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      George R.R. Martin

      Fire & Blood

      Copyright

      HarperVoyager

      An imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd

      1 London Bridge Street

      London SE1 9GF

      www.harpercollins.co.uk

      First published in Great Britain by HarperCollinsPublishers 2018

      Copyright © George R.R. Martin 2018

      Illustrations copyright © Penguin Random House LLC 2018

      Cover illustration © Larry Rostant

      Cover design by Claire Ward © HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd 2018

      George R.R. Martin asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.

      Portions of this book were previously published, some in an abridged form, as:

      ‘Conquest’, published in The World of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, Elio M. García, Jr., and Linda Antonssen, copyright © George R.R. Martin 2014;

      ‘The Sons of the Dragon’, published in The Book of Swords (edited by Gardner Dozois), copyright © George R.R. Martin 2017;

      ‘The Princess and the Queen’, published in Dangerous Women (edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois), copyright © George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois 2013;

      ‘The Rogue Prince’, published in Rogues (edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois), copyright © George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois 2014.

      A catalogue copy of this book is available from the British Library.

      This novel is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental.

      All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins.

      Source ISBN: 9780008307738

      Ebook Edition © October 2018 ISBN: 9780008295578

      Version: 2018-11-20

      Dedication

      for Lenore, Elias, Andrea, and Sid, the Mountain Minions

      Fire & Blood

      Being a History of the Targaryen Kings of Westeros

Volume Onefrom Aegon I (the Conqueror)tothe Regency of Aegon III (the Dragonbane)by Archmaester Gyldaynof the Citadel of Oldtown(here transcribed by George R.R. Martin)

      Aegon’s Conquest

      The maesters of the Citadel who keep the histories of Westeros have used Aegon’s Conquest as their touchstone for the past three hundred years. Births, deaths, battles, and other events are dated either AC (After the Conquest) or BC (Before the Conquest).

      True scholars know that such dating is far from precise. Aegon Targaryen’s conquest of the Seven Kingdoms did not take place in a single day. More than two years passed between Aegon’s landing and his Oldtown coronation … and even then the Conquest remained incomplete, since Dorne remained unsubdued. Sporadic attempts to bring the Dornishmen into the realm continued all through King Aegon’s reign and well into the reigns of his sons, making it impossible to fix a precise end date for the Wars of Conquest.

      Even the start date is a matter of some misconception. Many assume, wrongly, that the reign of King Aegon I Targaryen began on the day he landed at the mouth of the Blackwater Rush, beneath the three hills where the city of King’s Landing would eventually stand. Not so. The day of Aegon’s Landing was celebrated by the king and his descendants, but the Conqueror actually dated the start of his reign from the day he was crowned and anointed in the Starry Sept of Oldtown by the High Septon of the Faith. This coronation took place two years after Aegon’s Landing, well after all three of the major battles of the Wars of Conquest had been fought and won. Thus it can be seen that most of Aegon’s actual conquering took place from 2–1 BC, Before the Conquest.

      The Targaryens were of pure Valyrian blood, dragonlords of ancient lineage. Twelve years before the Doom of Valyria (114 BC), Aenar Targaryen sold his holdings in the Freehold and the Lands of the Long Summer, and moved with all his wives, wealth, slaves, dragons, siblings, kin, and children to Dragonstone, a bleak island citadel beneath a smoking mountain in the narrow sea.

      At its apex Valyria was the greatest city in the known world, the center of civilization. Within its shining walls, twoscore rival houses vied for power and glory in court and council, rising and falling in an endless, subtle, oft savage struggle for dominance. The Targaryens were far from the most powerful of the dragonlords, and their rivals saw their flight to Dragonstone as an act of surrender, as cowardice. But Lord Aenar’s maiden daughter Daenys, known forever afterward as Daenys the Dreamer, had foreseen the destruction of Valyria by fire. And when the Doom came twelve years later, the Targaryens were the only dragonlords to survive.

      Dragonstone had been the westernmost outpost of Valyrian power for two centuries. Its location athwart the Gullet gave its lords a stranglehold on Blackwater Bay and enabled both the Targaryens and their close allies, the Velaryons of Driftmark (a lesser house of Valyrian descent) to fill their coffers off the passing trade. Velaryon ships, along with those of another allied Valyrian house, the Celtigars of Claw Isle, dominated the middle reaches of the narrow sea, whilst the Targaryens ruled the skies with their dragons.

      Yet even so, for the best part of a hundred years after the Doom of Valyria (the rightly named Century of Blood), House Targaryen looked east, not west, and took little interest in the affairs of Westeros. Gaemon Targaryen, brother and husband to Daenys the Dreamer, followed Aenar the Exile as Lord of Dragonstone, and became known as Gaemon the Glorious. Gaemon’s son Aegon and his daughter Elaena ruled together after his death. After them the lordship passed to their son Maegon, his brother Aerys, and Aerys’s sons, Aelyx, Baelon, and Daemion. The last of the three brothers was Daemion, whose son Aerion then succeeded to Dragonstone.

      The Aegon who would be known to history as Aegon the Conqueror and Aegon the Dragon was born on Dragonstone in 27 BC. He was the only son, and second child, of Aerion, Lord of Dragonstone, and Lady Valaena of House Velaryon, herself half Targaryen on her mother’s side. Aegon had two trueborn siblings; an elder sister, Visenya, and a younger sister, Rhaenys. It had long been the custom amongst the dragonlords of Valyria to wed brother to sister, to keep the bloodlines pure, but Aegon took both his sisters to bride. By tradition, he would have been expected to wed only his older sister, Visenya; the inclusion of Rhaenys as a second wife was unusual, though not without precedent. It was said by some that Aegon wed Visenya out of duty and Rhaenys out of desire.

      All three siblings had shown themselves to be dragonlords before they wed. Of the five dragons who had flown with Aenar the Exile from Valyria, only one survived to Aegon’s day: the great beast called Balerion, the Black Dread. The dragons Vhagar and Meraxes were younger, hatched on Dragonstone

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