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This article contains MAJOR spoilers for House of the Dragon. Anyone wishing to avoid spoilers for the upcoming prequel series should not click [Expand].

"There the demons dwell, this is their city. If you would make it yours, first you must destroy them."
―The Shepherd ignites the Storming of the Dragonpit[src]
The Shepherd was a fanatical follower of the Faith of the Seven. He opposed Rhaenyra Targaryen's use of dragons, whom he claimed to be demons, and by extension condemned all dragons used by House Targaryen.

Biography

This particular section contains MAJOR spoilers for House of the Dragon. Anyone wishing to avoid spoilers for the upcoming prequel series should not click [Expand].

During the Dance of the Dragons, King's Landing's smallfolk began a riot against Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen, demanding vengeance for the deaths of Helaena Targaryen and Jaehaerys Targaryen. In the midst of this chaos, The Shepherd began to rant against Rhaenyra's dragons, and by extension, all dragons. He pointed to the top of Rhaenys's Hill, where the Dragonpit stood. He declared that King's Landing was the dragon's city, and if it would belong the people, they must kill the dragons. Ten thousand people cried out, "Kill them!".

The ensuing chaos led to Storming of the Dragonpit, which led to the deaths of Prince Joffrey Velaryon and five dragons.[1]

In the books

This particular section contains MAJOR spoilers for House of the Dragon. Anyone wishing to avoid spoilers for the upcoming prequel series should not click [Expand].

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, The Shepherd was an insane follower of the Faith of the Seven. He was said to be a beggar and may have been one of the Poor Fellows, a group of outlawed and disbanded fanatics who continued to stubbornly haunt the realm. He began preaching in Cobbler's Square, claiming that dragons were demons, the spawn of godless Valyria and the doom of men. He eventually gained thousands of followers, turning fear to anger and then to bloodlust. He declared that the city would only be saved once the dragons were destroyed.

A riot later broke out in King's Landing and the Shepherd ranted against dragons, inspiring tens of thousands to storm the Dragonpit. It has been claimed that the Shepherd himself killed Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen's dragon Syrax by calling upon The Seven and manifesting The Warrior, who decapitated the dragon with a single swing.

The Shepherd and his mob ruled much of the city from the ruins of the Dragonpit during the month-long period called the "Moon of the Three Kings" by maesters. He continued to preach every night, surrounded by the heads of five slain dragons. With the dragons dead, he turned his attention to the highborn and the wealthy cursing them and urging his followers to throw aside their material goods. Though many obeyed him, many more turned away as time passed, allowing the other factions of rioters to gain greater control of the city.

Borros Baratheon's vanguard reached King's Landing and the Shepherd ordered his followers to prevent Borros from crossing the Blackwater Rush. His flock had dwindled to only hundreds and few of them obeyed this command. He then ordered them to assemble at the Dragonpit with "blood and iron", but fewer than three hundred arrived and they fled once the assault began. Borros' army crashed through the Shapherd's defenders and found him among the rotting dragon heads, surrounded by a ring of torches, preaching doom and devastation. He pointed his stump at Borros, claiming that they would meet in hell before the year was done. He was arrested, brought in chains to the Red Keep and placed in a dungeon alongside the other false kings as they awaited King Aegon II Targaryen's return and judgement.

The Shepherd was eventually brought before the king and refused to repent for his crimes or admit to treason, instead pointing his stump at the king and uttering the same curse he had at Borros. Aegon ordered that the Shepherd's tongue by torn out with hot pincers and for him and his followers to die by fire. On the last day of the year, two hundred and forty one of the Shepherd's followers were chained to poles and covered in pitch on both sides of Hill Street, which ran from Cobbler's Square to the Dragonpit. Once the city's septs rang their bells to signal the end of the year and the start of the new one, the king made his way up the street in his litter, with his knights lighting his way by setting the Shepherd's followers on fire. At the end of the road, the Shepherd was chained among the five dragon heads, and Aegon himself set him aflame, though he required the help of two of his Kingsguard to do so. The street was named Shepherd's Way thereafter.

A man claiming to be the Shepherd reborn appeared in the Hour of the Wolf. He called for the deaths of Lord Cregan Stark's "godless" Northmen, with hundreds flocking to hear him.

See also

References

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