Aegon IV was the eldest son of the King's Hand, Viserys and Larra Rogare, and grew up whilst his cousins Daeron I and Baelor I ruled. His mother returned to Lys shortly after Naerys birth, and his father was always busy with his duties as Hand, this lack of supervision helped define Aegon's character in adult life. Aegon's brother, Aemon, became a great knight and warrior during Daeron's invasion of Dorne and was held captive after the war, until he was freed by Baelor's negotiations.
Upon becoming king, Baelor dissolved his marriage to his sister-wife Daena and imprisoned her and her two younger sisters, Rhaena and Elaena in the Maidenvault so the sight of them would not tempt him to carnal thoughts. Aegon was not under any such prohibition and developed a fondness for his cousin Daena, despite his marriage to his own sister-wife Naerys. On one occasion he helped Daena escape from the Maidenvault and they conceived a child. Daena refused to say who the father was, and was dubbed 'Daena the Defiant' for her wilfulness. In time she gave birth to a son, Daemon and Aegon noted with approval that he was growing up to be a strong warrior.
Baelor starved himself to death and Viserys only ruled for a single year before passing himself, so the throne passed to Aegon, Fourth of His Name.
Aegon IV is generally considered to be one of the worst kings in the history of Westeros, and is dubbed 'Aegon the Unworthy' in history texts. Although he kept the realm out of war, his personal life was dissolute and shocking even by Targaryen standards, and his actions at the end of his life paved the way for the then-bloodiest civil war in the history of the nation.
He was a decadent, cruel, selfish, corrupt ruler who indulged his passions and whims at every opportunity, regardless of social or moral obstacles. Over the course of his life he had, quite openly, nine 'Great Mistresses', and flaunted them at court. These nine women, out of apparently nine hundred, were the women that Aegon proclaimed himself to have loved. Daena was not counted in this number, and their tryst was not openly admitted until long after he became king. Of the nine mistresses, several bore him bastard sons and daughters.
This was to the distress of his sister-wife Naerys, who was frequently miserable and, according to some, sought comfort in the arms of her other brother, Prince Aemon the Dragonknight. Aegon IV and Naerys did bear two legitimate children, Daeron II early in their marriage and Daenerys later on. However, while Naerys found peace and kindness in her brother and son, she never found it in Aegon, who was crueller to her than he was to anyone else. He continued to bed her even after he was told that doing so might kill her due to her frailty. Even after she died, he refused to honour her memory. It is likely that he only kept her around out of cruelty, as he could have allowed her to become a septa instead of a queen.
Aegon IV's cruelty and capriciousness was revealed when he caught one of his Kingsguard, Ser Terrence Toyne, abed with one of his mistresses, Bethany Bracken . He had both killed immediately. Two of Toyne's brothers attempted to murder Aegon IV in vengeance, but instead killed his brother Aemon. Aegon IV had the house destroyed and its members outcast, but they would go on to trouble the realm for several generations until Ser Barristan Selmy put an end to their last descendant, Simon Toyne, almost a century later. Despite this, descendants of Terrence's affair with Bethany survived to the late third century.
As Aegon IV's children grew up, he became disinclined to pass the throne to his son Daeron, whom he had wed to Princess Myriah Martell to shore up relationships with Dorne but had come to show signs of weakness, preferring the company of septons and maesters to warriors. Aegon IV's eldest natural-born son, Daemon, had instead grown up to be strong and charismatic, a true warrior without compare. On Daemon's twelfth birthday, Aegon IV openly acknowledged him as his natural-born son and presented him with the Valyrian steel blade Blackfyre as a gift, shocking the Seven Kingdoms for Blackfyre, the blade of Aegon the Conqueror, was arguably the greatest and strongest symbol of Targaryen rule.
Legitimising the Great BastardsEdit
In his later life, Aegon IV seemed to often praise the accomplishments of Daemon and his other warrior bastard son, Aegor Rivers, but held silent on his heir Daeron's achievements. Some whispered that Aegon had heard the rumours that Daeron was actually the son of Naerys and Aemon, and was planning to formally disinherit Daeron in favour of Daemon.
In the event this did not happen. Aegon IV had become immensely fat in later life and fell ill without warning. He died quickly, but before he did so he legitimised his four Great Bastards, as they were known, on his deathbed.
Despite the rumours, Daeron took the throne, styling himself King Daeron II Targaryen and his half-brother Daemon, now calling himself Daemon Blackfyre, held his peace for a time.
Character and appearanceEdit
In early life Aegon IV was a strong, fit young man and a capable warrior, if completely outshone by his brother Aemon's martial abilities. In later life Aegon became immensely fat, and grew a beard to hide his round cheeks and multiple chins (this failed). His eyes became lost in the folds of his face and his legs had difficulty supporting his bulk. In the last few years of his life he took to wearing immense amounts of jewellery, such as rings and chains, and had a new crown forged, a substantial device surmounted by four dragons.
As a younger man Aegon IV could be charming and was known for his robustness and vigour. He liked to surround himself with pretty girls and powerful women, and his sexual appetites in regards to them were boundless. As he grew older, he became much angrier, prone to jealousy and terrifying rages where he was quite capable of killing or ordering people killed. At least two of his mistresses faced bloody ends for associating with him, and one of them was executed for cavorting with a member of his Kingsguard. Some of his mistresses could calm his temper, but the only person capable of fully calming him was his youngest bastard daughter, Shiera, whom he doted on.
Aegon fought constantly with both his sister-wife Queen Naerys and his brother Prince Aemon, the former because despite being his wife she was everything he hated in a woman, and the latter because of their immense differences and the fact that Aemon resented his brother's cruelty to Naerys. Neither of them, upon their deaths, were honoured by Aegon, who entertained the rumour that they had been lovers until the end of his reign. He did not get on well with his trueborn heir Daeron, but doted on his illegitimate children, especially Daemon Waters, upon whom he bestowed Blackfyre itself.
The ultimate example of Aegon IV's petulant rage was his legitimising of his bastards on his deathbed, which would eventually lead to a devastating loss of life and dynastic chaos that would weaken the Targaryen dynasty.
Aegon was the cruellest king since Maegor, and after his death his only rival would be his great-great-great-great grandson, King Aerys II Targaryen.
List of Aegon IV's Great MistressesEdit
- Falena Stokeworth
- Merry Meg
- Cassella Vaith
- Bellegere Otherys, a pirate captain called the Black Pearl of Braavos
- Barba Bracken, mother of Aegor 'Bittersteel' Rivers
- Melissa 'Missy' Blackwood, mother of Brynden 'Bloodraven' Rivers
- Bethany Bracken
- Jeyne Lothston
- Serenei of Lys, mother of Shiera Seastar