This article is about the Complete Guide to Westeros special feature. For the king, see: Aerys II Targaryen

"Mad King Aerys" is part of the Complete Guide to Westeros, a special feature from Game of Thrones: The Complete First Season. It is narrated by Mark Addy as King Robert Baratheon, Donald Sumpter as Maester Luwin, and Charles Dance as Lord Tywin Lannister.


Robert Baratheon

Robert Baratheon reflects on the actions of King Aerys II Targaryen and his son Rhaegar leading to his rebellion.


Luwin looks back on Prince Rhaegar's capture of Lyanna Stark and the horrific injustice inflicted on House Stark by the Mad King Aerys.

Tywin Lannister

Tywin Lannister reminisces on the collapse of his alliance with Aerys as the latter descended further and further into madness.

Robert Baratheon's perspective

Robert Baratheon: Aerys Targaryen was the last of his name to sit on the Iron Throne. Known far and wide as "the Mad King," his was a reign of instability and terror. The Seven Kingdoms are well-rid of him and his kind.

Oh, he may have appeared to be a capable ruler at first, but that was due in no small part to his councilors led by the Hand of the King, Tywin Lannister. There may have been years of peace and prosperity during Aerys's reign, but it was Tywin who was really running the country as Aerys spiraled further and further into insanity.

The dragonspawn were famous for losing their minds. It was the price they paid for centuries of keeping the bloodlines pure. And Aerys more than happily continued the noble sister-fucking tradition of his forefathers.

As the years passed, Aerys's behavior became increasingly erratic. He cut himself so often on his Iron Throne, many referred to him as "King Scab," though never to his face.

It was rumored he had developed an obsession with wildfire, and was known to inflict horrific punishments on those he considered enemies, including burning them alive.

As his paranoia and bloodlust grew, he had a bitter falling out with Lord Tywin, who had served the Crown faithfully for twenty years.

At least Tywin was able to leave the job with his life and fortunes intact. Subsequent Hands of King Aerys weren't so fortunate.

Then the Targaryens went too far. The Crown Prince, Rhaegar, abducted Lyanna Stark, daughter of Rickard Stark, the Lord of Winterfell.

She was my betrothed. She was my beloved — beautiful and spirited woman.

And I loved her more than life itself.

Rhaegar went south with Lyanna, hiding her away in Dorne. What harm he inflicted on the poor girl, the gods only know. Brandon Stark, Lyanna's eldest brother, was outraged.

He rode to King's Landing to confront the king and demand his sister's safe return. Instead, Aerys had him executed. His father, Rickard Stark, as well. There wasn't much left to discuss after that.

Aerys feared their loved ones would seek revenge for what he did. He was right to be afraid.

Aerys wasted no time in calling for the heads of Brandon's younger brother, my friend Eddard Stark, and my head, too, of course. I'm sorry he didn't come looking for it himself.

Alongside Jon Arryn of the Vale (the man who fostered Ned and I as children), Baratheons, Starks, and Tullys all called their banners. Once our rebellion began, the Mad King's days were numbered.



Noble Houses





Luwin's perspective

Maester Luwin: As word of King Aerys's erratic and troubling behavior spread throughout the Seven Kingdoms, Lord Rickard Stark continued to serve his king faithfully as Warden of the North. The proud father of four children, his daughter Lyanna was engaged to Robert Baratheon, the young lord of Storm's End.

Centuries of peace between the North and the Iron Throne ended the day Rhaegar Targaryen, Prince of Dragonstone, abducted Lyanna. Enraged, Brandon Stark rode to King's Landing demanding the release of his sister and the death of Rhaegar.

Aerys arrested him for treason and called his father to come to the capital to ransom him. When Lord Rickard complied, Aerys, now utterly mad, arrested him for treason as well. Lord Rickard demanded a trial by combat. Aerys declared fire the champion of House Targaryen and had Lord Rickard suspended from the rafters of the throne room while pyromancers lit a blaze beneath him.

As he burned, Brandon was brought into the throne room, a leather cord attached to a strangulation device was wrapped around his neck. Aerys told Brandon his father was a dead man, but there was a chance to save him. A longsword was placed on the floor just out of Brandon's reach.

And the more he struggled to reach it, the more the cord tightened around his throat. Brandon Stark strangled himself, trying to free his father, who was roasted alive in his own armor.

The entire court stood and watched this atrocity take place, Ser Jaime Lannister and the Kingsguard among them. The Mad King was reported to have laughed hysterically as these two noble men were tortured and brutally killed before him.

Seeking to rid the world of all his supposed enemies, Aerys called for the head of Rickard's youngest son, Eddard Stark, and Lyanna's betrothed, Robert Baratheon. He sent word to Lord Jon Arryn, who had fostered both young men at the Eyrie, to apprehend them.

Instead, Lord Arryn joined Houses Stark and Baratheon in rebellion. Robert vowed to kill Rhaegar Targaryen and get his beloved Lyanna back.



Noble Houses




Tywin Lannister's perspective

Tywin Lannister: As Aerys Targaryen's behavior grew more and more erratic, the task of ruling the Seven Kingdoms fell to me, Tywin Lannister.

I had served Aerys for nearly twenty years and as a result, the realm had prospered. The royal coffers were full, the land was at peace.

But Aerys grew increasingly hostile, jealous of the success many credited to me. My power and influence unnerved him.

The captain of my personal guard, Ser Ilyn Payne, was once overheard making offhand comments regarding who was the true ruler of Westeros. When the king was given this information, he had llyn Payne's tongue ripped out with hot pincers.

It was my desire to unite the Houses of Lannister and Targaryen through marriage. My daughter, Cersei, would marry Aerys's eldest son, Prince Rhaegar. Such a union made perfect sense for all parties. However, Aerys's senses had begun to leave him quite sometime earlier.

Instead of uniting the royal family with its most loyal and powerful ally, Aerys chose instead to insult my family, indicating that such a match was beneath Rhaegar. Instead, he chose Elia Martell of Dorne to be Rhaegar's wife.

As if to rub salt in my wounds, Aerys appointed Jaime, my son, to the Kingsguard.

The Kingsguard may be an honor for lesser families than ours, but it is a lifetime appointment that forces him to renounce all family holdings. This creates a difficulty in naming an heir to Casterly Rock. But Aerys knew all that.

I had grown tired of the king's constant provocation. Thus I resigned my post as Aerys's Hand and returned to Casterly Rock with my considerable forces.

When Robert Baratheon rebelled against the throne, Aerys grew fearful that I would join with Robert's forces and rise against him. He thought himself clever and kept Jaime very close as if warning me.

He sunk deeper and deeper into delusion, paranoia, and violence.

I've heard it said he became obsessed with wildfire, a substance which, once lit, cannot be extinguished. Convinced he had enemies all around him, he wouldn't allow blades in his presence, save for those of his Kingsguard.

Alas, that proved to be his undoing.




Noble Houses



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