Articles, Blog

A Song of Ice and Fire: House Targaryen (Part 6 of 6)

Ruling for 12 years, Aerys I was a bookish
and scholarly monarch, who spent his time studying ancient scrolls, leaving the realm
to be governed by his uncle Brynden Rivers, named Hand of the King. Even his wife Aelinor Penrose was of no interest
to him, with some claiming they never consummated the marriage. Believing that perhaps he simply disliked
her, his advisors urged him to put aside the marriage and choose another wife, but he refused,
staying true to the woman he continued to ignore. In the year 212 AC, violence erupted, when
Lord Dagon Greyjoy started raiding the western coast, while in the Riverlands, House Peake
conspired with Daemon Blackfyre II to gather support for the Second Blackfyre Rebellion,
but their efforts were thwarted by the hedge knight Ser Duncan the Tall and his squire
Egg, also known as Aegon Targaryen, nephew to the king. For reasons not yet known, Aegor Rivers and
his warriors did not join the Second Blackyre Rebellion, instead focusing their attention
on preparing Daemon’s younger brother Haegon for the crown. Several years later in 219 AC, Bittersteel
felt the time was right and launched the Third Blackfyre Rebellion, invading Westeros with
the Golden Company. Though the king was not a warrior, his brother
Prince Maekar and nephews Aerion Brightflame and Aegon Targaryen led their forces alongside
the Hand of the King Brynden Rivers, who once again fought a duel with his hated half brother. Though the fighting was savage, in the end
the Loyalist forces were victorious, resulting in the death of Haegon Blackfyre who was dishonourably
killed after surrendering and the arrest of Aegor Rivers, who was dragged before the King
in the capital. Both Bloodraven and Brightflame advocated
for his execution, but Aerys chose to be merciful and exiled him to the Night’s Watch. Yet the Golden Company remained free and loyal
to Bittersteel and so they attacked the ship carrying their leader to the Wall, and brought
him back to Tyrosh where he crowned Haegon’s son Daemon Blackfyre III as the true king
of Westeros. Since King Aerys had no children of his own,
his brother Rhaegel was named heir until his death in 215 AC, when he choked on lamprey
pie. Rhaegel’s son Aelor was next in line but
he died in an accident involving his sister-wife Aelora, who was so distraught by the loss
she went mad and later killed herself. And so when the king died of illness in 221
AC, the throne passed to his youngest brother Maekar, a strong willed warrior who kept Bloodraven
as Hand of the King. Married to Dyanna Dayne, the couple had 4
sons, yet even so the succession proved problematic, with the eldest child Aerion Brightflame so
mad he died drinking wildfire, while Daeron the Drunken died of the pox, contracted from
a prostitute. Their third son Aemon, was both wise and good
hearted but he became a Maester and thus renounced his inheritance, leaving only Aegon Targaryen,
the 4th son of a 4th son, known as the boy Egg who squired for Ser Duncan the Tall. Despite being a warrior, Maekar ruled for
12 years in relative peace, until House Peake rebelled in 233 AC. Having supported House Blackfyre, they were
stripped of lands and incomes, leading them to take up arms in Peake Uprising which ended
with the Storming of Starpike. Ever the warrior, Maekar led the royal forces
to victory but died in the fighting, leaving the throne to his youngest son Aegon V, known
as the Unlikely, a man with a unique history unlike any other member of House Targaryen,
beginning his adventures at the age of 9 when he attended the Tourney of Ashford Meadow
in 209 AC and there deceived Ser Duncan the Tall into believing he was a common boy, in
order to serve as the knight’s squire. However the ruse was soon revealed when Ser
Duncan defended the honor of Tansell Too Tall who was being harassed by Aegon’s elder
brother Aerion Brightflame. The confrontation then led to a trial by seven,
where each man gathered 6 allies to join him in battle. Though Aerion’s father Maekar and brother
Daeron fought for him, the heir to the throne Baelor Breakspear saw the injustice of the
situation and joined Ser Duncan the Tall, helping him achieve victory. Unfortunately Prince Baelor died from the
wounds he suffered at the hands of his brother Maekar, but even so Ser Duncan was allowed
to keep Aegon as his squire, on the condition he continued to shave his head and hide his
true identity. By serving under a hedge knight, Aegon travelled
across the continent and lived amongst the small folk of the realm, coming to understand
the poverty and challenges they endured. In time, he became an expert warrior and a
king, but never forgot the lessons of his youth, and spent his reign fighting for the
rights of the common people. Yet these efforts which made him beloved by
the poor, led to anger and hatred from the nobility, who felt he threatened their authority. Yet if any truly wished to do him harm, they
would need to go through Ser Duncan the Tall, who was made Lord commander of the kingsguard,
remaining a close friend and advisor to the ruler for the rest of their lives. Becoming king at the age of 33, Aegon’s
reign showed much promise, yet it unfortunately began with a scandal, as his first action
was to banish the former Hand of the King Brynden Rivers to the Night’s Watch. Due to the death of so many heirs under Maekar
I, a great council was called to determine the next king which ultimately chose Aegon
the Unlikely. However one of the claimants who asked for
an audience was Aenys Blackfyre, the last living son of Daemon Blackfyre, who wanted
to take a peaceful approach to claiming the Iron throne. Though he was promised safe passage, Bloodraven
broke his word and had the man killed, much to the relief of many noble lords. Yet this action also meant that the Iron Throne
could not be trusted, and so the new king Aegon V had no choice but to exile his great
uncle. Three years later in 236 AC Aegor Rivers made
his last attempt to invade Westeros, landing on Masseys Hook with Daemon Blackfyre III
and the Golden Company. However the Fourth Blackfyre Rebellion ended
quickly with their defeat at the Battle of Wendwater Bridge, where Ser Duncan the Tall
slew Daemon Blackfyre in single combat, though Bittersteel once again survived and retreated
across the Narrow Sea. Aegor Rivers then died a few years later,
fighting in the Disputed Lands, but even on his deathbed refused to give up, ordering
that the Golden Company boil the flesh from his skull, dip in gold and carry it as their
banner when they finally take the Iron Throne. Back in the capital, despite proving himself
a good man and valiant warrior, Aegon faced heavy backlash from the nobility who opposed
his many reforms. Having married Betha Blackwood who gave him
5 children, Aegon decided to marry their sons and daughter to important families throughout
the realm, thereby winning him key allies his fight for the common people. Yet all his plans were ruined when his children
refused to cooperate and in the end his problems only grew worse. His eldest son Duncan the Small abandoned
his betrothal to House Baratheon and even renounced his position as heir to the throne,
in order to marry the common girl Jenny of Oldstones, an act so insulting it led the
Stormlands into a rebellion. Aegon’s second son Jaehaerys and daughter
Shaera, inspired by their elder brother’s courage, left behind their arranged marriages
to Houses Tully and Tyrell, so they might wed each other in secret ceremony. Even the youngest son Daeron disobeyed his
father’s wishes, forsaking his betrothal to House Redwyne to remain unwed for the rest
of his life as he preferred the companionship of a man. Only the youngest child Rhaelle did as she
was told, marrying into House Baratheon to help bring peace after the rebellion. After 26 years of rule, Aegon the V travelled
to Summerhall in 259AC alongside his family and friends, hoping to perform a ritual which
might hatch dragon eggs , but instead created a fire do devastating it destroyed the castle
and killed the King, Prince Duncan the Small, Ser Duncan the Tall, and many others. Fortunately some few survived, possibly due
to the heroics of the Lord Commander, including Rhaella Targaryen, granddaughter of the king
and her son Rhaegar, born that very day. With the King dead, his son and heir Jaehaerys
II inherited the throne, and while he was physically weak and sickly, he ruled well
and was thought to be a good leader. Having married his sister Shaera, they had
a son named Aerys and a daughter Rhaella, wedding them to each other because of a prophecy
proclaimed by a woods witch, who said the Prince who was promised would be born of their
line. Though Jaehaerys II reigned for only 3 years,
he faced a potential invasion in 260 AC, when a group of pirates and merchants allied with
Maelys the Monstrous Blackfyre, leader of the Golden Company. Basing themselves on the stepstones, the Hand
of the King Ormund Baratheon led a pre-emptive strike, leading to the 5th Blackfyre Rebellion,
which saw a young Baristan Selmy cut a bloody path through the enemy to slay Maelys in single
combat, thereby ending the male line of House Blackfyre. Dying of a sudden illness in 262 AC, the throne
passed to the king’s only son Aerys II, a young man who showed promise in his early
days, naming his friend Tywin Lannister as Hand of the King and together bringing about
12 years of peace and prosperity for the Seven Kingdoms. Yet as time passed it became clear Aerys was
a fool always making grand plans he was unable to complete. These failures were then amplified by the
respect everyone had for Tywin Lannister, leading him to resent the Hand, treating him
with cruelty and disdain, until he felt no choice but to resign from his position. With his mental health already starting to
decline, Aerys went through terrible bouts of depression when his wife had a number of
stillbirths and miscarriages. As his insanity grew, he became obsessed with
Wildfire and burning his enemies alive, befriending pyromancers and filling his court with men
of the Alchemist’s guild. Unfortunately his sister-wife suffered more
than anyone, and was regularly raped, beaten and emotionally abused. Yet inspite of the Mad King’s many mistakes,
it was his son Rhaegar who lit the spark which doomed their House, when he became Champion
at the Tourney of Harrenhal, only to name Lord Robert Baratheon’s betrothed Lyanna
Stark as the Queen of Love and Beauty, ignoring his own wife Elia Martell, thereby publically
insulting House Baratheon, Stark and Martell in a single action. Rhaegar and Lyanna later disappear together,
leaving most to believe she was kidnapped and being raped in the south. Outraged by her disappearance, Lyanna’s
brother Brandon Stark, rode to King’s Landing demanding justice, but instead the Mad King
ordered that both he and his father be tortured and killed. In response Houses Baratheon, Stark, Arryn
and later Tully rose in rebellion, culminating in the Battle of the Trident, where Robert
Baratheon slew Rhaegar Targaryen in single combat. With rebel victory all but assured, House
Lannister sacked King’s Landing, killing King Aerys, Elia Martell and her children
Rhaenys and Aegon, allowing for Robert Baratheon to take the Iron throne, claiming legitimacy
through his Grandmother Rhaelle Targaryen. Meanwhile the Mad King’s wife Rhaella was
on Dragonstone where she died giving birth to their daughter Daenerys, who was taken
to Essos by the loyalilst Ser Willem Darry, alongside her brother Viserys, the boy would
spent the rest of his life trying to gather support to reclaim the Throne of their father. Though the Beggar King died without accomplishment,
in a confrontation with the Dothraki, by 300 AC, his sister Daenerys, the last known Targaryen,
hatched 3 dragons, and began a campaign of conquest in slaver’s bay, becoming Queen
of Meereen, all the while waiting for the day she would take her army and dragons to
Westeros. Yet as she waged war in the east, another
possible Targaryen emerged with a young man claiming to be Aegon, son of Rhaegar, who
was smuggled away as a baby and therefore survived sack of king’s landing. A good hearted warrior with the loyalty of
the golden company, Aegon invaded the Stormlands during the reign of Tommen Baratheon, the
boy king engulfed in a terrible civil war. Yet there are some who say Aegon is actually
a Blackfyre descended from the female line, who was told he was a Targaryen to give him legitimacy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *