House Targaryen is a noble house of Valyrian descent that escaped the Doom. They lived for centuries on the Island of Dragonstone until Aegon Targaryean and his sisters rode their dragons to the conquest of The Seven Kingdoms. House Targaryen ruled as Kings of Westeros for nearly 300 years, until they were ousted in Robert's Rebellion. Their major holdings were the Red Keep in King's Landing, the island of Dragonstone, and the summer residence of Summerhall. They were exiled for 200 years untill Aeslyn Targaryen (and later Danae Targaryen) married Damon Lannister and became Queen of Westeros.
Dragonstone is the name of the island located at the entrance to Blackwater Bay and the castle thereon, which was shaped from stone to look like dragons. Dragonstone was the original seat of House Targaryen in Westeros, which they had colonized and fortified as the westernmost outpost of the Valyrian Freehold.
After the Targaryen conquest of the Seven Kingdoms, the island in the Crownlands served as the seat of their heir apparent, known as the Prince of Dragonstone. After Robert Baratheon overthrew the Targaryens, he gave the island to his brother Stannis, creating House Baratheon of Dragonstone. The castle has a dark reputation.
Dragonstone is a volcanic island at the mouth of Blackwater Bay, created by the active volcano, Dragonmont. The island is damp and dreary. The castle of Dragonstone is a small fortress located on the face of the volcano. Outside its walls sits a small fishing village on the stormy coast. Beneath Dragonmont are rich deposits of dragonglass. There is much obsidian seen in the old tunnels beneath the mountain, found in chunks and boulders. The greater part of it is black, but there is some green obsidian as well, some red, even purple.
Through the dalliances of many Targaryen lords and princes over the years, many of the smallfolk of the island are descendants of that dynasty, and are known as dragonseeds.
A short distance west of Dragonstone is the island of Driftmark, which is the seat of House Velaryon, another Valyrian house. Dragonstone, though old and strong, commands the allegiance of only a few lesser lords whose islands are too thinly populated to provide any great numbers of troops. Besides House Velaryon of Driftmark, other houses sworn to Dragonstone include Celtigar of Claw Isle, Seaworth of Cape Wrath, Bar Emmon of Sharp Point, and Sunglass of Sweetport Sound.
The ancient fortress of Dragonstone was built using advanced Valyrian techniques of masonry that were lost in the Doom, causing it to look unique among all the castles in Westeros. The citadel of Dragonstone is wrought all of black stone (the "stones of hell", if the old tales are true), its towers carved into the shapes of dragons, and 1,000 gargoyles carved into various shapes serve as brooding crenellations along the three curtain walls. When Maester Cressen first came to Dragonstone the army of grotesques had made him uneasy, but as the years passed he grew used to them, and in his old age he came to think of the 12-foot-tall hellhound and wyvern on his windswept balcony as old friends.
The design of the castle is very dragon-oriented. Small dragons frame gates and dragon claws hold torches. A pair of great wings cover the armory and smithy, and tails form archways and staircases.
Prior to the First Era
House Targaryen was one of the forty ancient noble houses known as dragonlords who ruled the Valyrian Freehold, a great empire spanning most of the eastern continent. They were traditionally not one of the most important of these families, however. Daenys the Dreamer, the daughter of the head of House Targaryen, Aenar, had visions of a cataclysm that would come over Valyria. Aenar led House Targaryen and their five dragons, including Balerion, to the westernmost outpost of Valyrian influence, the island of Dragonstone, off the east coast of Westeros in 114BC. Twelve years later the Doom descended on the city of Valyria, leading to the collapse of the Freehold. The Targaryens were one of the few families to survive the destruction of their home and were the only dragonriders of Valyria to survive. Thereafter four of the five dragons of House Targaryen died under unknown circumstances, but two more were born from eggs, Vhagar and Meraxes.
Following the Doom, there was pressure for the Targaryens to go east and ally themselves with Volantis, who attempted to restore the Freehold by conquering the rest of the Valyrian colonies to survive the Doom, now known as the Free Cities. However, the Targaryens remained on Dragonstone for another century. After flying to the Disputed Lands and joining an alliance to crush Volantene aspirations, the young Aegon the Conqueror developed ambitions toward Westeros.
Aegon aspired to unite the seven Westerosi kingdoms under one ruler, himself. A hundred years after the Doom, Aegon set forth from Dragonstone with his sister/wives Rhaenys and Visenya, their dragons, and a small force, landing at the mouth of the Blackwater Rush and beginning the Wars of Conquest. During his campaigns, Aegon was anointed king by the High Septon in Oldtown, leading to the unification of the Seven Kingdoms under Targaryen rule from the Iron Throne, starting a dynasty that lasted nearly 300 years. The area where the Targaryens began their conquest became the site of their new capital, King's Landing. Dragonstone was used as the seat of the heir to the throne. The region around these strongholds became known as the Crownlands, and several houses of the area, such as the Velaryons, Darklyns, and the lords of Crackclaw Point, were among the staunchest Targaryen loyalists.
Danae Targaryen reclaimed Dragonstone with a sellsword army and her dragon, Persion, executing Edric Baratheon. After the disappearance and death of Aeslyn, she wed the King and became Queen of Westeros.
Aeslyn Targaryen (deceased)