War of Conquest
From A Wiki of Ice and Fire
|War of Conquest|
|Date||2BC - 1AL|
|Battles|| Battle of Gulltown|
Field of Fire
|Result||Aegon conquered 6 of the Seven Kingdoms.|
The War of Conquest was the campaign in which Aegon I conquered Westeros. Supported by his two sisters, their dragons and a small army of soldiers, the Targaryens subdued six of the Seven Kingdoms. Not all the continent had to be taken by conquest, some regions and houses actively supported House Targaryen and others submitted voluntarily.
The war began in 2BC when Aegon Targaryen and his two sister-wives Rhaenys and Visenya landed with fewer than 1,600 men 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.
Harren the Black the King of the Iron Islands and the Riverlands 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 ruler in the 7 Kingdoms. He informed them that "There will be only one king" and that those who bent the knee would keep their lands and titles.
But those that did not he would destroy.
He received an offer of marriage and alliance from Queen Regent Sharra Arryn of the Kingdom of the Mountain and the Vale if Aegon named her son his heir. Mariya Martell, Princess of Dorne replied she would be his 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) 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 seven rulers at the time were:
- Torrhen Stark, King in the North.
- Ronnel Arryn, King of the Vale, a young boy whose mother, Sharra Arryn, ruled as Regent.
- Harren Hoare, King of the Iron Islands and the Riverlands.
- Loren I Lannister, King of the Westerlands.
- Mern IX Gardener, King of the Reach.
- Argilac Durrendon, King of the Stormlands.
- Mariya Martell, Princess of Dorne, a blind, balding woman of 80. Known as the Yellow Toad.
The sequence of events in the War of Conquest is unclear. The following events took place, though not necessarily in this order:
The Targaryen host landed at the mouth of the Blackwater Rush next to three hills. Upon the highest hill, Aegon started construction of a wooden motte and bailey fort as his first claim to the mainland of Westeros. Visenya crowned Aegon and Rhaenys hailed him as king. He sent Visenya and Rhaenys to subdue the local lords; Rosby yielded to Rhaenys and Visenya took Stokeworth without any bloodshed. The Darklyns of Duskendale and Mootons of Maidenpool did put up a fight but were easily beaten.
Battle of Gulltown
After being crowned King, Aegon sent his fleet commanded by Daemon Velaryon to take Gulltown with his sister Visenya Targaryen and her dragon. In the ensuing battle, the Arryn fleet was able to defeat the Targaryen fleet and Daemon Velaryon was killed. Visenya Targaryen on her dragon, Vhagar, burned the Arryn fleet in response. Though, the Targaryens lost the battle, the Sistermen on the Three Sisters revolted against the House Arryn because of the lost fleet.
Conquest of the Riverlands and Iron Islands
Aegon first struck northwest against the King of the Iron Islands, Harren the Black. King Harren ruled both the Iron Islands and the Riverlands from his newly-completed monstrous fortress of Harrenhal, the greatest Westeros has ever known, which is considered impregnable against siege or storm.
When King Harren refused to surrender, Aegon used his dragon to overcome Harrenhal's defenses and burned Harren and his sons alive in what was later called Kingspyre Tower. The remaining ironborn fled back to the Iron Islands, Aegon hounded them all the way back with the aid of the Riverlords, where he demanded their fealty. The ironborn elected Lord Vickon Greyjoy of Pyke to lead them, and Greyjoy and Tully were among the first to swear their fealty to Aegon. For Tully's service, Aegon made them overlords of the Riverlands, making all other lords along the Trident to swear fealty to them.
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. 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 Stormlands
- See also: Last Storm
In the east, Orys Baratheon, Aegon's alleged bastard half-brother, led an army against Storm's End with the aid of Rhaenys and Meraxes. King Argilac the Arrogant, soon proved the truth of his name. Rather than take shelter behind the walls of his fortress, he took the field, confident of victory. A pitched battle was fought and Orys Baratheon slew Argilac in single combat. It is unclear whether Orys commanded a separate host or was merely commanding a contingent of Aegon's own army. After the battle, Argella Durrendon, the daughter of Argilac, declared herself the Storm Queen and continued to hold Storm's End. However the garrison at Storm's End surrendered the castle after taking Argella and bringing her to Orys naked and in chains. Orys then clothed her. Aegon I gave to Orys; Argilac's sigil, castle, lands and daughter as rewards for his victory.
Conquest of the Westerlands and the Reach
- See also: Field of Fire
After their separate engagements, the Targaryens and their dragons met at the Stoney Sept in response to the gathering of a great host in the west.
Alarmed at the sweeping success of the invaders, King Loren Lannister of the Rock and King Mern IX of the Reach made an alliance and assembled their armies to face the Targaryens. Their army, dubbed by historians 'The Host of the Two Kings', numbered 55,000; five thousand of them mounted knights, while the Targaryens had only 10,000 men, many of uncertain loyalty and reliability. The battle went badly for the Targaryen army.
With their smaller force severely weakened and in danger of routing, Aegon and his sisters deployed all three dragons at once; the only time this happened during the war. Their combined fires scoured the battlefield, immolating more than four thousand men (including King Mern and his heirs) and giving the battle its name: The Field of Fire.
After he was captured, King Loren bent the knee and was allowed to remain Lord of Casterly Rock and became the first Warden of the West. With Mern dead, Aegon accepted the surrender of Harlen Tyrell, Mern's steward, and appointed him overlord of the Reach. This infuriated House Florent, who had a superior blood-claim to the Gardener line, but Aegon dismissed this.
Conquest of the North
A host of northmen under the leadership of the King In The North, Torrhen Stark, marched south towards the Riverlands and Aegon halted his southern advance, mustered his troops and dragons to meet him on the banks of the Red Fork of the Trident, east of Riverrun. Torrhen intended to engage Aegon in battle, but viewing Aegon's vast host and his dragons made Torrhen realise his folly and instead he bent the knee in submission. Aegon named him Lord of the North and of Winterfell. In later years, an inn was built on the site of this event, known as the Inn of the Kneeling Man.
Conquest of the Vale
The head of House Arryn, King of Mountain and Vale was a young boy, Ronnel Arryn. His mother, Sharra Arryn, ruled as regent. She sent sent a massive army to the Bloody Gate and then she returned to the Eyrie for safety. Visenya Targaryen simply rode her dragon, Vhagar, up into the courtyard of the Eyrie. The regent then rushed outside to see the young king seated on the dragon begging for a ride. The regent acknowledged King Aegon's supremacy, and the young king got his ride.
Battle with Dorne
Rhaenys led an invasion of Dorne in an attempt to secure the southernmost lands as well. The army was taken through the Red Mountains, but the Dornish, having learned of the mistakes made at the Field of Fire and Harrenhal, refused to give open battle or hide in their castles, instead striking supply lines and engaging in guerilla warfare and melting away before the dragons could be brought to bear.
Rhaenys captured holdfasts to no avail, as their people had already fled, leaving only the elderly and infirm. Frustrated, Rhaenys flew directly to Sunspear to demand Princess Mariya's surrender. Mariya instead informed her that, "This is Dorne. You are not wanted here, return at your peril." Rhaenys replied that she would return with "Fire and blood," but Mariya simply replied, "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken." The Targaryen army withdrew from Dorne, leaving the country untaken. A thousand pinpricks did what a single pitched battle could not, and Aegon chose to withdraw and leave Dorne an independent nation. 
Conquest of Oldtown
When news arrived in Oldtown of the landing of Aegon and his sisters, the High Septon fasted and prayed for seven days and nights under the dome of the Starry Sept in Oldtown. He then announced that the Faith would not have them oppose the Targaryens, because the Crone had shown him that to do so would mean the destruction of Oldtown in dragonflame. Lord Hightower, a pious man, kept his forces at Oldtown and when Aegon's marched south towards Oldtown, he freely open his gates submitting to Aegon's authority. The High Septon then anointed Aegon and acknowledged his place as King of Westeros, destroying much of the remaining opposition among the Westerosi people.
Now in control of six of the Seven Kingdons, Aegon I Targaryen, now known as Aegon the Conqueror, announced the founding of a new castle, the Red Keep, and a new capital city, King's Landing, on the site where he landed on the shores of Westeros, 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.
Dorne remained unconquered and was acknowledged as a sovereign state under the rule of the Martells of Sunspear and Aegon devoted the remainder of his life to consolidation of his realm.
References and Notes
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 54, Davos.
- ↑ A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 8, Tyrion.
- ↑ 
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 62, Tyrion.
- ↑ A Feast for Crows, Chapter 20, Brienne.
- ↑ Bubonicon Report, August 25, 2012 So Spake Martin
- ↑ 
- ↑ SSM:Event hirizion chat (March 18, 1999)
- ↑ A Feast for Crows, Chapter 28, Cersei.
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