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Greyjoy Rebellion (Histories & Lore)

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"Greyjoy Rebellion" is a collection of short videos included in the "Histories & Lore", a special feature present in the Blu-ray set of Season 2 of Game of Thrones. They provide accounts of the Greyjoy Rebellion from different points of view, narrated, respectively, by Stephen Dillane as King Stannis Baratheon, Richard Madden as King Robb Stark and Alfie Allen as Prince Theon Greyjoy.

Stannis Baratheon's perspective

Though Robert Baratheon had risked many lives to win it, the Iron Throne bored him. He cared little for justice and less for rule. If it were not women or wineskin, he had no use for it. Without the stalwart Jon Arryn as Hand of the King, the challenge to Robert's crown would have come much earlier than it did.

The Iron Islands have never lacked for treachery. They respect only strength, and honor is as foreign to them as The Seven. After six years their ruler, Lord Balon Greyjoy wagered that King Robert had not won the support of the great houses of Westeros, many of whom still named him Ususper. Lord Balon declared the Iron Islands independent, and sent his Iron Fleet to Lannisport.

Lord Tywin Lannister was careless, and the Ironborn burnt his ships at anchor. Lord Balon and his reavers controlled the Sunset Sea. Robert then ordered his brother Stannis to succeed where is father-in-law Lord Tywin had failed. Beneath Robert's fury Stannis sensed relief: war he could understand. He would smash Lord Balon as he had Rhaegar Targaryen. Stannis raised Robert's fleet and sailed around Westeros to the Iron Islands.

He set a trap for the Iron Fleet off Fair Isle. As sailors and warriors the Ironborn are unparalleled, but they are not soldiers: they have no discipline, no strategy, no unity. In a battle each man fights only for his own glory, and their longships are built for lightning strikes and shore raids. When the captains rushed in, Stannis smashed their longships with his larger war galleys. The strength of the Ironborn is in their ships.

With the Iron Fleet broken, Stannis had assured Robert's victory. He could now transport troops and siege weapons to invade the Iron Islands, and contrary to Balon's hopes, Robert had plenty of both.

Robert could inspire great allegiance in war. Enemies who were trying to kill him one day would be drinking with him the next under their own fallen banners. In rebelling against the Iron Throne, Lord Balon did more that Robert ever could to cement his rule.

When Robert came to the Iron Islands, he brought with him the full power of Westeros. Ser Barristan Selmy of the Kingsguard lead the assault on Old Wyk, while Stannis subdued Great Wyk, the largest of the Iron Islands. But Robert saved the seat of House Greyjoy, Pyke, for himself and Lord Eddard Stark.

Robert would later boast of the battle's bloodiness and how he could have torn down the island into the waves if Lord Balon had not bent the knee. If Stannis had lead the assault, Balon's neck would have bent under a sword, because Stannis does not forget or pardon. Balon's time will come, all of their times will come.

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Robb Stark's perspective

Dark wings, dark words. Robb Stark was only a boy when the raven came to call his father Lord Eddard Stark to another war. Balon Greyjoy had raised the Iron Islands in revolt and burned the Lannister fleet at anchor. King Robert Baratheon again needed his old friend.

Lady Catelyn Stark was not happy to lose her lord husband to Robert again. Six years earlier he had left her to avenge his father and brother against the Mad King Aerys II Targaryen. But now he had sons and daughters of his own, and another son who was not hers from the last time he went to war. But she knew that in marrying Eddard she had married The North, where the hold their honor and duty as dear as their own gods. When the time came, Eddard rode south to restore peace and order to the realm.

The Ironborn keep neither The Old Gods of the Forest nor The Seven, and despise all honest toil. Their ancestors ravaged the western shores, raping and slaving and putting it to the torch. Their songs still ring through the halls of the Ironborn, while everywhere else they are whispered to wayward children at bedtime.

Balon thought that Westeros had not recovered from that war against the Mad King. Robert and Eddard corrected him when they smashed the Iron Fleet at Fair Isle and again at Pyke when the pulled down his towers and breached his walls. Eddard never liked to speak of his battles, but Robb had learned from other men what had transpired.

Thoros of Myr was first through the breach with his flaming sword. Not far behind him was Jorah Mormont of Bear Island, Eddard's bannerman who earned the knighthood he would later shame, and lords from every corner of the Seven Kingdoms. All day through every passage of the castle they fought side by side: Eddard with his ancestral sword Ice and King Robert with his warhammer against a hoard of axe-wielding Ironborn. In the end, Lord Balon bent the knee.

King Robert generously allowed Lord Balon to maintain his title and castle. The price of peace was custom: The only son of Balon's to survive his foolish rebellion would be taken as a hostage against future treasons. Eddard even volunteered to foster the boy himself. Robb suspected that it was to make Theon Greyjoy a better man than his father, who would bring honor and duty to the Iron Islands when he returned as heir.Catelyn's silent fear came true, and Eddard returned with another child. Theon ate with the Stark children, played with them and fought with them.

Once the great bond between Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon brought the Mad King to justice foe his crimes. Now, another monster sits on the Iron Throne and another debt of blood is owed House Stark. Theon is the murdered Eddard Stark's ward and Robb is the murdered Eddard Stark's son, like Eddard and Robert bound in blood if not by blood. They are brothers.

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Theon Greyjoy's perspective

When Aegon I Targaryen burned Harren Hoare and all of his sons at Harrenhal, the days when men feared the Greyjoy longships were over. Aegon would not permit marauders and raiders in his Seven Kingdoms. With Harren died the Ironborn empire and the old way that forged it. But what is dead may never die.

Six years after Robert Baratheon won his crown, Balon Greyjoy sought to restore the Ironborn's ancient rights. He declared the Iron Islands independent, and himself it's king, and sent the Iron Fleet on a daring Raid on Lannisport and burned the Lannister ships at anchor, making them unchallenged in the Sunset Sea. This was the seed of the Ironborn's undoing.

Rodrik Greyjoy led a full assault on Seagard. After ferocious fighting beneath the city walls he was slain by Lord Jason Mallister, and his men defeated. By this time Stannis Baratheon had brought Robert's fleet around Westeros and trapped the Iron Fleet at Fair Isle, smashing it. Robert's victory was now all but assured.

Stannis captured Great Wyk, the largest of the Iron Islands, and Ser Barristan Selmy subdued Old Wyk. Robert and Lord Eddard Stark led the assault against the island of Pyke. They razed the town of Lordsport to the ground before Robert turned his full fury on the Greyjoy stronghold.

When they breached the walls the first through was Thoros of Myr with his flaming sword, followed by every minor lord of Westeros hunger for glory. Maron Greyjoy was killed when siege engines brought down a tower on his head. Theon Greyjoy was now Balon's only living son and heir to the Iron Islands. When Balon saw that his cause was lost he wisely conceded defeat to Robert, who otherwise would have pulled down the castle with the Greyjoys inside it.

Balon told Theon: "No man has ever died from bending his knee. He who kneels may rise again, blade in hand. He who does not kneel stays dead, stiff legs and all." Robert allowed Balon to keep his lands and titles as Lord of the Iron Islands, King of Salt and Rock, Son of the Sea Wind, Lord Reaper of Pyke for a price: his last son and heir shipped off to Winterfell as an "honored guest". Theon ate at the Stark's table and played with the Stark children. But if Balon ever rebelled again, Lord Eddard would take his swork and cut off Theon's head. It would be his duty.

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