Why fAegon Will Triumph in George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire”

Aegon, known widely amongst the fandom as f(ake)Aegon, is the pretender to the Iron Throne backed by Varys and Illyrio Morpatis in the guise of the supposedly killed as a baby, Aegon, son of Rhaegar and Elia. Illyrio has had the now teen-aged “Aegon” educated and taught to be the perfect Targaryen ruler. Half-maester Haldon has seen to his studies in law, history, economics, and medicine. Ser has trained him in the martial arts. Septa Lemore taught him in the Faith of the Seven. Old Griff, actually Ser Jon Connington, former hand to Aerys II, has been his tutor in Westerosi politics and seen to his character. According to Varys, the young man has worked at a number of professions so he can know how the smallfolk live. In other words, Varys declares him to be the perfect prince. There is only one problem with this perfect picture, this fabled rescue and upbringing, and this perfect education: It is all a lie.

 

Illyrio Morpatis good as confirmed that fAegon is his son with his dottering recollections of the Lyseni prostitute whom he loved so much that he was willing to doom his status in Pentos to buy her, then marry her. The clothes that fit Tyrion so well while he was masquerading in Essos on “The Stinky Steward” (“Perfumed Seneschal” from Quaithe’s warning to Daenerys) were those meant for a boy. Then, there is the statue of the lad in Morpatis’ gardens. A fantastically wealthy merchant does not simply play the game of thrones in Westeros merely to have a grateful monarch on the Iron Throne. There is much more likely a highly personal motive. It has its roots in the Blackfyre Rebellions.

 

Daemon Blackfyre was the first, the most heralded, and arguably the most impressive of the so-called Great Bastards of Aegon IV “the Unworthy”. Unlike his decidedly unmartial and favoring the Dornish culture of his Dornish wife, Daeron, the legitimate heir to the throne, Daemon Blackfyre was the epitome of Westerosi nobility: handsome, a great warrior, anti-Dorne, and siring many children. Unfortunately for the realm, Aegon IV was among his most ardent supporters even giving him the crown’s ancestral great sword, Blackfyre, from which Daemon took his name and the cause that he was also to sire. On his deathbed, Aegon made matters immeasurably worse by legitimizing all of his bastards. This gave Daemon a plausible claim to the throne. Thanks to the rivalry between Aegor “Bittersteel” Rivers and Brynden “Bloodraven” Rivers for another bastard, the beautiful Shiera Seastar, Bittersteel convinced Daemon to claim the throne over Bloodraven’s support for the heir, Daeron. Thus began another brutal Targaryen civil war. The Reds of Daeron and his line prevailed in no small part to Bloodraven’s involvement, but the Blackfyre cause remained in the form of the mercenary company, the Golden Company, that Bittersteel founded to fight the cause and the Blackfyre descendants remaining in exile in Essos.

 

Given the information that the male line of Blackfyres is dead, we can presume fAegon comes from either the female line or any of the Valerian-featured women of Essos. A symbolic hint that fAegon is a Blackfyre comes from the story Brienne learns while searching for Sansa and Arya in the Riverlands. A tavern called the Black Dragon with a black iron dragon sign to match lost its sign in a storm. When the sign washed up a while later the black iron had rusted turning the black dragon into a red one, a Blackfyre into a Red Targaryen. Presently, fAegon and Jon Connington are with the Golden Company invading the Stormlands. The fandom is suitably unimpressed with what many have labeled a diversion from the main story lines of Jon, Daenerys, Tyrion, etc. However, what people do not understand is that fAegon is not peripheral. Like Fortinbras in Hamlet, fAegon is going to be the ultimate victor in the game of thrones.

 

The fandom will immediately object to this conclusion using Daenerys’ House of the Undying visions as their sword of truth. “The visions are real!” they will proclaim from the rooftops. They certainly are. However, Daenerys exposing the “mummer’s dragon” while making her a “slayer of lies” does not prove anything about the future. fAegon is a false dragon, but that will matter for little. As George R. R. Martin himself has quoted in an interview from the movie, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence”, when there is a choice between printing the legend and the truth, print the legend. Where does the power lie poses Varys to Tyrion. The answer lies where people think it does.

 

Fan favorites stand in opposition to this theory so here goes a refutation of all of them. Tyrion will have all of the pre-requisites for rulership including a dragon, but he will still be a dwarf. Westeros will not accept a dwarf as king. Martin has explicitly set out to dispose of “Disneyland fantasy” so there will be no frog prince in this story. Tyrion may well have his beauty in Sansa, but he cannot get the Iron Throne. For those thinking Jon or Jon marries Daenerys ending, Martin put the final nail in that coffin with his Time magazine interview in July of 2017. Jon is a reanimated corpse like Beric Dondarrion and Lady Stoneheart – a wight of fire instead of ice magic. There is no blood flow. There is no real life. Jon’s assassination has eliminated him from contention for the throne and Daenerys’ hand regardless of his resurrection, just like the Jesus figure he most closely resembles. Daenerys too is likewise doomed. She is a conqueror, not a ruler, a dragon who “does not plant trees”. Whether she dies fighting in the second Dance of the Dragons or is felled against an ice dragon or dies in childbirth like so many other women in Martin’s nursery of martyrs, Daenerys will not sit the world most uncomfortable chair.

 

George R. R. Martin enjoys his bittersweet endings with dissatisfaction for his protagonists. They, like him, do not get to rule Bayonne or have children or grandchildren. They have adventures. They see marvels. They are pieces in someone else’s game. But, they do not get to experience ultimate triumph. It will be the same with “A Song of Ice and Fire”. When Maester Samwell Tarly writes the story, it will end in fAegon’s triumph. And the awfulness of Westeros and Essos will continue on as before just as Martin sees the awfulness of earth continue as before with individual adventures, tragedies, and stories. Are you not entertained?

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