Great Council of 101 AC
The Great Council of 101 AC, or Great Council at Harrenhal, was convened by old King Jaehaerys I Targaryen after the unexpected death of his son and heir Baelon Targaryen, so that the lords of the Seven Kingdoms could settle on who should succeed him on the Iron Throne.
When King Jaehaerys I Targaryen's son and heir, Prince Aemon, died in 92 AC, Jaehaerys chose Aemon's younger brother, Prince Baelon, as his heir, passing over Aemon's daughter and only child, Princess Rhaenys. The decision caused the Second Quarrel between King Jaehaerys and Queen Alysanne Targaryen.
Prince Baelon died in 101 AC of a burst appendix, leaving Jaehaerys again in need of an heir. Supporters of both Prince Viserys Targaryen, the eldest son of Prince Baelon and his sister-wife, Princess Alyssa, and Laenor Velaryon, the son of Princess Rhaenys, reportedly formed armies to press their claims. Rumors spread that Lord Corlys Velaryon was readying a fleet to defend the rights of Laenor. Baelon's younger son Prince Daemon Targaryen also gathered a small army of sworn swords and men-at-arms in case fighting broke out. Fearing a civil war, King Jaehaerys summoned from the Citadel his only surviving son, Archmaester Vaegon; whether Jaehaerys offered him the throne, or only wanted advice, is unknown. Vaegon suggested that lords, maesters, and the Faith discuss the candidates in a Great Council. Jaehaerys agreed, promising to accept whatever the council decided.
For the first Great Council, Harrenhal was chosen as a location, so at least five hundred lords and entourages could be hosted. In the end, more than a thousand lords came from throughout Westeros, gathering over a half year; some arrived only as the council was ending. The nearby town of Harrenton was briefly the fourth-largest settlement of the realm, behind only King's Landing, Oldtown, and Lannisport.
The council met for thirteen days and discussed fourteen claims. Nine lesser claims were quickly discarded. In subsequent deliberations, Archmaester Vaegon was then passed over due to his vows, and Princess Rhaenys and her daughter Laena were passed over on account of their sex. The assembled lords then focused down on two major candidates: Prince Viserys Targaryen and Rhaenys's son Laenor Velaryon.
Primogeniture favored Laenor, as his mother, Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, was the daughter of Prince Aemon Targaryen, who had been the eldest living son of King Jaehaerys. Yet proximity favored Viserys, who, in addition, had been the last Targaryen prince to ride the dragon Balerion, before the dragon's death in 94 AC. On the other hand, Laenor had recently acquired a dragon of his own, Seasmoke.
The age of the claimants were also brought up during the discussions. Prince Viserys was a man of twenty-four who had already fathered a daughter who could follow him on the throne after him, while Laenor was a boy of seven. However, Laenor's big advantage over Viserys was that he was the son of Lord Corlys Velaryon, the wealthiest man of the Seven Kingdoms. Corlys's fame, reputation and wealth did much to support Laenor's claim.
In the end, the lords in the realm saw the most importance in having the male line taking precedence over the female line. While the maesters never revealed the actual numbers, it was rumored that Prince Viserys had won by a twenty to one vote. Those who had voted for Laenor were mostly limited to the Velaryons and their close allies in Blackwater Bay, the Celtigars and Bar Emmons, as well as the Baratheons (as Rhaenys's mother, Laenor's grandmother, was Jocelyn Baratheon). Laenor was also supported, however, by the Starks and their major vassals House Manderly and House Dustin, as well as House Blackwood from the riverlands.
Maester Yandel speculated in his later history that one reason why the Starks (and by extension their vassals) supported the Velaryon faction is because they were still bitter with Jaehaerys over the issue of carving out the New Gift for the Night's Watch from lands previously held by Stark vassals. Although the resources of these lands were already being donated to the Watch, the Starks felt they could administrate the lands better, as the focus of the Night's Watch would always be on the Wall and not the landholdings south of it. The Starks were later proven correct, as the New Gift eventually fell into neglect and was largely abandoned.
While he was not present for the final deliberations, King Jaehaerys I honored the vote and named Viserys the new Prince of Dragonstone. Ser Otto Hightower, the younger brother of the Lord of Oldtown, was chosen as Hand of the King, to replace the late Prince Baelon.
The fourteen claims
The fourteen claimants were:
|1||Prince Viserys Targaryen||Grandson of Jaehaerys I, through Jaehaerys's second son Baelon||One of the two front runners, he won the final vote and was elected as his grandfather's heir|
|2||Laenor Velaryon||Great-grandson of Jaehaerys I, by Jaehaerys's elder son Aemon. He was the younger child and only son of Aemon's heir, Princess Rhaenys Targaryen.||The other front runner, he lost the final vote|
|3||Princess Rhaenys Targaryen||Granddaughter of Jaehaerys I through his first son Aemon, and Aemon's only child and heir.||Her claim was passed over on account of her sex|
|4||Laena Velaryon||Great-granddaughter of Jaehaerys I, and the eldest child of Princess Rhaenys Targaryen||Her claim was passed over on account of her sex|
|5||Archmaester Vaegon||Last living son of Jaehaerys I||He refused to press his claim, on account of his vows|
|6||Unnamed bastard son of Princess Saera by a Triarch of Volantis||Grandson of Jaehaerys I||Passed over, along with his two half-brothers.|
|7||Unnamed bastard son of Princess Saera||Grandson of Jaehaerys I (said to physically be the very image of his grandfather in his youth)||Passed over, along with his two half-brothers.|
|8||Unnamed bastard son of Princess Saera||Grandson of Jaehaerys I||Passed over, along with his two half-brothers.|
|9||Unnamed nobleman||The descendant of Lord Gaemon Targaryen by way of a younger daughter who wed a petty lord||Passed over due to being a minor cousin, nine generations removed from the main branch.|
|10||Unnamed man-at-arms||Claimed to be the natural son of King Maegor I Targaryen||The assembled nobility did not believe him (due to Maegor's apparent sterility)|
|11||Unnamed hedge knight||Claimed to be the natural son of Jaehaerys I||His claim was exposed as a lie by Jaehaerys himself.|
Known supporters of Laenor Velaryon:
Known supporters of Viserys Targaryen:
Other known attendees:
- The High Septon (blessed the assembly)
- Lord Matthos Tyrell
- Daughter of the ruling Prince of Dorne (as observer)
- Lord Yorbert Royce, representant of Lady Jeyne Arryn
- Lord Tarth
- Lord Farwynd of the Lonely Light
- Lords from the Iron Islands
- Lords from the Three Sisters
- Maesters of the Citadel
According to Archmaester Gyldayn, in the eyes of many, the council of 101 AC established an iron precedent on matters of succession: that the Iron Throne could not pass to a woman, or to a male descendant of a woman.
After ascending the throne, King Viserys I Targaryen named his daughter Rhaenyra, his only surviving child by his first marriage, as his heir after the death of his second born son, Prince Baelon. After three sons had been born in his second marriage, Viserys was asked about the succession repeatedly, but he chose to ignore the precedents of 101 AC, and Rhaenyra remained his heir. In 109 AC Viserys dismissed Ser Otto Hightower, his Hand of the King, because Otto kept asking the king about the matter.
Following the death of Viserys, at the start of the coup for the throne by the greens, Viserys's small council examined the annals of the Great Council. They determined that the houses which had dissented during the Great Council were likely to support the claim of Rhaenyra Targaryen instead of Aegon II Targaryen. Among others, the greens accurately predicted that the Starks would side with Rhaenyra due to how they voted at the Great Council.
- HBO: House of the Dragon (retrieved on December 31, 2020)]
- Fire & Blood, Heirs of the Dragon - A Question of Succession.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Viserys I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys I.
- The Princess and the Queen.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The North, The Lords of Winterfell.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Stormlands: House Baratheon.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Westerlands: House Lannister Under the Dragons.
- Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - War and Peace and Cattle Shows.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Riverlands: House Tully.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Blacks and the Greens.