In the book Fire and Blood, I received a revelation about Old Valyria that was horrifying beyond belief! During the reign of Jaehaerys I, Princess Aerea Targaryen flew off with Balerion the Black Dread and did not return for some time. When they returned, Aerea Targaryen was dying an indescribable death. At first, it was thought she had a common fever, but after the Grand Maester and Septon Barth took a look at her, her condition was infinitely worse than they thought. Aerea was being cooked from the inside out with smoke slithering out of her mouth, nose, and private parts. Eventually, she became so hot that her eyeballs exploded in their sockets and Aerea was begging for death to end her living damnation. In a last ditch effort to cool her down, the Grand Maester and Septon Barth placed her in a tub full of ice . . . THAT was when the worst of the ordeal happened. A swarm of worm/eel creatures with hands and faces burst out of Aerea’s flesh, making unholy noises as they squirmed in the tub. After a while, the worms died along with Princess Aerea. The whole ordeal was so nightmarish that even a holy man like Septon Barth question his faith.
These creatures reminded me of botfly larva, but far worse. The botfly impregnate their larva into the flesh of animals and humans alike. The larva grows under the skin before eating their way out and flying away. I recall one instance in which a man was bitten behind the ear and kept awake at night by the sound of botfly larva eating the flesh inside his head. As for the appearances of the creatures that afflicted Aerea, I pictured them looking like a mixture between eels and salamanders, but more demonic.
Then things got even more frightening when it was revealed that Balerion the Black Dread, the largest and mightiest of the Targaryen dragons, was also injured with a nine foot long cut that was still bleeding. What in the known world could injure a dragon of Balerion’s caliber? These wounds were physical evidence that there was something more powerful and dangerous than the Black Dread!
It was eventually concluded that Balerion took Princess Aerea to the ruins of Old Valyria. Game of Thrones fans have always know that the Valyrians were not just dragonlords but sorcerers as well. However, we never truly got a real glimpse of just how strong their magic was . . . until now! It became clear that the Valyrians used blood magic and dark alchemy to create chimeras and other unnatural monstrosities. This incident with Aerea and Balerion is proof that even though Valyria’s people and dragons are long gone, the Frankenstein monsters that the Valyrians created still linger among its ruins. Up until now, I thought only the Stone Men dwelled in the ruins of Old Valyria, but this shows me that there are far worse things than Stone Men lurking in Valyria’s shadows.
As much as this incident and revelations disgusts and horrifies me, I am VERY curious about what Valyria was like when it was at the zenith of its power. I hope one day we will get to see Valyria in all its glory before the Doom.