The Triarchy and its forces have had the honor of becoming the first proper villains in House of the Dragon. We are sure there are many more villains that will slowly reveal themselves along the course of the show. But so far, all the characters are shades of grey, hence having a proper enemy bought some much-needed action, even if it lasted just around seven minutes.
How was the Triarchy formed?
The Triarchy was an alliance formed by the Free Cities of Lys, Myr, and Tyrosh of the continent Essos. It was governed by a council instead of one king. Originally most of Essos was under the rule of Valyria. The lands under their rule were considered to be a part of the Valyrian Freehold. After the Doom of Valyria, the Volantenes considered themselves rightful owners of the Valyrian Freehold. This was because Volantis was the oldest, wealthiest, and most populous one amongst the Free Cities. Volantis was the first colony formed under the Valyrian Freehold and hence came to be known as the First Daughter.
The Volantenes who had the Old Blood of Valyria, known as tigers, wanted to expand and conquer through war. This method helped them stay in power for nearly a century before it caused immense conflict with the other Free Cities. There was another opposing political power, the merchant faction known as the elephants who disapproved of these methods. Soon, almost all the Free Cities rebelled, with many of them in alliance with each other.
Some of the rebel cities were the Dothraki, the alliance of Qohor and Novor, and those of Lys, Myr, Tyrosh, and Pentos. After the dust settled, Lys, Myr, and Tyrosh formed an ‘eternal alliance’ known as the Triarchy. Together they were also known as The Three Daughters.
So who is Crabfeeder in all of this?
You might assume that Craghas Drahar aka Crabfeeder is just some rebel. But he is actually a prince admiral of Myr and led the forces of the Triarchy to gain control over the Stepstones. Their main goal was to get rid of the pirates and savages of Stepstones causing trouble to their trade routes. Craghas did achieve this goal but soon got greedy and started collecting tax from every ship that passed by. He would take the tax by any means necessary which hurt Corlys Velaryon’s profits.
The Westerosi forces of the Velaryon army and fleet along with Daemon Targaryen’s sellswords and golden cloaks launched an attack on Crabfeeder’s forces. The forces of the Triarchy put up a good fight but they couldn’t run from the dragon firepower for too long. In the War for the Stepstones, the Triarchy didn’t exactly lose. Daemon was crowned king of the Stepstones and his sellswords occupied the islands. But there wouldn’t be peace for long.
Read more: Who is Crabfeeder aka Craghas Drahar?
What happens next
The war truly doesn’t end there. According to the books, the Triarchy launches a counterattack led by Racallio Ryndoon along with Dornish allies. The Dornish forces joined in because they weren’t too fond of the narrow sea being controlled by sellswords. The fighting continued for years but Daemon Targaryen went back to the court at King’s Landing. A few years after that, Daemon had to return to the Vale due to the demise of his then-wife. The rest of the sellsword kings couldn’t withstand the Triarchy and Dornish forces for too long thus ending Daemon and the sellsword’s reign.
Daemon became a well-established enemy of the Triarchy. During the Dance of the Dragons, Daemon and Corlys stand with Rhaenyra and blockaded the Blackwater Bay and the Gullet. This made Otto Hightower, grandfather of Aegon II, form an alliance with The Triarchy and attacked the Velaryon fleets. The following Battle of the Gullet was ultimately lost by Rhaenyra’s side. The Triarchy won but suffered immense loss, only 28 ships out of the total 90 returned back to their homeland.
The Fall of The Triarchy
An important thing to note is that most of the 28 surviving ships were of Lys. This caused trouble in the paradise of the Triarchy. The commander during the Battle of the Gullet, Sharakho Lohar, was from Lys. This made many people across the Triarchy believe that Sharakho intentionally held back the Lyseni ships and men and let the Myrish and the Tyroshi suffer much more dramatic losses.
Around the time when the Battle of the Gullet ended in 130 AC, the Triarchy started falling apart. Sharakho was murdered by a rival of the woman he was pursuing at the time but the Lyseni thought this was politically motivated. More murders of people holding power in Myr, Lys, and Tyrosh started occurring more frequently. An all-out war broke out by 132 AC known as the Daughters’ War in the narrow sea since not everyone approved of Racallio having complete control of it.
The Triarchy finally collapsed when Pentos, Braavos, and Lorath worked together to bring it down once and for all during this period of instability. This was advantageous to the aforementioned cities since the power of a unified Triarchy was a looming threat to them. After the fall of the Triarchy, their lands were divided between Lys, Myr, and Tyrosh and they went back to being rivals once more.