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Legitimate_Bastard

Aegon I and Dorne

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I have been wondering why Aegon never torched Dornish castles the way he did Harrenhal.

He could have brought the Dornish to their knees pretty easily it seems - or is this shortsighted on my part?

It just never made sense to me - why not go after the Dornish after he had successfully defeated or received the fealty of the other 6 kingdoms?

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Aegon: Yield now and you may remain as Lord of the Iron Islands. Yield now, and your sons will live to rule after you. I have eight thousand men outside your walls.

Harren: What is outside my walls is of no concern to me. Those walls are strong and thick.
Aegon: But not so high as to keep out dragons. Dragons fly.
Harren: I built in stone. Stone does not burn.

 

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Meria: I will not fight you, nor will I kneel to you. Dorne has no king. Tell your brother that.

Rhaenys: I shall, but we will come again, Princess, and the next time we shall come with fire and blood.

Meria: Your words. Ours are Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken. You may burn us, my lady ... but you will not bend us, break us, or make us bow. This is Dorne. You are not wanted here. Return at your peril.

The arrogance of Meria seems similar enough to that of Black Harren. So why the double standard?

Melting a few castles seems like it would have done the trick. Or why not team up with some of the Houses that rival the Martells? I would have thought they would have loved an opportunity to get rid of House Martell?

I just don't get why the 3 dragons were only ever used together one time. Yes I know it was a risk etc. but surely the 3 of them together could have defeated Dorne outright. Even if submission was never given, Aegon could have turned all the fortresses of Dorne to glass. Why didn't he?

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THE DRAGONS WROTH

The grief Aegon and Visenya felt at the death of Rhaenys was great; the next two years would later be called the years of the Dragon's Wroth. The Targaryens burned every Dornish stronghold at least once, with the exception of Sunspear and its shadow city. The Dornish believed that the Targaryens refused to attack Sunspear because they were afraid that Princess Meria might have purchased a device from Lys to slay dragons with. Archmaester Timotty offers a different explanation, suggesting in his Conjectures that Aegon hoped this would instead turn the Dornish against the Martells. Indeed, letters have been discovered in which Marcher lords urge Dornish lords to surrender, while claiming that House Martell had purchased their safety from the dragons. Regardless of the truth, the Dornish lords and smallfolk remained loyal.[1]

Aegon and Visenya also placed bounties on the heads of Dornish lords, who, in turn, placed bounties on the Targaryens and their allies. Half a dozen Dornish lords were successfully assassinated, though only two of their killers ever lived to collect their bounties.[1] King Aegon was attacked on three occasions, and Visenya was attacked on several occasions as well. One day, when Aegon and Visenya were assaulted on the streets of King's Landing, only Visenya's swift intervention saved Aegon's life. This attack led to the creation of the elite royal bodyguard known as the Kingsguard in 10 AC.[1][2] Lord Fell was killed in a brothel in King's Landing,[1] while the Wyl of Wyl committed atrocities, particularly in Fawnton and Old Oak.[1]

Although Dorne was a blasted, burning ruin from the Red Mountains to the mouth of the Greenblood, the Dornish continued to fight.

from the Wiki

With all the Dornish castles burnt at least once except Sunspear - why didn't Aegon land a giant army and besiege the Dornish capital?

Regardless of the supposed Myrish device - it seems there were ways the conquest of Dorne could have been properly accomplished, but just weren't.

Could it truly have been done - given the devotion of enough resources? Was it just not worth the expense?

What does everyone think.

If this is discussed elsewhere please point me to it. 

Edited by Legitimate_Bastard

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He did melt castles. It didn't work, because the Dornish learned from Harrenhal. We literally see the Targaryens finding all the various castles essentially abandoned, the lords and their retinues dispersing rather than concentrating around them.

I would guess the Yronwoods -- the only real rivals to the Martells by this stage -- cared even less for Targaryens than they did Martells. More significantly, it seems Aegon and his sisters simply had an inability to treat the Dornish lords as people worth trying to win over with diplomacy rather than threats. They had conquered everyone else, they were going to conqueor Dorne, and that was that. It was an example of Aegon and his sisters running into the limits of their own abilities.  Until the Dornish acknowledged them as their sovereigns, there was no room for negotiation.

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Harrenhal didn't accomplish all that much. It freed the Riverlords from a hated, foreign tyrant. We can safely assume that Aegon dealing with Winterfell, the Eyrie, Highgarden, or Storm's End the way he dealt with Harrenhal would have not exactly led to the lords and people of the various kingdoms to submit as quickly as he did.

Aegon's original conquest worked because the man was both stern and generous which, combined with his outsider status, made him acceptable to all as their new king.

The First Dornish War didn't really fail because the dragons didn't work - it failed because Aegon either didn't have the strength or the will to conduct another great military campaign after the disaster or 'the original conquest of Dorne'. The entire Tyrell army was lost in the Sands, and Harlan's son had no taste for another campaign after that. The later stages of the war seem to be only skirmishes and dragon attacks, with no Targaryen army making the effort of actually crossing the Red Mountains into proper Dornish territory.

Dragons are useless if they operate largely without the support of troops on the ground. Basically, the way to deal with the dragons was to empty the castle and hide in the cellar or some other safe place and then rebuild the stuff after they were gone (or rather: after you could be reasonably sure they would not return for some time). It is the same in the real world - being able to bomb another country gives you an advantage, but it does not necessarily give you enough of an advantage to actually force the enemy to submit. If you cannot get ground troops into the country - or you are too craven to try again - then chances are pretty good you won't win the war.

What makes no sense, though, is that Aegon never used his three large dragons to pull off exactly the same stunt Jaehaerys I did later with the second Vulture King. A dragonrider is perfectly suited to operate as a reconnaissance unit, and in the end there wouldn't have been any place the Wyls and the other mountain lords could have hidden had Aegon marched his strength in the mountains, destroying one hidey-hole and mountain fastness after another, and ensuring the safety of his troops by keeping an eye on everything from Balerion.

Secret caves and tunnels cannot be discovered by dragonriders, of course, but people and the opening of caves and tunnels and traces of people moving about can be discovered by them.

What is really strange, though, is that Aegon getting his ass whipped by the Dornishmen did not motivate any rebellions in the kingdoms he had conquered. Meria Martell basically showed that the great Conqueror was little more than a windbag, and all the great lords and former kings who bent the knee to Aegon showed how weak they were by giving in to a guy who couldn't even conquer a blasted desert country.

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21 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Aegon's original conquest worked because the man was both stern and generous which, combined with his outsider status, made him acceptable to all as their new king.

That really seems to be an overly positive assessment of what Aegon did.  Aegon's conquest worked because the Field of Fire took the fight out of the major lords.  It also gave the Targaryens a chance to promote a "friendly" House to the head of the Reach, the most populous and probably powerful of the Seven Kingdoms.  Aegon's kingdom was born out of terror.

I think it's naïve to argue that the Lords didn't have a major revolt because of how "stern and generous" Aegon was with them afterwards.  Absent the religious fervor that inspired commonfolk to take up arms against the Targaryens in the subsequent years,  I highly doubt the surviving Lords could have fielded an army willing to take on Aegon's dragons again.

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1 minute ago, Frey family reunion said:

That really seems to be an overly positive assessment of what Aegon did.  Aegon's conquest worked because the Field of Fire took the fight out of the major lords.  It also gave the Targaryens a chance to promote a "friendly" House to the head of the Reach, the most populous and probably powerful of the Seven Kingdoms.  Aegon's kingdom was born out of terror.

There was not that much 'terror' to the Field of Fire. Very few men actually died there if you compare the number to the men that marched against Aegon.

Not to mention the early and rather deep devotion men like Jon Mooton (whose brother fell fighting against Aegon in the beginning of the Conquest), Edmyn Tully, and all the Riverlords showed on the Field of Fire - and the Lords of the Reach and the West, too, once they dealt with the Northmen.

1 minute ago, Frey family reunion said:

I think it's naïve to argue that the Lords didn't have a major revolt because of how "stern and generous" Aegon was with them afterwards.  Absent the religious fervor that inspired commonfolk to take up arms against the Targaryens in the subsequent years,  I highly doubt the surviving Lords could have fielded an army willing to take on Aegon's dragons again.

If they had not, for the most part, seen Aegon as a man worthy to be their king, men and women like Loren Lannister, Torrhen Stark, and Sharra Arryn would have never bent their knee to Aegon.

It would have been remarkably easy to deceive the Conqueror - Sharra could have feigned allegiance until such a time as Ronnel was away from Visenya and Visenya herself far enough away from Vhagar to put her down. The Reach lords and Westermen and Riverlords assisting Aegon against Torrhen Stark (and the Riverlords previously helping him against the Reach and Westermen) could have butchered the abominable invader and his so-called sister-wives when they assembled their armies. It wouldn't have been that difficult to use a couple of dozen men to put them down in the middle of the night or even during some war council.

Loren Lannister could have just crowned himself again upon his return to Casterly Rock, daring the Dragon to come to his lands and actually try to besiege him in his fortress.

Torrhen Stark could have done a similar thing. If the Northmen had applied Dornish tactics they could have prevailed the same way Meria Martell did - especially if this defiance had motivated other lords to also defy the Targaryens.

The very fact that all those men answered their new king's summons as early as they did underlines the fact that they thought him a worthy king.

Some more than others, of course, but a broad majority of the lords - and even some of the former royal houses - had no issue with the guy being their king now.

I mean, what are we to make of old Brandon Stark's remark that Jaehaerys I resembled his grandfather. That was praise - praise a son or grandson of Torrhen Stark (who seems to have been old enough to have actually seen the Conquest as a youth or child) would never grant the boy king if he thought Aegon the Conqueror wasn't a great king.

Sure, it would have been Aegon's reign which allowed the people and lords to actually realize how great a guy Aegon was, but the makings of a great king are already there during the Conquest. And it is the fact that he is a man of his word - and may have been known as one such even before the Conquest - that allowed people to trust him.

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4 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Harrenhal didn't accomplish all that much. It freed the Riverlords from a hated, foreign tyrant. We can safely assume that Aegon dealing with Winterfell, the Eyrie, Highgarden, or Storm's End the way he dealt with Harrenhal would have not exactly led to the lords and people of the various kingdoms to submit as quickly as he did.

Aegon's original conquest worked because the man was both stern and generous which, combined with his outsider status, made him acceptable to all as their new king.

The First Dornish War didn't really fail because the dragons didn't work - it failed because Aegon either didn't have the strength or the will to conduct another great military campaign after the disaster or 'the original conquest of Dorne'. The entire Tyrell army was lost in the Sands, and Harlan's son had no taste for another campaign after that. The later stages of the war seem to be only skirmishes and dragon attacks, with no Targaryen army making the effort of actually crossing the Red Mountains into proper Dornish territory.

Dragons are useless if they operate largely without the support of troops on the ground. Basically, the way to deal with the dragons was to empty the castle and hide in the cellar or some other safe place and then rebuild the stuff after they were gone (or rather: after you could be reasonably sure they would not return for some time). It is the same in the real world - being able to bomb another country gives you an advantage, but it does not necessarily give you enough of an advantage to actually force the enemy to submit. If you cannot get ground troops into the country - or you are too craven to try again - then chances are pretty good you won't win the war.

What makes no sense, though, is that Aegon never used his three large dragons to pull off exactly the same stunt Jaehaerys I did later with the second Vulture King. A dragonrider is perfectly suited to operate as a reconnaissance unit, and in the end there wouldn't have been any place the Wyls and the other mountain lords could have hidden had Aegon marched his strength in the mountains, destroying one hidey-hole and mountain fastness after another, and ensuring the safety of his troops by keeping an eye on everything from Balerion.

Secret caves and tunnels cannot be discovered by dragonriders, of course, but people and the opening of caves and tunnels and traces of people moving about can be discovered by them.

What is really strange, though, is that Aegon getting his ass whipped by the Dornishmen did not motivate any rebellions in the kingdoms he had conquered. Meria Martell basically showed that the great Conqueror was little more than a windbag, and all the great lords and former kings who bent the knee to Aegon showed how weak they were by giving in to a guy who couldn't even conquer a blasted desert country.

I wonder why a force was never landed by sea? The Redwyne fleet - the Iron fleet, plus the ships of the other kingdoms would surely make a massive navy.

Perhaps Dorne has no good landing areas where an army would not be attacked before they could disembark. 

If I was a commander in Westeros I would never attempt to invade Dorne via land. The hostile climate and topography seems more risky than the sea, which is saying something because the ocean is treacherous.

Also, I think that Dorne being the southernmost part of Westeros bordered by mountains would have made Aegon feel better about having not taken it. If it was the Riverlands for instance, which is surrounded by other kingdoms with little in natural buffers, it would have been a bigger threat than the relatively isolated Dorne. Know what I'm trying to say? LOL

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5 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Harrenhal didn't accomplish all that much. It freed the Riverlords from a hated, foreign tyrant. We can safely assume that Aegon dealing with Winterfell, the Eyrie, Highgarden, or Storm's End the way he dealt with Harrenhal would have not exactly led to the lords and people of the various kingdoms to submit as quickly as he did.

Is burning alive with all your male relatives on a battlefield really any different than burning alive with all your male relatives inside a castle?

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1 hour ago, Legitimate_Bastard said:

I wonder why a force was never landed by sea? The Redwyne fleet - the Iron fleet, plus the ships of the other kingdoms would surely make a massive navy.

It takes Daeron I and Oakenfist for a successful staging of a naval operation, and though Stannis puts it all down to Oakenfist's efforts, Daeron's approach by land must have drawn away the Dornish to make it possible for Oakenfist to succeed as he did.

 

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Perhaps Dorne has no good landing areas where an army would not be attacked before they could disembark. 

But this is certainly true. We're told that the Dornish coast is quite dangerous, full of reefs and whirlpools and the like. The few ports are doubtless very protected. Oakenfist was able to break through at the Planky Town.

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If I was a commander in Westeros I would never attempt to invade Dorne via land.

Daeron the Young Dragon used a combined arms approach, by sea and by land (in fact, two armies, at the Boneway and the Prince's Pass). It feels like this is to be seen as both daring and a key to his succeeding where no one else had.


As to dragons as scouts, I mean, the real world has aircraft. How much did Soviet aircraft and satellite reconaissance prove useful against the mujaheddin in Afghanistan? Who literally did use vast networks of tunnels in their mountains? And there's just three dragons. Dragon flies out, spots a gathering of Dornishmen ten miles away, flies back, informs the troops... but in all likelihood, that host of Dornishmen have seen they were spotted and they just disperse and meet up again by night or in a week or whatever. The Dornish basically did not bother raising substantial armies of any kind during the time of the Targaryen's first attempts to take Dorne. Even the Vulture King that Jaehaerys took out kept trying to find refuge in "lairs", and tried to keep his small rabble of outlaws together rather than just dispersing them until Jaehaerys went away. When the whole country is against you, though, there's too many refuges and too many enemies.

Edited by Ran

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The Targaryens could have taken Dorne by force but it would have taken a long time and the human toll would have been high.  It was not worth it.  Dorne is not a rich land.

Conquering Dorne would require keeping a lot of soldiers to occupy the kingdom.  This is hard to do because the soldiers are farmers and workers needed back home.  Occupation can't be maintained for a long enough period.  A blockade of Sunspear would also help.  But those ships are needed for trade.  Aegon didn't have a large standing infantry and dedicated cavalry to use for occupation.  He would have had his lords suffering lost of income due to this long campaign.  Those men were needed to sow the fields and fish the seas.  It would have been a hard, but not impossible, sell.  Now if Dorne had treasures worth sacking . .

Edited by Moiraine Sedai

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7 hours ago, Legitimate_Bastard said:

I have been wondering why Aegon never torched Dornish castles the way he did Harrenhal.

He could have brought the Dornish to their knees pretty easily it seems - or is this shortsighted on my part?

It just never made sense to me - why not go after the Dornish after he had successfully defeated or received the fealty of the other 6 kingdoms?

 

The arrogance of Meria seems similar enough to that of Black Harren. So why the double standard?

Melting a few castles seems like it would have done the trick. Or why not team up with some of the Houses that rival the Martells? I would have thought they would have loved an opportunity to get rid of House Martell?

I just don't get why the 3 dragons were only ever used together one time. Yes I know it was a risk etc. but surely the 3 of them together could have defeated Dorne outright. Even if submission was never given, Aegon could have turned all the fortresses of Dorne to glass. Why didn't he?

With all the Dornish castles burnt at least once except Sunspear - why didn't Aegon land a giant army and besiege the Dornish capital?

Regardless of the supposed Myrish device - it seems there were ways the conquest of Dorne could have been properly accomplished, but just weren't.

Could it truly have been done - given the devotion of enough resources? Was it just not worth the expense?

What does everyone think.

If this is discussed elsewhere please point me to it. 

The key component of Aegon's melting of Harrenhal was the Hoares inside at the time he did it. The Dornish abandoned their castles, and burning their castles wasn't going to stop them from continuing to oppose him.

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11 minutes ago, Moiraine Sedai said:

The Targaryens could have taken Dorne by force but it would have taken a long time and the human toll would have been high.  It was not worth it.  Dorne is not a rich land.

Conquering Dorne would require keeping a lot of soldiers to occupy the kingdom.  This is hard to do because the soldiers are farmers and workers needed back home.  Occupation can't be maintained for a long enough period.  A blockade of Sunspear would also help.  But those ships are needed for trade.  Aegon didn't have a large standing infantry and dedicated cavalry to use for occupation.

I think it also supports @Lord Varys point that Aegon was stern and generous. Yet clearly not evil.

It seems an evil man would have burned the castles, population centers, and said if I cannot rule you no one can - which did not happen.

I suppose it also shows that ruling Dorne is not key to ruling the rest of Westeros, whereas the other kingdoms (except maybe the Iron Isles) are.

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5 minutes ago, Legitimate_Bastard said:

I think it also supports @Lord Varys point that Aegon was stern and generous. Yet clearly not evil.

It seems an evil man would have burned the castles, population centers, and said if I cannot rule you no one can - which did not happen.

I suppose it also shows that ruling Dorne is not key to ruling the rest of Westeros, whereas the other kingdoms (except maybe the Iron Isles) are.

Agree

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8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

There was not that much 'terror' to the Field of Fire. Very few men actually died there if you compare the number to the men that marched against Aegon.

Not to mention the early and rather deep devotion men like Jon Mooton (whose brother fell fighting against Aegon in the beginning of the Conquest), Edmyn Tully, and all the Riverlords showed on the Field of Fire - and the Lords of the Reach and the West, too, once they dealt with the Northmen.

If they had not, for the most part, seen Aegon as a man worthy to be their king, men and women like Loren Lannister, Torrhen Stark, and Sharra Arryn would have never bent their knee to Aegon.

It would have been remarkably easy to deceive the Conqueror - Sharra could have feigned allegiance until such a time as Ronnel was away from Visenya and Visenya herself far enough away from Vhagar to put her down. The Reach lords and Westermen and Riverlords assisting Aegon against Torrhen Stark (and the Riverlords previously helping him against the Reach and Westermen) could have butchered the abominable invader and his so-called sister-wives when they assembled their armies. It wouldn't have been that difficult to use a couple of dozen men to put them down in the middle of the night or even during some war council.

Loren Lannister could have just crowned himself again upon his return to Casterly Rock, daring the Dragon to come to his lands and actually try to besiege him in his fortress.

Torrhen Stark could have done a similar thing. If the Northmen had applied Dornish tactics they could have prevailed the same way Meria Martell did - especially if this defiance had motivated other lords to also defy the Targaryens.

The very fact that all those men answered their new king's summons as early as they did underlines the fact that they thought him a worthy king.

Some more than others, of course, but a broad majority of the lords - and even some of the former royal houses - had no issue with the guy being their king now.

I mean, what are we to make of old Brandon Stark's remark that Jaehaerys I resembled his grandfather. That was praise - praise a son or grandson of Torrhen Stark (who seems to have been old enough to have actually seen the Conquest as a youth or child) would never grant the boy king if he thought Aegon the Conqueror wasn't a great king.

Sure, it would have been Aegon's reign which allowed the people and lords to actually realize how great a guy Aegon was, but the makings of a great king are already there during the Conquest. And it is the fact that he is a man of his word - and may have been known as one such even before the Conquest - that allowed people to trust him.

I'd highlight house Martell's and other Salty Dornishmens ancestral history with the Valyrian dragonlords. The other 6 Kingdoms had no recent or distant quarrel with Valyria that we know of. 

The Rhoyanar were a genuine challenge to the Freehold, and took an enormous force to subdue. Aegon would have been aware of how the "water wizards" had shot down Valyrian dragons centuries before back in Essos. (Not that water wizards could do much in Dorne) 

On the other hand, the only dealings the other 6 had was trade i.e. buying Valyrian steel swords. No sense of old scores to settle like the Rhoyanar. 

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5 hours ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

Is burning alive with all your male relatives on a battlefield really any different than burning alive with all your male relatives inside a castle?

Not that many guys burned on the Field of Fire. This wasn't a dragon holocaust. It was relatively modest, totally in line with the losses suffered in a normal battle - perhaps even less so. It was a very impressive show of force and likely scared the survivors who saw the dragons in action for their life, but it was more show than slaughter - and that's the reason why Aegon succeeded.

5 hours ago, Legitimate_Bastard said:

I wonder why a force was never landed by sea? The Redwyne fleet - the Iron fleet, plus the ships of the other kingdoms would surely make a massive navy.

Never comes up. One assumes Aegon didn't think it necessary when the war started, and later the Redwynes may not have been all that eager to oblige him. The Iron Throne/Velaryons couldn't have had that great a fleet after the fiasco in the battle against the Arryn fleet.

4 hours ago, Ran said:

But this is certainly true. We're told that the Dornish coast is quite dangerous, full of reefs and whirlpools and the like. The few ports are doubtless very protected. Oakenfist was able to break through at the Planky Town.

Yeah, one assumes the Redwynes and Hightowers know about all that, explaining why such things were pretty never attempted.

4 hours ago, Ran said:

Daeron the Young Dragon used a combined arms approach, by sea and by land (in fact, two armies, at the Boneway and the Prince's Pass). It feels like this is to be seen as both daring and a key to his succeeding where no one else had.

He seems to have just added the ships to Aegon's strategy. Doesn't sound like that great if you think about that.

4 hours ago, Ran said:

As to dragons as scouts, I mean, the real world has aircraft. How much did Soviet aircraft and satellite reconaissance prove useful against the mujaheddin in Afghanistan? Who literally did use vast networks of tunnels in their mountains? And there's just three dragons. Dragon flies out, spots a gathering of Dornishmen ten miles away, flies back, informs the troops... but in all likelihood, that host of Dornishmen have seen they were spotted and they just disperse and meet up again by night or in a week or whatever. The Dornish basically did not bother raising substantial armies of any kind during the time of the Targaryen's first attempts to take Dorne. Even the Vulture King that Jaehaerys took out kept trying to find refuge in "lairs", and tried to keep his small rabble of outlaws together rather than just dispersing them until Jaehaerys went away. When the whole country is against you, though, there's too many refuges and too many enemies.

Oh, well, Afghanistan is basically attacking, say, the Hellholt or Sandstone or Godsgrace with dragons. It is not the Red Mountains. The Red Mountains are right across the border of Targaryen-controlled territory. The dragons wouldn't be alone there, they would be less than a day's flight away from the armies.

They are not that large by comparison nor that far away. And Aegon would have had essentially tens of thousands of men to pour into those mountains since he had the population of six kingdoms to throw against them.

The way to deal with them would have been to simply destroy them all. Every Dornishman in the Red Mountains. That would have been very bloody business but if you truly scorch everything there is no home to return to - or better still you grant all the keeps and castles in the mountains to your people and then settle loyal men there, and don't allow the Dornishmen who may have fled to return.

That approach wouldn't have worked in the Sands, of course, but it could have helped to conquer the mountains at least. And there wouldn't be much of Dorne left if the Yronwoods, Fowlers, and Daynes were all dead, no?

I'm not really buying that Meria was a military genius who learned something crucial from Aegon's other wars. Harren wasn't making a mistake by holing up in Harrenhal - he had no other choice since his own bannermen had turned against him and then enemy was approaching. The way to the Iron Islands was not exactly open to him at that point - assuming he even gave a rat's ass about returning to those rocks. Had he had a choice one assumes he wouldn't have been so eager to actually be in the castle while a dragon the size of Balerion attacked it...

3 hours ago, Legitimate_Bastard said:

I think it also supports @Lord Varys point that Aegon was stern and generous. Yet clearly not evil.

It seems an evil man would have burned the castles, population centers, and said if I cannot rule you no one can - which did not happen.

He sort of did that when trying to break the Dornishmen but he didn't take it too far, apparently. Which is why I find it not very convincing that no one rebelled after a blind woman gave the Dragon a good beating.

The only way to really explain that kind of thing is that most of the lords actually thought Aegon was a great king. Even the most ambitious of them - Hightowers, Lannisters, etc. - more wanted to be like him/participate in Targaryen power than actually rid themselves of him or draw the Realm back into the era of never-ending wars.

As I said, the Lannisters, the Arryns, and the Starks could have easily feigned submission only to continue warfare the way Meria did. It could have worked very well in the North and perhaps even better in the Vale (if the Arryns would add great cellars to most of the castles there the dragons would have great trouble to do lasting damage there, and it is a pain in the ass to get troops into the Vale that are not wanted there). The West may be somewhat more difficult, but Casterly Rock is pretty much impregnable. Nobody could have forced the Lannisters to submit if they had decided to defy Aegon.

The reason that they did not likely had less to do with fear and more with respect they felt for Aegon. Hence also the praise of Brandon Stark for both the Conqueror and the grandson who reminds him of him.

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4 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Not that many guys burned on the Field of Fire. This wasn't a dragon holocaust. It was relatively modest, totally in line with the losses suffered in a normal battle - perhaps even less so. It was a very impressive show of force and likely scared the survivors who saw the dragons in action for their life, but it was more show than slaughter - and that's the reason why Aegon succeeded.

Not that many guys burned at Harrenhal. It wasn't a dragon holocaust. It was relatively modest, totally in line with the losses suffered in a normal battle - perhaps even less so. It was a very impressive show of force and likely scared the survivors who saw the dragons in action for their life, but it was more show than slaughter - and that's the reason why Aegon succeeded.

My point being, in cased it wasn't apparent, was that the FoF and HH were basically equally devastating to the ruling line of a kingdom/region. You asserted the reach wouldn't capitulate if Highgarden were treated the same, but when their ruling line was wiped out the Tyrells and the entirety of the Reach bent the knee as well.

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Four thousand people burning to death in one day is a shitload of people dying a horrific death, no matter how you slice it, and no matter how many more people than that Aegon and his sisters were capable of burning to death. Of course they were trying to make an example, so as to limit the number of deaths, and had no desire to burn all of Westeros to death. But let's not downplay how atrocious the Field of Fire was.

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3 minutes ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

Not that many guys burned at Harrenhal. It wasn't a dragon holocaust. It was relatively modest, totally in line with the losses suffered in a normal battle - perhaps even less so. It was a very impressive show of force and likely scared the survivors who saw the dragons in action for their life, but it was more show than slaughter - and that's the reason why Aegon succeeded.

Well, I'd differ there in the sense that this slaughter was likely more thorough than the average sacking of a castle as large and, presumably, populated as Harrenhal at that time. But then, one can also be rather thorough without steel weapons and torches and men at every gate.

3 minutes ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

My point being, in cased it wasn't apparent, was that the FoF and HH were basically equally devastating to the ruling line of a kingdom/region. You asserted the reach wouldn't capitulate if Highgarden were treated the same, but when their ruling line was wiped out the Tyrells and the entirety of the Reach bent the knee as well.

You take the cart before the horse. The Gardener line dying wasn't intended by Aegon. That turned out to be not unfortunate to his cause - although it could have gone very differently, as could his idea to put the Tyrells in charge - but it wasn't intended. It doesn't strike me as unrealistic to believe that Mern would have bent the knee to Aegon just as Loren did had he lived - or one of Mern's many potential heirs who died with him.

A dragon holocaust on Highgarden would just be an atrocity because of the symbol that was destroyed. It is the most beautiful castle in the Seven Kingdoms (unless one buys the Eyrie is more beautiful) and arguably the one of the most glorious history. Destroying such a thing would raise the ire of people because it would be a savage thing to die aside from the people who were killed there, too.

Compare that to Harrenhal. It was a new castle with no history, and it was a symbol of cruel oppression. Destroying it was part of Aegon freeing the Riverlanders from the yoke of the Ironborn. It also showed what Aegon could do with his dragons, of course, but burning Harrenhal wasn't something anyone outside the Iron Islands would consider a bad thing.

13 minutes ago, Bael's Bastard said:

Four thousand people burning to death in one day is a shitload of people dying a horrific death, no matter how you slice it, and no matter how many more people than that Aegon and his sisters were capable of burning to death. Of course they were trying to make an example, so as to limit the number of deaths, and had no desire to burn all of Westeros to death. But let's not downplay how atrocious the Field of Fire was.

The Field of Fire killed 5,100 men in total out of 66,000 fighting men. That is not an atrocity by comparison. It is just about 8%. If we only take the 5,000 who died on the side of the Two Kings it is about 9%.

That is not much. It is still terrifying to see the dragons doing their work, presumably, but the casualties in that battle were not high at all.

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7 hours ago, Destiny Arrives said:

They did though Dorne just had plot armor that even though it was described as a wasteland they still resisted. 

The Soviets turned Afghanistan into a wasteland. The US tried to turn Vietnam into a wasteland. Stalingrad was a wasteland when the Nazis surrounded it and tried to starve them out. People still resisted.

And both the Soviets and the U.S. and the Nazis had enormously greater destructive capability than the Targaryens had with their three dragons. I suspect the real answer is that the maesters and the Targaryens over-estimated the effectiveness of their terror campaign in crippling Dorne. 

Edited by Ran

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9 minutes ago, Ran said:

The Soviets turned Afghanistan into a wasteland. The US tried to turn Vietnam into a wasteland. Stalingrad was a wasteland when the Nazis surrounded it and tried to starve them out. People still resisted.

And both the Soviets and the U.S. and the Nazis had enormously greater destructive capability than the Targaryens had with their three dragons. I suspect the real answer is that the maesters and the Targaryens over-estimated the effectiveness of their terror campaign in crippling Dorne. 

As did the cowardly rulers of the other 6 kingdoms.

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