Hey, guess what? A new claim on the Iron Throne is being pressed. This is nothing new, but this time it’s the claim of a Targaryen. It’s not Daenerys. It’s not Vicerys.
In the history of the novels, Aegon (son of Rhaegar) was killed as a baby when Mad King Aerys was overthrown, though it’s possible that Varys, Master of Whispers, actually smuggled baby Aegon out of King’s Landing to have him raised in Essos, allowing a peasant’s baby to be killed in Aegon’s place. The idea was that Aegon might return one day and claim the Iron Throne, bringing the rule of the Seven Kingdoms back to the Targaryens. That day has apparently come.
One of my response options to this is news is to declare “Long Live the True King!” Meaning King Michael Baratheon. Look, even if you hate the Targaryens, how can anyone in Westeros say any one of the collection of bastards we've rotated on and off Iron Throne is the true king? I’m very tempted to throw in with the Targaryens, because we sure have made a mess of things without them. But, I’m following my liege, like a good little lord.
So! A Targaryen invasion. Exciting! Instead of some inbred jerk sitting on our throne, we may get... a different inbred jerk sitting on our throne (canonically, the Targaryens did a lot of inbreeding).
Aegon makes his landing at Dyre Den, right in my neighborhood, with about a thousand of his own soldiers and 10,000 Golden Company warriors (a mercenary fighting force). My immediate thought is: 10,000? That’s it? I’m sure they look really impressive and all, but it seems a bit weak: my grandfather Ninedrick was once attached to an Iron Throne army some 50,000 strong. No one from Westeros seems to have thrown in with Aegon, either, so he’s not going to have any local support. Still, I’m pretty damned excited to see him. Aegon, in the flesh, stepping off a boat onto my turf.
After laying siege to Dyre Den and easily claiming it, Aegon heads to North Crackclaw Point where there are about 4,000 Iron Throne soldiers awaiting him. There are also 67 ships bearing soldiers from The Reach approaching.
I guess I was right: 10,000 Golden Company warriors do look damn impressive, because the ships from the Reach turn right around and vanish, and the 4,000 Iron Throne soldiers skirt around Aegon and slip away into The Whispers, letting him sack North Crackclaw.
I hope Aegon is happy seeing his enemies flee before him: I suspect it’s going to be all downhill from here. A full 34,000 Iron Throne soldiers advance from the west, with 27 ships appearing in the Bay of Crabs for additional support. 2,000 Thronemen peel off and begin taking back Dyre Den.
Galleys land and start pooping out soldiers. The Iron Throne’s forces are up to 52,000 now, and another 22,000 are marching in through Rook Rest, only a couple of weeks away. The clash begins in North Crackclaw, and Aegon’s army is whittled down to 5,000 men within a month. He’s left himself no escape on land: the Bay of Crabs is north of him and Claw Cape is to the east and south. The only way to run is west, where the land is crawling with more Iron Throne soldiers.
With only 2,000 men left, Aegon retreats through The Whispers. In pursuit are the 50,000 soldiers he was fighting. 32 ships worth of Westerlanders arrive by boat, not that they’ll be needed.
And then it’s over. Offered peace, with no other choice, Aegon accepts, having only briefly conquered Dyre Den. The invasion, if you can even call it that, ends with a whimper. He’s thrown in jail in King’s Landing.
The war is over. The remnants of the Golden Company just stand there on North Cracklaw Point, no one left to pay their tab.