Aegor Rivers

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COA Aegor Rivers.png
Aegor Rivers
Golden Company pike.png
Bittersteel at the red grass field by mike hallstein-da4esnm.png
Aegor Rivers at the Redgrass Field - by Mike Hallstein

Alias Bittersteel
Title Ser
Allegiance House Bracken
House Blackfyre
Second Sons
Golden Company
Born In 172 AC[1]
Died In 241 AC[1], at the Disputed Lands
Spouse Calla Blackfyre
Book(s) The Sworn Sword (mentioned)
The Mystery Knight (mentioned)
A Feast for Crows (mentioned)
A Dance with Dragons (mentioned)
The World of Ice and Fire (mentioned)
Personal Arms A red stallion with black wings snorting flame on gold
(Or, a stallion gules winged sable snorting flames proper)

Ser Aegor Rivers, often called Bittersteel, was a renowned knight and one of the Great Bastards fathered by Aegon IV Targaryen. His mother was Barba Bracken.[2][3] Bittersteel was the founder of the famed group of exiled sellswords, the Golden Company. In his personal arms, he combined the red stallion of House Bracken with black dragon wings from House Blackfyre, on a golden field.

Appearance and Character

See also: Images of Aegor Rivers

Bittersteel was a warrior, and looked the part. He was tall and well-made, but also lean and lithe. He was only half Targaryen, so he had purple eyes, but his hair was black. As an adult he wore a close-cropped beard.

Bittersteel was an angry man, and he never smiled. He was resentful all his life, and had a special loathing for his half-brother, Bloodraven, and Melissa Blackwood, who was Bloodraven's mother.[3]


Aegor was born at King's Landing to one of King Aegon IV Targaryen's mistresses, Barba Bracken. When Queen Naerys Targaryen recovered her health, Prince Daeron and Aemon the Dragonknight forced Aegon to send Barba and child from the capital, and Aegor was instead raised at Stone Hedge.[2] He was angry his whole life, but reserved particular loathing for his half-brother Brynden Rivers, whose mother, Melissa Blackwood, had replaced his own as their father's favorite mistress. Aegor also loathed Brynden, who was known as Bloodraven, even further when Shiera Seastar, the half-sister of both Bloodraven and himself, chose Bloodraven over him. Their other half-brother, Daemon Blackfyre, agreed to wed his daughter Calla to Aegor. Bittersteel often urged Daemon to press his own claim to the Iron Throne.[4]

In the First Blackfyre Rebellion in 196 AC, Aegor sided with Daemon Blackfyre against King Daeron II Targaryen. During the Battle of the Redgrass Field, Aegor commanded the right of Daemon's host.[5] Upon Daemon's death, Aegor rallied his troops and charged Bloodraven's archers, the Raven's Teeth, taking out his half-brother's eye in the process. Managing to recover Blackfyre, the Targaryen family sword, Bittersteel fled Westeros at the end of the rebellion to the Free City of Tyrosh with Daemon's remaining sons.[6]

Aegor served a year with the Second Sons before leaving to create the Golden Company, a famous mercenary organization, to stop the loss of support for the Blackfyres as other exile lords began to join other mercenary companies. Despite the notorious unreliability of sellswords, the Golden Company is reputed to have never broken a contract, and reference to their founder can be seen in their words: "Beneath the gold, the bitter steel."[7] Shortly after its creation, the Golden Company became one of the most famous and disciplined sellsword companies in the Free Cities. They quickly established their reputation by sacking Qohor when the city refused to honor its contract.[8]

The Golden Company was heavily involved in the following Blackfyre Rebellions. For unknown reasons, Bittersteel refused to support Daemon II Blackfyre during the Second Blackfyre Rebellion in 211 AC. He supported Haegon I Blackfyre in the Third Blackfyre Rebellion in 219 AC, however, but it ended with Haegon slain and Aegor taken to the Red Keep as a captive. Aegor accepted King Aerys I Targaryen's offer of being sent to the Wall, but the ship taking him north was intercepted by friends and Aegor returned to Essos. Aegor then crowned Daemon III Blackfyre in exile.[9]

In 236 AC Bittersteel landed on Massey's Hook at the head of the Golden Company with Daemon III, but the Fourth Blackfyre Rebellion was crushed in the Battle of Wendwater Bridge, which Aegor managed to escape from.[10][11] During one of the various Blackfyre Rebellions, Bittersteel swore a blood oath with Torwyn Greyjoy, but this Lord Reaper of Pyke betrayed Aegor to his enemies.[12]

A few years after the Wendwater Bridge, Bittersteel reappeared in the Disputed Lands, where he fell during a skirmish between Tyrosh and Myr.[10] On his deathbed, Bittersteel commanded the men of the Golden Company to boil the flesh from his skull, dip it in gold, and carry it before them when they cross the narrow sea to retake Westeros. The captains-general who have since led the Golden Company have followed Aegor's example.[13]


Bittersteel leads the charge of the Golden Company - by Marc Simonetti ©
Bitter his steel may have been, but worse was his tongue.[4]
- writings of Yandel

He died defeated and alone, a broken man in an alien land.[13]
Jon Connington's thoughts

When he fled, he swore he would return to place a son of Daemon's upon the Iron Throne. He never did.[14]
Stannis Baratheon

Bittersteel was half-dragon, and all bastard.[15]
Arianne Martell, to Lysono Maar


Aegon IV
of Tyrosh
Two sons
Aegor Rivers

References and Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 See the Aegor Rivers calculations.
  2. 2.0 2.1 The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon IV.
  3. 3.0 3.1 So Spake Martin: The Great Bastards (December 26, 2005)
  4. 4.0 4.1 The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Daeron II.
  5. The Mystery Knight.
  6. The Sworn Sword.
  7. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 5, Tyrion II.
  8. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Aegor Rivers.
  9. The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys I.
  10. 10.0 10.1 The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon V.
  11. The World of Ice and Fire, The Westerlands: House Lannister Under the Dragons.
  12. The World of Ice and Fire, The Iron Islands: The Old Way and the New.
  13. 13.0 13.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 24, The Lost Lord.
  14. The Winds of Winter, Theon I
  15. Arianne II (The Winds of Winter)

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