Game of Thrones (2011) - full transcript
In the mythical continent of Westeros, several powerful families fight for control of the Seven Kingdoms. As conflict erupts in the kingdoms of men, an ancient enemy rises once again to threaten them all. Meanwhile, the last heirs of a recently usurped dynasty plot to take back their homeland from across the Narrow Sea.
This world wasn't always
so small and petty.
Thousands of years ago,
while the rest of men prayed to gods,
the Valyrians became them.
Through magic or sheer will,
the greatest creatures in history.
A horse grants man dominion over the land,
a ship, over the sea.
But dragons gave us the sky,
and everything, and everyone beneath it.
At its height,
my ancestors ruled the known world.
Whatever parts we didn't
weren't worth knowing.
Our capital of Valyria
shamed the magnificent cities of the east,
for hammers and chisels were no match
for dragonfire and sorcery.
It was a city and an empire
built to last until the end of time.
Four hundred years ago,
the Doom fell on Valyria.
Mountains cracked open like eggs.
Lakes and rivers boiled.
Fountains of fire, ash and smoke
spewed from the ground,
so high and so hot
that even dragons burned in flight.
The land splintered,
and the angry sea rushed in.
In hours, the greatest city in history
But my ancestors didn't burn or drown
with the rest of their race.
Twelve years before the Doom,
despite the sneers of his rivals,
abandoned the capital with his family.
Legends claim that his daughter foresaw
the destruction of the city in a dream.
More likely, Aenar met with
some mishap at court
and chose exile over execution.
He and House Targaryen slinked away
to a dreary, remote, godforsaken island.
Forsaken no longer.
With arts now lost to the world,
we transformed a tiny outpost
a fortress fit for the last dragonlords.
Then Aenar's descendants settled into it
like a tomb for their lost homeland.
When he looked east,
he saw the past, old, tired, dead.
But when he looked west,
he saw the future,
gold in the ground, gold in the fields,
and no dragons in the sky but his.
He and his sisters Rhaenys and Visenya
flew over the great continent,
ostensibly visitors to a strange land.
But when Aegon returned,
he ordered construction of a massive table
carved in the shape of Westeros,
with all the notable rivers and mountains
that they had seen.
A personal map of the Seven Kingdoms,
then ruled by seven squabbling families.
House Durrandon held the Stormlands
from their seat at Storm's End,
due south of Dragonstone.
House Hoare of the Iron Islands had
also conquered and enslaved the Riverlands,
and ruled them from Harrenhal,
a monstrous castle
rising on the shore of the Gods Eye.
House Stark held the frozen
wasteland of the North,
the oldest, largest
and emptiest of the kingdoms.
House Lannister held the Westerlands,
the wealthiest kingdom,
thanks to their gold mines.
House Gardener held the Reach,
the second wealthiest kingdom,
thanks to their crops.
House Arryn held the Vale,
or rather the Vale held them.
The mountains were impassable
except through the Bloody Gate,
which had never been taken.
House Martell held the deserts of Dorne,
probably because no one else wanted them.
Together, the Seven Kingdoms
a realm that wasn't yet a realm,
ruled by great families
who didn't know what greatness was.
Aegon would teach them.
Though House Durrandon
titled themselves "Storm Kings,"
they were little more than gusts.
Their kingdom in the Stormlands
had been doddering to its end
for the past few centuries,
helped along by other houses,
most of all by House Hoare,
who were nearly finished
with the monstrous castle of Harrenhal,
too large and too costly a seat to rule
only the Riverlands.
King Argilac knew
where the ironborn would soon turn.
You'd think a king who
wanted to keep his crown
would be wary of a man
with fire-breathing monsters,
but King Argilac Durrandon
wasn't called "the Arrogant" for nothing.
Determined to arrest his family's decline,
he sent an envoy to Dragonstone
to enlist Aegon Targaryen
and his dragons against his enemies.
Argilac offered lands he didn't have
and a wife Aegon didn't need,
for, as the Valyrians did,
Aegon had wed his elder sister, Visenya.
Then, as the Valyrians didn't,
he took the younger Rhaenys as well.
Two sisters, two wives.
Perhaps that's why he was so keen
to get off Dragonstone.
Aegon countered Argilac with courtesy.
He sent his own envoy requesting
that Princess Durrandon's hand be given
instead to Aegon's closest friend,
and rumored half-brother, Orys Baratheon.
Argilac answered with a box and a note,
"These are the only hands
your bastard shall have of me."
Inside the box
were the hands of Aegon's envoy.
How long had Aegon been waiting
for such a pretext?
As his army prepared to sail,
ravens flew to every great lord
of the Seven Kingdoms.
All bore the same message.
From this day forth,
there would be but one king in Westeros.
Those who bent the knee
to Aegon of House Targaryen
would keep their lands and titles.
Those who took up arms against him
would be thrown down,
humbled and destroyed.
Poor old Argilac.
He couldn't even match Aegon in arrogance.
Aegon landed at the mouth
of the Blackwater River
and raised a primitive "Aegonfort"
in the disputed land between
Harren's and Argilac's kingdoms,
so that neither could decide
whose problem he was.
Adopting the customs
of the Seven Kingdoms,
Aegon unfurled his own banner
with a red three-headed dragon
breathing fire upon a black field.
Visenya crowned him
with a ruby-studded circlet of Valyrian steel,
while Rhaenys hailed him as
the first high king the continent had seen
since the Dawn Age.
As his lords
and the gathered locals cheered him,
Aegon named his loyal friends
to a "Small Council"
led by Orys Baratheon,
whom he called, "My strong right hand."
The title stuck,
and a bastard became
the first Hand of the King.
But for now, Aegon's kingdom contained
only a rocky island and a handful of fields.
The other kings had larger armies, ships,
castles and thousands of years of rule.
But Aegon had dragons.
He had chosen for the words of his house,
"Fire and blood."
Before he was done,
the rivers, fields and skies would turn red.
Harren of House Hoare
inherited a kingdom
that stretched from
the Iron Islands to the Trident,
too great a kingdom to rule
from a castle as shitty as Pyke.
For 40 years, his ironborn
plundered the Riverlands
for stone, timber
and slaves to build a seat worthy of him.
Legend has it that masons laid
the final stone in Harrenhal
on the very day
that Aegon landed in Westeros.
Could've been a divine omen.
Could've been the masons wanted to fuck off
before the dragons got there.
They weren't the only ones.
At Aegon's approach,
Harren's riverlords revolted,
led by House Tully.
I doubt Harren noticed.
Harrenhal could repel
an army of a million men.
No ladder could summit its walls,
and no ram could shatter them.
The castle was as impregnable
as an old maid's cunt.
Harren shut his gates around himself,
his sons, and his ironborn,
and waited for Aegon's army
to drain back into the muck.
When Aegon finally saw the monstrous castle,
he asked for parley.
Harren granted it.
Valyria had been the greatest empire
the world had ever seen.
Harren wanted to piss on its ashes.
"Yield now, and you may remain
as Lord of the Iron Islands.
"Yield now, and your sons will live
to rule after you.
"You see my army outside your walls.
"You see my dragons."
"What is outside my walls
is of no concern.
"Those walls are strong and thick."
"But stone doesn't burn."
"When the sun sets,
your line shall end."
and returned to his castle.
Once inside, he promised lands,
riches and Tully's daughters
to whoever could bring down
Aegon or his dragon.
As the sun sank below the horizon,
all of Harren's men patrolled the battlements,
hearing wings in every gust of wind.
But the moon rose, and sank,
and no dragon appeared.
While the ironborn
were ringing the battlements,
Aegon drove his dragon Balerion
higher and higher in the night sky
so that even the great castle of Harrenhal
looked like an anthill below them.
Then they plunged straight into the castle,
well inside the guarded walls.
The five towers of Harrenhal
reached towards Aegon like a hand.
Balerion opened his mouth
and bathed all the fingers in flame.
Harren was right, stone doesn't burn,
but men do,
even when they're ironborn.
The dragon blasted my ancestors into ash
that choked the survivors
when they screamed.
Harren's soldiers leapt from the battlements
They huddled against the walls and died.
They fled across the yard and died.
Harren and his sons took shelter
inside the castle.
The stone didn't burn,
but as Balerion blasted it with fire,
it glowed white-hot.
The world's greatest castle
became the world's greatest oven,
baking the last of House Hoare within it.
Outside the castle walls,
the towers of Harrenhal
glowed red against the night
and began to twist and melt
like five huge candles
with liquid stone
trickling down their sides like wax.
The next morning,
Aegon forged a new Riverlands.
He named the rebel Edmyn Tully
as his Lord Paramount of the Trident,
and had the other riverlords swear him fealty
as their new liege.
For centuries, House Hoare
had terrorized the Riverlands.
Under House Tully,
the Riverlands would at last
return to peace and prosperity.
After the castle cooled enough
to allow men inside,
Aegon ventured into the ruin
he'd made of Harrenhal.
He saw the ashen bodies, the scorched stone
and the mangled and melted swords
of his former enemies.
To his men's confusion,
he ordered these useless swords collected
and sent to his Aegonfort.
While Aegon marched on Harrenhal
after his coronation,
Orys Baratheon had taken most of his forces,
and his Queen Rhaenys with her dragon,
south to deal with the excuse for the invasion,
Argilac the Arrogant, King of the Stormlands.
Argilac had his seat at Storm's End,
a castle considered the most impregnable
in Westeros after Harrenhal.
Argilac may have been arrogant,
but he wasn't stupid or a coward.
His lords advised him to shut his gates
and wait out the siege,
but he'd heard
what had happened at Harrenhal
and refused to die a suckling pig
cooked in his own castle.
He would meet victory or defeat the same way,
with sword in hand.
He called his banners and marched
to meet Orys Baratheon in the field.
Thanks to Rhaenys' dragon, Meraxes,
Orys knew Argilac was coming,
how many men he had,
and how fast he marched.
So Orys simply seized the high ground
and dug in on the hills to wait for Argilac.
As the two armies approached,
the wind rose to meet them,
and the rain poured from the sky,
a gale which would give the battle
its name, "the Last Storm."
King Argilac's lords urged him to wait
for the weather to die down,
but the Storm King saw that the rain
was blowing into the faces
of the Baratheon men on their hills,
and Argilac outnumbered
the Baratheon host two-to-one,
with four times as many knights
and heavy horse.
Three times Argilac led his knights
against the Baratheon line,
but the hills were steep
and the rain had beat the earth to mud.
The warhorses foundered and slipped,
and the charges collapsed.
The battle seemed lost
until Argilac ordered
his spearmen up the hill.
Blinded by the rain, the Baratheons
didn't see them until it was too late.
One hill fell, then another, and another,
until only one remained
in the Baratheon center.
If Argilac could break through there,
he could split the invading army
and flank both halves.
Argilac and his men charged,
and the Baratheon line broke...
Revealing Queen Rhaenys and Meraxes.
Argilac's vanguard burst into flame,
and his men panicked.
The victory charge fell into chaos,
and Argilac himself
was thrown from his horse.
But he didn't yield.
When Orys Baratheon arrived,
he found the old king holding off
half a dozen men,
another half-dozen dead at his feet.
to meet the king on equal footing
and offered Argilac one final chance to yield.
Argilac cursed him instead.
As the storm raged around them,
the grizzled old warrior
and the bearded upstart
fought for life and kingdom.
In the end, Argilac got his wish.
He died, sword in hand.
As word of Argilac's death spread,
his lords and knights
threw down their swords and fled.
Orys and his vanguard rode to Storm's End
to claim Argilac's castle for Aegon
only to find the gates barred
and the walls manned.
Argilac's daughter had assumed his crown,
and the new Storm Queen
was as fond of yielding as her father.
She declared that Orys would win
only bones, blood and ashes here.
But her men were weaker than her,
and that night Orys found
Argilac's daughter delivered,
gagged, chained and naked to his camp.
Argilac had refused to give Orys her hand.
Now, Orys could have
any part of her he wished.
But Orys unchained the girl,
wrapped his cloak around her
and poured her a glass of wine.
He told her he would take the arms,
banner and words of House Durrandon,
to honor her father's courage
in the Last Storm.
Conveniently, Orys had none of his own
to discard first.
The crowned stag
became the sigil of House Baratheon,
and Storm's End their seat.
would even remain in her home,
though as a lady instead of a princess.
The Stormlands were now Aegon's,
and as tribute, Aegon demanded
the swords of the men Orys had defeated.
For what purpose, Orys didn't know.
Aegon now ruled
two of the Seven Kingdoms,
but he would no longer
be able to take the rest piecemeal.
For the first time in thousands of years,
the kings put aside their squabbles
and joined forces against a common enemy.
My ancestor, King Loren of House Lannister,
was head of the wealthiest family
in the Seven Kingdoms.
When King Loren joined his forces to
Mern of House Gardener, King of the Reach,
they had the mightiest army in history,
a so-called "iron fist"
to break the would-be conqueror.
But while an iron fist
can smash a man's face in battle,
you'd look silly hunting birds
or beasts with it,
and Aegon had a creature that was both.
The kings had never even seen a dragon,
let alone fought one.
They had fought each other
for thousands of years,
and victory always went to the larger army.
Surely a force five times that of Aegon's
could manage one dragon...
But Aegon arrived with three.
Still, the Lannisters and Gardeners
hoped for victory.
The battlefield they chose was a wide plain
with firm ground and clear skies.
Perfect for archers and mounted cavalry.
But neither of the kings spared a thought
for why the ground was firm.
There had been no rain for a fortnight,
which meant all the wheat and grass on it
Perfect for dragons.
At first, the kings looked like
they would emerge victorious.
When the horn blew for battle,
their armies swept around Aegon's flanks
and their iron fist of mounted knights
smashed through his center
before the dragons could even enter the fray.
But then Aegon and his sisters took flight
and unleashed their dragons
not on the soldiers,
but on the dry fields all around them.
The iron fist unclenched
and became a hand outstretched for mercy.
As Aegon promised, he had none.
More than 4,000 men died in the fires,
another 1,000 escaping them.
Tens of thousands
returned home as monsters,
burned and scarred beyond recognition.
House Gardener never returned at all.
The "Field of Fire," as the singers call it,
claimed the last of the Gardener line,
and House Tyrell rose in their stead
as Lords of the Reach
and Wardens of the South.
As for my illustrious ancestor,
when King Loren saw the battle was lost,
he rode through a wall of flame
and smoke to safety...
Or at least to a heroic capture a day later,
where he laid his sword
before Aegon and knelt.
Aegon, true to his word, spared him
and confirmed House Lannister
as Lords of Casterly Rock
and Wardens of the West.
Why wouldn't he?
A Lannister always pays his debts,
and now we owed our lives to the crown.
That was worth centuries of subservience,
Besides, Aegon had a fetish
for collecting swords, not heads.
He added Loren's to the pile
his men had retrieved from the Field of Fire
and sent them back to the Aegonfort.
With most of the South
in Aegon's hands,
the best chance to throw back
the Conqueror now lay with the North,
if we cared enough to try.
Unlike our southern rivals,
the Stark Kings of Winter
didn't forge the North into one kingdom
for glory or gold,
there is little of either here, but to survive.
Alone in Westeros,
the North remembered when
worse than dragons laid waste to armies.
Thousands of years ago,
the sun set on the realms of men
and the Long Night began.
A new race emerged
from the ice and snow, the White Walkers.
They demanded no crown,
offered no terms, spared no life,
and the dead marched with them.
With humanity facing extinction,
a Stark sought out the Children of the Forest,
the most ancient beings in Westeros,
and convinced them to ally
with the men they'd once fought.
Together the two races pushed the Walkers
back into the Land of Always Winter
and sealed it off from
the Seven Kingdoms with the Wall,
300 miles of ice, stone and earth
rising nearly 700 feet tall.
To guard it,
they established the Night's Watch,
a brotherhood sworn to defend
the living from the dead,
whose vows erase both titles and crimes.
After the Long Night, the North
tried to forget it belonged to the continent,
perhaps through pride,
perhaps through sheer ignorance.
You never can tell with the North.
But as news of Aegon's dragons spread,
Torrhen Stark, the King of Winter,
knew he couldn't forget Westeros any longer
and summoned his lords to Winterfell.
Many fools shrugged off the threat
while the rest placed wagers on
how long the South would take to burn.
Torrhen silenced them
with a command to assemble their armies
and descend from the North in force.
As the kings of the Rock
and the Reach burned on the Field of Fire,
the greatest Northern force
since the Long Night
crossed the Neck into the Riverlands.
But when King Torrhen arrived at the Trident,
he saw on the opposing riverbank
the combined strength of
all Aegon's conquered kingdoms.
A force larger than Torrhen's own by half,
and with three dragons.
That night, King Torrhen
called a conference
of all his lords and advisers.
Some wanted to fight,
and trust Northern valor to carry the day,
and burn on the Trident.
The wisest of them
wanted to withdraw to Moat Cailin,
the fortress which had thrown back
every southern invasion, and burn there.
One suicidal lord even wanted to
ambush Aegon's camp in the dark
and kill the dragons as they slept,
or at the very least their riders.
Hard to tell what would've been his fate.
Burning, beheading, dismemberment?
Perhaps all three.
My ancestor listened to their counsel,
and in the morning crossed the Trident
under a flag of parley.
Then King Torrhen of House Stark
laid his ancient crown at Aegon's feet,
and was named Lord of Winterfell
and Warden of the North...
And the King Who Knelt.
He had no choice,
and thanks to him our soldiers returned
to their homes whole and unharmed.
The swords that Aegon took from them
were not twisted, burnt or mangled.
The Vale of Arryn
was the last of the great kingdoms left.
Old and proud,
House Arryn did
what they always did in times of strife.
They shut the Bloody Gate,
sealing off the Vale.
Then the Queen-Regent Sharra
of House Arryn retreated with her son,
the boy king Ronnel, into the Eyrie,
their family's impregnable fortress.
From the top of their mountain,
they could look down on Westeros far below,
its problems hidden beneath the clouds.
But one day Queen Sharra
entered the outer courtyard
to find her young son sitting on the knee
of Visenya Targaryen,
and ogling her dragon, Vhagar, beside her.
Just as he'd ask for another cake at dinner,
little King Ronnel asked his mother if
he could go flying on the nice lady's dragon.
Visenya smiled at Sharra.
So, Sharra imagined, did Vhagar.
Remembering her manners,
Sharra asked if she could have Visenya
brought some wine or food,
she must be tired after such a long flight.
But Visenya demurred.
Bored with his mother's pleasantries,
Ronnel demanded an answer.
He didn't even understand the question.
Sharra hesitated for a moment,
then asked Visenya, as a mother,
if it were safe for the boy.
Visenya assured her it was.
What choice did Sharra have?
Whilst her son circled the castle,
she collected his little ringlet,
her own regent's coronet,
and the ancient Falcon Crown
of Mountain and Vale,
which the Arryns had worn
for thousands of years.
Ronnel had taken to the sky as a king,
but he landed as a lordling.
Perhaps he considered his ancient rights
a fair trade for a few minutes of flight,
as a little boy would.
More likely he didn't even notice
the three crowns at Visenya's feet,
or recognize the swords
of his garrison beside them.
The heads of Westeros
had bowed to Aegon,
but its heart still beat free.
Oldtown, the center of the Faith of the Seven.
There dwelt the High Septon,
the Father of the Faithful,
who commanded the obedience
of all Westeros,
save the savages of the North
and their Old Gods.
When Aegon had landed in Westeros,
the High Septon had locked himself
in the Starry Sept
and fasted for seven days and seven nights,
one for each of his gods.
All he received for his trouble
was the divine wisdom
that if Oldtown took up arms
against the Dragon, the city would burn,
faithful and faithless alike.
After the submission of House Stark,
Aegon marched towards Oldtown,
steeling himself for another battle.
But he found the gates open,
with the High Septon welcoming him.
The pious fool even had the arrogance
to grant what Aegon had already won,
and anointed the last Valyrian
as "Aegon of House Targaryen,
"First of His Name,
King of the Andals and the First Men,
"Lord of the Seven Kingdoms
and Protector of the Realm."
As if titles meant anything to a man
before whom time itself now bowed.
The maesters would hence divide all history
into "Before" and "After Conquest."
Most expected Aegon to stay
and make Oldtown his seat,
but soon after his coronation, Aegon
returned to the mouth of the Blackwater River
where he had first set foot on Westeros.
A small town had since sprouted
around his primitive fort.
To honor their new master,
the locals dubbed it King's Landing,
though it looked more fit for a hedge knight,
with wooden palisades, muddy streets
and piles of mangled swords
carted in from every corner of the conquest.
But when Aegon made it his court,
wood became stone.
Black mud was buried beneath a Red Keep.
And the collected swords of Aegon's foes
were blasted by dragonfire,
and became a seat fit for the Conqueror
and the greatest dynasty
this world has ever known.
Or so it should've been.
But while Aegon titled himself
"Lord of the Seven Kingdoms,"
in reality he held only six.
The seventh, Dorne, had never knelt.
Visenya had flown into the Vale
and returned with its crown.
Mimicking her sister,
Rhaenys had flown over the enemy force
holding the passes into Dorne,
and landed in the castle of its ruling lady,
Princess Meria of House Martell.
Meria was 80 years old, fat, bald and blind.
Behind her back, many sniggered at her
as the "Yellow Toad of Dorne."
The beautiful Rhaenys probably
thought as much when they met.
She demanded Princess Meria
kneel to her brother Aegon,
though she allowed that on account of
Meria's age and health,
a simple vow of submission would do.
But the Princess told the Queen
that the Targaryens weren't wanted in Dorne,
and no Martell would ever bow, bend or break
no matter how badly they burned.
Rhaenys could have mounted her dragon
and roasted Meria in the castle
as her brother had done at Harrenhal.
But whatever she saw in Meria's eyes
scared her right back to King's Landing,
with her dragon's tail between its legs.
After Aegon's coronation,
Rhaenys returned to Dorne
with Aegon and Visenya
and their dragons.
But no armies met them in the field,
and no lords defied them in their castles.
As the dragons approached,
Dorne simply emptied.
House Martell had learned
from Harrenhal and the Field of Fire.
The dragons were unbeatable in battle,
but wars were more than battles.
Unopposed, Aegon claimed Dorne
for his own.
But as soon as he returned to King's Landing,
his castellans were hurled off towers,
and his royal garrison vanished in the desert,
never to be seen again.
Except, perhaps, when the winds change
and the sands cough up old bones and armor.
Rhaenys returned on Meraxes,
intent on revenging herself
against Meria Martell.
But Dorne was no longer empty.
The Dornish kept Meria's promise,
and fought even while
burning under dragonflame.
And they won.
One day a bolt pierced the eye of Meraxes
and knocked the dragon out of the sky.
House Martell remained unbroken,
unlike the unfortunate Rhaenys.
In their wrath, Aegon and Visenya set flame
to every castle and city but Sunspear,
trying to turn the people
against House Martell.
But the Dornish stayed loyal,
and when Aegon returned to King's Landing,
he found assassins waiting for him
in the streets of his own capital.
If not for Visenya, the Conqueror would
not have enjoyed his Conquest for very long.
From then on,
the king and his family would be guarded
by the seven greatest knights in the realm,
When Meria died in her sleep,
her weak and tired son sued for peace.
But old Meria had exhausted Aegon as well,
and he granted the request.
The Targaryens still wanted Dorne,
and eventually they would have it,
but not at the point of a sword.
They would buy it the same way
great lords buy anything...
With a daughter.
After the Conquest,
when men looked up, they saw dragons.
Nobles learned to keep their eyes down,
but the gods weren't used to
sharing the heavens.
When Aegon died, the High Septon
led the Faith and its army in revolt,
claiming that the Valyrian tradition
of wedding brother to sister
was an abomination in the eyes of the Seven.
Though no one could explain where
the divine Mother and Father had come from.
My ancestor Maegor the Wise,
or Maegor the Cruel, as men slander him,
put a bounty on the head
of every militant priest,
and miraculously the Faith
soon returned to the septs.
With Dorne in the fold,
and the Faith put in its place,
none in Westeros were left
to oppose my family,
so we started opposing each other.
In the Dance of Dragons,
a Targaryen Princess
tried to steal her brother's throne.
Thanks to her stupidity,
most of our dragons died,
though one thankfully ate her before it did.
But even without our dragons,
we were still the blood of Old Valyria,
which proved just as dangerous.
One of my foolish ancestors didn't see
what separated his bastards
from our family proper,
and legitimized them all on his deathbed.
Adopting the name Blackfyre,
the bastards proved their nature
and tried to seize their father's kingdom.
When they failed, their sons tried.
When the sons failed, their grandsons tried.
Until finally Ser Barristan the Bold,
knight of the Kingsguard,
slew Maelys the Monstrous
in the War of the Ninepenny Kings,
ending the last of the Blackfyre line.
Ultimately, without our dragons
and with our blood diluted by commoners,
we failed to see the greatest threat
growing under our noses.
As the saying goes,
"Every time a Targaryen is born,
the gods flip a coin."
They must've dropped the one for King Aerys,
for at first he seemed to have
dodged the family madness.
But as he grew older,
he began to see conspirators everywhere,
and where there were none,
he worked to create them.
As one of his Kingsguard, I saw firsthand
that a king who couldn't rule his own mind
couldn't rule seven kingdoms.
We endured his reign
because we hoped his son Rhaegar
would right the realm
when he ascended to the throne.
But then Rhaegar proved as mad as his father
and snatched Lyanna Stark,
daughter of the Warden of the North,
and betrothed to Robert Baratheon,
Lord of the Stormlands.
When Lyanna's father and eldest brother
the Mad King obliged,
laughing as he dispensed it.
Unsatisfied with only two murders,
the Mad King then ordered
Jon Arryn, Lord of the Vale,
to execute his two wards,
Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark.
Instead, Jon Arryn raised the Vale in revolt.
Ned Stark slipped past royalist sentries
and raised the North,
and Robert won three battles in a single day
to unite the Stormlands behind him,
only to be defeated by a royalist army
and forced to flee,
leaving his home of Storm's End besieged.
The Hand of the King
finally cornered Robert
in the town of the Stoney Sept
and sent his soldiers door-to-door
searching for the rebel leader.
But the villagers hated the Mad King
and loved Robert,
and kept him one step ahead of the soldiers.
Until only one refuge remained.
As the soldiers closed in,
all the town bells rang out.
Hearing of Robert's plight,
our father and Jon Arryn
had rushed to the Riverlands
and enlisted our grandfather, Hoster Tully,
to help them.
Together they routed the Hand's army
and rescued Robert.
To celebrate and cement the Tully alliance,
our father wed our mother, Catelyn,
and Jon Arryn took our Aunt Lysa.
Only a fortnight later,
both men rushed back into the field,
for the dragon had finally woken.
While my father's servants
were losing my father's kingdoms,
my brother Rhaegar
had been cooped up with his...
Whatever else, I'd call her a distraction.
But now Rhaegar came to his senses
and returned to King's Landing.
He persuaded our father
to summon his estranged friend,
Lord Tywin Lannister, the richest
and most powerful lord in the realm.
Rhaegar himself would lead the royal army
against the usurper, Robert.
On the banks of the Trident,
my brother fought the man
whose wife he'd stolen,
and who fought to steal
his birthright in return.
In the end, Robert wanted it more.
His hammer shattered my brother's armor
and its rubies fell into the river like raindrops,
vanishing in the current.
With Rhaegar's defeat, nothing stood
between Robert and King's Landing.
Imagine the King's surprise a fortnight later
when he saw not stags,
but lions outside his gates.
His former Hand, Tywin Lannister,
had come to the capital with a force
even Robert couldn't match,
claiming to be loyal to the king.
Trusting what he wanted to believe,
Aerys ordered the gates opened,
and the Lannister forces dutifully began
to rape, pillage and murder
the king's actual loyal subjects.
When Eddard Stark finally arrived
at the capital with Robert's army,
he found Lannister banners
hanging over the sacked city,
Targaryen corpses littering its streets,
and Ser Jaime Lannister
sitting on the Iron Throne.
Below him, the Mad King Aerys,
whom Ser Jaime had sworn to guard,
lay in a pool of his own blood
from a sword thrust through his back.
Lord Eddard might've thanked Ser Jaime
for doing the realm a favor,
but honorable as he was,
Lord Eddard condemned Ser Jaime
as a Kingslayer,
a name he would never escape.
Unlike Lord Eddard,
Robert appreciated my contribution
to his glorious victory.
He pardoned me for my crime,
and even kept me on his Kingsguard
beside Ser Barristan Selmy,
who'd been wounded at the Trident
fighting for Rhaegar.
True, both of us had failed to protect
our Targaryen charges,
but perhaps that's what
Robert liked most about us.
When my father presented Robert
with the bodies of Rhaegar's wife
and two children,
Ned Stark hiked up his skirts and demanded
Robert send their killer to Dorne,
and me to the Wall.
But I saw what Ned couldn't.
Robert was ashamed of the bodies,
and more ashamed of his relief.
He knew that Rhaegar's heirs had to die
or his throne would never be safe,
but glorious heroes didn't kill children.
They simply didn't punish their murderers.
No doubt I would've
suffered a similar fate,
but my father had wisely sent me
and my pregnant mother to Dragonstone.
When the usurper heroically sent men
to kill me and my newborn sister
to protect his stolen throne,
a loyal knight smuggled us
across the Narrow Sea to Essos.
And so the last dragons of Valyria,
heirs to the greatest dynasty
from the greatest civilization
this world has ever known,
slept in sewers
and foraged for scraps in alleyways,
one step ahead of the usurper's knives
and one step behind the whispers
of his spymaster Varys.
But we won't run forever.
One day I'll return to my kingdoms
with an army,
take back my throne,
and repay all traitors
with the only coin my family knows.
Fire and blood.