Aemon Targaryen (son of Maekar I)

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House Targaryen.svg
Aemon Targaryen
Night's Watch.svg
Maester Aemon.jpg

Alias Aemon Targaryen
Maester Aemon
Uncle Maester
Title Maester
Allegiance Night's Watch
Race Valyrian
Culture crownlands
Born In 198 AC[1][2], at King's Landing
Died In 300 AC, at the Cinnamon Wind, off the coast of Dorne, at the Summer Sea
Book(s) The Hedge Knight (mentioned)
The Sworn Sword (mentioned)
The Mystery Knight (mentioned)
A Game of Thrones (appears)
A Clash of Kings (mentioned)
A Storm of Swords (appears)
A Feast for Crows (appears)
A Dance with Dragons (appears)

Played by Peter Vaughan
TV series Season 1 | Season 3 | Season 4 | Season 5
"Aemon" redirects here. For other uses, see Aemon (disambiguation). For other characters named "Aemon Targaryen", see Aemon Targaryen.

Aemon, born Aemon Targaryen, is the third son of King Maekar I Targaryen and his wife Dyanna Dayne. He has served as a maester to the Night's Watch at Castle Black for so long that the rest of the Seven Kingdoms has forgotten about his Targaryen blood. In the television series Game of Thrones he is portrayed by Peter Vaughan.

Appearance and Character

See also: Images of Aemon Targaryen

An ancient man of a hundred years old at the beginning of A Song of Ice and Fire, Aemon is bald, wrinkled, shrunken, and blind.[3] He speaks softly but his counsel is so valued and respected that many fall silent to hear it. Despite his age his mind is still sharp as is his hearing. Aemon is a wise, humble and capable man.


Aemon Targaryen was the third son of King Maekar I Targaryen and his wife, Lady Dyanna Dayne.[4] He was named after his great-great-uncle, Prince Aemon the Dragonknight, by his grandfather, Daeron II Targaryen.[5] At this time, King Daeron II had four grown sons, three with sons of their own, and so felt that having too many potential Targaryen heirs was dangerous and sent Aemon to the Citadel[6] around the age of nine or ten.[7] At one point after his younger brother, Aegon V, became the squire of the hedge knight Duncan the Tall the pair visited Aemon in Oldtown. Aemon measured Duncan's height.

Aemon forged his chain, and earned the title of Maester Aemon, finishing his studies at the age of 19.[1] He served an unidentified lord until his father, now King Maekar I, summoned him to court to serve the Iron Throne. Not wanting to sit on the small council as he felt that would displace the Grand Maester, Aemon chose instead to serve at Dragonstone, the seat of his eldest brother, Prince Daeron, until Daeron died of the pox.[1] After Daeron's death, Maester Aemon became a maester at the Citadel. He was summoned to court for the Great Council of 233 AC, where some wanted to offer him the crown. Aemon quietly refused, however, ceding rule to his younger brother, Aegon V.[8] Rhaelle, Aegon's young daughter, referred to Aemon as "Uncle Maester".[9]

Maester Aemon in Castle Black - by Amok ©

Aemon then chose to go to the Wall to take the vows of the Night's Watch for fear that he may be used in a plot to usurp his brother. On his journey King Aegon provided him with an "honor guard" (emptying the dungeons) to take the vows of the Night's Watch with him. Among them was Brynden Rivers, who later went on to become Lord Commander of the Watch. Ser Duncan accompanied them aboard the Golden Dragon on the way to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea.[10]

Rhaegar Targaryen sometimes corresponded with his ancient great-great uncle via raven messages. Aemon claims that every man who has ever joined the Watch has been tested on keeping his vows at least once. Aemon stated that he was tested three times, and that the hardest time for him was hearing about the destruction of House Targaryen during the War of the Usurper.[5]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Maester Aemon and Jon Snow on the Wall - by Marc Simonetti ©

Maester Aemon is present at the feast at Castle Black when Jeor Mormont, Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, welcomes Tyrion Lannister to the Wall. Aemon recognizes the intelligence of Tyrion and describes him as "a giant come among us," rendering Tyrion, a dwarf, uncharacteristically speechless.[3]

Aemon aids Jon Snow in helping his friend Samwell Tarly become a steward of the Night's Watch, fearing for the boy's safety if he remains a recruit under the brutal training of Ser Alliser Thorne.[11][12] Aemon counsels Jon Snow when he learns Jon's family is in danger, for he knew Jon was having thoughts of deserting to come to House Stark's aid, just as Aemon had considered helping House Targaryen during Robert's Rebellion.[5]

A Clash of Kings

Aemon, being too old to accompany the great ranging, remains at Castle Black. The duty of writing and sending messages falls to Sam Tarly. Jeor reveals much of Aemon's history to Jon, including the fact that Aemon could have been king, but refused the crown. Jeor has a very high opinion of Aemon and his abilities, an opinion Jon shares.[7]

A Storm of Swords

When Jon returns to Castle Black, badly wounded by an arrow, Maester Aemon treats his injury; despite being blind, his hands are steady and he treats the wound successfully.[13] Donal Noye and Aemon hear and believe Jon's report of Thenns about to attack. When Donal is killed defending the gates from giants, Aemon tells Jon he must lead the men while Aemon provides guidance to him and the other men of the Wall. Aemon also comes to Jon's defense when Janos Slynt and Ser Alliser Thorne want Jon executed for allegedly breaking his oaths and becoming a wildling.[14] During Stannis Baratheon's occupation of the Wall, Aemon is dubious of Melisandre's claim that Stannis is Azor Ahai reborn.[15]

A Feast for Crows

Maester Aemon and Samwell Tarly on the Blackbird - by zippo514 ©

Jon, the new Lord Commander, sends Aemon to Oldtown with Samwell Tarly and the wildling girl Gilly, carrying Mance Rayder's infant "wildling prince", to remove all "royal blood" from Melisandre's grasp. Jon fears that Melisandre might kill Aemon for his "king's blood" to use in a spell. However, the sea voyage on the Blackbird is hard for the old man and Sam struggles to tell him what to do, leaving him out on the deck, in the rain for too long whilst he is lost in his reminiscences. He is bedridden and near death when arriving at Braavos.

Aemon, upon hearing of Daenerys Targaryen and her dragons, is convinced she is the prince that was promised, the High Valyrian word for "dragon" being gender neutral.[9] He curses his age, gutted that he is too old and feeble to seek her out to help with counsel and dragon lore—a fourth testing of his dual vows.[9]

During the voyage from Braavos to Oldtown Aemon dies of a chill at the age of one hundred and two.[9] His body is stored in a cask of rum aboard the Cinnamon Wind.[9] Gilly decides to name the child of Mance and Dalla "Aemon Battleborn" or "Aemon Steelsong" in honor of the maester.[9]

Once at Oldtown, Sam informs Archmaester Marwyn of Aemon's passing and of Aemon's intention to help Daenerys. Marwyn immediately leaves the Ravenry to travel to Daenerys in Slaver's Bay.[16]

A Dance with Dragons

Jon reads about Azor Ahai and Lightbringer in the Jade Compendium,[17] which Aemon left for Jon at Castle Black.[18] Jon thinks of Aemon's advice, to "kill the boy and let the man be born".[18][19] Jon has Alys Karstark rest in Aemon's chambers when the girl reaches Castle Black.[20]

Quotes by Aemon

I have been called many things, my lord, but kind is seldom one of them.[3]
– Aemon, to Tyrion Lannister

Aemon: Jon, did you ever wonder why the men of the Night's Watch take no wives and father no children?

Jon: No.
Aemon: So they will not love, for love is the bane of honor, the death of duty.[5]

– Aemon and Jon Snow

What is honor compared to a woman's love? What is duty against the feel of a newborn son in your arms ... or the memory of a brother's smile? Wind and words. Wind and words. We are only human, and the gods have fashioned us for love. That is our great glory, and our great tragedy.[5]
– Aemon, to Jon Snow

I see their shadows on the snow, hear the crack of leathern wings, feel their hot breath.[21]
– Aemon, to Samwell Tarly

Allow me to give my lord one last piece of counsel, the same counsel that I once gave my brother when we parted for the last time. He was three-and-thirty when the Great Council chose him to mount the Iron Throne. A man grown with sons of his own, yet in some ways still a boy. Egg had an innocence to him, a sweetness we all loved. Kill the boy within you, I told him the day I took ship for the Wall. It takes a man to rule. An Aegon, not an Egg. Kill the boy and let the man be born. You are half the age that Egg was, and your own burden is a crueler one, I fear. You will have little joy of your command, but I think you have the strength in you to do the things that must be done. Kill the boy, Jon Snow. Winter is almost upon us. Kill the boy and let the man be born.[18]
- Aemon, to Jon Snow

Knowledge is a weapon, Jon. Arm yourself well before you ride forth to battle.[18]
– Aemon, to Jon Snow

Quotes about Aemon

He was a good man... No. He was a great man. A maester of the Citadel, chained and sworn, and Sworn Brother of the Night's Watch, ever faithful. When he was born they named him for a hero who had died too young, but though he lived a long long time, his own life was no less heroic. No man was wiser, or gentler, or kinder. At the Wall, a dozen lords commander came and went during his years of service, but he was always there to counsel them. He counseled kings as well. He could have been a king himself, but when they offered him the crown he told them they should give it to his younger brother. How many men would do that? He was the blood of the dragon, but now his fire has gone out. He was Aemon Targaryen. And now his watch is ended.[9]
- Samwell Tarly's eulogy

He was more than just the oldest living maester. He was the oldest man in Westeros, and lived through more history than Archmaester Perestan has ever learned. He could have told us much and more about his father's reign, and his uncle's.[16]
- Alleras, to Samwell Tarly

The world the Citadel is building has no place in it for sorcery or prophecy or glass candles, much less for dragons. Ask yourself why Aemon Targaryen was allowed to waste his life upon the Wall, when by rights he should have been raised to archmaester. His blood was why. He could not be trusted. No more than I can.[16]
- Marwyn, to Samwell Tarly

Many good men have been bad kings, Maester Aemon used to say, and some bad men have been good kings.[17]
- Clydas, to Jon Snow

Aemon Targaryen had seen nine kings upon the Iron Throne. He had been a king's son, a king's brother, a king's uncle.[17]
- thoughts of Jon Snow


Daeron II
Aerys I
Maekar I
Kiera of
Kiera of
Aegon V
House Targaryen

References and Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Aemon.
  2. See the Aemon (Targaryen) calculation.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 21, Tyrion III.
  4. The World of Ice and Fire, Appendix: Targaryen Lineage.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 60, Jon VIII.
  6. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 5, Samwell I.
  7. 7.0 7.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 6, Jon I.
  8. The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Maekar I.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 35, Samwell IV.
  10. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 15, Samwell II.
  11. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 41, Jon V.
  12. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 48, Jon VI.
  13. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 48, Jon VI.
  14. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 69, Jon IX.
  15. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 78, Samwell V.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 45, Samwell V.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 10, Jon III.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 7, Jon II.
  19. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 69, Jon XIII.
  20. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 44, Jon IX.
  21. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 26, Samwell III.
  22. Kiera of Tyrosh was widowed when Valarr Targaryen died from the Great Spring Sickness; some time later she married his cousin Daeron.

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