Follow TV Tropes

Following

Literature / Fire And Blood

Go To

300 Years Before A Game Of Thrones, Dragons Ruled Westeros

Fire & Blood is a fictional historical record of House Targaryen from the popular book series A Song of Ice and Fire.

Written by George R. R. Martin and presented in-universe as Archmaester Gyldayn's lost masterwork, previous seen only in shortened and abridged novellas. It also features over seventy five illustrations by Doug Wheatley.

The first volume, covering Aegon I to Aegon III's regency, was released on November 20 2018. The second volume, which is said to cover the rest of the kings up to Aegon V, currently has no release date.

Advertisement:


Fire & Blood provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Youthful Mother: Deconstructed. Two of Jaehaerys I's daughters would die giving birth because they got pregnant too young, as does Queen Aemma, Viserys I's first wife.
  • Action Girl:
    • Jonquil Darke, known as the Serpent in Scarlet and the Scarlet Shadow. She was an accomplished fighter and Queen Alysanne's personal bodyguard.
    • Melony Piper, who donned armor and armed herself with a spear to lead House Piper's forces against King Maegor Targaryen in the Battle Beneath the Gods Eye.
  • Adaptation Expansion: This is the full version of Gyldayn's histories, which were previously shown in abridged novellas, and it shows the full histories of many events and characters who were previously sidenotes or completely absent.
  • Adipose Rex: Viserys I was known for his large size and jovial attitude, and severe health problems that came with the former in his later years. His children, Aegon II and Rhaenyra, were also known for being overweight and gluttonous, although they didn't share their father's fun personality.
  • Advertisement:
  • Ambiguously Bi: Rhaena Targaryen, daughter of Aenys I. The ambiguity lies in the fact that Gyldayn all but states that with the exception of her brother/husband Aegon the Uncrowned, all of her carnal relationships were with women. Before and after the marriage. But Gyldayn claims she loved Aegon, which is the only reason to doubt she was a lesbian. She did like Aegon, and apparently "loved" him as her, er, brother - they did intend to rule together. But when it came to sex, it seems they had an open relationship: he was fond of other women, and so was she.
  • Ambiguous Situation: A large portion of the book comes from second and third hand accounts of historical events, as well various legends, rumors and theories. This means that many events have vague and multiple explanations to them.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing:
    • One of the very first things Jaehaerys does on taking the throne is remove Lord Celtigar from his position as Master of the Coin, and within the next three days undo all his massively unpopular tax ideas, to general celebration.
    • Advertisement:
    • The smallfolk of King's Landing go wild when Jaehaerys shows them the newborn Aegon, Simba-style.
  • Arbitrary Scepticism: Gyldayn generally tends to have as even-handed a view on events as anyone might have on proceedings, but there are two points where he flat-out dismisses something as impossible, to whit:
    • That dragons could change sex and lay eggs, in order to explain where some eggs inexplicably came from.
    • That Aegon II's death came from betrayal by the head of his own Kingsguard, because such a thing would never happen, especially not after a long, brutal civil war marked by lots of betrayal on all sides, including by members of the Kingsguard.
  • Arc Words:
    • "Who can know the heart of a dragon?" Occasionally spoken by Gyldayn whenever a Targaryen or their dragon does something that doesn't appear to make sense.
    • "Words are wind" gets repeated often through the parts on Jaehaerys. Basically meaning you can talk all you want, but those words don't necessarily mean anything without action behind them.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: On being told the crown technically belonged to Aenys's son Aegon, Maegor responded that the Iron Throne belonged to whoever could claim it. He then beheaded the Maester who told him as such.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Argilac the Arrogant, last of the Durrandon kings, was old and past his prime by the time Aegon the Conqueror came around. Didn't stop him putting up a hell of a last fight, killing every one of Aegon's troops who got to him before Orys Baratheon did.
  • Be a Whore to Get Your Man:
    • Viserra attempted to drunkenly seduce her brother Baelon hoping to win his heart so she didn't have to marry the aged Lord Manderly. Baelon, still grieving the death of his first sister-wife, refused.
    • Mushroom's claim that Daemon gave his niece "lessons" on how to please a man in order to seduce Criston Cole. Mushroom remarks that this was a failed scheme by Daemon to make his brother give Rhaenyra to him in marriage by ruining her reputation.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Many nobles of Westeros weren't taken with Aenys, thinking him weak and pathetic compared to old man Aegon, in a society still running on Asskicking Equals Authority. Then Aenys dies, and they get Maegor.
  • Berserk Button: After the disastrous meeting with Lucerys Targaryen and Borros Baratheon, it looks like Lucerys will at least be able to leave and get away without Aemond maiming or killing him, but then Borros' daughter Maris, whom Aemond had spurned, comments that he's got no balls, which makes him go after Lucerys and kill him.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: After being exposed as the one poisoning people on Dragonstone, Androw Farman throws himself out a window rather than face justice (and vengeance) at his wife's hands.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Viserys I was generally confrontation-averse, but he made it clear that if anyone called Rhaenyra's kids bastards in front of him, he'd rip their tongues out. When Rhaenyra's first husband died, several of House Velaryon went to him to complain about her actions... and mentioned it. Viserys promptly had their tongues ripped out.
  • Body Horror:
    • The fate of poor Princess Aerea Targaryen. Or her twin, taking into account the Twin Switch.
    • The ultimate fate of Queen Rhaenyra would also qualify. She was sentenced to death by her half-brother, and eaten alive in six chunks, leaving only a single leg undevoured.
  • Book-Ends: The Dance of the Dragons began with Alicent Hightower persuading Aegon II to take his father's crown. It ends when she persuades Aegon to send pieces of his nephew, the future Aegon III, to the deceased Rhaenyra's angry supporters as a warning; her son is promptly poisoned by one of his own court so that the fighting can end already.
  • Boomerang Bigot: When the issue of other firstborn daughters inheriting their fathers' lands and titles over their brothers came up, Rhaenyra was against it, not wanting to deal with all the problems that come with deciding succession issues despite going to war to take the Iron Throne from her brother. She declared herself to be a special case since her father went out of his way to name her his heir. On the other hand this does serve to demonstrate the problem with Viserys naming her as heir.
  • Bowdlerization: In-universe. Maesters copying down books have a tendency to edit out parts they disagree with, much to Gyldayn's irritation. And then there are some who go in the complete opposite direction. And that's to say nothing of what septons do.
  • Bring It: When Maegor was sent into temporary exile, he took Blackfyre with him. King Aenys asked if he'd be so kind as to not take their father's sword, to which Maegor replied that His Grace was welcome to try and take it from him if he dared. Aenys did not dare.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: According to Mushroom, when Maester Orwyle was sent to "negotiate" with Rhaenrya, and she reminded him that her father had very explicitly named her heir, he pissed himself.
  • Bullying a Dragon:
    • Argilac the Arrogant and Harren the Black both thought it was a good idea to tell Aegon to piss off. Argliac mutilated the messengers sent, and Harren took Tempting Fate to dazzling heights. They both died.
    • Meanwhile, Rhaenys does this to Dorne. They prove immune to it, and the subsequent attempts at backing up the threats.
    • An almost literal case when Franklyn Farman decided it was a good idea to insult and kick Rhaena Targaryen (who had a full grown dragon with her) out of Fair Isle as soon as he assumed the lordship. Then he does it again several years later when she comes looking for Elissa.
    • Discussions between the Iron Bank and Jaehaerys's representatives do not go particularly well at first, with both sides giving veiled threats (the banker threatening to send Faceless Men, Jaehaerys pointing out he has dragons).
    • Invoked by Jaehaerys, as an aversion: bullying lords by threatening to set your dragons on them is just going to make them angry. Better to just have the dragons sitting around, without actually threatening anyone, and everybody's happy.
  • Cain and Abel: Aegon II and Rhaenyra. Exactly which of them is Cain and which is Abel is... a little murky. Certainly, they were both trying to kill one another. Aegon II probably has the lead on Cain points by being the one who actually kills his half-sibling in the end.
  • Call-Forward: Rego Draz learns the hard way, just as the High Septon did during the reign of Joffrey, that starving peasants don't look kindly towards a man too fat to walk.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: Cregan Stark pledges to assist Prince Jaecerys... but by the time he and his forces actually muster and get to King's Landing it's been two years since he made the agreement, the entire Dance is over, with Aegon II dead and Rhaenrya reduced to a dragon's burp, so all there's left to do is clean up. His men aren't exactly happy about being late either, since the whole point of going had been to die fighting rather than drain the North's resources in winter.
  • Cincinnatus:
    • Though he doesn't get there in time to help the war effort (see above), Cregan Stark promptly marches into King's Landing with his army, and essentially seizes power for himself as Hand of the King. He then proceeds to purge the Red Keep of most of the previous governing body, leading many to fear that he was planning to either establish Aegon III as a Puppet King, or declare himself king. In the end, he does neither, and after bringing Aegon II's murderers to justice, relinquishes power, and returns to Winterfell. It also bears mentioning that, though he would've had the right to, he refused to actually sit on the Iron Throne during his brief tenure, instead sitting on a simple bench at its base.
    • Rogar Baratheon comes very close to subverting this when he served as regent for the young Jaehaerys, taking steps to make him his own Puppet King (mostly out of fear that the king would become like his weak father and ruin the realm by inaction; or worse, be like his uncle and ruin the realm through violence). However, Jaehaerys not only manages to prove Rogar wrong, but personally puts Rogar in his place, and the Lord of Storm's End backs off, with the other regents shortly after making him give up his post as Hand.
  • Civil War:
    • The Faith's uprising against the Targaryens, especially during Maegor's reign when it was an outright conflict. There was also Aegon the Uncrowned's attempt to fight Maegor and reclaim his usurped throne, though that lasts all of one battle before Aegon is killed and his forces wiped out.
    • The Dance of the Dragons, which takes up a third of the book (a good three-hundred odd pages).
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Often practiced in the reigns of the early Targaryens. An office called Lord Confessor was regularly filled to appoint it, an office that doesn't seem to have been used in the present day ASOIAF.
  • The Conspiracy:
    • At one point during the Dance of the Dragons, a group of Reach lords called the Caltrops (after the "Bloody Caltrops" tavern they plotted in) conspire to assassinate the dragonseeds Hugh Hammer and Ulf White, who have made clear their intent to take control of the Greens' forces and seize the Iron Throne for themselves.
    • Once it's clear that Aegon II intends to fight Cregan Stark's forces to the last man, Larys Strong, Corlys Velaryon and others assassinate him, arrest or kill his supporters, and declare Aegon the Younger king before immediately surrendering to Cregan.
    • A group of high-ranking officials in the Red Keep (possibly at the behest of Unwin Peake, though his guilt is never proven) attempt to kill Aegon III and enthrone his brother Viserys, using the situation as a pretext to eliminate all the Lyseni who have gained influence on Westeros.
  • Crippling the Competition: Once it was decided that Aegon III would choose his new wife in a ball, Unwin Peake began a pretty transparent campaign to eliminate the strongest competitors, employing everything from slander to disfigurement to outright murder.
  • Cuckold / Defiled Forever: Queen Alysanne campaigned to get the right of "first night" abolished not just to save women from being raped by their local lord, but also to protect them from being abused and mistreated by their cuckolded husbands.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • The Field of Fire. The Westerlands and Reach allied themselves to fight the Targeryen menace and marched a host of 55,000 soldiers toward the Aegonfort. In contrast, the Targaryens had around 11,000. Aegon, Rhaenys, and Visenya had their dragons light fires upwind of the combined host, causing smoke and heat to blow in on them. This caused horses to bolt and men to temporarily be blinded from the smoke. With the fire creeping in on all sides, the army broke, and the Targaryen force had little trouble eliminating the broken force, losing only around 100 men themselves. This marked the end of House Gerdener (all of whom died from this battle in one way or another), led Loren Lannister to bend the knee, and played a large part in Torrhen Stark doing the same.
    • The Fourth Dornish War, a.k.a. Prince Morion's Madness or the War of a Hundred Candles. The newly crowned Prince of Dorne, Morion Martell decided to launch an invasion of the Stormlands by sea, only to find that the Targaryens had had plenty of forewarning of his plans. King Jaehaerys and his two sons in their dragons burned every single ship in the Dornish fleet like a hundred candles, killing everyone on board. It was said to be the only war in history to be won without losing a single man.
    • Happens in a few other battles (frequently ones involving dragons). During the Dance of the Dragons, the Butcher's Ball is called "as decisive as any in the history of Westeros", when Criston Cole's exhausted army was cut off and totally destroyed by the remaining riverlands/northmen army. Averted, however, with the preceding Battle By the Lakeshore, aka the Fishfeed - the largest land battle of the entire war, which was a downright bloodbath for both sides. Technically it was a victory for Rhaenyra's side, as the combined armies of the Lannisters/westerlands were totally annihilated, functionally knocking them out of the war - but the riverlands/northmen army still lost over half of their own men in the process (which was one of the reasons they were in a take-no-prisoners mood at the subsequent Butcher's Ball).
    • The Battle of the Kingsroad, or the Muddy Mess, the last fight of the Dance, wherein the Tully host (supporting Rhaenrya) meets the forces of Lord Baratheon (Aegon II). It ends very quickly, and decisively, with Baratheon's troops being filled with arrows, and his reserve forces either running or turning to Lord Kermit Tully's side.
  • Dances and Balls: One was agreed on to pick who would marry Aegon III, however over a thousand women showed up to take part, there was no dancing, multiple people fainted and one died during the course of it, and the girl Unwin Peake had been trying to prevent from marrying Aegon ended up being the star of the show and Aegon's chosen bride.
  • Dead Guy on Display:
    • Maegor kills his nephew and leaves the body out, hoping it'll draw his mother in to try and recover it, allowing Maegor to capture her. It doesn't.
    • The Black forces take some of the corpses from the Fishfeed, and leave them out in dioramas in Criston Cole's path. After a few miles of that, he ignores them, at which point the one he's passing turns out to be more livelier than he expected.
    • Lysario Rogare's corpse is left out to rot after he dies, and remains that way for a good three years before his brother finally recovers the remains and inters them.
  • Death by Materialism: A greedy innkeeper decides to have his stableboy loot Rickard Thorne's bags to see if he's got more money. The boy finds that Thorne is travelling with Prince Maelor and rushes in to tell him. Thorne immediately slices the innkeeper open.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Most notable during the "reign" of Gaemon Palehair. His mother makes him issue proclamations which Gyldayn calls utter nonsense. Things like giving poor people free food and bread, financially supporting crippled troops— that sort of madness.
  • Designated Villain: In-universe, with Rhaenrya and the Blacks. She had the initial claim to the throne, as mandated by her father, but it's Aegon II and the Greens who refuse to acknowledge this, cover up Viserys I's death so they can solidify their claim (and, it must be noted, acted pretty damn suspiciously in the matter, given the servant who first learned about it went straight to Queen Alicent's room), imprison anyone who supports her, or even looks like they might support her, almost certainly did kill the first man to speak out against them, and threaten to kill her and her children for "treason", when Rhaenrya's initial offer was to forgive most of them if they just accepted her. Despite this, and thanks to the stuff that happens later, she still gets slammed as a usurper forever. That said, it's debatable if Viserys really had the authority to go against standard succession laws to make his daughter heir, and the Greens were not the only side to commit atrocities in the Dance.
    • Happens with Rhaenyra again when the Betrayal at Tumbletown is covered. Gyldayn calls her "ungrateful" for not giving lands and titles to Ser Ulf and Hugh the Hammer, who haven't done anything to deserve them, and which still belong to other people, during an event where they've just proven to be utterly untrustworthy.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: The Shepherd, a one-armed missionary with a serious hatred for dragons and an alarming ability to get people's attention, appears out of the blue after Rhaenrya takes King's Landing and proceeds to make things worse for everyone.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Viserys I made sure to have his lords swear they would support Rhaenyra if and when she became Queen. All well and good, but twenty years passed between then and his death, wherein new lords took their place, and Viserys never made them take the oath as well, so when he died, some of them just shrugged and declared they never made any promise to support Rhaenrya.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Maegor had his first wife, Alys Harroway, tortured to death over the course of two weeks when Tyanna falsely accused her of cheating on the king. He then proceeded to execute her entire House.
    • After the murder of Prince Jaehaerys, Aegon II had Blood tortured for two weeks after he was captured trying to escape King's Landing; Queen Alicent reportedly wanted his true name so that she might bathe in the blood of his wife and children, though if she ever found it out, it was never written down in any reputable history book. When Cheese, the Red Keep's former rat catcher, failed to be found, Aegon II ordered every rat catcher in the city hung.
    • Prince Aemond murdered Lucerys Velaryon to get revenge for him slicing his eye out. Later, after King's Landing fell to the Blacks, Aemond would kill almost every man and boy of House Strong, as he believed that Rhaenyra's first three children, including Lucerys, was secretly fathered by Harwin Strong.
  • Does Not Like Spam: Aegon III's lack of interest in sweet foods saves him from an attempted poisoning.
  • The Dog Bites Back:
    • Thanks to Harren the Black's management style, to say nothing of looting and pillaging the Riverlands to make his castle, when Aegon I shows up offering to get rid of him, most (if not all) the Riverland lords sign up for him.
    • Androw Farman, husband to Rhaena Targaryen, spent most of his marriage being treated like trash by his wife and everyone else on Dragonstone. He eventually snaps and poisons dozens of people on Dragonstone before killing himself upon his crimes being discovered.
  • Dreadful Musician: Implied by Gyldayn about Septon Bertrand. He notes the guy was more interested in music than the politics of King's Landing, but that he'll say less about the man's services to song.
  • Droit du Seigneur:
    • It had already been established in the series that high lords didn't exercise their right of "first night" with their bannermen's wives to avoid them rebelling, but the wives of smallfolk who couldn't fight back didn't receive that privilege. Husbands of women raped by lords felt cuckolded and were known to abuse or abandon their wives because of it. When Queen Alysanne met a few women who suffered this fate, it convinced her to demand Jaehaerys outlaw the practice entirely.
    • On Dragonstone, where the Targaryens are seen as akin to gods, first night was viewed as a blessing and any bastards born from the act were celebrated. After first night was outlawed, some of the less savory members of House Targaryen continued the practice with happily compliant smallfolk on Dragonstone.
  • Dwindling Party: Elissa Farman's expedition to cross the Sunset Sea started with 3 ships, each with a full crew. The Autum Moon was lost with all hands during a storm less than a month after leaving Oldtown. After making landfall and repairs on some tiny newly discovered islands the Sun Chaser went west, never to be seen again...though Corlys Velaryon, the only Westerosi to sail to Asshai, would swear he saw a battered but whole Sun Chaser there, years after her departure. Ser Eustace Hightower then took the Lady Meredith east until he reached Sothoryos. He spent a year there making repairs and lost almost all his crew to wild beasts and disease.
  • Dye or Die: Rhaena has her daughters dye their distinctive Targaryen hair when she sends them into hiding, so Maegor will have a harder time finding them. It doesn't work, thanks to Tyanna.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Rhaenys, the Queen That Never Was, gets lured into a trap by Criston Cole during the Dance. Despite going up against an army and two dragons, she and Meleys manage to do a lot of damage before Vhagar and Sunfyre bring them down, with Meleys managing to cripple Sunfyre in the process. Did we mention Rhaenys was fifty-five at the time?
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • The first thing Aegon, son of Viserys (later Aegon IV the Unworthy) is mentioned as doing is, at the age of one and a half, trying to beat his newborn brother Aemon with a dragon egg for no reason whatsoever. Sets the tone for their relationship, and Aegon's life in general.
    • After joining the Blacks, Hugh the Hammer and Ulf the Sot's first recorded deed is drunkenly celebrating a massive battle, crowing about their new status.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • According to Mushroom, when Rhaenrya received Maelor's head, she wept. (Eustace, who is anti-Rhaenrya, instead claims she laughed.)
    • According to Eustace, Alicent was appalled that Aemond killed Lucerys, and Ser Otto thought it was incredibly stupid, berating Aemond for it.
    • Sir Meryn Flowers only got his job in the Kingsguard because of Unwin Peake's nepotism, and by all accounts was a hot-blooded sort who frequently broke his vows of chastity, but Mushroom, who's usually willing to speak ill of any and all people in range, didn't think he threw Princess Jaehaerya to her death. Although there is the possibility he just stood by and let whoever might have done it grab her.
    • Mushroom himself had no problem at first using Thaddeus Rowan's fragile mind for japes, but later came to feel bad about it.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: As Eustace Hightower and what's left of the Lady Meredith's crew find out, everything in Sothoryos will kill you. Even the water isn't safe to drink.
  • Evil Is Petty: A few instances (though the evil is sort of up to your interpretation).
    • Criston Cole horribly beats the rumoured lover of Rhaenyra, Harwin "Breakbones" Strong and the rumoured lover of her recent husband Laenor Velaryon, Joffrey Lonmouth in a melee when Cole becomes one of the Greens (after spurning or being spurned by Rhaenyra). Harwin is henceforth named "Brokenbones"and Lonmouth dies of his injuries after being comatose for days.
    • Hugh Hammer, one of the dragonseeds who wanted to be the king, nails horseshoes to Ser Roger Corne's head because the knight disrespected him by disrespecting Hugh's lowborn background as a blacksmith.
  • Evil vs. Evil: In the Dance of Dragons, both Aegon II and Rhaenyra fight for the throne. Both of them are selfish, ruthless and power-hungry, and neither of them cares about how devastating their war is to Westeros.
  • Extreme Doormat: Thaddeus Rowan, after a few days in the care of the Red Keep's Lord Confessor, is so utterly broken that he'll admit to anything if asked, up to and including being responsible for the Doom of Valyria.
  • Eye Scream: Aemond Targaryen got one eye gouged out by his nephew Lucerys during an argument. Later, during the Battle Above the Gods Eye, he's killed when his uncle Daemon stabs him through the other eye.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Gyldayn frequently describes Northerners as savages, even the nobles.
    • Despite Roggerio Rogare being uninvolved in his family's bank or its collapse, Torrhen Manderly still sentenced him to seven lashes for being a "thrice-damned Lyseni."
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When the Grand Maester at King's Landing dies, Queen Alicent tries having one of her family's men made his replacement, ignoring the fact that it's the maesters themselves who choose. Just a mere hint at what she and her family would unleash a few years later.
    • Alysanne notices that her dragon Silverwing refuses to cross the Wall, despite trying three times.
    • The man recounting the fight between Grey Ghost and the unidentified dragon (at this point assumed to be the Cannibal) mentions one of them was gold. The Cannibal is not gold, but Sunfyre, who has been missing for a while, is. Sure enough, it turns out to be Sunfyre making his way to Dragonstone.
  • The Fundamentalist: Septon Bertrand joins the conspiracy against Aegon III and Prince Viserys mainly because Viserys's wife is from Lys and followed gods other than the Seven.
  • Grim Up North: In contrast to the main series, the North is portrayed as a frighteningly harsh and merciless place still holding to barbaric customs, and the Starks who rule it as rigid, humourless and unforgiving.
  • Groin Attack: Betrand gets out alive after being found guilty of conspiring against the king, but at the cost of his genitals getting cut off, and having to wear them around his neck.
  • Gunboat Diplomacy: Unlike many of their relatives and descendants, Aegon I and Jaehaerys I knew that the best way to keep the proud lords of Westeros in line was treat them with dignity while also keeping dragons close by and letting the danger they represent speak for itself. Openly shaming the high lords and threatening to burn their halls and their families will only lead them to rebellion.
  • Handicapped Badass: A couple examples of those who rise to power via sheer intellect and willpower despite physical handicaps:
    • Larys Strong is hindered by a clubfoot his whole life. Despite this, he becomes a prototype for Varys, becoming Master of Whisperers for Aegon II, then undermining Rhaenrya's control of King's Landing when she takes the city, and eventually engineering the end of the war by having Aegon assassinated. And when Cregan Stark is about to execute him for his crimes, his only response is to calmly ask that his foot be chopped off after his death so it wouldn't hinder him in the afterlife.
    • Tyland Lannister is blinded, maimed and crippled by Rhaenrya's forces after they take King's Landing. Despite this, he's appointed Hand during the first years of Aegon III's regency and quickly manages to consolidate power until he's the de facto ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. Despite everyone hating and distrusting him, he manages to stay in power until the Winter Fever comes, which kills him.
  • Hanging Judge: Cregan Stark, while not a bad person, is utterly ruthless in The Hour of the Wolf. One claimant's plea that he'd already been pardoned is met with the response "not by me."
  • Head-in-the-Sand Management: Viserys was perfectly willing to ignore the obvious strain going on between Alicent Hightower and his daughter, and their kids and supporters, so long as everyone involved pretended they weren't five seconds from trying to kill one another.
  • Heroic Bastard: Marston Waters, member of Aegon III's Kingsguard. Gyldayn speculates that it's because of his bastard nature that he acts so reasonably during the standoff at the Red Keep. Certainly, while he does make a very bad choice, he does try to make amends (even though the effort gets him killed).
  • History Repeats:
    • Aegon I successfully conquered a foreign land using his three dragons while also using politics and diplomacy to keep his new kingdom from collapsing. George RR Martin himself remarked that if Daenerys could have read this book then her conquest of the Slaver Cities would have gone a lot smoother.
    • An overweight and relatively good-natured king (unless you mention the one thing that sets him off) in a time of relative peace, married to a woman from an ambitious family with designs of their own, who isn't actually very good at being a king, who winds up dying and kicking off a succession crisis that turns into a war across Westeros. Now, are we talking about Viserys I, or Robert Baratheon?
    • Cregan Stark demanded that the Green loyalists all be punished and that Aegon II's murderers be put to death. His reasoning for doing so is that if the Blacks' enemies and traitors were left alone and unabated then they would eventually rise up against Aegon III. Centuries later, Robert Baratheon's decision to ignore Ned Stark's requests to punish House Lannister for betraying Aerys II, as well as pardon a large number of the Mad King's supporters, led to his death and Westeros being plunged into a massive civil war.
  • Hit So Hard, the Calendar Felt It: Westeros history is divided into pre-Aegon's Conquest and post-Aegon's Conquest, though Gyldayn notes that the dates given are a little inaccurate, with Aegon's crowning coming two years after the books mark his conquest.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: After the other Regents flat-out refused to let him marry his daughter to the newly widowed King Aegon III, Unwin Peake had the bright idea of organizing a ball and having the king chose a bride, thinking that he could convince the king to choose his daughter. Despite all his attempts to kneecap the competition, Aegon ended up choosing the last person Lord Peake would've wanted. And following this, he impulsively attempts to use a threat of resigning his post as Hand in order to coerce the other regents to make Aegon set aside his choice, only for them to gladly accept his resignation and kick him off the council.
  • Honey Trap: The book "A Caution for Young Girls" claims that Rogar Baratheon or one of his brothers instructed Coryanne Wylde to seduce young king Jaehaerys and break his yet unconsummated marriage to Alysanne. In later centuries, Aegon the Unworthy would joke that if Rogar had had any sense, all the women sent to Dragonstone in that period would've gotten the same instructions.
  • Hope Spot:
    • After the Muddy Mess, several of Aegon II's court suggest he fold, rather than keep fighting, and hope than Prince Aegon will be merciful, and just make him take the black. According to Eustace, his response to this was a hopeful "will he?" ... and then Queen Alicent pipes in with her own suggestion, that he start slicing bits off little Aegon as a warning to Rhaenrya's loyalists. Aegon decides this is a good idea, and at that point becomes utterly screwed. He's dead within a day.
    • After his second marriage, Aegon III's mood actually starts to improve somewhat. He starts showing an actual willingness to learn swordsmanship and an interest in running the kingdom. And then Unwin Peake had to ruin everything with his Not Now, Kiddo antics, and Aegon returns to form.
  • Hurricane of Excuses: Upon having the full extent of her misbehaviour discovered and being brought before her parents, Princess Saera delivered every excuse, rationalisation and deflection imaginable in a long unbroken rant. Just the summary takes up half a page in the book.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Corlys Velaryon and Larys Strong urged Aegon, with the Greens' remaining army destroyed by Lord Kermit Tully, and a northern army under the command of Cregan Stark days away from King's Landing which the Greens had no chance of defeating, to surrender in the hopes Rhaenyra's son Aegon would spare his life and allow him to join the Night's Watch. Aegon was almost persuaded... until his mother chimed in that he should start slicing parts off the boy as a warning to the incoming northerners to back off. Aegon came around to his mother's way of thinking... at which point Velaryon and Strong, fully aware the war was a lost cause at this point, washed their hands of Aegon's insanity and arranged his assassination before the end of the day.
  • Inadequate Inheritor:
    • Aenys I and Aegon III are both considered this by historians, due to the former being a weakling and the latter being mopey and unmemorable.
    • Viserys I. Admittedly, when you follow up from the guy considered to be the best king Westeros had, the deck's stacked against you to begin with to be remembered as anything other than just the guy who came after him, but Viserys' decisions and lack of foresight manage to cause the Dance of the Dragons. And that aside, while he's not got any truly spectacular blunders to his name, his biography is also lacking in any great successes either.
    • The first Vulture King led an army of thousands in a war against the Seven Kingdoms. The second Vulture King was a glorified bandit leader and was killed in single combat by Rogar Baratheon, who was a sickly old man at the time. The third wasn't even worth going into detail about, with his only mention being that he was defeated by Borros Baratheon before he and his army went to restore order in King's Landing.
    • Lysaro Rogare, son of the man known as Lysandro the Magnificent, was twice as ambitious as his father but not even half as intelligent or clever. After Lysandro's death, Lysaro ran the Rogare Bank into the ground and caused the ruin of his entire family.
    • The Shepherd, at the height of his power, had thousands of followers and during the Moon of Three Kings controlled roughly a third of King's Landing. After his execution, a man claiming to be him reborn emerges, but gathers no more than a few hundred followers before being arrested.
  • Insult Backfire: When Rego Draz is dubbed "Lord of Air" by the nobles of Westeros, having been given the title of lord without lands so he'd not be immediately rejected by the nobles of King's Landing, he just retorts that if he could tax air, he'd be a very rich man indeed.
  • Ironic Echo: At one point, Rhaena tells Androw Farman he can't ride her dragon because he would just fall off. After he's found to have poisoned every one of her companions, he spits this back at her.
  • It's All About Me: Deconstructed with Rhaena, who spends her life post-Maegor in, essentially, one massive self-centered sulk. She demands her daughter be made to leave King's Landing, where she was happy, to live on Dragonstone, where she is utterly lonely, and refuses to let anyone take her away. She refuses to let Elissa leave because she doesn't want her to. She treats her supposed husband like crap. And the first two run away after having gotten utterly fed up with this, and the latter goes insane and poisons every woman on Dragonstone out of spite to get back at her.
  • It's Okay If It's You: Jaehaerys I created the Doctrine of Exceptionalism in order to marry his sister without occurring the ire of the Faith of the Seven. The Doctrine states that the gods made Valyrians different from other men, using their unique appearance, ability to tame dragons, and nigh-immunity to common afflictions as proof, and are therefore exempt from the rules the Seven presented to the Andals.
  • Karma Houdini: Unwin Peake emerges as the poster child for this trope after the Dance of the Dragons. To wit...
    • He almost definitely arranged the mutilations and murders of at least several girls along with slandering others to try to make sure his daughter gets married to the king but it's never proven and he doesn't suffer personally for it.
    • There is a mountain of circumstantial evidence to indicate that he was responsible for the murder of Queen Jaehaera and the attempted coup against Hand of the King Thaddeus Rowan, yet in one case murder could not be proven and in the other none of the co-conspirators named him. In the later case, the involvement of his aunt Lady Clarice Osgrey was also widely suspected, but unproven.
  • Kicked Upstairs: It's speculated in-universe that the only reason Elysar is made Grand Maester is because the Conclave wanted to get rid of him.
  • Kill It with Fire: After spending nearly a month bed-ridden from a head injury, the first thing Maegor did on getting up was have Balerion set fire to the sept in King's Landing, where several hundred of the Faith Militant were praying.
  • Kinslaying Is a Special Kind of Evil: Maegor kills his nephews, earning him the title of kinslayer. But only very foolish people say it to his face.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em:
  • Large Ham: Jaehaerys I's big speech to his Small Council about how he wants to build proper roads across the Seven Kingdoms.
  • The Last Dance: Old and ill, Rogar Baratheon tries to go out in a blaze of glory fighting the second Vulture King rather than dying in his bed. He doesn't get his wish, winning the fight and dying at home months later.
  • Logic Bomb: How Prince Viserys shoots down the attempted coup against Aegon III, when a broken Lord Rowan is presented, confessing to conspiracy to kill and replace the young king. Viserys asks if he's part of the plot against himself as well, and Rowan confesses to that too.
  • Love Ruins the Realm:
    • Viserys I chose to marry Alicent Hightower for love. This turns out to be a poor choice. And there is a very good possibility she didn't love him back.
    • Subverted with Jaehaerys I and Queen Alysanne. All their older and wiser advisors were dead certain that the two of them marrying would start a new round of religious uproar over Targaryen brother-sister marriages just when the fallout from the last one had finally settled, but the two of them were deeply in love and determined. As it turns out, they were also politically skilled enough to convince both the common people and the Faith that incest was allowed as long as it was Targaryens doing it, and they went on to be a highly successful royal couple.
  • Madness Mantra: The smallfolk of King's Landing take to chanting "he (meaning the Stranger) comes!" thanks to the Shepherd whipping them into a frenzy.
  • The Magic Goes Away: Gyldayn doesn't dwell on the implications of it, but after the Dance, and the Scouring of the Dragonpit, the only dragons born are small, runty things, which don't last long at all, indicating something has definitely gone from the world.
  • Mama Bear: Queen Alyssa Velaryon, after Maegor's death, is in no mood to forgive those who worked under him in torturing and killing her son, and is quite willing to have them all killed. Jaehaerys, who is determined not to appear like Maegor Part 2, manages to mollify her with some heads, rather than everyone's.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe:
    • During the Great Council to decide the succession of Jaehaerys I, a man claimed that Maegor the Cruel was his father and brought his elderly mother to attest that she had been raped and impregnated by Maegor before he died. The Great Council acknowledged that his mother likely was raped by Maegor but, considering his history of failing to sire heirs, they refused to believe that she could have been impregnated by him.
    • Rhaenyra's first three children all had brown hair and eyes rather than the trademark white hair and purple eyes of both House Targaryen and House Velaryon. It's entirely possible that the hair and eye color came from their Baratheon and Arryn ancestry, but most people looked at the fact that their father's preferences were well known and their mother was likely having an affair with the brown haired Harwin Strong.
    • The mother of the Velaryon dragonseeds claimed that they were conceived through a affair she had with Laenor Velaryon, but most believe that it was Laenor's father Corlys who fathered them. This is because Laenor's homosexuality was well known and Corlys often visited the shipyards where the boys' mother lived.
  • Memetic Mutation: In-universe. After Septon Bertrand tries to convince Aegon III to give Myrielle Peake a chance with an analogy to turnips, she quickly gets saddled with the nickname "Lady Turnips".
  • Mexican Standoff: Between Rogar Baratheon and his troops, and the not-yet crowned Jaehaerys and Alysanne, at Dragonstone. It ends when Jaehaerys manages to talk the man down, but Gyldayn notes that while history speaks of them, and the knights surrounding both sides, it says nothing of the archers the fortress had, or where they stood.
  • Modest Royalty: When Jaehaerys shows up to King's Landing to officially start his reign as king, Bennifer notes he was dressed like he was a lord out hunting, rather than in some kingly fashion. Bennifer also takes note that he had Blackfyre to hand.
  • Mood Whiplash: During the description of the Dragonseeds' fatal attempts to claim dragons, Gyldayn mentions Mushroom's own anecdote about trying to tame a dragon, which supposedly ends with the jester getting his arse set on fire, and having to leap into a well. Gyldayn even notes in-text that it probably didn't happen, but that it's a much-needed moment of levity given what happens next.
  • Moral Myopia: Queen Alicent gets all teary in front of Rhaenyra about the death of her own grandson Maelor, who's ripped apart by a mob. When Rhaenyra shoots back that her own sons have already been killed, by Alicent's children (and deliberately in Lucerys's case), she just dismisses them as "bastard blood". Amazingly, Rhaenyra just has her thrown back in a cell— though if rumours from Mushroom are to be believed, Rhaenyra punished Alicent for that by locking her and her daughter Helaena in a brothel in Flea Bottom for any man to use as they wanted until both women were pregnant with bastards of their own.
  • Mythology Gag: The agreement made between Jacaerys Targaryen and Rickon Stark is called the Pact of Ice and Fire. But there's probably no deeper significance or foreshadowing there, nosiree...
  • Never My Fault: Rhaena wails about what a monster she gave birth to when Aerea runs for it, ignoring any attempts to point out it was her own crappy parenting that led Aerea to do what she did in the first place.
  • Non-Indicative Name:
    • The Second Dornish War, which didn't actually involve the Dornish lords taking up any arms at all.
    • Gyldayn notes that the Dance of the Dragons is more than a little poetic. The Dying of the Dragons would've been more accurate, but the first name is what everyone calls it, so that's what it is.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Ser Lucamore the Lusty was found to have married three different women despite being sworn to celibacy as a knight of the Kingsguard. He plead for mercy from King Jaehaerys, who might have granted it, had Lucamore not begged to be spared "for the sake of my wives and children."
  • Nothing Is Scarier:
    • What happened to Aerea that left her in the state she's in when she finally returns. She doesn't get a chance to tell anyone, and Barth refuses to speculate, beyond that her destination was Valyria. Similarly, it's not known what sort of creature living there could have been powerful enough to wound Balerion, the oldest and largest dragon in Westeros.
    • Whatever it was beyond the Wall that makes even a dragon not want to go past. Although it can probably be accurately theorized.
  • Not Hyperbole: The only survivor of the men captured by Alys Rivers at Harrenhal is let loose, and tells the men he's released to that if a single one of them laughs, he'll die. He recounts the message he was given... and someone laughs. He then quite suddenly dies.
  • Not So Different: Gyldayn notes that despite all the rumblings about the Rogare family and their "evil" Lysene behaviour, what they were getting up to wasn't really any different than anyone else in the court, and if they'd been native Westerosi, they'd have probably been straight-up applauded.
  • Obligatory War-Crime Scene: Many, through the Dance. Most of it was committed by the Greens. Criston Cole spends most of his time committing them, but there's also Tumbleton, committed by the Two Betrayers and the Greens. The major crime committed by the Blacks is Blood and Cheese.
  • One-Man Army: In a world that normally runs on Reality Ensues, the former pit fighter Sandoq the Shadow, bodyguard to Prince Viserys, stands out. When Ser Amaury Peake of the Kingsguard came with a dozen men-at-arms to arrest Prince Viserys's wife, Larra Rogare, Sandoq the Shadow met them alone. And slaughtered them with, quite literally, contemptuous ease — according to the account of a purported eyewitness, "betwixt every fresh wound he dealt Ser Amaury, he would kill one of his remaining minions".
  • One Steve Limit: Averted as per usual for the series. Multiple characters share the same first name, most notably Aegon II, the elder, and Aegon III, the Younger. There were also three other princes named Aegon in this era: Aegon the Uncrowned (the eldest son of Aenys I who was killed by Maegor), Prince Baelon's third son (who died 6 months after his mother died giving birth to him), and the future Aegon IV (the Unworthy).
    • Although their personalities and histories are different, it's a little hard to remember which character is named Rhaenys, Rhaena, Rhaella, and Rhaenyra.
  • Perspective Flip: While the main series has many southern characters, it's focused on the Starks of Winterfell and portrays them, and the North in general, as a bastion of honour and integrity in contrast with southern decadence. This book, which centers on the south-based Targaryens, repeatedly shows just how frighteningly rigid and unforgiving the Starks seem to outsiders and how harsh and savage a place the North is.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Whoever poisoned Aegon II couldn't have accounted for Cregan Stark showing up with his forces after the Dance of the Dragons was over, and actually exacting justice for the murdered king he swore to fight against.
  • The Plague:
    • The Shivers, an influenza-like illness which ravages Westeros relatively early on in Jaehaerys's reign, claiming countless lives including Jaehaerys's daughter Daenerys.
    • The Winter Fever, a similar illness to the above which hits Westeros hard during the early years of Aegon III's reign. It claims many lives, most notably Tyland Lannister, Hand of the King.
  • Please Select New City Name: Stonebridge gets renamed Bitterbridge shortly after Maegor gets his crown, due to his first fight with the Faith being there, the sheer bloodbath that ensues causing the rivers to run red with blood.
  • Prophecy Twist: Hugh Hammer comes to believe that he is the destined "hammer" that shall slay a dragon and be unquestionably the King. It's really referring to Robert killing Rhaegar at the Battle of the Trident.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Maester Munkun suggests Aegon III's second Lord Confessor be someone who sees torture not as a hobby, but a necessary duty.
  • The Purge:
    • While in a bad mood, Maegor kills a few noble houses off. His mother does a few more in on her own.
    • When the Clubfoot and his co-conspirators kill Aegon to end the Dance, they also kill all his remaining loyalists in King's Landing, except for his mother Alicent, who is imprisoned instead.
  • Put on a Bus: Mushroom leaves the services of Aegon III, regarding him and his court as too gloomy to stick around any further, meaning Gyldayn no longer quotes him. Not that this matters much, since the start of Aegon III's rule as king is where the book ends.
  • Pyrrhic Victory:
    • Corlys Velaryon, upon being congratulated on routing a Free City fleet (at the cost of losing large chunk of his own along with one of Queen Rhaenyra's sons and his dragon, and the brutal sacking of several of his holdings), claimed that if this was a victory he hoped he'd never have another.
    • More broadly, the Dance of the Dragons was this to such an extent that it's not entirely clear who could be said to have won. Technically Aegon II won, but by the time he could properly begin his reign all his dragons and most of his family were dead, he himself was crippled and disfigured, and half the realm hated him. After this bleak state resulted in his death, Rhaenyra's son became king, making her the victor of sorts, but of course she herself was still dead, so was most of her family and all of her dragons, and the new king never recovered from the psychological trauma of living through the war at a young age.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Arilac the Arrogant's daughter swears after her father dies that she and her troops will fight Aegon to the last man. Her troops very quickly decide they'd much rather live, and turn on her.
    • Criston Cole, faced with superior numbers, demands a trial by combat. He's instead told he can shove it, and is promptly and fatally riddled with arrows. The thing about demanding stuff when outnumbered by people who hate you is they don't have to actually acquiesce to them.
    • Amaury Peake doesn't wear a helmet when coming to "arrest" Viserys and his wife. Sandoq, and an axe he happens to have to hand, demonstrates why this was a bad idea.
  • Reassignment Backfire: Unwin Peake's attempt to reduce the power and influence of the popular hero Alyn Velaryon, the Oakenfist, by ordering him to deal with the Red Kraken. It should have resulted in Alyn being away from court for months or years, fighting his way through the Stepstones, sailing clear around the continent, and then fighting the Ironborn on their own turf. Unfortunately for Peake, not only did Oakenfist have an easy campaign thanks to the Kraken being murdered by one of his salt wives, along the way he discovered and ransomed the lost (and long presumed dead) Prince Viserys — making him an even more popular and influential figure.
  • Refuge in Audacity: During the Maiden's Day Cattle Show, Barba Bolton used her turn to call out the king on the fact that the North was facing a famine because of the hard winter.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Gyldayn can only imagine Rhaenyra's surprise when she returned to Dragonstone only to find Aegon II and Sunfyre, both of whom were presumed dead or dying, waiting for her.
  • Retcon: A number of Jaehaerys I and Queen Alysanne's children had their birth order switched around from the family tree shown in The World of Ice & Fire
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder:
    • Rego Draz, Jaehaerys I's Master of Coin, was fond of giving sarcastic replies to rhetorical questions.
    • During his trial, when asked what he did with all the gold he embezzled, Lysaro started pointing to various magisters in attendance and saying he had bribed them.
  • Riddle for the Ages: There are countless mysteries throughout history whose answers have been lost to the ages.
    • What was written in the letter Dorne sent Aegon I to cause him to accept their peace terms and why did he go to Dragonstone immediately after reading it? The only thing related to a hint is that Aegon I gripped onto the Iron Throne as he read it.
    • Was Maegor's death suicide or murder? And if it was murder then who was the culprit?
    • Who ordered the half-assed assassination of Septon Moon?
    • What became of Elissa Farman and her ship? Did she indeed find any new continent to the west? Corlys Valeryon would swear blind he saw a battered but intact Sun Chaser docked at Asshai many years later.
    • Where did Androw Farman get the Tears of Lys he used to carry out his mass murder?
    • Why did Qarl Correy murder Laenor Velaryon, and just what (or possibly who) happened to him after he fled King's Landing? Was it a lover's spat, or did someone put him up to it?
    • Did Daemon and Nettles have a romantic relationship, or was it simply a close friendship? Or were they actually father and daughter?
    • Why did Hugh and Ulf betray the Blacks and defect to the Greens? It was likely because they thought they could get better rewards with the Greens but their exact reasoning is lost to history.
    • Where did Aerea take Balerion, or rather where did Balerion take Aerea, for the year they disappeared? Septon Barth deduces that Valyria could be the only answer.
    • Were Rhaenyra's first three sons actually the bastard sons of Harwin Strong, rather than Laenor Velaryon? Strong was rumored to be Rhaenyra's lover, Laenor was quite probably homosexual, and all three boys had dark brown hair as opposed to Rhaenyra and Laenor's Valyrian colouring — but their maternal grandmother was an Arryn and one of their paternal great-grandmothers was a Baratheon, meaning they could have inherited the brown from further up the family tree. (Though them being bastards is most likely, given the children of Rhaenyra and Daemon all have the Targaryen colouring).
    • What drove Queen Helaena to kill herself? Was it even actually suicide, or did someone murder her? The same can also be asked of what happened to her daughter Jaehaera a few years later.
  • Sadistic Choice: Manfryd Mooton faces one when (apparently) ordered by Rhaenrya to kill Nettles, who is with Daemon at the time. Either he kills a guest who's done nothing to him (and pisses off Daemon in the process, which would result in a lot of death), or he doesn't do it, in which case he's a traitor. His maester decides to break his own vows in Mooton's stead, and warns Daemon.
  • Salt the Earth:
    • In the first Dornish War, the Dornish do this to their own land, rather than let Aegon I's forces take it. It also means disaster for those troops, since there's nothing to eat or drink the further they march into the already inhospitable Dorne.
    • Johanna Lannister shows where her descendant Tywin got his own tendencies from, seeking to murder every last man and boy on the Iron Islands after dealing with their raids. Lord Oakheart declines to do that, so she settles for raiding them back, stealing what she can, and destroying what she can't (as well as taking one of the Greyjoys, gelding him, and making him her fool).
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: A lot of the smallfolk in King's Landing tried fleeing when Aegon II was crowned. A lot more made a break for it when Rhaenrya came through.
  • Shoot the Medic First: When he went on his poisoning rampage, Androw Farman made sure to kill Maester Culiper first because he knew the old maester wouldn't have taken long to realize that he wasn't dealing with a disease, but with the Tears of Lys instead.
  • Shout-Out:
  • The Spymaster:
    • Tyanna of the Tower served as this unofficially for Maegor.
    • Mysaria the White Worm similarly served as this for her lover Daemon during his time as Commander of the City Watch, before later serving in a more official capacity for the Blacks during the Dance of Dragons.
    • Larys Strong the Clubfoot served as this for the Greens during the Dance.
  • Starcrossed Lovers: If Mushroom is to be believed, Jace Velaryon and Sara Snow met and married before the Old Gods. Jace died in battle in the Dance of Dragons. If this probably unlikely rumor was true, Jace risked his claim to the Iron Throne by marrying a bastard and breaking his vow to marry his cousin.
  • The Starscream:
    • Larys Strong was one of Aegon II's most fervent supporters and saved him from being captured by Rhaenyra, but he was quite probably the one who poisoned him to put Aegon III on the throne, likely scheming to use the boy king for his own plans before Cregan Stark had him executed. He also was likely the one who leaked major information about the Greens' operations to the Blacks, or if he wasn't then he certainly had the skills and resources to find out who it was and put a stop to it, but chose not to.
    • After betraying Rhaenyra at Tumbleton, Hugh Hammer proclaims himself King of Westeros, only to be killed by the Greens who refuse to accept him.
  • Stealing from the Till: When he ran out of his own money to bribe his fellow magisters in his quest for power, Lysaro Rogare started embezzling gold from the Rogare Bank.
  • Stunned Silence: Apparently, when Viserys I's death was announced, and Aegon II declared king, there were some cheers, and some frowns from the smallfolk of King's Landing, but the general reaction was a very thoughtful silence.
  • Succession Crisis:
    • In the immediate aftermath of the Conquest of mainland Westeros, which saw House Hoare utterly wiped out, the Iron Islands fall into infighting over who now rules the islands, with lords on every island (and one Drowned Priest elected by his fellows) naming themselves king. This all comes to a halt when the Targaryens fly over, bring the islands to heel, and force the Ironborn to select a new ruler peacefully.
    • The birth of Aenys I's children sparks debate about whether that means they come before Maegor in the line of succession or not.
    • The Dance of Dragons comes about due to arguments on whether an elder daughter can be named heir over her younger brothers, and King Viserys's failure to properly settle the matter before his death.
    • When Dalton Greyjoy is killed by one of his salt wives a few years after the Dance ends, he leaves two sons behind, but both are too young to rule (and their mothers are salt wives, not rock wives, so they're not allowed to rule as regents). Before long, his various sisters, uncles, and cousins are propping one or the other of his sons up against each other as the rightful heir, while a pretender claiming to be descended from House Hoare pops up as well. It takes the Westerlands' invasion of the Iron Islands to end this mess.
    • After Jeyne Arryn dies childless early in Aegon III's reign, three different cousins from different branches of the family are soon each claiming to be her true heir and fighting for control of the Vale. When the claimants all refuse royal arbitration, the king's regents finally have enough and send in troops to end the conflict.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Jaehaerys asks what exactly the young and willful Princess Saera could possibly get up to, watched as she is by septas and knights and ladies-in-waiting. Gyldayn notes that he really didn't like finding out the answer... which, as it turns out, was "a hell of a lot".
    • Lucerys Targaryen's visit to Borros Baratheon was allowed because everyone assumed it'd be a short and safe trip. It's definitely short, at least, but for Lucerys, it is not safe.
  • That's What I Would Do: Rego Draz invokes this trope verbatim while arguing that the plague on Dragonstone is nothing of the sort.
    Rego Draz: We know more of such things in the Free Cities. It is the tears, never doubt it. The old maester would have seen it soon enough, so he had to die first. That is how I would have done it. Not that I would. Poison is... dishonorable.
  • This Is My Side: After Rhaenrya takes King's Landing, Alicent Hightower tries making the suggestion to her that the Blacks and Greens split Westeros in two, so both sides get to keep a crown. This suggestion mysteriously does not sway Rhaenrya.
  • To the Pain:
    • When she finds out what Androw Farman has done, Rhaena declares she's going to slice his balls off, and feed them to him. She doesn't get the chance because he decides that it's Better to Die than Be Killed.
    • When Braxton "Stinger" Beesbury is brought before King Jaehaerys, accused of sleeping with Princess Saera, the Good King tells him normally the punishment he'd face would be being gelded and sent to the Wall, but Jaehaerys thinks that's too good for him. Instead, he's going to slice off Stinger's nose and rip out his tongue, so he won't so easily charm girls in the future, then have his arms and legs broken so he can't use a sword or lance ever again. Beesbury eagerly jumps on the alternative option of duel to the death, figuring he might at least survive that. He has to fight the king. And he does not survive.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Prince Morion Martell thought he could spend the better part of a year assembling a massive fleet from scratch by shipbuilding and hiring sellsails without the Iron Throne finding out. He paid for his folly with his life and that of every single man in his army.
    • Alicent Hightower trying to convince Rhaenyra, after the latter's army has taken King's Landing effortlessly, to call a Great Council to let the realm decide the succession. Unsurprisingly, Rhaenyra refuses and gives her stepmother a choice: yield or die. Alicent wisely surrenders the city to Rhaenyra.
  • Trauma Conga Line:
    • Rhaena Targaryen's life is not pretty. Her brother-husband is killed by their uncle, who then forces her to marry him; she has to send her infant daughters into hiding in order to protect them from him, and by the time they're reunited years later she's a stranger to her own children; she does get to take back in one of her daughters, Aerea, but they have a lousy relationship which ultimately leads to Aerea running away, returning years later just in time to die horribly from an unknown malady before they can be reunited; one of her closest friends robs her and runs away, while her other closest friends are all poisoned by her second husband; and she spends her final years isolating herself away in Harrenhal.
    • Aegon III and Queen Jaehaera are the two surviving children of the Dance of the Dragons, ( though Aegon's brother Viserys returns after being long presumed dead) and both have endured so much that many Maesters say it's completely understandable that they are sullen and anti-social. Aegon lost his three brothers (and thought a fourth lost) to the war, along with his father and his aunt; he witnessed and barely survived a battle firsthand; personally saw his mother be eaten by a dragon; and had his uncle threaten to castrate him and cut off pieces of his body to intimidate men who supported Aegon's claim. Jaehaera witnessed her brother die in front of her eyes; her mother either committed suicide or was murdered; her father was murdered; and her younger brother was ripped to pieces by a frenzied crowd. Given the life story it's no wonder Aegon is called The Broken King.
  • Twin Switch: After the coronation of King Jaehaerys in Oldtown, it was noted that the twins Aerea and Rhaella had suddenly switched personalities, leading some to believe that the twins had been switched during the wedding by either their mother Rhaena or their grandmother Alyssa.
  • Unreliable Expositor: Gyldayn derives his history the Dance of the Dragons from three accounts: Septon Eustace, a septon who served Aegon II, Mushroom the Dwarf, the Red Keep's fool who attended Rhaenyra and Grand Maester Munkun, who wrote what many consider to be the most detailed and definitive account of the Dance. Septon Eustace favored Aegon II and tended to present whatever rumors he heard about the war as fact. Munkun's account borrows from the notes of his predecessor, Grand Maester Orwyle, who chose to paint himself and his actions during the war as positively as possible. The least reliable is Mushroom's Testimony, in which he invents scandalous and sinister events and presents himself as the secret true leader of the Blacks during the war. However, Mushroom's account has just enough moments of legitimate and forbidden truth to warrant acknowledging.
  • Unusual Euphemism: When the head of the Iron Bank tells Jaehaerys that for all he knows, until those supposed dragons eggs he definitely doesn't have hatch, he might as well have three chicken eggs. Jaehaerys makes it clear that if he hears even a word of "chickens" in Braavos, he'll be coming back with "chickens" of his own.
  • Walking the Earth:
    • Nettles and Sheepstealer after the Battle above God's Eye are implied to have independent adventures, showing up in the Mountains of the Moon attacking Robert Rowan's forces years after the end of the Dance.
    • Mushroom decides to leave King's Landing and the service of the Targaryens and enter the retinue of ex-regent Torrhen Manderly who heads back to White Harbor. According to Gyldayn, Mushroom's later adventures took him to the North, to Braavos and even Ib, but he never again covered happenings at the Royal Court and as such is no longer an observer/participant in the story of the Targaryen dynasty.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • Rogar Baratheon vastly exceeds his place as Hand of the King during Jaehaerys's regency, trying first to essentially make him a Puppet King and then replacing him with his niece (whom in turn would be another puppet) when he proves resistant to that, all because he believe Jaehaerys will be a weak king like his father and ruin the kingdom. Jaehaerys is rather understanding of all this, and after Rogar is removed from his position and the regency ends, forgives him fully for his actions.
    • Several of the people involved in the conspiracy against Thaddeus Rowan did so because they genuinely believed that he had betrayed the kingdom to a conspiracy by the Lyseni to take control of the court.
  • What the Romans Have Done for Us:
    • Aegon the Conqueror did rock up to Westeros with his dragons and flamed anyone who didn't bend the knee... but he also unified several kingdoms and brought about peace (mostly), where before the continent had been in a state of near-perpetual warfare, to the extent it couldn't go a year without someone going to war with someone else.
    • The chapters on the long reign of Jaehaerys include detailed descriptions of how Westeros as a whole benefited from the unified reign of the Targaryens, including many pragmatic improvements in infrastructure, law, etc. begun by Jaehaerys and Alysanne themselves.
  • Wham Line:
    • From Alysanne to Jaehaerys about her trip to the North "thrice I tried to take her north beyond the Wall... but every time she veered back south again and refused to go."
    • Three from Barth after Aerea's reappearance and horrific death. The first is that she didn't die of some simple fever but rather "The simplest way to say it is that the poor child was cooking from within" with "worms with faces... snakes with hands" infesting her flesh. The second is figuring out "Where did Balerion take Aerea?" He concludes that it must have been Valyria. The last is that when they returned "Balerion had wounds as well." even though it's the most powerful dragon brought to Westeros. Whatever's there, it's bad enough that in the same year Jahaerys banned any Westerosi from ever trying to go there or any ships that make it there from ever coming to Westeros.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Elissa Farman flees Dragonstone with three dragon eggs, and takes them to Braavos, where she sells them. When Jahaerys goes asking about them, everyone denies seeing any dragon eggs, and there's an uneasy truce with, effectively, Jahaerys agreeing not to burn Braavos to the ground if the Sealord will not send Faceless Men after the Targaryens. After that the eggs go forgotten. Since three dragons running around Essos would've been pretty damn noticeable... the implication is the eggs will turn up eventually, since they're Dany's.
    • The runaway Princess Saera is mentioned as having had some bastards during her stay in Lys, who try making a claim to the Iron Throne during the Great Council of 101 AC. They're rejected, and no more mention is made of them. But funnily enough, Gaemon Palehair, a young boy during the Dance of the Dragons, is noted to have been fathered by a white-haired fellow from Lys...
    • During the Dance of the Dragons, when King's Landing goes insane, a man called Wat the Tanner kills Bartimos Celtiger and hacks his nuts off, before taking them as a twisted "standard" before fleeing out of the city in no particular direction, never to be seen or heard from again.
    • When last seen, Alys Rivers is most definitely in charge of Harrenhal, and able to kill anyone who dares try and go in. She also has a son, who she claims is the trueborn child of Prince Aemond and rightful heir to the Iron Throne. After that, she and her son just sort of vanish.
  • Won the War, Lost the Peace: By the end of the Dance of the Dragons, most of House Targaryen had been wiped out, leaving just a couple of traumatized children to take the throne. Most of the dragons were killed in the war, with the rest quickly dying off; rivalries new and old have emerged; the peace brought by the reigns of Aegon I and Jaehaerys I has been destroyed; and the corruption and power grabs that would plague the ruling powers of Westeros for almost two centuries were only just beginning.
  • Wretched Hive: King's Landing, at least up until Jaehaerys's reign, was pretty awful, partly due to not so much being designed as congealed. Jaehaerys spent a good long part of his reign fancying up the city, or at least making it much less wretched (Flea Bottom excepted).
  • Xanatos Gambit: Unwin Peake, Hand of the King, after manipulating bold young Alyn Velaryon into being the realm's grand admiral for his short-sighted but triumphant victory against the Braavosi, sends him to take care of the Red Kraken who had been raiding all along the western coast of Westeros since the Dance had begun. If he failed, the power of House Velaryon would be greatly diminished and he would be rid of a thorn in his side; if he succeeded, the ironborn would be stopped. (But as it turned out, one of the Red Kraken's salt wives instead murdered him after he went to sleep, and without him the ironborn fleet fled back to the Iron Isles to determine who would next rule.)
  • You Shall Not Pass!: A thirteen year old Prince Viserys, later Viserys II, when the Kingsguard come to arrest (and almost certainly kill) his pregnant wife for being a Lyseni, stands at the drawbridge to Maegor's Holdfast holding an axe, and tells Amaury Peake he's not getting in. Of course, he's against a group of armed men, so he hurries inside and leaves the job to Sandoq the Shadow. Thirteen men come to arrest his mistress. None of them make it across the drawbridge, and Amaury Peake's head gets split open like a melon.
Top

Example of:

/
/

Feedback