Varys: 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. But blood has never been in short supply here, ever since the First Men carried a crown into Westeros. This First King united his people against the Children of the Forest and is supposedly buried in the North, a victim of a war he started. The first ruler of this land and the first to die on his throne. But not nearly the last...
For thousands of years afterwards a thousand kings rose and fell, dying in their beds, in their battles, in their guards' and mistresses' arms. The Age of Heroes sounds pretty, until you realize what makes a hero: killing the enemies of his king; and to a king there is no greater enemy than other kings. The Starks and Boltons, the Gardeners and Storm Kings, the ironborn and... everyone else.
Even the mighty Targaryens were not immune from shortened reigns. Aegon's own son, Maegor the Cruel, was killed by the very Iron Throne his father had forged, if you believe the tales. If you don't, then perhaps "the Cruel" is not a wise name for a king to earn. Daeron, First of His Name, tried to finish his ancestors' work and bring Dorne into the fold. For his efforts, he lost sixty thousand men and his own life of eighteen years.
During the great Targaryen civil war known as "the Dance of the Dragons", a king and queen each vied for the throne, dividing their house and its dragons against each other. Eventually, the queen was fed to her rival's dragon while her son watched, and the victorious king soon died of his own wounds. By the war's end, King's Landing was smashed, cities razed and sacked never to be rebuilt, and dragons had faded from this world.
Decades later, Aegon the Unworthy legitimized all of his bastards on his deathbed. Inevitably, the greatest of these – Daemon Blackfyre – declared himself the rightful heir and ignited yet another war for the crown. After much bloodshed, Daemon was killed by an alliance of his half-brothers on the Redgrass Field. All the same, his descendants continued to threaten the Targaryens until half a century later, when Barristan the Bold slew Maelys the Monstrous on the Stepstones, extinguishing Daemon's line.
Given such an illustrious history, need we be so shocked by regicide? A war of five kings can end only one way: with the death of four. Yet even in times of peace, a wise ruler knows that when men bend the knee to a king, too often they rise holding daggers.
- King Aegon I Targaryen, the "Conqueror" (mentioned)
- King Loren Lannister (indirectly mentioned)
- King Mern IX Gardener (indirectly mentioned)
- King Harren Hoare (indirectly mentioned)
- The First King
- King Maegor Targaryen, the "Cruel"
- King Daeron I Targaryen, the "Young Dragon"
- Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen (indirectly mentioned)
- King Aegon II Targaryen (indirectly mentioned)
- King Aegon III Targaryen (indirectly mentioned)
- King Aegon IV Targaryen, the "Unworthy" (mentioned)
- King Daemon Blackfyre
- Brynden Rivers (not mentioned by name)
- King Daeron II Targaryen (indirectly mentioned)
- Ser Barristan Selmy, the "Bold"
- King Maelys Blackfyre, the "Monstrous"
- House Stark (mentioned)
- House Bolton (mentioned)
- House Gardener (mentioned)
- House Durrandon (indirectly mentioned)
- House Targaryen
- House Blackfyre
- Wars of the First Men and the Children of the Forest
- Conquest of Dorne (not mentioned by name)
- Dance of the Dragons
- Blackfyre Rebellion (not mentioned by name)
- War of the Ninepenny Kings (not mentioned by name)
- War of the Five Kings
- King in the North (crown)
- High King of the Iron Isles (Driftwood crown)
- King of the Mountain and the Vale (Falcon crown)
- King of the Reach (crown)
- Storm King (crown)
- King of the Andals and the First Men (Aegon I's crown)