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Valyria and the Dragons

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"Valyria and the Dragons" is a featurette and part of "History & Lore" section of the Complete Guide to Westeros, a special feature in the Blu-ray of Season 1 of Game of Thrones. It is narrated by Harry Lloyd as Prince Viserys Targaryen.

Summary

East of Westeros lies the Smoking Sea, where no ship dares sail, which said by some to be demon-haunted. Viserys considers these people may not be wrong, for it was there, thousands of years ago, that a cataclysmic event took place, destroying one of the greatest civilizations in history.

The precise details of their origins are now lost, but it said that Valyrians were originally a modest community of shepherds established on a peninsula on Essos. One day, in the volcanic area known as the Fourteen Fires, the Valyrians discovered dragons. They were monstruous scaled creatures with massive wings, sharp claws, and fiery breath, and were also said to have a deep-rooted connection to magic. In time the Valyrians managed to tame the beasts and, having harnessed their power, they established what Viserys calls a "city of wonder unlike any before or since". They also became skilled at sorcery and metallurgy, creating weapons of spell-forged steel. Wielding these weapons and atop their dragons, the Valyrians expanded their domain to their neighboring lands and expanded west.

At the time, the Ghiscari Empire was the dominant power in Essos and attempted to stop Valyria's expansion. Ghiscari legions attacked the Valyrians five times but failed at defeating them. The Valyrians reacted by marching against the Ghiscari capital and obliterated it with dragonflame, wiping the Ghiscari people and culture out of the world. The Valyrian Freehold thus became the most advanced civilization of the known world, with its own language, gods, and culture. Its domain was far and wide, covering most of the continent; great cities were build and roadways paved, all of which led back to Valyria.

The Freehold would prosper for nearly five thousand years, but it was not to last, as an event that became known only as "The Doom" laid waste to the Valyrian people, their capital and its surrounding lands. The peninsula itself was shattered and became flooded by the Smoking Sea. Every dragon was thought to be lost, as were the Valyrians' spells, knowledge, and recorded history. The empire collapsed. Viserys wonders what caused the cataclysm, as noone knows for certain. Some say it was a volcanic eruption, while others believe the Valyrians' sorcery was the cause. In any event the Doom's devastation was total, with the exception of a small, rocky island in the Narrow Sea: Dragonstone, for it was there that the Targaryens, the last of Old Valyria, dwelled. It would be a hundred years before they unleashed the fury of the dragons on another continent: Westeros.

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