Character and appearance Edit
Brynden was slim but reasonably well-built, although not as large and well-muscled as his brothers. He had milky-white skin and red eyes, along with a blood-red birthmark on his right cheek resembling a raven. Some regarded his appearance as being unsettling. After he lost an eye on the Redgrass Field, he usually refused to cover it up, adding to his fearsome aspect. It led to the famous riddle 'How many eyes does Bloodraven have? A thousand eyes and one'.
Brynden Rivers was regarded as cold-hearted, fearsome, dangerous and ruthless, with only his half-sister Shiera Seastar apparently able to warm his heart. Although an able swordsman, his preferred weapon was his weirwood longbow, with which he was a master. Altogether a hale and highly skilled warrior, Brynden's greatest asset was his brilliance and resourcefulness, and his seemingly uncanny ability to collect information. As master of whisperers, he birthed a reputation for being a sorcerer and a spymaster, so much that he soon became one of the most feared men in Westeros, even more so than Prince Daemon Targaryen before him. Many at court, and even more throughout the Seven Kingdoms who only knew him by reputation, were terrified of him.
Brynden was a completely practical man, unapologetically devoted to achieving stability in Westeros regardless of the means. He did not tolerate fools or sycophants, nor did he openly show emotion. His slaying of his half-brother Daemon Blackfyre shows that he sacrifices blood loyalty over personal loyalty, since he killed Daemon and several of his sons in a single stroke and bore the name of kinslayer for the rest of his life, but he extinguished the leader of a dangerous and destructive rebellion in the process. A century later, he would claim to have 'A brother he loved, a brother he hated, a woman he desired'; the first is suggested to either be Daeron II Targaryen or Daemon Blackfyre, the second to incontestably be Bittersteel and the third to be Shiera Seastar. In fact, Shiera was his only vice, as Bloodraven was otherwise incorruptible.
Brynden's skin was sensitive to sunlight, so he usually went cloaked and hooded, even in clement weather. He dressed in black robes and dark armour. His personal sigil was a white dragon breathing red flame on a black field. He wielded the Valyrian steel blade Dark Sister in combat. The fate of the sword after his exile to the Wall remains unknown.
Brynden was a great leader, commanding the Raven's Teeth for years and even rising to become Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.
Brynden Rivers was the son of King Aegon IV Targaryen by his sixth mistress, Mylessa 'Missy' Blackwood, born in 175 AL. Mylessa's elevation at court came at the expense of Aegon's prior mistress, Barba Bracken, and her bastard son Aegor Rivers. As a result of this and their Houses' natural enmity, Aegor and Brynden grew up as fierce rivals. Brynden was an albino with a raven-shaped, blood-coloured birthmark covering part of his face, hence his nickname of 'Bloodraven'. Along with all of the noble-born bastards of the King, Bloodraven was legitimised on his father's deathbed and given Dark Sister, one of the two Targaryen Valyrian steel swords.
During the Blackfyre RebellionEdit
His rivalry with Aegor and, by extension, their mutual elder half-brother Daemon Blackfyre (who was close friends and allies with Aegor), made him a natural ally of Aegon IV's legitimate son and heir, Daeron II. When Daemon Blackfyre became convinced that Daeron was the illegitimate bastard of Aegon's sister-wife Naerys by their brother, Aemon the Dragonknight, he claimed the Iron Throne as the eldest natural-born son of Aegon IV in 195 AL. Aegor, by now a great knight nicknamed 'Bittersteel', joined in Daemon's rebellion, whilst Bloodraven swore fealty to King Daeron. Unlike the justice-obsessed Daeron and his 'honourable' warrior sons, Baelor and Maekar, Bloodraven was cold-blooded and ruthless. His unit of 300 elite archers carrying weirdwood bows, the Raven's Teeth, became one of the most feared battlefield formations in Daeron's army, known for shooting into their own ranks it if meant achieving larger enemy casualties.
At the Battle of the Redgrass Field he refused to face Daemon in single combat, instead brutally shooting him and then his twin sons down with arrows from afar. Bittersteel cut out one of Bloodraven's eyes in a fury before being forced to flee due to the arrival of reinforcements. The rebellion was crushed and Bloodraven's loyalty proven.
Bloodraven became the Hand of the King to King Aerys I after Daeron's death in the Great Spring Sickness of 209 AL. He was removed from office by King Aegon V for inviting the pretender Daemon Blackfyre III to the Red Keep and murdering him when he arrived. Some time after Aegon V took the throne in 233 he sent all prisoners in the Black Cells including Bloodraven to the Wall for reasons unknown, escorted by Ser Duncan the Tall, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard; also accompanying them was Maestor Aemon. There he became one of the more renowned Lords Commander of the Night's Watch.