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Who was Game Of Thrones\' Mad King, exactly? Who was Game Of Thrones\' Mad King, exactly?
References to The Mad King have been coming thick and fast on
lately. We saw him in Bran\'s vision of things past and yet to come, and more recently, in episode 9, Tyrion pointedly referred to Daenerys\' less-pleasant family traits when she suggested destroying the masters\' cities wholesale. She herself admitted in the same episode to Tyrion, and Yara and Theon Greyjoy, that "Our fathers were evil men, all of us here. They left the world worse than they found it."
So… What\'s all that about? Just who was this Mad King fella, and what was he so mad about?
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Aerys II Targaryen was Daenerys\' father, the rightful king of Westeros (King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, Protector of the Realm, Most Improved in Year 5 and Best at Hockey). The Targaryens were the ruling dynasty of Westeros for centuries, since Aegon the Conqueror and his two sister-wives flew over on their dragons and knocked the place about.
The son of King Aegon V (grandson in the books – the TV series has apparently eliminated Jaehaerys II on the grounds of his being too difficult to spell), Aerys II was also the nephew of that nice old Maester Aemon of the Night\'s Watch – remember him? Other notable family members: Aerys\' elder son Rhaegar kidnapped Ned Stark\'s sister Lyanna, who (future king) Robert Baratheon loved, plunging Westeros into war.
(Rhaegar – who Robert killed before the events of the show began – was the father of Rhaenys and baby Aegon, both of whom were murdered by Ser Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane on Tywin Lannister\'s orders. In the books there\'s a claim that Aegon survived, but let\'s not bother with that now.)
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Aerys\' other two children, Viserys (that snotty berk who Drogo crowned with molten gold) and Daenerys, were whisked away from the fighting and taken to the Free Cities in Essos. In series one we first met them in Pentos, where the merchant Illyrio Mopatis brokered Daenerys\' marriage to Khal Drogo of the Dothraki.
No one knows for sure why he lost his marbles, but generations of intermarriage between brother and sister in the Targaryen line probably didn\'t help. His reign became increasingly despotic and unpredictable, and he reputedly heard voices in his head, whispering of treason (which some fans think may be Bran\'s, travelling through time like when he apparently caught Ned\'s attention at the Tower Of Joy in one of his past-visions).
he do? After Aerys\' son Rhaegar kidnapped Lyanna Stark, Ned\'s brother Brandon rode south to demand justice. His father Rickard followed, and Aerys burned the father alive in front of the son, then had Brandon strangled.
He had the executioner Ser Ilyn Payne\'s tongue torn out for making a joke about Hand of the King Tywin Lannister being the real ruler of the kingdoms and (in the books) burned alive the lords who rebelled against him. Later, he burned alive anyone – women, children – who the voices in his head told him were plotting against him.
According to rumour he took Tywin\'s wife Joanna as his mistress, and when she died giving birth to Tyrion, joked that her death was a punishment from the gods to teach Tywin a lesson about pride. One fan theory states that Tyrion is in fact Aerys\' bastard (and therefore a secret Targaryen), which would explain Tywin\'s last words to him: "You\'re no son of mine."
As the war turned against him, Aerys got his pyromancers to bury caches of wildfire all over King\'s Landing. He was threatening to destroy the entire city when his bodyguard Ser Jaime stabbed him in the back and ended the war. (And that\'s why everyone calls him Kingslayer, which is a bit ruddy bloody unfair considering it was quite a heroic thing to do, actually.)
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