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The Sack of King's Landing (Complete Guide to Westeros)

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"The Sack of King's Landing" is a set of four featurettes in "History & Lore" section of the Complete Guide to Westeros, one of the special features present in the Blu-ray of Season 1 of Game of Thrones. They are narrated, respectively, by Mark Addy as King Robert Baratheon, Harry Lloyd as Viserys Targaryen, Donald Sumpter as Maester Luwin, and Charles Dance as Lord Tywin Lannister.

Robert Baratheon's perspectiveEdit

For Robert's Rebellion to succeed, King's Landing had to be taken forcefully. Nobody was foolish enough to believe that Aerys would hand his crown over peacefully. The Mad King's reign had to end. What Tywin Lannister's forces did was unfortunate, but it was necessary to secure the Iron Throne and bring peace and justice to the Seven Kingdoms.

Robert's glorious victory at the Trident left him wounded, but he sent his personal maester to attend to Ser Barristan Selmy, whose wounds were more severe. Even though Ser Barristan was a member of Aerys' Kingsguard and fought on the opposing side, his bravery and loyalty was something to behold.

This meant that Robert's wound would take longer to heal and he could not ride to King's Landing himself. He sent the one man he trusted over anyone else in the world, Lord Eddard Stark in his place. Had Robert reached King's Landing sooner, perhaps he could have prevented some of the violence that occurred when the Lannisters entered the city. But what Lord Tywin did was for the greater good, even what happened to Princess Elia Targaryen and her children. Babies or no, theirs was the same cursed blood that flowed within the Mad King's veins. They were dragonspawn that could not be allowed to survive. What would they grow to be, loyal subjects?

Robert and Ned had their first real fight over the deaths of the Targaryen children. Ned demanded that the Lannisters be made answer for their crimes. What it a crime to put an end to a family of lunatics born of incest? Robert refused to blame Tywin and sent Ned south to defeat the remaining Targaryen loyalists.

It was only Lyanna Stark's death that reconciled them. Ned had lost his sister and Robert had lost his betrothed and beloved. Their shared grief strengthened their friendship.

As for the Mad King's surviving heirs, who had managed to scurry across the Narrow Sea, they had best stay there. Otherwise they will face the king's justice...

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Viserys Targaryen's perspectiveEdit

The Battle of the Trident may have been an important victory for the Usurper, but it was the treachery and barbarism of Tywin Lannister that sealed the fate of the Targaryen dynasty.

King Aerys II Targaryen had ever been a friend to the lions of the Rock, and Aerys graciously brought Tywin to court, making him the youngest Hand of the King in history. He gave him power and respect and made it possible for Tywin to restore House Lannister to glory. Aerys and Tywin governed side by side for 20 prosperous years.

When the Usurper called his banners in rebellion, Tywin ignored his king's pleas for help and stayed holed up in his stronghold of Casterly Rock. In time, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen was dead, the realm was in turmoil and the Usurper's forces were said to be riding for King's Landing.

What a glorious sight it must have been, when a force of 10000 Lannister men showed up at the gates of the capital, with Lord Tywin at the head pledging support to his beleaguered king. Aerys opened the gates for his old friend.

Instead, Lannister and his men proceeded to plunder and destroy the city that he had called home for decades. As the capital was ravaged and it's people terrorised, Jaime Lannister, son of Lord Tywin, proved every bit as treacherous. He killed King Aerys at the foot of the Iron Throne.

The Lannisters entered the Red Keep and Tywin ordered the deaths of the rest of the royal family. It is said that Princess Rhaenys Targaryen was found cowering beneath her father's bed and put to the sword. She was only a child. Rhaegar's widow Elia Targaryen was forced to watch as Lannister thugs dashed her baby son's head against a wall, before being raped and murdered herself.

As Viserys was the heir to the Iron Throne, he was spirited away to Dragonstone with his mother Queen Rhaella Targaryen who was with child. As a raging summer storm battered the island fortress and destroyed the Targaryen fleet as it lay at anchor, Viserys' sister Daenerys Targaryen was born. The queen died giving birth,

Some 17 years later, the rightful king still lives in exile. But a day of reckoning is coming. Viserys will sail west as Aegon I Targaryen did centuries before. He will take back his father's throne with blood and fire and will punish the treacherous dogs who sought to destroy his family, and the people shall rejoice...

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Luwin's perspectiveEdit

Robert Baratheon's victory at the Trident was a turning point in the war for the Iron Throne. While it was clear that the gods were smiling on the rebel forces, Aerys II Targaryen still held the Red Keep at King's Landing. As Robert was wounded and unable to ride, it was up to Eddard Stark to make for the capital and force the Mad King to give up the Throne.

Lord Stark reached the city gates to find that Tywin Lannister, Lord of Casterly Rock, had already sacked the city in Robert's name. House Lannister had remained neutral up until this point, ignoring requests for help from both the crown and the rebels. Now that Robert's eventual victory was assured, it seemed that Lord Tywin had finally chosen a side.

Lord Eddard was horrified by what he saw when he entered the city. Homes looted and burned, women raped, scores of citizens killed. Disgusted, he led his force up Visenya's Hill to the Red Keep. Upon entering the throne room, he found King Aerys lying in a pool of blood, dead by the hand of his own sworn Kingsguard Jaime Lannister, who sat brazenly upon the throne.

Demanding to know the whereabouts of Queen Rhaella Targaryen, Lord Eddard was informed the queen and her son Viserys had been spirited away to Dragonstone before the Lannisters arrived. But other members of the royal family were not as fortunate. Elia Martell of Dorne, who was the wife of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, had been raped and murdered by Ser Gregor Clegane on Lord Tywin's orders. Ser Gregor and his men had also butchered Rhaegar's young children.

When Robert was well enough to reach the capital, Lord Eddard demanded that the Lannisters answer for their heinous crimes. Robert refused and sent him south to retrieve the Baratheon stronghold of Storm's End, which was still under siege by forces loyal to the crown. Whatever words passed between the two old friends are known only to them, but Lord Eddard is said to have left King's Landing in anger.

Later when Robert was crowned, he appointed Jon Arryn as Hand of the King. Lord Arryn's first order of business was to broken a truce with House Martell of Dorne, who were outraged by the brutal murder of Princess Elia and her children.

Following the death of Lyanna Stark, who had been betrothed to Robert, Houses Baratheon and Lannister joined in marriage when the new king took Tywin Lannister's daughter Cersei as his queen. As for Eddard Stark, he returned to his stronghold of Winterfell, forever haunted by his sister's death and the shameful way that Robert had secured his throne.

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Tywin Lannister's perspectiveEdit

Rhaegar Targaryen lay dead on the banks of the Trident, his royal army shattered and in retreat. The days of the dragon kings were clearly numbered. Until that moment it would have been foolish to commit Casterly Rock to either the crown or the rebellion. What would House Lannister have to gain in supporting a raving madman or in entering a crusade to put Robert Baratheon on the Iron Throne?

But chaos benefits nobody. It was time for House Lannister to do what it could to ensure a return of peace and prosperity to the realm. Lord Tywin brought 10,000 Lannister troops to the gates of King's Landing, in order to bring about a quick and decisive conclusion. King Aerys had been sending ravens for months begging for Tywin's support to end the uprising. In a way, his pleas had been answered.

As Tywin had suspected, Aerys opened the city gates and welcomed his men. The plan was clear: crush Aerys' remaining bannermen and remove the remnants of the royal family as quickly and efficiently as possible. Any alternative meant years of further war and a fragmented Seven Kingdoms. Their means were bloody, but the results spoke for themselves.

Aerys met his fate at the hands of Tywin's son, Jaime Lannister. Aerys had kept Jaime close during the rebellion, thinking himself clever by keeping Tywin's son as a hostage should he decide to pledge support to the rebel cause. This proved to be his greatest mistake, for when the time came Jaime did his duty as a Lannister and drove his sword into the Mad King's back.

With that, Robert Baratheon's crown was secured. The new king recognized House Lannister's role in his ascension to the throne, just as he recognized how useful the might and riches of Casterly Rock would be. To that end, Tywin offered his daughter Cersei Lannister as his queen. Had Aerys not spurned this same offer years earlier, perhaps things would have worked out differently.

With Robert and Cersei crowned as King and Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, it was a new day. The dragon was vanquished, and the Seven Kingdoms would thereafter belong to the stag and the lion.

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