Aemon Targaryen (son of Viserys II)

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Aemon Targaryen
Aemon the Dragonknight.jpg
Aemon the Dragonknight by Robert O'Leary

Alias The Dragonknight
The Knight of Tears
Title Prince
Lord Commander of the Kingsguard
Allegiance House Targaryen
Race Valyrian
Culture crownlands
Born In 136 AC[1], at King's Landing
Died In or between 178 AC and 183 AC[2], at Westeros
Book(s) The World of Ice & Fire (mentioned)
The Hedge Knight (mentioned)
The Sworn Sword (mentioned)
A Game of Thrones (mentioned)
A Clash of Kings (mentioned)
A Storm of Swords (mentioned)
A Feast for Crows (mentioned)
A Dance with Dragons (mentioned)
For other characters named "Aemon Targaryen", see here.

Prince Aemon Targaryen, called the Dragonknight, was a knight from House Targaryen who became Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. He was the second son of King Viserys II Targaryen and the brother of King Aegon IV Targaryen.

Prince Aemon has been referred to as the noblest knight who ever lived, and his skill with a sword is legendary throughout Westeros. Even over a hundred years after his death, he is a popular figure among the highborn and smallfolk in songs, stories, and fables. He bore the Valyrian steel sword Dark Sister, previously wielded by Aegon the Conqueror's sister-wife, Queen Visenya, and Aemon's grandfather, Prince Daemon Targaryen.[3]


Aemon became known as the Dragonknight because the crest on his helm was a three-headed dragon of House Targaryen wrought in white gold.[1]


Early life

Aemon was born to King Viserys II Targaryen and the beautiful Lady Larra Rogare of Lys.[4] He was a robust and handsome youth so accomplished in the lists and with the sword that he was deemed worthy of carrying Dark Sister.[1] Aemon was knighted young and joined the Kingsguard at the age of seventeen in 153 AC during the reign of his uncle, King Aegon III Targaryen.[1][5][6]

During his life Aemon served under five kings: Aegon III, Daeron I, Baelor I, his father Viserys II, and lastly his brother Aegon IV.

Songs speak of Aemon's doomed love for his brother's queen, his own sister Naerys. According to singers, Aemon loved Naerys, and Naerys loved him. He supposedly cried when their father Viserys had Naerys marry their brother Aegon in 153 AC, and Aemon joined the Kingsguard shortly afterwards.[7] According to historians, Aemon and Aegon quarreled during the wedding feast and Naerys wept and sobbed during the bedding ceremony.[1]

Aemon once fought Lord Cregan Stark. Prince Aemon claimed he never faced a finer swordsman.

Conquest of Dorne

Aemon took part in the invasion of Dorne, led by his cousin and king, Daeron the Young Dragon. An assassination attempt on Daeron was prevented by the actions of the Dragonknight, who threw himself in the path of an poisoned arrow meant for his king. Aemon survived the poison and was sent back to King's Landing to heal.[8]

Upon his recovery Aemon returned to Dorne to protect his king and won great fame by defeating a Dornish champion. A rebellion in Dorne undid Daeron's conquest, however, and the Young Dragon was murdered in 161 AC while meeting Dornishmen under a peace banner, despite the presence of five Kingsguard. Three died defending the king, one shamefully yielded, and Aemon the Dragonknight was captured after slaying two of the betrayers.[8] Lord Wyl of Wyl eventually put Aemon in a crow cage naked, placed above a pit filled with vipers.[9]

Reign of Baelor

The new king, Baelor I Targaryen, made peace with the Prince of Dorne. On his return trip from Sunspear, Baelor tried to free his cousin Aemon. House Wyl was told to release Aemon into Baelor's custody, but instead they gave Baelor the key to the op and an invitation to use it. The Dragonknight, fearing for his cousin and new king's safety, begged Baelor to leave him, but Baelor refused and walked into the pit.

Singers say the snakes bowed their heads and refused to bite Baelor due to protection from the gods.[9] Some maesters believe Baelor was bitten six times before reaching Aemon's cage,[9] while Dornishmen claim the king was bitten half a hundred times before using the key.[10] The freed Aemon carried Baelor upon his back, while the Wyls wagered on how long they would last.[9]

The venom put Baelor in a coma, so Aemon carried the comatose king north. A septon in a village located on the Boneway in the Red Mountains gave Aemon clothing and an ass to carry Baelor. The cousins arrived at Blackhaven where the castle's maester treated Baelor. The king eventually awoke upon the journey to Storm's End but was half a year more before he was fit to travel to King's Landing.[9]

Reign of Viserys II

Aemon served during the brief reign of his father Viserys II Targaryen, king from 171 AC to 172 AC.[1]

Reign of Aegon IV

Aemon's elder brother, Aegon IV, succeeded their father, Viserys II. During Aegon's reign, Aemon remained the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, a position he held until his death.

When Naerys was accused of adultery and treason by Ser Morgil Hastwyck, Prince Aemon defended his sister's honor in trial by combat and slew Morgil.[11] This inspired many songs and furthered Aemon's renown, much to King Aegon's annoyance.

Rumors remained about Aemon being the actual father of Aegon's son and heir, Prince Daeron.[5] This caused several people to look at one of Aegon's bastards, Daemon Blackfyre, as the new heir to the throne. The truth of these rumors have never been proven or disproven. According to the writings of Maester Kaeth in Lives of Four Kings, Aegon IV secretly started the rumors of Naerys's adultery and used Morgil to instigate this tale, though at the time Aegon denied this. These accusations coincidentally started when Aegon and his heir, Prince Daeron, were quarreling. Daeron opposed Aegon's plan for an unprovoked war on Dorne, and the prince being Aemon's son would give King Aegon a legitimate reason to set aside his heir in favor of his bastard, Daemon.[12]

Queen Naerys Targaryen was near death after the birth of Daenerys and a stillborn son. There were no known rumors about the parentage of Princess Daenerys.[12] Aegon's Hand of the King, Lord Bracken, hoped the king would marry his daughter Barba, the mother of Aegon's bastard Aegor Rivers. Naerys recovered, however, and Prince Daeron and the Dragonknight forced Barba to leave with the infant Aegor for Stone Hedge.[12] In contrast to Barba, Aegon's next mistress, Melissa Blackwood, was befriended by Aemon, Daeron, and Naerys.[12]

Disguised as a mystery knight, Prince Aemon once won a tourney after his brother Aegon had forbidden him to take part, because Aegon wanted to crown his mistress of that time as the queen of love and beauty. Disguised as the Knight of Tears, Aemon won the tournament and named Naerys Targaryen in place of the mistress.[13]

Despite Aegon's feelings of disrespect and hatred towards Aemon and Aegon's provocations, Aemon died honorably, defending his brother and king against the assassination attempt by two brothers of House Toyne who sought revenge for the torture and execution of their brother, Ser Terrence Toyne.[14][15][5] Queen Naerys grieved Aemon's death and died in childbirth a year later.[12]

King Aegon IV did little to honor the Dragonknight's memory. Aegon began to make barely-veiled references to his son Daeron's alleged illegitimacy, something he only dared to do because both Naerys and Aemon were dead.[16] Aegon's attempts to blacken his brother's name failed, as Aemon is remembered as a heroic figure on par with legends of the Age of Heroes and his memory greatly respected throughout Westeros, while the king was posthumously dubbed Aegon the Unworthy.

Daeron II, Aemon's nephew (or son, according to the rumors), named his grandson Aemon Targaryen in honor of the Dragonknight.[5][17]

Quotes about Aemon

The days when men like Ryam Redwyne and Prince Aemon the Dragonknight wore the white cloak are gone to dust and song.[18]

- Varys to Eddard Stark regarding Robert I Baratheon's Kingsguard

My grandfather named me for Prince Aemon the Dragonknight, who was his uncle, or his father, depending on which tale you believe. Aemon, he called me ... [17]

– Maester Aemon, to Jon Snow

Arianne: And the Dragonknight? The noblest knight who ever lived, you said, and he took his queen to bed and got her with child.
Arys: I will not believe that. The tale of Prince Aemon's treason with Queen Naerys was only that, a tale, a lie his brother told when he wished to set his trueborn son aside in favor of his bastard. Aegon was not called the Unworthy without cause.[19]

Arianne Martell and Arys Oakheart

When he was born they named him for a hero who had died too young.[20]

- Samwell Tarly recalling Maester Aemon's namesake

Why, every child in Westeros knows how Prince Aemon the Dragonknight championed his sister Queen Naerys against Ser Morghil's accusations.[21]

Cersei Lannister to Taena of Myr

Not every man has it in him to be Prince Aemon the Dragonknight or Symeon Star-Eyes...[22]

- Wyman Manderly to Davos Seaworth


Aegon II
Aegon III
Viserys II
Daeron I
Baelor I
Aegon IV
Daeron II

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Viserys II.
  2. See the Aemon Targaryen (son of Viserys II) calculation.
  3. The Princess and the Queen.
  4. The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: The Quarrelsome Daughters: Myr, Lys, and Tyrosh.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Aemon Targaryen.
  6. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 12, Tyrion II.
  7. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 41, Tyrion IX.
  8. 8.0 8.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Daeron I.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Baelor I.
  10. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 59, Sansa IV.
  11. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 15, Sansa I.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon IV.
  13. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 24, Bran II.
  14. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 67, Jaime VIII.
  15. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Aegon IV Targaryen.
  16. The World of Ice & Fire, Aegon IV.
  17. 17.0 17.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 60, Jon VIII.
  18. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 30, Eddard VII.
  19. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 13, The Soiled Knight.
  20. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 35, Samwell IV.
  21. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 43, Cersei X.
  22. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 29, Davos IV.

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