Nerd School: Robert’s Rebellion part 1 “A Prelude to War”

by Joe on May 18, 2012

Previously: The Greyjoy Rebellion

To pinpoint the cause of a war is never simple. We are taught in school that WWI was cause because the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, but anyone who has done a little research could tell you that the reasons are far more complex.

In “The Song of  Ice and Fire” series the story chronicles the after effects of “Robert’s Rebellion”. However, the casual fan of the TV series has no idea about what exactly the Rebellion was about. So we are going to deconstruct the causes of the war, the major players, and the battles which had a major effect on the series we love.

Prelude to War

The actual rebellion was the culmination of several escalating events, mostly related to the mad King Aerys II. Already mentally unstable from years of inbreeding amongst the Targaryens, the events of the Defiance at Duskendale pushed him over the edge

At Duskendale, Lord Denys Darklyn  asked King Aerys II for certain rights for his citizens and a new town charter for Duskendale. Aerys refused, and so the Darklyns refused to pay more taxes. Aerys decided to deal with the problem himself. Normally this would be the job of his Hand, Tywin Lannister, but Tywin and King Aerys had been growing steadily apart due to the King’s mental state. Aerys went to Duskendale with several members of the Kingsguard and a small force of men, to arrest and execute Lord Denys. Instead he was imprisoned by him. The Defiance ended when Ser Barristan Selmy sneaked into the Dun Fort, the seat of House Darklyn, and rescued the King.

Aerys’ imprisonment gave way to delusions that everyone around him was conspiring against the crown. This isn’t in and of itself a terrible issue, but it became dangerous when added to the recklessness of his son, Rhaegar.

Rhargar, heir to the throne, had been married to Elia Martell, the sister of Doran Martell, ruler of Dorne. However, at the tourney of Harrenhal he revealed an infatuation with Lyanna Stark when he passed over Elia to make her the queen of love and beauty, a title granted by the winner of the tourney.

Lyanna was to be used to bring House Stark and House Baratheon together, as she was engaged to the eldest Baratheon son, Robert. Along with Brandon Stark, Lyanna’s older brother marrying Catelyn Tully,daughter of Hoster Tully, ruler of the Riverlands, The Starks were poised to have some very powerful family connections.

Shortly after the tournament at Harrenhal, Lyanna  disappeared with Rhaegar. Though it is the popular opinion that Lyanna was kidnapped by Rhaegar, the real details are not known. Brandon Stark rode to King’s Landing, and demanded Rhaegar fight him.  King Aerys had Brandon and his companions arrested. Shortly after, his father, Rickard Stark, was summoned to the city to answer for the crimes of his son. He was immediately arrested himself and brutally killed with his son.  Rickard Stark demanded a trial by combat and Aerys had him roasted in his armor. Brandon Stark was put in a strangulation device and was forced to watch his father die, strangling himself in the process. After they were killed, Aerys demanded the heads of Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark from their guardian, Jon Arryn who was fostering them at the Eyrie. Instead of turning them in, Jon chose to raise his banner in rebellion.

Aerys now faced three kingdoms in rebellion, The North, The Vale, and The Stormlands, and it wouldn’t be long before The Riverlands, home to House Tully joined. Eventually Robert was chosen as the figurehead of the rebellion because of his better claim to the throne through his grandmother, who was Aerys’  aunt. The pieces were in place, the movement had a figurehead, now the rebellion could begin.

All art is by Other-in-Law, and it’s all amazing.

Read some other stuff from Joe, hear him on the Planet Arbitrary podcast, or follow him on Twitter @planetarbitrary

Previously on Game of Thrones

S1E1, S1E2, S1E3, S1E4, S1E5, S1E6, S1E7, S1E8, S1E9, S1E10

S2E1, S2E2, S2E3, S2E4, S2E5, S2E6, S2E7

Read Joe’s other articles:

Game of Thrones: Casting Roundup 1 and 2, Game of Thrones Primer IIGame of Thrones Primer I, Inn at the Crossroads Interview, Season 1 recap

Star Trek: Evening the OddsStar Trek Blu-rays 1 and 2 Trek in your Queue 1 and 2, Obama TrekStar Trek: A Different Generation, Failed Star Trek Spinoffs

Doctor Who: Doctor Who Season 6 Round Up, An Alternate History of the DoctorDoctor Who Season 6 primer

Misc: Sci-Fi ComposersThieving Sci-Fi, Paranormal Activi3The Walking Dead Primer, The Genre Problem, Conan Primer, Mutant Fatigue, Sci-Fi A-Team, A Love Letter to Natalie PortmanThor Primer

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