ASOIAF: Blackfyre Rebellions

Aegon IV, exhibited an excessively open hand to his enemies and was cruel to his companions. Aegon, who drained the kingdom’s coffers for his own pleasures, was known to have gifted dragon eggs to Lord Butterwell, solely because he was involved with the Butterwell daughters. Aegon, harboring enmity towards Dorne, made two attempts to seize the southern realm. Though he intended to send a naval fleet to conquer via the sea, the fleet was lost in a storm. Subsequently, he dispatched dragons capable of spewing flames made of metal, yet due to their poor design, these dragons also met with failure.

Aegon’s estranged relationship with his wife Naerys spanned many years, a union marked by turmoil. Despite Naerys’ prior closeness with Aemon the Dragonknight, a member of the King’s Guard in his youth, she was wed to Aegon IV. However, Aemon’s unwavering love for Naerys persisted. To the extent that in the face of all allegations thrown at Naerys, Aemon boldly defended her honor with his sword in Trial by Combat. He slew Morgil Hastwyck, who accused Naerys of adultery. Aegon did not extend affection to either his wife or his brother. When Naerys perished during childbirth, he remained indifferent, and Aemon’s assassination attempt did not evoke sorrow.

Known for his voracious appetite, Aegon’s life was not prolonged. However, before his demise, he made a decision that would convulse all of Westeros and committed his final malevolence to the realm. On the brink of death, Aegon IV signed a decree designating all his bastards as heirs to the throne. Following his passing in 184 AF, Daeron II ascended the throne. Unlike his father, Daeron did not emulate his ways. He possessed a thirst for governance, an appetite for knowledge, and considerable intelligence. In his quest for peace in Westeros, he embarked on an alliance with Dorne through a marital connection. Already married to Myriah Martell, Daeron secured an agreement with Maron Martell for his sister. This union between Maron and Daenerys in 187 AF solidified a united Westeros, gathering all under a single banner.

However, Daeron’s amicable relationship with Dorne disconcerted many lords. They clamored for war over peace, prompting them to question Daeron’s rule. Amidst this quandary, Daemon Waters came to the aid of the seeking lords. Born from the liaison of Aegon IV, Daemon Waters was colloquially known as Daemon Blackfyre. Aegon IV held him in such high esteem that he bestowed upon him the ancestral sword, Blackfyre. Upon receiving the sword, Daemon also adopted the surname Blackfyre.

Aegon IV (art by Marc Simonetti)

Daemon was the golden apple of many lords’ eyes. While Daeron was a scholar who shunned war and thirsted for knowledge, Daemon was a knight who reveled in battle. His knighthood was personally bestowed upon him by his father, Aegon IV, at the tender age of twelve. However, Daemon’s mind never fixated on the throne. Those who beguiled him were the lords who would ultimately drive him into civil strife. Viewing him as the rightful heir, these lords finally convinced Daemon to rebel against King Daeron. Yet, the supporting lords of Daemon were all aspiring minor lords seeking growth and greater influence. Names such as Sunderland, Yronwood, Reyne, Bracken, Costayne, Osgrey, Peake, Shawney, and Strickland aligned with Daemon, while the kingdom was supported by formidable houses like Arryn, Martell, Lannister, Tully, and Tyrell. Some families, however, supported both sides, including the Hightower family, a significant contributor to the historical civil conflict.

One of the instigators behind Daemon’s rebellion was his half-brother Aegor Rivers, known as Bittersteel. Aegor nursed a deep-seated hatred for his other bastard sibling, Brynden Rivers, commonly known as Bloodraven, who sided with Daeron II. Aegor did everything in his power to drive Daemon into an inevitable war. The anticipated clash occurred in 196 AF at the Red Grass Field. The battle ended in a bitter defeat for the rebels. While Daemon may have been a charismatic knight, he lacked leadership skills, and his lack of strategic prowess was evident. In a one-hour duel with Ser Gwayne Corbray on the battlefield, Daemon emerged victorious. However, not wanting to leave such a valuable opponent on the ground, Daemon attempted to move Corbray away from the battle. Brynden Rivers seized this opportunity, turning the tide to his advantage and raining arrows down upon them. Daemon was struck down alongside his sons Aegon and Aemon in a gesture of generosity. Aegor’s uncontrollable hatred led him to launch a direct attack on Brynden Rivers, leaving him wounded. Aegor then rallied the remaining rebels and fled to Essos.

The Battle of Red Grass Field claimed ten thousand lives, and the victor was King Daeron. Aegor, however, never accepted defeat. During his time in Essos, Aegor gathered his forces and bided his time, waiting for the day he would launch another assault for the throne. In this interim, he established one of Essos’ most formidable military organizations, the Golden Company.

Daeron II ushered in an era of prolonged peace in Westeros. He fathered four children—Baelor, Aerys, Rhaegal, and Maekar—with Myriah during this period. Baelor met his end during a Trial by Seven, fighting alongside Duncan the Tall. Duncan the Tall would become the mentor of Aegon Targaryen, affectionately known as Egg, who would eventually escape home to embark on numerous adventures—the subject of a different article altogether.

In the years 209-210, Daeron II becomes one of the casualties of the Great Spring Sickness. Upon his passing, Aerys I ascends to the throne. Aerys, who ruled the kingdom for twelve years, was a scholar with a keen interest in books and history. He spent much of his time reading and delegated decision-making authority to Bryndon Rivers, whom he appointed as his Hand. Although Aerys was married to Aelinor Penrose, he showed no affection towards her. Despite suggestions from the council to part ways with Aelinor and seek another spouse, the king remained devoted to his disinterested wife.

In 212, Dagon Greyjoy begins raiding the western shores. Simultaneously, House Peake in the Riverlands lays the foundations for the Second Blackfyre Rebellion. Curiously, Aegor in Essos refrains from joining the second Blackfyre rebellion initiated by Peake, for reasons unknown. Theories speculate that Aegor might not have found the new rebellion logical or might have been discomforted by the possibility of Daemon II being gay, and thus opted not to support such a king. Instead, Aegor chooses to back Daemon’s brother Haegon. Consequently, the second Blackfyre rebellion meets its end in failure. By 219, Aegor senses his readiness and launches the third Blackfyre Rebellion. Alongside his own supporters, Aegor brings the Golden Company with him to assail Westeros. Maekar and Aegon were not warriors and couldn’t lead armies. Thus Bryndon Rivers, the king’s Hand, takes command of the forces suppressing the new rebellion.

Under Bryndon’s leadership, the king’s forces once again quell the Blackfyre rebellion, and this time the rebels themselves fail to escape. Despite Haegon Blackfyre’s surrender, he is executed, while Aegor is taken captive to King’s Landing. Although Bloodraven and Brightflame advocate for Aegor’s execution, King Aerys shows him mercy, sending him to the Night’s Watch to don the black attire. However, this merciful act by the king would have dire consequences for Westeros. The ship transporting Aegor northward is ambushed by Golden Company soldiers still loyal to him. Aegor is rescued by these soldiers, and they flee to Tyrosh. Having reached Tyrosh, Aegor declares Haegon’s son Daemon III as king and begins laying the groundwork for a new rebellion.

Brynden Rivers

King Aerys, having no offspring, declares his brother Rhaegal as the heir to the throne. However, Rhaegal meets an unfortunate end in 215, choking on a pie. As a result, Rhaegal’s son Aelor is declared as the heir. Unfortunately, he and his wife, Aelora, die shortly thereafter. In 221, with Aerys succumbing to illness, the throne passes to his other brother Maekar. Like his predecessors, Maekar keeps Bryndon Rivers as the Hand of the King. Maekar marries Dyanna Dayne and has children named Daeron, Aeron, Aemon, Daella, Aegon, and Rhae. Daeron dies from a disease contracted by a prostitute, while Aeron perishes due to a reckless mistake involving consuming wildfire. Aemon, who would later become the leader of the Night’s Watch, declares that he has no interest in the throne and wishes to become a Maester. With Aemon stepping aside, the throne passes to Aegon the Egg.

Maekar’s twelve years of tranquil rule over Westeros came to an end with the uprising of House Peake in 233. Facing severe sanctions due to their support for the Blackfyre rebellions, the beleaguered Peake family sought a solution on the battlefield. Launching an attack on Starpike, House Peake encountered the forces led by King Maekar. While the rebellion was quelled, King Maekar met a bitter end during the conflict. With his passing, the throne was passed to Aegon V, perhaps one of the most intriguing personalities the throne had ever seen.

Aegon V had grown tired of castle life and escaped at the age of nine. Recognizable everywhere due to his golden hair, Aegon shaved his head to avoid being recognized. At the Ashford Meadow tournament in 209, Aegon encountered Duncan the Tall and asked him to take him on as a squire. When asked about his identity, Aegon concealed his true self and claimed to be named Egg. During this tournament, Aerion Targaryen witnessed a puppet show depicting the death of dragons and attacked the puppeteers in anger. Egg, rushed to Duncan and informed him of the attack on the puppeteers. Among the puppeteers was Tanselle, a Dornishwoman with whom Duncan had developed a connection. Duncan rushed to confront Prince Aerion at the scene. However, for assaulting a noble prince, Duncan was arrested and subsequently put on trial in a Trial by Seven. In this sword fight of seven against seven, Baelor Targaryen stood with Duncan as he deemed him in the right. Yet, Baelor succumbed to his wounds after the battle.

Duncan the Tall emerged from the trial unscathed. Given permission to leave and to keep Aegon as his squire, Aegon’s hair was to remain shaved. Aegon traveled to various parts of Westeros with Duncan, getting close to the common folk and gaining firsthand insight into the state of the land and its people. This experience led him to prioritize the welfare of the people during his time on the throne. However, his people-oriented approach unsettled many. Most lords feared the potential erosion of their positions. Yet, for anyone to harm Aegon, they would have to surpass Duncan the Tall, who had been appointed the commander of the King’s Guard and served both as his protector and his trusted advisor in matters of governance.

When Aegon ascended the throne at the age of 33, one of his first actions was to send Bryndon Rivers to the Night’s Watch. Daemon, the youngest son of the Blackfyres, sought the throne through peaceful means rather than war. He set out for the king’s city with the intention of making his rightful claim through dialogue. However, upon reaching the city, he was promptly executed by order of Bryndon Rivers. Therefore King Aegon V decided to exile Rivers for this treacherous act.

Three years later, in 236, Aegor Rivers, accompanied by the Golden Company and Daemon Blackfyre III, sets sail from Essos and lands at Massey’s Hook, launching another assault on Westeros. However, the fourth Blackfyre rebellion is swiftly quelled. Duncan the Tall confronts Daemon Blackfyre III on the battlefield and ends the rebellion by killing him. Once again defeated, Aegor manages to escape back to Essos. However, this marked Aegor’s final conflict on Westerosi soil. Several years later, while participating in a battle in the Disputed Lands, Aegor bids farewell to life. Yet, before his demise, he implores the Golden Company to see through his cause to completion.

Due to his aversion to incestuous relationships, Aegon V marries Betha Blackwood. The couple has five children: Duncan, Jaehaerys, Shaera, Daeron, and Rhaelle. Over time, Aegon’s populist reforms increasingly disturb the lords. Seeking a solution, Aegon attempts to arrange prestigious marriages for his five children. However, the children defy their father’s wishes. Eldest son Duncan the Small, for instance, rejects a match proposed within House Baratheon and instead chooses to be with Jenny of Old Stones, a commoner. This choice, made from Duncan’s heart, unfortunately, triggers a rebellion among the Baratheons, who feel humiliated by his decision.

Emboldened by their brother Duncan’s courage, Jaehaerys and Shaera, instead of marrying their intended partners from House Tully and House Tyrell, opt to marry each other. The youngest son, Daeron, was meant to wed Olenna Tyrell from House Redwyne, but he, too, rejects the arranged marriage. Though Daeron never married, rumors suggest he had a relationship with a man named Ser Jeremy Norridge.

Only the youngest child, named Rhaelle, fulfills her duty and brings an end to the rebellion started by marrying into House Baratheon.

Following his 26-year reign, King Aegon V, along with his family, journeys to Summerhall in 259. There, he plans a ritual to hatch the dragon eggs he possesses. However, this scheme goes so awry that the resulting fire claims the lives of both Aegon V and his son Duncan, as well as Duncan the Tall, the king’s sworn protector.

Baristan Selmy v Maelys the Monstrous Blackfyre

Most likely due to the valiant efforts of Duncan the Tall, Rhaelle and her son Rhaegar manage to escape the inferno. Upon Aegon V’s demise, the throne passes to his son Jaehaerys. Though physically frail and weak, Jaehaerys rules the realm effectively. Married to his sister Shaera, the king fathers two children, Aerys and Rhaella. He arranges their marriage based on a prophecy believed by a woodland witch, who claimed that the Prince Who Promised would be born of this line.

Jaehaerys’s reign endures for three years. During his rule, Westeros faces the final Blackfyre rebellion. Maelys the Monstrous Blackfyre, leader of the Golden Company, launches an assault on the Stepstones with pirates and merchants at his side. At this time, the Hand of the King, Ormund Baratheon, and many lords from across Westeros, including the Hightowers, join the battle. After a fierce struggle, Barristan Selmy kills Maelys Blackfyre, thereby extinguishing the known male line of the Blackfyres.

Sources and Further Information

  • R. Martin, George. “A Game of Thrones,” Bantam (2002)
  • R. Martin, George. “A Clash of Kings,” Bantam (2002)
  • R. Martin, George. “A Storm of Swords,” Bantam (2003)
  • R. Martin, George. “A Feast for Crows,” Bantam (2011)
  • R. Martin, George. “A Dance with Dragons,” Bantam (2011)
  • R. Martin, George. “Fire & Blood,” Bantam (2018)
  • A Wiki of Ice and Fire
  • Wiki of Westeros
  • Alt Shift X, YouTube
  • Whycreate, YouTube


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