Maegor I Targaryen
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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 elder 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.
Appearance and Character
Maegor a tall, broad, and fearsomely strong man, larger than his father, Aegon I Targaryen. He was bull-like, with heavy shoulders, a thick neck, and huge arms. Though he was on the heavy side, he was not fat, but more massive and square. He kept his hair short and his beard trimmed to his jawline. He had angry-looking, suspicious eyes, and a scowling mouth.
Maegor was a born warrior whose skill with weapons was unmatched. He lived for war, tourneys, and battle, and rose to become one of the youngest and finest knights of his time. However, he was also a hard and brutal man who craved violence, death, and absolute mastery over all he deemed his. His savagery in the field and his harshness toward defeated enemies was frequently remarked upon.
Maegor was quarrelsome, quick to take offense, slow to forgive, and fearsome in his wroth. He was a rigid man, unyielding, and unbending. He preferred fire and steel over settling issues through discussion, and showed cruel tendencies early in his childhood. Although he had many companions throughout his youth, he had no true friends, and even as an adult Maegor trusted no one.
Maegor wore his father's Valyrian steel-and-ruby crown. His armor, however, was more elaborate than Aegon's. Instead of a shirt of scale, Maegor wore a breastplate, covered by a surcoat that displays the Targaryen three-headed dragon, red on black.
In 11 AC, Queen Visenya Targaryen announced that she was pregnant with a son. That son, Maegor, was born the next year, on Dragonstone. As a babe, he was a big and healthy child; almost twice as heavy as his half-brother Aenys had been. Maegor and Aenys were not close as children; Maegor was raised by his mother on Dragonstone, and in time became known as the "Prince on Dragonstone". He received his first sword at the age of three, and took to swordplay at once. He supposedly immediately butchered a cat with the sword, although some doubt the truth of this tale. Regardless, when Maegor was eight, he stabbed to death a palfrey which had kicked him, and slashed half the face off of the stableboy who came running towards the animal's screams. Maegor was trained at arms by Ser Gawen Corbray, the master-at-arms of Dragonstone. He became a squire at the age of eight. By the age of twelve, he was already unhorsing boys four and five years his elder in the lists and battering seasoned men-at-arms into submission in the castle yard, and by the age of thirteen he was already defeating hardened knights in mêlées. His mother gave him her Valyrian steel sword, Dark Sister, as a nameday present when Maegor turned thirteen in 25 AC. Despite the fact that there were several dragon hatchlings on Dragonstone, Maegor never claimed a dragon of his own, asserting that none were worthy of him.
Maegor's brother Aenys had married Lady Alyssa Velaryon in 22 AC, and their daughter Rhaena was born the next year. After Rhaena's birth, the issue arose as to whether Maegor would fall behind her in the line of succession. In 24 AC, shortly after Maegor had turned twelve, Queen Visenya suggested a betrothal between Rhaena and Maegor to settle the succession issue, but both Rhaena's parents and the High Septon protested. Instead, Maegor was betrothed to the High Septon's niece, Lady Ceryse Hightower, whom he married in 25 AC at the Starry Sept in Oldtown in a ceremony presided over by the High Septon himself. Though Maegor boasted that he had conceived a child on his wedding night, the marriage remained barren.
Maegor had more success in his military accomplishments. In 28 AC, he won renown a tourney by defeating three knights of the Kingsguard in the joust, and next winning the mêlée. He was knighted by his father, King Aegon I, at the age of sixteen, making his the youngest knight in the realm at the time. In both 29 AC and 30 AC Maegor assisted the master of ships, Lord Aethan Velaryon, and the Hand of the King, Ser Osmund Strong, in two campaigns against the pirate king Sargoso Saan in the Stepstones, and in 31 AC defeated the Giant of the Trident.
Hand and exile
In 37 AC, Maegor's father, King Aegon I, died, and his half-brother Aenys ascended the throne as King Aenys I Targaryen. Admitting to all assembled at Aegon I's funeral pyre 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.
After Aegon I's death, Maegor finally claimed a dragon, his father's mount, Balerion who Maegor had long coveted as his own . Shortly after Aenys's ascension to the throne, several rebellions broke out. In the Vale of Arryn, Jonos Arryn rose against his brother, Lord Ronnel, imprisoning him and his family. Although he arrived too late to rescue Lord Ronnel, Maegor personally crushed this rebellion, flying on Balerion to the Eyrie. Hoping Maegor would show them mercy, Jonos's followers threw Jonos through the Moon Door. Nonetheless, Maegor had all of them hanged. To replace Lord Alyn Stokeworth, who had died fighting another rebel, King Aenys I named Maegor as his new Hand of the King to reward him for his service, an office Maegor held for two years. 
Even though they had been married since 25 AC, Maegor and Ceryse still had no children by 39 AC. In 39 AC, Maegor suddenly announced that Ceryse was barren and that he had taken another wife, Lady Alys Harroway. Unable to convince the septon at Dragonstone to perform the wedding, Maegor and Alys had been wed in a Valyrian wedding ceremony led by Dowager Queen Visenya Targaryen. This marriage angered many. Maegor quarreled bitterly with his brother, King Aenys, while Ceryse's father, Lord Martyn Hightower, demanded that Maegor set Alys aside. The High Septon denounced the marriage as sin and fornication and called Alys "this whore of Harroway." Many of the pious lords in the realm began to follow his example, openly referring to Alys as "Maegor's Whore". Maegor remained defiant, however, citing that his father had taken two wives as well, claiming that the strictures of the Faith did not rule the blood of the dragon.
Feeling he had no other option, Aenys furiously gave Maegor a choice: set Alys aside or go into exile for five years. Maegor chose the latter option and in 40 AC left for Pentos with Alys and Balerion. He also took the sword Blackfyre with him, refusing Aenys's request to leave the sword behind. Septon Murmison replaced Maegor as Hand. And in 41 AC, Aenys named his eldest son, Prince Aegon, Prince of Dragonstone.
Claiming the throne
The Faith rose in rebellion against King Aenys I in 41 AC. Early next year, Aenys died on Dragonstone while his eldest daughter and son, Rhaena and Aegon, were besieged at Crakehall. After Aenys was burned and buried, Visenya flew to Pentos on the back of her dragon, Vhagar, to bring Maegor back to Westeros.
Although Aenys's son Aegon was the heir to the Iron Throne, Maegor claimed the throne immediately upon his return. 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 Aegon. Maegor beheaded Gawen with Blackfyre, making Gawen the first of three Grand Maester's who would be executed during Maegor's reign. ending protest against Maegor's ascension.
Maegor next left for King's Landing, where the Faith had seized the Sept of Remembrance on Rhaenys's Hill. Maegor flew to the city on Balerion and planted his banner on Visenya's Hill to rally men to his side. His mother, Dowager Queen Visenya, challenged those who questioned her son's right to rule to prove themselves. Ser Damon Morrigen, the Grand Captain of the Warrior's Sons, came forth. Maegor quickly decided to settle the matter with swords, and Damon demanded a trial of seven, to which Maegor agreed.
Maegor had no knights of the Kingsguard with him, as Aenys had taken them to Dragonstone when he fled the capital, so Maegor turned to the crowd and asked who would stand with him. At first, most turned away or pretended they did not hear until a common man-at-arms named Dick Bean stepped forward. Ser Bernarr Brune was the next offering to stand beside the king. Shamed by Dick Bean's display of courage and Brune's words, several knights came forward, from whom Maegor chose his last four champions: Ser Bramm of Blackhull, Ser Rayford Rosby, Ser Guy Lothston, and Lord Lucifer Massey. Together they faced seven of the Warrior's Sons, led by Ser Damon Morrigen, their Grand Captain. Maegor was the only survivor of the trial, but took a blow to the head 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. Tyanna took over Maegor's care. On the thirtieth day since the trial, the king woke.
When he woke from his coma, Maegor mounted his dragon Balerion and flew to the Sept of Remembrance on Rhaenys's Hill, burning the sept to the ground while his archers killed all those who attempted to flee the inferno. That same year, Maegor's forces achieved a victory over the Faith Militant in the Battle of Stonebridge, and later in the Battle at the Great Fork of the Blackwater. Maegor personally fought in the latter battle, burning men on Balerion's back. Following these two victories, Maegor declared his intent to marry again, taking Tyanna of the Tower as his third wife. Grand Maester Myres objected, stating that Maegor's "one true wife" awaited him at the Hightower, for which Maegor beheaded him with Blackfyre. Maegor wed Tyanna on the Hill of Rhaenys, surrounded by the remains of the Warrior's Sons who had died there. It was said Maegor had to execute a dozen septons before finding one willing to perform the ceremony. At Oldtown the High Septon loudly denounced "the abomination and his whores", while Ceryse continued to insist that she was Maegor's only lawful queen.
Construction of the Red Keep, which had begun in 35 AC, continued under Maegor's reign. In early 43 AC, named Lord Lucas Harroway, the father of his wife Alys, as his new Hand of the King, leaving the administration of the kingdom in his hands while Maegor personally took charge of the construction of the Red Keep. He focused on constructing secret passages and tunnels built through the depths of Aegon's High Hill and commanded the construction of a fortified castle within the castle, which would become known as Maegor's Holdfast. He also ordered four levels of dungeons constructed, and had the fourth level build specifically for torment.
As the Faith continued to resist his rule, Maegor raised a set of laws which forbade holy men from carrying arms, and punished lords who spoke out against the suppression of the Faith. In response, the High Septon commanded Maegor to present himself in Oldtown and beg the forgiveness of the gods for his sins and cruelties. Still focused on the Red Keep's construction, Maegor continued this resistance to go on for half a year, until his mother mounted her dragon Vhagar and burned the seats of several houses in the Reach in one single night. Maegor flew Balerion to the westerlands, burning the seats of houses who had defied his royal summons.
Next Maegor and Visenya turned towards Oldtown, threatening to incinerate the Starry Sept in response to the High Septon's condemnation of his polygamous marriages. When the High Septon suddenly died, Lord Martyn Hightower opened the city's gates, saving Oldtown from the fire. The new High Septon was a more passive man, who anointed Maegor upon his arrival at the Starry Sept and did not lift a finger as the Warrior's Sons at Oldtown were either sent to the Wall or executed by Maegor. Maegor remained at Oldtown for half a year, presiding over the trials personally. Adding to his earlier laws, he now placed bounties on the heads of those faithful who remained defiant: a gold dragon was given for the scalp of a Warrior's Sons and a silver stag for the scalp of a Poor Fellow.
Late that same year, Prince Aegon, Aenys I's Prince of Dragonstone, announced his claim to the Iron Throne. Supported by several lords of the westerlands and riverlands, Aegon marched at the head of an army of fifteen thousand men. Still at Oldtown, Maegor was warned by Queen Tyanna, his mistress of whisperers, that House Baratheon, House Arryn, House Stark, and House Lannister were considering to join Aegon's cause if he could prove he could prevail. Maegor set forth from Oldtown, ordering his loyal lords to swarm Aegon's host from all sides. In the Battle Beneath the Gods Eye the forces clashed, and Aegon's rebellion came to an end when Maegor slew him and his dragon, Quicksilver. Afterwards Maegor was known as "Maegor the Cruel" and a kinslayer throughout the realm.
By 44 AC, Maegor had made Aenys's widow, Dowager Queen Alyssa Velaryon, and her youngest two children, Jaehaerys and Alysanne, his mother's wards on Dragonstone, while summoning her son Viserys to court, making him his personal squire. Still without an heir of his own body, Maegor visited one of his three wives every night. When Queen Alys announced that she was pregnant that year,[N 1] she was confined to her bed. However, she went into labor only three months later, and gave birth to a monstrosity, eyeless and twisted. Convinced the child could not be his, Maegor had everyone involved in the birth executed, sparing only Alys's two sisters Jeyne and Hanna. It is said Maegor was seated on the Iron Throne with the head of Grand Maester Desmond in his hand when Queen Tyanna approached him, claiming that the child had been fathered by a secret affair of Alys, who had been desperate to give the king a son and so had slept with men of confirmed fertility. Tyanna provided a list of names as proof. Under torture, all but two of the twenty men confessed to their crime. Maegor had Alys dragged from her bed and given to Tyanna for torture. All Harroways at King's Landing, including Maegor's Hand, Lord Lucas Harroway, were killed, with Alys's death the worst one of all. Maegor then departed the capitol and marched on Harrenhal, killing its entire garrison, along with every person with even a single drop of Harroway blood. Next, he marched to Lord Harroway's Town on the Trident and did the same there. 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.
When he returned to King's Landing, Maegor learned that his mother, Dowager Queen Visenya, had died. The news devastated Maegor, as she had been his strongest supporter. Aenys I Targaryen's wife, Dowager Queen Alyssa Velaryon, had escaped from Dragonstone during the resulting chaos, taking her two youngest children, Jaehaerys and Alysanne, and the Valyrian sword Dark Sister with her. In response, Maegor had her eldest surviving son, Prince Viserys, arrested and tortured. Viserys died after nine days of questioning by Queen Tyanna. His mutilated body was left in the courtyard for a fortnight in an unsuccessful attempt to force Alyssa to return.
In 45 AC, Maegor saw the Red Keep completed. In celebration Maegor threw a feast for those who had taken part in the construction, engorging the workers with wines and sweetmeats as well as whores from the cities finest brothels. But after three days of revelry, Maegor had them all put to death in order to protect the secrets of the castle. Their bones were interred beneath the castle they had built. Maegor next ordered the construction of the Dragonpit for the Targaryen dragons at the site of the ruined Sept of Remembrance on Rhaenys's Hill. However, his treatment of the construction workers of the Red Keep caused all workers to flee the city, leaving the king forced to use prisoners from the dungeons for the construction instead.
Maegor's first wife, Queen Ceryse Hightower, suddenly fell ill and died shortly after the Red Keep had been completed. A rumor was spread that she had said a shrewish remark that affronted Maegor, after which he had ordered Ser Owen Bush of the Kingsguard to remove her tongue. People claimed that Cersye had struggled so fiercely that Ser Owens knife slipped and he accidentally slashed her throat. Though the story was never proven and most historians insist it was slander concocted by the king's enemies, it was widely believed at the time.
In late 45 AC, Maegor took the field again. In the great wood south of the Blackwater, Maegor hunted down the Poor Fellows who had taken refuge, and ordered the rebel Poxy Jeyne to be burned alive. Although Poor Fellows and peasants attempted to prevent the execution, Maegor had all the would-be rescuers slaughtered.  The following year, Maegor returned to King's Landing with two thousand skulls of Poor Fellows and Warrior’s Sons. However, it was widely believed that many of the victims had been innocent smallfolk who had been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Day by day, the Seven Kingdoms turned against its king, as both smallfolk and lords began to despise him for his many cruelties.
The Black Brides
By early 47 AC, Maegor still had no heirs, and had stopped sleeping with Queen Tyanna. Maegor's counsellors agreed that he needed to wed again, and multiple suggestions were made. Grand Maester Benifer suggested Clarisse Dayne, the Lady of Starfall. Maegor's master of coin, Alton Butterwell suggested his widowed sister, a woman of proven fertility. Maegor's Hand, Lord Edwell Celtigar, suggested his two young daughters. Lord Velaryon of Driftmark suggested Maegor's niece, Princess Rhaena, to unite their claims and strengthen the royal bloodline. Maegor eventually decided to marry a woman of proven fertility, and to take three wives, in order to triple his chances of getting a son. He agreed that one of those wives should be his niece, in order to weaken any claim her younger siblings might put forth. And so, in 47 AC, Maegor wed Lady Elinor Costayne, Lady Jeyne Westerling, and Princess Rhaena in a single ceremony. All three women had been widowed through Maegor's actions or wars, and became known as the Black Brides. He named Aerea, the eldest of Rhaena's two daughters by her deceased brother, Aegon, as his heir, disinheriting Rhaena's brother, Prince Jaehaerys, while sending Rhaena's other daughter, Rhaella, to Oldtown to be raised as a septa. Half a year after the wedding, Lady Jeyne was announced to be pregnant. Not long after, Lady Elinor became pregnant as well. Three months before her due-date, however, Queen Jeyne went into labor, and gave birth to a stillborn child who was legless and armless and had both male and female genitals. Jeyne died not long after. People began to whisper that Maegor was cursed, and that the gods would never grant him a living son. Maegor himself, however, had Queen Tyanna seized and deliver to the dungeons, where she confessed to having poisoned both Alys's child as Jeyne's, even before the torturers began. She promised that Elinor would birth a similar stillborn monster. After her confession, Maegor executed Tyanna himself, but her promise came true two months later, when Elinor went into labor in early 48 AC and birthed an eyeless child with small wings.
By 48 AC Maegor's tyranny could no longer be borne by the realm. At Storm's End Aenys I's last surviving son, Prince Jaehaerys, put forth his claim to the throne, supported by Lord Robar Baratheon, who was named Protector of the Realm and Hand of the King by the prince. Jaehaerys had two dragons on his side, his own mount Vermithor and his sister's mount Silverwing, against Maegor's Balerion. Learning of her brother's claim, Queen Rhaena Targaryen fled from Maegor in the night, escaping on her dragon Dreamfyre with the Valyrian blade Blackfyre, and her daughter, Princess Aerea, adding a third dragon to her brothers cause. Upon discovering Rhaena's disappearance, Maegor sent a rider to Oldtown commanding House Hightower to behead Princess Rhaella as punishment for her mother's betrayal. Lord Hightower refused and imprisoned the messenger instead. Lord Edwell Celtigar resigned his position as Hand of the King and returned to Claw Isle and Grand Maester Benifer secretly escaped on a ship to Pentos. Two of Maegor's Kingsguard also deserted him. Lord Daemon Velaryon, the admiral of the royal fleet, was the first of the great lords to forsake Maegor, taking the royal fleet with him, and many other lords followed his example. The great houses of Lannister, Tyrell, and Arryn came out against Maegor and in the riverlands House Tully gave support to Septon Moon and Ser Joffrey Doggett, the leaders of the Poor Fellows.
Maegor called his banners in response, but few answered, giving Maegor an army of barely four thousand soldiers. Despite this, Maegor refused to surrender. When Lord Hayford suggested that Maegor abdicate and take the black instead, Maegor ordered him beheaded and continued his war council with Lord Hayford's head mounted on a lance behind the Iron Throne. At the end of the war council, Maegor remained behind alone in the throne room to brood. He was found dead the next morning by Queen Elinor, seated on the Iron Throne with his robes covered in blood and his wrists slashed. A spike from one of the swords on the throne behind him was impaled through the back of his neck. How Maegor died was never discovered. Some say he had been killed by Queen Elinor, others that he had been killed by a knight of his own Kingsguard. Yet others say he had been killed by a builder who escaped the slaughter three years earlier and desired revenge, and many believe that Maegor had been killed by the throne itself. Others believe that Maegor killed himself by opening his wrists on the blades of the Iron Throne.
Maegor ruled for six years and sixty-six days and died without issue, he was succeeded by his nephew, King Jaehaerys I Targaryen, the youngest son of the late King Aenys I. The Faith Militant uprising only ended during Jaehaerys' reign. Jaehaerys agreed to pardon all those of the Faith who would set their swords aside, though he also deprived the Faith of the right to hold trials. Decades later, Silver Denys claimed to be a bastard son of Maegor, but was mutilated by the dragon Sheepstealer and slain with his sons by the Cannibal when trying to claim a dragon. Ser Otto Hightower believed that Prince Daemon Targaryen would be a second Maegor the Cruel if he would ever ascend to the throne, and at the start of the civil war his daughter Alicent claimed that Daemon would be "as cruel and unforgiving as Maegor ever was" as king consort. Daemon's wife, Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen, came to be considered a grasping, cruel, vindictive woman, and was dubbed "King Maegor with teats", a curse that would become a common curse amongst kingslanders for a hundred years thereafter.
Small Council under Maegor I
Although the small council was officially formed only during the reign of Maegor's successor, Maegor had counsellors filling numerous positions of the later small council. Additionally, Maegor is the first Targaryen monarch known to have had a spy mistress in his employment.
|Hand of the King||43 AC - 44 AC[N 2]||Lord Lucas Harroway|
|44 AC - 48 AC||Lord Edwell Celtigar||Lord Edwell resigned in 48 AC, shortly before the end of Maegor's reign.|
|Grand Maester||42 AC - 42 AC||Gawen||Personally executed by Maegor.|
|42 AC - 42 AC||Myres||Personally executed by Maegor.|
|42 AC - 44 AC||Desmond||Personally executed by Maegor.|
|Unknown - 48 AC||Benifer||Known to have been in office by 47 AC.|
|Admiral of the king's fleet||Unknown - 48 AC||Lord Daemon Velaryon|
|Mistress of whisperers||42 AC - 48 AC[N 3]||Tyanna of the Tower|
|Master of coin||Unknown - 48 AC||Alton Butterwell||Known to have been in office by 47 AC.|
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 crueler king ever sat the Iron Throne. His reign began with blood and ended in blood as well.
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 state his desire.—writings of Maester Yandel
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.—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.
—thoughts of Cersei Lannister
- Earlier prints of The World of Ice and Fire erroneously state that Alys was the first of Maegor's wives to become pregnant in 48 AC (The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Maegor I). It has been confirmed that the passage should have read 44 AC.
- Earlier prints of The World of Ice & Fire erroneously state that Lucas died in 48 AC, which has been corrected in later prints to 44 AC.
- Tyanna was executed after the death of Jeyne Westerling in childbirth. Jeyne was married to Maegor in 47 AC; Her pregnancy was announced six months after the wedding, very early on in the pregnancy itself (her belly had not yet begun to swell). She went into labor after six months of pregnancy, placing about a year between Tyanna's death and the wedding.
- The Sons of the Dragon.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Maegor I Targaryen.
- A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Maegor I.
- So Spake Martin: Targaryen Kings (November 01, 2005)
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 12, Tyrion II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 77, Tyrion XI.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 43, Cersei X.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys I.
- The Sworn Sword.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach: Oldtown.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 33, Jaime V.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Riverlands: House Tully.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 58, Eddard XV.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 44, Tyrion X.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 3, Cersei I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Stormlands: House Baratheon.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 36, Davos IV.
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- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 18, Catelyn IV.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 28, Cersei VI.