Riot of King's Landing (Dance of the Dragons)

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Riot of King's Landing
Conflict Dance of the Dragons
Date 130 AC
Place King's Landing
Result Storming of the Dragonpit
Deaths of Syrax, Morghul, Shrykos, Dreamfyre, Tyraxes
Death of Joffrey Velaryon
Flight of Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen from King's Landing
Moon of the Three Kings
Smallfolk of King's Landing House Velaryon.svg House Velaryon sworn swords Rhaenyra Targaryen.svg Blacks
* Ser Perkin the Flea
  • Wat the Tanner
  • Star of the Faith.svg The Shepherd
  • Kingsguard.svg Ser Lorent Marbrand
    House Manderly.svg Ser Torrhen Manderly
    House Manderly.svg Ser Medrick Manderly
    City Watch of King's Landing.svg Ser Luthor Largent
    City Watch of King's Landing.svg Ser Balon Byrch
    City Watch of King's Landing.svg Ser Garth the Harelip
    Kingsguard.svg Ser Glendon Goode
    Denys Woodwright
    Ser Thoron True
    Lorent Marbrand
    Luthor Largent
    Davos Deddings
    Bartimos Celtigar
    Arthor Celtigar

    The riot of King's Landing took place during the Dance of the Dragons, as Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen was losing her grip on the Iron Throne and the citizenry of King's Landing were living in paranoia and terror of the coming of the army and dragons of the greens. The suicide of the beloved Princess Helaena Targaryen was the final straw as rumors were spread that she had been murdered.[1]


    When the people of King's Landing learned of the slaughter during the First Battle of Tumbleton, terror began to hold grip in the city, as the citizens became convinced that their city would burn once the Hightower army would arrive. A man known only as the Shepherd began preaching against the Targaryens and their dragons on Cobbler's Square, claiming that "only by cleansing King's Landing of dragons and their masters" could the Seven Kingdoms avoid a doom similar to that of Valyria.[2]

    Following the betrayal of Hugh Hammer and Ulf White during the First Battle of Tumbleton, Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen became convinced that none of the dragonseeds could be trusted. In King's Landing, she ordered the arrest of Ser Addam Velaryon, the legitimized heir of Lord Corlys Velaryon, Rhaenyra's Hand of the Queen. Corlys warned Addam, who fled from the Dragonpit on his dragon Seasmoke. For aiding Addam in his escape, Corlys was arrested, and placed in the black cells.[2] As a result, the Velaryon forces, which made up more than half of Rhaenyra's army, began to abandon her cause. Some joined the Shepherd, others returned to Driftmark. Those who remained could no longer be trusted. Ser Denys Woodwright and Ser Thoron True, two of Corlys's sworn swords, attempted to break Corlys out of the dungeons, but were caught and hanged from the walls of the Red Keep.[3]

    That same day, Queen Helaena Targaryen committed suicide by jumping from her window on top of the spikes that lined the dry moat of Maegor's Holdfast. That night, the smallfolk of King's Landing began to tell each other that Helaena had been murdered, and placed the blame at the feet of Queen Rhaenyra, insisting she had killed Helaena because Prince Daeron Targaryen and the Hightower army would soon be at the gates. The people whispered that Ser Luthor Largent had flung Helaena from her window on Rhaenyra's order, despite the fact that Largent had been at the barracks of the City Watch of King's Landing at the Gate of the Gods when Helaena died. According to Grand Maester Munkun , it was the Shepherd who spread the tale, although Mushroom believes that story originated from Lord Larys Strong.[3]

    The rumor of the beloved Helaena's murder was quickly believed by the citizens, who had completely turned against the once-beloved Rhaenyra and who were still mindful of the terrible murders of Helaena's sons, Jaehaerys and Maelor.[3]


    First night

    The night following Helaena Targaryen's death, King's Landing rose in riot. The riots began in Flea Bottom as men and women poured from the wine sinks, pot shops, and rat pits, by the hundreds and then the thousands, drunk, angry and afraid. They called for justice for the murders of Helaena, Jaehaerys, and Maelor. Wagons were overturned and shops and warehouses were looted. No one was spared. Lady Darla Deddings saw her brother Davos stabbed through the eye when he tried to defend her from drunken rapists.[1] The rioters also attacked the manse of Lord Bartimos Celtigar, killing all and capturing Lord Bartimos, who was bound to a post and tortured until he revealed the location of his wealth. Wat the Tanner next declared that Lord Bartimos had failed to pay his "cock tax" and gelded him.[3]

    Sailors unable to return to their ships attacked the River Gate. Ser Luthor Largent and four hundred gold cloaks eventually dispersed them, but not before the gate itself had been hacked half to pieces. A hundred men died during or as a result from the battle, twenty-five of them men from the City Watch. Ser Luthor Largent next led five hundred gold cloaks to Cobbler's Square, where the Shepherd preached that the Stranger was coming. Although Largent declared to the crowd that they only wanted the Shepherd, the crowd of ten thousand people was too thick to disperse. During the chaotic battle that followed, the Shepherd fled, while Largent and his men were slaughtered by the crowds.[3]

    According to Septon Eustace, the Shepherd controlled half the city that night, while Wat the Tanner gathered hundreds of men around him. "King" Gaemon Palehair was raised up in a brothel on the Street of Silk, on account of being a bastard son of King Aegon II Targaryen. The hedge knight Perkin the Flea crowned his squire, Trystane, claiming he was the bastard son of King Viserys I Targaryen. Ser Perkin began to dub every man who flocked to Trystane's banner, causing hundreds of gutter knights to join their cause.[3]

    The Last Day

    As dawn broke over the city, fires were burning everywhere. Men in Flea Bottom were breaking into shops and homes, attacking everyone they happened to encounter. The remaining gold cloaks had retreated to their barracks, but as the night ended, those stationed at the Old Gate and the Dragon Gate marched forth under the command of Ser Balon Byrch and Ser Garth the Harelip to restore order to the streets north and east of the Hill of Rhaenys. Ser Medrick Manderly led a hundred men from White Harbor to the area northeast of Aegon's High Hill, down to the Iron Gate, while Ser Torrhen Manderly led his men down the Hook and Ser Lorent Marbrand, the Lord Commander of the Queensguard led a hundred knights and men-at-arms into Flea Bottom. Torrhen lost a quarter of his men in his struggle to return to the Red Keep, while most of Lorent's men were killed; Only sixteen of them returned,[3][1] including Ser Glendon Goode, who brought back the body of Ser Lorent, who had been killed.[1] Meanwhile, Fishmonger's Square and River Row were taken over by Ser Perkin's men, while "King" Trystane's banner flew above the battlements of the River Gate, where the captain and three of the serjeants of the gate had been hung from the gatehouse.[3][1]

    Command of the City Watch was given to Ser Balon Byrch, Ser Glendon Goode was named Lord Commander of the Queensguard, and ravens were sent to Winterfell and the Eyrie. As the sun went down, even more rioters than the night before poured out into the streets. Ser Perkin led his gutter knights from the River Gate down the riverfront, while Wat the Tanner led his men against the Gate of the Gods. The garrison at the latter gate were weakened from the day before and quickly defeated. Wat, still displaying Lord Bartimos's severed head, led his men on the kingsroad out of the city. Within an hour, two other gates were opened: the King's Gate, whose defenders had fled, and the Lion Gate, whose defenders had joined the mob. At the same time, the Shepherd appeared once again at Cobbler's Square, and called upon the large crowd to kill the dragons in the Dragonpit. The crowds responded, and stormed the Dragonpit, resulting in the deaths of the four dragons housed within, as well as the death of Syrax, Rhaenyra's dragon, after her son Joffrey Velaryon stole the dragon in an attempt to reach the Dragonpit himself. Joffrey was thrown off the dragon's back and died. Afterwards, his body was returned to the Red Keep by the seven who were sent forth to bring Joffrey back to safety.[3]


    Rhaenyra Targaryen's loyalists agreed that the city was lost to them, and convinced her to abandon King's Landing. Rhaenyra, Prince Aegon, and a few loyalists slipped from the city the next morning through the Dragon Gate, intend on reaching Duskendale.

    King's Landing descended into anarchy, a chaotic period known as the "Moon of the Three Kings", or the "Moon of Madness". Different factions divided up sections of the city. Ser Perkin and "King" Trystane ruled the Red Keep, the Shepherd ruled from the Dragonpit, and Gaemon Palehair's followers held Visenya's Hill.[3] The Moon of the Three Kings was eventually brought to an end by Lord Borros Baratheon, who marched on King's Landing.[4]

    After much troubles and efforts, Rhaenyra and her son eventually reached Dragonstone, where they discovered the castle had previously fallen to King Aegon II Targaryen and his supporters. Rhaenyra was fed by Aegon to his dragon, Sunfyre, as her son Aegon the Younger looked on. King Aegon II subsequently had Prince Aegon chained and brought to the dungeons.[3][1]


    1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 The Princess and the Queen.
    2. 2.0 2.1 Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Triumphant.
    3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Overthrown.
    4. Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Short, Sad Reign of Aegon II.