The Great Council is a council that is formed when the inheritance of the throne is unclear. In Westeros history, there have been at least two Great Councils to decide the Targaryen succession to the Iron Throne.
- 1 Great Council in 101 AC
- 2 Great Council in 233 AC
- 3 Attempts to call a Great Council
- 4 Variants
- 5 References and Notes
Great Council in 101 AC
Prelude to the Council
King Jaehaerys I's eldest son and first heir Aemon had died in 92 AC, which cause Jaehaerys to choose his second born son Baelon over Aemon's daughter Rhaenys as his new heir. Baelon, however, died in 101 AC, causing Jaehaerys to be in need for a new heir yet again. Instead of letting the King decide on his own, a Great Council was called together to settle the matter.
The outcome of the Council
Candidates for the crown included Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, Prince Viserys Targaryen, Ser Laenor Velaryon, and Lady Laena Velaryon. The lords assembled favored the male claimant over the female by twenty to one, although supporters of Rhaenys included Houses Baratheon, Stark, Dustin, and Manderly. Viserys Targaryen was ultimately chosen by the assembled nobility.
Following the death of King Viserys I, his 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.
Great Council in 233 AC
Prelude to the Council
King Daeron II's heir, Prince Baelor, had perished in an accident during a Trial of Seven in 209 AC, leaving his eldest son Valarr to inherit the crown. However, later that year the Great Spring Sickness killed King Daeron and both of Baelor's sons, Valarr and Matarys. This in turn left Daeron's second son Aerys I to inherit. Aerys left no issue, and upon his death in 221 AC the crown was passed to his youngest brother, who reigned as King Maekar I, the fourth son of King Daeron II. At the death of Maekar at the hands of a rebellious lord in 233 AC, a council was convened to decide who would inherit the Iron Throne since both of Maekar's eldest sons were dead and their inheritors were only children.
Outcome of the Council
Maekar's oldest son, Daeron, called "Daeron the Drunken", was a dissolute whore-monger who had died of a sexually transmitted pox, and left only a feeble-witted daughter, Vaella, as a possible heir. His second son, Aerion Targaryen, was a cruel madman who had died in 232 AC as a result of drinking wildfire in the mistaken belief it would turn him into a dragon. He had left an infant son with the ominous name of Maegor as only heir, who was only a year old. Aemon and Aegon had not expected to inherit the throne with two grown sons ahead of them. Aemon was already a chained maester serving at his brother Daeron's castle. Aegon was a man grown, but mistrusted by the lords due to his time spent squiring for Ser Duncan the Tall, being called "half a peasant". A final unexpected contender for the throne was Aenys Blackfyre, fifth son of Daemon Blackfyre, who had written from Tyrosh, hoping to win the throne with words when his predecessors had failed to win it with swords. The Hand of he King, Brynden Rivers, offered him safe conduct to Westeros.
Vaella was passed over almost immediately, being both female and simple. Few spoke for Maegor, as he was an infant and many wanted to avoid a lengthy regency, there were also fears that he may have inherited his father's madness. In an attempt to avoid the crowning of Aegon, some lords attempted to have Maester Aemon released from his vows, but he declined and nothing came of it. As the lords were debating, Aenys Blackfyre arrived. He was immediately arrested and dragged to the Red Keep to be executed by Bloodraven, in breach of his promise of safe conduct. Aenys' head was presented to the council as a warning to Blackfyre sympathisers.
Soon after this the lords present chose Aegon and he was crowned as the fifth of his name, his first act being to arrest Brynden Rivers for murder.
Attempts to call a Great Council
In 130 AC, after the fall of King's Landing, Dowager Queen Alicent Hightower suggested assembling a Great Council, to decide which claimant should ascend to the throne, Rhaenyra Targaryen or Aegon Targaryen. Rhaenyra, however, refused to grant the wish.
After realizing that Joffrey Baratheon was not the biological son of Robert Baratheon, Catelyn Stark suggests to Renly Baratheon that he, Stannis Baratheon, and Robb Stark, who had all been crowned as kings, should set aside their claims and call for a Great Council to determine who should be king. Renly Baratheon laughed at the suggestion.
- Main article: Kingsmoot
A kingsmoot is a Great Council-like ceremony held amongst the Ironborn, where all longship captains are allowed to cast a vote as to who should be chosen as the new Iron King. The kingsmoot is traditionally held on Nagga's Hill on Old Wyk. The last Kingsmoot was called in late 299 AC by the priest Aeron Greyjoy, after the death of King Balon Greyjoy. In early 300 AC, Euron Greyjoy was chosen as the new Iron King.
References and Notes
- The Princess and the Queen.
- The Hedge Knight.
- The Sworn Sword.
- The Mystery Knight.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 6, Jon I.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 8, Jaime I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 33, Catelyn IV.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 1, The Prophet.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 2, The Captain Of Guards.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 19, The Drowned Man.