Maegor I Targaryen

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Maegor I
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Maegor I by Amok©
Biographical Information
Reign 42 AC - 48 AC
Full Name Maegor Targaryen the First of His Name
Alias Maegor the Cruel
Other Titles King of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men
Lord of the Seven Kingdoms
Protector of the Realm
Hand of the King
Born in 12 AC[1]
Died in 48 AC[2], at King's Landing
Royal House House Targaryen
Predecessor Aenys I Targaryen
Heir Jaehaerys Targaryen (disinherited)
Aerea Targaryen
Successor Jaehaerys I Targaryen
Queen Ceryse Hightower
Alys Harroway
Tyanna of the Tower
Elinor Costayne
Rhaena Targaryen
Jeyne Westerling
Issue Silver Denys (allegedly)
Father Aegon I Targaryen
Mother Visenya Targaryen
Books The World of Ice and Fire (mentioned)
The Rogue Prince (mentioned)
The Princess and the Queen (mentioned)
A Game of Thrones (mentioned)
A Storm of Swords (mentioned)
For other articles sharing the same title, please see this disambiguation page.

Maegor I Targaryen, also known as Maegor the Cruel, was the third Targaryen king to sit the Iron Throne. He was the son of King Aegon I Targaryen and his sister-wife, Queen Visenya Targaryen. He had an older half-brother, Aenys I Targaryen.

The polygamous Maegor had six wives: Ceryse Hightower, Alys Harroway, Tyanna of the Tower, Elinor Costayne, Jeyne Westerling, and his niece Rhaena Targaryen, the last three of whom are known as the Black Brides.[3]

Appearance and Character

According to a semi-canon source, Maegor was larger than his father, Aegon I. A warrior, Maegor was bull-like with heavy shoulders, a thick neck, and huge arms. He kept his hair short and his beard trimmed to his jawline. He wore Aegon the Conqueror's crown.[4]

Maegor was often seen as cruel, never treating animals well and keeping to himself.[5] He enjoyed war and battle, but it was violence he most craved, and death and absolute mastery over all he deemed his.[3]



Maegor was considered a skilled warrior, distinguishing himself well in tourneys and melees. He was a better jouster than many grown men he met in the lists. At the age of thirteen Maegor competed in a mêlée, where he defeated hardened knights. At the age of sixteen, in the royal tourney of 28 AC at King's Landing, he unhorsed three knights of the Kingsguard in successive matches in the joust, and later went on to win the mêlée. Maegor was knighted by his father when he was only sixteen years old, the youngest knight in the Seven Kingdoms at that time.[3]

Upon the death of their father, Aegon I Targaryen, Maegor's older brother assumed the throne as Aenys I. Admitting to all assembled that he was not nearly the warrior his half-brother was, Aenys presented Maegor with Aegon's Valyrian steel blade, Blackfyre, proclaiming they would rule together.[6] It was also after his father's death, in 37 AC, that Maegor became the rider of Balerion, the only dragon Maegor found worthy.[7]

In 23 AC,[8] Princess Rhaena, the eldest child of King Aenys, was born. Dowager Queen Visenya Targaryen suggested that Maegor be betrothed to her, but a vigorous protest from the High Septon stopped that. Instead, Maegor was wed at the age of thirteen to the High Septon's niece, Lady Ceryse Hightower, in 25 AC.[3] Maegor claimed to have consummated the marriage a dozen times during their wedding night, but the marriage itself proved barren. When Ceryse continued to fail to birth him an heir, Maegor started talking about other brides.[3]

According to a semi-canon source, Maegor defeated the Giant of the Trident in 31 AC.[6]

Several rebellions broke out in 37 AC, the first year of Aenys's reign. In the Vale of Arryn, Jonos Arryn rose against Lord Ronnel, imprisoning his brother and his family. Maegor personally crushed this rebellion himself, flying on Balerion to the Eyrie and hanging Jonos and his followers. Aenys named Maegor his new Hand of the King as a reward.[7]


In 39 AC Maegor wed Lady Alys Harroway, daughter of Lucas Harroway, the new Lord of Harrenhal. The secret marriage had been a secret one, and the ceremony had been led by Dowager Queen Visenya Targaryen.[3] The marriage angered the Faith of the Seven, which Aenys tried to placate by sending Maegor into exile. Alys accompanied Maegor to Pentos and the renowned Septon Murmison replaced Maegor as Hand.[7]

Maegor met the courtesan Tyanna during his three years of exile.[3]

Aenys was unable to handle the pressure when the Faith rose in rebellion in 41 AC, and the Dowager Queen took over his care when Aenys fell ill the following year. Aenys's health improved for a time, but when the king learned that his eldest daughter and son, Rhaena and Aegon, were besieged at Crakehall, he collapsed and died three days later.[7] After Aenys was burned and buried, Visenya flew to Pentos on the back of her dragon, Vhagar, to bring Maegor back to Westeros.[3]

Claiming of the Iron Throne

Ahead of his brother's eldest son and heir, Prince Aegon, Maegor ascended the Iron Throne in 42 AC. He was crowned at Dragonstone with the Valyrian steel crown of his father, King Aegon I, instead of Aenys's ornate one. Grand Maester Gawen protested Maegor's coronation, stating that by all the laws of inheritance, the crown should pass to Aenys's son, Aegon. Maegor beheaded Gawen with Blackfyre, ending protest against Maegor's ascension.[3]

Maegor took Alyssa Velaryon, the Dowager Queen of Aenys I and the mother of Prince Aegon, as a hostage, as she had been residing at Dragonstone. Alyssa's younger children, Jaehaerys and Alysanne, were kept on the island of Dragonstone with Alyssa, while her son, Prince Viserys, was made Maegor's squire, so he could be kept close as a hostage to ensure Alyssa's good behavior.[3]

Ravens flew, declaring a new king had been crowned and that those who defied him would suffer a traitor's death. Chief among Maegor's foes were the Faith Militant. Maegor mounted Balerion and set for King's Landing to crush the uprising. Landing on Visenya's Hill, he planted his standard and rallied his supporters to him. Visenya challenged those who questioned her son's right to rule to prove themselves. Maegor accepted the challenge of Ser Damon Morrigen, the captain of the Warrior's Sons, to a trial of seven, with only Maegor surviving the battle of fourteen men. Maegor took a blow to the head, however, and collapsed just as the last Warrior's Son died. On the twenty-eighth day of Maegor's coma, Queen Alys Harroway returned from Pentos, bringing with her Tyanna of the Tower, who had become Maegor's lover during his exile. With Tyanna caring for him, Maegor woke from his coma on the thirtieth day.[3]

Maegor and Balerion make short work of Aegon Targaryen and Quicksilver during the Battle Beneath the Gods Eye, as depicted by Michael Komarck in The World of Ice and Fire

Mounting Balerion, Maegor burned the Sept of Remembrance on Rhaenys's Hill with dragonflame and had archers slay those who tried to flee. The king then achieved bloody victories over the Faith Militant in the Battle of Stonebridge and at the Great Fork of the Blackwater. King Maegor's laws forbade holy men from carrying arms, and Maegor the Cruel offered bounties of gold dragon for the scalps of Warrior's Sons and silver stags for the scalps of Poor Fellows.[9]

Tyanna married Maegor in 42 AC, but this marriage was just as barren as Maegor's marriages to Ceryse Hightower and Alys. Tyanna served her husband as mistress of whisperers.[3]

The late King Aenys's eldest son, Aegon, rebelled against Maegor over the Iron Throne. Mounted on Balerion, Maegor slew Aegon and his dragon, Quicksilver, in the Battle Beneath the Gods Eye in 43 AC.[3]


Maegor continued construction of the Red Keep, which began under Aegon the Conqueror. Leaving the administration of the kingdom to Lord Lucas Harroway, his Hand of the King and goodfather, Maegor had a host of hidden tunnels and secret passageways built within the castle. In 45 AC, Maegor saw the Red Keep completed, and Maegor's Holdfast was subsequently named after him.[3] Maegor threw a feast for those who took part in the construction, but after three days of revelry Maegor had them all put to the sword to protect the secrets of the hidden passages.[10][3]

Lady Ceryse Hightower, Tyanna of the Tower and Lady Alys Harroway. By Magali Villeneuve

In place of the ruined Sept of Remembrance on Rhaenys's Hill, Maegor began construction of the Dragonpit for House Targaryen to stable its dragons. Since many builders and masons had fled King's Landing after the Red Keep massacre, Maegor used prisoners from the city's dungeons under the supervision of builders from Myr and Tyrosh.[3]

In 44 AC,[11] Alys birthed a monstrosity, eyeless and twisted. In his fury, Maegor had the midwives, septas and Grand Maester Desmond executed. Tyanna, however, convinced Maegor that the child had come forth from a secret affair of Alys's. Maegor ordered the executions of Alys, her father Lucas, and every other Harroway he could find.[3] With House Harroway extinct, Maegor held a melee in Lord Harroway's Town with Harrenhal the prize. Though gravely wounded, Ser Walton Towers was the victor and House Towers was granted the ruined castle.[12]

The death of Maegor's mother, Dowager Queen Visenya, in 44 AC devastated Maegor, as she had been his strongest supporter. Aenys I Targaryen's wife, Dowager Queen Alyssa Velaryon, escaped from Dragonstone with her two youngest children, Jaehaerys and Alysanne, and the Valyrian sword Dark Sister. In response, Maegor had her eldest surviving son, Prince Viserys, tortured to death by Queen Tyanna after nine days of questioning. His mutilated body was left in the courtyard for a fortnight in an unsuccessful attempt to force Alyssa to return.[3]

In 45 AC, Queen Ceryse Hightower suddenly fell ill and died. Rumor held that she had been killed at Maegor's command.[3]

The Faith Militant uprising continued even after the High Septon died in 44 AC and was replaced with a more passive man. In 46 AC, Maegor brought two thousand skulls from his campaign against the Faith to King's Landing, claiming they were the heads of Warrior's Sons and Poor Fellows. Many suspected they were the skulls of innocent smallfolk, however.[3]

In 47 AC, Maegor wed in one ceremony the Black Brides, three women proven to be fertile and widowed through Maegor's actions or wars. The youngest, Lady Elinor Costayne, birthed an eyeless child with small wings.[3] Lady Jeyne Westerling lost two children, and she died soon after the second. The last was the daughter of King Aenys I Targaryen, Princess Rhaena Targaryen, who was forced to marry Maegar when Tyanna found Rhaena's twin daughters by Prince Aegon, Aerea and Rhalla. Maegor named Aerea as his heir, disinheriting her brother, Prince Jaehaerys.[3]

In 48 AC Tyanna of the Tower admitted to poisoning the other brides, causing stillbirths. Maegor cut out her heart with Blackfyre and fed it to his dogs.[3] Maegor had three Grand Maesters executed during his reign,[13] including Gawen in 42 AC[3] and Desmond in 44 AC.[3]


King Maegor was found dead on the Iron Throne

Day by day, the Seven Kingdoms turned against its king, and by 48 AC Maegor's tyranny could no longer be borne by the realm. In the riverlands, House Tully of Riverrun supported Septon Moon and Ser Joffrey Doggett, the leaders of the Poor Fellows. Maegor also found himself opposed by Lord Daemon Velaryon of the royal fleet and many great houses. A new claim for the Iron Throne was put forth by Aenys I's last surviving son, Prince Jaehaerys. The prince was supported by Lord Robar Baratheon of Storm's End, whom Jaehaerys named Protector of the Realm and Hand of the King.[3][14]

Learning of her brother's claim, Princess Rhaena Targaryen fled from Maegor in the night, escaping on her dragon Dreamfyre with the Valyrian blade Blackfyre. Two of Maegor's Kingsguard also abandoned him. These series of betrayals and the loss of Visenya's guidance left Maegor a broken man. He called his banners but few answered and those who did were not enough to defeat his many foes.[3]

During the hour of the wolf, those few who remained left the throne room leaving Maegor alone to brood. He was found dead seated on the Iron Throne the next morning, his robes covered in blood, his wrists slashed. Some say he had been killed by a knight of his own Kingsguard who could no longer abide his tyranny, some say he had been killed by a builder that escaped the Red Keep slaughter and desired revenge, and some whispered that Maegor had been killed by the throne itself.[15] Perhaps the most likely explanation is that Maegor killed himself by opening his wrists on the blades of the Iron Throne.[3]


Maegor died with no issue, and the war with the Faith Militant only ended under the reign of his successor and nephew, King Jaehaerys I Targaryen.[9][16] Silver Denys claimed to be a son of Maegor.[17] At the start of the Dance of the Dragons, Ser Otto Hightower warned that Prince Daemon Targaryen would be a second Maegor the Cruel, and as the civil war continued his wife, Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen, was called "King Maegor with teats".[17]

Small Council under Maegor I

During the reign of King Maegor his small council had the following known members:


Maegor, the First of His Name, came to the throne after the sudden death of his brother, King Aenys, in the year 42 AC. He is better remembered as Maegor the Cruel, and it was a well-earned sobriquet, for no crueller king ever sat the Iron Throne. His reign began with blood and ended in blood as well.[3]
- Yandel in The World of Ice and Fire

What demon possessed him none could say. Even today, some give thanks that his tyranny was a short one, for who knows how many noble houses might have vanished forever simply to sate his desire.[3]
- Yandel in The World of Ice and Fire

Aegon the Conqueror had commanded it built. His son Maegor the Cruel had seen it completed. Afterward he had taken the heads of every stonemason, woodworker, and builder who had labored on it. Only the blood of the dragon would ever know the secrets of the fortress the Dragonlords had built, he vowed.[18]
- thoughts of Catelyn Stark

King Maegor wanted no rats in his own walls, if you take my meaning. He did require a means of secret egress, should he ever be trapped by his enemies, but that door does not connect with any other passages.[13]
- Varys to Tyrion Lannister

What did she care what Maegor the Cruel had decreed three hundred years ago? Instead of taking the swords out of the hands of the faithful, he should have used them for his own ends.[19]
- thoughts of Cersei Lannister


Aegon I
Aenys I
Maegor I
Jaehaerys I
Tyanna of
the Tower

References and Notes

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