|The title of this article is conjecture based on information revealed in the A Song of Ice and Fire novels or related material and may be subject to change.
- "When Aegon's heir wed his daughter to his son, the Faith could brook such abomination no longer. The High Septon led the denunciation of the Targaryens, and all over Westeros the Faith Militant took up its swords against the dynasty and its supporters."
- ―The High Sparrow
Prince Aegon was named after his grandfather, Aegon I Targaryen (known as "Aegon the Conqueror").
Ultimately Prince Aegon was wed to his own sister Rhaena by her father King Aenys, according to Valyrian custom. The leadership of the Faith of the Seven, who already had strained relations with the crown, condemned this incestuous union, and the Faith Militant revolted against the Targaryens.
His younger brother Jaehaerys, who married their other sister Alysanne, ultimately assumed the throne after the death of their half-uncle Maegor the Cruel as Aegon had perished sometime before. Had Aegon assumed the throne before his death, he would have ruled as "Aegon II". Given that he did not, ultimately Jaehaerys's great-grandson ascended the throne as "Aegon II" nearly a century later.
|Aegon I Targaryen|
|Jaehaerys I Targaryen|
In the books
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Prince Aegon was the eldest son and second-born child of King Aenys, after his sister Rhaena. He was named after his grandfather, Aegon the Conqueror. Author George R.R. Martin made it a point that names often repeat in real-life royal dynasties - his prior work in television had strictly forbid re-using names for fear that this might confuse the audience, but he found this unrealistic. Moreover, many royal names were re-used for princes who never actually ruled (i.e. "Edward the Black Prince" during the Hundred Years War pre-deceased his father and thus isn't in the official number count of kings named "Edward"). In his own words, Martin explained:
- Martin: "I wrote these books, never dreaming they would be filmed or made. It was almost a reaction to my tenure in Hollywood. 'I'm just going to do this as big as I want.' But I broke a lot of rules in writing these books, that you're taught as a writer, that I certainly was taught. But at certain point I thought, 'To hell with those rules'.
- Question: "What rules?"
- Martin: "Well, having so many characters, for one. Having similar names. Stuff like that. I remember as a little baby writer I was taught never have two characters whose names begin with the same letter because people will get them confused. And I realized I was going to have more than 26 characters, so that would have to go out the window. - And also I was reading a lot of history. [People said], 'Never have two characters with the same letter? Certainly never have two characters with the same name.' But then I'm saying, 'That's so unrealistic'. I mean, English history is entirely composed of Henrys and Edwards. There's endless Henrys and Edwards, and you know, not only kings, who at least get numbers, but the guys who never become king. They're princes, and then they die. They're not even distinguished by numbers and it's very hard to keep all these guys straight. But that's the way history actually was. Families using the same name over again. And I like that element of verisimilitude, [so] I adopted that."
King Aegon I, the Conqueror, had maintained a polygamous marriage with both of his sisters: Aenys's mother Rhaenys and Maegor's mother Visenya. Aegon himself always treated Aenys as his heir apparent because he was older than Maegor - though given young Aenys's frailty, there were some who muttered that Maegor should be his heir, given that he was his "firstborn" by Visenya - those who said this were chiefly Visenya herself, and her supporters, though Aegon I would hear none of it.
Thus, the birth of Aenys's own children pushed Maegor even further back in the line of succession, as by the normal laws of Westeros an uncle only inherits after his elder brother's entire bloodline is extinguished. For that matter, as the years passed Maegor failed to produce any heir, and there were fears that he was sterile - causing him to lose supporters, who didn't think it was worth upsetting Aegon I's intended succession for an heir who couldn't continue the family line anyway.
Aegon I was still wary of offending the Faith of the Seven, and promised them that his family's incestuous marriage practices were a relic of the past which they wouldn't continue in the future. To assure him of this, he had Aenys marry Alyssa Velaryon as a political match, who was mother to all of his children. Maegor's mother Visenya didn't give up on her ambitions in court politics, however, pushing for Maegor to one day succeed ahead of Aenys. Thus when Rhaena was born, Visenya urged Aegon I to betroth her to her Maegor, her own half-uncle. Aegon I, however, dismissed the suggestion - both because he didn't want to risk offending the Faith with such an incestuous marriage, and (it is believed) because he had become frustrated with Visenya's constant attempts to usurp Rhaenys's son Aenys with her own.
Prince Aegon was born in 26 AC, and his father announced his marriage to his older sister Rhaena in 41 AC - when he was 15 years old and his sister was 18 years old (when Prince Aegon was around the same age that Robb Stark was in the second novel). No one knows exactly why Aenys launched into such an obvious folly, given how strained his relations with the Faith already were: some suspect that as the Red Keep's construction grew, he began to think on the glorious Targaryen legacy he would leave behind, and thus he gave more focus to "keeping the bloodline pure".
Prince Aegon and Rhaena were making a royal progress through the realm when the Faith Militant uprising struck: they were in the Westerlands at the time, and were besieged in Crakehall castle. Within a few weeks, their father Aenys fled to Dragonstone and died in 42 AC (possibly poisoned by Visenya). Maegor then retook King's Landing using Balerion, and usurped the throne ahead of Prince Aegon (and Aenys's other four children). The Lannisters extended Aegon and Rhaena Guest right but would not rise against Maegor, leaving them stranded for some time. It was difficult for Maegor to pursue them due to having to devote much of his attention to campaigns against the Faith Militant in central Westeros.
In 43 AC, Prince Aegon himself rallied an army to rebel against his half-uncle Maegor, riding Aenys's own dragon Quicksilver. They clashed in the great Battle Beneath the God's Eye, but Maegor rode the awesome Balerion, killing both Quicksilver and Aegon.
In the intervening years Rhaena had given birth to twin daughters, Aerea and Rhalla, and she fled with them to Fair Isle off the west coast for some time. They were ultimately found, however, and taken captive back to Maegor's court at King's Landing, where she was forced to marry him as one of his "black brides". She later escaped on her dragon Dreamfyre and rallied to Aenys's last surviving son, Jaehaerys I Targaryen. Rhaena actually outlived Maegor, though no information has been given so far on her subsequent life, or that of Prince Aegon's twin daughters.
An unanswered question is how Prince Aegon came to be the rider of his father's dragon Quicksilver: he could only have bonded with it after Aenys died, but Maegor would never have willingly let him claim such a dangerous beast. Moreover, it is unknown why his sister-wife Rhaena was already bonded with a dragon (Dreamfyre), while Aegon - heir apparent to the throne - was not. Maegor himself had put off claiming one of the half-dozen or so hatchlings on Dragonstone during his father's reign, apparently waiting until Aegon the Conqueror died so he could claim the great Balerion for himself. It is possible that Prince Aegon hadn't bonded with a dragon hatchling yet because he was simply too young: Rhaena had Dreamfyre but she was three years older than him. The Targaryens later practiced putting dragon eggs in the cradles of their children to try to ensure the bonding process (with varying levels of success) but it is possible that this custom was only developed later - though Aenys himself was given the hatchling Quicksilver when he was only three years old.
- ↑ "The Faith Militant (Histories & Lore)"
- ↑ Anders, Charlie Jane. "George R.R. Martin: The Complete Unedited Interview." Observation Deck. 23 Jul 2013.