Battle of the Gullet
|Battle of the Gullet|
|Conflict||Dance of the Dragons|
Sack of Driftmark
The Battle of the Gullet, also called the Battle in the Gullet, was a battle that took place in the Gullet in 130 AC[N 1] during the Dance of the Dragons. It remains among the bloodiest sea battles in all of history.
House Velaryon blockaded the Gullet and controlled access to Blackwater Bay at the start of the civil war. After the assault on Harrenhal by Prince Daemon Targaryen and further blows to the greens, Ser Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King to Aegon II Targaryen, hatched a plan to break the Velaryon fleet's blockade. Otto reached out across the narrow sea to enemies of Prince Daemon, the Triarchy, hoping to persuade them to move against the Sea Snake, Lord Corlys Velaryon. Otto's plan took time and Aegon II eventually ran out of patience with his grandfather's prevarications, replacing him as Hand with Ser Criston Cole.
The schemes of Otto eventually bore fruit, as the High Council of the Triarchy accepted his offer of alliance in Tyrosh. Ninety warships, commanded by Admiral Sharako Lohar of Lys, swept from the Stepstones under the banners of the Three Daughters, bending their oars for the Gullet.
Meanwhile on Dragonstone, it was decided by Prince Jacaerys Velaryon that his half-brothers, Princes Aegon and Viserys Targaryen, would be fostered with a Prince of Pentos until their mother, Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen, had secured the Iron Throne. The princes departed on a Pentoshi cog, the Gay Abandon, towards the end of 129 AC. The Sea Snake sent seven of his warships with them as escort.
Gay Abandon encountered the Triarchy's fleet, which had sailed up to the Gullet. The Gay Abandon was taken captive and her escorts sunk or captured. Possessed only of a dragon egg, Viserys had no way of escaping from the cog and was made captive. Aegon escaped the Gay Abandon on his young dragon, Stormcloud. Sailors attempted to bring them down and Stormcloud was wounded by arrows and scorpion bolts. Nevertheless, they flew to Dragonstone, where Aegon delivered the news of the threat from the east. Stormcloud died at Dragonstone from his wounds.
Battle began on the fifth day of the new year, 130 AC. Sharako Lohar divided the Triarchy's ships into two squadrons entering the Gullet to the north and south of Dragonstone. They attacked at sunrise, surprising House Velaryon's fleet.
Flying on Vermax to meet the fleet of the Triarchy, Prince Jacaerys Velaryon swept down upon a line of Lysene galleys. The sailors had experience fighting Prince Daemon Targaryen and his dragon, Caraxes, during the war for the Stepstones, so their captains directed their spears and arrows against Jacaerys. One ship caught on fire and then another, however. When Jacaerys was joined by Ulf the White on Silverwing, Nettles on Sheepstealer, Addam Velaryon on Seasmoke, and Hugh Hammer on Vermithor, the line of warships from the Free Cities shattered as one galley after another turned away.
Vermax flew too low, however, and crashed down into the sea, possibly wounded from a crossbow bolt to the eye or pulled down by a grapnel. Survivors said he struggled in the rigging of a burning galley and sank with it. Jacaerys leapt free, but was then killed by Myrish crossbowmen.
North and south of Dragonstone the battle continued into nighttime. The southern squadron bypassed Dragonstone, believing that it was to strong to assault, and instead attacked Driftmark, setting afire the harbor of Spicetown with fire ships. The town was sacked, with its inhabitants butchered and left as carrion. High Tide and the treasures of Lord Corlys Velaryon were burned by Myrish and Tyroshi soldiers, with the Sea Snake's servants cut down as they fled.
Thousands died from the battle, and Spicetown was never rebuilt. The Velaryon fleet lost almost a third of its strength. Prince Jacaerys Velaryon and his dragon Vermax were killed, and Prince Viserys Targaryen was taken captive, but presumed dead by both sides. Prince Aegon the Younger never forgave himself for abandoning his little brother.
According to Mushroom, Hugh the Hammer and Ulf the White celebrated their participation. Nettles and Addam Velaryon were heavily affected, with the latter seeking out the Sea Snake, though what they spoke to each other remains unknown. Many people on Dragonstone came to resent Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen for kin they had lost during the battle.
Only twenty-eight of the ninety ships commanded by Sharako Lohar returned home, and only three of those were not crewed by Lyseni. The Gullet was considered a disaster by the Triarchy. The Myrish and Tyroshi widows accused Sharako of sending their fleets to destruction while holding back his own Lysene ships, thus beginning a quarrel that would eventually lead to the Daughters' War. A disgraced Sharako discretely sold the captive Viserys to Magister Bambarro Bazanne of Lys.
Ultimately the battle was very costly for both sides, and could only nominally be considered a victory for the greens due to the death of Rhaenyra's eldest son Jacaerys - but she had three more sons. The greens, however, had failed in their strategic goal: to break the hold of the Velaryon fleet on the east coasts of Westeros. Moreover, the greens' allies in the southern Free Cities took such heavy losses that they played no further part in the war.
If this be victory, I pray I never win another.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Red Dragon and the Gold.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon II.
- The Princess and the Queen.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Overthrown.
- Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Hooded Hand.
- Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Voyage of Alyn Oakenfist.