Lord Unwin raising Orphan-Maker as depicted by Douglas Wheatley in Fire & Blood.
|Alias||The player in the shadows|
|Born||In or before 100 AC|
|Died||In 136–196 AC|
Unwin Peake was the Lord of Starpike, Dunstonbury, Whitegrove, and head of House Peake during the Dance of the Dragons. He later served as Lord Regent, Protector of the Realm, and Hand of the King during the regency of King Aegon III Targaryen.
Unwin was proud, brusque, hard, ambitious, and cunning. Like his lord father, Unwin did not believe a woman should rule over men.
Dance of the Dragons
Unwin supported the greens during the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons. He marched forth with a thousand men and joined Lord Ormund Hightower's great host, which slowly marched towards King's Landing. After the First Battle of Tumbleton, Unwin was one of the men who attempted to claim leadership over the host following Ormund's death, and he quarreled with the other would-be successors. At a war council, he stabbed Lord Owain Bourney through the eye with his dagger, declaring him a turncloak. Unwin wanted to wait at the sacked town in hopes of reinforcement from Lord Borros Baratheon. Upon learning of the unrest in King's Landing, Unwin wished to march on the capital immediately, but Ser Hobert Hightower counseled caution, and Hugh Hammer and Ulf White refused to join any attack. When the host learned of the death of Prince Aemond Targaryen, Unwin advocated for declaring Prince Daeron Targaryen to be the new Prince of Dragonstone. Together with Ser Hobert, Unwin called together eleven other lords and landed knights, with whom they formed the Caltrops. At a secret war council, the Caltrops plotted to kill the Two Betrayers.
Lord Peake's tent was burned by Seasmoke during the Second Battle of Tumbleton. Unwin was one of the four Caltrops to survive the battle. He asked Ulf White about his intentions after the battle, to which Ulf replied that he would take the Iron Throne after the greens captured King's Landing. As planned by the Caltrops, Ulf died shortly later, after drinking poisoned wine with Hobert. Unwin offered one thousand golden dragons to any knight of noble birth who could claim Silverwing, Ulf's dragon, but none succeeded. Seeing that his army was disappearing through desertion, Unwin decided to abandon the campaign toward King's Landing and retreat from Tumbleton.
Regency of Aegon III
When the original council of King Aegon III Targaryen's regents was formed in 133 AC, Unwin was not offered a place amongst them. According to Septon Eustace, Unwin was angered by his exclusion. Following the death of Lord Corlys Velaryon in 132 AC, the other regents offered the empty seat to Unwin, who accepted. After the death of Ser Tyland Lannister, Hand of the King, in 133 AC, Unwin was one of the three regents who remained in King's Landing, besides the ailing Lord Manfryd Mooton and Grand Maester Munkun. Unwin insisted that the other regents, who had departed the capital before Tyland's death, had given up their place on the council by doing so. Supported by Munkun, Unwin undid all of King Aegon III's appointments, as the king had not consulted his regents in making them. Unwin instead selected his own people for the vacant offices, and named himself as Hand and Lord Protector of the Realm.
Many of the appointments Unwin made concerned his own family members, or close friends. He gave white cloaks of the Kingsguard to his nephew, Ser Amaury Peake, and his bastard half-brother, Ser Mervyn Flowers. Lord Peake named Ser Gareth Long, the former master-at-arms at Starpike, as the new master-at-arms to the Red Keep, and he appointed Ser Lucas Leygood as Commander of the City Watch. Unwin placed his widowed aunt, Clarice Osgrey, in charge of Queen Jaehaera Targaryen's household. Lord George Graceford and Ser Victor Risley, two Caltrops, were appointed to the offices of Lord Confessor and King's Justice, respectively. Septon Eustace was dismissed and replaced by Septon Bernard, who was descended from House Peake. In addition, Unwin surrounded himself with a personal guard made up of ten sellswords, who soon became known as the "Fingers". By 133 AC, he had taken possession of the Valyrian steel sword Orphan-Maker.
Unwin wished to demonstrate his strength and rectitude during his time as Hand. He had the crowded dungeons of the Red Keep emptied and all the offenders punished publicly on the Feast Day of Our Father Above in 133 AC. By mid-year, Unwin's hold on power was firm. Intent on demonstrating the power of the Iron Throne, Unwin sent his uncle, Ser Gedmund Peake, with the royal fleet to end the pirate kingdom of Racallio Ryndoon and establish a presence upon Bloodstone in the Stepstones, so as to restore trade during the Daughters' War. However, as the royal fleet was not large enough to accomplish this, Unwin sent forth a raven to Driftmark, commanding Lord Alyn Velaryon to join his forces to Gedmund's. However, while Gedmund delayed on Tarth, Alyn defied orders and sailed to the Stepstones with his own fleet, crushing the Braavosi fleet at Bloodstone. This left Unwin furious, as Racallio's forces were unharmed, while the attack on the Braavosi forces could easily lead to a war with Braavos itself. Although he publicly rewarded Alyn for his actions, Unwin instructed King Aegon III to send forth Velaryon to the westerlands to deal with Dalton Greyjoy, Lord of the Iron Islands, hoping that Alyn would either suffer severe losses on the perilous journey, or would free the westerlands from the ironborn. Meanwhile, he sent Lord Mooton to Braavos to negotiate a truce and prevent war.
In 133 AC, Queen Jaehaera Targaryen died, apparently having committed suicide. It was rumored, however, that she had been murdered. Archmaester Gyldayn considers Unwin as the only possible candidate for having ordered Jaehaera's death, if indeed she had been murdered, and suggests Ser Mervyn Flowers, the white cloak guarding Jaehaera's door the night of her death, or one of the Fingers as the possible killers. According to Gyldayn, Unwin's motive would have been the succession of the Iron Throne, as Aegon III was not like to father an heir on the queen, leaving only the potential son of Aegon III's half-sister Baela Targaryen, who was expecting with her husband, Alyn Velaryon.
Seven days after Jaehaera's death, Unwin declared that Aegon would wed Myrielle Peake, Unwin's daughter. Many lords disapproved of the match and voiced their criticism. Lord Cregan Stark suggested the north would look on the match with disfavor, Lord Kermit Tully called it presumptuous, Lord Benjicot Blackwood questioned the haste of the match, and Grand Maester Munkun's support began to waver, acknowledging that the match would be seen as advancing Peake interests rather than being for the good of the realm. Several highborn ladies wrote to the crown, proposing their own relatives as Aegon's bride (or themselves, in some cases). Due to pressure from the lords and ladies of the realm, Unwin instead announced what became known as the Maiden's Day Ball in King's Landing, where the king would be able to choose his own bride.
Lord Peake restricted the ball to maidens of nobility under the age of thirty to limit the attendance, but more than one thousand young women from throughout Westeros and even Essos came to King's Landing in hopes of marrying the king. Many women were injured or scandalized before the ball, and lords spoke of the "Maiden's Day curse". Many of these events were likely engineered by Lord Peake, who hoped to have his daughter be queen.
Unwin had Myrielle arrive at court a fortnight before the ball, making sure she spent as much time as possible with the king. Aegon and Myrielle dined together half a dozen times and it seemed like the king was fonder of Myrielle than he ever was of Jaehaera. When the day of the ball finally arrived, each maid was presented before the king. King Aegon quickly grew bored and his growing disinterest as hours passed only benefited Lord Peake further. When only a few maidens remained, Lady Baela Targaryen and Lady Rhaena Targaryen suddenly arrived with their kinswoman, Daenaera Velaryon. Afterwards, the king summoned his cupbearer, Gaemon Palehair, who announced that the king would marry Lady Daenaera. His plans foiled by the twins, Lord Peake developed a special hatred for Baela and Rhaena. According to Mushroom, Unwin was paranoid and convinced that the pregnant Baela was plotting to kill the king if she had a boy and said as much to Ser Marston Waters once.
When Lord Unwin threatened to resign his position in 134 AC, his threat was accepted by his co-regents. Although he left King's Landing, all of Unwin's appointments kept their posts after his departure.
Amid the Lysene Spring in 135 AC, there was a conspiracy against House Rogare in King's Landing. It was claimed that the Rogares were plotting to assassinate King Aegon III Targaryen in order for his brother, Prince Viserys Targaryen, who was married to Lady Larra Rogare, to ascend the Iron Throne. This eventually led to the secret siege within the Red Keep. When the plot unraveled and the conspirators were arrested, many suspected Lord Unwin was the mastermind behind it, for all the conspirators were men and women he had named to positions of power when he was Hand of the King. Although it was never conclusively proven, few doubt Unwin was involved.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Fire & Blood, The Lysene Spring and the End of Regency.
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - War and Peace and Cattle Shows.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Hooded Hand.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 The Princess and the Queen.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 See the Unwin Peake calculation.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III.
- ↑ Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Triumphant.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Overthrown.
- ↑ Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Voyage of Alyn Oakenfist.