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"House Arryn, Kings of the Vale" is the seventh chapter of Conquest & Rebellion: An Animated History of the Seven Kingdoms, a special feature from Game of Thrones: The Complete Seventh Season. It is narrated by Aidan Gillen as Petyr Baelish.

Synopsis

Littlefinger recalls the day Visenya Targaryen came to visit the Queen Regent Sharra Arryn and her son Ronnel in the Vale.

Narration

Petyr Baelish: 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 asked for another cake at dinner, little King Ronnel asked his mother if he could ride 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. Poor boy. He didn't even understand the question. Sharra hesitated for a moment, then asked Visenya, as a mother, if it was 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.

Notes

  • Sharra Arryn was considered one of the most beautiful women in Westeros, and offered Aegon her hand in marriage if he wouldn't invade the Vale - but he declined the offer much as he had declined Argilac Durrandon's proposed marriage-alliance, given that he already had two wives.
  • Ronnel Arryn actually isn't a direct ancestor of the Arryns who appear in the main storyline during the War of the Five Kings: around forty years later he was killed during a rebellion led by his own younger brother, that broke out upon Aegon I's death. He was succeeded by his cousin, from whom the later Arryns descend.
  • The entire "Conquest and Rebellion" series of Histories & Lore featurettes gloss over several major events involving the Vale before this during the Targaryen Conquest. After the initial landing at the mouth of the Blackwater, the Targaryens divided their forces into three: most of their land army went south to Storm's End led by Orys Baratheon and Rhaenys Targaryen, with her dragon Meraxes; Aegon I took a smaller land force west to Harrenhal (soon swelled by Riverlords who switched to his side led by the Tullys) along with his dragon Balerion; meanwhile, Visenya made a first attempt to invade the Vale, using her dragon Vhagar and the Targaryen fleet. An amphibious landing on the east coast was the only hope of invading the Vale, as an overland attack through the western mountains was impossible. The Targaryen fleet wasn't very large, however, and was engaged by the Arryns' larger fleet in the waters off Gulltown before they could make a landing. The Targaryen fleet was destroyed, but Visenya managed to burn all of the surviving Arryn ships using her dragon. Tactically the battle was a draw, though strategically it did turn back the Targaryen invasion for the moment. On the other hand, it left the Arryns immobilized: afterwards Sharra Arryn adopted a siege mentality, closing the Bloody Gate, not sending her land armies to help the Lannisters and Gardeners at the Field of Fire. She was also left unable to maneuver by sea, leading the Three Sisters to revolt against the Arryns: former pirate dens off the north coast, their loyalty had always been dubious, but they didn't revolt to join the Targaryens, instead declaring their own brief independence (later put back under rule of the Arryns after the Targaryen Conquest ended).

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