“He loved to watch people burn, the way their skin blackened and blistered and melted off their bones. He burned lords he didn’t like. He burned Hands who disobeyed him. He burned anyone who was against him. Before long, half the country was against him.” ―Jaime Lannister about Aerys II Targaryen, the Mad King.
King Aerys II Targaryen, popularly known as the Mad King was the last Targaryen king, who was killed by a member of his own Kingsguard, Jaime Lannister during Robert’s Rebellion. We know that Aerys was a paranoid and a cruel king who liked to see people burning and he even killed Eddard Stark’s father and brother, which resulted in Robert’s Rebellion. However, there are many things about Aerys that most of us don’t know about.
Cut straight to some of the facts:
1. He was the Seventeenth and the Last Targaryen to sit on the Iron Throne. Strikes me hard to realise that he ended the 300 years long Targaryen dynasty.
2. Besides called the Mad King, he was also called King Scab, because of the scabs all over his body caused due to repeated cuts from the blades on the Iron Throne.
3. The Mad King wasn’t always so mad. In his youth, he is described as generous, handsome and resolute; every ingredient needed to become a decent king.
4. He was much like the generous version of Joffrey. While he liked being pampered and flattered and was quick to anger, he wasn’t nearly as cruel as Joffrey.
5. In fact, his early days of rule were quite prosperous with the Seven Kingdoms recovering from the War of the Ninepenny Kings and the Tragedy of Summerhall.
6. His mad traits started to evolve after he was taken captive and held as a prisoner by Daenys Darklyn during the Defiance of Duskendale.
7. As funny as it may sound, his fascination with fire became so obsessive after his return from Duskendale, he even got sexually aroused by it. That incident really had a huge impact on his life.
8. He had a phobia of blades and sharp things. This resulted in him not trimming his hair and nails. It made him look like this:
9. Aerys and his wife, Rhaella had no fondness between them. They married in accordance to a prophecy which foretold the birth of The Prince that was promised as his heir if he married her sister.
10. He was famed for removing hidebound old men from his court and employing bright young people instead. His small council saw the appointment of Tywin (then young) as Hand of the King, Varys as Master of Whisperers and Gerold Hightower as the Lord Commander of Kingsguard.
11. The Kingsguard also composed of young men under his rule. Warriors like Barristan Selmy and Arthur Dayne were made brothers of Kingsguard under his rule. Also, not to forget our very own Kingslayer, Jaime Lannister.
12. He is rumoured to have taken the maidenhood of Tywin’s wife, Joanna Lannister. There is a popular fan theory which says that Tyrion is the result of that relation.
13. In his youth, Aerys Targaryen, Tywin Lannister and Steffon Baratheon (father of Robert Baratheon) were closest of friends. As fate would have it, eventually their children became the reason for each other’s deaths. Sad story indeed.