Dragonstone

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Dragonstone
Castle
A clash of kings by grr martin by marcsimonetti-d84tkck.jpg
Dragonstone © Marc Simonetti
Location island of Dragonstone, crownlands
Government House Baratheon of Dragonstone , Feudal lord.
Religion Faith of the Seven (former), R'hllor
Founded ~ 326 BC[1]
The crownlands and the location of Dragonstone
The crownlands and the location of Dragonstone
Dragonstone
The crownlands and the location of Dragonstone

Dragonstone is a castle located on the island of the same name at the entrance to Blackwater Bay. Located below the Dragonmont and shaped from stone to look like dragons, Dragonstone was the original seat of House Targaryen in Westeros, and had been colonized and fortified as the westernmost outpost of the Valyrian Freehold. The castle has a dark reputation.[2]

After Aegon's Conquest of the Seven Kingdoms, Dragonstone in the newly-created crownlands served as the seat of their heir apparent, known as the Prince of Dragonstone. After Robert Baratheon overthrew the Targaryens in Robert's Rebellion, he gave the castle to his brother Stannis, creating House Baratheon of Dragonstone.

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, although they have some naval strength. A short distance west of Dragonstone is the island of Driftmark, which is the seat of House Velaryon, a Valyrian house and historically a naval power. Other houses sworn to Dragonstone include Celtigar of Claw Isle, who are also of Valyrian descent, Seaworth of Cape Wrath, Bar Emmon of Sharp Point, and Sunglass of Sweetport Sound.[3]

The maesters at Dragonstone are Cressen and Pylos,[4] and the castle's sept is maintained by Septon Barre.[5] At least two members of House Blackberry serve at Dragonstone.[6][7]

Layout

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

Dragonstone is a grim place.[8] the castle was built using by the Valyrians, using arcane arts,[9] fire, and sorcery.[10][11] With the use of magic, the Valyrians were capable of liquefying stone.[12] The dragonlords loved little more than twisting stone into strange, fanciful, and ornate shapes,[13] and as such used their magic to shape the castle to look like multiple dragons.[12][10] Smaller dragons can be found throughout the castle; Small dragons frame gates and dragon claws hold torches.[10] A pair of great wings cover the armory and smithy, and dragon tails form archways and staircases.[10] The citadel of Dragonstone is wrought all of black stone[8] (the "stones of hell", if old tales are true).[6] Instead of merlons, grotesques and gargoyles serve as brooding crenellations along the three curtain walls.[8][6] Designs include basilisks, cockatrices, demons, griffins, hellhounds, manticores, minotaurs, wyverns, and other creatures.[10] Further, statues in the shape of dragons can be found all over the castle.[5]

Notable locations at Dragonstone include:

  • The Stone Drum: A massive tower[14] which serves as the central keep of Dragonstone, named for the booming and rumbling sounds that can be heard during storms.[8] To reach the Stone Drum from the Sea Dragon Tower, one must cross the gallery and pass through the middle and inner walls.[8] A high stone roofed bridge arching over emptiness leads from the Stone Drum to the entrance towards the dungeons.[14]
  • The Chamber of the Painted Table: Located on the top floor of the Stone Drum, the Chamber of the Painted Table is a round room with four tall windows, overlooking the north, south, east and west, and bare black walls. It holds a large table, the Painted Table, carved and painted in the form of a detailed map of Westeros. Here, Aegon the Conqueror planned for the invasion of Westeros. The Painted Table is more than fifty feet long: roughly twenty-five feet wide at its widest point and four feet at its thinnest. At the precise location of Dragonstone is a raised seat that allows the occupant to view the entire map.[8]
  • The Great Hall: The Great Hall is carved in the shape of a huge dragon lying on its belly; its doors are set in the mouth and those entering pass through its mouth.[10][8] The kitchens resemble a curled up dragon where the smoke and heat vented through its nostrils.[10]
  • The Windwyrm: One of Dragonstone's towers, shaped like a dragon which seems to scream defiance.[10]
  • The Sea Dragon Tower: One of Dragonstone's towers, shaped like a dragon gazing serenely out across the sea.[10] The maester's chambers are located in this tower, below the rookery.[10] The turnpike stairs of the tower are narrow and twisting.[8][10]
  • Aegon's Garden: A garden which can be reached when going down after the arch of the Dragon's Tail.[6] Within grow tall dark trees, wild roses, towering thorny hedges, and cranberries. The garden has a pleasant piney scent.[6]
  • The sept: The sept of Dragonstone, dedicated to the Faith of the Seven, contains statues representing the seven aspects of the Seven gods, carved from the masts of the ships that had carried the first Targaryens from Valyria, but have frequently been repainted since then.[5] The statue of the Crone has pearl eyes, the Father a gilded beard, and the Stranger looks more animal than human. [5]

History

House Targaryen colonization

Dragonstone castle in Game of Thrones

Two centuries before the Doom, Valyrians took possession of the island and built a castle upon it, which became the westernmost outpost of the Valyrian Freehold.[1] The castle towers were shaped by Valyrian magic to look like dragons to make the castle look fearsome, and placed a thousand gargoyles upon the walls.[8]

Twelve years prior to the Doom of Valyria, Aenar Targaryen, the head of House Targaryen, relocated his family, their five dragons, and all their wealth to Dragonstone, after his maiden daughter Daenys predicted the destruction of the Valyrian Freehold. In Valyria their rivals saw this as an act of cowardly surrender.[1] Four of the dragons brought from Valyria eventually died on Dragonstone, leaving only Balerion. However, two ‎eggs hatched and Vhagar and Meraxes were born.

Aenar ruled as the first Lord of Dragonstone, and was succeeded by his son, ‎Gaemon "the Glorious". Gaemon's children, ‎Aegon and Elaena, ruled together as kin and a couple, and were succeeded by their own son, Maegon, and later Maegon's younger brother, Aerys. Aerys' three sons, Aelyx, Baelon, and Daemion ruled Dragonstone in turn, after which Daemion's son Aerion inherited the seat. His only son by Lady Valaena Velaryon, Aegon Targaryen, was the last Lord of Dragonstone before Aegon's Conquest.[1]

Targaryen Dynasty

In 2 BC, Lord Aegon Targaryen launched his invasion of Westeros, conquering six of the Seven Kingdoms (Dorne alone managed to defy them). The Targaryens were supported by the houses sworn to Dragonstone, including the Velaryons of Driftmark and the Celtigars of Claw Isle, both of whom were also of Valyrian origin.[1]

Aegon established his new seat, the Aegonfort, where he first made landfall at the mouth of the Blackwater Rush. The city of King's Landing, the new capital, eventually formed around it.[15] In 35 AC, the Aegonfort was torn down in preparation for the construction of the Red Keep. The seat of Dragonstone remained in possession of House Targaryen, and continued to be Aegon I's favorite place. Despite this, Aegon raised his eldest son and heir, Prince Aenys at King's Landing, while Queen Visenya Targaryen raised Aegon I's younger son, Maegor at Dragonstone. In time, Maegor became known as the "Prince of Dragonstone".[16] Maegor remained the Prince of Dragonstone during the earlier years of Aenys's own reign, but after Maegor was exiled in 41 AC for taking a second wife, Aenys established "Prince of Dragonstone" as a formal title by appointing it to his own heir, Prince Aegon.[17] King Jaehaerys I Targaryen later continued the use of this title for the heir apparent.[18]

Aegon's Painted Table by Kim Pope

Aegon the Conqueror died from a stroke while in the Chamber of the Painted Table.[15] At the start of the Faith Militant uprising, King Aenys I Targaryen fled to the safety of Dragonstone. There, he too died.[17] Aenys' brother, Maegor, was crowned at Dragonstone, and claimed the Iron Throne as King Maegor I Targaryen. Dowager Queen Alyssa Velaryon, Aenys' widow, and her two younger children, Jaehaerys and Alysanne, were kept prisoner at Dragonstone during Maegor's reign. Following the death of Dowager Queen Visenya Targaryen in 44 AC, Alyssa and her children managed to escape.[19]

Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen became the first Princess of Dragonstone in 105 AC, when she was officially declared to be her father's heir.[20][21] She was on Dragonstone when her brother, Aegon II Targaryen, claimed the Iron Throne in 129 AC; Rhaenyra was crowned at Dragonstone, and from her own seat, she led the blacks against Aegon II's greens.[22] Rhaenyra died in the yard of Dragonstone in late 130 AC, where she was devoured by her brother's dragon, Sunfyre.[22] Aegon II continued to hold Dragonstone until his own death, half a year later.[22]

King Maekar I Targaryen's eldest son, Prince Daeron, became Prince of Dragonstone upon his father ascension. However, he found Dragonstone such a gloomy abode, that he preferred to be styled "Prince of Summerhall" instead.[23] Decades later, King Aerys II Targaryen attempted to bring forth dragons from dragon eggs found in the depths of Dragonstone.[24] The relationship between Aerys and his heir, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, soured, and when Rhaegar married Princess Elia Martell in 280 AC, he moved permanently to Dragonstone, where his daughter Rhaenys was born later that same year.[24]

Robert's Rebellion

Main article: Robert's Rebellion

When the news of Prince Rhaegar's death during the battle of the Trident reached King's Landing, King Aerys II decided to sent his pregnant sister-wife, Queen Rhaella, and his only surviving child, Prince Viserys, now the Prince of Dragonstone, to Dragonstone, to keep them safe from the approaching rebel army.[25] On Dragonstone, Queen Rhaella crowned Viserys.[26] Nine months after leaving King's Landing, Rhaella gave birth to Princess Daenerys, who was granted the title "Princess of Dragonstone".[27] However, Rhaella died in labor, and the Targaryen fleet, which had been protecting the island, was mostly destroyed during a fierce storm.[27] During this storm, huge stone blocks were ripped from the parapets and sent hurtling into the wild waters of the narrow sea.[27]

King Robert I Baratheon, who had claimed the throne after the death of Aerys II, had ordered his younger brother, Stannis, to built a new fleet for the Baratheon's. With the Targaryen fleet destroyed, the garrison at Dragonstone was prepared to sell the Targaryen children to Robert. However, before they could act on this plan, Ser Willem Darry and several other loyal retainers rescued the children and smuggled them into exile, sailing to the Free City of Braavos.[27] Stannis assaulted Dragonstone, and successfully took the castle.[8][27][28]

Baratheon Dynasty

King Robert I Baratheon named his younger brother Stannis the Lord of Dragonstone, instead of Lord to the wealthier Storm's End, which was given to their younger brother Renly, who was only a young child at the time. Stannis resented this and believed it to be an intentional slight,[8] which Queen Cersei Lannister agrees with.[28] According to George R. R. Martin, however, Robert had not necessarily meant it as such.[29] The castle had traditionally been the seat of the heir to the Iron Throne, the Prince of Dragonstone, during most of the Targaryen Dynasty, so the then-childless Robert was granting it to his heir at that time, Stannis.[29] Now the Lord of Dragonstone, Stannis became the head of House Baratheon of Dragonstone. When Stannis left for King's Landing to serve on the small council, Ser Axell Florent was named castellan.[5]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Stannis Baratheon, Lord of Dragonstone, returns to his seat from King's Landing shortly after King Robert I Baratheon travels north to offer the Hand of the King to Lord Eddard Stark.[30] He closes off the island,[8] making it difficult for Varys to know for certain what Stannis has been doing,[31] though he hears rumors that he is gathering swords.[32] Varys later reports to Lord Tywin Lannister that he has heard rumors that Stannis is building ships, hiring sellswords, and is bringing a shadowbinder from Asshai.[33]

A Clash of Kings

During the War of the Five Kings, the poor lands of Dragonstone give King Stannis too few supporters to engage the Lannisters in battle.[34] The queen's men sack the sept of Dragonstone so the red priestess Melisandre can burn the statues of the Seven outside of the castle's gates.[5]

After his defeat at the Battle of the Blackwater, Stannis retreats to Dragonstone with some fifteen hundred men and the ships of Salladhor Saan.[14]

A Storm of Swords

Stannis broods in the Stone Drum, refusing to see anyone but Melisandre.[6] Davos Seaworth is arrested for his plan to kill Melisandre,[6] and locked up in the cells of Dragonstone, where he is later joined by Stannis' Hand of the King, Lord Alester Florent.[35] Davos is brought before Stannis in the Chamber of the Painted Table, and eventually pardoned and named Hand in Alester's stead.[14] Melisandre wishes to "wake a dragon from stone", insisting she needs to sacrifice Robert I's bastard son Edric Storm to do so.[10] Davos wonders whether the stone dragons which can be found all over the castle could be real dragons turned to stone.[10] He later prays that they will never come to life.[7]

After Davos tells Stannis that "a king protects his people, or he is no king at all" and urges him to sail for the Wall, presenting him with Maester Aemon's letter asking for aid,[7] Stannis sets sail for the north.[36] Ser Rolland Storm, the Bastard of Nightsong, is made castellan for the duration of Stannis' absence.[37]

A Feast for Crows

Upon learning that Stannis has abandoned Dragonstone, Queen Regent Cersei Lannister is "giddy as a maiden", as she believes that Stannis has given up and gone into exile.[38] However, Stannis has not given up his battle, and continues to hold Dragonstone.[38] Cersei judges that two thousand Lannister soldiers should be enough to battle the small garrison which Stannis had left behind on Dragonstone, and so keeps them in King's Landing to await the arrival of Lord Paxter Redwyne's fleet which will carry them from Blackwater Bay to Dragonstone.[39] Only a few fishing boats remain to defy the Redwyne fleet,[40] and Lord Paxter encamps his men before the walls of the castle and begins the siege of Dragonstone, intending to starve the defenders out.[41]

After the ironborn attack the Reach, Loras begas Cersei to send word to Dragonstone, commanding Paxter to raise his sails for the Reach immediately, as his fleet is the only one large enough to protect the Reach from the ironborn. Cersei refuses, insisting that Stannis' hold over Dragonstone is a knife at King Tommen I Baratheon's throat, and that the Redwyne fleet will only be released once Dragonstone has fallen. Ser Loras Tyrell asks Cersei permission to take Dragonstone by storming the walls of the castle, so the Redwyne fleet is no longer needed at the island and can return to the Reach.[41] Half a day after his arrival, after Stannis' castellan refuses to settle the matter by single combat, Loras orders the assault. The castle gates are broken by a ram, and the defenders fall back to an inner keep after the curtain wall falls. Loras leads the attack there as well. Although Loras is successful in taking Dragonstone, he is severely injured in the battle, and remains on Dragonstone, cared for by the maesters.[42] When Aurane Waters keeps hinting to Cersei that he needs a seat of his own, Cersei becomes convinced that Aurane wants Dragonstone, but she considers that seat to be too much above Aurane's birth and station.[43]

A Dance with Dragons

Loras remains at Dragonstone, still dying of his wounds.[44] His men search every inch of the castle, but according to Lord Mace Tyrell cannot find any wealth that might have been left behind. Lord Regent Kevan Lannister doubts that Loras' men have been able to search every inch of the ancient castle, raised by the Valyrians with their sorcery, but concludes that, if there had been wealth in the castle, Stannis would have taken it before he left.[45]

In the Dothraki sea, Daenerys Targaryen names a hill "Dragonstone", after the citadel she had been born in.[46]

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.[34]
- thoughts of Cressen


I never asked for Dragonstone. I never wanted it.[34]
- Stannis Baratheon to Cressen


A place of dragons and dragonlords, the seat of House Targaryen.[10]
- thoughts of Davos Seaworth


The Valyrians had raised it, after all, and all their works stank of sorcery.[45]

- 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.[47]
- George R. R. Martin

References and Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
  2. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 47, Eddard XIII.
  3. A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
  4. A Clash of Kings, Appendix.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 10, Davos I.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 10, Davos II.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 63, Davos VI.
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 A Clash of Kings, Prologue.
  9. The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Doom of Valyria.
  10. 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10 10.11 10.12 10.13 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 54, Davos V.
  11. A Dance with Dragons, Epilogue.
  12. 12.0 12.1 So Spake Martin: Worldcon Report: Dragonstone's Appearance (August 19, 2011)
  13. The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach: Oldtown.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 36, Davos IV.
  15. 15.0 15.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon I.
  16. The Sons of the Dragon: reading LonCon 2014
  17. 17.0 17.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I.
  18. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys I.
  19. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Maegor I.
  20. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Viserys I.
  21. The Rogue Prince.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 The Princess and the Queen.
  23. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Maekar I.
  24. 24.0 24.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II.
  25. The World of Ice & Fire, The Fall of the Dragons: The End.
  26. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Rhaella Targaryen.
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 27.4 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 3, Daenerys I.
  28. 28.0 28.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 25, Tyrion VI.
  29. 29.0 29.1 So Spake Martin: The Baratheon Brothers (September 11, 1999)
  30. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 20, Eddard IV.
  31. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 58, Eddard XV.
  32. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 22, Arya II.
  33. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 69, Tyrion IX.
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 A Clash of Kings, Prologue.
  35. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 25, Davos III.
  36. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 73, Jon X.
  37. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 78, Samwell V.
  38. 38.0 38.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 12, Cersei III.
  39. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 16, Jaime II.
  40. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 17, Cersei IV.
  41. 41.0 41.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 32, Cersei VII.
  42. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 36, Cersei VIII.
  43. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 39, Arya VII.
  44. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 54, Cersei I.
  45. 45.0 45.1 A Dance with Dragons, Epilogue.
  46. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 71, Daenerys X.
  47. So Spake Martin: Asshai.com Interview in Barcelona, July 28, 2012.

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