For other characters who share the same name, see "Aegon Targaryen (disambiguation)".
"Rhaenyra Targaryen was murdered by her brother, or rather, his dragon. It ate her while her son watched."
―King Joffrey Baratheon[src]

King Aegon II Targaryen, called Aegon the Usurper by supporters of Rhaenyra Targaryen, and Aegon the Elder to distinguish from Aegon the Younger, was the sixth King of the Targaryen dynasty. He ruled during the civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons.



Aegon was born to King Viserys I Targaryen and Queen Alicent Hightower, the king's second wife, and had two siblings, Aemond and Helaena, whom he married. He also had a half-sister, Rhaenyra, who had been named Viserys's heir before his children by Alicent were born.[1]

The court eventually split into two factions: the Blacks who supported Rhaenyra's claim to the crown, and the Greens who supported Aegon's claim. When Viserys died, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard Ser Criston Cole immediately summoned the Small Council while Alicent kept information of the king's death from Rhaenyra. Though all the lords of Westeros had sworn to support Rhaenyra, Aegon was put forward as his father's successor. According to one account, Aegon himself did not want to be king, and was only convinced to take the Iron Throne when Alicent pointed out that Rhaenyra would likely have him and his family killed even if he rejected the crown.[1]

Aegon II Coronation

Aegon is crowned king.

Aegon was soon crowned king in the Dragonpit by Septon Eustace, and Aegon's banner of the gold dragon, resembling his dragon Sunfyre, soon flew over the Red Keep. Rhaenyra also put forward her claim to the throne, and though she had initially only had the support of of a few houses from The Crownlands and the Narrow Sea, she commanded six dragons, and her seat at Dragonstone housed six more that had no riders, while Aegon only had six. Aegon however, had the support of several houses from the Reach, the Riverlands, the Westerlands and the Stormlands.[1]

When Aemond killed Rhaenyra's son Lucerys in the Dance Over Storm's End, the civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons began in earnest. Rhaenyra collapsed upon hearing of Lucerys's death, and considered ending the war until her husband, Prince Daemon Targaryen, wrote to her and promised that he would be avenged. He hired two assassins, known as Blood and Cheese, who broke into the royal apartments in the Red Keep and murdered Aegon's firstborn son and heir Jaehaerys. This turned what was initially a dynastic dispute into a war of annihilation that only one contender could survive.[1]

Adding to the Blacks' success, Daemon was able to secure the surrender of Harrenhal when he circled the castle on his dragon Caraxes, gaining Rhaenyra the strongest castle in the Riverlands along with several lords from the region. Furthermore, Rhaenyra's eldest son and heir, Jacaerys, had secured the support of the North and the Vale. Aegon was infuriated and had grown tired of his grandfather and Hand of the King, Ser Otto Hightower, whose diplomatic and carefully crafted moves had not brought him immediate results. He dismissed him as Hand and instead appointed Ser Criston, who swore to immediately attack the lords loyal to Rhaenyra.

The royal army marched on Rook's Rest, burning the fields and villages while besieging the castle. Rhaenyra aunt Rhaenys eventually arrived on her dragon Meleys and began to burn the royal army, but she had fallen into Aegon and Aemond's trap, as the brothers arrived on their dragons Sunfyre and Vhagar. Instead of fleeing, Rhaenys fought both dragons, and the sky burned so bright that it looked like a second sun had appeared. In the end, only Aemond and Vhagar were uninjured. While Meleys had been torn apart and Rhaenys had turned to ash, Sunfyre, the most magnificent dragon at the time, had been mortally wounded and one of its wings had almost been torn off completely. Aegon himself was trapped underneath his dragon, extremely injured and burned so badly that his armor had fused into his skin in several places. Aegon was left crippled and bed-ridden, his mind addled by Milk of the Poppy, and command fell to Aemond.

Aemond and Ser Criston marched on Harrenhal to reclaim the castle, leaving King's Landing defenseless when Rhaenyra and Daemon flew into the city on their dragons. Rhaenyra captured the city with little resistance, executed Otto Hightower and Jasper Wylde and imprisoned Alicent and Helaena, but despite his injuries, Aegon was able to escape before he could be found. He had been secreted away to Dragonstone, the place where Rhaenyra would least expect to find him. In the meantime, Ser Criston and most of the eastern Green armies were killed at the Butcher's Ball, while Aemond and Daemon as well as their dragons both died in the Battle Above the Gods Eye.[1]

Ambush at Dragonstone

Aegon feeds his sister to his dragon, Sunfyre.

When the people of King's Landing rioted and killed the remaining dragons in the city, Rhaenyra fled with her remaining son, Aegon. She sold her crown and sailed for Dragonstone, only to be ambushed upon arrival. She and her son were marched at spearpoint to Aegon and Sunfyre. Aegon was bent and twisted from Rook's Rest, his once handsome face puffy from Milk of the Poppy and half his body covered in burn scars. Rhaenyra told him that she had hoped he was dead, to which Aegon replied, "After you!" The dying Sunfyre incinerated Rhaenyra - as the younger Aegon watched - and ate her in six bites, leaving behind only her lower leg.[1]

Aegon returned to King's Landing, but the Blacks continued to fight for the young Aegon, and several Riverlords marched on King's Landing along with Lord Cregan Stark and the Winter Wolves. The Small Council urged Aegon to join the Night's Watch and avoid execution by Lord Cregan. He refused, and instead ordered that the young Aegon's ear be cut off and sent to the Riverlords as a warning. Shortly afterwards, Aegon was found poisoned and dead, ending the war. After Aegon's death, his daughter Jaehaera was wed to the young Aegon (now Aegon III) to unite the two warring factions of House Targaryen.[1]

Season 3

While touring the Great Sept of Baelor in King's Landing, King Joffrey Baratheon explains to Margaery Tyrell that Rhaenyra Targaryen was eaten by her brother's dragon while her son was forced to watch.[2]

Season 5

At her father's army camp in the North, Princess Shireen Baratheon reads a history book about the civil war between Aegon II and Rhaenyra: The Dance of the Dragons, A True Telling by Grand Maester Munkun. When her father Stannis and also Davos Seaworth ask about it, she summarizes that the conflict between Rhaenyra and Aegon II split the Seven Kingdoms in half. Shireen also specifies that Aegon was Rhaenyra's half-brother.[1]

Family tree

Jaehaerys I Targaryen
Alysanne Targaryen
Corlys Velaryon House-Velaryon-Main-Shield
Rhaenys Targaryen
Granddaughter of Jaehaerys I
Aemma Arryn House-Arryn-Main-Shield
Viserys I Targaryen
Grandson of Jaehaerys I
Alicent Hightower House-Hightower-Main-Shield
Daemon Targaryen
Grandson of
Jaehaerys I
Uncle and husband of Rhaenyra
Laenor Velaryon
Rhaenyra Targaryen House-Targaryen-Blacks-Shield
"Queen Rhaenyra,
First of Her Name"
Daemon Targaryen
Grandson of
Jaehaerys I
Uncle and husband of Rhaenyra
Aegon II Targaryen House-Targaryen-Greens-Shield
Helaena Targaryen
Aemond Targaryen
Jacaerys Velaryon House-Velaryon-Main-Shield
Lucerys Velaryon House-Velaryon-Main-Shield
Joffrey Velaryon House-Velaryon-Main-Shield
Aegon III Targaryen
Viserys II Targaryen
Jaehaerys Targaryen
Jaehaera Targaryen
Maelor Targaryen


"The fight between Rhaenyra Targaryen and her half-brother Aegon for control over the Seven Kingdoms. Both of them thought they belonged on the Iron Throne. When people started declaring for one of them or the other, their fight divided the kingdoms in two. Brothers fought brothers, dragons fought dragons. By the time it was over, thousands were dead. And it was a disaster for the Targaryens as well. They never truly recovered."
―Princess Shireen Baratheon[src]

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Aegon II took the Iron Throne at the behest of his mother, Queen Alicent Hightower, and Lord Commander Criston Cole of the Kingsguard, thereafter known as Criston the Kingmaker, even though his father, Viserys I, intended Rhaenyra, daughter of Viserys' previous consort, to succeed him. Rhaenyra disputed his ascension and claimed the throne for herself, leading to the civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons. Aegon managed to defeat his sister, and fed her to his dragon. Shortly thereafter he died himself, leaving no trueborn male heirs, which led to his nephew Aegon III, Rhaenyra's son, taking the throne.

Queen Alicent had three sons including Aegon II, as well as one daughter. Aegon II's younger brother Aemond rode the dragon Vhagar during the Dance and his youngest brother Daeron rode Tessarion. Following Targaryen custom, Aegon II married his sister Helaena. Aegon II had three trueborn children, twins Jaehaerys and Jaehaera and a younger son Maelor. Aegon II also fathered at least two bastard children, a boy and a girl, with two different mothers. Both Jaehaerys and Maelor died during the civil war, leading Aegon II to be succeeded by his nephew Aegon III. Aegon III solidified the peace between the two rival branches of House Targaryen by marrying Jaehaera. The marriage ultimately proved to be childless, however, and Aegon III later remarried to Daenaera of House Velaryon, with whom he had all of his children. Thus later generations of the Targaryen dynasty apparently possess no descent from Aegon II.

Later histories often remember Rhaenyra Targaryen as arrogant, because she had been raised as the heir presumptive most of her life. Conversely, this meant that Rhaenyra had been actively trained to rule for many years, and even took part in her father's council meetings. Thus while Rhaenyra may have had a sense of authority and entitlement, it was because she possessed the actual administrative skill to back it up (in much the same sense that while Jaime Lannister was cocky and self-assured about his swordfighting skills, this was because he was officially recognized as one of the best swordsmen in all of Westeros). Aegon II's faction staged the coup against Rhaenyra on the grounds that she was arrogant (if skilled), but it soon became apparent that Aegon II was both arrogant and unskilled at rule. This should have come as little surprise, given that he was still a young man when the Dance broke out, only about twenty two-years old. Histories about the Dance of Dragons repeatedly describe Aegon II as both inexperienced and hot-blooded.

Aegon II started out as almost a puppet for his mother Queen Alicent Hightower, and at first, he did not even want to seize the throne. His mother only managed to get him to go along with the plan when she convinced him that Rhaenyra would eventually strike first and kill his children, because if his bloodline lasted one of his descendants might eventually challenge one of hers in the future. At the outset, when Rhaenyra first declared war against the coup, Aegon II sent an envoy to her with relatively generous peace terms, offering her the continued rule of Dragonstone if she would submit to him. When she refused, however, something snapped in Aegon II, and he pursued increasingly vicious and ruthless action. As the three years of the war passed he came out from his mother's shadow and began making decisions in his own right - many of which actually hurt his cause.

When Viserys I died and Queen Alicent staged the palace coup, the only member of the Small Council who spoke against Aegon II's succession was Lord Lyman Beesbury, an elderly man in his eighties who had skillfully served as Master of Coin for over thirty years, not only under Viserys I but even under his grandfather Jaehaerys I. Alicent had him executed as a result, but this hobbled Aegon II's Small Council by robbing it of an experienced Master of Coin, particularly given that they needed funds for the war. The Lannisters were wooed into his allegiance by naming Ser Tyland Lannister the new Master of Coin, but they frequently butted heads. Rhaenyra formed her own rival Small Council, and by all accounts, was a skilled administrator who was respected by the council members. In contrast, Aegon II was so inexperienced, untrained, and hotblooded that he was frequently at odds with his own Small Council. One of the reasons Rhaenyra's faction was able to gain so much ground despite not controlling the capital city is because of the fact that Aegon II could not adequately make use of those advantages he did possess.

Aegon II's original Hand of the King was his maternal grandfather, Otto Hightower, who had been Hand of the King under Viserys I. Otto wanted to make careful preparations for an offensive against the lords loyal to Rhaenyra, but Aegon II grew impatient with him, impetuously snatched off his chain of office, and gave it to Lord Commander Criston Cole of the Kingsguard. Ser Criston immediately led the Greens' armies out on an assault targeting Harrenhal (which left King's Landing under-defended), but without the careful planning that Otto had urged, the eastern and western Green armies could not coordinate properly. Ultimately Ser Criston rushed into an ambush and he was killed along with his entire army.

Aegon II's rule officially lasted two years, but much of the realm never acknowledge his rule - fueling the debate over whether Rhaenyra or Aegon II should be historically considered to be the "legitimate" monarch at the time. Moreover, Aegon II actually "ruled" as king for barely a single year's worth of time. A few months after Aegon II was crowned the two factions had gathered their armies, and the first large-scale battle occurred at Rook's Rest. Aegon II was so badly burned by dragonfire that he spent the next full year heavily sedated with Milk of the Poppy while recovering from his injuries. In the meantime, his younger brother Aemond One-Eye was named as Protector of the Realm and led the Greens' armies during most of the Dance of the Dragons. By the time Aegon II recovered Aemond had died.

Aegon II's personal sigil was a golden dragon on a black field, instead of the standard red Targaryen dragon, which signified his own dragon, Sunfyre the Golden. While his faction in the Dance was informally known as "the Greens", armies loyal to Aegon II bore his golden dragon sigil on their banners.

See also


v  d  e
Lord: Queen Daenerys Targaryen Heir: None
Seat: Dragonstone Lands: Dragonstone
Title(s): Queen of Meereen · Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea · Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men (claimant) · Lady Regnant of the Seven Kingdoms (claimant) · Protector of the Realm (claimant)
Ancestors:Aenar · Daenys · Aegon I, the Conqueror · Visenya · Rhaenys · Aenys I · Maegor I, the Cruel · Rhaena · Aegon · Jaehaerys I, the Concilliator · Alysanne Targaryen · Viserys I · Rhaenys · Daemon · Aemma Arryn · Rhaenyra · Alicent Hightower · Aegon II, the Usurper · Helaena Targaryen · Aemond · Aegon III · Viserys II Targaryen · Jaehaera · Jaehaerys · Maelor · Daeron I, the Young Dragon · Baelor I, the Blessed · Aegon IV, the Unworthy · Naerys · Aemon the Dragonknight · Daena the Defiant · Rhaena · Elaena · Daeron II, the Good · Daenerys of Sunspear · Myriah Martell · Daemon Blackfyre · Brynden Rivers · Aegor Rivers · Shiera Seastar · Baelor Breakspear · Aerys I · Aelinor · Rhaegel · Maekar I · Dyanna Dayne · Aerion Brightflame · Aegon V, the Unlikely · Duncan the Small · Daeron
Deceased members:Aerys II, the Mad · Rhaella Targaryen · Rhaegar Targaryen · Elia Martell · Rhaenys Targaryen · Aegon Targaryen · Viserys Targaryen · Drogo · Rhaego · Aemon Targaryen
Household:Ser Jorah Mormont · Tyrion Lannister · {Ser Barristan Selmy} · {Rakharo} · Kovarro · Aggo · {Irri} · {Doreah} · Jhiqui · Malakho · Missandei · Grey Worm · Daario Naharis · {Mossador}