Battle of the Gullet

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Battle of the Gullet
Conflict Dance of the Dragons
Date 129 AC
Place Gullet
Result Greens/Three Daughters victory
Sack of Driftmark
Combatants
Blacks Greens
Kingdom of the Three Daughters
Commanders
Prince Jacaerys Velaryon Admiral Sharako Lohar
Strength
House Velaryon fleet
Vermax
Stormcloud
Silverwing
Sheepstealer
Seasmoke
Vermithor
90 warships
Casualties
Jacaerys Velaryon
Viserys Targaryen (captured)
Vermax
Stormcloud
33% of the Velaryon fleet lost
62 warships lost

The Battle of the Gullet,[1][2] also called the Battle in the Gullet,[1] was a battle that took place in the Gullet during the Dance of the Dragons. It remains amongst the bloodiest sea battles in all of history.[1]

Prelude

House Velaryon blockaded the Gullet and controlled access to Blackwater Bay at the start of the civil war. After the assault on Harrenhal by Prince Daemon Targaryen and further blows to the greens, Ser Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King to Aegon II Targaryen, hatched a plan to break the Velaryon fleet's blockade. Otto reached out across the narrow sea to enemies of Prince Daemon, the Kingdom of the Three Daughters, hoping to persuade them to move against the Sea Snake, Lord Corlys Velaryon. Otto's plan took time and Aegon II eventually ran out of patience with his grandfather's prevarications, tearing the chain of office from his neck and tossing it to Ser Criston Cole.[1]

However, the schemes of Ser Otto eventually bore fruit, as the High Council of the Triarchy accepted his offer of alliance in Tyrosh. Ninety warships, commanded by Admiral Sharako Lohar of Lys, swept from the Stepstones under the banners of the Three Daughters, bending their oars for the Gullet.[1]

Meanwhile on Dragonstone, it was decided by Prince Jacaerys Velaryon that his half-brothers, Aegon and Viserys, would be fostered with a prince of Pentos until Rhaenys had secured the Iron Throne, they departed a Pentoshi cog, the Gay Abandon, towards the end of 129 AC. The Sea Snake sent seven of his warships with them as escort.[1]

Battle

The Gay Abandon carrying the two Targaryen princes encountered the Three Daughters' fleet, which had sailed up to the Gullet. The Gay Abandon was taken captive and her escorts sunk or captured. Possessed only of a dragon egg, Prince Viserys had no way of escaping from the cog and was made captive.[1]

Nine-year-old Aegon managed to escape the Gay Abandon by flying on his young dragon Stormcloud. Sailors attempted to bring them down and Stormcloud was wounded by arrows and scorpion bolts. Nevertheless, they managed to fly to Dragonstone, where Aegon delivered the news of the new threat from the east. Stormcloud at Dragonstone died from its wounds.[1]

Flying on Vermax to meet the fleet of the Three Daughters, Prince Jacaerys swept down upon a line of Lysene galleys. The sailors had fought dragons during the War for the Stepstones, so their captains directed their spears and arrows against Jacaerys. One ship caught on fire and then another, however. When the dragons Silverwing, Sheepstealer, Seasmoke, and Vermithor joined Vermax from the Dragonmont, the line of Free Cities warships shattered as one galley after another turned away.[1]

Vermax flew too low, however, and crashed down into the sea, possibly wounded from a crossbow bolt to the eye or pulled down by a grapnel. Survivors said he struggled in the rigging of a burning galley and sank with it. Jacaerys leapt free, but was killed by Myrish crossbowmen.[1]

North and south of Dragonstone the battle raged into the night. The fleet bypassd Dragonstone, perhaps believing that it was to strong to assault, but they instead attacked Driftmark. Spicetown was brutally sacked, with its inhabitants butchered and left as carrion. High Tide and the treasures of Lord Corlys Velaryon were burned, with his servants cut down as they fled.[1]

Aftermath

Thousands died from the battle, and Spicetown was never rebuilt. The Velaryon fleet lost almost a third of its strength. Prince Jacaerys Velaryon and his dragon Vermax were killed, and Prince Viserys Targaryen was taken captive,[1][3] but presumed dead by both sides. Prince Aegon the Younger never forgave himself for abandoning his little brother.[4]

According to Mushroom, Hugh the Hammer and Ulf the White, who had survived the battle, celebrated their participation, while Nettles and Addam Velaryon were both heavily affected, with the latter seeking out the Sea Snake, though what they spoke to each other remains unknown.[4]

The Triarchy's admiral, Sharako Lohar of Lys, had taken a combined fleet of 90 warships from the Stepstones but only 28 survived to limp home, losing 62 ships in the battle. Only three were not crewed by Lyseni. The Myrish and Tyroshi widows accused Sharako Lohar of sending their fleets to destruction while holding back his own, thus beggining a quarrel that would end the Triarchy two years later, when the three cities turned against each other in the Daughters' War.[4]

Quotes

Yet none of those losses were felt so deeply as that of Jacaerys Velaryon, Prince of Dragonstone and heir to the Iron Throne.[1]

- Archmaester Gyldayn

If this be victory, I pray I never win another.[4]

- Lord Corlys Velaryon, after being congratulated on his victory

References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 The Princess and the Queen.
  2. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon II.
  3. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Red Dragon and the Gold.