"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."
The Occupation of Sunspear was the opening engagement in the First Dornish War, in which the armies of Aegon the Conqueror expected to meet the forces of House Martell, but instead found the capital of Dorne empty, so they proceeded to occupy it on behalf of King Aegon.



Rhaenys Targaryen confronted Meria Martell, the Princess of Dorne, in hopes of her surrender, allowing the formation of the Seven Kingdoms. However, despite her old age, Meria told Rhaenys that Dorne would never yield, engaging in open war.

The Occupation

Following Aegon I Targaryen's coronation at the Starry Sept, Rhaenys returned on Meraxes, with Aegon atop his dragon, Balerion, and Visenya Targaryen atop hers, Vhagar. However, they found Dorne virtually desolate, as Dorne knew from the Field of Fire and the Burning of Harrenhal that it would be highly unwise to engage against three dragons. Aegon installed a royal garrison and castellans for each Dornish stronghold, as House Targaryen ruled from the Red Keep in King's Landing.


However, the hiding Dornishmen revolted against the Targaryen army, throwing castellans off the towers of Sunspear and deserting the garrison in the deserts of Dorne.

In the books

In 4 AC, King Aegon I Targaryen launched an invasion of Dorne, intend on completing his conquest of the Seven Kingdoms. However, although House Wyl led an assault against the Targaryen forces in the Boneway, the other Dornish lords abandoned their castles, neither willing to defend them nor willing to bend the knee.

The first assault was led by Queen Rhaenys Targaryen. On her way to Sunspear, she seized the Dornish seats she encountered and had her dragon Meraxes burn the Planky Town. Meanwhile, King Aegon I and Lord Harlan Tyrellfought in the Prince's Pass, facing heavy resistance as their forces were ambushed by Dornish defenders who fled and hid as soon as the dragons took to the air, and Lord Orys Baratheon led a force through the Boneway. Lord Harlan Tyrell, while leading his army to Hellholt, saw many of his soldiers die of thirst and due to the heat. Those who finally managed to reach Hellholt found the castle to be deserted.

King Aegon briefly besieged Yronwood, which was defended by a few handful of old men, boys, and women. He found Skyreach abandoned, but at Ghost Hill was challenged to single combat by Lord Toland's champion. After Aegon had killed the man with Blackfyre, he discovered that the "champion" had in truth been Lord Toland's mad fool. Worse, Ghost Hill turned out to be deserted as well.

Lord Orys Baratheon fared worse in his assault up the Boneway. His army was pelted with rocks, arrows, and spears from above, while his men were murdered in the night. Towards the end, the Dornishmen blocked the Boneway both in front of Orys's army and behind, and the Wyl of Wyl managed to capture Lord Orys and many of his bannermen and knights. They would remain captives of House Wyl until 7 AC.

When the Targaryens finally arrived at Sunspear, they discovered that Princess Meria had vanished. Declaring themselves victorious, King Aegon and Queen Rhaenys placed Dorne under the rule of the Iron Throne. They returned to King's Landing, leaving Lord Rosby as castellan of Sunspear and charged Lord Harlan Tyrell with putting down any revolts that might arise.

Full-out war

Meraxes and Rhaenys Targaryen are killed during the First Dornish War, as depicted by Chase Stone in The World of Ice and Fire.

Aegon and Rhaenys had only just returned to King's Landing when the Dornish rebelled against the Targaryens. From Sunspear's shadow city Dornishmen came forth, retaking the castle. Lord Rosby was captured, and thrown from a window atop the Spear Tower by Princess Meria Martell. In 5 AC, Lord Harlan Tyrell marched his army from Hellholt, intend on taking Vaithand Sunspear. In the deserts of Dorne the entire army disappeared.

See also

A Wiki of Ice and Fire favicon Occupation of Sunspear on A Wiki of Ice and Fire