Maiden's Day Cattle Show
The Maiden's Day Cattle Show was the name given by court fool Mushroom to a ball held on Maiden's Day in 133 AC to find a second wife for King Aegon III Targaryen after the death of Queen Jaehaera.
After the death of Queen Jaehaera, a betrothal was planned between the king and Myrielle Peake by her father, Lord Unwin Peake, who was the king's Hand and regent. Cregan Stark and Kermit Tully were among the lords that disapproved of the match, and Grand Maester Munkun's support began to waver, acknowledging that the match would be seen as advancing House Peake's interests rather than being for the good of the Seven Kingdoms. Lady Johanna Lannister, Lady Elenda Baratheon, Lady Samantha Hightower and Lady Sharis Footly wrote to the crown, proposing their own relatives as Aegon's bride (or themselves, in Lady Footly's case). Due to the opposition, Peake announced a ball in King's Landing where the king himself would be able to choose his own bride.
Peake restricted the ball to maidens of nobility under the age of 30 to limit the attendance, but more than one thousand young women from throughout Westeros and even Essos came to King's Landing in hopes of marrying the king. Many women were injured or scandalized before the ball, and lords spoke of the "Maiden's Day curse". Many of these events were likely engineered by Lord Peake, who hoped to have his daughter be queen.
Ladies present at the Cattle Show
- The daughter of the Prince of Pentos
- The sister of the Archon of Tyrosh
- "Daughters of ancient houses" from Myr
- Myrmadora Haen
- Ellyn Baratheon
- Alyssa Royce
- Patricia Redwyne
- Anya Weatherwax
- Barba Bolton
- Moriah Qorgyle
- Myrielle Peake
- Daenaera Velaryon
- Henrietta Woodhull
The maidens expected to flirt and dance with King Aegon, but the event was not a true ball. They appeared before the king in the Red Keep's throne room in what Mushroom nicknamed the "Maiden's Day Cattle Show", with Aegon's herald announcing each one's name and lineage as she curtsied.
Music played constantly but the women, family members, and servants so overflowed the throne room—the second-largest hall in Westeros after Harrenhal—that they could not move. The building became, Archmaester Gyldayn wrote, "suffocatingly hot" despite the winter; people fainted and one lord died. The herald lost his voice and had to be replaced.
The daughter of the Prince of Pentos was the first to appear before Aegon, but Mushroom wrote that the bored king soon forgot each woman, and clever fathers likely sent their daughters through the queue again. Some boldly spoke to the king or, like Myrmadora Haen, wore scandalously scanty clothing, but Aegon only nodded to each before the Kingsguard led her away. His growing disinterest as hours passed benefited Lord Peake, as Myrielle had spent much time with the king before the ball.
When only a few maidens remained, Lady Baela Targaryen and Lady Rhaena Targaryen suddenly arrived with their kinswoman Daenaera Velaryon, six years old. The whole galley was said to have rejoiced when she smiled, and the king called her very pretty. The last few women were brought forward hurriedly, and the king's desire to end the parade was so palpable that the final maiden, Henrietta Woodhull, sobbed as she curtsied. Afterwards, the king summoned his cupbearer, Gaemon Palehair, who announced that the king would marry Lady Daenaera.
- Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - War and Peace and Cattle Shows.