The War of Conquest is one of the most significant events in the Game of Thrones universe, as it led to the unification of the seven kingdoms. The war began when Aegon I Targaryen arrived on the shores of Westeros with visions of its coming destruction and a dream to prevent it. Aegon had three dragons on his side, making the conquest far easier than it otherwise might have been. I can’t imagine enemy soldiers would have been particularly interested in fighting when they caught sight of Balerion. Two battles during Aegon’s War of Conquest had more impact than any others, namely the Burning of Harrenhal and the Field of Fire.
King Harren Hoare was one of the cruellest men ever ruling in Westeros. He cared more about his comforts than his people, which was made abundantly clear during the almost forty-year construction of Harrenhal. While the might of House Hoare seemed somewhat evenly matched against the armies of the Targaryens, both having won and lost a previous battle, Harren’s downfall proved to be his mistreatment of his people.
After years of plundering the Riverlands, the Riverlords refused to support Harren and allied themselves with the Targaryens. Realising he had no power and support, Harren retreated into the well-stocked Harrenhal, where he arrogantly believed Aegon would be unable to reach him.
Upon reaching Harrenhal on Balerion, Aegon didn’t attack the arrogant king immediately. Instead, he offered to name him Lord of the Iron Islands if he yielded to Targaryen rule. Harren refused, steadfast in his belief that his castle would not burn, and Aegon gave him one final warning, “When the sun sets, your line shall end.”
Harrenhal stood no chance against Balerion’s fire that night, and, just as Aegon said, the line of Hoare was brought to an end with dragon fire. Once the castle had cooled, the ruined swords were taken to Aegonfort, where they would eventually be used to forge the Iron Throne.
The Field of Fire was one of the most devasting battles during the conquest. House Lannister and House Gardener were determined to push back the Targaryen invaders and brought their armies together, amassing 55 000 men against the Conqueror and his queens.
As the battle began, House Lannister and Gardener’s forces had the upper hand and began to break the Targaryen spear lines. Unfortunately for them, this didn’t last long and soon, the three dragon riders took to the skies. Dragon fire set the dry fields of the plains alight, and it quickly became clear that the resistant armies would never stand a chance.
It was the only time all three Targaryens had ridden in battle together, and it proved effective. Five thousand men on the enemy side lost their lives to dragon fire or sword, while only 100 were lost on the Targaryen side. Loren I Lannister surrendered to Aegon the next day, and word of the Field of Fire spread to the furthest reaches of Westeros and led Torrhen Stark to submit to Targaryen rule and keep his men from suffering the same fate.