Second Blackfyre Rebellion

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Second Blackfyre Rebellion
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Bloodraven takes Daemon II Blackfyre prisoner, by Marc Simonetti ©
Conflict Part of the Blackfyre Rebellions
Date 212 AC
Place Whitewalls
Result

Conspiracy exposed and stopped by Lord Brynden Rivers

Participants
Leaders
Strength
Casualties
  • Lord Alyn Cockshaw
  • Ser Tommard Heddle
  • Lord Gormon Peake
1 Vyrwel man-at-arms spying for Bloodraven

The Second Blackfyre Rebellion was the second attempt of the Blackfyre Pretenders to claim the Iron Throne. The failed plot, which took place in 212 AC,[1][2] began at Whitewalls, where the hedge knight known as Ser John the Fiddler was revealed to be Daemon II Blackfyre during a wedding tourney.[3][1]

History

Background

During the First Blackfyre Rebellion, the loyalist forces of King Daeron II Targaryen defeated the rebel forces of his half-brother, Daemon I Blackfyre, one of the legitimized Great Bastards of King Aegon IV Targaryen. Daemon was killed in the Battle of the Redgrass Field, but Ser Aegor Rivers, another Great Bastard and one of Daemon's strongest supporters, was able to escape to the Free Cities with Daemon's surviving family and Blackfyre, the famed Valyrian steel sword.[4]

Many of those who had fought for the Black Dragon in the rebellion had their children taken to King's Landing as hostages. Most of these hostages died during the Great Spring Sickness, as did King Daeron, allowing the rebellious families to plot once more.[3]

Wedding tourney

The marriage of Lord Ambrose Butterwell to a daughter of Lord Frey was used by some Blackfyre supporters to join their forces with those who resented the rule of Ser Brynden Rivers, another Great Bastard and the Hand of the King to Daeron's son, King Aerys I Targaryen. Daemon Blackfyre, son of the late Daemon I, dreamed that a dragon egg would hatch, and Lord Gormon Peake believed that a living dragon would gain the rebels the support of the Butterwells of Whitewalls, the Freys of the Twins, the Lothstons of Harrenhal, and the Brackens of Stone Hedge. Ser Tommard Heddle was skeptical of Daemon's dreams, however, and he wished that they had the support of Aegor Rivers, as Bittersteel remained in Essos with the sword Blackfyre.[3]

The organizers of the new rebellion convinced Ambrose to name his prized dragon egg as the prize for the winner of his wedding tourney at Whitewalls. Daemon entered the tourney disguised as a hedge knight, Ser John the Fiddler, and the plotters attempted to rig the competition so that Daemon would win the egg. A drunken Daemon attempted to gain the support of Ser Duncan the Tall during the festivities, with "John" telling Dunk he had dreamed of him in the white armor of the Kingsguard.

Because of his prior involvement in the tourney at Ashford Meadow, Duncan decided to enter the tourney as a mystery knight called the Gallows Knight. He was defeated in his joust by Ser Uthor Underleaf, however. Uthor later pointed out to Duncan that one of the gold coins he had won had been coined during the Blackfyre Rebellion, and that an unknown party wanted him to kill Duncan during the competition.[3]

Rebellion

When the dragon egg disappeared from Lord Butterwell's bedchamber, Ser Glendon Flowers was framed by Lord Peake for the theft because of his refusal to lose to Daemon in the lists. Glendon was thrown in a cell when the missing egg was found in his possessions.[3]

When Lord Alyn Cockshaw, Daemon's friend, attempted to kill Duncan out of jealousy, Duncan kicked Alyn into a well to drown, an event observed by Ser Maynard Plumm. Meanwhile, Duncan's squire Egg, actually Prince Aegon Targaryen, revealed his identity to Maester Lothar, who then informed Lords Butterwell and Frey. The Frey retinue immediately departed Whitewalls to return to the Twins, and Ambrose admitted his doubts about the conspiracy to Duncan and insisted that Lord Peake had plotted everything. Duncan then slew Ser Tommard in single combat when he tried to take Prince Aegon into captivity.[3]

Lord Brynden Rivers, by Naomimakesart ©

Within the great hall of Whitewalls, Duncan publicly accused John the Fiddler of being Daemon and alleged that the egg that had been found in Glendon's saddlebags was actually a painted stone planted by order of Lord Peake; the real dragon egg was still missing. Daemon had been unaware of the plots, and was unsure who to believe. He ordered a trial by joust, declaring that he would personally face Glendon.[3]

Many wedding guests disappeared before the joust the next morning. Daemon washed the black dye from his hair to reveal the silver and gold Valyrian hair, and his horse bore the sigil of House Blackfyre. Glendon, who had been tortured in the dungeon, unhorsed Daemon on the first pass.[3]

As the joust was ending, Lord Brynden Rivers, called Bloodraven, arrived outside of Whitewalls with three of the Kingsguard, his three hundred Raven's Teeth, and five hundred knights and five thousand spears from the crownlands and the riverlands. These were drawn from Houses Darklyn, Hayford, Massey, Rosby, Stokeworth, Mooton, Lothston, and finally House Blackwood, the house of Brynden's mother, Melissa. Daemon called for those within the castle to fight to the death but was laughed off by the fighting men. Daemon then marched out and offered single combat, but was promptly taken prisoner by Lord Rivers, thus ending the rebellion before it could begin. The only man killed was a servant of Lord Vyrwel who revealed that he had been spying for Bloodraven and was then slain by a Costayne knight.[3]

Aftermath

Ser Roland Crakehall informed Ser Duncan the Tall that the conspirators would be taken to King's Landing for trial. Soldiers following their liege's commands would presumably be lightly punished, and lords who told the truth would be pardoned after giving up a hostage. Lords who had already been pardoned after the First Blackfyre Rebellion, however, would be imprisoned or attainted.[3]

Duncan found Lord Frey in the company of Lord Brynden Rivers within the Hand's pavilion.[3] Brynden had the ringleader, Lord Gormon Peake, beheaded for his crimes,[3] and other unspecified conspirators were also executed.[1] Bloodraven allowed Lord Ambrose Butterwell to keep only a tenth of his fortune, and Lord Rivers declared that Whitewalls was forfeit to the Iron Throne and would be razed to the ground to prevent it from becoming a pilgrimage site like the Redgrass Field. Lord Frey was dismissed without punishment, although Brynden told him they would speak later. The would-be Daemon II Blackfyre was kept as a hostage in the Red Keep to prevent Ser Aegor Rivers from crowning Daemon's younger brother, Haegon, in exile.[3][1] Duncan realized that dwarfs who had provided entertainment at the wedding had discretely removed the dragon egg from Ambrose's bedchamber by order of Bloodraven.[3]

Lords attending the wedding

Quotes

Duncan: Why this wedding?
Gormon: Lord Butterwell wanted a new young wife to warm his bed, and Lord Frey had a somewhat soiled daughter. Their nuptials provided a plausible pretext for some like-minded lords to gather. Most of those invited here fought for the Black Dragon once. The rest have reason to resent Bloodraven's rule, or nurse grievances and ambitions of their own. Many of us had sons and daughters taken to King's Landing to vouchsafe our future loyalty, but most of the hostages perished in the Great Spring Sickness. Our hands are no longer tied. Our time is come. Aerys is weak. A bookish man, and no warrior. The commons hardly know him, and what they know they do not like. His lords love him even less. His father was weak as well, that is true, but when his throne was threatened he had sons to take the field for him. Baelor and Maekar, the hammer and the anvil… but Baelor Breakspear is no more, and Prince Maekar sulks at Summerhall, at odds with king and Hand.[3]

He showed the ring to Maester Lothar, who delivered him to Butterwell, who no doubt pissed his breeches at the sight of it and started wondering if he had chosen the wrong side and how much Bloodraven knows of this conspiracy. The answer to that last is 'quite a lot.'[3]

The First Blackfyre Rebellion had perished on the Redgrass Field in blood and glory. The Second Blackfyre Rebellion, ended with a whimper.[3]

Duncan the Tall's thoughts

Daemon: They cannot cow us for our cause is just. We'll slash through them and ride hell-bent for King's Landing! Sound the trumpets!
Squire: Piss on that, fiddle boy. I'd sooner live.[3]

Daemon II Blackfyre and a squire

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys I.
  2. Small Questions v. 10105: THK timeline, January 22, 2019
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 The Mystery Knight.
  4. The Sworn Sword.