Jaehaerys I Targaryen
- For other articles sharing the same title, please see this disambiguation page.
Jaehaerys I Targaryen, also known as the Conciliator, the Wise or the Old King, was the fourth Targaryen king to sit the Iron Throne. He ascended the throne in 48 AC following the death of his uncle, Maegor I Targaryen. Jaehaerys was the longest reigning Targaryen monarch, sitting on the throne for fifty-five years. He was a dragonrider, riding Vermithor, the largest dragon after Balerion and Vhagar.
- 1 Appearance and character
- 2 History
- 3 Legacy
- 4 Small Council under Jaehaerys I
- 5 Recent Events
- 6 Quotes about Jaehaerys I
- 7 Family
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
Appearance and character
According to a semi-canon source, Jaehaerys had the purple eyes and silver hair of the Targaryens. He looked wise and dignified even into his later years, with a long white flowing beard reaching to his waist. Even at an old age, Jaehaerys still stood unstooped. He dressed in flowing robes of black and gold and wore as a crown a simple band of yellow gold ornamented with seven gems of different colors.
Jaehaerys was a gifted horseman and a decent warrior, skilled with both lance and bow. Above all, he was wise beyond his years. Decisive in both thought and deed, he always sought the most peaceable ends.
Jaehaerys was the third son and fourth child of Prince Aenys Targaryen and his wife, Lady Alyssa Velaryon. He was born in 34 AC in King's Landing. He had two older brothers, Aegon and Viserys, an older sister, Rhaena, and two younger sisters, Alysanne and Vaella. When his grandfather, King Aegon I Targaryen, died on Dragonstone in 37 AC, his father, Aenys, ascended the throne.
Followers of the Faith of the Seven began an uprising after King Aenys I married Jaehaerys's two eldest siblings, Rhaena and Aegon, to one another in 41 AC. After Poor Fellows scaled the walls of the Red Keep in an attempt to murder the royal family, Jaehaerys fled with his parents and siblings to Dragonstone. By the end of the year most of the realm had joined the side of the Faith, and King Aenys, unable to decide how to deal with the rebels, fell ill. In 42 AC, he collapsed upon learning that Rhaena and Aegon were besieged at Crakehall, and died three days later.
Following Aenys's cremation, Dowager Queen Visenya Targaryen flew to Pentos to retrieve her son Maegor from his exile. Once at Dragonstone, Maegor claimed the Iron Throne for his own, ignoring the claim of Jaehaerys's eldest brother Aegon. Jaehaerys, his sister Alysanne, and his mother Alyssa were kept on Dragonstone as hostages, while his brother Viserys was taken to King's Landing by Maegor. Aegon died in 43 AC when he was killed by Maegor during the Battle Beneath the Gods Eye. In the chaos following Visenya's death in 44 AC, Jaehaerys, his sister Alysanne, and his mother Alyssa managed to flee. In retaliation, Maegor had Viserys tortured to death.
In 47 AC, Maegor forced three widows of proven fertility to marry him in one ceremony. One of these Black Brides was Jaehaerys's eldest sister, Rhaena. Still without a child of his own, Maegor officially disinherited Jaehaerys and proclaimed Rhaena's daughter Aerea as his heir. However, the realm slowly turned against Maegor, and when Jaehaerys put forward his claim for the throne he unified the factions that opposed Maegor. The first great lord to openly proclaim for Jaehaerys was Lord Rogar Baratheon of Storm's End. Other great houses followed, including House Lannister and, although they had originally joined Maegor against Prince Aegon, House Tully. Rhaena, Jaehaerys's sister, fled from Maegor on her dragon after learning about Jaehaerys's claim, stealing the Valyrian steel sword Blackfyre from him in the process. Two of Maegor's Kingsguard knights joined Jaehaerys as well.
Following Maegor's mysterious death in 48 AC, Jaehaerys was crowned by the High Septon with his father's crown. As he was only fourteen years old, Jaehaerys's mother, Dowager Queen Alyssa Velaryon served as regent during the first two years of Jaehaerys's reign. Lord Rogar Baratheon, whom Jaehaerys had named Lord Protector of the Realm and Hand of the King, further provided guidance for the king. When he had reached the age of majority, Jaehaerys married his younger sister Alysanne.
Although Jaehaerys had received support from the Faith of the Seven, the issues between the Faith and House Targaryen were not yet solved. About a decade into his reign, he became acquainted with Septon Barth, a brilliant man of common birth who tended to the books and records in the Red Keep's library. Jaehaerys soon named him Hand of the King, a position he kept for forty years. Together with Barth, Jaehaerys reconciliated the Iron Throne and the Faith. Although some of Jaehaerys's counselors urged the him to deal with the remnants of the Faith Militant harshly and eliminate them entirely, and others wanted Jaehaerys to ensure that the Faith was answerable to the same justice as the rest of the king's subjects, Jaehaerys chose a different path. The king sent Septon Barth to Oldtown to speak with the High Septon. Eventually, Jaehaerys agreed to pardon all those of the Faith who would set aside their swords, while the Faith agreed to set aside their traditional right of judging their own, accept justice from the throne from that moment forth. Jaehaerys swore to the Faith that the crown would always protect and defend the Faith. With these agreements, the rift between the crown and the Faith was healed.
Besides dealing with the Faith, Jaehaerys and Barth worked together to further reform the realm. Jaehaerys created the first unified code of law, ordered drains and sewers and wells constructed in King's Landing, as Barth was convinced that fresh water and flushing away of offal and waste were important to the health of the city, and constructed the kingsroad. Further, convinced by Alysanne, Jaehaerys abolished the lord's right to the first night. Jaehaerys also forced the Starks to donate a portion of land, which was renamed the New Gift, to the Night's Watch. While in current times it is said that Lord Stark[N 1] was glad to do so, historical documents imply that the Starks had been bitter about Jaehaerys's decision. Jaehaerys further attempted to put an end to the war between House Bracken and House Blackwood in the riverlands, and although he managed to forge a peace between the two houses, it endured only half a century, and did not long outlast his reign.
Jaehaerys was known for his love of travel. The king and queen were known to stay at the inn at the crossroads during their journeys, so much so that afterwards it was renamed the Two Crowns. Jaehaerys visited the North at least once, together with Queen Alysanne, six dragons and half his court. During such a visit, Alysanne on a whim flew from Winterfell to the Wall, and Jaehaerys followed on his own dragon.
Abundance of heirs
Jaehaerys was married to his sister, Alysanne. She is considered to have been his great love, and their marriage was a happy one. They had thirteen children, though only nine lived to adulthood. The eldest boy of these was Prince Aemon, who was married to Jaehaerys's half-sister, Jocelyn Baratheon. The next son was Baelon, who married his sister, Alyssa. Aemon was Jaehaerys's heir, but only had a daughter himself, Rhaenys. When he died in 92 AC, Jaehaerys decided to name his son Baelon as his new heir, passing over Aemon's daughter Rhaenys. This decision caused the Second Quarrel between Jaehaerys and his sister-wife, who believed that, if Jaehaerys felt that a woman was of less use than a man, he did not need her anymore. They were reconcilled in 94 AC by their daughter Maegelle.
Baelon remained Jaehaerys's heir until his death in 101 AC, at which point Jaehaerys called the first Great Council, to decide the line of succession for the throne with help from the lords of the realm. In the end, Baelon's eldest son, Prince Viserys, was named Prince of Dragonstone.
In 98 AC, a great tourney was held in King's Landing to celebrate King Jaehaerys's fiftieth year on the Iron Throne. All of Jaehaerys's living children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were present. In the final tilt, Ser Ryam Redwyne and Ser Clement Crabb broke thirty lances against each other before King Jaehaerys proclaimed them co-champions, in what is often called the finest display of jousting in Westerosi history.
However, the final years of Jaehaerys's reign were also filled with great tragedies for the King. In 99 AC, Jaehaerys's close friend and Hand of the King, Septon Barth, died. He was replaced as Hand by Ser Ryam Redwyne, the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. However, although he was a great knight, Ser Ryam proved most unsuited for the office, and held the office less than a year. Jaehaerys replaced Ser Ryam as his Hand with his son Baelon. Following Baelon's sudden death in 101 AC, Ser Otto Hightower was named Hand of the King. Also in 99 AC, Jaehaerys's youngest daughter, Gael, died, having drowned herself in the Blackwater. Grieving for her most beloved daughter, Queen Alysanne died less than a year later.
The deaths of Alysanne and Baelon especially reduced Jaehaerys to a shell of the man he had once been. His strength and wits began to fail him, and towards the end Jaehaerys was confined to his bed. The young daughter of his Hand, Lady Alicent Hightower, took over his care. At times, Jaehaerys confused her for one of his daughters, and towards the end, he was certain she was Princess Saera, who had fled across the narrow sea many years before.
At the age of sixty-nine, Jaehaerys died in 103 AC. His body was cremated in the Dragonpit and his ashes were interred with Alysanne's ashes beneath the Red Keep. His realm mourned, as did Dorne.
Jaehaerys was the longest-ruling Targaryen monarch, having ruled for fifty-five years. Because of this, he is referred to as the "Old King". His reign is remembered as the most prosperous period in the history of the Targaryen monarchy. His rule 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.
Jaehaerys's grandson and successor, Viserys I Targaryen, wore Jaehaerys's crown. When Viserys died in 129 AC, his eldest son, Aegon, ascended the throne instead of Viserys's proclaimed heir, Rhaenyra, which was the start of the war known as the Dance of the Dragons. Ser Steffon Darklyn of the Kingsguard and his retainers defected to Rhaenyra's faction at Dragonstone. With them, they brought the crown Jaehaerys I and Viserys I had worn. Prince Daemon Targaryen, Rhaenyra's husband and uncle, used this crown during Rhaenyra's coronation.
Small Council under Jaehaerys I
During the long reign of King Jaehaerys, his small council had the following known members:
|Regent||48 AC - 50 AC||Dowager Queen Alyssa Velaryon|
|Hand of the King||48 AC - Unknown||Lord Robar Baratheon|
|59 AC - 99 AC||Septon Barth|
|99 AC - 100 AC||Ser Ryam Redwyne|
|100 AC - 101 AC||Prince Baelon Targaryen|
|101 AC - 103 AC||Ser Otto Hightower|
|Master of Coin||Unknown - 103 AC||Lord Lyman Beesbury|
|Lord Commander of the Kingsguard||Unknown - 103 AC||Ser Ryam Redwyne|
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
At the Wall, Samwell Tarly recalls that there were dragons there two hundred years ago; Queen Alysanne had visited Castle Black on her dragon, and Jaehaerys, her king, had come after her on his own.
Cersei Lannister recalls that when she was a child, she once drew a picture of herself and Prince Rhaegar Targaryen flying on the back of a dragon, but when her brother Jaime found it, she told him it was a picture of Alysanne and Jaehaerys.
When talking to Queen Regent Cersei about having King Tommen Baratheon rearm the Faith, the new High Septon asks her if Jaehaerys the Conciliator had once sworn 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 might have sworn. Later, the High Sparrow notes that Jaehaerys took away the right of the Faith to hold trials.
Outside Riverrun, Lady Genna Lannister makes it known to Jaime Lannister 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 of Tarth 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
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.
– writings of Yandel
- Earlier prints of The World of Ice & Fire state that Lord Ellard Stark was the lord who had been forced to give up the New Gift. However, it has been confirmed that this is an error, and that the statement would be replaced by "the Starks were glad" in later prints, leaving it unknown for the time being which Stark had been the lord in question.
- Elio Garcia has stated that George R. R. Martin confirmed to him that this story was made up by Viserys to entertain his grandchildren.
- See the Jaehaerys I Targaryen calculation.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire.
- So Spake Martin: Targaryen Kings (November 1, 2005)
- The Princess and the Queen.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Appendix: Targaryen Lineage.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Jaehaerys I Targaryen.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Maegor I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Stormlands: House Baratheon.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Westerlands: House Lannister Under the Dragons.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Riverlands: House Tully.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 54, Davos V.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 33, Jaime V.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 43, Cersei X.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 28, Cersei VI.
- The Sworn Sword.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The North: The Lords of Winterfell.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 48, Jaime I.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 37, Brienne VII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 41, Jon V.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire.
- The Rogue Prince.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 5, Samwell I.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 24, Cersei V.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 32, Reek III.
- 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.