"The Last Dragons" is the tenth and final 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 Harry Lloyd as Viserys Targaryen, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister, Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark, and Conleth Hill as Varys.
In a Dance of Dragons, a Targaryen princess tried to steal her brother's throne. Thanks to her stupidity, most of our dragons died, though one thankfully ate her before it did. But even without our dragons, we were still the blood of Old Valyria, which proved just as dangerous.
Ultimately, without our dragons and with our blood diluted by commoners, we failed to see the greatest threat growing under our noses.
Jaime Lannister: As the saying goes, "Every time a Targaryen is born, the gods flip a coin." They must have dropped the one for King Aerys, for at first, he seemed to have dodged the family madness. But as he grew older, he began to see conspirators everywhere, and where there were none, he worked to create them.
As one of his Kingsguard, I saw firsthand that a king who couldn't rule his own mind couldn't rule Seven Kingdoms.
We endured his reign because we hoped his son Rhaegar would ride the rail when he ascended to the throne. But then Rhaegar proved as mad as his father and snatched Lyanna Stark, daughter of the Warden of the North and betrothed to Robert Baratheon, Lord of the Stormlands. When Lyanna's father and eldest brother demanded justice, the Mad King obliged, laughing as he dispensed it.
Varys: Unsatisfied with only two murders, the Mad King then ordered Jon Arryn, Lord of the Vale, to execute his two wards, Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark. Instead, Jon Arryn raised the Vale in revolt.
Ned Stark slipped past royalist sentries and raised the North, and Robert won three battles in a single day to unite the Stormlands behind them, only to be defeated by a royalist army and forced to flee, leaving his home of Storm's End besieged.
But the villagers hated the Mad King and loved Robert, and kept him one step ahead of the soldiers until only one refuge remained.
Together, they routed the Hand's army and rescued Robert. To celebrate and cement the Tully alliance, our father wed our mother, Catelyn, and Jon Arryn took our aunt, Lysa. Only a fortnight later, both men rushed back into the field, for the dragon had finally woken.
Viserys: While my father's servants were losing my father's kingdoms, my brother Rhaegar had been cooped up with his...Mistress? Whore? Whatever else, I'd call her a distraction.
But now Rhaegar came to his senses and returned to King's Landing. He persuaded our father to summon his estranged friend, Lord Tywin Lannister, the richest and most powerful lord in the realm. Rhaegar himself would lead the royal army against the usurper, Robert.
On the banks of the Trident, my brother fought the man whose wife he had stolen, and who fought to steal his birthright in return. In the end, Robert wanted it more. His hammer shattered my brother's armor, and its rubies fell into the river like raindrops, vanishing in the current.
Varys: With Rhaegar's defeat, nothing stood between Robert and King's Landing. Imagine the King's surprise a fortnight later when he saw not stags, but lions outside his gates.
His former Hand, Tywin Lannister, had come to the capital with a force even Robert couldn't match, claiming to be loyal to the king. Trusting what he wanted to believe, Aerys ordered the gates opened, and the Lannister forces dutifully began to rape, pillage, and murder the king's actual loyal subjects.
When Eddard Stark finally arrived at the capital with Robert's army, he found Lannister banners hanging over the sacked city, Targaryen corpses littering its streets and Ser Jaime Lannister sitting on the Iron Throne.
Below him, the Mad King Aerys, whom Ser Jaime had sworn to guard, lay in a pool of his own blood from a sword thrust through his back.
Lord Eddard might've thanked Ser Jaime for doing the realm a favor, but honorable as he was, Lord Eddard condemned Ser Jaime as a "Kingslayer," a name he would never escape.
Jaime: Unlike Lord Eddard, Robert appreciated my contribution to his glorious victory.
He pardoned me for my crime and even kept me on his Kingsguard beside Ser Barristan Selmy, who'd been wounded at the Trident fighting for Rhaegar. True, both of us had failed to protect out Targaryen charges, but perhaps that's what Robert liked most about us.
When my father presented Robert with the bodies of Rhaegar's wife and two children, Ned Stark hiked up his skirt and demanded Robert send their killer to Dorne and me to the Wall. But I saw what Ned couldn't.
Robert was ashamed of the bodies and more ashamed of his relief. He knew that Rhaegar's heirs had to die, or his throne would never be safe. But glorious heroes didn't kill children. They simply didn't punish their murderers.
And so the last dragons of Valyria, heirs to the greatest dynasty from the greatest civilization this world has ever known, slept in sewers and foraged for scraps in alleyways, one step ahead of the usurper's knives and one step behind the whispers of his spymaster Varys. But we won't run forever.
One day I'll return to my kingdoms with an army, take back my throne, and repay all traitors with the only coin my family knows: fire and blood.
- Viserys's narration is inaccurate when he says that Maegor the Cruel was his ancestor: actually, Maegor died without any children, not even bastards, and all future Targaryens descend from Aegon's first son Aenys, whose mother was Rhaenys. Viserys might just be using "ancestor" in a broad sense.
- Viserys is of course meant to be giving an inaccurate gloss of events as an unreliable narrator, but he says that Dorne was brought into the fold, then the Targaryens started fighting each other. Actually, Dorne was only brought into the realm over 60 years after the Dance of the Dragons. The Martells still remembered the devastation they suffered in the First Dornish War, however - over a century before - so independent Dorne remained neutral, instead of allying with one side or the other.
- During the Battle of the Bells, Robert Baratheon is shown to be hiding in a brothel, which has a sign with a peach on it above the door. This is a reference to the novels, which specify that in the lead up to the battle at Stoney Sept, Robert indeed hid at this brothel, which is called "The Peach". Years later, Arya Stark and Gendry passed through it while they were with the Brotherhood Without Banners, and it was here that they brought the captive Sandor Clegane (who then recognized Arya). The TV series moved their reunion to the Inn at the Crossroads.
- The novels do specify that the double-marriage ceremony between Ned Stark and Catelyn, and Jon Arryn and Lysa, was held at Riverrun after the rebel army moved north following the Battle of the Bells, but before the rebels marched south again to the climactic Battle of the Trident.
After the Targaryen Conquest
The quick narration after Aegon I's death from old age (in the year 37 After Conquest) skims over the fates of several other major characters from the Conquest generation, featured in this set of videos:
- Aegon's rumored half-brother Orys Baratheon outlived him, but he had been captured and mutilated during the First Dornish War, his sword-hand cut off before he was ransomed back. He grew withdrawn afterwards, brooding on revenge. Upon Aegon's death, a localized rebellion broke out along the Dornish border led by a bandit-lord known as the Vulture King. During this conflict, the Vulture Hunt, the elderly Orys rode forth from Storm's End one last time and smashed the eastern half of the rebels' host. The son of the man who had taken Orys's sword-hand was captured, so Orys cut off his hand for the one his father owed him...then proceeded to cut off the boy's other hand and both his feet, as his "usury". Orys died soon afterwards on the return journey home from wounds he took on campaign, but his son always said he died with a smile on his face, looking over the severed hands and feet strung up in his tent like onions.
- Visenya Targaryen outlived both of her younger siblings, after Rhaenys died years before during the First Dornish War, and after Orys died, she became the last of the Conquest-generation Targaryens. She constantly schemed at court to advance her own son Maegor the Cruel, and after he seized the throne she remained as one of his closest advisors. During the Faith Militant uprising, she once again flew her dragon, Vhagar, to burn out rebel castles, this time visiting dragon-flame upon the Riverlands as once she had brought it upon Dorne (still able to ride a dragon despite the fact that she was over 70 years old). Visenya eventually died, apparently of old age, then a new rebellion was led against Maegor by Aenys's younger son Jaehaerys I Targaryen. Maegor was found dead upon the Iron Throne, and Jaehaerys ushered in a golden age of peace and prosperity that lasted over fifty years.
- After wiping out House Hoare, Aegon let the Iron Islands chose a new family to rule the isles under the Iron Throne, and they picked Vickon Greyjoy. House Greyjoy remained loyal to the Iron Throne but aloof from court politics for many generations.
- Ronnel Arryn was killed during one of the local rebellions that broke out against Aegon's son and heir Aenys, thrown out the Moon Door by his own brother - giving a dark connotation to his former nickname as the "boy who flew". Ronnel's brother was killed as well when the Targaryens restored order. All future Arryns actually descend from their younger cousin, who succeeded them.
- Torrhen Stark, Loren Lannister, and Edmyn Tully all apparently lived out their lives without further incident, ruling their respective regions as a "Lord Paramount" under the Targaryens, not a "King". After the Conquest, Queen Rhaenys is said to have organized political marriages between the Great Houses, to knit together the new realm under the Targaryens. The only example of these given is that she arranged the marriage of one of Torrhen Stark's sons to Ronnel Arryn. No children of this union were mentioned when Ronnel died over thirty years later, given that he was succeeded by a cousin from House Arryn.
- Dorne remained independent. Princess Meria's elderly son Nymor died within ten years after their negotiated peace, and was succeeded his by his daughter Deria. As cunning a ruler as her grandmother had been, during the Vulture King uprising in the time of Aegon's son Aenys, Deria cleverly navigated politics to play both sides, publicly condemning the rebels while doing nothing to stop them (and possibly even sending them money and supplies).
This video quickly glosses over a full 300 years of Westeros's history and major wars to link the original Targaryen Conquest to the end of Robert's Rebellion and beginning of the Game of Thrones TV series, as events were at the start of Season 1. Thus it only briefly touches upon major events which entire prequel eras center around, and which other animated Histories & Lore videos from prior TV seasons have addressed in more detail (to varying degrees):
- After Aegon I died of old age, he was succeeded by his only son with Rhaenys, Aenys Targaryen. A weakling, he came into conflict with the Faith of the Seven over the Targaryen practices of incest marriage, leading to the Faith Militant uprising. Aenys fled the capital and died from stress, at which the throne was usurped by his brutal half-brother Maegor Targaryen, Visenya's only son with Aegon. Maegor seized the throne ahead of Aenys's own children, hammered the Faith Militant to restore Targaryen power, but then began such a reign of terror that he is remembered as "Maegor the Cruel". The previous Histories & Lore video on "The Faith Militant" summarizes the uprisings against Aegon's sons in more detail, and chronologically follows right after this video.
- The Dance of the Dragons, the great civil war between Rhaenyra Targaryen and Aegon II Targaryen in which for once both sides had dragons, was adapted into another special long-form Histories & Lore video in the Season 5 set, the 20 minute long "The Dance of Dragons (Histories & Lore)".
- The Blackfyre Rebellions are discussed throughout several other prior videos, though another video in this same Season 7 set gives a good summation of all of them, the one on "The Golden Company". Dorne was absorbed under the Iron Throne through peaceful marriage alliance right before this, some 200 years after the Conquest, leading to rival pro- and anti-Martell factions at the royal court in King's Landing, contributing to the outbreak of the rebellions.
- This specific video also gives an extended summation of all the events in Robert's Rebellion, though different aspects of it have been scattered about in different videos over the TV seasons, which go into slightly more depth from specific character's POV's (i.e. the Siege of Storm's End and Battle of Ashford are only mentioned in passing in this, Barristan's account gives a more detailed version of the Battle of the Trident where Rhaegar died, etc.). These were combined into one large overview article for this wiki on "Robert's Rebellion (Histories & Lore)".
- King Aegon the Conqueror (mentioned)
- High Septon (Faith Militant uprising)
- King Maegor "the Cruel" Targaryen
- King Aegon II Targaryen (indirectly)
- Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (indirectly)
- Sunfyre (indirectly)
- Last dragon (indirectly)
- King Aegon IV Targaryen (indirectly)
- Ser Barristan "the Bold" Selmy
- Maelys "the Monstrous" Blackfyre
- King Aerys II Targaryen, the "Mad King"
- Prince Rhaegar Targaryen
- Lyanna Stark
- Lord Rickard Stark (indirectly)
- Brandon Stark (indirectly)
- Lord Jon Arryn
- Lord/King Robert "the Usurper" Baratheon
- Lord Eddard "Ned" Stark
- Lord Hoster Tully
- Lord Jon Connington (indirectly)
- Lady Catelyn Tully
- Lady Lysa Tully
- Lady Sansa Stark (indirectly)
- Lord Tywin Lannister
- Ser Jaime "the Kingslayer" Lannister
- Princess Elia Martell (indirectly)
- Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (indirectly)
- Prince Aegon Targaryen (indirectly)
- Ser Gregor Clegane (indirectly)
- Prince Viserys Targaryen
- Queen Rhaella Targaryen (indirectly)
- Princess Daenerys Targaryen (indirectly)
- Lord Stannis Baratheon (indirectly)
- Ser Willem Darry (indirectly)
- Master of Whisperers Varys
- House Targaryen
- House Blackfyre
- Great Bastards (indirectly)
- House Lannister (mentioned)
- War of Conquest (mentioned)
- Faith Militant uprising (indirectly)
- Dance of the Dragons
- Blackfyre Rebellion (indirectly)
- Robert's Rebellion
- High Septon
- King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men
- Warden of the North
- Lord of the Stormlands
- Lord of the Vale
- Hand of the King
- Master of Whisperers (indirectly)