BATTLE OF THE KINGSROAD

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Even though I found the Dance of the Dragons to be a senseless war, there were quite a few epic battles and intriguing cutthroat politics. My favorite battle from the war that did not include a dragon would be the Battle of the Kingsroad. It was the very last battle of the Dance of the Dragons and ultimately decided the fate of the Targaryen Dynasty. After Rhaenyra Targaryen died, Lord Borros Baratheon of Storm’s End finally emerged with his army to support King Aegon II. Even though Lord Baratheon sided with Aegon II, he stayed out of most of the war in order to avoid the dragons. With Rhaenyra dead and most of the dragons gone, Lord Borros saw this as his chance to support his king. By the time he reached King’s Landing, word reached the Red Keep that one of Rhaenyra’s last supporters, Kermit Tully of Riverrun, was leading an army of riverlords towards the capital in the name of Rhaenyra’s last son, Aegon the Younger. Aegon II sent Borros Baratheon to defuse this threat and bolstered Borros’s army until it was between seven to eight thousand strong. As he marched, Lord Baratheon had six hundred knights and four thousand infantry from the Stormlands and soldiers from the Crownlands. Lord Baratheon met the Tully host along the Kingsroad between a hill on one side and a forest on the other. After learning that the Tully army was being led by two boys and a woman, Lord Baratheon was arrogantly confident that he would win. However, because Borros and his men stayed out of the war, they did not participate in a single battle, which left them green, undisciplined, and inexperienced. Even though Borros was older than the Tullys and outnumbered their army two to one, Kermit Tully and his men were far more battle-hardened. One could argue that Kermit Tully was the Tully version of Robb Stark, a young man who was a natural as both a warrior and military commander. In the middle of the Kingsroad, Kermit Tully assembled an impregnable shield wall while his archers were perched on top of the hill. Lord Baratheon led his knights and infantry in a brute force attack against the shield wall, but the archers under the command of Alysanne Blackwood killed the Baratheon horses, collapsing the Baratheon vanguard as it struck the shield wall. Once the shield wall held the Stormlanders in place, Alysanne’s young nephew Benjicot “Bloody Ben” Blackwood emerged from the forest and outflanked the Baratheon soldiers with his own men. When the Crownland levies saw the battle was lost, they either fled or defected to the Tullys and attacked the Baratheons from behind. With Borros and his men trapped in a pincer movement, the battle quickly turned into a one-sided massacre. Even after losing his horse, Borros Baratheon refused to yield and kept fighting until he was confronted by the teenage Kermit Tully himself. Kermit gave Borros one final chance to yield, but Borros cursed him instead. In response, Kermit Tully caved in Borros’s skull with his morningstar. With Borros dead, the remainder of King Aegon II’s army fled and King’s Landing was wide open to attack from Kermit Tully’s battle-hardened riverlords. Even with the last of his armies defeated and the armies of the North, Riverlands, and Vale closing in, Aegon II refused to surrender, which led to his poisoning by his own courtiers. The Battle of the Kingsroad led to the end of Aegon II’s reign and paved the way to the reign of Aegon III AKA the Dragonbane.

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