Mushroom

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Mushroom
Mushroom.jpg
Mushroom as depicted by Douglas Wheatley in Fire & Blood.

Allegiance House Targaryen
House Manderly
Culture Crownlands
Born In or before 103 AC[1]
Died In or after 157 AC[1]
Book(s) The World of Ice & Fire (mentioned)
Fire and Blood (mentioned)
The Rogue Prince (mentioned)
The Princess and the Queen (mentioned)

Mushroom was a dwarf who served as a fool at the courts of Viserys I Targaryen, Aegon II Targaryen, Rhaenyra Targaryen, and Aegon III Targaryen. He allegedly recorded the events that occurred during his time at their courts in The Testimony of Mushroom, written by an unknown scribe.

Mushroom's Testimony is filled with tales of plots, murders, trysts, debaucheries, and many other salacious claims. The fool's account is frequently cited by Archmaester Gyldayn in his Targaryen history, in which it is often compared to the accounts of other historians, like Septon Eustace and Grand Maester Munkun. Many of the wild claims of Mushroom, who loved Rhaenyra greatly, are disputed by the account of Eustace, a supporter of Aegon II, Rhaenyra's half-brother and enemy.[2][3]

Appearance and Character

Mushroom was three feet tall, with a very large head. He also claimed to have a large penis to match the size of his head.[2]

Mushroom was erroneously believed to be a feeble-minded lackwit by the nobility at court, and as such they did not attempt to hide their secrets from him.[2][3]

History

Reign of Viserys I

Mushroom served as the court fool during the reign of Viserys I Targaryen, and he spoke of what transpired at Viserys's court in The Testimony of Mushroom. His accounts often conflict with the records of Septon Eustace. Mushroom claimed that Prince Daemon Targaryen took the maidenhead of Lady Alicent Hightower, and that he assisted Daemon in teaching Rhaenyra Targaryen "how best to touch a man to bring him pleasure". He later played a part in revealing their activities to King Viserys I, Rhaenyra's father. He claims to have found Rhaenyra in bed together with Ser Harwin Strong in 113 AC. Not long after, Mushroom traveled with Rhaenyra and her court to Dragonstone.

In the years that followed, Rhaenyra and Alicent could scarce suffer each other's presence, and Rhaenyra continued to spend most of her time at Dragonstone, where Mushroom remained to attend to her. After King Viserys lost two of his fingers due to sepsis in 126 AC, he held court only from his solar, and later his bedchamber, surrounded by maesters, septons, and Mushroom, who claimed he was the only man who could still make the king laugh.[3] By the time of Viserys's death on the third day of the third month in 129 AC, Mushroom was once again on Dragonstone, in Rhaenyra's service.[4]

The Dance of the Dragons

Mushroom was at Dragonstone in Rhaenyra Targaryen's service at the outbreak of the Dance of the Dragons. When Rhaenyra gave birth to the stillborn Visenya, Mushroom, according to his own account, carried the babe to the yard for her cremation.[4] He later witnessed the duel between the twins Ser Arryk and Ser Erryk Cargyll of the Kingsguard in the castle.[5]

Mushroom claims to have aided Lord Corlys Velaryon and Princess Rhaenys Targaryen in preventing Joffrey Velaryon from mounting his dragon to avenge his brother, Lucerys.[6] During the civil war, Mushroom was present during the war councils held by the blacks.[7] Following the death of Princess Rhaenys in the battle at Rook's Rest in late 129 AC, Mushroom claims he was the only person who could make Rhaenyra happy.[7]

According to Mushroom, the Sowing of the Seeds was his notion, although Munkun credits the idea to Prince Jacaerys Velaryon. In his Testimony, Mushroom speaks in detail about his attempt to mount a dragon, Silverwing, ending with Mushroom's pantaloons on fire, which he put out by leaping into a well, which almost caused him to drown.[7]

In 130 AC, after King's Landing had fallen to Rhaenyra's forces, Mushroom accompanied Prince Aegon the Younger and Rhaenyra's ladies to the capital. There, he remained by Rhaenyra's side.[8] Mushroom watched the Storming of the Dragonpit from the roof of Maegor's Holdfast, together with Rhaenyra, two of her sons, and members of her court. When Rhaenyra insisted that the smallfolk would not be able to kill the dragons housed within the Dragonpit, Mushroom was skeptical of her claim. Rhaenyra instructed Mushroom to hold his tongue or otherwise lose it, so when the fool saw Prince Joffrey Velaryon sulk off, he kept silent, according to his Testimony. Joffrey subsequently died together with Rhaenyra's dragon, Syrax in an attempt to save his own dragon, Tyraxes.[9]

Mushroom remained to attend to Rhaenyra following the deaths of Joffrey and Syrax, while Rhaenyra's counselors conferred. When Rhaenyra fled the capital the next day, Mushroom remained in the Red Keep, which was soon given over to Ser Perkin the Flea. Rhaenyra ended up dying at Dragonstone.[9]

Mushroom remained at the Red Keep after the forces of King Aegon II Targaryen took the castle back from Trystane Truefyre and Ser Perkin, and he served Aegon II as one of his fools.[10] According to Mushroom, Aegon II, who was incapable of sexual congress due to his severe injuries, often watched as one of his male favorites had sex with a woman from his court, and had Mushroom himself thrice perform the service. On the day of Aegon's death, according to his own account, Mushroom witnessed the murder of Ummet, the king's food taster, and claims he was forced to hide for a night in a barrel of flour to prevent from being killed himself.[10]

Regency of Aegon III

After King Aegon II Targaryen died in mid-131 AC, Mushroom was one of the members of the royal court who gathered in the hall to greet the riverlords leading their army against Aegon II. During the Hour of the Wolf, Mushroom testified against the men who had murdered Ummet.[11]

For the first few years of the regency of Aegon III, Mushroom remained at court. When Lord Manfryd Mooton traveled to Braavos to treat with the Sealord, Mushroom supposedly hid in a wine cask on the ship, as to escape the gloom of the Red Keep.[12] The Sealord was so amused by Mushroom that he made the dwarf a handsome offer to remain in Braavos, but Mushroom declined.[12]

Following the death of Queen Jaehaera Targaryen, Mushroom was frequently in the presence of King Aegon III Targaryen. Although he was unable to make the king laugh, he was often summoned by Aegon to delight Gaemon Palehair, the king's companion, with his japes. In the weeks leading up to the ball where Aegon was to chose a new wife, the dwarf told the king many rumors about the maidens who were set to be presented to the king. Mushroom states he had been given the choice between "silver or steel" by Tessario, Lord Unwin Peake's captain of guard, and agreed to be paid "handsomely" for this service. Mushroom was present for the ball, which he would afterwards dub the Maiden's Day Cattle Show.[12]

Mushroom was often summoned to perform for Aegon III and the new queen, Daenaera Velaryon, at supper. In 135 AC, during one such suppers, Mushroom was present when Gaemon began to complain of cramping in his gut. By the time Mushroom returned with Grand Maester Munkun, Gaemon had already collapsed from the poison, and died within the hour.[13]

During the secret siege, Mushroom was within Maegor's Holdfast with Aegon, Prince Viserys Targaryen, and Queen Daenaera. When Lord Thaddeus Rowan, who had been tortured for days, was brought before the battlements and falsely confessed to the king and prince his involvement in a plot, it was soon clear to Viserys that Thaddeus had been broken by his experience and simply responded affirmatively when accused of anything, a point that was exemplified when Mushroom asked him if he had poisoned King Viserys I, to which Thaddeus said he had.[13]

After the siege ended and the real conspirators were caught, Lord Rowan was reinstated in his post as a regent and King's Hand, but only for a moon's turn as it was soon clear to all he was no longer fit for the office. Mushroom continued to mock Thaddeus while he was at court, and once got him to confess to causing the Doom of Valyria. When King Aegon came of age and dismissed the regents and his new Hand of the King, Lord Torrhen Manderly. Mushroom, who had become fond of Torrhen, accepted his offer and choose to leave court for a place at White Harbor, as he had no desire to stay in the Red Keep for a king who never laughed and barely smiled.[14][13]

Later life

Mushroom outlived the reign of King Aegon III Targaryen. After spending time at the Merman's Court in White Harbor, Mushroom visited the Sealord's Palace in Braavos and Port of Ibben on the island of Ib. He also spent time amongst the mummers of the Lisping Lady.[13]

Legacy

Copies of The Testimony of Mushroom were burned on orders of King Baelor I Targaryen,[15] but some survived the fires to be referred to in Archmaester Gyldayn's histories.[15][3]

Quotes

What did Viserys ever have that she did not? A little sausage? Is that all it takes to be a king? Let Mushroom rule, then. My sausage is thrice the size of his.[4]

—Mushroom on Jaehaerys I Targaryen's and the Great Council's choice on the royal succession

Only I could lighten Her Grace's heart. In this dark hour, I became the queen's counselor, setting aside my fool's sceptre and pointed hat to lend her all my wisdom and compassion. Unbeknownst to all, it was the jester who ruled them now, an invisible king in motley.[7]

—Mushroom during the Dance of the Dragons

Joffrey: Mother, what if they kill Tyraxes?

Rhaenyra: They are vermin. Drunks and fools and gutter rats. One taste of dragonflame and they will run.

Mushroom: Drunks they may be, but a drunken man knows not fear. Fools, aye, but a fool can kill a king. Rats, that too, but a thousand rats can bring down a bear. I saw it happen once, down there in Flea Bottom.[9]

I was myself tempted to return to my cask of flour, but thankfully I proved too small for the wolf to notice.[11]

—Mushroom on the many arrests during the Hour of the Wolf

I do confess that I was tempted. In Westeros my wit is wasted capering for a king who never smiles, but in Braavos they would love me… too well, I fear. Every courtesan would want me, and soon or late some bravo would take umbrage at the size of my member and prick me with his little pointy dwarf-skewer. So back to the Red Keep Mushroom scurried, and more fool me.[12]

—Mushroom on the Sealord's offer to remain in Braavos

I mean to give the smallfolk peace and food and justice. If that will not suffice to win their love, let Mushroom make a progress.[14]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 See the Mushroom calculation.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Viserys I.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Fire & Blood, Heirs of the Dragon - A Question of Succession.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Blacks and the Greens.
  5. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon II.
  6. Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - A Son for a Son.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Red Dragon and the Gold.
  8. Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Triumphant.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Overthrown.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Short, Sad Reign of Aegon II.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Fire & Blood, Aftermath - The Hour of the Wolf.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - War and Peace and Cattle Shows.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Fire & Blood, The Lysene Spring and the End of Regency.
  14. 14.0 14.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III.
  15. 15.0 15.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Baelor I.