Aegon I Targaryen
Aegon I Targaryen, also known as Aegon the Conqueror and Aegon the Dragon, was the first Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and king on the Iron Throne, having conquered six of the Seven Kingdoms during the Conquest. The dragonlord was the founder of the ruling Targaryen dynasty of Westeros.
Appearance and Character
Aegon was tall, broad-shouldered and powerful in appearance, with purple eyes and short-cut silver-gold hair. He was very charismatic and commanding. During his Conquest he typically wore a shirt of black scales into battle and wielded Blackfyre, a bastard sword made of Valyrian steel. His crown was a simple circlet of Valyrian steel, set with big square-cut rubies.
Aegon was seen as an enigma. He was a solitary person whose only friend was Orys Baratheon. The king was a great warrior who only rode his dragon, Balerion, for battle or travel and never entered tourneys. Aegon remained faithful to his sisters and left governance in their hands and only took command when necessary. While he was harsh with those who defied him, he was generous to those that bent the knee.
Aegon was born on Dragonstone in 27 BC to Lord Aerion Targaryen and Lady Valaena Velaryon. He had an older sister, Visenya, and a younger sister, Rhaenys. According to Valyrian and Targaryen tradition, Aegon married within the family; however, instead of taking only one sister to wife, as had been common, he married both of them. Aegon had claimed the dragon Balerion for his own prior to his marriage.
When Pentos and Tyrosh asked Aegon for his aid in their struggle against Volantis, Aegon, Lord of Dragonstone, flew to Pentos atop of Balerion to meet with the Prince of Pentos and the city's magisters. Aegon next flew to Lys, where he burned a Volantene fleet before it could attempt to invade the city. Shortly after, Aegon returned to Dragonstone.
As the Century of Blood came to an end, Aegon's interest in Westeros grew. He had previously visited the Citadel of Oldtown and the Arbor in the Kingdom of the Reach with his elder sister Visenya, and he might also have visited Lannisport in the Kingdom of the Rock. He had a huge wooden table made, cut in the shape of Westeros with a map of the seven kingdoms of Westeros painted upon the surface. No borders were painted upon the Painted Table, however, as Aegon believed it should be one realm instead of seven.
The Storm King, Argilac Durrandon, reached out to Aegon, proposing a marriage between Aegon and his only daughter, Princess Argella. All the lands east of the Gods Eye from the Trident to the Blackwater Rush were offered as her dowry, although the lands did not belong to Argilac. His offer was an attempt to create a buffer between his own kingdom and that of Harren Hoare, King of the Isles and the Rivers. Aegon spurned the offer, stating he had no need of a third wife, and instead offered his close friend and rumored bastard half-brother, Orys Baratheon, as Argella's husband instead, in return for lands. Insulted, Argilac cut off the hands of Aegon's envoy and sent those back to Dragonstone, upon which Aegon called his councilors together. After six days of consulting, Aegon sent forth ravens to every lord in Westeros, declaring his claim to the throne.
Aegon landed with his army on the eastern coast of Westeros at the mouth of the Blackwater Rush, where he constructed the wooden Aegonfort. Houses Rosby and Stokeworth surrendered to his sisters quickly, and Houses Darklyn and Mooton were quickly defeated in Aegon's first test. Before defeated lords gathered to the new Aegonfort, Aegon was crowned with a Valyrian steel circlet by Visenya and hailed as King of All Westeros by Rhaenys. He also displayed the three-headed dragon symbol of House Targaryen for the first time.
The Targaryen siblings departed the Aegonfort, with Aegon marching northwest into the riverlands to confront Harren Hoare. Edmyn Tully, Lord of Riverrun, declared for Aegon and led the riverlords in revolt against the ruling ironborn. When Harren refused to yield Harrenhal, Aegon attacked the gigantic new castle with Balerion, and House Hoare was extinguished with the burning of Harrenhal. The next day Aegon named Edmyn as Lord Paramount of the Trident. Meanwhile, Rhaenys and Orys defeated the Durrandons in the Last Storm, while Visenya fought the Arryns and secured Crackclaw Point.
After regathering at Stoney Sept, the Targaryen siblings advanced against the larger host of the Two Kings. The Targaryen dragons (Balerion, Meraxes, and Vhagar) allowed Aegon to achieve a great victory at the Field of Fire, which resulted in the death of Mern IX Gardener, King of the Reach, and the surrender of Loren I Lannister, King of the Rock. Aegon then marched for Highgarden, where he named Harlan Tyrell as Lord Paramount of the Mander after the castle's surrender. The Targaryens again reunited to face the host of Torrhen Stark, King in the North, but Torrhen chose to kneel to Aegon along the Trident instead of fighting a battle.
Visenya returned to the Vale, where she achieved the surrender of the Arryns, while Rhaenys flew to Dorne in an unsuccessful mission to the Martells. Aegon, meanwhile, marched to Oldtown, which was surrendered to him by Lord Manfred Hightower upon the advice of the High Septon. Within the Starry Sept, the High Septon declared Aegon to be King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm.
Aegon chose to date the beginning of his reign from the day the High Septon anointed him in Oldtown. Rather than ruling from Oldtown or Dragonstone, Aegon chose to make his seat King's Landing, the new settlement growing around the Aegonfort. He also took the swords of his defeated enemies, forging them into the Iron Throne. Aegon also began what would become known as the small council, as well as that of the Hand of the King, with Lord Orys Baratheon becoming his first Hand. Aegon's first established law was the King's Peace, which forbid conflict in the realm without the leave of the Iron Throne. Aegon treated the defeated lords with respect and allowed each region to retain its own laws and customs and for the lords to retain both the right of pit and gallows and the first night. Aegon often travelled the realm with six maesters who educated him on each region's local customs and history.
During Aegon's Conquest, the lords of the Three Sisters had declared their independence and crowned Lady Marla Sunderland as their queen. Following his coronation at Oldtown, King Aegon commanded Lord Torrhen Stark, the new Warden of the North, to end the rebellion, and he sent Queen Visenya Targaryen on Vhagar to accompany the northern army led by Ser Warrick Manderly. At the sight of them, the Sistermen abandoned their queen and installed her younger brother, Steffon, as their new lord. Steffon soon bent the knee, swore his fealty to House Arryn, and re-entered the King's Peace, ending the rebellion of the Sistermen's Rebellion.
In 2 AC, Aegon turned his attention to the Iron Islands, where the ironborn had been fighting for two years over the kingship. Aegon landed on Great Wyk with Balerion and a war fleet to deal with the contenders. Aegon personally cut down Qhorin Volmark with Blackfyre, while the priest-king Lodos walked into the sea, drowning himself. The other contenders quickly bend the knee. Aegon ignored the suggestions of making the ironborn vassals to the Tullys of Riverrun or the Lannisters of Casterly Rock, as well as the suggestion to exterminate the ironborn by dragonflame. Instead, Aegon allowed the ironborn to name their own lord paramount, for which the ironborn chose Vickon Greyjoy as Lord of the Iron Islands.
First Dornish War
In 3 AC Aegon turned his attention back on Dorne, the only kingdom remaining unconquered. He first decided to try and bring Dorne under the rule of the Iron Throne through diplomacy, after a year of negotiations and no progress to show for it though, Aegon decided to take Dorne by force of arms. In 4 AC Aegon launched a new invasion, continuing the Wars of Conquest. Though initially the conquest of Dorne seemed to succeed, it unraveled quickly and the First Dornish War prolonged and lasted for nine years, and knew many deaths and tragedies.
One of these tragedies was the capture and mutilation of Aegon's friend and Hand of the King, Lord Orys Baratheon, by the Wyl of Wyl. Following his release from two years of captivity, Orys returned home lacking a swordhand, as did the men who had been taken captive with him. Aegon, intent on revenge, released his dragons and burned the castles of the defiant Dornish lords.
The greatest loss Aegon faced was the death of Queen Rhaenys Targaryen at Hellholt in 10 AC, when Meraxes fell from the sky (with Rhaenys upon her back) after a shot from a scorpion took the dragon in the eye. The two years that followed are known as the Dragon's Wroth, as Aegon's wrath after Rhaenys's death knew no bounds.
Aegon and Visenya placed bounties on the heads of Dornish lords after Rhaenys's death and in turn the Dornish put bounties on the Targaryens. Aegon and Visenya were assaulted on the streets of King's Landing and if not for Visenya and Dark Sister they would have been killed. This attack led to the forming of the elite royal bodyguard known as the Kingsguard in 10 AC. Visenya personally chose the men herself.
The attempted conquest of Dorne was called to an end in 13 AC, after a visit from Princess Deria Martell, the daughter of Nymor Martell, the ruling Prince of Dorne. Deria brought the skull of Meraxes and a letter with her, which was given to Aegon. After reading the letter, Aegon flew on Balerion to Dragonstone. He returned the next day, and agreed to a peace between Dorne and the Seven Kingdoms.
The remaining twenty-four years of Aegon's reign were peaceful. He spent much of his time consolidating his power by traveling throughout the Seven Kingdoms and building his capital at King's Landing. Aegon devoted half of every year to making these royal progresses. During his rule he tread carefully with the Faith of the Seven, so they would not oppose him. Aegon built a grand sept on Visenya's Hill and agreed to the construction of an even grander one known as the Sept of Remembrance on Rhaenys's Hill.
King's Landing initially lacked walls, and the likely reason is that the Targaryens likely believed no one would attack a city which housed dragons. However, when he learned about a pirate fleet sacking Tall Trees Town in the Summer Isles in 19 AC, Aegon came to the realization that he and Visenya were not always in the city. As such, he ordered the construction of massive walls to be built around the city. Construction began in 20 AC and was completed in 26 AC.
After Aegon celebrated his sixtieth name day in 33 AC, the royal progresses continued, but were now made by his son Aenys and his wife Alyssa, while the aging king remained at home. By this point late in his reign, Aegon decided that the ramshackle Aegonfort was not a suitable seat for a king, so the structure was torn to the ground in 35 AC. Aegon moved his family and court back to Dragonstone, while he commanded the construction of what would later be called the Red Keep. Visenya was placed in charge of the building of the Red Keep, and it was rumored that Aegon had done this so that he would not have to suffer her presence on Dragonstone. The Iron Throne remained at the build site instead of Dragonstone, since it was too heavy to be moved.
The Sons of the Dragon
In 7 AC, Aegon became a father for the first time, when his younger sister-wife Rhaenys gave birth to a son: Aenys. However, Aenys was a sickly boy, and Rhaenys's death in 10 AC shattered him. Aegon grew desperate, and there were worries about whether or not Aenys would even live. As Aenys had troubled health, there were rumors that he had been fathered by a singer instead of Aegon. However, when Aenys bonded with his dragon Quicksilver, his health improved, and the rumors faded away.
As Visenya by then had not gotten pregnant yet, some believed she was barren, and during the times when Aenys's health was still troubled it was rumored at court that Aegon might take another wife. Although Aegon refused to speak his mind on the matter, many lord and knights brought their young daughters to court. In 11 AC, Queen Visenya announced her pregnancy, and the next year she gave birth to Aegon's second son, Maegor.
Aegon raised Aenys at King's Landing, and took him with him on his progressions. Occasionally, he let Aenys train with his Valyrian steel sword Blackfyre. Lacking daughters, he married Aenys to a cousin, Lady Alyssa Velaryon, the daughter of his master of ships, in 22 AC. Aenys would have six children with Alyssa, five of whom were born during Aegon's reign.
In 37 AC on Dragonstone, while telling his two eldest grandsons Aegon and Viserys the tales of his conquest at the Painted Table, Aegon died from a stroke at the age of sixty-four. Aegon was cremated on Dragonstone, and his funeral pyre was set aflame by Vhagar. Blackfyre was burned along with him, but later retrieved from the pyre by Maegor.
Although Aegon's reign had largely been peaceful, many of his subjects desired to go back to the days of old, when there were still seven kingdoms. Others wanted vengeance for the deaths of their loved ones in wars, and yet others saw the Targaryens as abominations. Because of this, the tumultuous reigns of both Aenys I and Maegor I were filled with battles and chaos.
Small Council under Aegon I
|Hand of the King||1–7 AC||Lord Orys Baratheon|
|7–9 AC||Lord Edmyn Tully|
|9–17 AC||Lord Alton Celtigar|
|17–34 AC||Ser Osmund Strong|
|34–37 AC||Lord Alyn Stokeworth|
|Grand Maester||5 AC||Ollidar|
|Master of coin||1 AC–Unknown||Lord Crispian Celtigar|
|Master of laws||1 AC–Unknown||Lord Triston Massey|
|Master of ships||Aegon's Conquest||Lord Daemon Velaryon|
|Unknown–Unknown||Lord Aethan Velaryon||Although it is unknown when exactly Aethan served in the office, he is known to have been Aegon’s master of ships by 22 AC, when his daughter Alyssa married Prince Aenys. He held the office at least until 30 AC.|
|Lord Commander of the Kingsguard||10 AC–Unknown||Ser Corlys Velaryon|
Quotes by Aegon
—Aegon to Harren Hoare
—Aegon to his armorers
Quotes about Aegon
On the seventh day, a cloud of ravens burst from the towers of Dragonstone to bring Lord Aegon's word to the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. To the seven kings they flew, to the Citadel of Oldtown, to lords both great and small. All carried the same message: from this day forth there would be but one king in Westeros. Those who bent the knee to Aegon of House Targaryen would keep their lands and titles. Those who took up arms against him would be thrown down, humbled, and destroyed.—writings of Gyldayn
—Daenerys Targaryen to her supporters
Behind the Scenes
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 3, Daenerys I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 27, Eddard VI.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon I.
- So Spake Martin: Targaryen Kings (November 1, 2005)
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
- So Spake Martin: Asshai.com Forum Chat (July 27, 2008)
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Aegon I Targaryen.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Doom of Valyria.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 36, Davos IV.
- Fire & Blood, Aegon's Conquest.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 28, Cersei VI.
- Fire & Blood, Three Heads Had the Dragon - Governance Under King Aegon I.
- Fire & Blood, Reign of the Dragon - The Wars of King Aegon I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands: The Greyjoys of Pyke.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Dorne: Dorne Against the Dragons.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon I.
- The Sons of the Dragon.
- Fire & Blood, Thre Heads Had the Dragon - Governance Under King Aegon I.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 33, Jaime V.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I.
- Fire & Blood, The Sons of the Dragon.
- The Sworn Sword.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 18, Catelyn IV.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 34, Cat Of The Canals.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Stormlands: House Baratheon.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Riverlands: House Tully.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 43, Eddard XI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 71, Daenerys VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 54, Davos V.
- So Spake Martin: Historical Influences (June 20, 2001)