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The War of the False King was a conflict in the year 504 AC between the Reach and the Iron Throne that took place when Gylen Hightower severed his alliance with the crown and declared the Reach an independent kingdom.


When Queen Danae Targaryen sailed to Dragonstone and was absent for the feast and tournament in honor of Nathaniel Arryn's appointment as Hand of the King, rumors circulated that she had severed her alliance with the Iron Thone. Gylen Hightower confronted King Damon at the feast, accusing him of lying about the Queen's absence. After a public argument, Gylen left the Capital enraged, breaking his ties to the crown and declaring the Reach an independent kingdom.

The first battles of the subsequent war were naval ones, and both sides won decisive victories. After receiving a plagiarized letter supposedly from his sister Ashara, Damon took the fight to land and marched the Crownlands troops down the Roseroad, capturing the Reach castles along the way.

When he reached Oldtown, Damon soon saw the burned and hanging body of a young woman. Believing it to be his sister, he refused to parley and instead threatened to hang all Reach footsoldiers captured at Horn Hill if the gates to the city were not opened at daybreak.

The following morning, Queen Danae appeared on the back of her dragon, Persion, and burned the Hightower and Redwyne fleets in the harbor.


The Battle for the Straits and Shields

King Damon Lannister ordered Aemon Estermont to lead the Royal Fleet to the Arbor at the same time as Dagon Greyjoy took the Iron Fleet south to the Shield Islands, knowing that Gylen Hightower could only choose one to defend or else risk losing both by dividing (and therefore weakening) his naval forces between the two attackers.

The Royal Fleet suffered a crushing loss at the Straits, but the Greyjoys successfully captured the Four Shields. This battle marked the first act of outright aggression in the conflict.

The Siege of Southshield

Alannys Greyjoy sailed to Southshield after receiving word that the island was taking longer to capture than expected. Most of the nobles from the other islands had taken refuge there. The ironborn slaughtered the townspeople and threw pieces of their bodies over the castle walls in an effort to spread disease.

An impatient Alannys ordered the town razed and used the rubble to create a bonfire at the gates, ultimately causing the castle to fall. She ordered that any man of the Faith be drowned.

Capture of Bitterbridge

After receiving a plagiarized letter from Ashara Lannister urging him to march, King Damon took the armies of the Crownlands south toward Oldtown. Upon reaching Bitterbridge, a siege was begun, and on the fourth day Lord Caswell came to parley, surrendering the fortress after Damon threatened to burn the castle and its surrounding town.

Capture of Cider Hall

From Bitterbridge, Damon marched to Cider Hall. He gave Lord Fossoway til sundown to forfeit his castle, or else he would send men over the walls. At dusk, the Lord sent forth a knight to challenge the King for the holdfast. Damon chose Ser Ryman as his champion, instead.

After Ser Ryman slew the first knight, three more challengers appeared and were defeated. The Lord Commander nearly fell to the fourth, but his son and squire Robert intervened, saving his life and taking over the fight, vanquishing three more knights. After the seventh fell, the castle was forfeited and Robert was knighted for his efforts.

Capture of Red Lake

To secure the Westerlands march through the Reach, Red Lake was captured by Lord Alekyne Serret.

Capture of Longtable

Longtable was captured by Ser Edric Brax of the Kingsguard.

Capture of Highgarden

After securing all of the Shield Islands, Dagon Greyjoy sailed a portion of the Iron Fleet up the Mander, burning and reaving along the coast before taking Highgarden and securing the Ocean Road's intersection with the Roseroad.

Battle for Old Oak

Ser Daeron Oakheart captured the castle of Old Oak, held by his father, after a bloody battle. The capture secured passage along the Ocean Road for the armies of the Westerlands, led by Lord Lyle Crakehall.

Battle on the Sunset Sea

Ferment Redwyne, King Gylen's Hand, was captured by Dagon Greyjoy after leading an attack against the Iron Fleet on the Sunset Sea.

Battle at Horn Hill

Gerold Hightower lead a small army to New Barrel in order to investigate recent acts of aggression against the holdings, which the Dornish were behind (hoping to take advantage of the war to get revenge after the Fossoway lord trespassed on Dornish lands), and burn large tracks of the Roseroad to make King Damon's passage more difficult. While returning after a stay at Horn Hill, his army was set upon by Damon's and the majority was captured, including Lord Marq Beesbury. Gerold himself managed to escape with a retinue of eight knights.

When he arrived back at the Hightower, Gerold learned that Ashara was with child and Damon's army was approaching the gates. 

The Hanging Maiden

King Damon's armies from the Westerlands and Crownlands met at Oldtown and began their siege as the Greyjoys blockaded the harbor. Early into the siege, the flaming body of Mellara Tyrell was hanged from the ramparts of the Hightower, and King Damon falsely believed it to be his sister, Ashara Lannister.

Burning of the Harbor

Danae Targaryen arrived on the back of Persion during the siege and burned the Redwyne Fleet and Oldtown Fleet in the harbor. Gerold Hightower decided to oppose his father, and lead a group of knights to try and overthrow him after he ordered Ashara to be dragged to the top of the Hightower.

Death of King Gylen

Queen Danae flew her dragon to the top of the Hightower, where she found King Gylen holding Ashara hostage. With Gerold Hightower at his back (blocking his escape after a change of heart) and the Dragon Queen before him, Gylen was prepared to slit the Princess' throat when Persion intervened, driving his spiny tail through Gylen's chest. When Ashara broke free, Danae gave her dragon the command to burn the Hightower King.


After Danae Targaryen reunited with Damon Lannister, she demanded equal ruling power and the two formed the new House Lannister Targaryen.

Gerold Hightower was stripped of all his titles, and the Lord Paramountcy of the Reach was given to Ashara Lannister. He was to be sent to the Night's Watch when Ashara intervened on his behalf, and instead he was allowed to remain in Oldtown as her lord consort.

Ferment Redwyne was allowed to live, but had his hand severed as punishment.

Godric Grimm was stripped of his fleet, which was sent to King's Landing to help replace ships lost in the royal one.

Randyll Oakheart was forced to give his firstborn son over to the Night's Watch.

Notable Persons

Gylen Hightower

Damon Lannister

Danae Targaryen

Dagon Greyjoy

Ferment Redwyne

Alannys Greyjoy

Lyle Crakehall

Ashara Lannister

Gerold Hightower

Marq Beesbury