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Everything you need to know about Cregan Stark and the Hour of the Wolf

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Lord Cregan Stark of Winterfell is set to be one of the most important characters in the upcoming season of House of the Dragon. Apart from providing military support to the Blacks, Lord Cregan also advised the royal court during a time of turmoil.

His involvement was most notable after the Dance of the Dragons ended. During this time, Lord Cregan proved that he was a true Northman through his edicts and actions. For a short time, he sat on the Iron Throne to pass judgment in a period known as the Hour of the Wolf.

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What was the Hour of the Wolf?

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Credits: Naomi Buttelo

The Hour of the Wolf, also known as the Judgement of the Wolf, occurred after the end of the Targaryen Civil War. It refers to the six days that Lord Cregan Stark of Winterfell sat upon the Iron Throne as the Hand of the King.

The Westerosi historian Grand Maester Munkun coined the term in his book “The Dance of the Dragons, A True Telling.” In Westeros, time is told by applying traditional names for specific nighttime hours. The hour of the wolf is believed to be the blackest part of nighttime.

Lord Cregan meted out judgments on those he deemed guilty of injustices during the war. In particular, he held them accountable for the crime of killing King Aegon II Targaryen, something that he viewed as a grave offense.

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What was happening during the War?

Nearing the end of the civil war, King Aegon II executed Queen Rhaenyra on Dragonstone. After this, the Greens headed to take back King’s Landing.

King’s Landing was in turmoil during this time. It was going through a period that was later called the ‘Moon of Three Kings,’ when various pretender kings vied for the Iron Throne. The Greens quashed these rebellions, and King Aegon II once again ruled the capital city.

Rhaenyra’s supporters did not back down, instead carrying on the war in the name of her son, Prince Aegon the Younger. During this time, the young prince was a ward at the court of King’s Landing. The remaining members of the Black faction converged upon the city of King’s Landing with three separate armies.

The first came from Riverrun, led by Lord Elmo Tully. The second approached from the Vale in the name of Lady Jeyne Arryn. The third came from the North, led by Lord Cregan Stark, who rode from Winterfell.

The armies approached the capital city, fighting through battles and losing men along the way. Lord Elmo Tully met his end during this charge, passing away only forty-nine days after he had become the Lord of Riverrun. Yet, the armies progressed closer and closer as it became evident to members of the Green Council that the city would soon be overtaken.

Read More: It appears George R. R. Martin had hinted at Jon Snow’s real name in the books years ago!

When did Lord Cregan Stark get involved?

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Credits: Doug Wheatley

King Aegon II’s counselors urged him to surrender. They tried to convince him that the Blacks would pardon him and that he could take the black and join the Night’s Watch. Queen Alicent Hightower, however, reminded King Aegon II that the Greens still held Rhaenyra’s son, Prince Aegon, as a hostage.

Instead of surrendering, King Aegon II ordered his men to cut off the young prince’s ear to warn the approaching armies. After this, the king climbed into his litter and asked to be taken to the Royal Sept.

On the way, he drank from a flagon of wine to ease the pain of his old wounds, as was his habit. When the litter reached the sept, the king’s attendants found him dead with blood on his lips. The wine had been poisoned. No one knew who had poisoned it.

Shortly after his death, the armies of the Blacks began to arrive at the kingdom gates. The three young riverlords known as The Lads arrived first and were met by Lord Corlys Velaryon and Prince Aegon the Younger.

Meeting them at the Gate of the Gods, Lord Corlys informed the Lads of the king’s death. The rest of the rivermen entered the city and were met by the smallfolk and the Gold Cloaks.

The remaining loyalists of King Aegon II surrendered as the army from the Vale arrived. With the King dead and the war finally over, a sense of euphoria began to take hold of King’s Landing.

Grand Maester Munkun referred to this brief period as the False Dawn. The sense of euphoria quickly vanished when Lord Cregan Stark and his army from Winterfell arrived at the capital.

Why did the Hour of the Wolf take place?

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Credits: Doug Wheatley

Lord Cregan had been recruited into the war by Prince Jacaerys through a marriage pact. However, Jacaerys’ untimely death prevented the pact from being fulfilled.

Even after King Aegon II’s death, Lord Cregan Stark fully intended to continue fighting the war. He wished to punish the Greens’ supporters, including the Lannisters, Hightowers, and Baratheons.

However, Lord Corlys had already sent envoys to the three Houses in order to negotiate peace. He tried to convince Lord Cregan to continue the war only if the three Houses rejected peace terms.

If they were to accept, however, then attacking the Houses would be considered a breach of the King’s peace. Due to this, Lord Cregan had no choice but to wait for the three Houses to answer. The waiting lasted six days.

During this time, Lord Cregan held court at King’s Landing, accompanied by his army from Winterfell. He was committed to bringing justice, condemning people considered guilty of killing Aegon II.

For the crime of regicide, he arrested 22 men, including Lord Corlys Velaryon and Lord Larys Strong. Intimidating the young Prince Aegon the Younger, he named himself the Hand of the King and presided over the trials.

Lord Corlys’s granddaughters, Baela and Rhaena, attempted to convince Prince Aegon to restore Lord Corlys to his office. However, Cregan Stark was only convinced by Alysanne Blackwood, known as Black Aly.

Lord Cregan had grown fond of her during his time at King’s Landing, and she of him. When she asked him to spare Lord Corlys, he asked her for her hand in marriage. She gladly accepted, and thus, Lord Corlys escaped the trial.

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What happened during the Hour of the Wolf?

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Credits: Doug Wheatley

The remaining accused were not as lucky. Nineteen of them agreed to take the Black and go to the Wall to join the Night’s Watch. Two of them opted for execution instead.

The first was Ser Gyles Belgrave, from King Aegon II’s Kingsguard. He was suspected of having poisoned King Aegon’s wine himself. The second was Lord Larys Strong, King Aegon’s former Master of Whisperers.

Larys was also suspected of having had a hand in poisoning the king. In the tradition of the Starks, Lord Cregan chose to execute them himself. Using the ancestral Valyrian steel greatsword Ice, he beheaded the two accused.

The day after the executions, he resigned as Hand of the King. After six days, ravens arrived from the Lannisters, Hightowers, and Baratheons. They accepted the terms of peace and chose to surrender.

Rhaenyra’s son, Prince Aegon the Younger, ascended the throne as King Aegon III Targaryen. Within a week of his coronation, Lord Cregan Stark departed for Winterfell. He turned down an offer to serve in King Aegon III’s regency, choosing to return to the North.

However, not all his men returned with him. Many of the men were surplus soldiers whose families would have starved if they had returned to the North. A fair, known as the Widow’s Fair, was held in the Riverlands, which the Northmen attended.

 
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The purpose of the fair was to unite the Northmen with women who had been widowed in the war so that they could start new families together.

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