Aegon's Conquests

Precursor

The war began in 1 AL when Aegon Targaryen and his two sister-wives Rhaenys and Visenya landed with their army on the east coast of Westeros, at the mouth of the Blackwater Rush. The Targaryens had held the island-fortress of Dragonstone as the westernmost outpost of the Valyrian Freehold for a century before the Doom destroyed Valyria. In the century after the Doom, the “Bleeding Years”, they tried to expand their holdings. However, Aegon had been torn between unifying the continent of Westeros and conquering the Free Cities, which had been experiencing bloody strife in the aftermath of Valyria’s fall. He rejected a call from several of the Free Cities to help unite them as a new Freehold and chose the far more ambitious course of invading Westeros. With very limited manpower, the Targaryens knew that their full-grown dragons would be their ultimate weapon.

Before launching his invasion, Aegon ordered the construction of the Painted Table, a table cut into an accurate geographical map of Westeros. He apparently considered all of Westeros as one land, despite the fact that the continent was long split into Seven Kingdoms, and was determined to unify it under his rule.

The Conquest

The sequence of events in the War of Conquest is unclear. The following events took place, though not necessarily in this order:

Conquest of the Riverlands

The Targaryens first struck northwest against the ironborn and their king, Harren the Black. King Harren ruled both the Iron Islands and the Riverlands from his newly-completed monstrous fortress of Harrenhal, the greatest castle in Westeros, considered impregnable against siege or storm. A local lord, Edwyn Tully of Riverrun, went over to Aegon’s side and started a local uprising against Harren. The Targaryens then assaulted Harrenhal with their three dragons, roasting Harren alive in his tower and smoking out the ironborn. Aegon took control of these two regions, appointing Vickon Greyjoy as vassal lord of the Iron Islands, and Edwyn Tully as lord of the Riverlands.

Conquest of the Stormlands

King Argilac (called the Arrogant) resolved to give battle to the Targaryen host rather than await siege in his fortress of Storm’s End. A pitched battle was fought and Aegon’s bastard half-brother, Orys Baratheon slew Argilac in single combat. It is unclear whether Orys commanded a separate host or was merely commanding a contingent of Aegon’s own army. After the battle, Aegon gave to Orys Argilac’s sigil, castle, lands and daughter as rewards for his victory.

Conquest of the Westerlands

King Loren Lannister of the Rock and King Mern IX of the Reach joined their armies to face Aegon in open battle as he marched south and west. Their army, dubbed by historians ‘The Host of the Two Kings’, numbered 55,000, five thousand of them mounted knights, while the Targaryens had only 10,000 men, many of uncertain loyalty and reliability. The battle went badly for the Targaryens, with their smaller force severely weakened and in danger of routing. Aegon and his sisters deployed all three dragons at once, the only time this happened in the war. Their combined fires scoured the battlefield, immolating more than four thousand men (including King Mern himself) and giving the battle its name: The Field of Fire. King Loren immediately surrendered to Aegon’s authority, whilst Mern’s castle of Highgarden was surrendered by his steward, Harlen Tyrell. Aegon accepted their oaths of fealty, naming Loren as Lord of Casterly Rock and the Westerlands and Harlen as Lord of Highgarden and the Reach.

Conquest of Oldtown

Aegon’s march after the Field of Fire took him to Oldtown, the largest city in Westeros at that time. On the advice of the High Septon, Lord Hightower threw open the gates and acknowledged Aegon as the rightful King of Westeros. Aegon dated the his reign from his entry into the ancient city. With the Faith of the Seven anointing Aegon and acknowledging his place as King of Westeros, much remaining opposition among the Westerosi people dwindled.

Battle with Dorne

Aegon led an invasion of Dorne in an attempt to secure that southern land as well. However, the Dornish refused to give open battle out of fear of Aegon’s dragons, instead striking supply lines and engaging in guerilla warfare in the Dornish mountains. Their nightly sniping attacks bled Aegon’s army until he concluded that taking and holding Dorne would be too costly, and chose to withdraw and leave Dorne an independent nation.

Conquest of the North

A host of northmen under the leadership of the King in the North, Torrhen Stark, marched south towards the Riverlands and Aegon mustered his troops and dragons to meet him on the banks of the Red Fork of the Trident, east of Riverrun. Torrhen intended to engage Aegon in battle, but viewing Aegon’s vast host and his dragons made Torrhen realise his folly and instead he bent the knee in submission. Aegon named him Lord of the North and of Winterfell. In later years, an inn was built on the site of this event, known as the Inn of the Kneeling Man.

Conquest of the Vale

House Arryn, Kings of the Vale, also acknowledged King Aegon’s supremacy, but the details of how this was accomplished are unclear.

Aftermath

Thus Aegon I Targaryen, now known as Aegon the Conqueror, took control of six of the Seven Kingdons. Dorne remained unconquered and was acknowledged as a sovereign state under the rule of the Martells of Sunspear. Aegon devoted the remainder of his realm to consolidation and building a new capital at King’s Landing. Aegon had the swords of his foes melted and reforged into his seat of power, the Iron Throne.

Aegon's Conquests

The Chronicles of House Averon. Born in the fires of betrayal. RikBaggins