A Song of Ice and Fire: Conquest of Westeros

The Root of the Targaryens

Valyria was the great city of the dragon lords who ultimately ruled the western and southern sides of the Esos continent. With a history of almost 4000 years, Valyria had notable urbanization and modernity. Known for their blond hair, purple eyes, and white skin, the dragon lords Targaryens were Valyria’s most potent family tree. Along with them, the Velaryon family was one of this magnificent society’s most potent family trees. The story of the Targaryens goes back to a simple shepherd. Wandering around the Yanar mountains, this man finds dragon eggs. Over time, they begin to recognize and bond with dragons. The Targaryens, who founded Valyria with the power of the dragons, become one of the 40 families that will rule this sophisticated community.

But this wonderful community disappeared for some unknown reason, precisely 114 years before Aegon set foot on Westeros. Some attribute the destruction of Valyria to the erupting volcano. In the 126th year before Aegon, the Targaryens make a radical decision like to sell everything in Valyria. Declared cowards by other families, the Targayens had an apparent reason to sell everything. A Targaryen girl known as Daenys the Dreamer dreamed that Valyria would be destroyed and told her father, Aenar Targaryen. His father, believing her, moves the whole family west to Dragonstone, between Westeros and Esos. Daenys’s prophecy also comes true. Valyria vanishes into history with everyone in it. Only Targaryen, their 5 dragons, the Celtigar family, and the Velaryon family, who transported them to Dragonstone on their ship, manage to survive. It is said that another dragon lord named Aurion survived the destruction and declared himself the first ruler of Valyria. No one heard from Aurion again, who attacked his former lands with 30,000 soldiers he found in Qohor.

Years at Dragonstone

With the destruction of Valyria and its inhabitants, which completely dominated the east and south, Esos entered a bloody civil war that would last for many years, and as a result, many free cities were established that would continue to fight each other for years. Meanwhile, the Targaryens in Dragonstone never considered returning to Esos and turned their face west to Westeros.

After Aenar Targaryen dies, Gaemon Targaryen takes his place. Targaryens were marrying siblings or relatives to maintain control of dragons and keep their family tree pure. For this reason, Gaemon married his sister Daenys. Gaemon and Daenys’ children, Aegon and Elaena Targaryen, did the same, giving birth to two sons: Maegon and Aerys. Aerys continues the lineage, but his wife is unknown. But we know he has 3 children: Aelyx, Baelon, and Daemion. Among the 3 siblings, Daemion is the one who continues the lineage. Daemion’s wife is also unknown. He also has 2 children, Valaena and Aerion, who will marry each other. Valaena and Aerion’s children are the 3 famous children who will start the Targaryen legend in Westeros: Aegon the Conqueror, Visenya, and Rhaenys. Like his family, Aegon wants to keep the lineage pure, but he does something different and marries two of his sisters.

The Targaryens came to Dragonstone with 5 dragons, but four died in time. Only Balerion survived the Valyrian period, and Vhagar and Meraxes, who were born on the island, remained. Aegon rides Balerion, Visenya rides Vhagar, and Rhaenys rides Meraxes. Although Aegon always had the west in mind, he first went to western Lys and stopped the ongoing civil war with his dragon Balerion. With his intervention, Esos regains peace, even for a while, and then turns his face completely to Westeros. Aegon, who had a table resembling a detailed map of Westeros built in Dragonstone, made plans on this table and set out with his sisters for the Conquest of Westeros.

Conquest of Westeros

Westeros was divided into seven parts. The North belonged to the Stark family. Mountains and Vale belonged to the Arryn family. The Hoare family had the River region. The Lannister family was living in the rocky area of the west. The Gardener family had the Reach, the Durrandon family had the Stormlands, and the Martell family was in Dorne.

In the second year after the Conquest, Aegon lands in the Blackwater Rush with his dragons and less than 3,000 men and has Aegonfort founded. Upon their arrival in Westeros, his sisters proclaim Aegon, the king of Westeros. The first major victory for the Targaryens comes to the Riverlands when they defeat the Hoare family and Harren the Black cat Harrenhal. Harren the Black defied Aegon, saying that nothing would happen to him when Harrenhal is locked inside and that the stone would not melt. But he was wrong. Aegon and Balerion, who came suddenly one night, had spewed so much fire into the castle that it suddenly turned into a massive furnace for what was thought to be the safest castle. The soldiers, who entered later, were astonished when they saw the shapes of the dead people.

After the Riverlands victory, the realm was entrusted to Edmyn Tully, who declared their allegiance to the Targaryens. The Targaryens’ next big win comes in the Stormlands against Argilac Durrandon and Aegon’s alleged bastard brother, Orys Baratheon. While Argilac is killed at the war’s end, Orys raises the Baratheon family by marrying the king’s daughter Argella. Meanwhile, he declares his allegiance to the Targaryens.

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In the next battle, the Targaryens faced the 55,000-man armies of the Lannister and Gardener families, which were crushed by the dragons. The Lannister king, Loren, surrendered after the war and was proclaimed lord of the Westerlands by the order of Aegon. But the Gardeners are killed in battle, and Aegon chooses lord Harlen Tyrell to rule their realm and Highgarden.

Aegon then heads North. Although the northerners gathered an army of 30,000 men, Torrhen Stark knew they could not win the war. Therefore, when Aegon came, he knelt down and surrendered. History recognizes Torrhen as the kneeling king, but he is actually a hero who prevented 30,000 deaths. Aegon declares Torrhen, lord of the North and Winterfell, for this act.

Visenya goes to the region owned by the Arryn family with Vhagar. Visenya expected some resistance, but when she descends into Eyrie’s garden, she encounters the little king Ronnel Arryn. When mother Sharra Arryn arrives in the garden, she sees her son asking Visenya to fly him on a dragon. Visenya does not refuse Ronnel’s wish, and they fly together. Seeing this, the Arryn family also understands the situation and surrenders to the Targaryens without any trouble.

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Only Dorne remains, but this region, which consists entirely of deserts, cannot be conquered for many years. When Rhaenys travels to Dorne with her dragon, Meraxes, she encounters Meria Martell, a rather old, almost bald, blind, and fat woman. Meria told Rhaenys that they would never give up and would not kneel no matter how hard they tried. That’s what happened. Dorne remained Targaryen’s greatest enemy for many years.

Despite Dorne, Aegon, who was officially declared king of Westeros by the High Septon, then goes to the iron islands and declares Vickon Greyjoy, the region’s lord. Taking six of the seven districts, Aegon begins constructing King’s Landing, the single point at which he will rule them all. The forging of the famous iron throne also coincides with it.

Aegon wanted all 7 provinces in Westeros. For this reason, he officially declared war on Dorne and attacked with Tyrell and the Baratheons. Dorne, on the other hand, used a very interesting war tactic. Instead of fighting one-on-one with the incoming armies, they retreated, left the villages and cities, and hid in caves. Aegon, who easily captured Sunspear for this reason, thought he had captured Dorne, but as soon as he pulled his large army from there, the Dornishmen came out of their holes and attacked. Dorne continued to use this tactic each time. When the troops arrived, they would hide under the ground, and when they left, they would come out.

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Enraged by what had happened, Aegon boarded Balerion and destroyed many critical Dornish sites. But Dorne’s response was much harsher. The Dornish soldiers shot Rhaenys’ dragon Meraxes in the eye with their scorpions, causing them both to fall. While it is not certain whether Meraxes and Rhaenys died, we know they never appeared again.

Enraged by the death of his sister and wife, Aegon jumped on Balerion and burned every place in Dorne he found one by one. However, it did not produce any results. The war continued until the 13th year after the Conquest. Meria Martell passed away during this process and was replaced by Nymor Martell. Nymor sent a letter to King Aegon. Unfortunately, we never learned the content of the letter. Reading the letter, Aegon declares peace with Dorne the next day. It was said that Rhaenys was still alive and tortured in the letter. Others noted that the Martels threatened the king’s son with assassination. The scariest thing, I think, is the claim that the letter may have been written in Rhaenys’ blood.

Peace between the Targaryens and Dorne began in the 13th year after the Conquest and lasted until the 37th year of King Aegon’s death. King Aegon even went to Dorne in the 23rd year and had dinner with Deria Martell and her own son.

Sources and Further Information

  • R. Martin, George. “A Game of Thrones,” Bantam (2002)
  • R. Martin, George. “A Clash of Kings,” Bantam (2002)
  • R. Martin, George. “A Storm of Swords,” Bantam (2003)
  • R. Martin, George. “A Feast for Crows,” Bantam (2011)
  • R. Martin, George. “A Dance with Dragons,” Bantam (2011)
  • R. Martin, George. “Fire & Blood,” Bantam (2018)
  • A Wiki of Ice and Fire
  • Wiki of Westeros
  • Alt Shift X, YouTube
  • Whycreate, YouTube


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