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What happened during the Fall of King’s Landing?

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With the second season of House of the Dragon wrapping up filming, Game of Thrones fans are ready for another journey into Westeros’s history.

Much like its predecessor, the show promises a riveting spectacle of epic battles, detailed in George R.R. Martin’s book, Fire and Blood. Among the many conflicts that we will see, one event in particular shifted the tide during the Dance of the Dragons.

This battle was The Fall of King’s Landing. During this battle, Prince Daemon employed his wit to outmanoeuvre Prince Aemond. This article will tell us everything we need to know about the Fall of King’s Landing.

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How did the Fall of King’s Landing happen?

King Aegon II was badly injured after the Battle at Rook’s Rest. Due to this, Prince Aemond sat on the Iron Throne as Prince Regent and took command of the Green’s forces at King’s Landing.

Aemond, being young and aggressive, decided to attack Harrenhal, where his uncle Prince Daemon was gathering his forces. He also took Ser Criston Cole, the newly appointed Hand of the King, along with him.

Thus, King’s Landing was defenceless at a crucial point during the war. Prince Daemon and Mysaria had spies in the city. When he learned that Aemond had taken the army to Harrenhal, he mounted Caraxes and took flight.

He avoided Aemond’s line of advance and joined Rhaenyra and the dragonriders of the Blacks, along with the Velaryon fleet. Together, they struck at King’s Landing, which had a skeleton defence force and no war-capable dragons. When Daemon and Rhaenyra appeared on Caraxes and Syrax over King’s Landing, the entire city panicked.

Queen Alicent Hightower attempted to send riders to bring back Aemond and also tried to send ravens to other lords to call for aid. However, the City Watch of King’s Landing, which was under Queen Alicent’s command, betrayed her.

The City Watch were still loyal to Prince Daemon, who had been their founder and first commander. The royal master of King’s Landing, Grand Maester Orwyle, was beaten and bound by the Gold Cloaks when he tried to send ravens calling for aid.

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What actually happened during the Fall of King’s Landing?

gold-cloaks-kings-landing

Credits: David Demaret

King Aegon II had chosen seven commanders among the Gold Cloaks because they were loyal to him. The Gold Cloaks that were loyal to Daemon imprisoned and killed these seven commanders the moment they saw Caraxes flying over the Red Keep.

Queen Alicent’s brother, Gwayne Hightower, was also a member of the Gold Cloaks and second in command of the City Watch. Loyal to the Greens, he tried to raise the alarm when he saw the Blacks arriving to attack the city.

The Gold Cloaks captured him and brought him to Ser Luthor Largent, the commander of the City Watch. Gwayne denounced Ser Luthor as a turncloak for betraying the greens.

To this, Ser Luthor replied, “Daemon gave us these cloaks, and they’re gold no matter how you turn them.” Saying this, Ser Luthor executed Gwayne.

He then opened the city gates to the army that had emerged from the Sea Snake’s ships. The forces of the Greens, which consisted only of thirteen Hightower knights and a hundred men at arms, defended the River Gate of King’s Landing.

They attempted to hold it for eight hours against attacks from both within and without the city. The other six gates of King’s Landing fell quickly, and the Blacks’ army entered through these gates with little to no resistance.

The entire city fell to the Blacks in less than a day. When she realized that all hope was lost, Queen Alicent ordered her forces to surrender.

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What happened after the Fall of King’s Landing?

aegon-ii

Credits: HBO

King Aegon II managed to escape from the capital, evading capture. The Clubfoot, Lord Larys Strong, smuggled the King out of the city via secret passages. His children and two Kingsguard knights accompanied Aegon to protect them.

The Blacks executed Lord Otto Hightower for the crime of treason. Some lords from within the court attempted to change their allegiance to Rhaenyra but were refused. Rhaenyra judged them to be “faithless friends” and ordered their executions.

Queen Alicent Hightower and her daughter Helaena Targaryen were held captive by the Blacks. Grand Maester Orwyle was confined to the dungeons. Rhaenyra ascended the Iron Throne, but she cut herself on the throne when she sat down.

This started rumours amongst the people that the Iron Throne had rejected her.  As the people of King’s Landing did not particularly love King Aegon II and Prince Aemond, they welcomed Rhaenyra’s ascent.

But as time passed, Rhaenyra ordered more and more executions and raised taxes to fund the wars. The population began to slowly hate her, referring to her as “King Maegor with Teats” in reference to Maegor the Cruel.

Queen Alicent attempted to broker peace when she learned of the campaigns Rhaenyra had planned against Aemond and Daeron. Alicent proposed to divide the Seven Kingdoms between the two claimants. She said that Rhaenyra could rule from King’s Landing and hold her domain over the Crownlands, Riverlands, Vale of Arryn, and the Iron Islands.

 
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Aegon II would rule over a new realm consisting of the Reach, the Stormlands, and the Westerlands. Rhaenyra outright rejected Alicent’s offer. She claimed Aegon and Aemond gave up any positions of honour they could have held when they stole her birthright and murdered her sons.

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