the Iron Throne, mayhaps to heal the realm. The memory of Duskendale is still bitter to Ser Barristan.[4]

Quotes

Duskendale had been his finest hour, yet the memory tasted bitter on his tongue.[4]
- Barristan Selmy

References and Notes

  1. ConJose (San Jose, CA; August 29-September 2) report So Spake Martin
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 9, Brienne II.
  3. The World of Ice and Fire, Aerys II.
  4. 4.0 4.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 67, The Kingbreaker.

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