Aegon Targaryen (son of Rhaegar)
|Alias||The prince that was promised|
|Born||In late 281 AC or early 282 AC, Dragonstone|
|Died||In 283 AC (supposedly), King's Landing[N 1]|
According to semi-canonical sources, Aegon looked like a Targaryen, taking after his father, Rhaegar, while his sister, Rhaenys, took after their Dornish mother, Elia Martell. The infant Aegon had fair hair.
A comet was seen above King's Landing on the night Aegon was conceived, which led his father Rhaegar, Prince of Dragonstone, to believe that Aegon was the "prince that was promised". The comet was seen as "the bleeding star" of the prophecy. Maester Aemon was aware of Rhaegar's beliefs, though it is unclear if he shared them.
Sack of King's Landing
Aegon was an infant during Robert's Rebellion, having been born a few months before its onset. In preparation of the Battle of the Trident, Aegon's grandfather, King Aerys II Targaryen used him, his mother Elia, and his sister Rhaenys as hostages, gracelessly reminding Aegon's great-uncle, Prince Lewyn Martell of the Kingsguard, that the three were in Aerys's hands. Lewyn took command of ten thousand Dornishmen, but died in the battle, as did Aegon's father, Rhaegar. Aerys became convinced that the Dornishmen had betrayed him, and refused to allow Aegon and his family to flee to Dragonstone alongside Queen Rhaella Targaryen and Prince Viserys. Aegon, his mother, and his sister were kept at King's Landing as hostages to ensure continued Dornish loyalty.
With Rhaegar's death, Grand Maester Pycelle became convinced that the war was effectively over, and that House Targaryen could no longer offer a proper king to the realm. Pycelle worked to convince Aerys II to open the gates of King's Landing to the Lannister forces, secretly hoping Lord Tywin Lannister would rise to the Iron Throne.
During the Sack of King's Landing a fortnight after the royal forces had left for the Trident, Ser Jaime Lannister killed Aerys in the throne room of the Red Keep. Jaime, though the only Kingsguard member left in the city, did not think his father Tywin, whose troops were attacking the city, would harm little Aegon and his young sister, Rhaenys. While Jaime was standing over Aerys's corpse, Ser Gregor Clegane and Ser Amory Lorch scaled the walls of Maegor's Holdfast and then killed Aegon, Rhaenys, and Elia. The deaths of the children caused a dispute between Lord Eddard Stark and the new king, Robert I Baratheon, and also began the feud between Houses Martell and Lannister.
Death and Aftermath
According to Lord Eddard Stark, Lord Tywin Lannister's soldiers tore Aegon from his mother's breast and dashed his head against a wall. Prince Viserys Targaryen told his sister, Princess Daenerys, that Princess Elia Martell pleaded for mercy as Aegon was dashed against a wall. Eddard had heard rumors that Ser Gregor Clegane was Aegon's murderer, and after the infant was killed Gregor had raped Elia and then put her to the sword. According to Eddard, these rumors were not repeated in Gregor's presence. According to Tyrion Lannister, Gregor's role in the deaths of Aegon and his mother was common knowledge at Casterly Rock. He heard that Gregor's hands had still been covered with Aegon's blood when he raped Elia.
According to Tywin Lannister, he required a way to demonstrate his loyalty to the cause of Robert Baratheon, after having remained neutral for most of Robert's Rebellion. He claims that presenting the bodies of Aegon and his sister to the new king ensured that no one could doubt House Lannister had forsaken House Targaryen. Tywin claims to his son Tyrion that the murders had been done "too brutally", and that Elia's death had not been intended. Aegon's uncle, Prince Oberyn Martell, however, believes that Tywin had Elia killed as revenge for her having married Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, thereby disrupting Tywin's plans for marrying his own daughter, Cersei Lannister, to Rhaegar.
Tywin presented King Robert I with the corpses of Elia, Aegon, and Rhaenys as his "token of fealty". He laid the bodies beneath the Iron Throne wrapped in the crimson cloaks of his household guards, which helped to hide the blood. Aegon's skull was a "red ruin", which horrified Eddard Stark, and was so terrible that not even Robert could not stand its sight. According to Ser Kevan Lannister, Aegon had been unrecognizable, as all that remained of him was a faceless horror of bone, brain, and gore with a few hanks of fair hair.
The deaths of Aegon, Rhaenys, and Elia were met with mixed responses. Robert Baratheon was relieved that Rhaegar's children were dead, and that he did not have to be the one to give the order. Upon the protest of his friend, Eddard Stark, that the two children had been no more than babes, Robert named Aegon and his sister "dragonspawn". Eddard called the act murder, and after a quarrel with Robert, Eddard rode out from King's Landing in a cold rage, heading south to fight the last battles of the war on his own. Although he had not personally seen the corpses, Ser Barristan Selmy has been haunted by the "bloody bodies" of Aegon and his sister. Thoros of Myr, who saw the bodies of Aegon and Rhaenys, believes that House Clegane was "built upon dead children" and their arms should display "two bloody infants".
The exiled Viserys Targaryen is convinced that Dornishmen are determined to avenge Elia and her children, and would thus rise to his cause. Indeed, Doran and Oberyn Martell, Elia's brothers, have plotted against House Lannister. According to Varys, Doran's hatred for House Lannister is well known, and Oberyn, certain that Gregor had not acted on his own, wants vengeance both on Gregor and the man who gave the orders. Nymeria Sand, one of Oberyn's daughters, believes that the only fitting payment for the death of Elia's children would be the death of "Lord Tywin's golden twins", Cersei and Jaime. Doran's daughter Arianne, connecting the murders of Aegon and his sister to Robert Baratheon's rise to the throne, calls Robert a monster who climbed onto his throne over the corpses of children.
The exiled Daenerys Targaryen holds "the Usurper's dogs" responsible for the murders of Rhaenys and Aegon, and sees no difference between the responsibilities of Houses Lannister and Stark in the events.
In his book The World of Ice and Fire, Maester Yandel describes the events of the Sack of King's Landing in a way that shifts the blame from Houses Baratheon and Lannister, by then allied with Robert through marriage, to other candidates, and cites supposed rumors that person responsible was King Aerys II Targaryen, or that it had been Elia, to spare her children from a worse fate.
A Clash of Kings
According to Jacelyn Bywater, there are still whispers in King's Landing that "the butchery of Rhaegar's children" is one of the sins of House Lannister and that the gods are punishing the entire city for the act.
In one of her visions within the House of the Undying, Daenerys Targaryen sees a newborn Aegon nursing from the breast of Elia Martell, who is seated in a great wooden bed. Rhaegar names the child "Aegon", stating the name is fit for a king. When Elia asks whether Rhaegar will make a song for their son, he replies that Aegon, the prince that was promised, already has the song of ice and fire. Rhaegar then claims that there must be "one more", since "the dragon has three heads". Afterwards, Ser Jorah Mormont confirms their identities but points out that if Aegon was the promised prince, the promise was broken with his death. Neither have heard of "the song of ice and fire".
A Storm of Swords
During Tyrion Lannister's trial by combat, a wounded Gregor Clegane narrates a brief account of Aegon's death to Oberyn Martell. He first killed Aegon, the "screaming whelp", and then raped Elia. Gregor claims to have smashed her head with his bare hands, the same method the Mountain then uses to finish off Oberyn.
A Dance with Dragons
While in Meereen, Daenerys Targaryen muses about Aegon, who would have been the sixth of his name to sit on the Iron Throne. She believes that, had Aegon lived, she might have married him, as he would have been closer to her in age than Viserys.
A Dance with Dragons
Tyrion Lannister meets "Young Griff", a young man who is introduced to Tyrion as the son of the sellsword "Griff", aboard the Shy Maid. The company is headed for Volantis, to await the expected arrival of Daenerys together with the Golden Company and more ships for her cause. After some time on the Shy Maid, Tyrion concludes that "Griff" is Lord Jon Connington, and that "Young Griff" is not his son, but instead Aegon Targaryen. "Young Griff" explains his apparent survival to Tyrion while they play cyvasse. According to his account, the infant killed during the Sack of King's Landing was a tanner's infant son born at Pisswater Bend, a street of King's Landing. The child's mother had died at birth. The tanner sold his boy to Varys for a jug of wine, since he already had other sons, but had never tasted Arbor gold. Varys arranged the swap between the two infants. Elia received the tanner's son, whom Tyrion dubs the pisswater prince, while Varys took custody of the real Prince Aegon.
When news of Aegon's supposed survival reaches King's Landing, the small council of King Tommen declare him to be a pretender. Ser Kevan Lannister, however, recalls Jon from his time at Aerys II Targaryen's court, and wonders whether Aegon could have survived, recalling how the babe killed by Gregor had been unrecognizable.
Quotes about Aegon
It is tragic that the blood spilled in war may as readily be innocent as it is guilty, and those who ravished and murdered Princess Elia escaped justice. It is not known who murdered Princess Rhaenys in her bed, or smashed the infant Prince Aegon's head against a wall. Some whisper it was done at Aerys's own command when he learned Lord Lannister had taken up Robert's cause, while others suggest that Elia did it herself for fear of what would happen to her children in the hands of her dead husband's enemies.—writings of Yandel
Kevan Lannister had been here, in this very hall when Tywin had laid the bodies of Prince Rhaegar's children at the foot of the Iron Throne, wrapped up in crimson cloaks. The girl had been recognizably the Princess Rhaenys, but the boy ... a faceless horror of bone and brain and gore, a few hanks of fair hair. None of us looked long. Tywin said that it was Prince Aegon, and we took him at his word.—Kevan Lannister's thoughts
Even before the release of A Dance with Dragons, the fandom had speculated about whether or not Aegon had survived the Sack of King's Landing. With the revelation from A Dance With Dragons about Aegon's survival and his fake identity of "Young Griff", some members of the fandom have speculated about the character's true identity.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 48, Daenerys IV.
- See the Aegon Targaryen (son of Rhaegar) calculation.
- So Spake Martin: A Number of Questions (August 26, 2000)
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Aegon Targaryen.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Elia Martell.
- A Dance with Dragons, Epilogue.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 35, Samwell IV.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 20, Eddard IV.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 30, Eddard VII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 37, Jaime V.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 25, Tyrion VI.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 11, Daenerys II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 66, Tyrion IX.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 38, The Watcher.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 12, Eddard II.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 3, Daenerys I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 64, Daenerys VIII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 17, Tyrion IV.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 53, Tyrion VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 70, Tyrion X.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 45, Eddard XII.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 67, The Kingbreaker.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 34, Arya VI.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 40, Princess In The Tower.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 38, Arya VIII.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 2, The Captain Of Guards.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 13, The Soiled Knight.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Fall of the Dragons: Robert's Rebellion.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 41, Tyrion IX.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Daenerys Targaryen.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 63, Daenerys V.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 2, Daenerys I.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 5, Tyrion II.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 8, Tyrion III.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 22, Tyrion VI.