Born in 244, King Aerys II Targaryen, also known as Aerys the Mad or Aerys the Mad, was married to his sister, Queen Rhaella Targaryen, whom he married at the behest of his family (who were following the prophecy of a wood witch), but without love or affection for her.
Their relationship was therefore not very cordial, especially towards the end of his reign. He was the father of Rhaegar, Viserys and Daenerys, as well as of several children who were stillborn or did not live longer than a few months. He was the last king of the Targaryen dynasty and, like many members of that house, he had violet eyes.
Despite a promising start to his reign, Aerys seems to have developed a strong paranoia quite quickly, which made him see challenges to his royal authority everywhere.
He felt the need to assert his status as king and was very cruel to his supposed opponents, which earned him the nickname of Mad or Demented.
He was also famous for his love of fire and was very close to the members of the King's Landing Alchemists Guild. His outbursts of anger often led to him being injured while sitting on the Iron Throne, which also earned him the nickname King Scab.
In fact, towards the end of his reign, Aerys no longer allowed any blades in his presence except those of his Royal Guard. In addition, he had grown his hair into a long shaggy head, and he wore his nails very long.
As his violence increased, his wife also suffered from his fits of insanity. He had also become extremely thin because he ate little for fear of being poisoned. He wore the outrageous crown of King Aegon IV Targaryen.
However, Aerys does not delay to feel a growing jealousy for his Hand who has the reputation to govern the kingdom in his place. He had the tongue of Ser Ilyn Payne, who had impudently declared Lord Tywin to be the true ruler of the Seven Crowns, ripped out with fire-reddened pincers.
Events during the Sombreval Challenge and Varys' arrival at the small council probably exacerbated his paranoia.
The last years of Aerys' reign were marked by many humiliations against his Hand. Thus, in 276, during a tournament given in Port-Lannis in honor of the birth of his son Viserys, Aerys publicly refused to marry his son and heir Rhaegar to Cersei Lannister.
He humiliates Lord Tywin by declaring that the latter is his most capable servant, but that a king does not marry his heir to the offspring of a mere executor. In the year 277, looking for a suitable match for his son, he sends Lord Steffon Baratheon to search for a descendant of the Valyrian line in the free cities.
This mission was a failure, and Lord Steffon and his wife were killed on the way back in the wreck of their ship, The Windy Pride. In 278, he was persuaded by the Princess of Dorne to marry Rhaegar to Elia Martell.
Finally, in 281, following the death of Ser Harlan Grandison, and perhaps at the instigation of Cersei Lannister, he brought Ser Jaime Lannister into the Kingsguard, thus depriving Lord Tywin of his eldest son and heir.
This event led to Tywin's resignation as Hand of the King and his return to Casterly Rock with his daughter, whom he had never really given up on marrying the crown prince or his younger brother Viserys, Princess Elia Martell being of frail constitution.
Still in 281, the king left the Red Keep for the last time to go to the great tournament of Harrenhal. Indeed, convinced by Lord Varys that his own son was plotting to depose him, Aerys was actually traveling to prevent Rhaegar from negotiating with the lords who had come to the tournament.
In the year 282, when, after the kidnapping of Lyanna Stark by Crown Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, Brandon Stark arrives at the Red Keep with his companions to demand accountability from the prince, Aerys has them arrested and summons their fathers.
When they arrive in King's Landing, they are mercilessly executed, except for Lord Rickard Stark. The latter, thinking that he will have the opportunity to defend himself by arms, goes before the king in armor.
Aerys then makes him burn with small fire, under the eyes of Brandon who cannot intervene without strangling himself, having his hands tied and his neck enserrated in a noose. Both Stark die during this cruel ordeal.
Aerys then orders Lord Jon Arryn to execute his two wards, Eddard Stark and the young Lord Robert Baratheon, who was promised to Lyanna Stark. Lord Arryn's refusal to do so, summoning his ban and seceding from the Iron Throne, sparks the rebellion.
The king's decisions during this rebellion will prove catastrophic. The new Hand who has replaced Lord Tywin Lannister, Lord Owen Merryweather, treats these events with great levity, allowing the rebels to call their banns in their respective fiefs. In Lestival, loyalist Stormlords suffered three successive defeats at the hands of Robert.
These defeats led to the dismissal of Lord Owen. In his place, and in the absence of Prince Rhaegar, King Aerys appointed one of his young supporters, the fiery and arrogant Lord Jon Connington.
After Robert's defeat at Cendregué, Lord Connington is defeated in turn at the Battle of the Bells, and the king strips him of his ranks and titles and sentences him to exile. The king realizes that Robert is the most serious threat to House Targaryen since Daemon Feunoyr's rebellion.
Everyone expects the king to recall Lord Tywin Lannister, but he prefers to appoint Lord Qarlton Chelsted.
It seems that it is at this moment that Prince Rhaegar returns to King's Landing. He was asked by his father to lead the important loyalist army, reinforced by ten thousand Dornians who arrived by the Royal Road and commanded by Prince Lewyn Martell. In order to enjoin the latter to the strictest loyalty, Aerys reminds him that he holds Princess Elia Martell in his power.
On the insistence of his son, the sovereign takes his side to ask his help to Lord Tywin Lannister but no answer comes from Casterly Rock, which increases the terror of the monarch.
His paranoia grows and Varys feeds it considerably by pointing out to the king the potential enemies he might have overlooked. Once the royal army has left, Aerys begins planning the destruction of the capital, aided by his Guild alchemists.
Caches of Grecian fire are scattered throughout the city: Flea Bottom, the Great Septuary of Baelor, Fossedragon, the stables and sheds, the gates of the capital and the cellars of the Red Keep.
The king can proceed with all the more ease as his eldest son is absorbed in leading his army. Lord Qarlton Chelsted, the new Hand of the King - alerted by the constant presence of alchemists in Aerys' wake - tries to dissuade him from carrying out his project; realizing that he will not bring him back to his senses, he resigns from his office by throwing down his badge.
He was arrested and burned alive by the alchemist Rossart, who replaced him as Hand. Ser Jaime Lannister was the only sworn brother of the Kingsguard to remain with the king; being the son of Lord Tywin, the monarch did not trust him and subjected him to Varys' constant surveillance. Holding the son of his former Hand also provides Aerys with a valuable hostage.