War of Conquest

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War of Conquest
Aegon And His Sisters by Amok..png
Aegon and his sister-wives - by Amok

Date 2BC - 1AC
Location Westeros
Battles Battle of Gulltown
Burning of Harrenhal
Last Storm
Field of Fire
Result Aegon conquers six of the Seven Kingdoms and builds the Iron Throne.
Aegon crowned King of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm
Belligerents
House Targaryen
House Velaryon
House Celtigar
House Qoherys
House Bar Emmon
House Massey
House Mooton
House Tully
Kingdoms of Westeros
Notable commanders
King Aegon Targaryen
Lord Orys Baratheon
Queen Visenya Targaryen
Queen Rhaenys Targaryen
Lord Daemon Velaryon
Lord Jon Mooton
Lord Edmyn Tully
King Harren the Black
King Argilac the Arrogant
King Loren I Lannister
King Mern IX Gardener
King Torrhen Stark
Brandon Snow
Queen Regent Sharra Arryn
Princess Meria Martell
Strength
Targaryen host
Dragons
Armies of Westeros (not united except westerlands and the Reach)

The War of Conquest was the campaign in which Aegon I Targaryen conquered Westeros. Supported by his two sisters, their dragons and a small army, the Targaryens subdued six of the Seven Kingdoms, opposed only by Dorne. Not all the continent had to be taken by conquest, as some regions and houses actively supported House Targaryen and others submitted voluntarily. The war lasted two years.

Contents

Precursor

The war began in 2BC when Aegon Targaryen and his two sister-wives Rhaenys and Visenya landed with fewer than 1,600 men[1] on the east coast of Westeros, at the mouth of the Blackwater Rush. The Targaryens had held the island-fortress of Dragonstone as the westernmost outpost of the Valyrian Freehold for a century before the Doom destroyed Valyria.

In the century after the Doom, the "Bleeding Years", they tried to expand their holdings. However, Aegon had been torn between unifying the continent of Westeros and conquering the Free Cities, which had been experiencing bloody strife in the aftermath of Valyria's fall. He rejected a call from several of the Free Cities to help unite them as a new Freehold and chose the far more ambitious course of invading Westeros. With very limited manpower, the Targaryens knew that their full-grown dragons would be their ultimate weapon.

Aegon, the Storm King Argilac Durrandon, and Braavos sided with Tyrosh, Lys, Myr, and in an alliance that broke Volantene hegemony at the end of the "Bleeding Years."[2]

Harren Hoare, the King of the Isles and the Rivers, was nearing completion of his vast castle, Harrenhal, and was said to be looking for more conquests. Argilac had grown afraid of Harren and so proposed an alliance with Aegon. It is believed he wanted to create a buffer zone between him and Harren. He offered the hand of his daughter,Argella, in marriage as well as dowry lands, though much of the lands were in fact in the possession of Harren the Black.

Aegon refused and instead offered the hand of his best friend and rumored bastard brother, Orys Baratheon. Argilac took this as a grave insult and had the hands of the envoy cut off. He sent them to Aegon with a message of "These are the only hands you will receive". Aegon called his banners and took counsel with them and his sisters. Then Aegon sent ravens to the rulers in the Seven Kingdoms. He informed them that "There will be only one king" and that those who bent the knee would keep their lands and titles, while those that did not he would destroy.

Queen Regent Sharra Arryn of the Vale of Arryn made Aegon an offer of marriage and alliance if he named as his heir her son, Ronnel Arryn, the young King of Mountain and Vale. Meria Martell, Princess of Dorne, replied she would be Aegon's ally against the Storm King, but would not yield. Aegon rejected both these offers and none of the other rulers would submit.

Before launching his invasion, Aegon allegedly visited some Westerosi cities and castles in secret, noting the strength of each king and each lord, and the loyalty they commanded, (some maesters dispute this, however, with the official histories claiming that he never stepped foot in Westeros before the invasion)[3] and ordered the construction of the Painted Table, a table cut into an accurate geographical map of Westeros. He apparently considered all of Westeros as one land, despite the fact that the continent was long split into Seven Kingdoms, and was determined to unify it under his rule.

The Conquest

The seven rulers at the time were:

Beachhead

The Targaryen host landed at the mouth of the Blackwater Rush next to three hills. Upon the highest hill, Aegon started construction of the Aegonfort, a wooden motte and bailey fort as his first claim to the mainland of Westeros. He sent Visenya and Rhaenys to subdue the local lords. The Rosbys of Rosby yielded to Rhaenys without a fight. At Stokeworth a few crossbowmen loosed bolts at Visenya, until Vhagar set the roof of the castle keep ablaze, House Stokeworth then submitted.[4]

Aegon's first test came form Lord Darklyn of Duskendale and Lord Mooton of Maidenpool, who joined their power and marched south with three thousand men. Aegon sent Orys Baratheon to meet them on the march, whist he descended on them from above with Balerion. Both lords were slain, Darklyn's son and Mooton's brother, Jon Mooton, then yielded their castles and swore their swords to House Targaryen.[4]

Queen Visenya placed a Valyrian steel circlet, studded with rubies, on her brother's head and Queen Rhaenys hailed him as "Aegon, First of His Name, King of All Westeros, and Shield of His People."[4]

Battle of Gulltown

Aegon sent his fleet commanded by Daemon Velaryon to take Gulltown with Visenya and Vhagar. A hastily assembled Arryn fleet, augmented by a dozen Braavosi warships, met and defeated the Targaryen fleet in the Battle of Gulltown. Among the dead was Aegon's admiral, Daemon. Visenya descended on the Arryn fleet and burned their ships.[4]

Rebellion broke out on the Three Sisters, when the Sistermen renounced all allegiance to the Eyrie and proclaimed Lady Marla Sunderland their queen.[4]

Conquest of the Riverlands and Iron Islands

Aegon used his dragons to overcome Harrenhal's defenses (depiction by Rene Aigner©)

Aegon marched northwest to the Gods Eye and Harrenhal. Aegon was attacked on the south shore of the Gods Eye twice. The Battle of the Reeds was a Targaryen victory, but they suffered heavy losses at the Wailing Willows when two of King Harren's sons crossed the lake in longboats with muffled oars and fell upon their rear. Balerion fell upon the victors as they were crossing back across the lake, burning Harren's longboats and sons as well.[4]

Harren summoned the river lords to defend Harrenhal, but they rose against the Hoares under the leadership of Lord Edmyn Tully of Riverrun. One by one the river lords joined their strength to Aegon, with Edmyn being the first to do so. Suddenly outnumbered, King Harren the Black took refuge in his supposedly impregnable stronghold. Aegon met Harren at the gates, under a peace banner to parley.

Aegon: Yield now, and you may remain as Lord of the Iron Islands. Yield now, and your sons will live to rule after you. I have eight thousand men outside your walls.
Harren: What is outside my walls is of no concern to me. Those walls are strong and thick.
Aegon: But not so high as to keep out dragons. Dragons fly.
Harren: I built in stone. Stone does not burn.
Aegon: When the sun sets, your line shall end.

Once inside he sent every man to the parapets, armed with spears, bows and crossbows, promising lands and riches to whomever could bring down the dragon. As the last light faded Aegon took Balerion up through the clouds and descended well inside the castles walls. The dragon roared his fury and bathed the castle in flame, Harren and his sons died in the fire. The next day Aegon accepted an oath of fealty from Edmyn Tully, and named him Lord Paramount of the Trident. The other river lords did homage as well, to Aegon as king and Edmyn as liege lord.[4]

Conquest of the Stormlands

See also: Last Storm

The greater part of Aegon's host crossed the Blackwater Rush heading south for Storm's End under the command of Orys Baratheon, with Rhaenys accompanying him astride Meraxes. Lords Errol, Fell and Buckler, bannermen of Storm's End, surprised the advance elements of Orys's host as they were crossing the Wendwater, cutting down more then a thousand men before retreating back into the trees. Rhaenys unleashed Meraxes and set the forest ablaze.

As the Storm King Argilac the Arrogant gathered his swords at Storm's End, pirates from the Stepstones descended onto Cape Wrath and Dornish raiding parties came storming out of the Red Mountains to sweep across the Dornish Marches.[4]

Word of King Harren's end reached King Argilac. Lords Fell and Buckler, falling back before the approaching host, had sent Argilac word of Queen Rhaenys and her dragon. The old king roared that he did not intend to die like a suckling pig. He would decide his own fate, with sword in hand, so he rode forth to meet his foes in the open field. Rhaenys had witnessed the Storm King's approach, giving Orys a full account of the enemy's numbers and disposition. Orys took up a strong position on the hills south of Bronzegate, and dug in waiting for the stormlanders.[4]

As the two armies met a steady rain started to fall, turning into a howling gale by midday. Argilac, outnumbering the Targaryen force two to one, and with the wind blowing into the faces of his foe, gave the command to attack. The fighting lasted well into the night. Thrice Argilac led his knights against the Targaryen positions, but the slopes were steep, the grounds soft and muddy, so the warhorses struggled, and the charges lost all momentum. Stormlanders sent their spearmen up on foot, blinded by rain the invaders didn't see them until it was to late, and wet bowstrings made them useless. One hill fell then another, and the third and final charge of the Storm King and his knights broke through the centre, only to come upon Queen Rhaenys and Meraxes. Even on the ground the dragon proved formidable, Dickon Morrigen and the Bastard of Blackhaven, commanding the vanguard, were engulfed in dragonflame, in the chaos the Storm King was thrown from his saddle. Yet still Argilac continued to battle. When Orys came down the hill with his own men, he found the old king holding off half a dozen men, with as many corpses at his feet. He dismounted so as to meet the king on equal footing, and offered him one last chance to yield. Argilac cursed him instead. And so they fought and Orys killed the Storm King. With the death of the king the stormlanders threw down their swords and fled.[4]

For a few days it was feared Storm's End would suffer same fate as Harrenhal, for Argilac's daughter Argella barred her gates and declared herself Storm Queen. The soldiers of Storm's End proved less eager to die, they raised a peace banner opened the gate and delivered Argella, gagged, chained and naked to the camp of Orys.

The Submission of Crackclaw Point

Following the death of Harren the Black at Harrenhal, Aegon had sent his sister Queen Visenya, to demand the submission of the Lords of Crackclaw Point. The lords understood that they had no chance, so they laid their swords at her feet. Visenya took them as her own men and they would owe no fealty but to the Iron Throne.[5] They bent the knee to her without qualm, and in return she promised them that they would be direct vassals of the Targaryens.

Conquest of the Westerlands and the Reach

See also: Field of Fire

Meanwhile, the two great western kings had made common cause and assembled their own armies. From Highgarden marched King Mern IX Gardener, King of the Reach, with a mighty host from the Reach. Beneath the walls of Goldengrove he met King Loren Lannister, King of the Rock, leading his own host from the westerlands. Together they commanded the mightiest host ever seen in Westeros: an army fifty five thousand strong, including over five thousand knights. The two kings did not linger at Goldengrove, marching north.

The Host of the Two Kings', numbered 55,000

Advised of their coming in his camp beside the Gods Eye, Aegon gathered his own forces and advanced to meet them. He commanded only one fifth the men and was able to move his host alot quicker. At the town of Stoney Sept, both his queens joined him with their dragons, Rhaenys from Storm's End and Visenya from Crackclaw Point.

The two armies came together amongst the wide open plains south of the Blackwater Rush. King Mern had the most men so he got the honor of leading the center, his son and heir Edmund lead the vanguard, King Loren commanded the right and Lord Oakheart the left. The two king's meant to sweep around Aegon's host on both flanks and take them in the rear. Aegon drew his men up in a rough crescent with spears and pikes, with archers and crossbowmen just behind and light cavalry on either flank, command of his host was given to Jon Mooton, Lord of Maidenpool.

The Targaryens waited until the two kings sounded their trumpets and started forward. King Mern himself led the charge on his golden stallion, his son Gowen beside him. The Gardeners and Lannisters charged through a storm of arrows, sweeping aside the spearmen and shattering their ranks. But Aegon and his sisters had taken to the air. Aegon on Balerion kept swooping down and repeatedly bathing his foes in flame. Rhaenys and Visenya set fires behind the enemy, the dry grasses and wheat went up at once. The wind fanned the flames and the smoke into the faces of the advancing kings. The scent of fire sent their mounts into panic. Their ranks broke as walls of fire rose on all sides. Lord Mooton's men, safely upwind, waited with bows and spears and made short work of the burning men who staggered from the inferno. The Field of Fire the battle was known to be called after.

More then four thousand men died in the flames, another thousand from sword, spears and arrows. Tens of thousands suffer burns. King Mern was amongst the dead, along with his sons, grandsons, brothers, cousins and other kin. One nephew survived for three days, but when he died House Gardener died with him. King Loren of the Rock lived, riding through a wall of flame to safety when he saw the battle was lost. The Targaryens lost fewer the a hundred men. Queen Visenya took an arrow to the shoulder but soon recovered.

Loren Lannister was captured the next day. He laid his sword and crown at Aegon's feet, bent his knee and did him homage. Aegon, true to his word, lifted his beaten foe to his feet and confirmed him in his lands and lordship, naming him Lord of Casterly Rock and Warden of the West. Lord Loren's bannermen followed his example. Yet the conquest of the west was incomplete and Aegon marched at once for Highgarden, hoping to secure its surrender. He found the castle in the hands of the steward, Harlan Tyrell, who yielded the castle without a fight and pledged his support to Aegon. In reward he was granted Highgarden and named Warden of the South and Lord Paramount of the Mander.

Submission of the North

Torrhen Stark bended the knee

It was King Aegon's intent to continue his march south and enforce the submission of Oldtown, the Arbor and Dorne, but whilst in Highgarden word of a new challenge came to his ears. Torrhen Stark, King in the North, had crossed the Neck leading an army of northmen some thirty thousand strong. Aegon immediately flew north on Balerion racing ahead of his army. He sent word to his two queens and every lord and knight who had bent the knee to him at Harrenhal and after the Field of Fire.

When Torrhen reached the banks of the Trident he found a host half again the size of his own awaiting south of the river. Riverlords, westermen, stormlanders, men of the Reach all were there, and above their camp flew Balerion, Meraxes and Vhagar. Torrhen's scouts had seen the ruins of Harrenhal, where fires still burned beneath the rubble. He had heard accounts of the Field of Fire as well. He knew the same fate might befall him if he tried to force a crossing of the river. Some of his lords bannerman urged him to attack anyway, insisting Northern valor would win the day. Others urged him to fall back to Moat Cailin and make his stand on Northern soil. The king's bastard brother, Brandon Snow, offered to cross the river alone under cover of darkness and slay the dragons while they slept.

King Torrhen did send Brandon Snow across the Trident, but he crossed with three maesters not to kill but to treat. All through the night messages went back and forth. The next morning Torrhen himself crossed the Trident. There upon the south bank, he knelt, laid the ancient crown of the Kings of Winter at Aegon's feet and swore to be his man. He rose as Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North, and from that day on Torrhen Stark is remembered as the King Who Knelt.

Submission of the Vale

Queen Regent Sharra Arryn had strengthened the defenses at Gulltown, moved a strong host to the Bloody Gate and tripled the size of the garrisons at Stone, Snow and Sky, the way-castles that guarded the approach to the Eyrie. All these defenses proved useless against Visenya, who rode Vhagar above them all and landed in the Eyrie's inner courtyard. When the regent of the Vale rushed out to confront her, with a dozen guards at her back, she found Visenya with King Ronnel Arryn seated on her knee, staring at the dragon wonder-struck. "Mother can I go flying with the lady?" the boy king asked. No threats were spoken, no angry words exchanged. The two queens smiled at one another and exchanged courtesies instead. Lady Sharra sent for the three crowns (her own regents coronet, her son's small crown and the Falcon Crown that had been worn by Arryn kings for a thousand years), and surrended them to Queen Visenya, along with the swords of her garrison. It is said the little king flew thrice around the Giant's Lance afterward.

Invasion of Dorne

A host of Dornish spearmen guarded the Prince's Pass in the Red Mountains but Rhaenys did not engage them. She flew above the pass and descended upon Vaith to demand its submission, only to find the castle empty and abandoned. In the town beneath the walls, only women, children and old men remained. When asked where their lords had gone, they would only say, "Away". Rhaenys followed the river downstream to Godsgrace, but it to was deserted. When she came upon the Planky Town, only women and children were to be found. Finally she came upon Sunspear, seat of House Martell, where she found the Princess of Dorne waiting in her abandoned castle. Meria Martell eighty years of age, had ruled Dorne for sixty years.

Meria: I will not fight you, nor will I kneel to you. Dorne has no king. Tell your brother that.
Rhaenys: I shall, but we will come again, Princess, and next time we shall come with fire and blood.
Meria: Your words, Ours are Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken. You may burn us, my lady, but you will not bend us, break us, or make us bow. This is Dorne. You are not wanted here. Return at your peril.

Thus queen and princess parted and Dorne remained unconquered.

Submission of Oldtown and Crowning by the Faith

When word of Aegon's first landing reached Oldtown, the High Septon had locked himself in the Starry Sept for seven days and nights, seeking after the guidance of the gods. He took no nourishment but bread and water, and spent all his waking hours in prayer. On the seventh day, the Crone had lifted her golden lamp to show him the path ahead. If Oldtown took up arms against Aegon the city would surely burn. Manfred Hightower, Lord of Oldtown, once told of the High Septon's vision determined that he would not oppose the Conqueror by force of arms. Thus no men from Oldtown burned on the Field of Fire.

When Aegon and his host approached Oldtown they found the city gates open and Lord Hightower riding forth to greet him and offer up his sword, his city and oath. Three days later in the Starry Sept, His High Holiness himself anointed Aegon with the seven oils, placed a crown upon his head and proclaimed him Aegon of House Targaryen, the First of His Name, King of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm.

Aftermath

Now in control of six of the Seven Kingdoms and known as the Conqueror, Aegon I Targaryen announced he would rule not from Dragonstone or Oldtown, but from the Aegonfort and the new city growing around it, King's Landing. Aegon had melted the swords of those who had opposed him into a throne, the Iron Throne, as a reminder of their submission to the Targaryens.[4]

The Iron Islands fell into chaos after the death of Harren the Black, leading Aegon to invade in 2AC and force the surviving lords of the ironborn to submit. Aegon allowed them to choose Lord Vickon Greyjoy as the new Lord of the Iron Islands.[6] Dorne remained unconquered, which led to Aegon invading in 4AC, beginning the bloody and unsuccessful First Dornish War.[7]

Quotes

Aegon Targaryen conquered Westeros with dragons.[8]
- Asha Greyjoy to Euron Greyjoy

References and Notes

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Wars in A Song of Ice and Fire#War of Conquest. The list of authors can be seen in the page history of Wars in A Song of Ice and Fire#War of Conquest. As with A Wiki of Ice and Fire, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

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