We’ve already talked about the female rivalry between Alicent Hightower and Rhaenyra Targaryen, which will spark an iconic civil war in House Targaryen, today we’ll talk about Aegon Targaryen III, who is at the heart of this dispute.
His feud with his stepsister will bring fire and blood to the House of the Dragon.
With the behind-the-scenes video of the House of the Dragon series, we have access for the first time to images of actor Tom Glynn-Carey on the set. We have yet to see his brothers, Haelaena (Phia Saban), Daeron, and Aemond (Ewan Mitchell), but knowing what Aegon II is going to do gives me the shivers. To give you an idea, Aegon would be what was Joffrey Baratheon with touches of Ramsay Bolton. Exactly.
Aegon, Aemond, Daeron, and Haelaena are the children of Alicent (Olivia Cooke) and Viserys I (Paddy Considine), and Aegon has a more aggressive and less sympathetic profile than his father. Named after the conqueror of Westeros, he carries his sword, Blackfyre (which is seen in the teaser) and his dragon is Sunfyre. Because the animal was golden, he adopted this image as his symbol, as did his followers. He was born soon after his half-sister, Rhaenyra, was appointed as Viserys’ heir, a political move armed and supported at the time by Otto Hightower (Rhys Iphans) as he aimed mostly to bar the dream of Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) from getting near the throne. Once Otto’s daughter has provided the King with male heirs, he becomes opposed to having a Queen, fueling the animosity between Alicent and Rhaenyra, until then, friends.
In the book described as ambitious, not least because as a mother she wanted the best for her children, Alicent insists on changing the order of succession, without success. Her father is removed from the role of Hand of the King after he suggests marrying Rhaenyra to Aegon, despite the 10 years that separate them. Viserys vetoes the plan (not because of incest, but because the blow was clear) and marries Rhaenyra to her cousin, Laenor Velarion.
Later, when Rhaenyra marries her uncle Daemon, Aegon was about 13 years old and becomes deeply offended (as his mother) when his sister names a son also as Aegon. Aegon II marries his sister, Haelaena and they have three children: Jaehaerys and Jaeharera (twins), and Maelor. When Viserys I dies without changing his order of succession, the bloodiest part of the game begins.
Viserys I’s death was hidden for a week from Rhaenrya, pregnant and estranged from King’s Landing thanks to problems with her stepmother. The greens act swiftly and silently, but at first Aegon II did not want to usurp the Crown, he only accepts it when he is convinced that Rhaenyra would kill everyone on her side.
Furious, Rhaenyra swears for revenge and to reclaim her rights. Although quite soon after he is crown, Aegon already sees himself as King and does not accept his sister’s refusal to bend the knee, demanding Rhaenyra and Daemon’s heads in response.
When Aemond kills his nephew, Lucerys, he contributes to Daemonto leading the retribution. He hires two assassins to kill Aegon II’s firstborn in response. Haelaena goes into depression after witnessing the brutal child’s murder.
Angered by his grandfather, who he sees as “slow”, Aegon elects Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) as Hand of the King. Ser Criston, who aided in Aegon’s coronation, is violent and therefore liked by the young man.
After killing his nephew, Aemond also kills Rhaenys (Eve Best) in a dragon battle in which Meleys dies and Sunfyre is injured. To make matters worse, Aegon suffers burns on half of his body, a fractured pelvis, broken ribs, and a melted left arm with the armor. The pain becomes constant and intense.
In a good battle strategy, Rhaenyra manages to take King’s Landing from Aemond, who is the regent while Aegon recovers. Aemond is (finally) killed in battle, but he takes his uncle, Daemon, with him, thus leaving Rhaenyra a widow and without her major ally and strategist. When Rhaenyra takes King’s Landing, Aegon II manages to escape disguised in common clothes and heads to Dragonstone. Once there, he faces off with his cousin Baela Targaryen, killing her just as Sunfyre and Moondancer attack each other. In that same battle, Aegon II breaks both of his legs, worsening his already delicate condition. At this time, when dealing with the death of her other son, Haelaena kills herself, leaving only her daughter as heir. Soon after Ser Criston dies in a battle too.
A popular uprising eventually forces Rhaenyra to leave King’s Landing and the Iron Throne in a hurry and makes a crucial mistake. She is unaware that Aegon II managed to corrupt a part of the nobles who supported her and – to make matters worse – he is holding her son, Aegon III, hostage. With the power of dragons, Aegon II becomes crueler and crueler, executing enemies without problems. Oblivious of all this, Rhaenyra goes to Dragonstone where she didn’t know her half-brother was installed and running. She is immediately arrested and tried within minutes, with Aegon deciding to feed Rhaenyra to Sunfyre, in front of everyone, including Prince Aegon III.
Victorious, Aegon II returns to King’s Landing, but without the strength to even walk. In the months that follow Rhaenyra’s execution, the King struggles to form alliances, and the pain of his wounds grows worse. Still, he manages to marry Cassandra Baratheon as a political alliance. However, he dies poisoned by his aides before producing a living heir, so the throne eventually goes to Rhaenyra’s son, Aegon III, who wed his cousin and Aegon II’s daughter, Jaeherys.
It is a dense series, with flawed (and therefore) inspiring heroes.