Dragonstone

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Dragonstone
Island and Castle
The Crownlands and the location of Dragonstone
The Crownlands and the location of Dragonstone
Dragonstone
Location Westeros, Crownlands, Blackwater Bay.
Government House Baratheon of Dragonstone , Feudal Lord.
Religion Faith of the Seven (former), R'hllor
Founded 500 years ago, by the Targaryans.
For the hill in the Dothraki sea, see Dragonstone (hill).

Dragonstone is the name of the island located at the entrance to Blackwater Bay and the castle thereon, which was shaped from stone to look like dragons. Dragonstone was the original seat of House Targaryen in Westeros, which they had colonized and fortified as the westernmost outpost of the Valyrian Freehold.

After the Targaryen conquest of the Seven Kingdoms, the island in the Crownlands served as the seat of their heir apparent, known as the Prince of Dragonstone. After Robert Baratheon overthrew the Targaryens, he gave the island to his brother Stannis, creating House Baratheon of Dragonstone. The castle has a dark reputation.[1] The maesters on Dragonstone are Cressen and Pylos.[2]

Contents

Island of Dragonstone

Dragonstone is a volcanic island at the mouth of Blackwater Bay, created by the active volcano, Dragonmont. The island is damp and dreary.[3] The castle of Dragonstone is a small fortress located on the face of the volcano. Outside its walls sits a small fishing village on the stormy coast. Beneath Dragonmont are rich deposits of dragonglass. There is much obsidian seen in the old tunnels beneath the mountain, found in chunks and boulders. The greater part of it is black, but there is some green obsidian as well, some red, even purple.[4]

Through the dalliances of many Targaryen lords and princes over the years, many of the smallfolk of the island are descendants of that dynasty, and are known as dragonseeds.

A short distance west of Dragonstone is the island of Driftmark, which is the seat of House Velaryon, another Valyrian house. Dragonstone, though old and strong, commands the allegiance of only a few lesser lords whose islands are too thinly populated to provide any great numbers of troops. Besides House Velaryon of Driftmark, other houses sworn to Dragonstone include Celtigar of Claw Isle, Seaworth of Cape Wrath, Bar Emmon of Sharp Point, and Sunglass of Sweetport Sound.[5] At least two members of House Blackberry serve at Dragonstone.[6][7]

Castle of Dragonstone

See also: Images of Dragonstone
Maester Cressen on his balcony. © Fantasy Flight Games
Dragonstone watchtower
© Fantasy Flight Games

The ancient fortress of Dragonstone was built using advanced Valyrian techniques of masonry that were lost in the Doom, causing it to look unique among all the castles in Westeros. The citadel of Dragonstone is wrought all of black stone (the "stones of hell", if the old tales are true[6]), its towers carved into the shapes of dragons, and 1,000 gargoyles carved into various shapes serve as brooding crenellations along the three curtain walls.[8][6] When Maester Cressen first came to Dragonstone the army of grotesques had made him uneasy, but as the years passed he grew used to them, and in his old age he came to think of the 12-foot-tall hellhound and wyvern on his windswept balcony as old friends.

The design of the castle is very dragon-oriented. Small dragons frame gates and dragon claws hold torches. A pair of great wings cover the armory and smithy, and tails form archways and staircases. [9]


History

House Targaryen colonization

Aegon's Garden
© Fantasy Flight Games

A century or so before the Doom of Valyria, House Targaryen, a noble Valyrian house, took possession of the island and built a castle upon it, which became the westernmost outpost of the Valyrian Freehold. The castle towers were shaped by Valyrian magic to look like dragons, giving it the name Dragonstone.

Twelve years prior to the Doom, the head of House Targaryen at the time, Aenar Targaryen, relocated his family and five dragons (including Balerion) to Dragonstone, because of the visions of his maiden daughter Daenys. In Valyria their rivals saw their flight to Dragonstone as an act of surrender, as cowardice.[12]

Four of the dragons brought from Valyria eventually died on Dragonstone, leaving only Balerion. However, two ‎eggs hatched and Vhagar and Meraxes were born.

The Targaryen Lords of Dragonstone were:[13]

War of Conquest

In 2BC, Aegon Targaryen launched his invasion of the continent Westeros, conquering six of the Seven Kingdoms (Dorne alone was able to defeat the Targaryen armies). He established his seat Aegonfort where he first made landfall at the mouth of the Blackwater Rush. The city of King's Landing eventually formed around it. In time, Aegonfort was teared down and replaced by the Red Keep. King's Landing itself became the capital of the Seven Kingdoms and Dragonstone became the seat of the heir apparent to the Iron Throne, who was styled as the "Prince of Dragonstone" (or, in the cases of a female heir, the "Princess of Dragonstone").

The Dance of the Dragons

Main article: Dance of the Dragons


In 129AC, at the death of King Viserys I Targaryen, his proclaimed heir, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, was eight months pregnant and confined on Dragonstone, awaiting the birth of her sixth child. Rhaenyra's half-brother, Prince Aegon, claimed the throne for himself, and with the help of the so-called "greens", was crowned King Aegon II Targaryen, with his sister-wife Helaena Targaryen as his queen. Princess Rhaenyra, upon learning of her fathers death and her half-brothers coronation, went into a black fury, which caused a premature labor. Rhaenyra, after three days of labor, delivered a stillborn daughter, Visenya.[14]

Rhaenyra, once recovered, was crowned Queen by her husband and uncle, Prince Daemon Targaryen. She declared war on her brother, the first civil war of the Targaryen Dynasty: the Dance of the Dragons.

The war lasted about two and a half years, and saw the deaths of many members of House Targaryen, including the deaths of both claimants, Rhaenyra and Aegon II, as well as most of the dragons who had lived during the Targaryen Dynasty. The war saw many major battles, and saw King's Landing change hands at several occasions, as well as multiple claimants arising, some for a fortnight, some for a moons turn.[14]


The Dance of the Dragons ended in 131AC, after the death of King Aegon II, with the marriage of Rhaenyra's eldest surviving son, Prince Aegon, to Aegon II's only surviving child, Princess Jaehaera Targaryen. In addition, Prince Aegon was crowned as King Aegon III Targaryen.

War of the Usurper

Dragonstone castle in Game of Thrones

Main article: Robert's Rebellion


When Prince Rhaegar Targaryen disappeared with Lady Lyanna Stark, Lyanna's brother Brandon went to King's Landing and was arrested for high treason by King Aerys II Targaryen. For a trial, Brandons father Rickard was summoned to King's Landing, but instead of the trial by combat that Rickard had requested, Rickard and Brandon were both executed. Afterwards, the paranoid King demanded the heads of Robert Baratheon, who was betrothed to Lyanna, and Eddard Stark, Lyanna's second brother, and now the new Lord of Winterfell. As both men were at the Eyrie, the demand was send to Lord Jon Arryn. He refused, however, and raised his banners in revolt.


The Rebellion began, and would last "close to a year". The most decisive battle was the Battle of the Trident, where the royalist army met with the rebel army. Prince Rhaegar Targaryen was personally present for this battle, in which he was killed by Robert Baratheon. The Targaryen army broke and ran at Rhaegar's death, and Lord Eddard Stark marched his army to King's Landing, planning on besieging the city.


News of Rhaegar's death reached King's Landing before any army could, and King Aerys II Targaryen decided to send his sister-wife, Queen Rhaella Targaryen, and his only surviving child, Prince Viserys Targaryen, to the ancient Targaryen stronghold, Dragonstone. Aerys kept his daughter-in-law, Princess Elia Martell, and Rhaegar's two children by her, Princess Rhaenys and Prince Aegon, with in in King's Landing.


After Rhaella and Viserys had fled, the army of House Lannister sacked King's Landing, leading to the deaths of King Aerys II Targaryen, Prince Aegon Targaryen, Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, and Princess Elia Martell. This caused Rhaella and Viserys to be the only Targaryens left standing.


During their time on Dragonstone, Dowager Queen Rhaella came to realise she was pregnant. Nine moons after the flight from King's Landing, Rhaella gave birth to Princess Daenerys Targaryen, while a summer storm was raging. The Targaryen fleet, which had been anchored before Dragonstone, was smashed, and huge stone blocks were ripped from the parapets and sent hurtling into the wild waters of the narrow sea.

Since the end of the Rebellion, Stannis Baratheon had been building a fleet, as to be able to take Dragonstone. With the Targaryen fleet destroyed and Queen Rhaella dead, Dragonstone's garrison was prepared to sell Viserys and Daenerys to the new king, Robert Baratheon. Just before Stannis Baratheon prepared to sail to Dragonstone, Willem Darry and four loyal men broke into the nursery one night and stole the two children, the last scions of House Targaryen, and fled with a wet nurse, setting sail under cover of darkness for the safety of the Braavosian coast. Stannis commanded the successful Baratheon assault on Dragonstone.

Baratheon Dynasty

Stannis, brooding on Dragonstone

After the war had ended, the castle passed to Stannis Baratheon, who became Lord of Dragonstone. Stannis resented the castle because its lands were far poorer than those of Storm's End, which he felt was his due as heir of House Baratheon, but King Robert had granted that castle to their younger brother, Renly. Robert felt a strong leader should be placed in the old Targaryen seat, and its occupant was traditionally the heir to the Iron Throne. However, Robert was also angered that the Targaryen children had escaped to Essos, and Stannis considered Dragonstone to be an insult.

Years later Stannis is still brooding and has not forgotten or forgiven Robert for not giving him his due, and says so to old Maester Cressen:

I never asked for Dragonstone. I never wanted it. I took it because Robert’s enemies were here and he commanded me to root them out. I built his fleet and did his work, dutifully as a younger brother should be to an elder, as Renly should be to me. And what was Robert’s thanks? He names me Lord of Dragonstone, and gives Storm's End and its incomes to Renly. Storm’s End belonged to House Baratheon for three hundred years; by rights it should have passed to me when Robert took the Iron Throne.[15]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Stannis Baratheon returns to Dragonstone from King's Landing shortly after King Robert Baratheon travels north to offer the Hand of the King to Lord Eddard Stark.[16] According to Varys, Stannis is being aided by a shadowbinder from Asshai.[17]

A Clash of Kings

During the War of the Five Kings, the poor lands of Dragonstone give King Stannis few supporters for his claim to the Iron Throne. For the past half-year no craft that has come within sight of Dragonstone has been allowed to leave again. The castle's maester, Cressen, is killed during his attempt to poison Melisandre.[15] Queen's men sack the sept and Melisandre burns the statues of the Seven.[11]

After his defeat at the Battle of the Blackwater, Stannis retreats to Dragonstone with less than 1,300 swords and a token fleet in order to plot his next move.

A Storm of Swords

Ser Davos Seaworth is imprisoned for plotting to kill Melisandre,[6] but is eventually freed by Stannis.[10]

Davos secretly smuggles Edric Storm from the castle against the wishes of Stannis. In his defence Davos tells Stannis that a king has a duty to his people, and reads a recent letter from the Night's Watch explaining the desperate situation the men of the Night's Watch are in.[7]

Stannis Baratheon and his forces leave Dragonstone to defend Castle Black and the Wall.[18] Ser Rolland Storm, the Bastard of Nightsong, is made castellan of the castle in the absence of Stannis.

At the Wall King Stannis sends word to Ser Rolland on Dragonstone to begin mining obsidian. Stannis fears he will not hold his seat much longer but hopes that the Lord of Light shall grant them enough frozen fire to arm themselves against the Others before the Dragonstone falls. [4]

A Feast for Crows

Forces loyal to King Tommen Baratheon commanded by Lord Paxter Redwyne lay siege to the island.[19] In the absence of Stannis, the garrison of Dragonstone is led by Ser Rolland Storm. Lord Aurane Waters reports to Queen Cersei Lannister that Ser Loras Tyrell of the Kingsguard took command and stormed the castle, taking it at a heavy cost to himself and his forces.[10]

Chapters that take place at Dragonstone

Quotes

Dragonstone was grim beyond a doubt, a lonely citadel in the wet waste surrounded by storm and salt, with the smoking shadow of the mountain at its back.[15]
- thoughts of Cressen


I never asked for Dragonstone. I never wanted it.[15]
- Stannis Baratheon to Cressen


The dragons are done. The Targaryens tried to bring them back half a dozen times. And made fools of themselves, or corpses. Patchface is the only fool we need on this godsforsaken rock.[10]
- Stannis Baratheon to Melisandre


A place of dragons and dragonlords, the seat of House Targaryen.[9]
- thoughts of Davos Seaworth


The Valyrians had raised it, after all, and all their works stank of sorcery.[3]

- thoughts of Kevan Lannister


If you look at how the citadel of Dragonstone was built and how in some of its structures the stone was shaped in some fashion with magic... yes, it's safe to say that there's something of Valyrian magic still present.[20]
- George R. R. Martin

References and Notes

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