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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Aegon’s Conquest: how did Daenerys' ancestors take Westeros?

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In Season 6 of Game of Thronesand hopefully soon in the booksDaenerys Targaryen sails

west, hoping to take the Throne of Westeros. She brings with her an army, and a navy, and

three dragonsbut her war wont be easy. If Danys to succeed in her conquest, she

should take some lessons from Game of Thrones historybecause this is actually the second

time a Targaryen has invaded Westeros from the east with three dragons. The first time

was three hundred years ago, in the Conquest of Aegon Targaryen.

So before Tommen and Joffrey and Robert Baratheon, the King of Westeros was Aerys Targaryen,

the father of Daenerys and Viserys. Before Aerys was a dozen generations of Targaryen

kings, a dynasty of three centuries, which was founded by Aegon Targaryen. Aegons

family originally came from Valyria, the empire of the dragonlords, but it blew upwhich

is kind of its own story. The Targaryens escaped this Doom and settled on Dragonstone, an island

just off Westeros, and for generations they stayed there, trading in the Narrow Sea , and

meddling in eastern politics, but when Aegon became Lord of Dragonstone, his interest was

Westeros . Westeros, at the time, was divided into seven

Kingdomsthe north was ruled by King Torrhen Stark, the Vale by Queen Regent Sharra Arryn

for her young son Ronnel, the Iron Islands and the riverlands ruled by King Harren Hoare,

the westerlands ruled by King Loren Lannister, the Reach by King Mern Gardener, the stormlands

by King Argilac Durrandon, and Dorne by Princess Meria Martell. These kingdoms had been fighting

one another for centuries, but the way Aegon saw it, Westeros wasOne realm, for one

king to rule alone” . He was to be that kingso he planned an invasion.

We dont know much about Aegon as a person. He was a great warrior and leader, but also

anenigma” – reserved, with few friends . His closest companions were his sisters

who were also his wives, cause the Targaryens really love incestVisenya and Rhaenys.

Visenya was a skilled warrior, stern and serious , while Rhaenys was more playful and impulsive,

a lover of music and dancing . There was also Orys Baratheon, Aegons friend and possibly

his bastard half-brother . The Targaryens had alliances with Houses Bar Emmon, Celtigar,

Massey and Velaryon , all minor houses that were based nearby to Dragonstone. And the

Targaryens also had dragonsVisenya rode a dragon called Vhagar, Rhaenys rode a dragon

called Meraxes, and Aegon rode a monster called Balerion, the Black Dread, a dragon so huge

that whole towns were swallowed upin the shadow of his wings when he passed over

them . After the destruction of Valyria, these three were the only dragons known to exist

in the world. So that was team Targaryen at the beginning of the ConquestAegon, his

sisters, and their three dragons, Orys Baratheon, the Bar Emmons, Celtigars, Masseys and Velaryons.

They raised a small army and landed on Westeros. At the place where they landed, the mouth

of the Blackwater river, Aegon built a small fort, the Aegonfort. Rhaenys and Visenya went

and took over the nearby small castles of Stokeworth and Rosbywhich was pretty

easy because they had dragons. The lords of Duskendale and Maidenpool gathered an army,

and marched on Aegon with three thousand men, but Aegon easily destroyed them with his dragon

if you pay close attention you might start to see a pattern here. Then back at the Aegonfort,

they had a ceremony where Aegon let his defeated enemies keep their old lands and positions

so long as they joined his side. Visenya crowned Aegon, Rhaenys named him King of Westeros,

and they unfurled a Targaryen bannera red three-headed dragon on black silk. The

Targaryens and their Valyrian ancestors didnt have a tradition of heraldry, but Aegon used

this Westerosi custom as way of showing he was one of them. When the lords saw Aegons

banner, they took at as a sign that he was a worthy high king for Westeros . But there

was still some conquering left to do. One of Aegons first moves was to send a

fleet of ships led by Daemon Velaryon to attack Gulltown and the Vale of Arryn. The Arryns

got a fleet together and managed to beat the Targaryens, sinking a third of their ships,

and killing Daemon Velaryon. But in response, Visenya came and burned the Vales fleet

with her dragon, Vhagar. This kinda sets the tone for the rest of the Conquestsometimes

the Targaryens did get beat, but never for long, because in the end, “Aegons enemies

had no answer for his dragons” . Well, except for Dornebut were getting ahead of

ourselves. Aegon marched on to his first real challenge

King Harren Hoare. House Hoare was originally from the Iron Islands, but they came to rule

the riverlands as well. Harren was calledthe Black”, and was legendary for his

cruelty . He built a tremendous castle called Harrenhal, and made the riverlanders pay for

it , plundering from the local lords, and working thousands of people to death . As

Aegon approached Harrenhal with his army, he was attacked by Harrens men twice. In

the second battle, two of Harrens sons managed to sneak up and kill a bunch of Aegons

men in the night, but in the morning, Aegon burned Harrens sons with his dragon as

they tried to escape across a lake. Harren tried to rally the riverlords to help him

fight, but instead, they rose up against him, under the leadership of a Lord Edmyn Tully

. Suddenly outnumbered, Harren retreated to his castle. When Aegon came, he offered Harren

peace, said if he gave up, hed let him go home to the Iron Islands. He said he had

eight thousand men outside Harrens walls. Harren said whats outside of his walls

if of no concern, because his walls are strong and thick. Aegon said but I have dragons,

dragons fly. Harren said stone doesnt burn. So Aegon said when the sun sets your line

shall end. When night fell, Aegon descended on Harrenhal with his dragon, bathing its

towers in fire until they began to melt like candleseverything inside was caught on

firewood and wool, hemp and straw, and all of Harrens men. The greatest castle

in Westeros was made a ruin that night, and Harren died along with his entire line. In

the morning, the riverlords pledged their allegiance to Aegon, and Edmyn Tully was named

Lord Paramount of the Tridentthe ancestor of Hoster, Brynden, Catelyn, Lysa and Edmure.

As for Harrenhal, its twisted melted ruins are now believed to be cursedalmost every

character who holds Harrenhal in the main story so far has ended up violently murdered

one way or anotherLittlefinger and Roose Bolton in the books are two of the only ones

to surviveso far. But yeah, Aegon defeated Harren Hoare and took the riverlands. The

Iron Islands Aegon kind of ignored for a few years, but later he came and sorted them out

and allowed them to pick their own leader. They chose Vickon Greyjoyancestor of

Balon, Euron, Aeron, Ashaor Yaraand Theon.

While Aegon took the riverlands, Rhaenys and Orys went to take the stormlands. On their

way to the castle of Storms End, they were ambushed by Argilacs men, who killed a

thousand Targaryen soldiers before melting back into the forests. So Rhaenys burned the

forests, killed the men, and kept on marching. By now, King Argilac had heard what had happened

to Harren, so he decided to leave his castle and attack the Targaryens in the field. From

dragonback Rhaenys saw them coming, so she and Orys and the Targaryen army dug in and

waited for them come. Right on cue, a huge, dramatic storm began, a steady rain became

a howling gale, setting the stage for a massive battle later called the Last Storm. Because

of the storm, Rhaenysdragon Meraxes couldnt fly, so the battle was actually a pretty fair

fight. It raged well into the night , with Argilac charging the Targaryens with cavalry

and spearmen, until finally he broke though to his enemiescentre, and was faced with

Rhaenys and Meraxes. The dragon burned Argilacs best men and scattered his cavalry, and Argilac

was killed in single combat with Orys Baratheon. The battle ended, and after a brief resistance

by Argilacs daughter, Argella, the stormlands were won for Aegon. Orys married Argella,

and took the Durrandon castle, sigil and house words for his ownand so the house Baratheon

was founded , ancestors of Robert, Stannis, Renly, and dont forget, Roberts bastard

Gendry. On the other side of Westeros, the Kings of

the westerlands and the reachLoren Lannister and Mern Gardenerdecided that enough

was enough . They raised the biggest army ever seen in Westeros, over fifty thousand

strong, and marched on the Targaryens. Aegon, with his much smaller army, came to meet them,

and they clashed in a field of wheat and grass, which Aegon noted was very dry, it hadnt

rained in while. The battle began, blokes started killing blokes but then the Targaryens

activated their trap cardwhich wasit wasit was their dragons. Rhaenys and

Visenya started big fires to the sides and behind the enemy, trapping them, while Balerion

filled the enemy lines with flame and smoke. Thousands of men were burned alive in what

was later called the Field of Fire . King Loren Lannister managed to escape. He surrendered

to Aegon, and was made Warden of the West, ancestor to Tywin, Tyrion, Cersei, and Jaime.

But King Mern and his family were all wiped out, ending House Gardener, who had ruled

the reach for thousands of years. Control of the reach then fell to Harlen of House

Tyrell, who had served the Gardeners as stewards for many years. Harlen immediately surrendered

to Aegon, and so was given dominion over the reach as Aegons Warden of the South . Interestingly,

its implied, at least in the Blu-ray features for the show, that it was the Tyrells' idea

for the Gardeners to go get themselves killed so that the Tyrells could take overthese

schemers are ancestors of Margaery, Mace and Loras.

After the reach and westerlands were conquered, Aegon heard the northmen were on the march,

so he rushed up with all his army to meet King Torrhen Stark. Torrhen had a pretty big

army, with thirty thousand northmen, but he saw that Aegons was bigger, a huge host

of riverlanders, stormlanders, westerlanders, reachmen, everyone he had conquered and won

over to his side. Torrhen saw Aegons dragons, and heard how they burned thousands on the

Field of Fire, and at Harrenhal. And Torrhen thoughtdo we really wanna fight these

guys? Some of his bannermen wanted to attack, others wanted to fall back to Moat Cailin,

Torrhensbastard brother Brandon Snow offered tosneak into Aegons camp and

kill his dragons. But in the end Torrhen decided to make peace. He knelt, gave up his crown,

and swore the north to Aegon. Forever after Torrhen was known as the King Who Knelt, and

his Stark descendants were no longer Kings of Winter, but only Wardens of the North.

Some northmen were angry that their king would surrender, but its hard to deny Torrhen

saved the north from a war they probably wouldnt have won. Stillthis Brandon Snow thing

is interesting. Torrhens brother offered tocross the Trident alone under cover

of darkness, to slay [Aegons] dragons [while] they slept”. Was this guy brave or stupid?

Did he have a plan to kill these dragons? There is a bit in Dance that could give a

hint of what Brandon was thinking. Bran Stark has a vision of the distant past where he

sees a pale, fierce youth in the Winterfell godswood, slicing three branches of weirwood

off the heart tree and shaping them into arrows. Some fans believe that that youth is Brandon

Snow, and speculate that those three weirwood arrows could have had some power to kill Aegons

three dragonsweirwood is linked to the magic of the old gods and the children of

the forest. So, there isnt much to go on here, but it is an interesting possibility

maybe dragon-killing weirwood arrows will come back into the story at some point.

In the Vale, Queen Regent Sharra Arryn had just seen five of Westerosseven kingdoms

fall to Aegonso she raised her defences. She put a strong army at the Bloody Gate,

and garrisons all up the Eyriethe reputedly impregnable castle of the Arryn Kings . But

all her defences turned out to be useless when Visenya flew over them on dragonback,

easily landing in the Eyries inner courtyard . When Queen Sharra ran out to face her with

her guards, she found her son Ronnel sitting on Visenyas knee, asking for a ride on

the dragon. In the end, Sharra and Visenya had a nice chat, Ronnel got a ride on a dragon,

and when he landed, he was no longer a little king, but a little lord . The Vale yielded

to Aegon, and joined his realm. After the Vale, there was one kingdom left

to conquer. Rhaenys mounted her dragon Meraxes, and flew out to the sands of Dorne. She came

to the castle of Vaith, and flew down to take it, but it was emptynone of the lords

or guards were there, and the peasants wouldnt say where they went. So Rhaenys flew onto

Godsgrace, then Planky Town, but could find only women and children. Finally she came

to Sunspear, home of the Martell Princes of Dorne, and found it too abandoned except for

the Princess of Dorne herself, Meria Martell. Meria was old and fat and blindsome called

her theYellow Toad of Dorne” – but she was still very sharp. Meria told Rhaenys

that she wouldnt fight, but she wouldnt kneelthat the Martell house words are

Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”. She said that Dorne has no king, that Rhaenys isnt

wanted in Dorne, to return at her peril. So, Rhaenys left – “and Dorne remained unconquered”.

Rhaenys did come back in another Targaryen attack ten years later, and when she did,

Rhaenys was killed. A scorpion bolt pierced Meraxeseye, and the dragon and the queen

fell from the sky . Every time the Targaryens tried to take Dorne, Dorne beat them, by using

these guerilla tactics. Whenever the dragons came, the Dornish wouldnt line up to be

roasted like at the Field of Fire, they wouldvanish”. Melt away, leavingonly stone

and sand for them to burn” , emerging when it was safe to kill their enemies from the

shadows. It wasnt til over a hundred years later that Dorne finally joined the Seven

Kingdoms, and even then it wasnt by conquest but by diplomacy and marriageDorne joined

Westeros on their own termsan attitude upheld by some of Merias ancestorsincluding

Oberyn, Doran, Elia and Trystane. So Aegon failed to conquer Dorne, but six

out of seven kingdoms ain't bad. He came to Oldtown, the biggest city in Westeros, and

the centre of the Faith of the Seven , which is like the Catholic Church of Game of Thrones.

The High Septon, kind of the Pope, had spent seven days and seven nights praying to the

gods for advice on Aegon, and eventually he decided that he would not fight the guy with

the dragons who just conquered most of the country, but would declare him the rightful

ruler. So the Septonanointed Aegon withseven oils, placed a crown upon his head,

and proclaimed him Aegon of House Targaryen, the First of His Name, King of the Andals,

the Rhoynar, and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm

. Aegon decided to rule his great new realm from the new town that was growing round the

Aegonfort, which eventually would become the city of Kings Landing. Aegon made a throne

out of the swords of his defeated enemies, the Iron Throne, which looks way cooler in

the books. So that is how Aegon conquered Westeroswhat

can Daenerys learn from this? The first, most obvious lesson is that her most valuable assets

are her dragons. She can use them to destroy enemy castles and armies and fleets, to control

battlefields, to scout ahead, to intimidatetheyll probably be very useful against

the white walkersbut Dany will also have to protect her dragonsthey can be killed.

As Rhaenys learned in Dorne, a scorpion bolt can kill one . And historically theyve

also been killed by arrows, even by mobs of angry peasants, if they get trapped indoors

. There might also be the risk of somehow losing control of one of her dragons. In the

books, Euron Greyjoy has a magic horn that he claims canbind dragons to [his] will

. Theres also speculation that Bran or the Night King could do some skinchanging

magic shenanigans to take one of Danys dragons, just like Bran wargs Hodor, and the

walkers control wights. Basically, therere a lot of things that could go wrong with the

dragons, and honestly, Danyll probably lose at least one of them somehowthe

storyd be boring if she just easily won with them, right? Also, Dany should watch

out for guerrilla tactics like the Targaryens faced in Dorne. Shes already come up against

this sort of thing with the Sons of the Harpy in Meereen, who hide in the day, and strike

at night , and Dany wasnt much good at dealing with these guys. The basic problem

is that dragons are great at killing your enemies, but only if you know who your enemies

are and where your enemies are. And sadly, in the game of thrones, things arent always

so straightforward. Something else Dany might wanna think about

is political and cultural legitimacy. Aegon was really smart in using symbols and traditions

that showed hed be a worthy ruler, that he would rule not as some Valyrian foreign

overlord, but as a Westerosi king. He used Westerosi heraldry, he was anointed by the

leader of Westerosi religion, and he built a huge visible tangible symbol of his political

power in the Iron Throne, using the actual swords of his enemies to embody his right

of conquest. All these things contributed to Aegons legitimacy in the eyes of the

people he ruled, to make him the sort of leader that people were happy to follow. Dany should

consider this stuff too. Shes spent almost all her life far from Westeros, and she leads

a mostly foreign armyso theres a risk that people will see her not as a rightful

queen, but as a foreign conqueror. One easy way to improve this is to remind everyone,

as she often does, that she is the blood of Valyria, a descendent of Aegon , and the inheritor

of his dynasty. She might not wanna remind people, however, that her father was the notoriously

cruel and crazyMad King”, who Robert fought a rebellion to usurp. Somight

wanna be sensitive there. Another interesting issue for Dany is religion. Dany seems to

have no interest in the Faith of the Seven, and besides, the High Septon just got blown

up in the show, so the Faiths probably in disarray anyway. But Dany is making connections

to the Red God, the Lord of Light, shes rubbing shoulders with red priests, who claim

shes Azor Ahai. This might help get her support in Essos, but most Westerosi dont

follow the Red God, so this could actually work against hershell wanna be careful

there. Finally, part of what made Aegon successful

was that he didnt just destroy all his enemies with dragonfire. He always offered

mercyso long as foes bent the knee, hed even let them keep their lands and titles

. Aegon turned his enemies into allies, Robert Baratheon did the same thing. But will Daenerys

be so merciful? Shes been pretty burny lately , more fire and blood than peace and

diplomacy . In the show she talks aboutbreaking the wheel”, destroying the great houses

of Westeros rather than winning them to her side. “Aegon the Conqueror brought fire

and blood to Westeros, but afterward he gave them peace, prosperity, and justice”. Will

Dany do the same? Or will she bring onlydeath and ruin”? Well have to wait and see.

Thanks for watching! A lot of these beautiful illustrations, and most of the information

are from The World of Ice and Fire, George R. R. Martin's book about the history and

cultures and locations of the world of Game of Thrones. If you'd like to check out the

book, there's a link to buy it below, which helps support this channel at no extra cost

to you. Thanks to Something Like A Lawyer and BryndenBFish of Wars and Politics of Ice

and Fire for helping out with this video scriptyou can find some amazing in-depth Game

of Thrones analysis at their blogtheres a link below. Thanks also to the Patrons supporting

this channel on Patreon, including Barth Tarth, PsycoticOyster, Erica Campbell, Anna Jarzab,

Cam Lewis, mamaQB, Scott Detterman, Bruno Johnson, ForTheWatch and Ricky. Cheers.

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