Your Game of Thrones questions answered including a little more backstory on Maester Aemon Targaryen as well as Tyrion’s role in Daenery’s queendom and the changes from book to screen….
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THIS WEEK’S EPISODE OF GAME OF THRONES
The latest episode of ‘Game of Thrones’ titled ‘The Gift’ saw the oldest living man in Westeros expire as Maester Aemon of the Night’s Watch said his final farewells at the grand old age of 102.
When it comes to dying in Westeros, old age has to be one of the rarest forms of death considering the dozens of other ways people shuffle off this mortal coil in George R.R. Martin’s violent little corner of the world.
It was sad to see Maester Aemon go, especially considering what a wise friend and mentor he had been to both Samwell and Jon Snow since they joined the Night’s Watch. Maester Aemon was instrumental in getting Jon Snow elected as the new Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch when he was tied with Ser Alliser Thorne in the vote to elect a new leader following Jeor Mormont’s death.
That said, while we learned a bit about Maester Aemon during the show, the series really didn’t have enough time to delve into just how important this character was in the history of Westeros considering there was a time he was asked to be king and sit on the Iron Throne.
A brief history of the Targaryens who reigned in Westeros that led to Aemon being asked to sit on the Iron Throne.
It starts with Aegon the Unworthy, who ascended to the throne after the death of his father. Aegon was a gluttonous king who loved food and women more than ruling so he did the former far more than he did the latter. Aegon said he slept with over 900 women during his lifetime and he fathered a huge string of bastard children. He also got so fat that before his death, Aegon couldn’t even get up off the bed.
Before he died, Aegon did manage to pull off one final act — to legitimize all of his children including those from the women who were highborn and they were known as The Great Bastards.
Aegon’s son Daeron took the throne after his father’s death and he stood by his final wishes to legitimize all the bastard children although that nearly came back to bite him a few years later when. One of Aegon’s sons, Daemon Blackfyre decided he would proclaim himself as the rightful heir to the throne and he would cause an uprising in the Seven Kingdoms.
Daemon was eventually stopped and killed and it appeared that Daeron’s oldest son Baelor would then take the throne when his father died. Only problem is Baelor was then killed by his own brother while defending a hedge knight in a trial of seven. Baelor’s sons were also killed by a sickness that wiped out thousands in Westeros so the Iron Throne eventually landed to Daeron’s second son, Aerys I.
Aerys also had to put up with a bunch of Blackfyre rebellions during his reign but the bigger problem was he produced no living heirs so his younger brother Maekar took the throne following the king’s death of natural causes.
Maekar had four sons — the oldest was Prince Daeron the Drunk (guess what he liked to do?), the middle child was Aerion also known as Brightflame who later died because he thought drinking wildfire would turn him into a dragon, his third son Aemon (yes, the future maester, we finally got there) and his final son Aegon, who served as a squire to a hedge knight and was called ‘Egg’ as a child.
Now remember back to Aemon’s final words when he kept calling out to ‘Egg’ he was speaking to his younger brother Aegon. When Maekar died, Daeron had no interest in being king, Aerion was dead, so that left Aemon and Aegon as the only choices to be king.
Aemon was already a maester and member of the Night’s Watch but the Great Council offered him the Iron Throne. They also didn’t quite trust his brother Aegon because he lived so much of his life with the common people that they didn’t think he would be a good choice for king.
Ultimately, the crown went to Aegon because Aemon refused to break his vows and leave the Night’s Watch, thus destroying any claim he had to the throne and stopping any attempts to pit him against his brother.
Aemon stayed in the Night’s Watch for the rest of his life until he passed away and Aegon ruled Westeros until his death in 259 AC when his obsession with dragons ended up with him burned alive.
And that’s the story of Maester Aemon Targaryen, the man who could have been king.
— vitor97handspeed (@UGK_MMA) May 25, 2015
What does Daenerys gain by having Tyrion in her circle? Well let’s break down a few king things she gains.
First of all, Tyrion is a master politician and strategist. He did a great job when he was filling in for his father as Hand of the King during Joffrey’s god awful reign on the Iron Throne. He knows how to play all sides and keep the peace and when the war came knocking on the front steps of King’s Landing, Tyrion was the one who devised the plan to use wildfire to blow Stannis Baratheon’s ships to smithereens.
Second, Tyrion knows King’s Landing and the military forces that protect the city. Certainly a few things could have changed while he was gone, but with Tommen being nothing more than a puppet, he has to know his sister Cersei is in charge and she’s nothing if not predictable.
Third, Daenerys lost one of his most trusted advisors in Ser Barristan Selmy just a few weeks ago. She needs someone with knowledge of Westeros and the politics of the Seven Kingdoms to advise her if she’s ever going to rule and Tyrion is a prime candidate.
Fourth, Tyrion killed Tywin Lannister. Committing patricide cleared probably the biggest obstacle out of Daenerys’ way because for all his maniacal plots and betrayals, Tywin was the best of the best when it came to playing chess with people’s lives. He would have been a force to be reckoned with if he was still alive, but seeing as he’s dead, Daenerys never has to find out what it’s like to go head-to-head with the golden lion.
And fifth — Tyrion is the most wanted man in Westeros right now, which means he’s valuable to Daenerys in one form or another. Touting that she has Tyrion by her side will undoubtedly infuriate Cersei and force her to lead Tommen into some immeasurably stupid decisions.
Put all those together and you can see why Tyrion is a very valuable asset to have for Daenerys if she plans on sitting on the Iron Throne one day soon.
This is a question I get a lot because I have read the books and also love the show. Let me start by saying I was a show watcher first and then went back and read the books so maybe my opinion is a little slanted because some folks who read George R.R. Martin’s source material have been into this story for the past 20 years and it might be pretty sacred to them — and I can totally understand.
While there have been minor changes in almost every season of the show, season 5 seems to be the one where ‘Game of Thrones’ has taken the biggest liberties compared to the books.
Sansa doesn’t marry Ramsay in the books. Tyrion still hasn’t met Daenerys in the books. There are huge sections and characters cut out from the books that just aren’t going to appear in the show.
Personally, I don’t mind the changes because I understand them. As a book reader there are parts of the novels that do seem to drag on for hundreds of pages as we wait for something big to happen (like Tyrion finally meeting Daenerys). There’s also a rich complexity that you get by reading the novels that you just won’t find on the show because it would take a three-hour episode each week with a 30 episode order each season. It’s that deep.
So I like what the show has done with the course corrections and changes and I still appreciate the direction the books are headed as well. One of my favorite parts about the show changing things is the fact that for the first time in five seasons, I don’t really know what’s coming next. It’s a nice change of pace.
Hopefully, book readers will agree that surprise when watching a great television show is part of the enjoyment of seeing how things unfold. We are reaching uncharted territory in some story lines that books haven’t even touched upon yet so this is a fun time to be a ‘Game of Thrones’ viewer because for the first time ever we’re all basically on the same page!
Alright folks that’s the column for this week — remember if you have ‘Game of Thrones’ questions please send a raven via Twitter to @DamonMartin any time during the week and I’ll be happy to answer them in the next column!