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
The Prince of Dragonstone
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] Dragonstone[2]
Died in 48 AC[3] 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 & Fire (mentioned)
The Sons of the Dragon (mentioned)
The Rogue Prince (mentioned)
The Princess and the Queen (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)

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.[4]

Appearance and Character

Maegor a tall, broad, and fearsomely strong man,[1] larger than his father, Aegon I Targaryen.[5] 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.[5]

Maegor was a born warrior[6] whose skill with weapons was unmatched.[1] He lived for war, tourneys, and battle, and rose to become one of the youngest and finest knights of his time.[1][4] However, he was also a hard and brutal man[5] who craved violence, death, and absolute mastery over all he deemed his.[4] His savagery in the field and his harshness toward defeated enemies was frequently remarked upon.[1]

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.[1]

Maegor wore his father's Valyrian steel-and-ruby crown.[4] 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.[5]



In 11 AC, Queen Visenya Targaryen announced that she was pregnant with a son. That son, Maegor, was born the next year,[1] on Dragonstone.[2] 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,[1] and by the age of thirteen he was already defeating hardened knights in mêlées.[4] 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. When his niece Rhaenateased him that he was afraid of dragons, Maegor scowled and replied that only one was worthy of him.[1]Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many 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.[1][4] 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.[1] 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.[7]

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.[1][4]

In 45 AC, Maegor saw the Red Keep completed.[4] 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.[4][8][9][10][1] 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.[4]

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.[1][4]

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. [1] 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.[1][4]

The Black Brides

(From top to bottom) Elinor Costayne, Jeyne Westerling and Princess Rhaena Targaryen, the three 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.[4][1]


King Maegor was found dead on the Iron Throne.

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 Rogar 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.[1][4][11] 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.[1][4]

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.[1][4] 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.[1][4][12]


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.[13][14] Jaehaerys agreed to pardon all those of the Faith who would set their swords aside,[13] though he also deprived the Faith of the right to hold trials.[15] 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.[16] Ser Otto Hightower believed that Prince Daemon Targaryen would be a second Maegor the Cruel if he would ever ascend to the throne,[17] 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.[16] 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.[16]

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.

Office Duration Name Notes
Hand of the King 43 AC - 44 AC[1][N 1] Lord Lucas Harroway  
44 AC - 48 AC[1] Lord Edwell Celtigar Lord Edwell resigned in 48 AC, shortly before the end of Maegor's reign.[1]
Grand Maester 42 AC - 42 AC Gawen Personally executed by Maegor.[1][4]
42 AC - 42 AC Myres Personally executed by Maegor.[1]
42 AC - 44 AC Desmond Personally executed by Maegor.[1]
Unknown - 48 AC Benifer Known to have been in office by 47 AC.[1]
Admiral of the king's fleet Unknown - 48 AC[4] Lord Daemon Velaryon  
Mistress of whisperers 42 AC - 48 AC[1][N 2] Tyanna of the Tower  
Master of coin Unknown - 48 AC Alton Butterwell Known to have been in office by 47 AC.[1]


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.[4]

—writings of Maester Yandel

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.[4]

—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.[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.[19]

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.[20]

—thoughts of Cersei Lannister


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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.