Aemon Targaryen (son of Viserys II)
Aemon the Dragonknight by Robert O'Leary
The Knight of Tears
Lord Commander of the Kingsguard
|Born||In 136 AC, at King's Landing|
|Died||In or between 178AC and 183AC, at Westeros|
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.
Aemon was knighted young and joined the Kingsguard at the age of seventeen. He served under four kings: Daeron I Targaryen, Baelor I Targaryen, his father Viserys II Targaryen, and lastly his brother, 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 lowborn in songs, stories and fables. He bore the Valyrian steel sword Dark Sister, previously wielded by Aegon the Conqueror's sister-wife Visenya, and Aemon's grandfather, Prince Daemon Targaryen.
Songs speak of his doomed love for his brother's queen, his own sister, Queen Naerys. According to the singers, Aemon loved Naerys, and Naerys loved him. He supposedly cried when Naerys married their brother, and joined the Kingsguard shortly afterwards.
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 though and was sent back to King's Landing to fully recover.
Upon his recovery Aemon returned to Dorne to protect his King and won great fame by defeating a Dornish champion, and was present after the rebellion in Dorne undid Daeron's conquest, and Daeron himself died. His King Daeron was murdered while meeting the Dornish under a peace banner, Aemon and four other Kingsguard knights were present, three of them were slain fighting, one shamefully yielded and Prince Aemon was captured alive, though not before slaying two of the betrayers. The Dornish of House Wyl eventually put him in a crow cage naked, placed above a pit filled with vipers. He was eventually rescued by his cousin Baelor, his new king.
Reign of Baelor
Baelor, on his return trip from Sunspear after making peace with the Prince of Dorne, journeyed to try and free his cousin. The Wyls were told to release Aemon into Baelor's custody, but instead they gave Baelor the key to the cage 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.
Though the tales and songs say that the snakes simply bowed their heads and refused to bite Baelor due to protection of the gods, the truth is quite different. He was bitten dozens of times, yet somehow he reached the cage and managed to hand his cousin the key before passing out. Aemon thrust open the door, leaped into the pit and carried his cousin and King to safety while the snakes snapped all around him. The Wyls were said to be placing wagers on how long they would last, their cruelty spurred Aemon on and he managed to escape the pit with Baelor.
The venom put Baelor in a coma, his cousin Aemon carried his comatose King all the way through the Boneway till he came across a village that gave him clothing and an ass to take them the rest of the way. Aemon arrived at Blackhaven where the castle's Maester treated Baelor. Baelor 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.
When Naerys was recovering from a failed childbirth, Aemon convinced King Baelor to send Aegon to Braavos on a diplomatic mission, to ensure that he would leave his wife alone while she recovered.
Reign of Aegon IV
When Queen Naerys was accused of adultery and treason by the knight Ser Morgil Hastwyck, Prince Aemon defended his sister's honor in trial by combat and slew Ser Morgil. This event became famous and inspired many songs, stories and fables by bards, furthering Prince Aemon's renown much to King Aegon's annoyance.
The rumors still remained about Aemon being the actual father of Aegon's son and heir, Prince Daeron. 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 rumours have never been proven or disproven.
According to the writings of Maester Kaeth in the Lives of Four Kings, it was in fact Aegon IV who secretly started the rumors of Naerys adultery and used the knight, Ser 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 if the tale was readily believed it would give King Aegon a legitimate reason to set aside his heir in favor of his bastard. Oddly enough there were no known rumours about the parentage of Princess Daenerys, only about Daeron. 
Aemon once won a tournament, disguised as a mystery knight, 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. Aemon secretly took part anyway, disguised as a mystery knight known only as the Knight of Tears. The Knight of Tears won the tournament, and Aemon was thus able to name his sister, Naerys, the Queen of Love and Beauty in place of the king's mistress.
Despite Aegon's feelings of disrespect and hatred towards Aemon and Aegon's provocations, Aemon died honorably, defending his brother and king against two brothers of House Toyne who sought to assassinate the King in retribution for the execution of their brother, Ser Terrence Toyne. Queen Naerys grieved his death and died in childbirth a year later.
Despite Aemon honorably keeping to his Kingsguard oath and sacrificing his life to protect Aegon, his brother did little to honor his memory. In fact after the death of both his siblings, Aegon began to make barely veiled references to his son's alleged illegitimacy - something he now only dared to do because both his wife and the Dragonknight were dead. Aemon's memory however is largely remembered positively and greatly respected throughout Westeros, while the same can not be said of King Aegon the Unworthy.
Quotes about Prince Aemon
– Ser Arys Oakheart
Every child in Westeros knows how Prince Aemon the Dragonknight championed his sister Queen Naerys against Ser Morghil’s accusations.
When he was born they named him for a hero who had died too young.
References and Notes
- The World of Ice & Fire, Viserys II.
- See the Aemon Targaryen (son of Viserys II) calculation.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 12, Tyrion II.
- The Princess and the Queen.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 41, Tyrion IX.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Daeron I.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Aemon Targaryen.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Baelor I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Aegon IV.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 15, Sansa I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 67, Jaime VIII.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Aegon IV Targaryen.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 60, Jon VIII.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 13, The Soiled Knight.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 43, Cersei X.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 35, Samwell IV.
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