Jaehaerys I Targaryen
Jaehaerys I Targaryen , known as the Conciliator, the Wise or the Old King, was the fourth Targaryen king to sit the Iron Throne, ruling from 48 AC to 103 AC. He was a dragonrider whose mount was Vermithor. He was the grandson of Aegon the Conqueror.
- 1 Appearance and character
- 2 Early life
- 3 Reign
- 4 Legacy
- 5 Small Council under Jaehaerys I
- 6 Quotes about Jaehaerys I
- 7 References in the Books
- 8 Family
- 9 References and Notes
Appearance and character
According to a semi-canon source, Jaehaerys looked wise and dignified even into his later years, with a long white, flowing beard. Not a warrior, his crown was a simple gold band with seven different colored stones inset.
Jaehaerys was a gifted horse rider, a decent warrior and above all else wise beyond his years. He was decisive both in thought and deed, always seeking the most peaceable ends.
Jaehaerys was the third son of King Aenys and Alyssa Velaryon. During the Faith Militant uprising, when Aenys thought King's Landing too unsafe, he fled to Dragonstone with his wife and all his children except for his eldest two, Aegon and Rhaena, who were in the Westerlands at this time.
Dragonstone was held by Visenya Targaryen, whose counsel was for Aenys to bring "fire and blood" to the Faith of the Seven. Aenys, never the most robust, fell seriously ill. The Dowager Queen Visenya took over his care and Aenys briefly improved. Aenys then suffered a collapse when he learned his son and daughter were besieged at Crakehall, and died later. Upon his death Visenya mounted her dragon and flew to Pentos to retrieve her son Maegor.
Due to the plotting of Visenya, Maegor took the Iron Throne before Jaehaerys' eldest brother Aegon. Visenya kept Jaehaerys, his mother and sister hostage on Dragonstone for two years while her son fought the Faith Militant. Maegor took Jaehaerys' older brother Viserys with him as a squire and hostage to ensure Alyssa's good behavior.
Prince Aegon fought Maegor I to reclaim his father's throne, but was slain by Maegor at the Battle Beneath the Gods Eye.
In 44 AC, Visenya passed away. The chaos of her death gave Alyssa an opportunity to escape with Jaehaerys and Alysanne. She also took the Valyrian sword Dark Sister. They eventually found sanctuary at Storm's End. Maegor, as punishment, had her son Prince Viserys tortured to death, leaving his mutilated body in the courtyard of King's Landing to rot.
By 48 AC the realm had had enough of Maegor's tyrannical rule. Jaehaerys, the last surviving son of King Aenys, put forth a new claim for the Iron Throne and was supported by Robar Baratheon, the Lord of Storm's End whom Jaehaerys named Protector of the Realm and Hand of the King.
After Maegor's mysterious death on the Iron Throne, Jaehaerys was crowned at the age of fourteen and wed to his sister Alysanne. 
Jaehaerys inherited from his uncle's reign a war with the Faith Militant, known as the Faith Militant uprising. Maegor had used brutal methods to eradicate the rebellion, such as placing bounties on the heads of all members of the Faith Militant, but the rebellion had continued. Jaehaerys instead pacified the rebellion with the offer of amnesty for all participants and the disbanding of the Faith Militant. The offer was accepted and the orders disbanded on the condition that the Iron Throne would always defend the Faith of the Seven. This act earned him the name "the Conciliator." Jaehaerys later in his reign also took away the right of the Faith to conduct criminal trials. This pleased many as there had often been complaints of unscrupulous septries and septons making free with the wealth and property of their neighbors and those they preached to.
Jaehaerys ruled for 55 years, becoming the longest-ruling of the Targaryen kings, which led to him also being referred to as the "Old King". Jaehaerys brought to the realm a time of great peace and prosperity, aided by his beloved sister-wife, Good Queen Alysanne. Alysanne convinced him to abolish the lord's right to the first night. Alysanne was Jaehaerys' great love, while his greatest friend was Septon Barth. Barth worked in the Red Keep's library due to his keen intelligence. The young Jaehaerys, who loved to read became acquainted with Barth, who attended the King's books and records. Jaehaerys eventually raised him to be his Hand of the King, an office no commoner had ever held before, nor would hold after. Barth proved more than capable and served as Hand for 40 years.
With Barth's aid, Jaehaerys reformed the realm more than any king who lived before. Jaehaerys created a unified legal code, so that from the North to the Dornish Marches the realm would share common law. Great works were implemented to improve King's Landing, such as sewers, drains and wells. Barth believed the fresh water and the flushing away of offal and waste was essential to a city's health. A vast network of roads was built and became known as the Kingsroad, and the king and queen were known to stay at the inn at the crossroads during their journeys, so much so that afterwards it was called the Two Crowns.
Such was Jaehaerys' wisdom and skill at diplomacy that he even managed to negotiate a truce and bring fifty years of peace between Houses Bracken and Blackwood, two houses whose animosity has lasted for well over two thousand years.
Jaehaerys was known for his love of travel, and once visited the North with Queen Alysanne, six dragons and half his court. His grandson Viserys told his own grandchildren a tale of Jaehaerys flying north to defeat a vast host of wildlings, giants, and wargs at the Wall.
Jaehaerys and Alysanne had thirteen children, though only nine lived to adulthood. The eldest son of these nine was Aemon and the second son was Baelon. After Aemon died in 92 AC Jaehaerys chose Baelon as his heir, rather than Aemons daughter Rhaenys. This decision by Jaehaerys caused the Second Quarrel between the king and his wife, which would only be resolved by their daughter, septa Maegelle, in 94 AC.
After his old friend Septon Barth passed away, Jaehaerys chose for his Hand the legendary knight Ser Ryam Redwyne, the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. Ser Ryam, while a great knight, proved unsuited to the office, and was soon replaced by the king's son and heir, Prince Baelon.
Baelon died suddenly in 101 AC and Ser Otto Hightower took the office of Hand of the King for Jaehaerys' final years. Baelon's death meant the calling of the first Great Council. The Great Council of 101 chose Viserys I, Jaehaerys' grandson as his new heir.
After the deaths of both his beloved wife and his son Baelon, Jaehaerys' grief was great. The Old King's mind began to wander in the last two years of his reign and his time was usually spent bedridden. His new Hand, Otto Hightower, effectively ruled the realm while his daughter Alicent looked after the ailing King, reading to him, washing him and helping to feed him.
Jaehaerys passed away in 103 AC. He was 69 when he died. His body was burned in the Dragonpit and his ashes interred with Good Queen Alysanne's beneath the Red Keep. All of Westeros mourned, even Dorne.
Jaehaerys' entire reign is remembered as the most prosperous period in the history of the Targaryen monarchy. His reign brought peace, stability and justice to the Seven Kingdoms. Jaehaerys is possibly the best king that Westeros ever saw and is regarded as such by many historians and laymen.
Small Council under Jaehaerys I
During the reign of King Jaehaerys his small council had the following known members:
- Regent - Dowager Queen Alyssa Velaryon
- Hand of the King - Lord Robar Baratheon
- Hand of the King - Septon Barth
- Hand of the King - Ser Ryam Redwyne
- Hand of the King - Prince Baelon Targaryen
- Hand of the King - Ser Otto Hightower
- Master of Coin - Lord Lyman Beesbury
- Lord Commander of the Kingsguard - Ser Ryam Redwyne
Quotes about Jaehaerys I
|“||He was nine-and sixty at his death, and had ruled wisely and well for five-and-fifty years. Westeros mourned, and it was claimed that even in Dorne men wept and women tore their garments in lament for a king who had been so just and good. His ashes were interred with that of his beloved, the Good Queen Alysanne, beneath the Red Keep. And the realm never saw their like again. ||”|
References in the Books
The Princess and the Queen
When Ser Steffon Darklyn of the Kingsguard and his retainers defected to the blacks they brought with them to Dragonstone a stolen crown: a band of yellow gold ornamented with seven gems of different colors. This was the crown King Viserys had worn, and his grandfather the Old King Jaehaerys before him.
A Storm of Swords
On Dragonstone Maester Pylos mentions to Davos Seaworth that dragonkings oft chose Hands from their own blood, with results as various as Baelor Breakspear and Maegor the Cruel. In comparison there is Jaehaerys I Targaryen's choice of Septon Barth, a common born blacksmith's son Jaehaerys plucked from the Red Keep's library, who gave the realm forty years of peace and plenty.
A Feast for Crows
When talking to Cersei Lannister about having King Tommen rearm the Faith the new High Septon asks her did not Jaehaerys the Conciliator once swear upon the Iron Throne itself that the crown would always protect and defend the Faith? Cersei thinks to herself that she has no idea what Jaehaerys the Conciliator might have sworn.
Outside Riverrun Lady Genna Lannister makes it known to Jaime how she feels about Queen Cersei rearming the Faith, she reminds Jaime that King Jaehaerys agreed to pardon all those who would set aside their swords.
During their travels in the riverlands Septon Meribald tells Brienne and her companions some of the history of the inn at the crossroads. He tells them the inn was raised during the reign of the first Jaehaerys, and that Jaehaerys and his queen slept there during their journeys, and for a time, the inn was known as the Two Crowns in their honor.
A Dance with Dragons
While taking to Theon Greyjoy Roose Bolton tells him that the maesters will tell him that King Jaehaerys abolished the lord’s right to the first night to appease his shrewish queen, but where the old gods rule, old customs linger.
References and Notes
- ↑ See the Jaehaerys I Targaryen calculation.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire.
- ↑ Targaryen Kings. November 1, 2005 So Spake Martin
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys I.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 The Rogue Prince.
- ↑ A Feast for Crows, Chapter 33, Jaime V.
- ↑ A Feast for Crows, Chapter 43, Cersei X.
- ↑ The Sworn Sword.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 54, Davos V.
- ↑ A Feast for Crows, Chapter 37, Brienne VII.
- ↑ A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 48, Jaime I.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 41, Jon V.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 56, Bran IV.
- ↑ The Princess and the Queen.
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 The World of Ice and Fire, The Stormlands: House Baratheon.
- ↑ The World of Ice and Fire, Jaehaerys I.
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 Prince Daemon Targaryen was married to Lady Rhea Royce from 97 AC until 115 AC. He then married Lady Laena Velaryon in 115 AC; their marriage lasted until Laena's death in 120 AC. That same year, Daemon married his niece, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen.