Aegon IV Targaryen

Aegon 4 Targaryen

Born in the year 135, King Aegon IV Targaryen, known as Aegon the Unworthy, was the eldest son of King Viserys II Targaryen. In his youth he was a gentleman and a ladies' man.

After his accession to the throne in 172, the exercise of power and abuses of all kinds made him a fat, corrupt man whose legs could no longer carry him.

His eyes were lost in the fat folds of his face and his opulent beard did not hide his double chin. He wore a massive new crown of red gold, adorned with three dragon heads with gemstone eyes.

Aegon IV Targaryen Youth

The eldest son of Prince Viserys Targaryen, younger brother of King Aegon III Targaryen, who himself had two sons and three daughters, young Aegon was not destined to rule. Married to his own sister in the year 153, Naerys, they had a son named Daeron the same year.

At his accession in 161, King Baelor the Blessed, Aegon's cousin, had his three sisters locked up in a building in the Red Keep to protect himself from the carnal temptations they represented.

Despite their confinement, Aegon managed to have a secret adulterous relationship with the eldest of the sisters, his cousin Daena, who gave him a son in the year 170, whom she named Daemon without revealing who the father was.

Aegon had conflicting relations with his wife, who was very pious, whom he did not like and who was said to be in love with their brother Aemon. The death of King Baelor without a descendant allowed Aegon's father to take the throne as Viserys II Targaryen.

However, Viserys only reigned for one year before dying in 172, leading to Aegon's inheritance of power as Aegon IV Targaryen. It is possible, even probable, that the latter, eager for power, poisoned his own father.

Aegon IV Targaryen Reign

During his reign, Aegon became more and more spoiled, and soon the attractive young man became a fat and extravagant man. In the year 174, wanting to invade Dorne as his cousin Daeron I had done, he gathers a gigantic war fleet which is destroyed by a storm.

After this abortive invasion, he ordered the construction of large replicas of dragons made of wood and iron, pale imitations of the Targaryen dragons that had disappeared twenty years earlier, but they caught fire, killing hundreds of men.

The king's son, the young Daeron, strongly opposed this invasion plan and Aegon IV even threatened to disinherit him. Aegon IV's relations with his family were indeed very complicated.

Despite his brutality, the king never laid a hand on his wife, Queen Naerys, perhaps out of fear of their brother, Ser Aemon Dragon Knight. However, he did not hesitate to have several mistresses throughout his reign, and willingly slept with the daughters of his vassals whom he visited, sometimes leaving them surprising gifts in compensation, as when he gave Lord Ambrose Beurpuits, his Grand Argentier, a dragon egg.

In the year 178, he caught one of the members of his Royal Guard, Ser Terrence Tignac, in bed with his favorite of the moment, Lady Bethany Bracken. The two lovers are executed, but Ser Terrence's two brothers try to assassinate Aegon.

Aegon is saved by Ser Aemon the Dragon Knight, who is then killed. The two Tignac brothers are captured and executed for treason. After his brother's death, Aegon IV started to make more freely allusions to the alleged bastardy of his son and heir Daeron, who he thought was his brother's son and not his own.

In the year 182, King Aegon crowned the young Daemon Waters, the mysterious son of his cousin Daena Targaryen, revealing him to be his bastard. On this occasion, he gives him Feunoyr, the Valyrian steel sword of House Targaryen, and allows him to take the name of House Targaryen to designate his lineage, thus creating House Feunoyr.

Aegon IV thus clearly shows his preference for this bastard son, to the detriment of his legitimate heir Prince Daeron. Rumors that the latter was not the king's son quickly spread and many lords who wished to gain the king's favor did not hesitate to spread them.

In the year 184, as he lay on his deathbed, obese and eaten by worms, King Aegon legitimized all his bastards, even those he had had from common women.

Aegon IV Targaryen Legacy

Aegon IV is often considered the worst king of the Targaryen dynasty, which earned him the nickname of the Unworthy.

Indeed, the stature he gave to his bastard Daemon Feunoyr by legitimizing him and giving him the sword of his house was to give rise to a succession quarrel from which the Feunoyr rebellions were to follow.

Maester Kaeth, author of Lives of Four Kings in which he recounts the reign of Aegon IV, considers that no other king had abused his power as much as he did.