Fans of HBO’s incredible fantasy series House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones will know that the Targayens have more skeletons in their closet than a kleptomaniac undertaker. Still, one proposed spin-off could have undermined the respectability of the house forever by ruining Aegon the Conqueror.
Now, Game of Thrones aficionados have lusted after an Aegon the Conqueror TV series for a long time and for obvious reasons. It was Aegon, with his dragon Balerion the Black Dread, who planted the Targaryen family tree in Westeros and forged the Seven Kingdoms into one.
Indeed, Aegon’s battles against House Gardener, Hoare, and Lannister (with some help from his sister wives and their dragons Vhagar and Meraxes) are a thing of legend to Targaryens and Game of Thrones fans alike. Still, according to The Hollywood Reporter, at least one early draft of the Aegon show had the potential to ruin the Conqueror’s reputation.
According to THR, following the success of Game of Thrones, five prequel projects were proposed. One of these pitches was about Aegon’s Conquest, written by Rand Ravich and Far Shariat, whose previous work includes nobody’s favorite movie, The Astronaut’s Wife.
The pair’s version of the Conqueror deviated from the Aegon we hear spoken about with such reverence by our favorite House of the Dragon characters in that he wasn’t a brutal, but reasonable king but instead a drunken lout.
Supposedly, this interpretation of the character was drawn from the real-life inspiration for Aegon, William the Conqueror (or at least the apocryphal inspiration as the only record that George RR Martin was inspired by William the Conqueror comes from this archived blog post).
Like Aegon, William conquered a foreign land, but he didn’t use dragons, so our interest in him is only passing. That said, we couldn’t find any secondary or even tertiary sources that backed up the claim that Norman was a drunk. It’s possible Ravich and Sharit were drawing on the claim Norman once chose to swap to an all-alcohol diet in an attempt to lose weight, but that’s just a theory.
Still, back to this proposed Aegon series and why we think it would have ruined one of our favorite Game of Thrones characters. Now we know he was an incestuous warlord whose reign only came about because he had the fantasy equivalent of nuclear weapons, the Game of Thrones dragons, but believe it or not, Aegon’s probably in the top three Targaryen kings and very popular with fans (that’s why we want Henry Cavill to lpay him).
Now, obviously, it would have depended on the execution. There’s the possibility it could have worked. Still, we can’t shake the notion that making Aegon a drunk, on top of all his other foibles, would have achieved nothing other than irritating fans (something HBO couldn’t have gotten away with after the disastrous Game of Thrones finale). Worse than that, it would have undermined the central notion of Thrones – that power corrupts.
In my opinion, the story of the Targaryen dynasty is meant to be a cautionary tale about the dangers of unchecked power. Had Aegon, the noblest of Targaryen kings (as we say, it’s a low bar) and the one all others aspire to (although we’re team Jaehaerys), been a drunken lout, then it would almost excuse the terrible things his ancestors, like Aegon II Targaryen, do because the dragon’s egg doesn’t fall far from the nest (Editor: No one has ever said that).
Thankfully, it appears for now as though the Aegon spin-off has been shelved while HBO focuses on House of the Dragon season 2 and the upcoming Dunk and Egg series. Still, honestly, if they do revive this idea (and we do want an Aegon show. Read our dream Game of Thrones spin-off article for more on that), then we hope they rethink drunk Aegon.
If you love Thrones as much as we do, then you’ll want to know what the Game of Thrones cast is up to now. We’ve also got a guide breaking down how realistic a possible Game of Thrones season 9 is, and we got an AI to write the Jon Snow spin-off show. Spoilers: it’s as bad as you’d expect and involves both the Night King and Daenerys Targaryen. Yes, we know they’re both dead.