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Do we know why Aegon the Conqueror decided to invade Westeros?


LordBloodraven

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I believe it was Aegon who commanded that that table be made.

Actually, the Targaryens came to Dragonstone centuries before the Doom, as it was Valyria's westernmost outpost. We don't really know why they ended up there. Some argue that they heeded the words of Aenar Targaryen's daughter and left Valyria in order to avoid the Doom. Others argue that they were banished there (in AFFC we are told of a history book who's title mentions some sort of "banishment" that House Targaryen experienced). But all of this is just speculation, nothing concrete.

I thought I read somewhere (in one of GRRM's books, not a forum post) that the Targs only came to Dragonstone 400 years before the start of ASoIaF - meaning approx. 100 yrs before AL.......? I'll have to try to find it again, but I don't know which book it was in....

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I thought I read somewhere (in one of GRRM's books, not a forum post) that the Targs only came to Dragonstone 400 years before the start of ASoIaF - meaning approx. 100 yrs before AL.......? I'll have to try to find it again, but I don't know which book it was in....

I believe it was the Doom itself that occurred 400 years before Aegon's Conquest. But the Targaryens were on Dragonstone before it occurred (that's how they survived).

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I believe it was the Doom itself that occurred 400 years before Aegon's Conquest. But the Targaryens were on Dragonstone before it occurred (that's how they survived).

No I think that the Doom was 400 years ago from the start of Game of Thrones (300AL). Aegon's coronation was a 100 years after the Doom.

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Based on hints and "reading between the lines", it seems quite obvious that Aegon wasn't simply embarking on the conquest of Westeros because he liked the idea of ruling a barbarian kingdom from some hastily erected wooden keep on the future site of King's Landing.

He had Dragons! Essos and the Free cities were FAR more developed and sophisticated a region to rule for a noble from Valyria. Aegon could have conquered the entire Essos if he wanted to, and he would have had lots of support, as demonstrated by the pleas of the largest Free City - Volantis.

Here's the almost certain chain of events that led Aegon to Westeros:

Aenar Targaryen's daughter has some vision of a Prince that is Promised, at some undetermined time in the past. These visions possibly included forewarning of the Doom of Valyria.

In response to this, the Targaryens fled to Dragonstone about 100 years before the Doom. About 100 years AFTER the Doom, some sign or portent from the vision came true, which prompted Aegon to launch his invasion of Westeros.

Fast forward 300 years, and Rhaegar - the bookish, nerdish prince - read about the prophecy in old books and put two and two together.

And thus we arrive at the situation of the present day.

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Aegon fought against the Volantenes on dragonback when they tried to conquer the Free Cities and rebuild the Freehold of Valyria under their rule. There was once talk about the Volantenes trying to ally themselves with the Targaryens on Dragonstone to accomplish that goal. Apparently, Aegon refused that. Why we don't yet know.

That passage did not made it into ADwD though - I expected to read about it when Aegon recited the history of Volantis. On the other hand, I'm not sure if that tidbit was supposed to be in ADwD. It could have been something GRRM told somebody somewhere.

My guess would be that the Aegon's ancestors - or maybe only Aegon himself - were not that fond of the valyrian lifestyle anymore. The power of Valyria rooted in slavery as much as in magic and dragons, and maybe the Targaryens were banished/retreated to Dragonstone, the westernmost outpost - and apparently also the most insignificant - because they did no longer approve of this slavery stuff. The fact that the Targaryens never tried to force the valyrian lifestyle upon Westeros may indicate that. We don't know much about Aegon, but I imagine he might have been attracted to the Westerosi customs of knighthood, chivalry, and the like.

On the other hand, the Targaryen siblings might just have resented the idea to assist the Volantenes, to become only an important part in a larger empire, when they could conquer and rule an entire continent all by themselves.

I think I read that on ADWD. The Tigers of Volantis proposed an alliance with the Targs but they refused. Later when Volantis attacked Tyrosh, Aegon allied himself with the Tyroshi and Braavos to repel Volantene expansionnism. So it appears that he didn't want to conquer Essos and didn't want it to be unified. Was he against a rebuilding of the Freehold? I remember a theory I saw on this forum: basically, after Aenar's daughter vision of the Doom, the Targs were preaching for a massive migration of the Valyrians but they were exiled at Dragonstone for that. They were ostracised by their peers and found themselves in the remote island of Dragonstone. Maybe Aegon didn't want to look back and proceeded to conquer 7 kingdoms to which he had no cultural attachment.

I never said with certainty that either the PWWP prophecy or a vision of the Doom fueled Aegon's conquest. We simply don't have enough evidence to make a call on his motives. We have several disparate pieces of information that people have tried to fit into the story based on what we know so far.

We know that Martin doesn't insert details like Aenar Targaryen's daughter's book of prophecy (Signs and Portents) into the story if they have no ties to current events or no significance. The Doom of Valyria is one of the Big Mysteries™ of the broader ASOIAF story, and the Targaryens are the only dragonlords to have survived it. It makes sense that it would play a central role in what the family has done since then.

We have good reason to believe that whoever he and his daughter were, whenever they lived, this information illuminates something in the story, otherwise it would not be there. As I said above, Martin doesn't really trade in throwaway details. If a family has a tradition of dragon dreams and evidence of a prophetic gift, it's fairly reasonable to assume that members would heed it, even if it came from a lesser member of the clan.

I find it a bit unlikely that the Targaryens, in possession of dragons, would conquer a kingdom in order to foster the return of dragons, which were obviously not extinct at the time. There's little evidence that the Seven Kingdoms get them anything with which to fuel the return of dragons. Weren't the most powerful of the Targaryen dragons hatched on Dragonstone? They only started to weaken after the main dragon-rearing and training facilities were moved to King's Landing.

I second that. Coming to Westeros seems a bit odd for the Targs. Why not unify all the Free Cities under their rule (with the help of the dragons). They were more developped than Westeros. I expect something new about Aenar's daughter's vision and the Targaryen' relation to the Freehold.

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Not sure why the Targaryens should have gone to Dragonstone of all places. Even if Aenar's daughter had some vision about the Doom, we already know enough about the Doom to know that it only destroyed the valyrian peninsula, Valyria proper, and the Isle of Cedars. Apparently, the Volantenes had no dragons when they declared themselves the new rulers of the world. And neither did any other valyrian colony, no Free City, no former Ghiscari city, no one.

Apparently the nobles of Volantis were never that high in the hierarchy of the Freehold of Valyria to have dragons of their own. This actually means that Targaryens apparently were a powerful valyrian family before they went to Dragonstone. But even they took no living dragons with them, only dragon eggs. Balerion, Meraxes and Vhagar were hatched on Dragonstone - at least Balerion by Aegon's grandfather or great-grandfather, since he died at the age of 200 during the reign of Jaehaerys I. Meraxes and Vhagar might have been hatched later, but at least Vhagar lived to see the Dance of Dragons.

I guess it was not that easy for a valyrian dragonrider family to get the dragons off the island. Likely due to fear that they might be used against them. But why would a valyrian family retreat to Dragonstone of all places to escape the Doom. Volantis would have served, Lys would have served, Tyrosh would have served, Myr would have served... Dragonstone was effectively at the end of the world. There was nothing there, and without grown dragons there was no chance to conquer Westeros.

Neither Aegon nor his sisters seem to have been anything else that power players. They conquered six of the Seven Kingdoms, but they did nothing to strengthen the Wall, the Night's Watch. At least nothing we know as of yet. They did not even explore the lands beyond the Wall.

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I always thought that the Targaryens weren't a major house in The Valyrian Freehold. They were the Mormonts of the Freehold, having their Small and Poor Island, isolated from the rest of their people. I kind of figured it was poetic justice that the Targaryens, the weakest, survived and the stronger Valyrian Houses perished. Balerion was probably not even the biggest and baddest of Dragons, just the biggest and baddest of what was left of them.

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The Doom happened about 200 years before Aegon´s conquest of Westeros; the Volantene asked for help an ancestor of Aegon the Conqueror, but he was too weak (the Targaryen probably didn´t had fully grown dragons at that point) and Essos was probably so ruined that he thought it wasn´t worth the effort.

By the time of Aegon´s conquest, Volantis had already rebuild quite a lot, and was already building its own empire; at that point the nobility of Volantis probably wouldn´t have accepted Aegon as an overlord, only as a fellow landholding noble, but Aegon was already the king of Westeros, and he wasn´t interested in that.

Aegon probably helped Tyrosh because he felt he had already overstretched his power (he had only three adult dragons to keep control over his recently conquered gigantic kingdom, and he hasn´t even been able to conquer Dorne) and couldn´t risk conquering the Free Cities or didn´t think he could hold them for long, but he didn´t wanted a reborn Valyrian Empire to grow around Volantis; that would have probably become a dangerous rival power to his kingdom, plus there was the risk that said reborn Valyrian Empire would manage to learn how to hatch dragon´s eggs again (they had the valyrian blood and there were probably people in Volantis with knowledge about magic and dragons), so better crush them before they become a real menace...

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George says that Aegon was inspired by William the conqueror, so maybe their stories are similar in some way.

So Aegon heard about William the Conqueror and said "good one Bill, you've inspired me, that is what I will do". I wonder how Aegon heard about William the Conqueror? Maybe there is some inter-reality information service I don't know about.

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So Aegon heard about William the Conqueror and said "good one Bill, you've inspired me, that is what I will do". I wonder how Aegon heard about William the Conqueror? Maybe there is some inter-reality information service I don't know about.

Or maybe George told Aegon about William?

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nice theories, just a little nitpick, IIRC the doom happened 100 years before the conquest and it's dragon stone they took 200 before the conquest.

Thanks; I got those two dates mixed, but that doesn´t change what I said, that the Volantenes asked for help not to Aegon, but an ancestor of him, and that by the time of Aegon´s conquest of Westeros, Volantis was already sucessfully rebuilding the Valyrian Empire without the Targaryen´s help.

Aegon didn´t assisted the volantene because they wouldn´t accept him as king; the (free) Volantene prized their freedoms, and were already building their Empire without draconic assistance, so they didn´t needed him and didn´t wanted him. Westeros, on the other hand, was closer to his own fiefdom, and its inhabitants were used to monarchy and the feudal system, so they were easier targets for conquest.

Aegon attacked Volantis for fear of a future rival power to his own.

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Balerion, Meraxes and Vhagar were hatched on Dragonstone - at least Balerion by Aegon's grandfather or great-grandfather, since he died at the age of 200 during the reign of Jaehaerys I. Meraxes and Vhagar might have been hatched later, but at least Vhagar lived to see the Dance of Dragons.

Just to be clear..... Are you saying that the dragon, "Balerion the Black Dread", was only two hundred years old when he died? He was thousands of years olds.... So, unless the Targs had been on Dragonstone for thousands of years before the Doom, or unless Balerion originally belonged to another Valyrian House/Family settled on Dragonstone, there's no way Balerion was hatched on Dragonstone.

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Just to be clear..... Are you saying that the dragon, "Balerion the Black Dread", was only two hundred years old when he died? He was thousands of years olds.... So, unless the Targs had been on Dragonstone for thousands of years before the Doom, or unless Balerion originally belonged to another Valyrian House/Family settled on Dragonstone, there's no way Balerion was hatched on Dragonstone.

No, Balerion was two hundred years old when he died during the reign of Jaehaerys I. Barristan says so in one of Dany's chapters in ASoS.

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I don't know if this figures into any of the theories, but I'm drawn to Maester Cressen's explanation of Dragonstone to Shireen in A Clash of Kings.

"The maester did not believe in omens. And yet... old as he was, Cressen had never seen a comet half so bright, nor yet that color... [edit]

The comet burned even by day now, while pale grey steam rose from the hot vents of Dragonmont behind the castle, and yestermorn a white raven had brought word...[edit] of summer's end. Omens, all."

[edit]

"I had a bad dreams," Shireen told him. "About the dragons. They were coming to eat me."

Cressen "The dragons cannot come to life. They are carved of stone, child. In olden days our island was the westernmost outpost of the great Freehold of Valyria. It was the Valyrians who raised this citadel, and they had ways of shaping stone since lost to us. "

Does anyone have ideas on the 'ways of shaping stone that were lost'? I think Dragonstone is coming to life because of the comet, or a prophecy being fulfilled. The steam rising from the vents seems to echo the easy creation of wildfire in KL. I'm hoping the stone dragons play a large, perhaps lifelike part in something coming. Dany once believed her dragon eggs were stone.

Though Maester Aemon warned us that too many dragons are as dangerous as too few.

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Balerion the Black Dread died at about 200 during the rule of Jaehaerys I. We don't know how he died, but since Jaehaerys's reign was all peace and plenty, I assume he was killed at the very beginning of his rule when the Faith Militant was not yet fully put down. Not sure if a dragon can die of old age - if he can, this might be an option as well.

The quote confirming this can be found in ASoS, by the way. Ser Barristan tells Dany about him.

Aegon sided with the Braavosi, the Tyroshi, and the Westerosi Storm King against the Volantenes. This confirms that he fought Volantis side by side with Argilac the Arrogant before he ended up conquering the Stormlands and the other kingdoms of Westeros.

I imagined the Targaryens as a lesser valyrian noble house as well. But since ADwD confirmed that

- all the valyrian dragons were in Valyria proper when they Doom descended on Valyria, and

- that the Volantenes never had dragons of their own

it makes no sense to assume that the Targaryens were a lesser valyrian family. The dragons were the most powerful weapons of the Freehold of Valyria. Whoever owned dragons and rode them would have been among the most noble families, I guess. I imagine that the Freehold of Volantis mirrors the old Freehold of Valyria, so I guess the Valyrians had triarchs as well, but I'd be really surprised if there were any non-dragonriding dragons back in the days of the old Freehold. Of course, non dragon-riding land holders would have been allowed to vote, but I very much doubt that any no-dragon noblemen got elected triarch.

That is, if the dragonriders were that important as I imagine they were. There were powerful sorcerers in Valyria as well, but I always imagined (and still do) that they were identical with the dragonriders.

The only hint against that is the fact that amongst the Targaryen kings we know were no sorcerers at all. If magic and dragons are related, Targaryens with dragon blood should have had the potential to become great sorcerers. Of course, there is Bloodraven, Shiera Seastar, and Septon Barth during the reign of Jaehaerys I, but Aegon, his sisters and their children seemed to have had nothing to do with that stuff. Aegon was a warrior, not a sorcerer, and that fact alone does indicate that he had broken with valyrian tradition. And his forebears made the first steps. They converted to the Faith of the Andals, possibly after the Doom, possibly even when they arrived on the island, since the statues of the Seven on Dragonstone were made from the wood of the ships which carried the first Targaryens to Dragonstone. The latter might indicate that the Targaryens were indeed banished from Valyria, as valyrian patriots would most likely stick to valyrian gods.

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My impression was that the Targs escaped the doom with some retainers/servants right before the doom. Maybe it was the doom event that hatched the three dragons they eventually conquered Westeros with and escaped with them as hatchlings. Aegon and his ancestors apparently planned conquering Westeros for a while before he actually pulled it off.

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