Send the Ravens Part 1: The History of Aegon Targaryen and Your ‘Game of Thrones’ Questions Answered

In part one of our ‘Send the Ravens’ column for the season finale, we look at the history of Aegon Targaryen and answer your ‘Game of Thrones’ questions…

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

It’s sad to say that the latest season of ‘Game of Thrones’ has come to an end, but there’s plenty to unpack from such a monumental episode as ‘The Dragon and the Wolf’ from this past Sunday.

In fact, with so many questions after the finale, we decided to split our season ending ‘Send the Ravens’ into two parts — perhaps selfishly so we could talk about ‘Game of Thrones’ even more just because we’re going to miss it so much.

Perhaps the biggest and most important moment in the finale came ahead of the Night King’s attack on the Wall when Samwell Tarly along with Bran Stark revealed that Jon Snow’s true parents are Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. Now Jon’s parents have been suspected for years and it was all but unveiled during the season six finale when Bran traveled back to the Tower of Joy when he saw his aunt Lyanna hand over a baby to her brother Ned while making him swear a promise to her before expiring.

What we didn’t hear was the full conversation as Lyanna could only be heard saying ‘promise me, Ned’ which is something book readers have known about for many years.

This past week we found out that Lyanna not only handed off baby Jon Snow to her brother for safe keeping but she actually told him the child’s true name as well — Aegon Targaryen.

Now it’s probably going to take some time to get used to calling Jon Snow by another name, if he ever accepts that his true heritage is Aegon Targaryen, but that’s the name his parents gave him upon being born. Because Rhaegar and Lyanna were married before his birth, Jon Snow is also legitimized, which means he’s the true born heir to the Iron Throne.

This has been explained previously but the short version is this — the succession to the Iron Throne always goes through the eldest male heir. So ‘The Mad King’ Aerys Targaryen would have passed his kingdom down to his eldest son, who was Rhaegar Targaryen. When Rhaegar died, the line of succession would have gone to his eldest son. Of course it didn’t always work that way throughout the history of Westeros, but that was always the proper line of succession.

In other words even though Daenerys Targaryen is Rhaegar’s younger sister, his son Jon Snow/Aegon Targaryen would be the next in line based on the order of succession.

That being said there were a lot of questions this week about the name — Aegon Targaryen.

First of all it must be noted that Rhaegar and his first wife Elia Martell also had a son that they named Aegon. When he was born there was a comet flying overhead in Westeros and Rhaegar believed that his son was ‘the prince who was promised’ — the ancient prophecy about a great warrior who would deliver the world out of darkness into the light, presumably by defeating the White Walkers in the second coming of the Long Night. Rhaegar was big on prophecy because he believed for a time that he was the prince who was promised and then he passed along that moniker to his eldest son. Now it’s not exactly clear why Rhaegar would name his third child Aegon at a time when his older son named Aegon was still alive (he was later killed by ‘The Mountain’ when King’s Landing was sacked and Aerys was murdered by Jamie Lannister).

The easiest assumption is that Rhaegar was obsessed by prophecy and he believed that his son ‘the prince who was promised’ would sing a song of ice and fire. Rhaegar having a child with Lyanna Stark — the Targaryen’s representing fire and blood and the Stark family representing the cold, wintry north — was a poetic version of ice and fire coming together. That might explain why Rhaegar would name his third son Aegon just like his first born because it was an even stronger sign of the prophecy coming to life.

But why was the name Aegon so important?

Well, the Aegon I Targaryen was the original king who conquered the Seven Kingdoms on the back of his mighty dragon Balerion the Dread after his family fled Valyria and settled down on Dragonstone in Westeros. Aegon was the conqueror, who decided that all of the separate lands in Westeros should come under the rule of one king. So he marched from one part of Westeros to the next until he had conquered six of the seven kingdoms (Dorne was the outlier but that’s a whole other story).

The Iron Throne was forged from the swords of the enemies he defeated and Aegon was crowned as the first Lord of the Seven Kingdoms.

So it’s understandable why Aegon became such an iconic name in Targaryen history.

One more thing to understand about Targaryen’s — the entire bloodline is built on heritage and prophecy so you’ll notice that a lot of the former kings, queens, sons and daughters all had the same names over and over again.

Following Aegon the Conqueror’s death, the next Targaryen to be named Aegon didn’t come along until 70 years later and became king nearly 100 years after the first. Aegon II Targaryen came into power after the Targaryen civil war known as ‘Dance of the Dragons’ when a pair of siblings battled over the Iron Throne until both of them were dead.

Aegon II reign was only for two years after he was poisoned to death by an unknown assailant.

Aegon III Targaryen was the very next ruler of the Seven Kingdoms after he was crowned king following the death of his uncle, Aegon II. Aegon III Targaryen ruled for 26 years, although historically he is remembered for having a ‘broken reign’ after the ‘Dance of the Dragons’. Aegon III was also king when the last of the Targaryen dragons died off despite his best efforts to save the speices.

Aegon IV Targaryen was known as one of the worst kings of the entire Targaryen dynasty and was single handedly responsible for legitimizing huge scores of his bastard children on his deathbed, which led to several uprisings known as the Blackfyre Rebellions. An interesting side note — one of Aegon IV’s bastard children was Brynden Rivers, who would later become the Three-Eyed Raven.

Aegon V Targaryen was named king after a Great Council convened to find a new ruler for the Seven Kingdoms. Aegon V was eventually handed the Iron Throne after his older brother Aemon refused to become king. Aemon Targaryen would later be known as Maester Aemon of the Night’s Watch. When Aemon was on his deathbed (as seen two seasons ago on ‘Game of Thrones’) he kept mentioning the name ‘Egg’, which was his brother Aegon’s nickname when they were growing up.

Another Aegon was born to ‘The Mad King’ Aerys Targaryen and his wife but the child died when he was just a year old.

The next Aegon Targaryen was Rhaegar’s first son with Elia Martell, who was murdered by ‘The Mountain’ Gregor Clegane after King’s Landing was sacked and ‘The Mad King’ Aerys Targaryen was overthrown. It was actually ‘The Mountain’ who killed Aegon by bashing him against a wall before the dead body was handed over to Robert Baratheon as a gift and a sign of fealty from House Lannister. Unfortunately, Ned Stark never agreed with the brutal murder and that drove a wedge between him and Robert for many years.

Now the latest Aegon Targaryen is none other than Jon Snow. Will he be crowned as Aegon VI Targaryen — the sixth of his name to sit on the Iron Throne? Only time will tell.

With that said, let’s get to your ‘Game of Thrones’ questions for the season 7 finale…

There have been a ton of questions about Tyrion’s true intentions after his secret meeting with Cersei and then later being seen skulking outside of Daenerys’ chambers after she went to bed with Jon Snow. Part of the reason suspicions were raised came from the conversation between Tyrion and Cersei when he professed how much he adored her younger children, Tommen and Myrcella, and was heartbroken that they had both died. Cersei then revealed that she was pregnant again and that’s essentially the last we saw of that conversation with Tyrion.

Of course anything is possible but it’s tough to believe that Cersei would somehow welcome Tyrion back into her good graces after the bad blood they’ve shared since birth. What’s more likely is that Cersei manipulated Tyrion into that agreement where she would join Daenerys in fighting against the army of the dead when in reality she had no intention to actually do any such thing. Typically, Tyrion would see through such a ruse from his sister but he may be blinded by the fact that he has another niece or nephew on the way into the world and he wants to ensure they survive.

As far as Tyrion hanging around outside of Daenerys’ door there are two solid possibilities.

First, Tyrion may be falling in love with Daenerys himself and this is a bit of jealousy showing through. Virtually every man who has ended up in the vicinity of Daenerys has fallen in love with her including Khal Drogo, Daario, Jorah and now Jon Snow. It’s safe to assume that perhaps Tyrion has unrequited love for Daenerys as well and now his heart is being broken.

The second possibility — and the more likely option — is that Tyrion sees Daenerys falling in love with Jon Snow and that only complicates matters. Remember, Tyrion desperately tried to talk Daenerys out of flying north to save Jon when he was being attacked by the army of the dead. Had Daenerys listened, Jon, Jorah and the rest of their group would be dead but she’d still have three living dragons instead of one serving the Night King that just helped bring down the Wall.

Tyrion knows that emotional attachment can ruin strategy, especially when fighting a war and if there’s one thing he knows about his sister Cersei — she’s always got power on her mind over love and devotion. Tyrion has already witnessed Daenerys making a foolish decision based on her adoration of Jon Snow — how much worse will things get now that they are actually in love?

When ‘The Hound’ confronted his undead brother ‘The Mountain’ in the season finale, he said this to him:

“You know who’s coming for you. You’ve always known.”

It was an ominous remark but one without much explanation given but it’s almost certainly ‘The Hound’ warning his brother that they will fight to the death one day. It was ‘The Mountain’ who pressed his little brother’s face to the fire all those years ago and they’ve despised each other ever since.

There’s also been a long standing theory in ‘Game of Thrones’ circles that we are one day headed towards an epic battle known as ‘Cleganebowl’ where the two brothers will duel to the death. ‘The Hound’ saying that to his brother just seems like further confirmation that we will see it before this series is over.

It’s certainly possible that Cersei is faking her pregnancy as a way to manipulate Jamie and/or Tyrion but as time passes it seems more and more likely that she’s actually with child. Cersei is still able to have children, which is why her father Tywin Lannister tried to marry her off to Loras Tyrell so she could have more legitimate children in that bloodline.

We saw Jamie and Cersei go to bed together so it seems very possible that they had another child together.

Also it’s worth noting that when Cersei exiles Jamie when he refuses to go along with her plan that she says all that matters now is raising the baby inside her. It’s doubtful she would say that if the pregnancy was faked.

When this season first began, one of my many predictions was that Jamie would ultimately be the one to turn on his sister and kill Cersei to bring an end to her constant bloodshed while trying to rule the Seven Kingdoms. Of course, the creators behind ‘Game of Thrones’ opted to leave Cersei alive so she could continue being an antagonist into the eighth and final season of the show, which was logically a smart move considering there won’t be much dialogue between Jon Snow and the Night King.

So who will be the one to put an end to Cersei?

Remember a prophecy that Cersei received several seasons ago in a flashback where she visited a witch named Maggy the Frog and received a prophecy from her. Maggy predicted that Cersei would marry the king and she would have three children but all of them would die. The prophecy concludes by saying that a ‘little brother’ would be the one to kill her.

“Gold shall be their crowns and gold their shrouds, she said. And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.”

Valonqar is Valyrian for ‘little brother’.

Considering Cersei is the eldest child (even as the first born twin) that means technically both Jamie and Tyrion could be candidates to kill her assuming the prophecy comes true. Thus far every part of that prophecy has been realized.

A savvy Reddit user then theorized that perhaps the ‘little brother’ would actually be Cersei’s baby that would kill her during childbirth. It would be a poetic end considering Cersei always despised Tyrion because their mother Joanna died giving birth to him so it would be the ultimate irony if she died from the birth of her fourth child. Something to keep in mind as we go into season eight.

It’s most likely that Jamie is headed North to reunite with his good friend Brienne of Tarth, who we have to assume is going back to Winterfell to protect Sansa and Arya Stark. When Jamie left King’s Landing, he told Cersei he was going to ride north to fulfill his promise to fight against the army of the dead so it would make sense that he’s going to seek out Brienne.

The other possibility would be for Jamie to join forces with Jon and Daenerys at White Harbor, which is a port in the North where they are currently sailing after leaving King’s Landing as well.

Will Jamie pledge himself to House Stark? Not likely — if he pledges himself to anyone it would be Daenerys so he could retake Casterly Rock in the Lannister name. He is still the eldest child and could sire more children assuming he finds a new wife. That would continue the Lannister bloodline from now into the future. Of course that’s all assuming Daenerys (as queen) would grant him such a request.

Stay tuned for the second part of ‘Send the Ravens’ for the season finale as we wrap up ‘Game of Thrones’ for another year!

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