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Wars in A Song of Ice and Fire

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The fictional history of George R. R. Martin's fantasy epic A Song of Ice and Fire includes a number of major wars.

War of the First Men and the Children of the ForestEdit

The original inhabitants of Westeros were the Children of the Forest, a diminutive race who apparently ruled the entire continent more than twelve thousand years ago. Around this time Westeros was invaded by the First Men, tall warriors wielding weapons of bronze, who crossed into Westeros from the eastern continent via the Arm of Dorne. Their burning of the great weirwoods forced the Children to go to war against them. The Children wielded strong magic, shattering the Arm of Dorne and forming the islands known as the Stepstones, but it was not enough to prevent the advance of the First Men. Eventually, the war ended in a truce known as the Pact, which was made on the Isle of Faces in the midst of the lake known as Gods Eye. The Children's greenseers and wood dancers met with the First Men and terms were agreed: the Children retained the standing forests and the First Men were able to settle the open lands. Faces were carved on all the trees of the island to cement the agreement, with the Sacred Order of Green Men established to maintain it, and the Pact endured for some four thousand years.

The War for the DawnEdit

Approximately eight thousand years before Aegon's Landing, in the midst of a great winter that lasted for years, a terrible darkness fell across Westeros and the east. The Long Night lasted a generation and laid waste to much of the world through famine and terror. In the midst of this darkness a race of apparent demons emerged from the uttermost north, wielding razor-thin swords of ice and raising the dead to fight the living. The Children of the Forest and their allies, the First Men, fought valiantly against them, but were driven southwards by their advance. The 'Others', as these demons were called, were eventually checked when it was discovered that weapons made of dragonglass (obsidian) could kill them. A great hero, who in the eastern tradition is known as Azor Ahai, led the war against the Others wielding his sword of fire, Lightbringer. Eventually the Others were driven back into the Land of Always Winter. Brandon Stark, known as Bran the Builder, raised a great Wall of ice, gravel and magic, stretching one hundred leagues from the Gorge to the Shivering Sea to prevent the Others coming again. Brandon Stark was declared the First King in the North. The fortress of Winterfell (and possibly Storm's End in the south) was built at this time, and the Night's Watch founded to maintain a watch on the Wall. A later prophecy claimed that the Others would return and Azor Ahai, the Prince that was Promised, would be reborn to lead the fight.

War of the Night's KingEdit

The thirteenth Lord Commander of the Night's Watch was bewitched by a beautiful sorceress (who was really a reanimated corpse) from beyond the Wall and turned the Watch into his personal army. This so-called 'Night's King' was finally brought down by the combined might of the Stark in Winterfell and Joramun, the King-beyond-the-Wall (possibly the same Joramun who found the Horn of Winter and used it to raise giants from the earth). His name has been erased from all records after it was found that he had been sacrificing to the Others.

The Andal InvasionsEdit

The Andals were originally a race of men dwelling in the Hills of Andalos on the eastern continent, which lie south of the modern Free City of Pentos. It is said that the Seven made themselves manifest in the hills, and thus the Andals felt blessed by the gods. They abandoned the eastern continent and launched an invasion of Westeros beginning over six thousand years ago. Their first ships made landfall on the Fingers and in successive waves they spread across all of the South. They killed the Children of the Forest wherever they found them, believing them abominations, and put the myriad First Man kingdoms of the South to the sword. They created great kingdoms of their own, but this process was somewhat slow, their forces not reaching the Iron Islands until roughly two thousand years after their initial invasion. Eventually, with the extinguishing of House Mudd (the house of the River Kings of the First Men), the Andals were able to invade the North. However, every attack was thrown back by the crannogmen of the Neck or the strong fortifications of Moat Cailin. Eventually the Andals relented and the North was allowed to remain in peace, although over succeeding millennia Andal blood entered the North through dynastic marriages. One of the major (if largely forgotten) consequences of the invasions is that the Children decided to abandon Westeros and slowly disappeared over succeeding generations.

During and following the Andal invasions, five southron kingdoms of Westeros were forged: the Kingdom of Vale and Sky, the Kingdom of the Rock, the Kingdom of the Reach, the Kingdom of the Iron Islands and the Kingdom of the Stormlands. At this time Dorne was left as a confederation of bickering, feuding states.

The Andals also introduced the Faith of the Seven to Westeros, where it took root and largely extinguished worship of the old gods south of the Neck (a major exception being the Iron Islands, where the native worship of the Drowned God was actually adopted by the invading Andals). They also introduced weapons of iron, the use of horses in warfare and the concept of chivalry.

The Rhoynar InvasionEdit

Around 700 years before Aegon's Landing, the expansion of the Valyrian Freehold into the western coastal regions of the eastern continent threatened the great city-states of the Rhoyne, a vast river network of the east. The ruler of one of them, the warrior queen Nymeria, managed to unite the Rhoynar and they began an evacuation to Westeros, allegedly fleeing in ten thousand ships across the Narrow Sea. The fears of the Rhoynar were proven when the Valyrians destroyed the city of Arnar which tried to resist them. Nymeria's host landed on the eastern coast of Dorne. Nymeria made common cause with Mors Martell, a local lord who was one of dozens if not hundreds of powerful lords controlling the patchwork of states in Dorne. With Nymeria's vast host at his command, Mors was able to unite the entire peninsular of Dorne under his rule. No less than seven self-styled rival Dornish kings were captured and sent to the Wall in golden fetters. In the Rhoynar style he took the title "Prince" and introduced primogeniture. The fortress of Sunspear was made capital of Dorne, and House Martell has ruled ever since.

War of ConquestEdit

The War of Conquest (ca. 1-? AL) began when Aegon Targaryen and his two sister-wives Rhaenys and Visenya led a small army in landing on the east coast of Westeros, at the mouth of the Blackwater Rush. The Targaryens had held the island-fortress of Dragonstone as the western-most outpost of the Valyrian Freehold for a century before the Doom destroyed Valyria; in the century after the Doom (the 'Bleeding Years'), they plotted 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 dragons would be their trump card.

Before launching his invasion, Aegon had created on Dragonstone the 'Painted Table', a table cut into an accurate map of the Westerosi continent, showing every bay and inlet. He apparently considered all of Westeros as one land, despite the fact that the continent was long split into Seven Kingdoms, and resolved to unify it under his rule.

The sequence of events in the War of Conquest is unclear, but the following events took place (if not necessarily in this order):

  • The Targaryens marched north and west against King Harren the Black of House Hoare. Harren ruled both the Iron Islands and the Riverlands from his newly-completed fortress of Harrenhal, the largest castle in Westeros, considered impregnable against siege or storm. The Targaryens assaulted the castle using their dragons, roasting Harren alive in his tower and routing the ironborn. Aegon took control of the two regions, appointing Lord Vickon Greyjoy of Pyke as overlord of the Iron Islands, and Lord Edwyn Tully of Riverrun (who had aided Aegon by leading a rebellion against the ironborn) as overlord of the Riverlands.
  • The Storm King, Argilac 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. 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 Orys Argilac's arms, motto, castle, lands and daughter as reward for his victory.
  • King Loren Lannister of the Rock and King Mern IX Gardener 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 fires scoured the battlefield, killing more than four thousand men (including King Mern) and giving the battle its name: the Field of Fire. King Loren 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.
  • 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 his reign from his entry into the ancient city. With the Faith of the Seven's acknowledgment of Aegon's rightful place as King of Westeros, much remaining opposition among the Faithful dwindled.
  • Aegon led an invasion of Dorne in an attempt to secure that territory as well. However, the Dornish refused to give open battle out of fear of Aegon's dragons, instead striking supply lines and engaging in guerrilla warfare. Their attacks bled Aegon's army to the extent that he concluded that taking and holding Dorne would be too costly, and chose to withdraw and permit Dorne's continued independence.
  • A host of northmen under the leadership of the King in the North, Torrhen Stark, marched south towards the Riverlands and Aegon mustered his force 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 realize 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.
  • House Arryn of the Vale also acknowledged King Aegon's supremacy, but the details of how this was accomplished are unclear.

Thus Aegon I Targaryen, now known as Aegon the Conqueror, took control of all Seven Kingdoms except Dorne, which was left unconquered and acknowledged as a sovereign state under the rule of the Martells of Sunspear. Aegon devoted the remainder of his reign 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.

The Faith Militant UprisingEdit

In 37 AL, upon the death of King Aegon I Targaryen, the armed wing of the Faith of the Seven - the Faith Militant - launched an uprising designed at unseating the Targaryens from power. King Aenys proved inefficient at dealing with the crisis and much of the responsibility for the war was handed to his half-brother and heir, Maegor, also serving as the King's Hand. The uprising lasted the remainder of Aenys' rule and all of Maegor's. Maegor's extremely bloody and harsh methods for crushing the rebellion gained him the name 'The Cruel'. Upon Maegor's death in 48 AL, King Jaehaerys I Targaryen offered an immediate amnesty on pain of the Faith Militant's disbanding, which was accepted. For this, Jaehaerys was given the name 'The Conciliator'. The Faith Militant remained disbanded until 300 AL, when it was reformed at the order of Queen Regent Cersei Lannister during the latter part of the War of the Five Kings.

The Dance of DragonsEdit

In 129 AL King Viserys I Targaryen died after a prosperous reign. It was well-known that he had groomed his eldest child, his daughter Rhaenyra, for the role of Queen, even after his second wife had given him three children including boys. However, upon Viserys' death Ser Criston Cole, the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, instead gave the crown to his eldest son, Aegon, naming him Aegon II Targaryen. The result was a devastating civil war which lasted for over a year, with the Targaryen family, the realm, and the Kingsguard divided against themselves. Many lesser branches of House Targaryen were exterminated in the war and most of the Targaryen dragons as well. Finally, Rhaenyra Targaryen was swallowed whole by her half-brother Aegon's dragon. The war continued for a time in the name of her son Aegon III, until Aegon II's death with no heir ended the war and resulted in Aegon III being proclaimed King in 131 AL.

Blackfyre RebellionEdit

In 195 AL a long-simmering dynastic crisis exploded into civil war. King Aegon IV Targaryen had legitimised all of his bastards on his deathbed. His noble bastards were called the Great Bastards, the most notable of whom was Daemon Blackfyre, a great warrior and wielder of the Targaryen sword of kings, Blackfyre. After King Daeron II Targaryen assumed the throne in 184 AL, his court adopted a 'Dornish' flavour, due to the influence of his wife, Myriah Martell. Some at court took exception to the change. In addition, popular rumors held that King Aegon IV's sister-wife Naerys had shared her affections with their other brother, Aemon the Dragonknight, leading to the possibility that Daeron II was not the son of Aegon IV.

After more than a decade of building tension, open warfare erupted. Daemon Blackfyre mustered a sizable army against Daeron and was joined by his half-brother Aegor 'Bittersteel' Rivers, a fellow Great Bastard. Brynden 'Bloodraven' Rivers, another Great Bastard, remained loyal to the King. Heavy fighting erupted over the next year, with the Riverlands particularly afflicted. Finally, at the Battle of Redgrass Field in 196 AL Bittersteel and Blackfyre led a strong force against a royalist army commanded by Prince Maekar and Lord Hayford, the King's Hand. The fighting was very heavy, with Lord Hayford slain. During the battle Blackfyre came face-to-face with Ser Gwayne Corbray of the Kingsguard, wielder of the Valyrian steel blade Lady Forlorn. Their duel was said to have lasted nearly an hour before Blackfyre gained the upper hand. However, by this time a second royalist force was approaching from the south led by Prince Baelor. Perhaps even more critical was that Bloodraven and his archers, the Raven's Teeth, captured and assumed a position atop the Weeping Ridge, which overlooked the battlefield and allowed them to rain arrows down among Blackfyre and his commanders. Bloodraven personally killed Daemon Blackfyre and his twin sons Aemon and Aegon. The rebels began to rout, but Bittersteel rallied them by leading a charge that punished the Raven's Teeth, taking out Bloodraven's eye in the process. However, Prince Baelor's Dornish spearmen gained the battlefield and crushed the rebel army against Maekar's shield wall.

Bittersteel was able to recover the sword Blackfyre from the battlefield and escape to the Free Cities, where Blackfyre's other sons had already fled. It is unknown how many men took part in the battle, but it is known that more than ten thousand died in the engagement, earning it the name Redgrass Field. Singers would later immortalize the battle with the song 'The Hammer and Anvil', referring to Baelor and Maekar's strategy.

In 197 AL, one year after the battle, Dorne formally entered the Seven Kingdoms through a marriage between King Daeron's sister Daenerys and Prince Maron Martell of Sunspear.

War of the Ninepenny KingsEdit

In the latter part of the reign of King Aegon V Targaryen, the Blackfyres re-emerged to trouble the Seven Kingdoms. Maelys Blackfyre, who was said to have consumed his twin in the womb, resulting in a second head growing out of his neck, made alliance with a group of eight other power-seekers on the eastern continent. The members of this group, the Band of Nine, vowed to aid one another in achieving their goals. Their first objective was the Free City of Tyrosh, which was conquered in the name of Alequo Aldarys the Goldentongued. Second, they secured the Stepstones as a base for operations against Westeros. The Seven Kingdoms recognized the threat and sent a large force to remove the danger before it grew any larger. Several knights distinguished themselves in the battle, including Brynden Tully and Barristan Selmy, who killed Maelys the Monstrous in combat, thus ending the Blackfyre line.

War of the UsurperEdit

The War of the Usurper (ca. 282-283 AL), also known as Robert's Rebellion, was the third and final major civil war of the Targaryen dynasty, ending their reign. The political situation established by this war is largely the setting of the beginning of A Game of Thrones, which starts some fifteen years after the War of the Usurper.

The war was sparked when Rhaegar Targaryen, Prince of Dragonstone and the heir of Aerys II, apparently abducted Lyanna Stark. This outraged Lord Robert Baratheon, Lyanna's betrothed, and Lyanna's brother Brandon Stark. Brandon rode with several companions to King's Landing to challenge Prince Rhaegar. King Aerys arrested them on the charge of plotting to murder Rhaegar. The fathers of the young knights were summoned and summarily executed, along with Brandon and all of his companions save one.

When King Aerys demanded that Jon Arryn, Lord of the Vale, hand over his wards Robert Baratheon and Lyanna's other brother Eddard, Jon Arryn refused and instead called his banners in rebellion against King Aerys II. The North, under Lord Eddard, and the Stormlands, under Lord Robert, did the same. Arryn won the alliance of the Riverlands by marriage. Close to the end of the war, House Lannister joined the rebels.

The War of the Usurper lasted over a year. Several major battles were fought, most notably at the Trident (where Robert Baratheon slew Prince Rhaegar with his warhammer) and at King's Landing. Towards the end of the war, Lord Tywin Lannister led a great host to the gates of King's Landing, claiming to have come to aid the king. One of Aerys' treacherous courtiers, Grandmaester Pycelle, convinced the king to throw open his gates for Lord Tywin. The Lannister troops sacked the city, while Lord Tywin himself rode for the Red Keep. Aerys ordered Ser Jaime Lannister, his young Kingsguard knight and Lord Tywin's son, to kill Tywin Lannister; it was Aerys' intent to burn King's Landing rather than see it captured. Ser Jaime betrayed and murdered Aerys, to save both his father and the city.

Lyanna Stark died mysteriously at the 'tower of joy', and Rhaegar's wife and children were killed. The Targaryen stronghold of Dragonstone was then captured, but not before a royalist knight, Ser Willem Darry, smuggled Aerys' younger children Viserys and the newborn Daenerys Targaryen to the Free Cities. Thus the Targaryens were overthrown. After the war ended, Robert Baratheon, the great grand-nephew of King Aegon V Targaryen, was crowned and married Cersei Lannister.

The Greyjoy RebellionEdit

In 289 AL, six years after King Robert Baratheon came to the Iron Throne, Lord Balon Greyjoy of Pyke declared himself King of the Iron Islands and rebelled against the authority of King's Landing. Greyjoy believed that Robert, as a usurper, would not be able to muster a host against him. However, he did prepare for war should Robert's support prove greater, as indeed it did. As the houses of the west mustered at Robert's order (including the Starks, Lannisters and Tullys and their bannermen), Balon sent his brothers and sons into battle. His brothers Victarion and Euron Crow's Eye sailed into the harbour of Lannisport and burned the Lannister fleet as it lay at rest, whilst his son Rodrik launched a furious assault on Seagard where Lord Jason Mallister slew him in battle and threw his men back into the sea in defeat. A short time later, once Stannis Baratheon and Paxter Redwyne brought up their fleets, Robert's forces were able to cross to the Iron Islands. Stannis commanded the Royal fleet and engaged Victarion's Iron fleet in a massive sea battle, resulting in Victarion's first defeat. Aeron Greyjoy was lost at sea during the battle, but was recovered later.

The main battle was at Pyke. The nearby Botley castle was destroyed, as was the town of Lordsport beneath it, before the main attack on Pyke itself was launched. Robert's forces assaulted the southern wall with siege engines, finally shattering the main watch-tower there and bringing parts of the surrounding wall down. Maron Greyjoy, the second of Balon's three sons, was killed in the breach. Thoros of Myr was first through the breach wielding a sword coated in wildfire. Jorah Mormont was not far behind him, and earned a knighthood for his bravery that day. The fighting in the castle was very fierce, but eventually the castle was taken. Balon Greyjoy was forced to swear fealty once more to the Iron Throne and his surviving son Theon, only nine at the time, was given into the care of Lord Eddard Stark as a hostage to ensure Balon's good behaviour.

After the victory, Robert Baratheon threw a great tourney at Lannisport where Ser Jorah Mormont became champion, crowning Lynesse Hightower Queen of Love and Beauty and receiving permission from her father to wed her. The defeat of the rebellion cemented Robert's position on the Iron Throne.

War of the Five KingsEdit

The War of the Five Kings was a multi-sided civil war that raged for around two years (ca. 298-300 AL) and devastated the Seven Kingdoms, particularly the Riverlands.

The immediate cause of the war was the kidnapping of Tyrion Lannister by Catelyn Stark, the daughter of Lord Hoster Tully. Catelyn had received news that Tyrion was the owner of a dagger used to try and kill her son Bran, and after meeting Tyrion by chance on the kingsroad, took him prisoner to the nearby Vale of Arryn for trial. Catelyn was also told by her sister Lysa Arryn that the Lannisters had assassinated her husband, Lord Jon Arryn.

After King Robert Baratheon died from a wound taken from a boar whilst hunting, a wider conflict erupted. The Lannisters invaded the Riverlands, whilst both of Robert's brothers, Renly and Stannis claimed the throne. Renly won the backing of the Storm Lords and the powerful House Tyrell by wedding Margaery Tyrell. Stannis claimed that Robert's sons Joffrey and Tommen and daughter Myrcella were actually the product of incest between the Queen, Cersei Lannister, and her twin brother Jaime. The Hand of the King, Lord Eddard Stark, was arrested and executed after supporting these claims, bringing the North into the war on the side of the Tullys and the Riverlands under Eddard's son Robb, acclaimed as the King in the North and of the Trident. The fifth and final king arose when Lord Balon Greyjoy once again declared himself King of the Iron Islands.

By the early part of the year 300 AL, the war had effectively been decided, although fighting remains ongoing. Renly Baratheon had been killed under unusual circumstances at Bitterbridge and some of his army went over to Stannis, but the rest (including the Tyrells) instead joined Joffrey's cause. Stannis' army was smashed at the Battle of the Blackwater. King Robb Stark achieved great victories in the Riverlands, but he was betrayed and murdered at the Red Wedding by Lord Roose Bolton and Lord Walder Frey who then submitted to King Joffrey. Joffrey himself died shortly after this at his own wedding feast, and was succeeded by his brother Tommen. King Balon Greyjoy died in a freak storm at Pyke and was succeeded by his brother Euron.

By the early part of 300 AL, the combatants now stand as:

  • King Tommen Baratheon, the King on the Iron Throne. He is principally supported by House Lannister through his mother, the Queen Regent Cersei Lannister. He is supported by House Tyrell through his marriage to Margaery Tyrell, and also by House Martell through the betrothal of his sister Myrcella to Prince Trystane Martell.
  • King Euron Greyjoy, King of the Iron Islands, also styling himself King of the North. Ironborn forces have conquered western parts of the territory of the North and hold Moat Cailin, effectively sealing off the North from the rest of the kingdom. Euron has led a major assault on the Shield Islands in the south and captured them. His forces have attempted to raid Oldtown and have also attacked the Arbor.
  • King Stannis Baratheon, King on the Wall. Stannis has fled to the Wall in the wake of his defeat on the Blackwater, but plans to carry on the fight. Although Dragonstone has fallen to an assault led by Ser Loras Tyrell, Storm's End remains under Stannis' command for the moment. Stannis plans to win the loyalty of the northmen by defeating the ironborn, then making another play for the Iron Throne. To date, he has only won the support of House Karstark.

In addition, the Riverlands (which have borne the brunt of the fighting) remain plagued by looters and bandits and travel there is extremely unsafe except for large, armed parties. A group known as the Brotherhood Without Banners, made up of the remnants of the party sent out by King's Hand Eddard Stark to bring justice to Gregor Clegane in the name of King Robert, begins by acting as protectors of the smallfolk under the leadership of Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr, before turning to carrying out reprisal attacks against any Frey or Bolton forces they encounter under the leadership of Lady Stoneheart, in retribution for the Red Wedding.

Beyond the WallEdit

{{Infobox Military Conflict |conflict= The Battle at the Wall |date= 300 |place= The Wall |result= End of wildling threat, defeat of [[Mance Rayder] |combatant1= Night's Watch |combatant2= The Wildlings |commander1= Jon Snow, Stannis Baratheon |commander2= Mance Rayder, Tormund Giantsbane |strength1= 20 members of the Night's Watch, 5000 knights |strength2= 40,000 wildling troops, including giants and woolly mammoths |casualties1= Qhorin Half-hand, Squire Dalbridge, several companies of the Night's Watch, overall minimal |casualties2= Almost completely captured or slain, but some wildlings escape with Tormund Giantsbane}}

Simultaneously with the War of the Five Kings, another military conflict erupted along the northern border of the Seven Kingdoms between the Sworn Brothers of the Night's Watch and the wildlings from beyond the Wall, who were trying to bypass it and invade the North.

Several years earlier, a Ranger named Mance Rayder from the Shadow Tower suffered an injury in battle and was healed by a wildling woman, who gave him a cloak. When he returned to the Wall, the cloak was confiscated. Mance realised how restrictive life in the Watch had become, and chose to 'fly the Wall' and join the wildlings. He rose through their ranks and was eventually declared King-beyond-the-Wall. Mance learned of rumours of a growing threat from the frozen uttermost north, of the dead who came back to life and of the blue-eyed 'Others' who controlled them. Eventually the trickle of refugees from the far northern territories, from giants riding mammoths and the warriors of Thenn, became a veritable flood. Mance united these refugees under his command. He realised that if the Others - who had devastated Westeros in the War for the Dawn more than 8,000 years earlier - had truly returned, the Wall was the best hope for stopping their advance.

Mance developed a plan to scale the Wall, take Castle Black from the south and open the passages under the Wall for the wildlings. Aware of the resourcefulness of the Lord Commander, Jeor Mormont, Mance also developed a contingency plan to directly assault the Wall at Castle Black with as large an army as possible. Mance also decided to search for the legendary Horn of Winter, which the ancient King-beyond-the-Wall Joramun had once used to awaken giants from the earth and which could also shatter the Wall.

A member of the Watch, Jon Snow, the bastard son of Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell, was accepted to Rayder's army after a large expedition of the Night's Watch was wiped out by the Others and Jeor Mormont killed by several deserters from the Watch at Craster's Keep. Jon learned of Mance's plans and was sent with the infiltration force to take Castle Black from the south. Jon Snow remained true to the Watch, however, managed to warn Castle Black of the attack and aided in the successful defence.

Mance's army of forty thousand assaulted the Wall using siege weapons, mammoths, giants and heavy forces who tried to seize the passages under the Wall. All proved unable to breach it. Jon Snow treated with Rayder and learned that he had found the Horn of Winter at last and was threatening to use it unless the Watch surrendered. Rayder's plans were ruined when, responding to a plea for help from the Watch and the advice of his Hand Davos Seaworth, King Stannis Baratheon with a force of five thousand, many of them mounted knights, smashed the wildling army in its eastern flank. Rayder was captured and the wildlings were scattered, although a significant number were captured. Through these prisoners Stannis was able to treat with some of the wildlings, offering them lands south of the Wall in return for them acknowledging him king, supporting his claim for the Iron Throne and helping defend the Wall against the threat of the Others. Many of the wildlings agreed, although the wildling chief Tormund Giantsbane had led a sizeable number in escaping north. For his staunch defence of the Wall, Jon Snow was named 998th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.

In the EastEdit

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At roughly the same time as the War of the Five Kings, Daenerys Targaryen, last surviving child of Aerys II Targaryen, conquered the three Ghiscari cities of Slaver's Bay: Astapor, Yunkai, and Meereen.

Daenerys' first successful major military campaign came about purely by accident rather than design. Whilst travelling west back to the Free Cities, the small number of ships passed Slaver's Bay, where the great slave cities of Astapor, Yunkai and Meereen bartered in thousands of slaves, including warriors. On the advice of Ser Jorah Mormont, Daenerys chose to recruit an army from the slave cities to bolster her claim for the Iron Throne. In Astapor she gained control of an army of Unsullied eunuch soldiers by offering a dragon in trade. She immediately used her army and dragons to take the city, freeing the Astapori slaves, who followed her north to Yunkai.

Yunkai fielded a host of slave soldiers and two mercenary companies. Daenerys managed to sway one company to her cause and remove the threat of the other, forcing the Yunkai'i to submit and release their slaves as well.

Meereen, the largest and most powerful of the three cities, proved obstinate, crucifying nearly two hundred slave children along the road from Yunkai in a show of defiance. Meereen's tall walls, combined with a scorched earth policy that denied fodder and materials for siege weapons to Daenerys' forces, seemed to defeat her. However, the discovery that one of her retainers was the famous knight Barristan Selmy, and that Jorah Mormont had given intelligence about her to the usurper Robert Baratheon, led Daenerys to send them on a virtual suicide mission to earn her trust. They entered the city through the sewers and opened the gates to her army, which seized the city. Daenerys made Selmy Lord Commander of her Queensguard, but Mormont's loyalty remained uncertain and she exiled him. Rather than press on to Westeros, Daenerys decided to remain in Meereen and learn the art of rulership.

By early 300 AL, the war in the east had abated, but fighting continued. After Daenerys' departure from Astapor, the ruling council she left in charge was overthrown by a former butcher named Cleon. Although professing loyalty to Daenerys, Cleon acted as a dictator. When Yunkai began raising new troops to 'liberate' Meereen from Daenerys, Cleon decided to fight the Yunkai'i. The Astapori army was smashed at the Horns of Hazdat and sent fleeing back to Astapor. Rumours also began circulating that the Yunkai'i were trying to recruit several sellsword companies, including the famed Golden Company, or bribe the Dothraki into sacking Meereen. In addition, murders of forces loyal to Daenerys in Meereen are ongoing.

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