Jaehaerys I Targaryen
Jaehaerys I Targaryen, also known as the Conciliator, the Wise, or later in life as the Old King, was the fourth Targaryen king to sit the Iron Throne. He ascended the throne in 48 AC following the death of his uncle, Maegor I Targaryen. Jaehaerys was the longest reigning Targaryen monarch, sitting on the throne for fifty-five years. He was a dragonrider, riding Vermithor, the largest dragon after Balerion and Vhagar.
- 1 Appearance and Character
- 2 History
- 3 Legacy
- 4 Small Council under Jaehaerys I
- 5 Recent Events
- 6 Quotes about Jaehaerys I
- 7 Family
- 8 Behind the Scenes
- 9 Notes
- 10 References
Appearance and Character
According to a semi-canon source, Jaehaerys had the purple eyes of House Targaryen. At the age of sixteen, he wore his hair loose, flowing about his shoulders. Early in his reign he grew a wispy beard and mustache. By the time he had turned twenty-four, Jaehaerys looked “every inch a king”. He was a tall and handsome man who wore his hair in a thick braid that fell almost to his waist and his facial hair had grown out into a handsome full golden beard, shot through with silver. At an older age, his beard had turned white, and had grown to reach his waist. Even at an old age, Jaehaerys still stood unstooped. By 84 AC, at the age of fifty, Jaehaerys had grown thinner, almost gaunt, and his beard and hair had become more grey than gold. He looked wise and dignified even into his later years.
Jaehaerys moved with an easy grace. It is said that his smile could warm the heart of any maiden, and his frown could make a man's blood run cold. He wore as a crown a simple band of yellow gold ornamented with seven gems of different colors.
Jaehaerys was wise beyond his years. He was fair-spoken, open-handed, and as chivalrous as he was courageous. According to Grand Maester Benifer Jaehaerys was "learned as a maester and pious as a septon". Although Benifer might have attempted to flatter Jaehaerys with such a statement, according to Archmaester Gyldayn there was some truth to it as well. Queen Alyssa, Jaehaerys's mother, is reported to have called Jaehaerys "the best of my three sons".
Jaehaerys was decisive in both thought and deed, and always sought the most peaceable ends. In times of trouble, instead of brooding on the issues, Jaehaerys would shrug off his sorrows and plunge himself into his work. He never acted without thinking, and did not trust in chance. Nor did Jaehaerys like to make outright threats, but had other ways of making his disapproval felt. According to the Sealord of Braavos, Jaehaerys was very skillful in making veiled threats.
Even by the age of fourteen, Jaehaerys refused to allow his council to rule the realm in his name during his regency, and would involve himself in many of the issues the small council faced. He was never shy about letting his voice being heard. Nor was he a man who wasted time with reproaches, recriminations, or appeals.
Jaehaerys was a gifted rider. By the time he was fourteen years old, Jaehaerys was already skilled with lance and longbow. Following a rigorous training regime during his time on Dragonstone, he became skilled at arms as well, to the point where Ser Elyas Scales, Jaehaerys's master-at-arms claimed that Jaehaerys would never be skilled enough to join the Kingsguard, but that he had enough skill to beat his uncle Maegor in combat, had Maegor still lived.
Jaehaerys was known for his love of travel, and made many royal progresses. He and Alysanne were known to stay at the inn at the crossroads during their journeys so much so, that afterwards it was renamed the Two Crowns.
When he was younger, Jaehaerys had been fascinated by the ponderous tomes and Old Valyrian scrolls found in Dragonstone's library. Jaehaerys had always been close to his sister-wife Alysanne, even as a child, and had always had a strong affection and regard for her.
Near the end of his life, after outliving his wife and most of his children, Jaehaerys's strength and wits began to fail, leaving him often confined to his bed.
Jaehaerys was the third son and fourth child of Prince Aenys Targaryen and his wife, Lady Alyssa Velaryon. He was born on the twentieth day of the ninth moon of 34 AC in King's Landing. He had two older brothers, Aegon and Viserys, an older sister, Rhaena, and two younger sisters, Alysanne and Vaella. His sister Rhaena placed a dragon egg in his cradle after his birth, from which Jaehaerys's dragon, Vermithor, would eventually hatch. When his grandfather, King Aegon I Targaryen, died on Dragonstone in 37 AC, his father, Aenys, ascended the Iron Throne.
Followers of the Faith of the Seven began an uprising after King Aenys I married Jaehaerys's two eldest siblings, Rhaena and Aegon, to one another in 41 AC. After Poor Fellows scaled the walls of the Red Keep in an attempt to murder the royal family, Jaehaerys fled with his parents and siblings to Dragonstone. By the end of the year most of the realm had joined the side of the Faith, and King Aenys, unable to decide how to deal with the rebels, fell ill. In 42 AC, he collapsed upon learning that Rhaena and Aegon were besieged at Crakehall, and died three days later.
Reign of Maegor
Jaehaerys was on Dragonstone for his father's cremation. Within hours, Dowager Queen Alyssa fled to Driftmark, her father's seat, with Jaehaerys and Alysanne. Meanwhile, Dowager Queen Visenya Targaryen flew to Pentos to retrieve her son Maegor from his exile. Once back at Dragonstone, Maegor claimed the Iron Throne for his own, ignoring the claim of Jaehaerys's eldest brother Aegon.
Later that year, following a visit from Visenya on Vhagar, Alyssa brought Jaehaerys, his sister Alysanne, and his brother Viserys to King's Landing, where they witnessed the wedding of King Maegor to Tyanna of the Tower. By 44 AC, Jaehaerys, Alysanne, and their mother resided on Dragonstone as the hostages of Dowager Queen Visenya. In the chaos following Visenya's death of natural causes that year, Jaehaerys, his sister Alysanne, and his mother Alyssa fled the island, along with Jaehaerys's dragon Vermithor and Alysanne's dragon Silverwing. In retaliation, King Maegor had Jaehaerys's brother Viserys, who resided at King's Landing, tortured to death. As Jaehaerys's eldest brother, Aegon, had been killed by Maegor in battle the previous year, Jaehaerys became the eldest living son of the late King Aenys I as a result.
In 47 AC, Maegor forced three widows of proven fertility to marry him in one ceremony. One of these Black Brides was Jaehaerys's eldest sister, Rhaena. Still without a child of his own, Maegor officially disinherited Jaehaerys and proclaimed Rhaena's daughter Aerea as his heir. However, the realm slowly turned against Maegor, and when Jaehaerys put forward his claim for the throne he unified the factions that opposed Maegor. The first great lord to openly proclaim for Jaehaerys was his second cousin, Lord Rogar Baratheon of Storm's End. Other great houses followed, including House Lannister, House Tyrell, House Arryn and, although they had originally joined Maegor against Prince Aegon, House Tully. Rhaena, Jaehaerys's sister, fled from Maegor on her dragon after learning about Jaehaerys's claim, stealing the Valyrian steel sword Blackfyre from him in the process. Two of Maegor's Kingsguard knights, Ser Olyver Bracken and Ser Raymund Mallery joined Jaehaerys too.
The Ascension of Jaehaerys
Most of Maegor's supporters had fled, and Jaehaerys imprisoned the few who still remained. As Jaehaerys was only fourteen years of age, Jaehaerys's mother, Dowager Queen Alyssa Velaryon would serve as Queen Regent during the first two years of Jaehaerys's reign and Lord Rogar Baratheon, whom Jaehaerys had named Lord Protector of the Realm and Hand of the King, would further provided guidance.
Jaehaerys decided to pardon the lords and knights who had served Maegor, restoring their lands and titles to them, although he required a son or daughter as a hostage from each, or the payment of a sum of gold to the crown. An exception was made for some: the gaolers and confessors who had assisted in the torture and death of Prince Viserys were all executed. Of Maegor's Kingsguard, Ser Maladon Moore was executed for his involvement in the murder of Queen Tyanna, whilst the remaining five (including Ser Olyver Bracken and Ser Raymund Mallery, who had abandoned Maegor for Jaehaerys but whose service was refused by the young king, as he did not want oathbreakers serving him) were given a choice between execution or taking the black. All but Ser Harrold Langward choose to take the black. When Ser Harrold demanded a trial by combat, Jaehaerys wished to face the knight himself. In this he was overruled by his mother, the Queen Regent. Harrold Langward was slain by the Crown's champion, Ser Gyles Morrigen, who was made Lord Commander of Jaehaerys's Kingsguard soon after.
As the realm learned about Jaehaerys's willingness for granting pardons, the remainder of Maegor's adherents dismissed their armies and journeyed to King's Landing to swear fealty to the new king. After the sudden death of Septon Moon, the Poor Fellows besieging Oldtown fled, and Jaehaerys was free to make his way to Oldtown, where he was blessed and crowned by the High Septon with his late father's crown in the Starry Sept. Although it was requested by Lady Lucinda Tully and Ser Joffrey Doggett, Jaehaerys refused to reinstate the Swords and Stars of the Faith, insisting that the Crown would protect the Faith going forward. Jaehaerys removed the bounties that King Maegor I had placed on the heads of the Warrior's Sons and Poor Fellows, and to pardon all those of the Faith who would set aside their swords, while the Faith agreed to set aside their traditional right of judging their own, accept justice from the throne from that moment forth. Jaehaerys swore to the Faith that the crown would always protect and defend the Faith. In addition, Jaehaerys offered a white cloak to Ser Joffrey Doggett, a former Warrior's Son, which the knight accepted. As such, Jaehaerys reconciled the Iron Throne and the Faith.
On the journey back to King's Landing, many former members of the Faith Militant begged the young king to ask for the clemency he had promised, which Jaehaerys granted to all on the condition that they would go north to join the Night's Watch, which the majority did.
In 49 AC Jaehaerys's mother, Queen Regent Alyssa Velaryon, and Lord Rogar Baratheon, Jaehaerys's Hand, were married in the Golden Wedding. Although Jaehaerys liked and respected Rogar, he felt slighted, as Rogar had not asked Jaehaerys's leave for the wedding. Nor did Jaehaerys approve of the marriage, confessing to Septon Barth (some time after the latter's arrival in King's Landing the following year) that he did not need a second father, and that he felt his own intelligence, judgment, and temperament to be greater than Rogar's. According to Barth's accounts Jaehaerys believed that Rogar's motivation for the marriage was a desire for power, not affection for Alyssa, and felt that Rogar was overreaching himself. But, as he had not opposed the marriage of his sister Rhaena on Fair Isle earlier that year, Jaehaerys felt he could not object his mother's choice either.
Jaehaerys granted audience to any lord or knight who wished a private word with him, agreeing to speak with them in his solar. The six score who accepted the offer were all impressed by Jaehaerys. Furthermore during the wedding celebration, the remaining five slots of Jaehaerys's Kingsguard were filled by the victors of a test of arms that became known as the War for the White Cloaks.
Following their wedding, the Queen Regent and King's Hand began to debate with the small council about a bride for Jaehaerys, for the realm needed an heir. Jaehaerys was not present for these discussions, as Queen Regent Alyssa knew that he would choose his younger sister Alysanne if the choice was his. Still recalling the uprising of the Faith that followed the wedding of King Aenys's eldest daughter and son, the councillors agreed that another incestuous marriage was out of the question. Despite numerous suggestions, no suitable candidate could be agreed upon. However, the council did agree quickly on a husband for Princess Alysanne: Ser Orryn Baratheon.
As soon as Alysanne discovered her betrothal, she informed Jaehaerys, who acted immediately. He ordered his Kingsguard to discreetly travel to Dragonstone under the cover of darkness, while he and Alysanne flew together to the Targaryen stronghold upon their dragons. On Dragonstone, Jaehaerys and Alysanne married in secret with Septon Oswyck performing the ceremony. Jaehaerys refused to consummate the marriage, as he believed Alysanne to still be too young. Rogar and Alyssa arrived soon after the wedding and, upon learning that the marriage had not yet been consummated, Rogar declared they were not married, and ordered his men to secure the royal children. The Kingsguard defied the King's Hand by forming a wall in front of their king and queen, informing Rogar that he would be the first to die if Rogar's men would attack then. Alyssa convinced her husband to return to King's Landing, while Jaehaerys and Alysanne remained behind. They would spend the rest of the king's minority at Dragonstone. No announcement about the king's marriage was made to the realm. Lord Rogar ordered everyone who had accompanied him to Dragonstone to keep silent about the king's marriage, while Grand Maester Benifer burned the letter Septon Mattheus attempted to send to the High Septon and the Most Devout, on orders of Rogar. Neither did Jaehaerys announce his marriage to the realm, although he easily could have done so.
Minority on Dragonstone
Jaehaerys and Alysanne were seldom apart from each other during their time on Dragonstone. Those lords and council members who came to Dragonstone for a consult with their king would be received by their king with his queen beside him. While on Dragonstone, Jaehaerys intended to rectify his own shortcomings before he came of age and took the rule in his own hands. He had already shown to the realm that he was not cruel as his uncle Maegor had been, but he was equally determined to not be considered weak like his father, King Aenys I Targaryen, had been either. As such, Jaehaerys began an intense regimen: He spent every morning until midday in the castle yard training with sword, shield and any other weapon, sparring with Ser Merrell Bullock, commander of the castle garrison, and his sons, Ser Alyn and Ser Howard, Ser Elyas Scales, the castles master-at-arms, and with his seven Kingsguard knights. It was a brutal training regime, but Jaehaerys's skill increased greatly within the year.
While Jaehaerys and his new wife remained on Dragonstone, Lord Rogar Baratheon and Queen Regent Alyssa Velaryon at King's Landing plotted to undo the marriage, while the realm began to notice Jaehaerys's absence from court, after Jaehaerys and Alysanne did not return to King's Landing for the celebrations of the start of 50 AC. Alyssa and Rogar eventually agreed to sent ladies-in-waiting to Dragonstone to serve Alysanne. Their true purpose, however, was to try and persuade her to rescind the marriage. Rogar wanted eyes and ears on Dragonstone, and saw these ladies as an opportunity to learn all Jaehaerys was doing. The book titled A Caution for Young Girls offers a second reason for Rogar's consent to Alyssa's plan. In the book, the alleged author, Lady Coryanne Wylde, claims that she had been instructed by Lord Rogar to seduce Jaehaerys, and so drive the king and queen apart. Despite her youth, however, Queen Alysanne charmed all her ladies-in-waiting, who soon became completely loyal to her. And so, Rogar's plan failed.
Meanwhile, more and more lords began to visit Jaehaerys on Dragonstone. At the same time, news of the marriage of Jaehaerys and Alysanne began to make its way through the Seven Kingdoms. The lords visiting Jaehaerys could not fail to notice Alysanne ever being by his side, and whispers spread through the realm and beyond. When Queen Regent Alyssa told the council they had to accept the marriage, Lord Rogar furiously suggested putting Jaehaerys aside and crowning in his stead Princess Aerea, Queen Rhaena's daughter by the deceased Aegon. For this suggestion, Rogar was dismissed as the King's Hand by his own wife, his two subsequent plots to crown another foiled.
Coming of Age
On the twentieth day of the ninth moon in 50 AC Jaehaerys reached the age of majority and turned sixteen. He sent five knights of his Kingsguard to King's Landing to make certain that all was ready for his arrival. Three days later, Jaehaerys departed from Dragonstone on Vermithor and flew to the capital. After arriving at the Red Keep he reconciled with his mother and began to work on the small council, dismissing several members, confirming the positions of some, and appointing others. Most difficult to replace was Lord Edwell Celtigar, the ineffectual master of coin. Eventually, Jaehaerys appointed Rego Draz from Pentos to the position. Jaehaerys next replaced many men who held lesser offices as well, and emptied the dungeons of King's Landing. Once that was done, the king summoned Lord Rogar Baratheon, who he received seated on the Iron Throne in the presence of his council. Though Rogar feared harsh reprimands, Jaehaerys informed him that he had not forgotten how Rogar had protected him and his family from Maegor and pardoned the Lord of Storm's End, on the condition that Rogar would never again speak another word against him or his queen, and that he would be an honorable husband to Queen Alyssa. To this, Lord Rogar agreed. Jaehaerys further proclaimed that Rogar's brother Orryn, who had attempted to take the novice Rhaella Targaryen from the motherhouse in Oldtown in a plot against Jaehaerys's crown on Rogar's orders, would be exiled for the next ten years. When asked by Rogar if hostages from House Baratheon were required, the king led him to Vermithor, using the veiled threat of not needing any hostages, as long as he rode a dragon.
While Jaehaerys's new master of coin, Lord Rego, proved able to halt the Crown's debts enough for work on the Dragonpit to resume, it was not enough. So Jaehaerys had taxes placed on luxury and exotic goods, which would not impact the smallfolk and would not be oppressive to the high lords. Jaehaerys predicted correctly that any lord who wished to flaunt his wealth and power to the outside world, would still desire to purchase these goods, and thus pay the taxes placed on them. And so the crown's revenue slowly increased. An additional tax, with a dual purpose, was also proclaimed: henceforth, any lord who wished to repair or expand his castle, or raise a new one, would pay a heavy tax based on the number of crenelations, which Jaehaerys hoped would discourage them from building.
In 51 AC, nigh on half a year after Jaehaerys's arrival at King's Landing, Alysanne departed from Dragonstone to join her king. A month later, the two were wed in a public ceremony, with the newly arrived Septon Barth performing the marriage rites before the Iron Throne; because of the Crown's lack of money, only a thousand guests attended a ceremony much smaller than Rogar and Alyssa's Golden Wedding. This time, the marriage was consummated. Next, Jaehaerys took precautions to assure that his marriage would be accepted by his subjects. He reasoned that his marriage to Alysanne would not cause another Faith Militant uprising as the marriage of his eldest brother and sister had done before, for a number of reasons: the current High Septon was a passive man, the smallfolk knew Jaehaerys better, and the Faith Militant was largely dispersed. Most importantly, however, Aegon and Rhaena had gone on a royal progress following their wedding without taking a dragon, as Aegon had not yet been a dragonrider at the time, and King Aenys I Targaryen had forbidden Rhaena from bringing Dreamfyre. Jaehaerys and Alysanne intended to travel everywhere on Vermithor and Silverwing, which would discourage any thought of an assault and would act as an unspoken reminder to the realm of the power of the dragons.
In addition, Jaehaerys sent out Seven Speakers throughout the realm to preach the new Doctrine of Exceptionalism, telling all of Jaehaerys's wisdom and Alysanne's kindness. The realm did not rise up against Jaehaerys and his queen as they had against their siblings before, although according to Archmaester Gyldayn the reasons are not entirely clear. Gyldayn cites the silence of the High Septon on the matter and the wariness of the smallfolk as important reasons... but believes that, "if words have power", the Seven Speakers played an important role as well.
Although married, Jaehaerys had no children of his own body, and as such had named his niece Aerea as his heir when coming to the throne two years before. Jaehaerys's eldest sister and Aerea's mother, Queen Rhaena, traveled to King's Landing to join the celebrations of Jaehaerys's second wedding. Afterwards, she confronted her brother about her own troubles, and made two requests from him, which he granted: Dragonstone as her own seat, and her daughter Aerea, the king's heir, returned to her care.
Several months later, Queen Alysanne announced that she was pregnant with Jaehaerys's first child.
Early Reign (50 to 61 AC)
In 51 AC Jaehaerys and Alysanne began the first of their many royal progresses. Starting in the crownlands, Jaehaerys visited lords great and small, determined to be seen in as many places as possible. To this end, he traveled in the company of less than a hundred men, including twenty knights. The royal progress continued until they arrived at Maidenpool, where the pregnant Queen Alysanne was attacked by three holy sisters who served at Jonquil's Pool. Following this incident, Jaehaerys postponed the remainder of his progress and returned Alysanne to the Red Keep, where she remained until the birth of their child. In 52 AC, Alysanne went into premature labor and the child, a boy named Aegon, died three days after his birth. A while later, Jaehaerys finished his progress by visiting the Vale of Arryn. The next year, he went on a progress to the riverlands. Although Alysanne had originally planned to join him, she chose to stay behind as she was once again with child, and refused to allow Jaehaerys to cancel the progress to remain by her side. Jaehaerys was at Stoney Sept when news arrived that Alysanne had given birth to a daughter, but flew back on Vermithor immediately. Although he had hoped for another son, he was delighted in his daughter, Princess Daenerys. With her birth, Jaehaerys finally had an heir of his own.
In 54 AC Lady Elissa Farman left Dragonstone, stealing three of the dragon eggs Queen Rhaena Targaryen held. Once the trail of Elissa had grown cold, Rhaena informed Jaehaerys in King's Landing. Jaehaerys was alarmed by the news; if the eggs were to hatch, there would be a dragonlord in the world that was not a Targaryen. Rewards were offered and gold was paid, but the rumors they resulted in did not lead to the eggs. Later that same year, the High Septon died in Oldtown. Jaehaerys decided he and Alysanne would travel to Oldtown immediately on their dragons, intend on preventing the Most Devout from electing Septon Mattheus as the new High Septon. At Oldtown, Jaehaerys spoke with Lord Donnel Hightower and made certain promises, thereby securing the outcome of the choosing, according to the account of Septon Barth. The Most Devout elected Septon Alfyn, a supporter of the Doctrine of Exceptionalism, and the Faith added the doctrine to its preachings.
While traveling back to King's Landing by the way of Horn Hill, Nightsong, and Blackhaven, Jaehaerys received the news that their pregnant mother Alyssa was on her deathbed. Jaehaerys and Alysanne flew to Storm's End at once, where they were informed that, although Alyssa's death was certain, her child could live if delivered by cutting her open. Jaehaerys and Alysanne remained at Storm's End until after Alyssa's death, after which they returned home. Tragedy struck the realm later when several ladies were murdered via poison on Dragonstone by Androw Farman.
The Hand of the King, Lord Daemon Velaryon, resigned his office later that year wishing to spend time with his family after the death of his sister, Alyssa at Storm's End and the murder of his niece, Lianna on Dragonstone. Jaehaerys, after much deliberating, appointed Lord Myles Smallwood to the office. As the year was ending, the king and court prepared for a tourney to be held at King's Landing, but their preparations were halted by the arrival of Queen Rhaena from Dragonstone, who informed Jaehaerys of the disappearance of Princess Aerea from Dragonstone upon Balerion. Jaehaerys sent forth ravens, attempting to discover the whereabouts of the young girl and the eldest of the Targaryen dragons, but to no avail.
In 55 AC, Jaehaerys, assisted by Septon Barth, Grand Maester Benifer, Lord Albin Massey, and Queen Alysanne Targaryen, began work to create the first unified code of law, codifying, organizing, and reforming all the laws of the kingdom. These reforms would take decades. That same year, Jaehaerys began a royal progress through the westerlands without Alysanne, who was pregnant again and had left for Dragonstone. Jaehaerys returned from the westerlands one month before the child, who they named Aemon, was born. At Alysanne's suggestion, Jaehaerys placed a dragon's egg in Aemon's cradle.
In 56 AC, Jaehaerys was having breakfast with an envoy of the Iron Bank of Braavos on the morning Princess Aerea returned to King's Landing on Balerion. Jaehaerys and his wife stood vigil by Grand Maester Benifer's chamber door as the Grand Maester did what he could for the child. Jaehaerys ordered Ser Lucamore Strong, who had brought the girl to Benifer, from speaking about the "things" that moved inside her. Following Aerea's death, Jaehaerys issued a royal edict: any ship suspected of having been at the Valyrian islands, where Septon Barth believed Aerea had contracted her disease, or sailed the Smoking Sea nearby, was from that day forth forbidden from docking at any port or harbor in the Seven Kingdoms. In addition, the people of Westeros were forbidden from visiting Valyria, and doing so would be punishable by death.
In 57 AC Jaehaerys became a father again when Alysanne gave birth to Prince Baelon. That same year, Jaehaerys dismissed Myles Smallwood from the office of Hand of the King and elevated his good friend, Septon Barth to the office. After Barth's visit to Braavos, which resulted in a greatly reduced debt the Crown owed, Jaehaerys was free to continue development of King's Landing, and began with the construction of drains, sewers, sinking wells and fountains, to carry the waste from the city and to provide clean drinking water for the smallfolk. Jaehaerys and his master of coin, Rego Draz at first protested the proposition of the fountains and sinking wells due to the cost, until Alysanne presented them each with a tankard of river water at the next council meeting, daring them to drink it. Neither one of them was willing to do it, and the construction was approved.
By 58 AC, Jaehaerys had not made any royal progress for several years. He had yet to visit the north and so he and Queen Alysanne planned a great royal progress to Winterfell. Jaehaerys had grown tired of having to wait for his baggage train to arrive when he made a royal progress on dragonback, and thus decided that this time the royal retinue traveled ahead and took ship to White Harbor. However, after the retinue had left King's Landing, Jaehaerys was detained at King's Landing by matters of state: the Free Cities of Pentos and Tyrosh, which had been engaged in a disruptive trade war for the past three years, asked him to mediate negotiations. Not wanting to insult the Starks by canceling the progress, Alysanne suggested she could go on the progress as planned, and Jaehaerys would catch up as soon as negotiations ended. Negotiations unfortunately ran long, so Alysanne arrived at White Harbor and then Winterfell without him. At Winterfell, Alysanne was received coldly at first by Lord Alaric Stark, but her charm and wit eventually won him over.
Half a year after Alysanne had first left for the progress, Jaehaerys arrived at Winterfell, where he too received a cold welcome by Alaric. Alaric showed Jaehaerys the tomb of his older brother, Walton, in the crypt of Winterfell. According to Archmaester Gyldayn, upon her return to Winterfell, Queen Alysanne suggested granting the New Gift to the Night's Watch, which meant that several northern lords would have to give up parts of their lands. Following their return to King's Landing, Alysanne brought to Jaehaerys's attention the stories she had heard on her women's courts during the progress, concerning the right to the first night. As a result, Jaehaerys abolished the lord's right to the first night.
In 59 AC, a harsh winter struck the Seven Kingdoms. This winter resulted in a famine, followed by the plague known as the Shivers. The disease was devastating, with cities being hit the hardest. King Jaehaerys I Targaryen lost half of his small council to the disease, along with two of his Kingsguard knights and Lord Qarl Corbray, the Commander of the City Watch of King's Landing. At the same time, many men of the City Watch fell ill, resulting in King's Landing becoming a lawless place. After Lord Rego Draz, the master of coin, was murdered by a hungry and partially drunk crowd on the streets who became enraged by the sight of the Pentoshi, a furious King Jaehaerys rode forth himself to claim the body and punish the men responsible for his death. The disease claimed its last victims in 60 AC, including the six-year-old daughter of Jaehaerys, Princess Daenerys, who complained of a cold and died a day and a half later.
After the disease ran its course, Jaehaerys lost himself in his work as a way to handle his grief, naming new men to the offices and positions of those lost to the Shivers. Some joy came though in 60 AC with the birth of his fifth child, Princess Alyssa Targaryen.
In 61 AC, Jaehaerys joined Lord Rogar Baratheon in ending the scourge of the Vulture King who continued to raid the Dornish Marches. In the struggle, called the Third Dornish War, a new Vulture King and his bandits were defeated. Jaehaerys said afterward that the short conflict restored his confidence in himself as king, because he couldn't point a sword at a disease like the Shivers, but this was a tangible fight. Moreover, Jaehaerys fought the Dornish raiders head-on in combat, in a way his weakling father never did, increasing the respect and support of many lords for him.
The Long Reign & An Abundance of Heirs (61 to 92 AC)
The 60s and 70s AC were peaceful and prosperous times for Westeros politically, and for the royal family personally: Jaehaerys's marriage to his sister, Alysanne, was happy and fruitful. Alysanne would give birth to thirteen children in total. Besides Aegon, born in 51 AC but dead three days later, Daenerys, born in 53 AC, Aemon, born in 55 AC, Baelon, born in 57 AC, and Alyssa, born in 60 AC, eight other children would follow. In 62 AC, Alysanne gave birth to another daughter, Maegelle. The next year Jaehaerys became the father of another son, Vaegon, and the year after to another daughter, Daella. Princess Saera was born in 67 AC, and Princess Viserra in 71 AC. Jaehaerys's eleventh child, a son named Gaemon, in honor of Gaemon the Glorious, was born in 73 AC. However, the child was born too early and the labor was difficult. Gaemon died three months after his birth. Four years later, Jaehaerys became father to another son, Valerion, who died the next year, just shy of his first nameday. Alysanne gave birth to Jaehaerys's thirteenth and final child, Gael, in the winter of 80 AC. Although born frail, the child survived.  Of his thirteen children, only nine lived to adulthood, and almost none would outlive their father.
In 62 AC, Jaehaerys came to realize that there were no true roads in his realm and ordered the construction of a massive road system to unite the realms together: the greatest of these was the kingsroad. These large scale public works projects would continue throughout the remaining decades of his reign.
Jaehaerys's eldest son Aemon was named Prince of Dragonstone and official heir to the throne in 62 AC. Aemon announced his betrothal to Lady Jocelyn Baratheon of Storm's End in 68 AC, and in 70 AC they were wed in a lavish royal ceremony that rivaled the Golden Wedding in splendor. Before long, in 74 AC Jaehaerys became a grandfather for the first time when Jocelyn gave birth to Princess Rhaenys. The following year, Jaehaerys's second son Baelon wed his eldest living daughter, Alyssa. All three children claimed dragons as mounts: Aemon rode Caraxes, Baelon rode Vhagar, and Alyssa rode Meleys. This union soon produced two more royal grandchildren: Viserys, named in honor of Jaehaerys's deceased brother, in 77 AC, and Daemon in 81 AC.
Though the realm was quiet during these years, they were not without incident: in 73 AC, it was discovered that Ser Lucamore Strong of the Kingsguard has broken his vows and had secretly married three times, and had sixteen children in total. Lucamore was brought before Jaehaerys and confessed his guilt, begging for mercy. According to Septon Barth, Jaehaerys might have granted the mercy had Lucamore not added "for the sake of my wives and children" to the end of his plea, as this was tantamount to throwing his crimes in the king's face. Jaehaerys declared he would have no oathbreakers serving him and ordered Lucamore to be gelded, after which he was sent to the Wall to join the Night's Watch. Lucamore's betrayal came as a shock to Jaehaerys and his wife, as they had been especially fond of him.
That same year in 73 AC, Maegelle eagerly joined the Faith of the Seven at the age of ten as a novice and eventually became a septa. Queen Alysanne announced that this was in thanks for the Mother blessing her with many children. The royal family faced two deaths that year: not only the infant Gaemon, but Jaehaerys's sister Rhaena died at the age of 50, after retiring to relative isolation at Harrenhal for several years.
In the late 70s and early 80s AC, Jaehaerys and Alysanne faced increasing concerns from their younger children, which were addressed with varying success. Jaehaerys's third son Vaegon Targaryen, while dutiful, was taciturn and bookish and showed no interest in martial training or marriage. After some effort, both father and son were pleased when in 78 AC, on his fifteenth nameday, Vaegon was sent to study at the Citadel, where he eventually became an Archmaester. Historians dubbed him "Vaegon the Dragonless" because he was the only one of Jaehaerys's sons who never claimed a dragon.
His departure raised another issue, however, as Jaehaerys originally intended Vaegon to wed his younger sister Daella. They had quickly proved utterly incompatible, nor was this solely due to Vaegon's brusque nature: Daella was a sweet girl but also extremely delicate, terrified by almost everything, and unintelligent (so much so that she could never hope to join the Faith and become a septa). Several potential suitors were tried and rejected, until at the beginning of 80 AC Jaehaerys declared in frustration that the sixteen year old princess must marry by the end of the year, no matter who the groom was. A happy match was finally found with the older but kind-hearted Lord Rodrik Arryn, who had been Jaehaerys' Master of Laws for twenty years. He resigned his post to return with Daella to the Eyrie, and Jaehaerys appointed his son and heir Aemon to fill his now vacant position on the small council the next year.
In 83 AC Jaehaerys together with Aemon and Baelon ended the attempted invasion of the stormlands by Prince Morion Martell of Dorne. Mounted atop their dragons, they destroyed the Dornish fleet before it could even make landfall. The war was fought and won in a day, and upon their return to King's Landing, Jaehaerys, Aemon, and Baelon received a riotous welcome as they had won a war without losing a single man, something not even Aegon the Conqueror had been able to boast.
In some ways the Fourth Dornish War marked the height of Jaehaerys's reign, which in the years after 83 AC was increasingly marked by personal tragedy. Years earlier he had lost his first son Aegon in the cradle and young Daenerys from the Shivers; in 73 AC Gaemon died in the cradle, as did little Valerion in 77 AC. Yet cradle deaths were not uncommon even among the nobility in Westeros, and Jaehaerys also welcomed new progeny: Gaemon's death was soon followed by the birth of granddaughter Rhaenys in 74 AC, and the same year that Valerion died, his grandson Viserys was also born. 80 AC saw the birth of Viserys's younger brother Daemon, and even the birth of Jaehaerys's thirteenth and final child Gael Targaryen - called "the Winter Child" for the season of her birth and because Alysanne was in the winter of her child-bearing years, she was a great comfort to Alysanne's previous losses.
Yet in 82 AC, Daella was with child only a year and a half into her marriage. She was a frail girl, perhaps too young for pregnancy, and Alysanne came to watch over her during her difficult final months. Within a day of giving birth, Daella died of childbed fever, though her daughter Aemma Arryn survived (and later wed Viserys in 93 AC). Alysanne blamed herself, the maesters, and Jaehaerys for pushing the girl to marry too young.
Though they were polite in public, a rift started to grow between Jaehaerys and Alysanne after Daella's death in 82 AC that was drastically widened by the twin tragedies of 84 AC. Now it was Daella's older sister Alyssa who died from childbirth, despite delivering Baelon two healthy sons already. After a difficult labor she died within the year, and her infant son Aegon not half a year later, before the end of 84 AC. Alyssa's death shattered Baelon and he never remarried, though he continued to fulfill his duties. Yet the greatest crisis which occurred that year concerned a younger daughter, and came very close to destroying Jaehaerys and Alysanne's marriage.
In 84 AC, Jaehaerys learned that his daughter Saera had bedded three young knights. He confronted her and had her confined to her bedchambers after she suggested she could wed all three of them, comparing herself to King Maegor the Cruel and his many wives. Furious and ashamed, Jaehaerys is said to have stated more than once that "she is no longer my daughter". Alysanne attempted to change his mind, but after Saera attempted to flee to the Dragonpit to steal a dragon, Jaehaerys confined her to a tower cell, dealt with the three knights in question, personally killing one (Ser Braxton Beesbury) in a trial by combat that the knight demanded. As punishment for Saera she was sent to Oldtown to serve the Faith of the Seven as a novice for a time, where her older sister Maegelle could watch over her. The king's advisors believed that even then, he only intended to punish Saera and would have eventually relented. In 85 AC, however, Saera escaped her confinement and fled Westeros. It was not until the next year in 85 AC that it was learned Sara had escape to Lys where she became a whore in a pleasure garden. When Alysanne proclaimed that the Lyseni had turned their daughter into a whore, Jaehaerys replied: "She always was". The king refused any effort to retrieve or contact her.
Those closest to Jaehaerys claim that Saera's betrayal and abandonment took a heavy toll on him. He grew thinner, almost gaunt, and his beard became more grey than silver. That same year, 84 AC, was also the year of his fiftieth nameday: around this time men started calling him "the Old King" instead of "the Conciliator". Alysanne, shaken by all their losses, seldom came to small council meetings anymore, but his sons did.
A year after the truth came out about Saera's fate, her younger sister Princess Viserra Targaryen was betrothed to Lord Theomore Manderly in 86 AC - a trusted friend of the crown for over thirty years and an honorable man, who nonetheless had outlived four previous wives, and while still a capable fighter had grown somewhat stout. Viserra was horrified by the match, but was sly and cunning in ways Saera was not: rather than try to flee, she tried to seduce her older brother Baelon, though he was 14 years her elder, as he had been widowed for two years since Alyssa had died. The grieving Baelon would have none of it, however, and dismissed her when she appeared in his chambers drunk and naked. Still having more sense than Saera, in 87 AC Viserra indeed resigned herself that the marriage was unavoidable - but snuck out of confinement for what she remarked would be "one last night of laughter before heading north". She and her cronies engaged in a night of revels throughout King's Landing, culminating in a drunken horse race that ended with her being thrown from her mount and snapping her neck.
Devastated by the death of a third daughter in a span of only five years, Alysanne begged Jaehaerys to reach out to Saera again and bring their daughter home. Jaehaerys steadfastly refused. The disagreement nearly ended their marriage and lasted nearly two years, from 87 to 89 AC, in what historians later called the First Quarrel. Jaehaerys had been preparing a new royal progress for some time, but Alysanne removed to Dragonstone, so he went alone. First he completed his planned progress to Casterly Rock and the seats of greater lords of the westerlands, even stopping on Fair Isle. He inspected the roadworks and made unplanned stops at smaller towns and castles. All together, the king was gone from the Red Keep far longer than originally intended, and neither Aemon nor Baelon, who joined him for some of these visits, could convince him to return home. After the westerlands, Jaehaerys traveled to the Reach, beginning a second progress before the first had ended. His visits included Crakehall, Old Oak, Highgarden, and Greenfield. He ended his journey in Oldtown, where Maegelle convinced him to reunite with Alysanne in 89 AC.
A major factor urging Jaehaerys towards reconciliation was also that his first grandchild announced that she planned to marry. In 90 AC Aemon's daughter Rhaenys wed Lord Corlys Velaryon, Master of Ships on the small council, brave seafaring explorer, and wealthiest man currently living in Westeros. Jaehaerys greatly approved of the match and their wedding was well attended. In her closing years, Alysanne would look back on the wedding in 90 AC as one of the last good days where their remaining family was all gathered together.
Late Reign (92 to 103 AC)
In 92 AC, Prince Aemon suddenly died from a crossbow bolt to the neck while fighting Myrish pirates in a minor skirmish on Tarth. Jaehaerys then named Aemon's brother Baelon as the new Prince of Dragonstone and heir to the throne, passing over Aemon's only child, Princess Rhaenys, who was then with child (though it later turned out to be a girl, Laena, Rhaenys would go on to produce a son as well, Laenor). Although Baelon was much loved, some did not approve. The most prominent of these was Queen Alysanne, who was furious that Rhaenys was being passed over on account of her sex alone. Thus began the Second Quarrel between Jaehaerys and his sister-wife. Alysanne once again left for Dragonstone, telling Jaehaerys that if he felt a woman was of less use than a man, he would have no further need her anymore. They were reconciled again in 94 AC, once more by their daughter Maegelle. The Velaryons, meanwhile, were not amused, nor was Rhaenys's maternal uncle Boremund Baratheon. Corlys Velaryon himself resigned his position on the small council in protest and returned to Driftmark.
In 98 AC, a great tourney was held in King's Landing to celebrate King Jaehaerys's fiftieth year on the Iron Throne. Most[N 1] of Jaehaerys's living children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were present. In the final tilt, Ser Ryam Redwyne and Ser Clement Crabb broke thirty lances against each other before King Jaehaerys proclaimed them co-champions, in what is often called the finest display of jousting in Westerosi history.
Tragedy struck a fortnight after the tourney when Jaehaerys's close friend and Hand of the King, Septon Barth, died in his sleep. Jaehaerys replaced him as Hand by Ser Ryam Redwyne, the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, but when Ser Ryam proved most unsuited for the office subsequently replaced him with his son Baelon. Further tragedy came later with the death of Princess Gael in 99 AC, although officially it was said she died from a summer fever, she had actually committed suicide by drowning herself in the Blackwater Rush. After this heartbreak, King's Landing became unbearable to Alysanne. Grieving for her most beloved daughter, Queen Alysanne died less than a year later.
Prince Baelon himself later died before his father did, of a burst appendix, in 101 AC. Fearing a civil war between Rhaenys and Viserys, Jaehaerys sent for his last remaining son for advice - Archmaester Vaegon - who suggested that Jaehaerys call a Great Council of all the lords in Westeros to decide the line of succession. The Great Council of 101 AC sorted through no less than fourteen claimants great and small, but soon focused down on Rhaenys's son Laenor versus Baelon's son Viserys. In the final vote, Viserys won by a factor of twenty to one. Always Jaehaerys's favored candidate, he then formally named his grandson Prince of Dragonstone.
The deaths of Alysanne and Baelon reduced Jaehaerys to a shell of the man he had once been. By 101 AC, he had outlived not only his beloved sister-wife, but essentially all of his children: out of nine who lived to adulthood only two were left, but he had disowned Saera and Vaegon (whom he had never been close with) had removed to the Citadel in Oldtown. Moreover he had outlived trusted friends and administrators on his small council who had each served him for roughly four decades each: Septon Barth, Grand Maester Elysar, and Manfryd Redwyne. All that was left to Jaehaerys by 101 AC were his four living grandchildren: Aemon's daughter Rhaenys, Baelon's sons Viserys and Daemon, and Daella's daughter Aemma (who married Viserys).
After 101 AC his strength and wits began to fail him, and towards the end Jaehaerys was confined to his bed. Following the death of Baelon, who had been both heir and Hand of the King, Jaehaerys appointed Ser Otto Hightower to the office, who would serve for the remainder of his life. The last two years of Jaehaerys's reign were uneventful: Otto ruled the realm while his young daughter, Lady Alicent Hightower, took over his care. She read to the old king, fetched his meals, helped bathe and dress him. At times, Jaehaerys confused her for one of his daughters, and towards the end, he believed she was Princess Saera, who had fled across the narrow sea many years before.
In 103 AC, at the age of sixty-nine, Jaehaerys died in his bed as Alicent read to him from Septon Barth's Unnatural History. His body was cremated in the Dragonpit and his ashes were interred with Alysanne's ashes either beneath the Red Keep or on Dragonstone. His realm mourned, as did Dorne supposedly. Jaehaerys had ruled for 55 years, the longest serving monarch on the Iron Throne before or since, and had reigned over an unprecedented era of peace and prosperity for Westeros.
Jaehaerys was the longest-ruling Targaryen monarch, having ruled for fifty-five years. Because of this, he is referred to as the "Old King". His reign is remembered as the most prosperous period in the history of the Targaryen monarchy. His rule brought peace, stability, and justice to the Seven Kingdoms. According to the archmaesters, the population of Westeros north of Dorne doubled during Jaehaerys's reign, with the population of King's Landing becoming four times as large. Jaehaerys even managed to forge a peace between House Bracken and House Blackwood in the riverlands, which would endure for fifty years, but did not long outlast his reign. Jaehaerys is regarded as the best of the Targaryen kings by many historians and laymen.
Jaehaerys's grandson and successor, Viserys I Targaryen, wore Jaehaerys's crown. In 129 AC, Viserys entertained his grandchildren with a fictional tale[N 2] of Jaehaerys and his dragon defeating a vast host of wildlings, giants, and wargs at the Wall. When Viserys died that same year, his eldest son, Aegon, ascended the throne instead of Viserys' proclaimed heir, Rhaenyra, which was the start of the war known as the Dance of the Dragons. Ser Steffon Darklyn of the Kingsguard and his retainers defected to Rhaenyra's faction at Dragonstone. With them, they brought the crown Jaehaerys I and Viserys I had worn. Prince Daemon Targaryen, Rhaenyra's husband and uncle, used this crown during Rhaenyra's coronation.
Small Council under Jaehaerys I
During the long reign of King Jaehaerys, his small council had the following known members:
A Storm of Swords
On Dragonstone Maester Pylos mentions to Davos Seaworth that dragonkings oft chose Hands from their own blood, with results as various as Baelor Breakspear and Maegor the Cruel. In comparison there is Jaehaerys I Targaryen's choice of Septon Barth, a common-born blacksmith's son Jaehaerys plucked from the Red Keep's library, who gave the realm forty years of peace and plenty.
Jon Snow recalls a story told to him by Old Nan, on how Jaehaerys and Alysanne traveled to Winterfell together in a great royal progress that contained six dragons. It is unknown if this was a second progress made by the King and Queen, or if it was just a fable.
A Feast for Crows
At the Wall, Samwell Tarly recalls that there were dragons there two hundred years ago; Queen Alysanne had visited Castle Black on her dragon, and Jaehaerys, her king, had come after her on his own.
Cersei Lannister recalls that when she was a child, she once drew a picture of herself and Prince Rhaegar Targaryen flying on the back of a dragon, but when her brother Jaime found it, she told him it was a picture of Alysanne and Jaehaerys.
When talking to Queen Regent Cersei about having King Tommen Baratheon rearm the Faith, the new High Septon asks her if Jaehaerys the Conciliator had once sworn upon the Iron Throne itself that the crown would always protect and defend the Faith. Cersei thinks to herself that she has no idea what Jaehaerys might have sworn. Later, the High Sparrow notes that Jaehaerys took away the right of the Faith to hold trials.
Outside Riverrun, Lady Genna Lannister makes it known to Jaime Lannister how she feels about Queen Cersei rearming the Faith, she reminds Jaime that King Jaehaerys agreed to pardon all those who would set aside their swords.
During their travels in the riverlands Septon Meribald tells Brienne of Tarth and her companions some of the history of the inn at the crossroads. He tells them the inn was raised during the reign of the first Jaehaerys, and that Jaehaerys and his queen slept there during their journeys, and for a time, the inn was known as the Two Crowns in their honor.
A Dance with Dragons
Quotes about Jaehaerys I
He was nine-and-sixty at his death, and had ruled wisely and well for five-and-fifty years. Westeros mourned, and it was claimed that even in Dorne men wept and women tore their garments in lament for a king who had been so just and good. His ashes were interred with that of his beloved, the Good Queen Alysanne, beneath the Red Keep. And the realm never saw their like again.—writings of Yandel
—writings of Umbert
It is a poor king who wages battle against his own lords and leaves his own kingdom burned, bloody, and strewn with corpses. His Grace was a wiser man than that.—writings of Barth
Behind the Scenes
- Although Maester Yandel in his work The World of Ice and Fire claims that all of Jaehaerys's living children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were present for the tourney, this is in error, as Princess Saera, still alive, remained across the narrow sea with children of her own.
- Elio García has stated that George R. R. Martin confirmed to him that this story was made up by Viserys to entertain his grandchildren.
- Fire & Blood, The Sons of the Dragon.
- Fire & Blood, Prince into King - The Ascension of Jaehaerys I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys I.
- House of the Dragon, Season 1, "The Heirs of the Dragon".
- So Spake Martin: Targaryen Kings (November 1, 2005)
- Fire & Blood, A Time of Testing - The Realm Remade.
- Fire & Blood, Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Their Triumphs and Tragedies.
- Fire & Blood, The Long Reign - Jaehaerys and Alysanne: Policy, Progeny, and Pain.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Blacks and the Greens.
- Fire & Blood, The Year of the Three Brides - 49 AC.
- Fire & Blood, Birth, Death, and Betrayal Under King Jaehaerys I.
- Fire & Blood, A Surfeit of Rulers.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 37, Brienne VII.
- Fire & Blood, Heirs of the Dragon - A Question of Succession.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Appendix: Targaryen Lineage.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Jaehaerys I Targaryen.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Maegor I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Stormlands: House Baratheon.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Westerlands: House Lannister Under the Dragons.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Riverlands: House Tully.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 33, Jaime V.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 43, Cersei X.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 28, Cersei VI.
- The Sworn Sword.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 48, Jaime I.
- A Forum of Ice and Fire: Inconsistencies, plot holes, and missing details in TSOTD, TRP, and TPATQ (February 28, 2018)
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 54, Davos V.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 41, Jon V.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 5, Samwell I.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 24, Cersei V.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 32, Reek III.
- Wikipedia: George R. R. Martin.