Following the demise of Aegon III, the throne passes to his 14-year-old son, Daeron I. Viserys also continues to serve as the Hand of the King. With Viserys’ approval, Daeron decides not to appoint any regents and chooses to rule the realm on his own. Daeron’s sole ambition is to conquer Dorne, a land that has resisted conquest for years and has caused significant trouble for the six kingdoms. Seeking to achieve what his ancestor, Aegon the Conqueror, could not, Daeron aims to unite all seven kingdoms by subduing Dorne as well. Despite his council’s assertions that the Targaryens no longer possess dragons, Daeron boldly claims, “A dragon stands before you,” and leads his army of thousands towards Dorne. After a fierce battle in which 10,000 men perish, the Targaryen forces ultimately succeed when House Martell surrenders and Dorne becomes a part of the Seven Kingdoms once more. As a result of his triumph, Daeron I is dubbed the “Young Dragon.”
However, guerrilla forces within Dorne and the regrouped Martell armies refuse to yield, launching repeated attacks against the Targaryen forces. Throughout this conflict, Daeron I lost 50,000 soldiers and was forced to withdraw in 160 After Conquest. One year later, during peace negotiations, Dorne launches an assault on King Daeron, killing him and capturing his cousin, Aemon the Dragonknight, as a prisoner. This strike deals a serious blow to the kingdom and leads to the recapture of Sunspear, Dorne’s largest city. Daeron I’s quest for Dorne began with great success but eventually turned into a significant debacle. Nonetheless, despite the defeat, many Westerosi armies remained eager to continue the fight for revenge.
Daeron’s childless death passes the crown to Baelor, a man deeply committed to religious beliefs. Baelor aims to establish peace between the Westerosi kingdoms and Dorne. Thus, he sets out for Sunspear dressed humbly and barefoot. His unconventional approach earns the respect of the Dornish prince, resulting in the long-awaited peace treaty. As part of the agreement, Baelor secures the return of his captive cousin, Aemon the Dragonknight, and arranges a marriage between Daeron and Myriah Martell. However, when Baelor returns to King’s Landing, House Wyl’s insistence compels him to crawl through a pit filled with snakes as a symbolic consequence of the terms and choices he made in dealing with Dorne. Without uttering a word of complaint, Baelor traverses the perilous pit, narrowly escaping with his life.
After the peace in Dorne, Baelor had no aspirations to rule over Westeros. The king, who chose to recede into the background, entrusted the administration to Viserys and the council. While the council governed the realm, Baelor utilized the kingdom’s treasury to commission the construction of the Great Sept, which would become an integral part of the realm for years to come. This endeared him to the small folk residing in the city. Not content with that alone, Baelor also banned prostitution, expelling all the prostitutes from the city, a decision that earned him numerous enemies.
Additionally, with the aid of the High Septon, Baelor managed to annul his marriage to Daena, marking one of the most sensational events that would later find its way into the annals of history. However, this was only the beginning of his shocking actions. Baelor then took the audacious step of confining his sisters Rhaena, Elaena, and Daena in the Maidenvault.
Baelor I believed that his sisters’ beauty would attract desires from men, and thus, he locked them away in the Maidenvault for an extended period. During this time, the sisters made numerous attempts to escape through different means. On one occasion, Elaena even cut her hair, thinking it would make her less desirable. Daena, on the other hand, disguised herself as a servant and attempted to escape three times. Her significance in this tale lies in her later secret pregnancy with her cousin, Prince Aegon IV, which would give birth to Daemon Waters, destined to change the course of Westerosi history. Unlike her sisters, Rhaena seemed indifferent to her confinement.
Baelor’s reign came to an end in the year 171 when he passed away during a 40-day fast. With his demise, his sisters were released from the Maidenvault. Some believed Baelor died of hunger, while others suspected he was poisoned by Viserys. Baelor had pursued a grand plan to unite all of Westeros under the Faith of the Seven, but this ambitious scheme could have potentially led to a war between the North and the South if realized.
Viserys II, the only surviving child of Rhaenyra, who had served as the Hand of the King for many years due to Baelor’s lack of children, ascends to the throne at the age of 49. Drawing from his experiences as the Hand, Viserys II rules the kingdom more frugally than his predecessors. He begins by revising the laws comprehensively and then strengthens trade across the narrow sea, striving to maintain peace within Westeros. However, Viserys II’s reign is short-lived. In 172, he succumbs to a sudden illness. Some claim he was poisoned by Aegon IV the Unworthy. It is said that Viserys II carried the potential of a great figure like Jaehaerys within him, and had he lived, he could have become as significant as him.
After Viserys II’s passing, the throne passes to Aegon IV, but he proves to be the worst king Westeros could have endured. He would be remembered as such in the future. Aegon had no interest in ruling; instead, he indulged himself in women, food, and drink. He was perhaps the only corpulent Targaryen in the annals of the kingdom’s history. Marrying his pious sister, Naerys Targaryen, Aegon proved to be a cruel husband, lacking any respect for his spouse. His countless affairs resulted in a total of 17 bastards, and these illegitimate children would go on to reshape the destiny of Westeros.