Due to their tradition of seafarers and close ties to House Targaryen, the Velaryons were favored by the royal House and trusted with the maritime matters of the realm. So many Lords of the Tides served on the small council as master of ships throughout the first century of Targaryen rule, that the office was widely seen as almost hereditary.
The Conquest and the first century
During the Conquest, the Velaryon ships carried Aegon the Conqueror’s soldiers across Blackwater Bay. Lord Daemon Velaryon was made master of ships by Aegon, the first of many Velaryons to held that office. He led the fleet against the force of the Vale of Arryn and their Braavosi allies, but died in the battle in the waters off Gulltown.
When his nephew, Prince Jaehaerys Targaryen, put forth his claim to the Iron Throne in 48 AC, Lord Daemon Velaryon, the admiral of the royal fleet, was the first of the great lords to forsake King Maegor I Targaryen, taking the royal fleet with him, and many other lords followed his example.
During Jaehaerys' minority, several lords visited him at Dragonstone, to the displeasure of the Hand of the King, Lord Rogar Baratheon. Rogar asked if Daemon could create a blockade around the island with the Velaryon fleet, in order to prevent these "lords lickspittle" to curry favor with the young king. Daemon refused, however.
With the death of the High Septon in 54 AC, King Jaehaerys feared the new High Septon would not be as supportive of his politics as his predecessor had been. While discussing the matter with his small council, Lord Daemon proposed to sent the Velaryon fleet to Oldtown as a show of force and insure the Most Devout would elect an High Septon which aligned with the king's views.
Before inheriting the lordship of his House from his grandfather, Ser Corlys Velaryon made nine Great Voyages in the East aboard the ship that gave him his nickname, the Sea Snake. On his last voyage, Corlys bought twenty ships at Qarth and loaded them with valuable goods. Despite losing six ships at sea during the return trip, Corlys had augmented the size of his fleet and returned in Westeros with vast amount of wealth.
On the ninth day of the third moon of 92 AC, Lord Corlys set sail from Driftmark with his fleet for Tarth, to aid Prince Aemon Targaryen in fighting the Myrish exiles who had invaded the island. During the campaign, Aemon died, leading King Jaehaerys I Targaryen to appoint a new heir to the throne. He chose his second son, Prince Baelon, over Corlys' wife and daughter of Aemon, Princess Rhaenys. Furious over this decision, Corlys gave up his admiralty and his place on the king's small council and returned to Driftmark with his wife. Ever so passionate about ships, Lord Corlys spent the following years on Driftmark building many merchantmen and trading galleys thanks to the wealth he had amassed in the East. The shipping activity on the island increased, especially in the thriving towns of Hull and Spicetown, allowing the Velaryons to become for a time the richest family of the Seven Kingdoms.
After the death of Prince Baelon in 101 AC, the issue of succession arose anew. The nobility of Westeros assembled in a Great Council at Harrenhal to choose a new heir for the Old King. Rumors spread that Lord Corlys was readying a fleet to defend the rights of his son, Laenor.
In 106 AC, the Velaryon fleet assisted Prince Daemon Targaryen in his campaign in the Stepstones against Admiral Craghas Drahar of the Triarchy. Lord Corlys hoped to establish a Westerosi presence in the region in order to get rid of the toll that the Triarchy charges its merchant ships. Three years later, the Velaryon fleet was firmly established in the waters of the Stepstones and ensured the circulation of ships there. Fighting resumed quickly enough, however, against a new enemy: Racallio Ryndoon.
In 113 AC, King Viserys I Targaryen decided to marry his heir, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, to Laenor Velaryon. By this match the king hoped to regain the friendship of the Velaryons and their powerful fleet.
Dance of the Dragons
In 129 AC, King Viserys died and the civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons broke out. Lord Corlys Velaryon was the main supporter of Princess Rhaenyra. With the control of the Velaryon fleet, Rhaenyra had the superiority at sea against Aegon II Targaryen and the Greens. At the end of the first black council, a strategy was defined: lacking the strength to take King's Landing by storm, it was decided the Velaryon fleet would be used to block the Gullet and prevent maritime traffic throughout the Blackwater, and provoke Aegon II to launch a reckless assault against the Velaryon fleet. Lord Corlys would command the fleet while his wife, Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, would fly overhead with her dragon, Meleys, to prevent any attack by another fleet or by a dragon.
The Velaryon blockade worked for the Blacks, as merchants in King's Landing complained daily of it to Aegon II. His Hand, Ser Otto Hightower, started negociation with Lord Dalton Greyjoy of the Iron Islands and the Triarchy, whose fleets combined with the royal fleet in the capital could rival the naval power of the Velaryons.
Towards the end of the year, the two youngest sons of Rhaenyra, Aegon and Viserys, sailed aboard the Gay Abandon to Pentos where the Prince of the city agreed to foster them during the war. Lord Corlys sent seven of his ships to escort them.
However, on the way, they came across the ninety warships fleet of the Triarchy led by the Lysene Sharako Lohar. Lord Corlys' ships were sunk or taken, Aegon managed to flee but Viserys was captured and given up for dead. On the fifth day of the year 130 AC, the rest of the Velaryon fleet was surprised by the Triarchy fleet north and south of Dragonstone. A terrible naval battle ensued, the Velaryon fleet won the battle but lost a third of its strength in the conflict.
In 130 AC, Rhaenyra took the capital and ascended the Iron Throne. During her half-year rule over King's Landing, she had Corlys arrested for treason, after he warned his heir, Ser Addam Velaryon, to flee the city with his dragon, Seasmoke. This event cost her the support of the Velaryon fleet. With Corlys imprisoned in King's Landing and Addam dead at the Second Battle of Tumbleton, the command of the Velaryon fleet passed on Addam's brother, Ser Alyn Velaryon.
After Aegon II took Dragonstone and executed Rhaenyra, he sent his terms of peace to Alyn, promising pardon for him and his House in exchange of his allegiance to the king. Alyn refused to comply and was even in mind of attacking Dragonstone. The stalemate was resolved when Lord Corlys sworn allegiance to the cause of Aegon II before the Iron Throne. Alyn Velaryon accepted his grandfather's choice, and escorted his new king with the Velaryon fleet from Dragonstone to King's Landing.
Regency of Aegon III
At the beginning of the regency of Aegon III in 131 AC, the Hand of King, Ser Tyland Lannister, launched the construction of fifty new galleys of war for the royal fleet. He justifies this decision by saying that it will revive the activity of the shipyards and that these ships will help defend the city against the Triarchy. But many guessed that Tyland's true purpose was to lessen the Crown's dependence on the Velaryon fleet.
In 132 AC, Alyn Velaryon became Lord of the Tides and the undisputed commander of the Velaryon fleet after the death of Lord Corlys and the recognition of his rule by his distant cousins, Daemion and Daeron Velaryon.
In 133 AC, the Velaryon fleet was to join the modest royal fleet commanded by Ser Gedmund Peake, by order of the Hand of King, Lord Unwin Peake. Together, they were ordered to go to the Stepstones and fight the pirate Racallio Ryndoon, already struggling with the Free Cities. Lord Alyn Velaryon amassed sixty galleys of war, thirty longships and more than a hundred cogs and great cogs, commanding the Velaryon fleet from his Queen Rhaenys. On their way, they stopped at Tarth, where Gedmund and Alyn argued about the strategy to adopt when they learn that Racallio had allied with the Sealord of Braavos and the Archon of Tyrosh. Gedmund wished to wait further instructions from the Hand, while Alyn insisted on attacking them immediately. The impatient Alyn decided to attack alone with his fleet, sinking many Braavosi ships and capturing eight galleys and eleven cogs which he added to his fleet. He took ninety-nine prisoners and seized food, drinks, weapons, money and even an elephant. He lost only three ships, including the True Heart of his cousin Daeron Velaryon. As a result of this action, a war between the Seven Kingdoms and Braavos threatens to break out. Lord Unwin Peake however sends the Velaryon fleet on the other side of the continent, in the Sunset Sea, to subdue Lord Dalton Greyjoy and his Ironborn.
In 135 AC, the Velaryon fleet was solicited by the Hand of the King, Lord Thaddeus Rowan, to transport an army to the Vale of Arryn, where a succession crisis started after the death of Lady Jeyne Arryn the previous year. The sellsails hired by Isembard Arryn were easily beaten by the Velaryon fleet at Gulltown.
In the middle of the year 136 AC, Alyn sailed to Volantis by way of Pentos, Tyrosh and Lys, with a large fleet of merchantmen he had amassed along with a dozen of his war galleys to guard them. Alyn intended to restore the fortune of his House, partly lost during the Dance of the Dragons and the bankruptcy of the Rogare Bank.
A Clash of Kings
Lord Monford Velaryon answers Stannis Baratheon's summons when he crowns himself king and calls his banners. Monford's contribution to Stannis's royal fleet includes the large ships Pride of Driftmark, Bold Laughter, Harridan, and Seahorse.
- Fire & Blood, Heirs of the Dragon - A Question of Succession.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys I.
- Fire & Blood, The Year of the Three Brides.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
- Fire & Blood, Aegon's Conquest.
- Fire & Blood, The Sons of the Dragons.
- Fire & Blood, A Surfeit of Rulers.
- Fire & Blood, Birth, Death, and Betrayal Under King Jaehaerys I.
- Fire & Blood, The Long Reign - Jaehaerys and Alysanne: Policy, Progeny, and Pain.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Viserys I.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of Dragons - The Blacks and the Greens.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Red Dragon and the Gold.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of Dragons - Rhaenyra Overthrown.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Short, Sad Reign of Aegon II.
- Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Hooded Hand.
- Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - War and Peace and Cattle Shows.
- Fire & Blood, The Lysene Spring and the End of Regency.
- A Clash of Kings, Prologue.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 58, Davos III.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 25, Davos III.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 61, Tyrion XIV.