Before Jon Snow, a look at all the Aegon Targaryens to have graced the Game of Thrones universe

Rohini Nair

Mar 12, 2019 18:57:34 IST

While fans of the A Song of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF) series had long promulgated the R+L=J theory, it was still sweet confirmation when Game of Thrones’ season 7 finale articulated what until then had remained in the realm of conjecture.

Jon Snow was indeed the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, not her brother Ned’s bastard. And not only was he the blood of the dragon, we learned — thanks to Gilly, Sam and Bran — that Jon was actually named Aegon Targaryen at birth. As the legitimate-born son of the Crown Prince of Westeros, Jon/Aegon was the heir to the Iron Throne.

Would Jon/Aegon VI have ruled Westeros if his father hadn’t been killed by Robert Baratheon at the Battle of the Trident? Will he rule now?

Even as his fate remains exceedingly uncertain in this final and eighth season of Game of Thrones, if Jon were to survive and ascend the Iron Throne, he wouldn’t just be the “Prince Who Was Promised”. He would be Aegon Targaryen, the Sixth of his Name, King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, Protector of the Realm. A far sight more impressive than Ser Davos' stilted introduction when presenting Jon to Daenerys Targaryen on Dragonstone.Before Jon Snow, a look at all the Aegon Targaryens to have graced the Game of Thrones universe

In naming him Aegon, Rhaegar and Lyanna were probably hoping that their son would follow in the footsteps of the most illustrious Targaryen of all — Aegon the Conqueror. But the Targaryen family tree is full of other Aegons, including Jon’s own half-brother (Prince Rhagear’s son with his first wife Elia Martell). Let’s take a look at the Aegons who sat on the Iron Throne, and the ones that time forgot.

Aegon the Conqueror

Back in their ancient volcanic holdfast of Valyria, the Targaryens hadn’t been among the most important dragonlord families. However, by dint of moving to Dragonstone 12 years before the Doom of Valyria (thereby surviving the disaster that ended all the dragonlords), the Targaryens gained in power and prominence. Still, it wasn’t until Aegon decided to annex Westeros that the Targaryen might extended beyond their seat of Dragonstone.

With his sisters (and wives) Visenya and Rhaenys, and his half-brother Orys Baratheon (who served as his Hand), Aegon launched a campaign for Westeros that brought nearly all its kingdoms under his control — except Dorne.

Aegon I was known to be a good ruler, making his capital at King’s Landing and beginning the building of the Red Keep. Not particularly religious himself, he nonetheless allowed the Faith of the Seven to be propagated throughout Westeros, in the interests of uniting the land.

He had two sons — Aenys (with Rhaenys), and Maegor (with Visenya). Never quite the same after the death of Rhaenys during an attack of Dorne, Aegon retired to Dragonstone during the final years of his life, dying of a stroke at the age of 64.

Aegon Targaryen (son of Aenys I)

Aenys Targaryen married Alyssa Velaryon (the Velaryons were one of the three Valyrian families to survive the Doom) and had five children: Rhaena, Aegon, Viserys, Jaehaerys and Alysanne.

Aenys blessed the wedding of his oldest son and daughter, but Aegon and Rhaena’s marriage triggered a violent backlash from the Faith of the Seven, who considered incest an abomination. (Aegon the Conqueror’s case had been different; he was already married when he came to Westeros.) As the realm devolved into chaos, Aenys died and his half-brother Maegor wrested control of the Iron Throne. Rhaena and Aegon, the Prince of Dragonstone, attempted to fight their uncle; in the Battle Beneath The God’s Eye, Aegon was killed, falling through the air after Maegor’s dragon Balerion attacked (and killed) the Prince’s much younger mount Quicksilver. Aegon’s younger brother Jaehaerys would finally win the throne after Maegor’s cruel reign.

Aegon Targaryen (son of Jaehaerys I)

Jaehaerys and Alyssane Targaryen’s firstborn was named Aegon (both after the Conqueror, and their murdered older brother). However, the child would die within three days, never getting to know his siblings who followed — Daenerys, Aemon, Baelon [see below], Alyssa, Maegelle, Vaegon, Daella, Saera, Viserra, Gaemon, Valerion, Gael.

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We’re going to skip some Targaryen family history to get to the next two Aegons — half-uncle and nephew to each other. To do so we need to look at the offspring of Baelon and Alyssa Targaryen — Viserys (who ascended the Iron Throne) and Daemon.

Viserys had a daughter — the Princess Rhaenyra — from his first marriage to Lady Emma Arryn. After the death of Emma Arryn, Viserys remarried, with Alicent Hightower becoming his second bride. Viserys and Alicent named their firstborn son Aegon, followed by three more children — Aemond, Daeron, Helaena.

Meanwhile, Princess Rhaenyra had five sons; three from her first marriage (called Jacaerys, Lucerys and Joffrey Velaryon), and two from her second marriage to her uncle Daemon (Aegon and Viserys).

Rhaenyra’s son was known as Aegon the Younger, her half-brother (Queen Alicent’s son) was called Aegon the Elder. With their respective rules marking the start and end of the violent inter-family wars that are known as the “Dance of the Dragons”, Aegon the Elder would become Aegon II and the Younger would in time, be titled Aegon III.

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Aegon the II

Aegon II would rule for barely two years, and those two years would bring grief not just his family, but also that of his half-sister Princess Rhaenyra. By the end of the dance of the dragons, Aegon II would lose his wife-sister Helaena, his brothers Aemond and Daeron, and his sons Jaehaerys and Maelor. His daughter Jaehaera was the only one to survive, and was later (briefly) married to Aegon III, before she too came to an untimely end. A physically broken man, in constant pain due to being burned and wounded in battle, Aegon II has his vengeance on his half-sister (and rival for the Iron Throne) — Rhaenyra — by having his dragon devour her in front of her (seemingly) last surviving son, Aegon the Younger. Aegon II was found poisoned to death in King’s Landing, after a short ride in his palanquin, setting the stage for Aegon the Younger to be crowned.

The last Targaryens — Aegon (aka Jon Snow) and Daenerys. Still from Game of Thrones Season 8. HBO

The last Targaryens — Aegon (aka Jon Snow) and Daenerys. Still from Game of Thrones Season 8. HBO

Aegon III

By the time of his coronation, Aegon III (also known as Aegon the Unlucky) was a deeply melancholy boy. He rarely laughed or made merry, although his disposition changed for the better on the return of his younger brother Viserys (long believed dead after being captured during a sea voyage). After little Jaehaera’s death, Aegon III was married to Lady Daenera Velaryon.

Aegon III had a tumultuous regency (the time before he attained majority and could rule himself) but tried to be a good king when he did come of age. However, his reign also marked the end of the dragons: too many of the beasts had been killed during the “dance” and only four were believed to have survived. Two dragon eggs that hatched during Aegon III’s reign proved to be sickly, stunted beings, who died soon after.

It is believed that Aegon III — who had had a dragon of his own as a child — grew to hate and fear them after seeing his mother killed by Aegon II’s beast.

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We’re skipping some more years of Targaryen rule under Aegon III’s sons Daeron I and Baelor I. After Baelor the Blessed’s death, Aegon III’s brother Viserys II was named king. And Viserys’ eldest son, Aegon IV ruled after him.

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Aegon IV

Also known as Aegon the Unworthy, Henry VIII is believed to be the model for GRRM’s etching of this Targaryen. Their stories certainly have much in common: starting as a dashing young prince, Aegon IV grows into a corpulent king; gluttony and greed are his abiding sins.

He was married to his sister Naerys and had two legitimate children — Daeron (his heir) and Daenerys — who survived to adulthood. However, he also had a plethora of mistresses with whom he had several children — all of whom he legitimised on his deathbed — sowing the seeds for the wars that would be known as the Blackfyre Rebellions.

Until the Mad King Aerys, Aegon IV was widely thought the worst of the Targaryen kings.

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Aegon Blackfyre

Aegon IV is believed to have had an affair with his cousin Daena, the sister-wife of Baelor the Blessed. Their son is known as Daemon Waters (later Blackfyre, after the name of Aegon the Conqueror’s Valyrian steel sword), and many of Westeros’ lords prefer him to be king (especially since Aegon IV legitimised him) over Daeron II. Daemon Blackfyre in turn has three sons — the twins Aegon and Aemon, and Daemon II. Daemon, Aegon and Aemon all die together in the first Blackfyre Rebellion, in the Battle of Redgrass Field. Daemon and his sons are killed by his own half-brother (and another of Aegon IV’s bastard-born sons) Brynden Rivers aka Bloodraven.

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Aegon V

Skipping over the reigns of Daeron II and those of his sons Aerys I and Maekar, we move on to Maekar’s fourth son Aegon.

Aegon V was also known as Aegon the Unlikely — mainly because he inherited the throne after his two older brothers Daeron and Aerion died (the first of pox, the second of drinking wildfire in the quest to become a ‘dragon’) and his third brother Aemon refused to break his vows as a maester and take up the kingship.

As a child, Aegon was known as Egg and travelled the lands disguised as the squire of a hedge knight called Ser Duncan the Tall, having many an adventure along the way. Ser Duncan would become Lord Commander of the Kingsguard when Aegon became King; he would escort Aemon to the Wall when he became maester to the Night’s Watch. He would also perish alongside Aegon V in a fire at the Targaryen palace of Summerhall — in an attempt to hatch seven dragon eggs through the use of wildfire.

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Aegon Targaryen (son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Elia Martell)

Aegon V was succeeded by his son Jaehaerys II, whose heir was Aerys II — aka the Mad King. Aerys’ son (with his sister-wife Rhaella) was named Rhaegar, the Prince of Dragonstone. From his first marriage — to the Lady Elia Martell of Dorne — Rhaegar had two children: Rhaenys and Aegon. Little is known of this Aegon, except that he was murdered by Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane, even as his mother and sister were also slain.

However, mentions of him do crop up in the ASOIAF books: in one instance, Daenerys muses about the nephew — Aegon VI — she might have married, had he lived. She has a vision about him as well. The books also feature a young boy — apparently Aegon himself — who has been kept in hiding by Lord Varys after he was rescued from the slaughter at King’s Landing. In A Dance With Dragons, Varys and this Aegon’s protectors bring the boy back to Westeros and will probably attempt to install him on the Iron Throne. ASOIAF fans tend to refer to him as "fake Aegon".

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Aegon Targaryen (son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark)

Also known as Jon Snow.

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The information cited in this post has been sourced from George RR Martin's Fire and Blood — A History of the Targaryen Kings from Aegon the Conqueror to Aegon III ; The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones; and A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms (or Tales of Dunk and Egg). Some references from A Wiki Of Ice And Fire.

Updated Date: Mar 17, 2019 11:04:04 IST