Saera Targaryen by © Riotarttherite
|Born||In 67 AC|
|Died||In or after 101 AC|
|Father||Jaehaerys I Targaryen|
|Issue||At least three bastard sons|
Appearance and Character
Saera was a courageous and clever, girl, in her own way as clever as her brother Vaegon. She was just as strong, quick and spirited as her sister Alyssa. Saera was tempestuous, demanding, and disobedient. Her first word was "no", which she said often and loudly. She was very vocal about wanting her mother's milk and became furious whenever another wet nurse was dismissed. Queen Alysanne is known to have compared Saera in her temperament to her cousin Aerea Targaryen. According to Archmaester Gyldayn, however, Aerea had been very well-behaved compared to Saera. Saera was a fierce and stubborn young girl who thrived upon attention and became bad-tempered whenever she did not receive any.
It was difficult to resist Saera when she wanted to be charming. Saera quickly learned how to get anything she wanted from her father. However, she could not as easily manipulate her mother, Queen Alysanne. Although her eldest two brothers, Aemon and Baelon, were always amused by Saera's mischiefs, they never knew the worst of them, and according to Septon Barth, Saera's sisters all disliked her to various degrees.
According to Grand Maester Elysar, by the age of two Saera knew exactly what she wanted, and when she wanted it (“now”). According to Barth, however, who observed Saera at the age of twelve, Saera took it for her due that her every need was seen to, and desired to be the firstborn, or even the king's only child. As the ninthborn, however, with six living siblings to contest with, Saera desired attention and comfort, yet would often find herself ignored.
Saera was born in 67 AC as the ninth child and fifth daughter of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen and Queen Alysanne Targaryen. She was a difficult child, and refused to be weaned until past the age of four. She was also given to mischief and pranks. Saera always sneaked cats into the bedchamber of her sister Daella, knowing that Daella was afraid of cats, and once filled Daella's chamberpot with bees.[N 1] When she was ten years old, Saera slipped into White Sword Tower, stole all the white cloaks of the Kingsguard that she could get her hands on and dyed them pink. When she was seven, Saera learned when and how to slip into the kitchens, making off with all kinds of treats. Before she was eleven, she had taken to stealing alcoholic beverages instead. By the time she was twelve, she was often drunk when she was summoned to the sept.
A frequent victim of Saera's pranks was Tom Turnip, the court fool. Once, after a particularly cruel prank which resulted in Tom being injured, Saera's septa declared her to be "an evil child". Before she had even turned thirteen, Saera had already had half a dozen septas and as many bedmaids.
After her flowering, Saera took to the men at the royal court. When she was fourteen years old, Saera told her father that she wanted to become a queen like her mother, by wedding the Prince of Dorne or the King-Beyond-the-Wall. When she saw a trader from the Summer Islands, she declared that she might wanted to marry him as well. By the time she was fifteen, however, she had come to entertain other fantasies. At home, she could have as many young men, squires, knights and lords, as she liked. She quickly had three favorites of all the men who attended her: Jonah Mooton, the heir to Maidenpool, Roy Connington, the Lord of Griffin's Roost, and Ser Braxton Beesbury, the heir to Honeyholt. Meanwhile, two girls her own age, Perianne Moore and Alys Turnberry, became Saera's closest friends. For more than a year, the three girls and young lordlings did everything together.
King Jaehaerys considered all three of Saera's male favorites promising when considering a future husband for Saera. Queen Alysanne did not agree, and spoke of her doubts on Saera's companions, especially Ser Braxton. Jaehaerys waved her concerns away, claiming that Saera had never been alone with any of the men, as she was always attended by servants, and thus could not possibly get herself in trouble.
In 84 AC, two men of the City Watch of King's Landing rescued the court fool Tom Turnip from the whores at the Blue Pearl, where the young lords Mooton, Connington, and Beesbury were amongst the drunken patrons laughing at the fool. When Mooton admitted the joke had been Saera's idea, the three lordlings were brought before Ser Robert Redwyne, who brought them to King Jaehaerys, seated on the Iron Throne. When none of the three men dared to say a word about Saera, they were thrown in the black cells. Subsequently, Queen Alysanne called Saera's two friends, Lady Perianne Moore and Lady Alys Turnberry, to her to be questioned. Threatened with imprisonment, the two girls quickly revealed that the three girls had practiced at kissing, dressed at first, naked later on. When the girls dared each other to kiss a real boy, Saera had proclaimed she would kiss a man, which is where her three male favorites came in. According to Lady Perianne "it was [Beesbury] who did the training for all of them." When asked where the servants had been during all they had done, the two girls informed the queen that they had simply been ordered to stay outside, and that the few who had known something, had been forced to keep quiet by Beesbury.
Jaehaerys was subsequently informed, and had squires, grooms and maids questioned on the matter. Only then, Jaehaerys called Saera to him in the throne room. Jaehaerys scolded her for the joke regarding Tom and the Blue Pearl, after which Alysanne informed her they were aware that Alys Turnberry was pregnant. When informed of the imprisonment of her three favorite lordlings, Saera began to speak and within the span of an hour "went from denial to dismissal to quibbling to contrition to accusation to justification to defiance", according to Septon Barth. When Saera finally fell silent, Jaehaerys asked her whether she had given her maidenhead to any of the three men, and Saera proclaimed that they all three believed they had been the first, saying that boys were such "silly fools". Saera declared she would be married, but that she could not decide which one of the three would be the best choice. When she suggested marrying all three of them, she compared herself to Aegon the Conqueror and Maegor the Cruel. The latter comparison enraged King Jaehaerys, who had her confined to her bedchamber. She had to be dragged there by the guards.
The entire following day, Jaehaerys and Alysanne discussed what had to be done with Saera and her friends with Septon Barth and Grand Maester Elysar. King Jaehaerys, furious and ashamed, said more than once that Saera was no longer his daughter. Alysanne agreed that Saera needed to be punished, and moved Jaehaerys by telling him that, if he had been able to reconcile with the lords who had fought against him and his family, he could reconcile with Saera as well.
According to Septon Barth, Jaehaerys might have been willing to forgive Saera, had she done as she had been told. Instead, Saera escaped her confinement that night and attempted to enter the Dragonpit, only to be caught by the Dragonkeepers. Enraged by this attempt of stealing a dragon, Jaehaerys had her confined to a tower cell, where Jonquil Darke, Queen Alysanne's personal guard, stood watch over her every moment of the day. Saera's five companions in crime were dealt with. Ser Braxton Beesbury requested a trial by combat, in which he faced King Jaehaerys himself. Saera was forced to watch from the window of her cell while her father slew her lover.
Saera was sent to Oldtown and given to the Faith a fortnight later. At Oldtown, her older sister, Septa Maegelle, was to take charge of her instruction. It was announced that Saera would become a novice with the silent sisters. Septon Barth believed that Jaehaerys only meant the sentence to be a lesson, that he felt a few years of silent prayer, harsh discipline, and contemplation would be good for her and set her on the path to redemption, but that he did not intend for her to join the Faith in the end. However, Saera did not care for this plan. For a year and a half she endured cold baths, roughspun robes, meatless meals, having her head shaved and scrubbed with horsehair brushes, and being caned when she was disobedient. But in 85 AC she fled from the motherhouse during the night, knocking down an older silent sister during her escape. Lord Hightower's men searched every house in Oldtown, but they found no trace of her. When she did not turn up at the Red Keep either, Jaehaerys ordered her former friends to keep out an eye for her.
Across the narrow sea
Instead of hiding within the Seven Kingdoms, however, Saera had found passage on a ship at Oldtown, which had brought her to Lys. There, she took service at a pleasure garden, still clad as a novice of the Faith, pretending to be a godsworn maiden for the patrons to despoil. This news reached the court half a year after Saera's escape from Oldtown. When Alysanne wept, saying the Lyseni had turned Saera into a whore, Jaehaerys proclaimed that she had always been one. After Saera's betrayal and abandonment, it is said that King Jaehaerys was never again the same as he had been.
Jaehaerys forbade Alysanne from keeping in contact with Saera. Alysanne defied the king, however, and hired agents to keep watch over Saera. Following the death of three of Saera's sisters, Alyssa, Daella, and Viserra, within a span of five years, Queen Alysanne begged King Jaehaerys to bring Saera home. Jaehaerys refused to do so, declaring he did not want to hear her name again, and discouraged Alysanne from going to Lys herself.
Alysanne would write to Saera every now and then, although Saera would never reply. Saera, infamous but wealthy, left Lys for Volantis a few years before 99 AC. In Volantis, she became the proprietor of a famous pleasure house.
When King Jaehaerys called a Great Council in 101 AC to settle the matter of his succession, three bastard sons of Saera - each fathered by a different man, one by a Triarch of Volantis - came to press their claims. Saera herself, though only thirty-four, decided not to press her own claim, boasting she had "her own kingdom" in Volantis. One of her bastard sons was said to be the very image of Jaehaerys in his youth.
On his deathbed in 103 AC, King Jaehaerys sometimes mistook Lady Alicent Hightower, his caretaker, for his daughters. Near the end, he grew convinced that Alicent was Saera, returned from across the sea.
Such a fierce little thing she is, they say, she has no need of comfort. They are wrong in that, I fear. All men need comfort.—Barth on Saera's character
—Saera, when asked if she meant to return to Westeros
Behind the Scenes
In the earlier published Targaryen family tree as found in The World of Ice & Fire, Princess Saera was the twelfthborn child of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen and Queen Alysanne Targaryen, while her brother Valerion was the ninthborn child. For Fire & Blood, Saera and Valerion were switched in their order of birth, making Saera the ninthborn and Valerion the twelfthborn. Besides this change, several other children of Jaehaerys and Alysanne were shifted in their order of birth,[N 2] while the character of Prince Aeryn Targaryen was exchanged entirely for Princess Daenerys. Regarding these changes, Elio Garcia has stated the following:
... George had some new ideas for some of the names and the stories of the children who died young, and corrected some issues that came out of his original birth order (we actually got the names of all the kids quite late in the production of TWoIaF—literally a month before we had to finalize the book—so there was not much time to interrogate it). However, the stories of those who live to adulthood, as published in TWoIaF, do remain the same (just, of course, much more detailed).
- Daella had been frightened of gardens ever since a bee had almost stung her.
- Prince Valerion, originally Jaehaerys's and Alysanne's ninth child, and Princess Saera, originally their twelfth born child, have been switched in birth order, making Saera the ninth born and Valerion their twelfth born. Four other children have shifted in their birth orders as well. Princess Alyssa was changed from the secondborn to the fifthborn, Princess Daella subsequently from being the fifthborn to the eighthborn child, and Princess Maegelle from eighthborn to the sixthborn. Lastly, Prince Aeryn, originally the sixthborn, has been exchanged for Princess Daenerys, who has become the secondborn child of the king and queen.
- Fire & Blood, The Long Reign - Jaehaerys and Alysanne: Policy, Progeny, and Pain.
- See the Saera Targaryen calculation.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys I.
- Fire & Blood, Heirs of the Dragon - A Question of Succession.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Appendix: Targaryen Lineage.
- Westeros.org: FIRE AND BLOOD Volume 1 (July 21, 2018)