Aerion Targaryen, by Mathia Arkoniel ©
|Predecessor||Daeron Targaryen (as Prince of Dragonstone)|
|Successor||Duncan Targaryen (as Prince of Dragonstone)|
|Born||In 191–194 AC|
|Died||In 232 AC|
|Father||Maekar I Targaryen|
|Spouse||Princess Daenora Targaryen|
A red three-headed dragon on black; one head orange, one yellow, one red, breathing golden flames|
(Sable, a dragon gules thrice-headed (or, tenné, gules) flammant or)
Appearance and Character
In his youth, Aerion was slim and of average height. He had curly silver-gold hair, deep violet eyes, and pale unblemished skin. Aerion's face was sculptured and imperious, with a high brow, sharp cheekbones, and a straight nose. He frequently wore clothing as bright as fire, in red and yellow and gold, and a black cloak bordered in scarlet satin. One of his doublets was made of red velvet, with long dagged sleeves. In tourneys, Aerion wore a surcoat woven with a swirling pattern of smoke and fire, and his black helm had a crest of red enamel flames. His lance was gold-tipped, and painted in stripes of red, orange, and yellow. Even his horse was caparisoned in slashed orange and red fabric to look like flames.
Aerion was one of the most outstanding examples of the madness that can affect the members of House Targaryen. Cruel and arrogant, he thought he was a dragon in human form. Reportedly, he was a dabbler in the black arts.
Aerion was despised by his younger brother Aegon, who considered Aerion an inveterate liar. According to Raymun Fossoway, the prince was all smiles and courtesy in front of his father, King Maekar I Targaryen, but Aerion's true nature showed in front of others. Prince Daeron Targaryen thought of his brother as "quite the monster".
Aerion was born the second son to Prince Maekar Targaryen and his wife, Lady Dyanna Dayne. He had one older brother, Daeron, two younger brothers, Aemon and Aegon, and two younger sisters, Daella and Rhae.
Aerion threw Aegon's pet cat down a well, though he claimed otherwise. Aerion once visited Aegon in his bedroom during the dead of night, and put a knife to Aegon's privates and joked about removing his genitals so Aegon would become a sister he could marry.
In 209 AC Aerion traveled to Ashford for the tourney at Ashford Meadow, where he initially mistook Ser Duncan the Tall for a stable boy, ordering him to take his horse, and scoffing at him when Dunk said he was a knight. During the tourney itself, once Aerion entered the field he seemed about to challenge his cousin Prince Valarr Targaryen to a joust, but instead challenged Ser Humfrey Hardyng. Dunk was surprised to hear his squire, Egg (secretly Prince Aegon Targaryen), shout at Humfrey to kill Aerion. However, Aerion lowered his lance and instead of striking Humfrey's shield, impaled his horse, causing it to crash and fall atop Humfrey. The horse died in agony, and Humfrey's leg was injured. Though Aerion's actions were called an accident, Egg was certain it was intentional, but Dunk found it difficult to believe that a knight and a Targaryen prince could be so unchivalrous. Lord Ashford awarded Aerion's charger to Humfrey as payment for the death of his horse, which infuriated Aerion.
On the tourney grounds that night, a puppet show portraying a knight slaying a dragon offended Aerion, as the prince felt he was a dragon. Aerion had his men-at-arms destroy the puppeteers' stall and puppets, and he deliberately broke the fingers of one of the puppeteers, a girl named Tanselle. Duncan, who Egg had called for help when the commotion started, then attacked Aerion, punching him and kicking him in the stomach and teeth. Aerion's men apprehended Dunk, and Aerion ordered them to break his teeth with a hammer and cut open his belly. Egg then arrived and revealed himself as Prince Aegon, ordering them to stop. They obeyed, but Duncan was arrested for striking a prince of the blood.
Prince Baelor Targaryen, crown prince and Hand of the King, visited Duncan in his cell, and told him that his nephew Aerion had been telling his father Prince Maekar that the puppet show was treason against House Targaryen, an incitement to revolt. As Aegon's other brother Prince Daeron had been telling his father a falsehood that Aegon had been kidnapped by a robber knight, Duncan's situation was particularly dire. Aerion was demanding his head, which Prince Baelor would not allow, but could not deny Aerion a trial. Baelor reminded Duncan that the last time a man was found guilty of striking one of royal blood, his hand was cut off. Baelor further reminded Duncan that a knight could request a trial by combat instead of one by judgement.
However, upon hearing Duncan's request, Aerion demanded a trial of seven instead, which Prince Baelor could not deny. Aerion knew that the hedge knight Duncan would find it difficult to find six other knights to fight with him, whereas he would have the Kingsguard and two Targaryen princes on his side. Aerion bribed Ser Steffon Fossoway, one of Duncan's few acquaintances at Ashford, to join the his side of the trial by promising him lordship. In total, Aerion's side consisted of his brother Prince Daeron, his father Prince Maekar, Steffon Fossoway, and three knights of the Kingsguard, Willem Wylde, Donnel of Duskendale, and Roland Crakehall. Aerion's uncle, Prince Baelor, joined Duncan's side, as did Ser Humfrey Hardyng, Ser Humfrey Beesbury (Hardyng's brother-in-law), Ser Robyn Rhysling (an acquaintance of Aegon), Ser Raymun Fossoway (Steffon's cousin), and Ser Lyonel Baratheon.
During the trial, Aerion put his lance through Duncan's side, and struck him from the saddle with a morningstar. However, Duncan refused to yield, and used his skills as a brawler from Flea Bottom to beat the prince down, hitting him in the head with his shield until the crest of his helm broke off. When Duncan threatened his eye with a dagger, Aerion yielded, and withdrew his accusation. Duncan forced Aerion to repeat his submission before Lord Ashford, ending the threat to Dunk's other champions. However, Baelor died from injuries sustained in the trial, as did the two Humfreys.
Aerion returned to Westeros at some point, and fought in the Third Blackfyre Rebellion in 219 AC. He performed some actions there that are "known well". After Aegor Rivers was captured, Aerion and the Hand of the King, Lord Brynden Rivers, urged King Aerys I Targaryen to put Aegor to death, but the king decided to send Bittersteel to the Night's Watch instead.
Aerion was married to his cousin, Daenora Targaryen. Together, they had one child, a son ominously named Maegor, born in 232 AC. The same year as his son's birth, Aerion died screaming after drinking a cup of wildfire, believing it would transform him into a dragon. A year later, King Maekar died, and in the Great Council Aerion's son Maegor was passed over in the succession as it was feared that the boy might have inherited his father's cruelty and madness.
Duncan: I ... m'lord, pardons, I'm no serving man either. I have the honor to be a knight.Aerion: Knighthood has fallen on sad days.
—Aerion and Duncan the Tall
—Aerion, to Duncan the Tall
Aerion's quite the monster. He thinks he's a dragon in human form, you know. That's why he was so wroth at that puppet show. A pity he wasn't born a Fossoway, then he'd think himself an apple and we'd all be a deal safer, but there you are.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 6, Jon I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 6, Sansa I.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 66, Tyrion XII.
- The Hedge Knight, Graphic Novel.
- See the Aerion Targaryen calculation.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Maekar I.
- The Hedge Knight.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Appendix: Targaryen Lineage.
- The Mystery Knight.
- So Spake Martin: Many Questions (October 14, 1998)
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 54, Davos V.