|Mentioned in||"Winter is Coming"
"Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things"
|Titles||King of the Andals and the First Men
Lord of the Seven Kingdoms
Protector of the Realm
|Also known as||The Mad King
Mad King Aerys
Aerys of House Targaryen, the Second of His Name
|Status||Deceased, slain by Ser Jaime Lannister|
|Family||Aegon V Targaryen - father (deceased)
Rhaella Targaryen - sister/wife (deceased)
Rhaegar Targaryen - son (deceased)
Viserys Targaryen - son (deceased)
Daenerys Targaryen - daughter
Aemon Targaryen - uncle
Elia Martell - daughter-in-law (deceased)
Drogo - son-in-law (deceased)
Rhaenys Targaryen - granddaughter (deceased)
Aegon Tagaryen - grandson (deceased)
Rhaego - grandson (deceased)
- Robert Baratheon: "What about Aerys Targaryen? What did the Mad King say when you stabbed him in the back? I never asked. Did he call you a traitor? Did he plead for a reprieve?"
- Jaime Lannister: "He said the same thing he'd been saying for hours... "Burn them all.""
- — The Mad King's last words.[src]
Aerys II Targaryen, popularly called the Mad King, is an unseen character in Game of Thrones. He is deceased when the events of the series begin. Liam Burke was cast to play him in flashback in Season 1, but the scene was cut for time and pacing. Aerys Targaryen was the last member of House Targaryen to rule from the Iron Throne. He was famously insane and was deposed by Robert Baratheon in a civil war. He was formally styled as Aerys of House Targaryen, the Second of His Name, King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm.
BackgroundAerys Targaryen, the Second of His Name, was King of the Seven Kingdoms and the last member of House Targaryen to sit the Iron Throne. Nicknamed the Mad King, his reign became increasingly erratic and murderous. A final round of blood-letting, unleashed when his son Prince Rhaegar kidnapped Lyanna Stark of Winterfell, saw many houses in the realm rebel against his rule. Brandon Stark protested the abduction of his sister and demanded justice. Aerys had him arrested for treason and then offered to ransom him to his father Rickard Stark. Aerys summoned Rickard to court and when he arrived publicly executed both father and son.
The noble houses of Stark, Tully, Arryn, and Baratheon raised the flags of rebellion and destroyed the royalist armies in several major engagements, culminating in the Battle of the Trident where Prince Rhaegar fell. King Aerys was betrayed by his former friend and King's Hand, Lord Tywin Lannister who led an army to apparently defend the capital at King's Landing but then brutally sacked the city instead. Aerys was killed by a member of his own Kingsguard, Ser Jaime Lannister, who stabbed his king in the back, to prevent him from destroying the city with the hidden caches of wildfire he already had ordered Wisdom Rossart, now his Hand of the King, hide in several spots of the city. Aerys seemingly believed the massive inferno would transmute him into a dragon and then he would emerge to obliterate his enemies.
When Lyanna Stark was kidnapped by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, her brother Brandon rode to King's Landing to demand his sister's return. Aerys imprisoned Brandon and ordered that his father Rickard Stark ride south to answer for his son's impertinence. Against advice, Rickard agreed, assuming that the matter would be settled through a trial or a bargain of some kind. Instead, Aerys had Lord Rickard burned alive whilst Brandon watched, and then had Brandon strangled.
The new Lord of Winterfell, Eddard Stark, declared war against Aerys, supported by Lyanna's betrothed, Robert Baratheon, and the powerful lords Hoster Tully and Jon Arryn. This sparked the beginning of the war known as Robert's Rebellion, which led to the near-destruction of House Targaryen and its removal from the Iron Throne. Rhaegar was killed by Robert at the Battle of the Trident.
Sandor Clegane tells Sansa Stark that Ser Ilyn hasn't had much to say since Aerys had Ser Ilyn Payne's tongue torn out. Jaime Lannister is confronted by both Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon about killing Aerys. Jaime killed Aerys at the end of Robert's Rebellion, when Lannister forces under his father Tywin Lannister took the city. His final words were "Burn them all." His death occurred during the Sack of King's Landing. Eddard mentions that Grand Maester Pycelle served King Aerys.
Grand Maester Pycelle recalls that King Aerys was a good man, at least at first. He then laments that he saw Aerys melt away before his eyes, as madness increasingly gripped his mind over the years and a once charming man was consumed by dreams of fire and blood.
Wisdom Hallyne of the Alchemists' Guild mentions Aerys as a fervent supporter of the guild. Aerys became obsessed with Wildfire in his later years. He warns Bronn that he would not have dared to insult the guild while Aerys was alive.
|Aegon V Targaryen|
"Aegon the Unlikely"
"Duncan the Small"
"The Mad King"
|Elia Martell |
Behind the scenes
According to the TV series official pronunciation guide developed for the cast and crew, "Aerys Targaryen" is pronounced "AIR-eez Tar-GAIR-ee-in".
George R. R. Martin revealed that an actor had been cast as King Aerys II during Season 1 for filming a flashback scene of Rickard Stark and Brandon Stark's executions which had ultimately never been aired publicly.
In the books
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Aerys II's reign began with great promise. Taking the throne at only the age of 20, Aerys installed a number of younger, vigorous and capable men in positions of power, whilst his own son Rhaegar showed promise of being a great king in his turn. However, Aerys, who occasionally showed signs of a terrible temper, became erratic following the brief uprising known as the Defiance of Duskendale, when he was held prisoner for several months by a rebellious lord before finally being rescued by Barristan Selmy. Aerys's fury on that occasion was terrible: all of those involved in the incident were killed, several by being burned alive. After that, his rage could no longer be held in check. After he burned several prominent lords alive and sanctioned his son's kidnap of Lyanna Stark, several noble houses rebelled against him. Ser Ilyn was captain of the guards for Tywin Lannister and made a joke that Tywin as Hand was the real ruler of Westeros: Aerys had his tongue cut out for the insult. Tywin could neither protest nor stop the punishment, but Robert made Ser Ilyn his new King's Justice on the occasion of his marriage to Cersei as a show of good will to Tywin. Aerys, impressed by the young Tywin Lannister's ruthlessness and effectiveness, made Tywin Hand of the King, but their relationship deteriorated in later years, as Aerys grew paranoid about Tywin's ambition. The problem was exacerbated by Aerys' well known lust for Tywin's wife. His marriage with his own sister-wife, Queen Rhaella, which had never been happy (they were forced to marry against their will) became violent and abusive towards the end.
Over the years Aerys became increasingly gripped by madness, experiencing vivid hallucinations and delusional paranoia. Aerys became obsessed with fire, frequently burning his perceived enemies alive. Eventually, he was having women and babies roasted on spits in the throne room because the voices in his head told him they were plotting his ruin. Aerys would often become sexually aroused after burning someone to death, at which he would savagely rape his wife Queen Rhaella (his daughter Daenerys was the product of one such attack, quite possibly the same day he killed Rickard and Brandon Stark). Attempts to restrain Aerys' delusional behavior only fueled his paranoia that all were against him.
Aerys' growing madness took a drastic toll on his physical appearance. Fearful of allowing blades in his presence (save those of his sworn Kingsguard), Aerys ceased to have his hair or nails cut for years. By the time of the rebellion, his fingernails had grown nearly a foot long, and his long, filthy, tangled hair and beard hung below his shoulders. Increasingly paranoid that someone would attempt to poison him, he ate so rarely that he became extremely gaunt. Combined with the stress from his madness, by the time of the rebellion, when Aerys was only forty years old, he looked as old and haggard as a man twice his age. Due to his insane meanderings, he accidentally cut his hands and thighs so many times on the Iron Throne that they were practically covered in scabs, leading some to refer to him as "King Scab" behind his back.
Aerys manner of death is slightly different from book to series. In the TV series, it is mentioned several times that Jaime stabbed him in the back, whereas in the book he slit Aerys' throat at the foot of the Iron Throne.
In a minor change from the books, Aerys II is said to be the son of King Aegon V Targaryen, rather than his grandson. His father, Jaehaerys II, appears to have been eliminated from the roll of kings. The reason for this appears to be to simplify the relationship between Maester Aemon - Aegon V's older brother - and the other Targaryens (by making Aemon Daenerys' grand-uncle, rather than great-grand-uncle).
- ↑ Liam Burke CV at Frontline Actors Agency
- ↑ HBO viewers guide, season 2 guide to houses, House Targaryen - Aerys II Targaryen entry
- ↑ "Kissed by Fire"
- ↑ "Lord Snow"
- ↑ "Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things"
- ↑ "Winter is Coming"
- ↑ "The Kingsroad"
- ↑ "The Kingsroad"
- ↑ "Baelor"
- ↑ "Baelor"
- ↑ "The Ghost of Harrenhal"
- ↑ "Kissed by Fire"
- ↑ Ryan, Maureen (April 9, 2012). 'Game of Thrones' Season 3 Characters And Scoop From Creator George R.R. Martin Huffington Post.
- ↑ Liam Burke CV at Frontline Actors Agency
Kings of the Seven Kingdoms
Aegon I, the Conqueror · Aenys I · Maegor I, the Cruel · Jaehaerys I, the Conciliator · Viserys I · Aegon II · Aegon III, the Dragonbane · Daeron I, the Young Dragon · Baelor I, the Blessed · Viserys II · Aegon IV, the Unworthy · Daeron II, the Good · Aerys I · Maekar I · Aegon V, the Unlikely · Aerys II, the Mad