Landing of the Golden Company
|Landing of the Golden Company|
|Place||Stormlands and Stepstones|
|Result||Golden Company victory|
The Golden Company expects that Queen Daenerys Targaryen will leave Meereen with her army and dragons, join the sellswords at Volantis, wed the long-lost Prince Aegon Targaryen, and help him claim the Iron Throne. The plan was orchestrated by Illyrio Mopatis and Varys.
The timing for their invasion of Westeros is ideal, as the Iron Throne is massively indebted thanks to the late King Robert I Baratheon's spending, which is made worse by Queen Regent Cersei Lannister's refusal to pay back the Iron Bank of Braavos. Thus the Iron Throne would be unable to afford sellswords or to try and buy off the Golden Company. The Iron Throne is also preoccupied with ironmen in the Reach and Stannis Baratheon's forces in the north and at Dragonstone.
Unaware of the Golden Company's intentions, Daenerys remains in Meereen ruling as a queen. Tyrion Lannister, traveling on Shy Maid in Aegon's company, suggests the youth prove himself by invading Westeros without Daenerys's aid. Meanwhile, the Golden Company has encamped near Volon Therys and is frustrated that Daenerys has not left Slaver's Bay. Against the advice of their captain-general, Harry Strickland, the Golden Company is convinced by Aegon to depart Essos for Westeros. Numerous captains sail up the Rhoyne from Volantis to Volon Therys to offer their ships to the sellswords. While in Volantis, Tyrion is shocked when he hears of Aegon's decision, as he had considered hiring the Golden Company himself to aid him in claiming Casterly Rock.
The exile Jon Connington, once Lord of Griffin's Roost, decides that Cape Wrath in the stormlands should be where the Golden Company should begin their invasion. King Robert and Lord Renly Baratheon are dead, and their brother Stannis, who is away in the north, is not as well liked by the storm lords.
The ten thousand men of the Golden Company sail from Volon Therys with all their weapons, horses, and elephants aboard Volantene ships. Recognizing the importance of the thousand archers of Black Balaq, Jon Connington advises Harry Strickland to divide the archers into ten companies sailing on different ships. Harry's elephants travel on great cogs. In order to confuse the Iron Throne, the sellsword commanders are instructed to not display the banners of House Connington, House Targaryen, or the Golden Company during their initial attacks. Jon intends for it to seem he merely intends to take back his ancestral lands at Griffin's Roost, House Connington's ancestral seat which he held before being exiled during Robert's Rebellion.
The fleet carrying the Golden Company is scattered by a great storm after Lys, however, and the Volantene sailors deliver the sellswords wherever they find land in the narrow sea. Only six of the archer ships arrive at the designated landing site in Cape Wrath near Griffin's Roost and the rainwood, for instance, but the Volantenes tell Jon the other four ships will eventually turn up.
Jon leads a quarter of the available strength in reclaiming Griffin's Roost. Ser Tristan Rivers and Laswell Peake, each with comparable forces, take Crow's Nest and Rain House, respectively. The final quarter encamps at the arrival site under Gorys Edoryen to protect Aegon Targaryen and await stragglers. Marq Mandrake leads five hundred men from other ships in taking Greenstone on Estermont. Mistwood, Tarth, and half the Stepstones are also eventually taken by the sellswords. Elephants are reported in the rainwood.
In King's Landing, the small council of King Tommen I Baratheon receives reports that sellswords have landed all over the south, including Tarth, the Stepstones, and Cape Wrath. Tommen's regent, Ser Kevan Lannister, mistakenly believes that Stannis Baratheon has hired the sellswords.
The Golden Company plans to next take Storm's End, which is held by Ser Gilbert Farring for Stannis Baratheon, and raise Aegon's banner upon its battlements. To Jon Connington's surprise, Aegon intends to lead the attack. Additionally, nearly all the Great Houses of Westeros but House Arryn in the Vale and House Martell in Dorne have suffered significant losses in the War of the Five Kings. While the Vale is far away, Jon hopes to win Dorne to Aegon's cause.
The small council later hears reports of sellswords incursions all along the coast and the islands, that Jon Connington is advancing on Storm's End, and that the Golden Company have the feigned Prince Aegon with them. Ser Ronnet Connington offers to prove his loyalty to Tommen by killing his exiled uncle. After the meeting, Varys slays Grand Maester Pycelle and Kevan Lannister in order to keep the Seven Kingdoms in the chaotic state that Cersei Lannister had brought it to, which will work in Aegon's favor.
Tristan: Prince Aegon, we are your men. Is this your wish, that we sail west instead of east?
Aegon: It is. If my aunt wants Meereen, she's welcome to it. I will claim the Iron Throne by myself, with your swords and your allegiance. Move fast and strike hard, and we can win some easy victories before the Lannisters even know that we have landed. That will bring others to our cause.
—thoughts of Tyrion Lannister
Let the Lannisters suspect Stannis Baratheon, pirates from the Stepstones, outlaws out of the woods, or whoever else they cared to blame. If the reports that reached King's Landing were confused and contradictory, so much the better. The slower the Iron Throne was to react, the longer they would have to gather their strength and bring allies to the cause.—thoughts of Jon Connington
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 61, The Griffin Reborn.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 5, Tyrion II.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 1, Tyrion I.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 24, The Lost Lord.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 17, Cersei IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Epilogue.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 32, Cersei VII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 71, Daenerys VI.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 22, Tyrion VI.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 27, Tyrion VII.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Crow's Nest.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Rain House.
- The Winds of Winter, Arianne II
- The Winds of Winter, Arianne I
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 54, Cersei I.
- A Feast for Crows, Appendix.