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The Stormlands (Histories & Lore)

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"The Stormlands" is part of the Histories & Lore, a special feature in the Blu-ray of Season 3 of Game of Thrones. It is narrated by Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth.

Summary Edit

Tarth has lulled many a novice sailor into complacency. Their lush island sits on calm blue water like an emerald set into a sapphire. It could never be guessed that such a vision is only a sheath hiding the blade of Shipbreaker Bay with it's treacherous tides, unpredictable gales and sharp rocks lurking just below the water's surface. The storms that blow through the bay water the kingswood and rainwood, two of the great forests of Westeros, and the give the Stormlands their name.

Even without the weather, the Stromlands have more than earned their name in strife. The first Storm King, Durran, started his reign by declaring war on the gods themselves. He loved the daughter of the Sea God and the Wind Goddess, but they forbade the union. At their wedding the gods unleashed their might, pulling down his hold and killing all of Durran's family and guests, though his wife shielded him. Durran vowed to rebuild, and when he did the Gods again destroyed his home. His coulcillors begged him to retreat inland, but he would not abandon his war. Finally, with the council of the Children of the Forest or perhaps a young Bran the Builder, Durran raised a seventh castle that, try as they might and still do, the wind and sea gods could not tear asunder. Durran took the name Godsgrief and called his new home Storm's End.

Having beaten the waters to the east, the Storm Kings turned their gaze to more practical enemies: The Reach, Riverlands and Dorne. For thousands of years the Storm Kings fought the Gardener kings of the Reach and various families of Dorne for control of the Dornish Marches just below the Red Mountains. The fighting did not stop until Dorne married into the Seven Kingdoms a mere hundred years ago. But still the houses of the Stormlands such as the Dondarrions guard the Boneway, the mountain pass into the Marches, against any Dornish incursion.

The Storm Kings had greater luck to their north at first. They took the Trident from the River Kings and built an empire that stretched as far as the Neck, but then the ironborn swarmed out of their islands and pushed the Storm Kings out of the Riverlands. No doubt the ironborn intended to expand their empire into the Stormlands. Before they had a chance, Aegon I Targaryen landed with his dragons.

While Aegon burned the kings of the Iron Islands, the Rock and the Reach, his fiercest commander and rumored bastard brother Orys Baratheon set out to subdue the Stormlands. No matter how fierce a warrior he was, no one could have envied his task. Storm's End had seen thousands of years of war and never fallen, but Argilac the Storm King chose not to barricade himself behind it's walls and gave Orys the battle he must have hoped for. Orys slew Argilac and took Argilac's castle, kingdom, daughter, sigil and house words. House Baratheon became the Lord of the Stormlands.

Targaryen rule quieted the Stormlands for the most part, until Robert rebelled against the Mad King. His first challenge came not from the crown, but from his own bannermen who tried to join forces against him. Robert struck first, defeating three armies in a single day at Summerhall. The victory cemented Robert's control of the Stormlands and he was able to march on the Reach and Riverlands with no enemy to his rear.

Yet not all of Robert's bannermen sided with him. Ser Barristan the Bold came from the Stormlands, but as the pre-eminent member of Aerys' kingsguard and greatest knight in the Realm, Ser Barristan remained loyal. After Robert's decisive victory on the Trident, Robert sent his own maester to care for his countryman Ser Barristan, who had suffered grievous wounds while fighting so hard to kill him. Later when the kingslayer betrayed Aerys, Robert pardoned Ser Barristan and even took him onto his own kingsguard.

When Robert lifted Mace Tyrell's ill-managed Siege of Storm's End and returned to his ancestral home, he realized the dream of all the Stormlords before him: to rule the Seven Kingdoms. Then Robert died and his brother Stannis killed their other brother, the noble King Renly, with black magic. Now the Stormlands again live up to their name, with so many houses burned on the Blackwater and others currying favor with the Lannisters to seize the survivors' lands. Brienne laments that Renly could have saved them if only she could have saved him. But she vows to teach Stannis a lesson he should have learned growing up in the Stormlands: As lightning gives way to thunder, so too must murder lead to vengeance.

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