Jaehaerys I Targaryen

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Jaehaerys I
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Jaehaerys I by Amok©
Biographical Information
Reign 48 AC - 103 AC
Full Name Jaehaerys Targaryen, the First of His Name
Alias The Conciliator
The Wise
The Old King
Other Titles King of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men
Lord of the Seven Kingdoms
Protector of the Realm
Born in 34 AC[1], at King's Landing
Died in 103 AC, at King's Landing
Royal House House Targaryen
Predecessor Maegor I Targaryen
Heir 1st: Aemon Targaryen (?-92 AC)
2nd: Baelon Targaryen (92 AC-101 AC)
3rd: Viserys Targaryen (101 AC-103 AC)
Successor Viserys I Targaryen
Queen Alysanne Targaryen
Issue Aegon Targaryen
Alyssa Targaryen
Aemon Targaryen
Baelon Targaryen
Daella Targaryen
Aeryn Targaryen
Vaegon Targaryen
Maegelle Targaryen
Valerion Targaryen
Viserra Targaryen
Gaemon Targaryen
Saera Targaryen
Gael Targaryen
Father Aenys I Targaryen
Mother Alyssa Velaryon[2]
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)
A Feast for Crows (mentioned)
A Dance with Dragons (mentioned)

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.

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. Jaehaerys was more of a scholar than a warrior; his crown was a simple gold band with seven different colored stones inset.[3]

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.[4]

Early life

Jaehaerys was the third son of King Aenys I Targaryen and Queen 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 Aegon and Rhaena were besieged at Crakehall, and soon died. 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 in 42 AC, usurping Jaehaerys's eldest brother Aegon. Prince Aegon fought Maegor I to reclaim his father's throne, but was slain by Maegor at the Battle Beneath the Gods Eye in 43 AC. Visenya kept Jaehaerys, his mother, and sister hostage on Dragonstone for two years while Maegor fought the Faith Militant and Prince Aegon. Maegor kept Jaehaerys's older brother Viserys with him as a squire and hostage to ensure Alyssa's good behavior.

In 44 AC, Visenya passed away. The chaos of her death gave Alyssa an opportunity to escape with Jaehaerys and Alysanne, as well as the the Valyrian sword Dark Sister. They eventually found sanctuary at Storm's End. Maegor, as punishment, had 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. [4]


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. Some of Jaehaerys's counselors urged the him to deal with the remnants of the Faith Militant harshly, to eliminate them entirely; others wanted him to ensure that the septons were answerable to the same justice as the rest of the king's subjects. Instead, Jaehaerys dispatched his Hand of the King, Septon Barth, to Oldtown to speak with the High Septon and forge an agreement.[4] In return for an offer of amnesty for all participants and the disbanding of the Faith Militant, and for agreeing to accept outside justice, the High Septon received King Jaehaerys's sworn oath that the Iron Throne would always defend the Faith of the Seven.[5] This act earned him the name "the Conciliator." Jaehaerys 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.[6]

A young King Jaehaerys and Queen Alysanne with their son Aemon as depicted by Magali Villeneuve in The World of Ice and Fire

Jaehaerys ruled for fifty-five 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.[7] Alysanne was Jaehaerys's 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.[4] 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.[8]

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.[4][9]

Such was Jaehaerys's 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.[10]

The great tourney is held in King's Landing in 98 AC to celebrate Jaehaerys 50th year on the Iron Throne - by Marc Simonetti ©

Jaehaerys was known for his love of travel, and once visited the North with Queen Alysanne, six dragons and half his court.[11] 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.[12]

It was during Jaehaerys's reign that the Night's Watch castle Deep Lake was built, which was paid for by his wife's jewels and built by men Jaehaerys sent north.[13]

Jaehaerys and Alysanne had thirteen children, though only nine lived to adulthood.[2][4] 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.

A great tourney was held in King's Landing in 98 AC to celebrate King Jaehaerys fifty years on the Iron Throne. 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.[4]

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's final years. Baelon's death meant the calling of the first Great Council. The Great Council of 101 chose Viserys I, Jaehaerys's grandson, as his new heir.[14]

After the deaths of both his beloved wife and his son Baelon, Jaehaerys's 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.[12]

Jaehaerys died in 103 AC, at the age of sixty-nine. His body was cremated in the Dragonpit and his ashes were interred with Alysanne's ashes, beneath the Red Keep. All of Westeros mourned, even Dorne.[12]


Jaehaerys's 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.[4]

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 in Rhaenyra's coronation, attended by three hundred people, proclaiming her to be Rhaenyra of House Targaryen, First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men.[14]

Small Council under Jaehaerys I

During the long reign of King Jaehaerys, his small council had the following known members:

Recent Events

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.[8]

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.[16]

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.[17]

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.[18] Later, the High Sparrow notes that Jaehaerys took away the right of the Faith to hold trials.[6]

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.[5]

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.[9]

A Dance with Dragons

Roose Bolton tells Theon Greyjoy 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.[19]



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


Aenys I
Jaehaerys I


Viserys I
Aegon II

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. [4]
- Maester Yandel

References and Notes

  1. See the Jaehaerys I Targaryen calculation.
  2. 2.0 2.1 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire.
  3. So Spake Martin: Targaryen Kings (November 1, 2005)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys I.
  5. 5.0 5.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 33, Jaime V.
  6. 6.0 6.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 43, Cersei X.
  7. The Sworn Sword.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 54, Davos V.
  9. 9.0 9.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 37, Brienne VII.
  10. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 48, Jaime I.
  11. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 41, Jon V.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 The Rogue Prince.
  13. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 56, Bran IV.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 The Princess and the Queen.
  15. 15.0 15.1 The World of Ice and Fire, The Stormlands: House Baratheon.
  16. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 5, Samwell I.
  17. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 24, Cersei V.
  18. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 28, Cersei VI.
  19. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 32, Reek III.
  20. 20.0 20.1 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.

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