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House Targaryen
House Targaryen

"Aegon Targaryen changed the rules. That's why every child alive still knows his name, three hundred years after his death."
Tywin Lannister to Arya Stark[src]

King Aegon I Targaryen,[b] known as Aegon the Conqueror and Aegon the Dragon, was the founder and first king of the Targaryen dynasty who conquered Westeros and united the realm (with the exception of Dorne and the lands beyond the Wall) with three great dragons: Balerion, Vhagar, and Meraxes. He was married to both of his sisters, Visenya and Rhaenys.

Biography[]

Background[]

Aegon balerion

Aegon Targaryen conquered Westeros astride his dragon, Balerion the Black Dread.

Balerion roasts Harrenhal

Balerion burns Harrenhal.

Aegon I Targaryen was the first king of the Targaryen dynasty. He was a warlord who, with his two sister-wives Visenya and Rhaenys, three great dragons and a small army, invaded and unified six of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros in Aegon's Conquest. Only Dorne managed to successfully resist the Targaryens, using guerrilla tactics started under the command of Meria Martell (commonly known as "The Yellow Toad") that continued for a couple of centuries until Dorne voluntarily joined the Seven Kingdoms when Maron Martell agreed to marry a Targaryen princess, Daenerys Targaryen and Maron's sister, Myriah Martell, married King Daeron II Targaryen.[citation needed]

Aegon the Conqueror Crown

Aegon's Valyrian steel and ruby crown

Aegon the Conquerer

Aegon atop Balerion in battle.

After the Conquest, Aegon founded the city of King's Landing, began construction on the Red Keep, and forged the Iron Throne from the swords of his defeated enemies, melted with dragonfire. His descendants ruled for a further three centuries.[citation needed]

House of the Dragon: Season 1[]

Aegon is depicted in one of four statues in the throne room of the Red Keep, holding a shield bearing the arms of House Targaryen.[9]

When Daemon is brought before Viserys sitting on the Iron Throne, he tells his brother that he cuts the image of the Conqueror.[9]

When Viserys decides to name his daughter Rhaenyra his heir, he tells her a secret known only by the king and his heir since Aegon's time: it was not ambition that led Aegon to conquer the Seven Kingdoms, but a dragon dream he called "The Song of Ice and Fire." In it, Aegon foresaw the return of the White Walkers and the Great War, and that to counter the threat, a Targaryen must unite and rule Westeros.[9]

Daemon requests Viserys to wed Rhaenyra, although he is already married, by pointing out that Aegon the Conqueror married two women. Viserys disdainfully declines, commenting that Daemon is no conqueror.[10]

Viserys shows his daughter a Valyrian steel dagger. He tells that dagger once belonged to Aegon the Conqueror; before his death, the last of the Valyrian pyromancers hid his song in the steel.[10]

Rhaenyra explains to Ser Criston Cole that she has duties for the realm that are much greater than her personal desires. She mentions that Aegon the Conqueror united the Seven Kingdoms and put them on a path.[11]

Reggio Haratis, the Prince of Pentos, tells Daemon that during the Century of Blood, Aegon joined Pentos against Volantis, rode Balerion to aid them in Lys and burned a fleet of enemy ships, thus turning the tide.[12]

On his deathbed, Viserys tries to retell the dragon dream of Aegon to his wife Alicent Hightower, mistaking her for Rhaenyra. However, after mentioning the Prince That Was Promised, Alicent instead mistakes his earlier mention of Aegon the Conqueror as an explicit promotion for his son Prince Aegon to take the Iron Throne. Viserys then passes away shortly afterwards.[13]

The following day, after Viserys's death is conveyed to Alicent, she spreads the word about her mistaken interpretation of Aegon the Conqueror's dream, thus leading to her son Aegon's coronation later that day. On their way to the coronation, Alicent presents the dagger to her son. Aegon II is crowned with the Conqueror's crown.[14]

House of the Dragon: Season 2[]

At the Wall, Cregan Stark and Jacaerys Velaryon speak about their respective ancestors, Torrhen Stark and Aegon I. Jacaerys claims that Torrhen would've sooner died than bent the knee, unless he believed the Conqueror could bring unity to the Seven Kingdoms.[15]

Game of Thrones: Season 1[]

Sansa is given a history lesson by Septa Mordane while visiting the throne room in the Red Keep. Aegon the Conqueror is mentioned as the king who unified the Seven Kingdoms and forged the Iron Throne.[3]

In Vaes Dothrak, Daenerys and Jorah Mormont discuss Aegon's invasion of Westeros and how he unified six of the Seven Kingdoms (the seventh, Dorne, was not added to the realm until some time later) some three hundred years ago. Jorah points out that Aegon had no "right" to the Seven Kingdoms, and never made any legal claim for his conquest: he conquered most of Westeros because he could. Daenerys points out that he could because he had dragons. Jorah expresses doubt that Aegon had dragons, indicating the events happened so long ago it's impossible to be sure.[16]

Game of Thrones: Season 2[]

While at Harrenhal, Tywin recounts to Arya the history of the castle. King Harren the Black of the Ironborn wanted to establish a legacy by constructing Harrenhal, the biggest castle ever built on the entire continent. Harrenhal was designed to defend against an attack from the land, and as Tywin muses, "a million men could have marched against its walls, and a million men would have been repelled." However, Harren did not anticipate an attack from the Targaryen dragons, who during Aegon's Conquest flew right over the high walls and attacked with dragonfire. As Tywin summed it up, "Aegon Targaryen changed the rules." Harren and all of his sons were roasted alive within their own hall by Aegon's dragons, and Harrenhal was left a blasted ruin. However, Arya Stark notes that Aegon was assisted by his sisters in his conquest of Westeros rather than acting alone.[17]

Game of Thrones: Season 3[]

At King's Landing, Littlefinger mentions the realm as "the thousand blades of Aegon's enemies."[18]

Game of Thrones: Season 6[]

In the Great Pyramid of Meereen, Tyrion compares the dragons used by Aegon the Conqueror during his conquest of Westeros to Daenerys's dragons. He makes a point to Varys, Missandei, and Grey Worm about how Daenerys's ancestors after Aegon began locking up their dragons, leading them to shrink in size and eventually go extinct entirely.

Aegon Coronation

Aegon's coronation at the Starry Sept.

Tyrion uses this in an attempt to persuade the three to free Daenerys's dragons from their captivity, having been placed there due to Daenerys being unable to control them across Slaver's Bay. Tyrion later unchains the dragons.[19]

While having a vision of the past, Bran learns that his "half-brother" Jon Snow is actually the son of his aunt Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, Daenerys's brother, making Jon another descendant of Aegon the Conqueror. Around this time, Jon is declared the new King in the North despite his status as a bastard son (but in

Aegon Iron Throne

Aegon on the Iron Throne, flanked by four of his Kingsguards.

reality nephew) of the late Eddard Stark. Meanwhile, Daenerys sets sail for Westeros with her armada and dragons with the same intentions as Aegon had: to conquer the Seven Kingdoms.[20]

Game of Thrones: Season 7[]

When Jon appears before Daenerys at Dragonstone, the latter scoffs when Davos presents Jon as the King in the North and declares that the last person who held that title was Torrhen Stark, who bent the knee to Aegon in his conquest, apparently not recognizing Robb as the most recent King in the North.[21]

After Bran reveals to Sam at Winterfell that Jon is the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna, and Sam tells Bran that the High Septon had Rhaegar's marriage to Elia Martell annulled, Bran uses the Sight to look once more into the past at the Tower of Joy, where he witnesses Rhaegar and Lyanna's marriage and Lyanna giving birth to their son, who she tells her brother Ned is named Aegon Targaryen, apparently after Aegon the Conqueror as many Targaryens had been before.[22]

Game of Thrones: Season 8[]

During the Battle of Winterfell, Arya Stark uses the Valyryian steel dagger once owned by Aegon to stab and kill the Night King once and for all, leading to the destruction of all the wights and White Walkers present in Winterfell at the moment.[23] This act seemingly brings to fruition some of the wishes of Aegon's dragon dream that was inscribed on the very same dagger.[9]

Having defeated Cersei's forces and burned down a good portion of King's Landing, Daenerys quietly examines the Iron Throne as it now rains with ash, the throne room now broken open by the dragonfire she had recently unleashed upon the city. As Jon approaches her, Daenerys recounts how her brother used to tell her how the Throne was built from a thousand swords built from Aegon's fallen enemies. Having been unable to count all that well at the time, Daenerys imagined a mountain of swords too tall to climb past. With so many enemies stacked, Daenerys could only imagine being able to see the soles of Aegon's enemies feet. After a short emotional exchange, Jon stabs Daenerys, causing her to die several moments later. As he mourns over his decision, Drogon enters the throne room, making loud screeching sounds, seemingly aware that something is amiss. Upon realizing that Daenerys is no more, he becomes even more upset, starting to blow flames around the room. Eventually, his main target becomes clear: The Iron Throne long established by Aegon I. After several seconds, the Throne is reduced to a melted slag and Drogon picks up Daenerys's body, flying off into the sky, now known to be the last dragon descended from the Targaryen dynasty still alive. Jon, still agonizing over the aftermath of his decision, is thus left as the last known living heir of House Targaryen.[24]

Quotes[]

Spoken by Aegon[]

"From this day forth, there will be but one king in Westeros."
―Aegon's message to the kings of the Seven Kingdoms[src]
Aegon: "Yield now, and you may remain Lord of the Iron Islands. Yield now, and your sons will live to rule after you. You see my army outside your walls. You see my dragons."
Harren: "What is outside my walls is of no concern. Those walls are strong and thick."
Aegon: "Dragons fly."
Harren: "But stone doesn't burn."
Aegon: "When the sun sets, your line shall end."
— Aegon parleying with Harren Hoare at Harrenhal[src]
"Hen ānogār ñurhot kīviō dārilaros māzīlza, se zȳhon suvio perzō vāedar kessa.
(From my blood will come the Prince That Was Promised, and his will be the Song of Ice and Fire.)
"
―Aegon's prophecy[src]

Spoken about Aegon[]

Mordane: "Who built the Iron Throne?"
Sansa: "Aegon the Conqueror."
— Septa Mordane tutoring Sansa[src]
"The days of the Andals were numbered. One by one, their so-called kings were bending the knee or facing the wrath of Aegon Targaryen. Aegon of Old Valyria, Aegon who was blood of the dragon."
Viserys Targaryen[src]
"After his triumph on the Field of Fire, Aegon's conquest was assured. In a short time, the so-called Seven Kingdoms were melted down in the heat of the dragon's flame and transformed into a single realm. Aegon would forever be known... as Aegon the Conqueror."
―Viserys Targaryen[src]
"To keep their bloodlines pure, Aegon continued the custom of his Valyrian ancestors and took both of his sisters to wife."
―Viserys Targaryen[src]
"The Maesters tell us that Aegon came to Westeros with fire and blood, and hammered six kingdoms into one. The fire he undoubtedly brought, as the Kings of the Rock, Reach, and Iron Islands learned."
Varys[src]
"Then Aenar's descendants settled into [Dragonstone] like a tomb for their lost homeland. Until Aegon. When he looked east, he saw the past: old, tired, dead. But when he looked west, he saw the future: gold in the ground, gold in the fields, and no dragons in the sky but his."
―Viserys Targaryen[src]
"As his army prepared to sail, ravens flew to every great lord of the Seven Kingdoms. All bore 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."
Varys[src]

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In the books[]

Roman Papsuev - Aegon I Targaryen

Aegon I Targaryen by Roman "Amok" Papsuev.©

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Aegon was a child of House Targaryen, dwelling on the island of Dragonstone in the Narrow Sea. The Targaryens, a family of Valyrian origin, had been in control of Dragonstone for a century before the Doom of Valyria destroyed their homeland in a volcanic cataclysm. For another hundred years on Dragonstone, the Targaryens slowly built up their strength and raised their dragons, the last in the world. When he was of age, Aegon, his two sister-wives and his three dragons led a scant few thousand troops in invading the entire continent of Westeros.

Despite being vastly outnumbered, Aegon was able to secure victory after victory using his dragons. He smashed the Gardener and Lannister armies on the Field of Fire, securing their capitulation, and convinced the Arryns and Starks to join him peacefully through negotiation. Eventually, all of Westeros acknowledged him as king, save only Dorne, which he decided not to conquer after encountering fierce guerrilla resistance that ultimately claimed the lives of his younger sister-wife Rhaenys and her dragon Meraxes.

After the Conquest, Aegon ruled for thirty more years, apparently wisely and well. However, upon his death the realm was plunged into a bloody war when the Faith of the Seven rejected his sons, born of incest, from following him on the throne. Eventually the uprising was put down and the Targaryen rule secured for centuries.

In The World of Ice & Fire, it is revealed that Aegon was born 27 years before his coronation as king (and 25 years before leading the invasion of Westeros, his coronation being dated from the day the High Septon anointed him in Oldtown). He was the son of Lord Aerion Targaryen and Lady Valaena Velaryon. All of the previous six generations of Targaryens born on Dragonstone were the product of incestuous marriages, but Aerion had no sisters - though by marrying a Velaryon he still ensured that his children were of pure Valyrian descent.

Aegon married both his sisters when all three were very young. It was said he preferred Rhaenys, and that while he married her for love, he married Visenya for duty, and that for every night he spent with Visenya, he spent ten with Rhaenys. Aegon helped end the attempt by Volantis to conquer the other Free Cities, using his dragon Balerion to support the forces of Braavos, Tyrosh and the Westerosi Storm King in driving the Volantenes from Lys and Myr. In doing so, it is confirmed that he had no interest in reforging a Valyrian empire in Essos.

Aegon began planning the conquest of Westeros long before launching the attack, spending time incognito visiting Westerosi cities and castles and gaining intelligence on the different houses, their lords and their vassals. Rumors circulate that Aegon and his sister Visenya also visited Oldtown at some point before the Conquest. He used this intelligence well in dividing the houses and winning the allegiance of some of the houses against the others. He was helped in the planning by his bastard half-brother, Orys Baratheon, his most loyal ally and vassal, his best friend and the first Hand of the King. When King Argilac Durrandon, or the Arrogant, offered Aegon an alliance against King Harren Hoarr, offering his daughter's hand in marriage to cement the deal, the Conqueror declined (since he already had two wives) and instead offered Orys'. Argilac took that as an insult and angrily had the hands of Aegon's envoy amputated and delivered to Dragonstone in a box. Aegon used this as a justification for his invasion of Westeros.

He fortified his initial landing point at the northern shore of the mouth of the Blackwater River, a strategically very defensible position protected to the east and south by water, and surrounded by open plains which would expose any attacking army long before it arrived. Shortly after landing, his sister-wife Visenya crowned him King of All Westeros and Shield of His People, titles he later discarded after his second coronation in Oldtown. After the conquest, Aegon ruled for some time at the crude boomtown which sprang up there, known as the Aegonfort. However, it remained a ramshackle pile of wood and earth, so after some time he moved his seat back to Dragonstone, until such time as a proper new capital city could be built in the former location of Aegonfort. He had the Aegonfort razed, while plans on the construction of King's Landing and the Red Keep continued. By the time Aegon I died, however, only the foundations of the city and tunnels of the future Red Keep were finished (thus apparently Aegon continued to rule from Dragonstone for the rest of his life, though he always intended to move the royal seat back to the mainland some day).

Aegon the Conqueror was considered an enigma even by his contemporaries. He was a very solitary man, and his bastard half-brother Orys Baratheon was said to not simply be his best friend, but his only real friend. Aegon only rode his dragon for travel or war, never pleasure, and did not ride horses in tournaments. While Aegon did weigh in on major decisions, he left most of the matters of day-to-day governance to his sisters - as well as to his later "Hand of the King" Orys. Aegon was ruthless to his enemies, but was always generous to those who surrendered. He also knew that conquering Westeros had been the easy part and that the hard part would be maintaining the realm he had built. To ensure that his dream would not die, Aegon spent most of his time traveling the various Kingdoms on royal progresses to remind lords and smallfolk who ruled them and to make his presence familiar to them. He also refrained from trying to unite the Kingdoms under the same laws, instead allowing them to retain their old laws and he would judge crimes committed in these Kingdoms according to their customs. Under the influence of Rhaenys, he also contracted several marriages between members of the Great Houses to maintain the peace between former enemies, namely a marriage between Lord Arryn and a daughter of Torrhen Stark, the new Lord of Winterfell. However, these efforts, though successful, were met with great opposition from many and Lord Stark's sons refused to attend their sister's wedding. Aegon also maintained friendly relations with the Faith of the Seven, never missing an opportunity to visit the High Septon when he visited Oldtown.

According to Fire & Blood, although Aegon remained on good terms with the Faith, the question of incestuous marriage remained, simmering below the courtesies like poison. The six High Septons, who officiated during Aegon's reign, never spoke out against his marriage, but did not declare it to be lawful either. The humbler members of the Faith still believed it was sinful of both aspects - the incest and the polygamy.

Despite a highly successful reign, Aegon did face considerable problems and none were as difficult to deal with as the First Dornish War. In 4 AC, the Targaryens decided that the time had come to finish the Conquest and they returned to conquer Dorne. However, the Dornish proved just as elusive as before and the dragons that had united six out of Seven Kingdoms proved useless. Eventually, the war took a different turn when Rhaenys, Aegon's youngest sister and his favorite wife, was killed in Dorne when her dragon Meraxes took an arrow in the eye. Aegon's fury and grief at the loss of his wife was such that he headed for Dorne himself. Accompanied by Visenya, the last two Targaryens rained fire upon the desert strongholds to break the Dornish. The next two years were known as the Dragon's Wroth, a period when every Dornish castle felt the fury of the dragonriders. The only castle spared was Sunspear, the seat of House Martell, in hopes that the Dornish would turn against their liege lords. The strategy failed and Dorne remained unconquered. Aegon and Visenya placed bounties on the heads of the Dornish lords who retaliated by doing the same. Aegon was nearly killed by assassins in the streets of King's Landing and was only saved by Visenya. This led to the creation of the Kingsguard, with its first members chosen by Visenya to protect her brother with their lives. When Princess Meria Martell died in 13 AC, her son, Prince Nymor, sued for peace, having grown weary of war. He sent his daughter, Princess Deria, to King's Landing to treat with Aegon. The peace demanded by Dorne was a peace between two sovereign kingdoms, not between a liege and his vassal. Although Aegon heard her out (against the advice of his advisors, such as Orys and Visenya), he apparently decided to refuse the request for peace. Before he could speak, Deria mounted the Iron Throne and placed a letter from her father in his hand. What was in the letter is unknown but Aegon's hand was so clenched around it that it started to bleed. He silently burnt the letter and left on Balerion for Dragonstone.

The next morning, he returned and signed the peace treaty proposed by the Prince of Dorne, recognizing its as a sovereign kingdom. Historians suspect that Nymor had revealed to Aegon that Rhaenys was still alive and badly injured from falling off Meraxes and that he would end her suffering if the Conqueror agreed to peace. It is the most commonly agreed upon theory.

Aegon fathered two sons with his sister-wives. His older son, Aenys, was born to Rhaenys in 7 AC, and in 12 AC, Visenya bore his younger son Maegor, later known as "Maegor the Cruel". Aenys succeeded Aegon upon his death, but was a weak ruler. Many saw Aegon's death as an opportunity to throw off Targaryen rule while it was still relatively new, culminating in several rebellions as many sought revenge for the death of love ones who were killed while others saw the Targaryens as abominations.

When the Faith of the Seven called for a general insurrection against the Targaryens, due to their religious prohibition against the Targaryens' incestuous marriage customs. Aenys died after ruling for only five years, and despite having a son of his own, he was succeeded by Aegon's younger son Maegor - who launched a brutal campaign against the Faith Militant uprising, while riding his father's dragon Balerion and wielding his sword Blackfyre. Maegor died without issue, however, so he was succeeded by Aenys' son, Jaehaerys.

Of all of Aegon's descendants, who became kings of Westeros, there was only one - Maegor the Cruel - whose marriage was also both incestuous and polygamous (one of his six wives, Rhaena, was his half-niece); many of Aegon's other descendants married their kin, but did not take more than one wife.

While originally depicted in the books as a normal circlet made of Valyrian steel and studded with square-cut rubies, Aegon I's crown, as depicted in House of the Dragon, appears to have been wrought in the likeness of Old Valyria's capital palace, possibly reflecting the fact that Aegon saw Westeros as a new Freehold. The band is lined with empty square sockets, that may once have been set with rubies.

Appearances[]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Histories & Lore: Season 1, Short 9: "The Field of Fire - House Targaryen" (2012).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Game of Thrones: Conquest & Rebellion: An Animated History of the Seven Kingdoms, Chapter 8: "Aegon, First of His Name" (2017).
  3. 3.0 3.1 Game of Thrones: Season 1, Episode 4: "Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things" (2011).
  4. Histories & Lore: Season 1, Short 15: "Robert's Rebellion - House Targaryen" (2012).
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Histories & Lore: Season 5, Short 2: "The Faith Militant" (2016).
  6. 6.0 6.1 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 7: "Driftmark" (2022).
  7. Histories & Lore: Season 8, Short 6: "Maegor the Cruel" (2019).
  8. Histories & Lore: Season 1, Short 21: "House Baratheon" (2012).
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 1: "The Heirs of the Dragon" (2022).
  10. 10.0 10.1 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 4: "King of the Narrow Sea" (2022).
  11. House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 5: "We Light the Way" (2022).
  12. House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 6: "The Princess and the Queen" (2022).
  13. House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 8: "The Lord of the Tides" (2022).
  14. House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 9: "The Green Council" (2022).
  15. House of the Dragon: Season 2, Episode 1: "A Son for a Son" (2024).
  16. Game of Thrones: Season 1, Episode 7: "You Win or You Die" (2011).
  17. Game of Thrones: Season 2, Episode 7: "A Man Without Honor" (2012).
  18. Game of Thrones: Season 3, Episode 6: "The Climb" (2013).
  19. Game of Thrones: Season 6, Episode 2: "Home" (2016).
  20. Game of Thrones: Season 6, Episode 10: "The Winds of Winter" (2016).
  21. Game of Thrones: Season 7, Episode 3: "The Queen's Justice" (2017).
  22. Game of Thrones: Season 7, Episode 7: "The Dragon and the Wolf" (2017).
  23. Game of Thrones: Season 8, Episode 3: "The Long Night" (2019).
  24. Game of Thrones: Season 8, Episode 6: "The Iron Throne" (2019).

Notes[]

  1. Conjecture based on information from The World of Ice & Fire; may be subject to change.
  2. High Valyrian: Āegon I Targārien

External links[]

Preceded by
None
King of the Andals and the First Men
1 AC - ?
Succeeded by


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