Warning spoilers ahead for House of the Dragon. Well, it’s finally happened. After years, if not decades, of planning, Alicent Hightower and the Greens have done what they set out to do and put Aegon II Targaryen on the Iron Throne.
To do so, Alicent, her father Otto Hightower, and loyal members of the privy council have conspired to undermine King Viserys Targaryen’s wish that his daughter Rhaenyra Targaryen be crowned queen and imprisoned, or murderer, the lords and ladies of Westeros who won’t bend the knee.
But who is the man they’ve placed on the Iron Throne? What do we know about King Aegon II? Well, if you want to know more about this little princeling who’s placed his rather arrogant backside on the least comfortable chair in Westeros, we’ve got answers.
King Aegon II’s early life
Aegon was the firstborn son of King Viserys and his second wife, Alicent Hightower. In the TV series, we see how delighted Viserys is to have a son finally, and yet he never changes his mind about Rhaenyra succeeding him.
As such, Aegon grows up less like a king in waiting and more like a drunken boor. Indeed as a young man, he’s far more interested in wine, women, and indulging his every urge than in statecraft, swordplay, and dragon-riding, although he did bond with the dragon Sunfyre at age 13.
He grew up with his nephews, Jacaerys and Lucerys Velaryon, and his brothers, Aemond and Daeron. The boys were forced to spend a lot of time together, something Viserys thought would make their life-long friends, but it only stoked enmity between them.
Aegon loved spreading the rumour that his Velaryon nephews were, in fact, Harwin Strong’s bastards and would tease them constantly about it. Eventually, his mother arranged for him to marry his sister Helaena. Although the two never truly loved each other, they did what was expected of them and had two children, Jaehaera and Jaehaerys.
Aegon II during the Dance of the Dragons
When King Viserys passed away, Otto Hightower and the Greens moved quickly to have Aegon crowned king before the news reached Rhaenyra at Dragonstone. In less than a day, they had arranged his coronation at the Dragon Pit in front of hundreds of onlookers.
The coronation went off without a hitch, with Ser Criston Cole crowning him with the crown of his namesake Aegon the Conqueror. Well, except for Aegon trying to run away and Rhaenys Targaryen bursting in on her dragon Meleys, but that barely counts.
While Aegon II initially didn’t want to be crowned, he soon found an appetite for ruling. He was furious when he found out that Rhaenyra had crowned herself queen of the Seven Kingdoms and demanded their executions, officially beginning the Dance of the Dragons.
Aegon and the Greens struck the first blow of the war. Prince Aemond and Rhagar killed Lucerys during a battle at Storm’s End. Unfortunately, as we’ll see in House of the Dragon season 2, the victory turned to ash in the mouths of the Greens very quickly when Daemon Targaryen, through the White Worm, arranged for Aegon’s firstborn son Jaehaerys to be assassinated.
As the war went on, it became clear that the Blacks under the leadership of Daemon Targaryen were winning the war. Aegon turned to wine to cope with the stress and blamed his grandfather Otto Hightower for the Green’s poor progress. He eventually fired Otto as the Hand of the king and installed Criston Cole as the new Hand.
The Greens did score some phyric victories along the way. Aemond and Aegon managed to kill Rhaenys Targaryen and her dragon Meleys at a terrible cost. Aemond and Vhagar walked away unscathed, but Aegon was terribly wounded, with his pelvis shattered and legs ruined.
He was also badly burned in the dragon’s flames and spent an entire year in a near-negative state. Weakened and broken when Rhaenyra and her forces managed to capture King’s Landing, Aegon was presumed to have died, but he’d, in fact, escaped the castle thanks to Larys Strong.
Aegon managed to get to Dragonstone and eventually captured the castle with the help of the smallfolk. As such, when Rhaenyra fled the capital during the storming of the Dragon Pit, he was waiting for his half-sister. Aegon captured the queen and had her fed to Sunfyre, but this didn’t end the war.
The Blacks now championed Rhaenyra’s son with Daemon, Aegon the Younger and wanted to install him as king. The younger Aegon was kept as a prisoner by Aegon II, who was trapped on Dragonstone by the Velaryon navy.
Eventually, Aegon managed to strike a deal with the Velaryons and was able to return to King’s Landing, where his armies quickly booted out the usurpers who had set themselves up as kings in the Red Keep. As the war raged on, Aegon II became crueller and crueller, even threatening to castrate Aegon the Younger.
As the Blacks approached the capital and it became clear that Aegon would soon lose his crown, those in court plotted to have the king deposed. One day while riding in his litter, his wine was poisoned by unknown assassins, and the king was later found dead by his guards.
With his death, Aegon the Younger was the next surviving male heir, and he was later crowned Aegon III bringing an end to the Dance of the Dragons. If you love learning more about the history of Westeros, check out our list of the best House of the Dragon characters. We’ve also got articles all about two of the mightiest Targaryen dragons, Meraxes and Balerion the Black Dread.