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The Death of Kings

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"The Death of Kings" is part of the "Histories & Lore", a special feature in the Blu-ray of Season 4 of Game of Thrones. It is narrated by Conleth Hill as Varys, who narrates several instances of regicide during the history of the Seven Kingdoms.

Synopsis Edit

Varys tracks the lives and all too common deaths of the Kings of Westeros over the years, proving that the Iron Throne is truly an uncomfortable seat to hold.


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 realise 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 ancestor's 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 it's 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 the 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.



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