Taking of the Shields
|Taking of the Shields|
|Conflict||War of the Five Kings|
|Place||Shield Islands, the Reach|
The taking of the Shields is the opening battle of Euron Greyjoy's new campaign after his ascension to King of the Isles and the North. It takes place in and around the Shield Islands off the western coast of the Reach.
When Euron Greyjoy is chosen at the kingsmoot on Old Wyk, he promises to conquer the Seven Kingdoms and return the ironborn as a significant power. His first strike will be a surprise attack on the unguarded Reach, whose armies are campaigning in the crownlands, riverlands, and stormlands whilst their main naval force (the Redwyne fleet) is besieging Dragonstone and Storm's End.
Torwold Browntooth and the Red Oarsman lead twelve ironborn longships up the river Mander to draw out the defenses of the Shield Islands. Instead of sailing along the Reach's coastline, Euron Greyjoy leads the other ironborn ships into the Sunset Sea and attacks the Shields from the west, with the setting sun hiding their approach.
Ser Harras Harlaw lands at Grimston and plants his standard beneath the castle walls. Daring the defenders to face him, he kills five and forces two to yield. After the seventh man is defeated the septon in the castle declares the gods have spoken and surrenders the castle. The islands of Greyshield, Greenshield, and Southshield are captured before the next morning, while Oakenshield lasts half a day. Euron uses Oakenshield Castle at Lord Hewett's Town as his base, with Lord Humfrey Hewett and his family captured.
When the Shields' ships abandon Torwold and the Red Oarsmen in the Mander and return to the islands, they are trapped by the Iron Fleet at the river's mouth. Lord Captain Victarion Greyjoy slays Ser Talbert Serry during the boarding of a Serry vessel when Talbert falls overboard. Victarion loses only six ironborn ships, including Hardhand, but captures thirty-eight. Victarion allows a dozen southron ships to escape to the Mander.
Victarion Greyjoy attributes the success of his brother Euron's attack from the west to blood sacrifice and the assistance of warlocks. King Euron raises four new lords, granting Oakenshield to Nute the Barber, Southshield to Andrik the Unsmiling, Greenshield to Maron Volmark, and Greyshield to Ser Harras Harlaw, men who previously were supporters of potential rivals to Euron.
The lords who escaped destruction on the islands or the Mander retreat and wait for reinforcement from House Tyrell of Highgarden. Instead being taken as thralls, the peasant women and children whose husbands and fathers died during the battle are to be sold into slavery at Lys, which disturbs Victarion. According to the tidings that reach King's Landing, Lord Moribald Chester and Lord Humfrey Hewett are slain, Lord Guthor Grimm is held captive in his own castle, and Lord Osbert Serry flees to Highgarden with the remnants of his fleet. Ser Willas Tyrell sends word to House Hightower at Oldtown, and Ser Garlan Tyrell begins raising men to retake the Shields.
Later, after capturing his brother Aeron Damphair, Euron admits he does not intend to hold the Shields. Attacking them opened the Mander to their raiding ships, and giving them away allows Euron to appear open handed. The ironborn will remember his victory taking the islands, but will blame their loss on the new Houses that try to hold them.
The Drowned God had not shaped Victarion Greyjoy to fight with words at kingsmoots, nor struggle against furtive sneaking foes in endless bogs. This was why he had been put on earth; to stand steel-clad with an axe red and dripping in his hand, dealing death with every blow.—Victarion Greyjoy's thoughts
It is a great victory.
—Victarion Greyjoy's thoughts
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 32, Cersei VII.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 38, The Watcher.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 19, The Drowned Man.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 12, Cersei III.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 29, The Reaver.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 56, The Iron Suitor.
- The Winds of Winter, The Forsaken