20never: war of the usurper

Event History: War of the Usurper

Also known as Robert’s Rebellion, the War of the Usurper was the two year civil war between Houses Stark, Baratheon, Tully, Arryn, Lannister, and their banners and Houses Targaryen, Martell, Tyrell, and their banners. The conflict ended with the deposition of the Targaryen house and the instatement of the Baratheons as the crown family. The conflict had many battles including the Battle of the Trident, the Battle of Summerhall, Battle at the Tower of Joy, the Sack of King’s Landing, among others.

(Fanart depicting Prince Rhaegar and Robert Baratheon’s famous fight on the Trident)

Tourney at Harrenhal 

At the Tourney at Harrenhal, Prince Rhaegar, the Prince of Dragonstone, famously crowned Lyanna Stark the queen of love and beauty upon winning the tournament. The moment was marked with scandal by many in attendance as Rhaegar had not only paid insult to Robert Baratheon, Lyanna's betrothed, but to his own wife. It was believed by many that Rhaegar desired Lyanna. Viserys, Rhaegar’s younger brother, claimed the prince loved the Stark girl while Robert Baratheon claimed he lusted after her. Not long after the tourney Lyanna disappeared, Rhaegar had reportedly kidnapped her. As a result, Rickard Stark, Lyanna’s father, and his eldest son, Brandon, marched to King’s Landing with several retainers, demanding Rhaegar stand before them. Instead Aerys had them imprisoned for treason and eventually executed in very cruel ways (varying from immolation to self-induced strangulation). Aerys, who had become increasingly paranoid, demanded the heads of Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark who were being fostered with Jon Arryn of the Vale. In response Jon raised his banners.

Calling the Banners

Upon Jon Arryn calling his banners (many of his own bannermen initially abandoned him for the king), both Ned and Robert returned to their respective keeps and called their own banners. House Tully swore for the rebel forces, marrying their eldest daughter Catelyn to Ned and her younger sister Lysa to Jon Arryn. House Darry and a few other bannermen to House Tully chose to side with King’s Landing while Walder Frey famously took no side until the war was over. Robert was elected to serve as the rebel’s head as he was the grandson of a Targaryen princess and the great-grandson of King Aegon V, thereby giving him the best claim to the throne outside the royal family.

Houses Tyrell, Hightower, and Redwyne declared for the Targaryens. House Martell, the Targaryens ancestral allies, also sided with the king though they were offended by Rhaegar’s disregard for his Martell wife. Houses Greyjoy and Lannister both remained neutral.

Early Battles

The Battle of Summerhall involved three battles fought in a single day at Summerhall Castle. Robert learned that the loyalist forces were planning to converge at Summerhall and he attacked all three families, Grandison, Cafferen, and Sell respectively as they arrived. The battle resulted in both houses Cafferen and Grandison joining Robert’s forces and Lord Fell’s death. 

The Battle of Ashford was a smaller battle and more indecisive in nature. Lord Cafferen was killed by Randal Tarley who sent Cafferen’s head to the king for his betrayal. Mace Tyrell’s forces arrived later, after Lord Tarley had destroyed the majority of Robert’s forces there.

The Battle of the Bells was a turning point in the war, at least for Aerys who now began to see Robert had become the greatest threat to the royal family since Daemon Blackfyre raised up against the trueborn royal family. Robert was hiding in the Stoney Sept. Jon Connington, the king’s Hand, sieged the sept to take him prisoner. Stark and Tully forces arrived and Connington was forced to retreat. Aerys exiled Connington for his failure.

Battle of the Trident

The battle on the Trident was the single most famous battle of the war. Both rebel forces were marching south and the loyalist forces attempted to cut them off at the Trident. Rhaegar, who had since been absent from the war, appeared to take command of the loyalist forces. Robert Baratheon and Prince Rhaegar famously engaged in single combat in the river while the battle raged around them. Rhaegar was slain by Robert, the rubies of his armor washed down the river when many people say they can still be found. With the loyalist armies very nearly depleted and the commander slain, nothing stood between King’s Landing and the rebels.

End of the War

A year into the conflict, the Lannister forces arrived at the gates of King’s Landing, claiming loyalty to the crown. Grand Maester Pycelle, a Lannister loyalist, convinced the king to open the gates to them. The Lannister army sacked the city and Aerys resolved to burn the city down rather than let Robert take it from him: “Let him be king of the ashes” Aerys said while ordering his men to ignite the caches of wildfire he had stored throughout the city. Ser Jaime Lannister slew the king while Ser Gregor Clegane and Amory Lorch brutally murdered Princess Elia and her two young children Princess Rhaenys and Prince Aegon.

The rebel forces arrived later and Eddard Stark found Jaime Lannister seated on the Iron Throne with Aerys’ dead body slumped on the ground beside him. Ned, like many people, never forgave Jaime for breaking his sacred vow to protect the royal family. Ned further became angry to find Rhaegar’s wife and children had been slain. Ned was gravely disturbed with the murders of Elia and her children and even more disturbed that Robert seemed to welcome their murders.

(Art depicting Jaime Lannister, knight of the Kingsguard, slaying his liege and breaking his vow, an act for which he would earn the infamous name Kingslayer)

Stormborn on Dragonstone

Upon Rhaegar’s death, the pregnant Queen Rhaelle and Prince Viserys had been sent to Dragonstone for their safety. Prince Viserys became, Viserys III upon the death of his father, niece, and nephew during the sack of King’s Landing. As a result, Robert sent his younger brother Stannis to murder the boy many people claimed as their true king. 

During the greatest storm Westeros had ever seen, the queen gave birth to a daughter: Princess Daenerys, born Princess of Dragonstone, heir apparent to her brother’s throne. The storm destroyed what remained of the Targaryen fleet and Daenerys was given the name ‘Stormborn’. With the queen dying in childbirth, Ser Willem Darry was able to smuggle young Viserys and the infant Daenerys away to Braavos before Stannis’ forces arrived, thus keeping the only living heirs from the reach of Robert who was determined to see all Targaryens dead.

Aftermath

Ned Stark traveled south where he encountered Ser Arthur Dayne, Ser Oswell Whent, and Ser Gerold Hightower, all Kingsguardsmen at the Tower of Joy. Inside, Lyanna Stark lay dying from unknown causes. Lyanna forced her brother to promise her something before she died. The tower was torn down and he rode to Starfall to return the sword Dawn to Ashara Dayne, Arthur’s sister before riding home with a baby boy he claimed as his bastard son, naming him Jon after his foster-father Jon Arryn.

With Lyanna dead, Robert Baratheon married Cersei Lannister, falling deeper into Tywin’s debt. The Martells of Dorne negotiated a truce the King’s Landing, Jon Arryn was named Hand of the King, and the Seven Kingdoms accepted Robert as king, though Robert believed many were still secretly loyal to House Targaryen.

Across the sea a five year old Viserys, styling himself as Viserys III, and his sister Daenerys, the Crown Princess, lived in Braavos in Ser Willem’s manse for a few years until the knight’s death at which point the servants kicked the Targaryens out. From then on the siblings walked the streets of many of the Free Cities, begging for food, shelter, clothes, and, occasionally, an army to help bring the orphans home.

(further reading here)

Rhaegar and Lyanna--Some Thoughts

If Lyanna really did run off Rhaegar, I think it’s pretty shitty of her to not want to marry Robert because of his promiscuity, but is totally okay with going off with another man who happens to be married.

Like, you don’t want to be cheated on, but you’re perfectly fine with being on the other side. Because fuck Elia Martell, right?

And for Rhaegar to supposedly be this incredibly wise and noble young man, you would think that he would consider the fact that:

  • running away with the daughter of a powerful lord who had a lot of bannermen on his side without saying anything is a pretty bad idea.
  • Knowing your dad is a just a tad insane, and this being something other people can agree on, it’s pretty safe to assume at the very least, that your lover’s family might think something bad has happened.
  • Abandoning/humiliating your wife who is part of a very powerful family in a powerful neighboring country might not be such a good idea.
  • Leaving your wife alone with your insane father may not be such a good idea.
  • Expecting nothing to happen when the daughter of the powerful lord disappears is a pretty naive.

I’m not saying they should’ve just predicted the War of the Usurper, but these are things they should have considered. Maybe not a war, but something was bound to happen. If my sister was to just vanish without a trace and was last seen with some man I didn’t really know, I would think something horrible had happened, and if Lyanna was so close to her bros, she should’ve thought about this.

10

Robert’s Rebellion Fancast, pt. 1: 1. Bill Skarsgård as Rhaegar Targaryen 2. Emmanuelle Chriqui as Elia Martell-Targaryen 3. Liam Hemsworth as Eddard Stark 4. Alex Pettyfer as Jaime Lannister 5. Kaya Scodelario as Lyanna Stark 6. Chris Hemsworth as Brandon Stark 7. Deborah Ann Woll as Catelyn Tully 8. Liam Neeson as Jon Arryn 9. Travis Fimmel as Robert Baratheon 10. Nell Williams as Cersei Lannister

10

Robert’s Rebellion Fancast, pt. 2: 1. Henry Cavill as Arthur Dayne 2. Julia Goldani Telles as Ashara Dayne 3. Kevin McKidd as Hoster Tully 4. Ellie Darcey-Aiden as Lysa Tully 5. Dominic West as Oswell Whent 6. Sergio Castellitto as Gerold Hightower 7. Ben Barnes as Lewyn Martell 8. Skandar Keynes as Stannis Baratheon 9. Viggo Mortensen as Rickard Stark 10. Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister