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Mad King Aerys (Complete Guide to Westeros)

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"Mad King Aerys" is a set of three featurettes in "History & Lore" section of the Complete Guide to Westeros, one of the special features present in the Blu-ray of Season 1 of Game of Thrones. They are narrated, respectively, by Mark Addy as King Robert Baratheon, Donald Sumpter as Maester Luwin, and Charles Dance as Lord Tywin Lannister.

SynopsisEdit

Robert BaratheonEdit

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

LuwinEdit

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 LannisterEdit

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

Robert Baratheon's perspectiveEdit

King Robert Baratheon opens his narration explaining that King Aerys 2nd "King Scab or Mad King Aerys" Targaryen was the last of his name to sit on the Iron Throne. Known far and wide as "the Mad King", Robert considers that his was a reign of instability and terror and that the Seven Kingdoms are well rid of him and House Targaryen. He adds that Aerys 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, Lord Tywin Lannister. While there may have been years of peace and prosperity during Aerys' reign, but it was Tywin who was really running the realm, as Aerys spiraled further and further into insanity.

Robert reminds how the "dragon spawn" were famous for losing their minds; it was the price they paid for centuries of keeping the bloodlines pure. He then sarcastically adds that Aerys was more than happy of keeping the "noble incestrous marriage tradition of his forefathers. As the years passed, Aerys' behavior became increasingly erratic. He cut himself so often on his Iron Throne, that many referred to him as "King Scab", though never to his face. It was also 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 King Aerys 2nd "King Scab or Mad King Aerys" Targaryen's paranoia and bloodlust grew, he had a bitter falling-out with Lord Tywin Lannister, who had served the Crown faithfully for twenty years. Robert Baratheon jokes that at least Tywin Lannister was able to leave the job with his life and fortunes intact because subsequent Hands of the King to King Aerys 2nd "King Scab or Mad King Aerys" Targaryen weren't so fortunate.

Then the Targaryens went too far, in King Robert Baratheon's opinion. The Crown Prince of Dragonstone Prince Rhaegar Targaryen did abduction of Lyanna Stark, daughter of the Lord of Winterfell (capital of House Stark) Lord Rickard Stark. Lyanna Stark was the betrothed and beloved, a beautiful and spirited woman whom Robert Baratheon loved more than life itself. Rhaegar Targaryen went south with Lyanna Stark, hiding her away in Dorne's border fortress The Tower of Joy. Robert Baratheon muses that only the gods know what harm Rhaegar Targaryen inflicted on the poor girl.

Brandon "Bran" Stark, Lyanna Stark's eldest brother was on his way to marry Catelyn Tully now called Catelyn Stark when he heard his sister's abduction so he was outraged. He rode to King's Landing capital of Westeros in The Crownlands to confront King Aerys 2nd "King Scab or Mad King Aerys" Targaryen and demand his sister's safe return. Instead, Aerys had done the execution of Lord Rickard Stark & Brandon Bran Stark. There wasn't much to discuss after that, as King Aerys 2nd "King Scab or Mad King Aerys" Targaryen feared their loved ones would seek revenge for what he did. Robert Baratheon concludes he was right to be afraid. King Aerys 2nd "King Scab or Mad King Aerys" Targaryen wasted no time in calling for the heads of Brandon Bran Stark's younger brother, Robert's friend Eddard "Ned" Stark, and for the head of Robert Baratheon, too. Robert Baratheon jokes that he's "sorry" King Aerys 2nd "Mad King Aerys" Targaryen didn't come looking for it himself.

Alongside Lord Jonny Jon Arryn of the Eyrie capital in The Vale, who had fostered Eddard Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon as children, Houses Tully led by Lord Hoster Tully arranged 2 marriages Lysa Tully now Lysa Arryn married Jonny Jon Arryn & Eddard "Ned" Stark married Catelyn Tully now Catelyn Stark, Stark led by Lord Eddard "Ned" Stark and Baratheon led by King Robert Baratheon son of deceased father Lord Stefan Baratheon all called their banners. Once The War of the Usurper or Robert's Rebellion began, King Aerys 2nd "Mad King Aerys" Targaryen's days were numbered.

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Luwin's perspectiveEdit

Luwin opens reminding that as word of King Aerys' 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, however, 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", as Luwin calls them, 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 younger son, Eddard Stark, as well as that of 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.

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Tywin Lannister's perspectiveEdit

Tywin begins his account informing that as Aerys Targaryen's behavior grew more and more erratic, the task of ruling the Seven Kingdoms fell to him. He had served Aerys for nearly twenty years and a result the realm had prospered. The royal coffers were full, the land was at peace.

Aerys' however, grew increasingly hostile, jealous of the success many credited to him. Tywin considers his power and influence unnerved the King. The captain of Tywin's 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 Ilyn Payne's tongue ripped out with hot pincers.

It was Tywin's desire to unite the Houses of Lannister and Targaryen through marriage. His daughter, Cersei, would marry Aerys' eldest son, Prince Rhaegar. In Tywin's eyes, such a union made perfect sense for all parties. However, Aerys' senses had begun to leave him quite some time earlier. Thus, instead of uniting the royal family with its most loyal and powerful ally, Aerys' chose to insult the Lannisters, indicating that such a match was beneath Rhaegar, and married Rhaegar to Elia Martell of Dorne.

Then, as if to rub salt in Tywin's wounds, Aerys appointed Jaime, Tywin's son, to the Kingsguard. Tywin considers the Kingsguard may be an honor to lesser families, but it is a lifetime appointment that forces one to renounce all family holdings. This also creates a difficulty in naming an heir to Casterly Rock. But Aerys knew all that. Tywin had grown tired of the King's constant provocation. Thus he resigned his post as Aerys' Hand and returned to Casterly Rock with his considerable forces.

When Robert Baratheon rebelled against the Throne, Aerys grew fearful that Tywin would join with Robert's forces and rise against him. He thought himself clever, and kept Jaime very close, as if warning Tywin. He sunk deeper and deeper into delusion, paranoia, and violence. Tywin 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. Tywin finishes that, alas, that proved to be his undoing.

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