Jacaerys in childhood, by Douglas Wheatley, as depicted in The World of Ice & Fire
|Title||Prince of Dragonstone|
|Born||In 114 AC|
|Died||In 130 AC, at the Gullet|
Laenor Velaryon (officially)|
Harwin Strong (rumored)
|Spouse||Sara Snow (possibly)|
The World of Ice & Fire (mentioned)|
Fire & Blood (mentioned)
The Rogue Prince (mentioned)
The Princess and the Queen (mentioned)
Prince Jacaerys Velaryon, also known as Jace, was the firstborn son of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and her first husband, Ser Laenor Velaryon. When Rhaenyra was crowned queen, she named Jacaerys as Prince of Dragonstone and heir to the Iron Throne. Jacaerys was a dragonrider whose dragon was Vermax.
Appearance and Character
Jace was a strapping lad. Like his brothers Lucerys and Joffrey, he had brown hair and eyes, and a pug nose. This made many at court suspect that Ser Harwin Strong, Rhaenyra's sworn shield, was their true father. Jacaerys was charming, valiant, innovative, and responsible. He fiercely defended and cared for his mother and brothers.
Prince Jacaerys Velaryon was born at the end of 114 AC to Rhaenyra Targaryen, daughter of King Viserys I Targaryen and Princess of Dragonstone, and her husband Ser Laenor Velaryon. Laenor wished to name the boy Joffrey, in memory of his late lover Ser Joffrey Lonmouth, but he was overruled by his father, Lord Corlys Velaryon. Instead, the child was given a traditional Velaryon name, Jacaerys, and nicknamed "Jace" by his friends and family.
His uncle Prince Daeron Targaryen was born soon afterwards, to King Viserys's queen Alicent Hightower. Trying to prevent any enmity (as existed between Rhaenyra and Alicent), Viserys ordered that Jacaerys and Daemon share a wet nurse until they were weaned, hoping that them being milk brothers would make a difference. Unfortunately, the king's hopes for peace between his sons and grandsons was futile. Alicent's three sons (Aegon, Aemond, and Daeron) became bitter rivals to Rhaenyra's three sons, resenting them for stealing their birthright, the Iron Throne. The enforced closeness between the six boys (attending feasts, sometimes training together at arms, or studying under the same maesters) only increased this dislike.
Jace's brother Lucerys was born in 115 AC, followed by Joffrey in 117 AC. By royal decree, each of Rhaenyra's sons was presented with a dragon's egg while in the cradle. Those who doubted the paternity of the children whispered that the eggs would never hatch, but the birth of three dragons proved otherwise. Jacaerys's hatchling was named Vermax. According to Septon Eustace, King Viserys sat Jacaerys on his knee while sitting on the Iron Throne as he was holding court, and was heard to say, "One day this will be your seat, lad."
In 118 AC, with the blessing of the king, Rhaenyra announced the betrothal of her two eldest sons to their cousins, the daughters of Prince Daemon Targaryen and Lady Laena Velaryon. Jacaerys, four years old, was betrothed to Baela, two.
The "Strong boys"
In 120 AC, when Jacaerys was six years old, his father Laenor Velaryon died. King Viserys, Queen Alicent, and their children visited High Tide on Driftmark for the funeral. Prince Aemond, ten years old, had been told they would go to Dragonstone afterward, so that he could claim a hatchling dragon or dragon egg; but instead he was determined to claim Vhagar, the eldest and largest of the dragons, who had recently become riderless after the death of Laena Velaryon earlier that year. Vhagar was present on Driftmark, and Aemond, who knew that his parents would not allow him near the dragon, went to make his attempt in secret. However, he was caught by Jacaerys's three-year-old brother, Joffrey. In an attempt to keep the boy quiet, he slapped and threatened him, before shoving him into a pile of dragon droppings. Aemond then climbed on top of Vhagar's back, and flew two circles before landing. When he landed, he found all three of Rhaenyra's sons waiting for him, as Joffrey had called in his two older brothers, Jacaerys and five-year-old Lucerys. The four boys fought with fists and wooden training swords, until Aemond mocked his nephews as "Strongs". Jacaerys, old enough to understand the insult, attacked Aemond again. When Aemond gained the upper hand and began to beat Jacaerys savagely, Lucerys drew his dagger and slashed at Aemond's face, taking out his right eye.
After the incident, Queen Alicent called for Lucerys to lose an eye as penance, while Princess Rhaenyra demanded that Aemond should be "sharply" questioned until he revealed where he heard her sons described as "Strongs" — as naming them that suggested they were the bastards of Harwin Strong, and therefore that Rhaenyra was guilty of high treason. Aemond eventually admitted hearing the name from his brother, Aegon, who said only "Everyone knows. Just look at them." King Viserys finally put an end to the questioning, declaring he would hear no more. No eyes would be put out, he decreed, but if anyone, "man or woman or child, noble or common or royal", mocked his grandsons as "Strongs" again, their tongues would be pulled out with hot pincers. Further, Rhaenyra and her sons were to stay at Dragonstone, while Alicent and her sons returned to King's Landing.
Later in 120 AC, Jacaerys's mother Rhaenyra remarried, to her uncle Prince Daemon Targaryen. Jace's half-brother Aegon was born at the end of the year, followed by Viserys in 122 AC. Unlike their half-brothers, Rhaenyra's younger sons looked entirely Targaryen.
In 126 AC, Jacaerys's grandfather Corlys Velaryon became ill. The question of who would succeed him as Lord of the Tides and Master of Driftmark became a debate, as his children Laenor and Laena were dead, and Laenor's eldest son Jacaerys would eventually succeed his other grandfather and mother to the Iron Throne. Rhaenyra urged Corlys to name her second son, Lucerys, as his heir; but Corlys's eldest nephew, Ser Vaemond Velaryon, protested on the grounds that Rhaenyra's Velaryon sons were not Laenor's, but the bastards of Harwin Strong. Rhaenyra had her husband seize Vaemond and strike off his head, and fed the body to her dragon. Vaemond's five cousins fled to King's Landing with Vaemond's wife and sons, Daemion and Daeron Velaryon, to seek justice before the king. King Viserys heard them out, but ordered each of the five cousins's tongues to be removed when they called Rhaenyra's sons bastards. The king told them they had been warned. As he was descending the Iron Throne, he caught his hand on one of its blades, cutting it to the bone.
Viserys's hand became infected, and it was feared that he might die. But he was healed, and on the first day of 127 AC, the king held a feast to celebrate the return of his health. Princess Rhaenyra and Queen Alicent were both commanded to attend, with all their children, and made a show of amity and love. However, after the king had left the feast, Prince Aemond toasted his three Velaryon cousins, speaking of in mock admiration of their brown hair, brown eyes, and strength, calling them "three strong boys". Later in the evening, Prince Aegon took offense when Jacaerys asked his wife Helaena for a dance. Angry words were exchanged, and the two princes might have come to blows if not for the intervention of the Kingsguard.
The Dance of the Dragons
In 129 AC, King Viserys I Targaryen died in his sleep, and a succession war broke out between the black faction of Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen, claiming the throne on the basis of Viserys's choice, and the green faction of her half-brother King Aegon II Targaryen, claiming the throne as he was Viserys's eldest son. At Aegon's first green council in King's Landing after Viserys's death, Ser Criston Cole spoke of several objections to Rhaenyra, including the claim that her eldest son Jacaerys was a bastard, and that they could not allow a bastard to sit the Iron Throne.
Prince Jacaerys was fifteen years old at the start of the civil war that became known as the Dance of the Dragons. His dragon, Vermax, was thriving, and growing every year. At Queen Rhaenyra's first black council on Dragonstone, Jacaerys and Lucerys volunteered to serve as her envoys to the lords of Westeros to raise support for her claim. Rhaenyra allowed this, despite their youth; though before she consented, she made them swear a solemn oath on a copy of The Seven-Pointed Star that they would not take part in any fighting. The next day, at Rhaenyra's coronation as Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men, she named Jacaerys Prince of Dragonstone and heir to the Iron Throne. When King Aegon heard of Rhaenyra's coronation, he sent terms saying if she would acknowledge his rule and make obeisance to him, he would grant her the possession of Dragonstone to eventually be inherited by Jacaerys, as well as other benefits. However, she rejected the offer.
Jacaerys, as Rhaenyra's older son, was given the more difficult mission as an envoy. He rode his dragon, Vermax, to Lady Jeyne Arryn at the Eyrie, Lord Borrell and Lord Sunderland at Sisterton, Lord Desmond Manderly at White Harbor, and Lord Cregan Stark at Winterfell. The prince was so charming and his dragon was so fearsome, that each of the lords he visited pledged support for his mother Rhaenyra's claim. Jacaerys gained the north through the Pact of Ice and Fire, promising young Cregan a Targaryen princess as a bride. Mushroom, in his ribald and little-trusted account of the war, claimed that Vermax laid a clutch of eggs in the crypts beneath Winterfell. Mushroom also states Jacaerys fell in love with Cregan's half-sister, Sara Snow, and married her in secret, although Gyldayn discounts the fool's claim.
Jacaerys's brother Lucerys was killed on his mission to Storm's End, by his uncle Prince Aemond Targaryen, and Rhaenyra was consumed by grief thereafter. Soon afterwards, Princess Rhaenys Targaryen was killed at the battle at Rook's Rest, leaving her grieving husband Lord Corlys Velaryon estranged from Rhaenyra, angered that his wife had been at the battle and not the queen. At this time, it was Prince Jacaerys who rose up to take the leadership of the blacks and reconsolidate their position. He reconciled Corlys with Rhaenyra by naming him Hand of the Queen, and directed their other armies marshaling across Westeros.
Moreover, it was Jacaerys who came up with the idea of recruiting unacknowledged Targaryen bastards from Dragonstone — the "dragonseeds" — to attempt to claim the six riderless dragons nesting on the island, to make up for the two dragons they had lost at Storm's End and Rook's Rest. He vowed that any man or woman who could master a dragon would be ennobled. (Mushroom claims to have prompted him on this.) Several dragonseeds succeeded in the attempt, including Addam of Hull, who was adopted by Lord Corlys into House Velaryon. On Corlys and Jacaerys's request, Queen Rhaenyra legitimized Addam and made him heir to Driftmark. As the year drew to a close, Jacaerys was finalizing the plans to attack King's Landing.
Jacaerys also arranged for the safety of his youngest brothers, Aegon, nine, and Viserys, seven, by reaching out to the Prince of Pentos, who agreed to foster the boys. Near the end of 129 AC, Aegon and Viserys boarded the Gay Abandon to set sail for Pentos. But in the Gullet, the ship and its escorts ran into a fleet of warships sent by the Triarchy, allies of the greens. The escort ships were sunk or taken, and the Gay Abandon captured. However, Aegon escaped, flying on his dragon Stormcloud to Dragonstone to tell them of the attack. In the Battle of the Gullet, Jacaerys, on Vermax, flew to fire upon the fleet, along with the dragonseeds on their dragons. Victory for the blacks seemed at hand, until Vermax flew too low, possibly wounded from a crossbow bolt to the eye or pulled down by a grapnel, and crashed into a burning galley. Jacaerys leapt free and clung to the smoking wreckage of the ship, but was struck by Myrish crossbow quarrels until he sank into the sea.
The Battle of the Gullet was a terrible loss for the blacks, in which Driftmark was greatly assaulted, the Velaryon fleet seriously damaged, and thousands died. Yet none of the losses were felt as badly as that of Prince Jacaerys Velaryon. Nevertheless, Queen Rhaenyra found new strength after the death of her son Jacaerys. Hardened, filled with anger and hatred, she told the black council that she would rain fire and death upon King Aegon and all his supporters, and tear him from the Iron Throne or die in the attempt.
Quotes by Jacaerys
—Jacaerys, to the black council
Quotes about Jacaerys
—King Viserys I Targaryen
—Ser Criston Cole
- The Rogue Prince.
- The Princess and the Queen.
- Jacaerys Velaryon died during the Battle of the Gullet which The World of Ice & Fire includes among the battles of 129 AC, but George R. R. Martin settled for 130 AC in Fire & Blood.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Viserys I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The North: The Lords of Winterfell.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The North: Winterfell.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - A Son for a Son.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon II.