House of the Dragon: Who Is Aegon Targaryen?
A Quick Guide to "House of the Dragon"'s 2 Aegon Targaryens
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Watch out! This post contains spoilers.
The "Game of Thrones" prequel, "House of the Dragon," introduces us to a whole new cast of characters. Set centuries before "Game of Thrones," the series follows the conflicts and drama of House Targaryen, the powerful, dragon-riding royal family who rule Westeros. Among the many new characters we'll be meeting is Aegon Targaryen, who may appear to be just one of many family members but, in fact, is set to become one of the saga's pivotal characters. Sharing a name with the first king of Westeros, Aegon the Conqueror, he's set on his own course of chaos and war. In episode six, viewers meet the preteen prince, and episode eight introduces him as a young man, poised to fight for the crown. But in that same episode, viewers also meet the other Aegon, also called Aegon the Younger and Aegon III, the son of Princess Rhaenyra (Emma D'Arcy) and Prince Daemon (Matt Smith). Read on as we break down these two pivotal characters.
Who Is Aegon Targaryen on "House of the Dragon"?
The official HBO character description for Prince Aegon Targaryen, who's played as an adult by Tom Glynn-Carney, simply describes him as the "first-born son of King Viserys," the king at the time the series starts (played by Paddy Considine). That description, however, majorly downplays just how important he's going to be as the plot progresses.
It all traces back to the backstory of the Targaryen clan at the time. As laid out in George R.R. Martin's book "Fire & Blood," King Viserys marries twice, leading to a conflict over the succession. His first marriage is to Queen Aemma, a member of House Arryn. Their marriage only produces one surviving child: Princess Rhaenyra. After Aemma dies in childbirth, along with who would have been their son and heir, Viserys officially declares Rhaenyra his heir.
However, as viewers see in episode two, Viserys gets remarried to Alicent Hightower (played on "House of the Dragon" as a teenager by Emily Carey), and they have two sons, Aegon being their eldest. In the book, he's 10 years younger than his half-sister, Rhaenyra, but in the series, their age gap is even bigger. Despite now having male heirs, Viserys still intends for Rhaenyra to be his successor, much to the frustration of his new queen and her faction at court. This plan stays in place until Viserys dies, which happens in episode eight of the show.
In episode nine, the Hightower faction decides to disregard Viserys's wishes and crown Prince Aegon as King Aegon II before Rhaenyra can find out her father has died. This "stolen" crown launches the civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons, in which the rival Targaryen heirs, Rhaenyra and Aegon, and their factions fight to the death for the Iron Throne.
But in episodes eight and nine, we also find out some important information about who Aegon is as a person. In the episode, Alicent speaks to a maid whom he raped in his chambers. And in episode nine, he does not want to be king and tries to literally run away from it. No one lets him. We also learn that he has multiple bastards living in King's Landing and fighting for sport in contests he loves to watch. Ser Erryk Cargyll is so horrified by this that it motivates him to choose Rhaenyra's side in the war.
How Many Children Does Aegon Targaryen Have?
With his wife (and sister) Helaena, he has twins Jaehaera and Jaehaerys. In the books, he also has a son named Maelor, thought it's not clear if that child will also appear in the show. According to a woman in Flea Bottom, he also has numerous bastards. In "Fire & Blood," none of those bastards have names except for Gaemon Palehair, whose mother is a sex worker. Eventually in the books, she recants her claim that Aegon is Gaemon's father.
Who Plays Aegon Targaryen in "House of the Dragon" Season 1?
Glynn-Carney appears as an older Aegon in "House of the Dragon" season one starting with episode eight. In episode three, Aegon appears as a baby. After the time jump in episode six, he appears as a young teen, played by Ty Tennant. By episode eight, he's married to his sister Helaena (Phia Saban) and they have children.
Who Is Aegon III Targaryen on "House of the Dragon"?
As viewers learn in episode eight of "House of the Dragon," Princess Rhaenyra and Prince Daemon have had two sons: Prince Aegon and Prince Viserys. If Alicent was angry when she learned they chose her own baby name for her son, we didn't get to see it. In "Fire & Blood," Aegon and Viserys are still both very young when the Dance of Dragons breaks out. They're essentially sent into hiding for much of the war, but both eventually return to Westeros and have consequential roles in the final outcome of the battling.
Will Aegon III Targaryen Be in "House of the Dragon" Season 1?
Aegon appears as a small child in episode eight of "House of the Dragon." It's not clear how much he'll appear in the rest of the season, and HBO hasn't announced an actor for the character.
Why Are So Many People Named Aegon?
Between "House of the Dragon" and "Game of Thrones," there are a lot of Targaryens named Aegon. In addition to this series's nephew-uncle combo, on "Game of Thrones," fans learn that Jon Snow's parents initially named him Aegon. And that's even more awkward, since Jon's biological father, Rhaegar, named his first son with his first wife, Elia Martell, Aegon, too.
It all goes back to Aegon the Conqueror, the first king of Westeros. Technically, he was named for his great-great-grandfather. Aegon the Conqueror's son Aenys named his son Aegon, too, and later King Jaeharys used the name for one of his son's (Rhaenys's father). In "Fire & Blood," Viserys and Daemon have a brother named Aegon who dies as an infant, though he's never mentioned in the show. Then there are the two Aegons of "House of the Dragon." They'll eventually be followed by two more King Aegons: Aegon IV and Aegon V. Aegon V is the brother of the Night's Watch's Maester Aemon and features in stories written by Martin about Ser Duncan the Tall. Mad King Aerys and Queen Rhaella also had a son Aegon who died as an infant. And in the book series A Song of Ice and Fire, there's another man claiming to be Rhaegar and Elia's son Aegon. That Aegon was killed by the Mountain during Robert's Rebellion, but the pretender claims he was really rescued from King's Landing first. The character never appeared on "Game of Thrones."
Ultimately, the Targaryens are probably so attached to the name because of its connection to Aegon the Conqueror. But given the horrifying endings for most of the Aegons, maybe they should try something a little different.
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