Tag Archives: KING

JAEHAERYS THE DRAGONLORD

 

Like many early Targaryens, Jaehaerys the Conciliator was a dragonrider with his own dragon. His dragon was named Vermithor AKA the Bronze Fury. Vermithor had magnificent bronze scales, tan wings, and he was the third largest dragon after Balerion and Vhagar. We have all seen Targaryens threatening their enemies with their dragons, but Jaehaerys did it in a smart way. Instead of openly threatening unruly vassals and describing what his dragon will do to them, Jaehaerys simply showed them his dragon. He made no mention of threatening them with his dragon, but the veiled threat was in plain sight. He was nonverbally saying, “Obey me or I will unleash HIM on you!” The very sight of the growing dragon was more than enough to frighten his enemies into submission. When showing the dragon was not enough, Jaehaerys rode Vermithor and took flight to put down the conflict personally. On one occasion, Jaehaerys took his sons Aemon and Baelon on their dragons with him to defeat an attempted invasion from Dorne. Jaehaerys and his sons used their dragons to burn the Dornish fleet into the sea and the royal army did not suffer a single casualty and this war with Dorne ended in a single day. Both with his sword and with his dragon, Jaehaerys knew how to fight and win his battles quickly and decisively. Jaehaerys demonstrated how you should rule the Seven Kingdoms with dragons.

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JAEHAERYS THE WARRIOR KING

 

As I mentioned in my previous post, Jaehaerys I ruled the Iron Throne longer than anyone before or after him. He was widely known as a good king, but you do not have a reign as long as his just from being good. Just because he was a good king, Jaehaerys was by no means a weakling like his father Aenys I. During the first two years of his reign, Jaehaerys trained every morning with his master-at-arms and Kingsguard so that he would not be weak like his father and no one would doubt his courage. Based on the reigns of his grandfather, father, and uncle, Jaehaerys knew there would be challenges for him throughout his reign and he wanted to be ready when those challenges came. There were times when Jaehaerys had to put down a rebellion or fight his own battles. One time, a knight from the Reach seduced and violated one of his daughters and Jaehaerys brought the knight before him. When the knight asked for a trial-by-combat, Jaehaerys personally fought him instead of sending one of his Kingsguard. During the duel, Jaehaerys remained on the defensive and waited for the younger man to tire himself out. When that happened, Jaehaerys went on the offensive and drove his sword through the knight’s skull. Most kings we have seen in Game of Thrones were either warriors or politicians, but Jaehaerys was a healthy balance between warrior and politician.

JAEHAERYS THE CONCILIATOR

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Easily my all-time favorite Targaryen king would be Jaehaerys the First of His Name AKA The Conciliator. He was easily the greatest king House Targaryen ever produced and many historians believed he was the greatest king Westeros has ever known. He ruled the Iron Throne for fifty-five years, which is longer than any living soul before or after him. He was crowned when he was just a fourteen-year-old kid, but he proved wise, charismatic, and just beyond his years. Like Robb Stark, Jaehaerys married for love instead of political gain, but unlike Robb Stark, Jaehaerys was able to get away with it because of the power and authority he wielded. His true love was his sister Alysanne, who was a wise and capable politician in her own right. He always listened to his queen and many of his decisions were influenced by her. They had thirteen children, but only nine of them grew into adulthood and four had children and grandchildren of their own. Later in his reign, Jaehaerys had one succession crisis after another as several of his children died from wars, diseases, and accidents. Eventually, Jaehaerys held a Great Council where the lords of Westeros decided who would succeed him, which turned out to be his grandson who would reign as Viserys I. After his queen died, Jaehaerys became a broken shadow of his former self and old age made his mind fade. He died peacefully in his bed, which is EXTREMELY rare in the Game of Thrones universe. He was sixty-nine years old and his death was felt across the Seven Kingdoms. Even Dorne, who were part-time enemies of the Targaryens at the time, mourned Jaehaerys’s death. You know someone was a truly great king if even his enemies mourned him. His reign was a time of unprecedented peace, prosperity, and justice that Westeros would never see again. Thanks to Jaehaerys’s efforts, his grandson inherited a secure throne, an overflowing treasury, and a legacy of goodwill from the people. No other king since has been on Jaehaerys’s level and he was one of the rare few who were truly worthy to rule the Iron Throne.

THE BRIGHT PRINCE

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When Henry VIII came to the throne, he was just a seventeen year old kid. Before he became the obese tyrant we know, Henry VIII was handsome, sexy, athletic, intelligent, charming, generous, and charismatic. In the early years of his reign, Henry’s court was filled with young noblemen who were around his age, giving his court the energy and vigor of a frat house. He often engaged in sports such as jousting, hunting, and tennis. Also, while most kings appointed nobles to high ranking positions, Henry VIII appointed commoners to high ranking positions. He did not care if his ministers were nobles or commoners. As long as they ran his kingdom and made him rich, he was happy as a clam. Before divorcing Katherine of Aragon, the first half of Henry’s marriage to her was very happy. Before he became a tyrant, many thought of Henry VIII as the brightest and most charismatic prince and king England ever knew. Thomas More once wrote that “this king is loved” and he compared the passing of Henry VII and the ascension of Henry VIII to the transition of winter to spring. If Henry VII was the winter, then Henry VIII was the spring. However, Henry VIII had one fatal flaw in his character: he could not rule himself. A king who cannot rule himself must not rule a kingdom. Still, I am curious and interested in Henry VIII’s early reign as a young king. I will be basing aspects of one my main fantasy characters’ reigns on the early reign of Henry VIII. This way, we could see what kind of king Henry VIII could have been if he could rule himself.

A MAD RULER

There have been many kings who were unfit to rule and a few of them were completely insane. Two prominent examples of mad rulers are Henry VI of England and Charles VI of France. Henry VI was a pious man, but a weak, indecisive, and insane king. His unstable rule and inability to reign under his own power was one of the main factors that led to the War of the Roses. Henry VI’s grandfather, Charles VI was so crazy that he thought he was made of glass and about to break. He even had his servants stitch iron rods into his clothing to keep him from shattering. Charles even forgot he had a family from time to time and had unpredictable mood swings that resulted in him murdering some of his servants. In my fantasy series, there is a mad Emperor known as Caelum II and I based him on both Henry VI and Charles VI. Caelum II was so weak and indecisive that he was unable to hold his Empire together when the Dark Death plague ravaged it. House Sylva used the resulting chaos as a pretext to seize the Imperial Throne from Caelum, which resulted in House Sylva serving as the new Imperial Dynasty for three hundred years. You will see his madness in closer detail in a flashback in the second book.

KING REVIEW: HENRY II

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The founder of the Plantagenet Dynasty was Henry II, who was the son and heir of Matilda, who was the wife of the Holy Roman Emperor and granddaughter of William the Conqueror. After taking the English crown from his cousin Stephen, Henry started turning England into a medieval superpower such as annexing Aquitaine through his marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine. However, the Church of England was causing trouble for Henry because they operated outside his authority. To solve the problem, Henry appointed his Lord Chancellor Thomas Beckett as the new Archbishop of Canterbury.

Unfortunately, once Beckett became Archbishop, he spent seven years defying Henry’s orders and challenged his authority as king. While feasting, Henry angrily spouted to his entire court, “WHO WILL RID ME OF THIS TURBULENT PRIEST?” Even though Henry was letting off some steam, his knights interpreted his outburst as a direct order from their king. The knights them murdered Beckett in his own church. This misunderstanding turned into a case of sacrilege that turned Henry into a pariah Europe.

The Pope threatened to take Henry’s kingdom from him, which forced Henry to take drastic action. To save his crown and regain the support of his subjects, Henry did penance and was publicly lashed three hundred times by a group of monks. The tactic worked and Henry saved his kingdom from the Pope. Sadly, this was only the start of Henry’s problems.

Even though Henry regained face after doing penance, he developed issues with his family. Henry was a control freak who effectively turned his whole family against him. His firstborn son and heir, Henry the Young King, was mistreated by his father by not being given any real power or money. The Young King was given an allowance of thirty shillings a day, which is worth thousands of pounds in modern times, but it was chicken feed for the heir apparent to the English throne. To add further insult to injury, Henry II gave the castle of Chinon, which was the crown jewel of the Plantagenet Empire, to his favorite son John instead of his heir apparent.

Things got even more dysfunctional amongst the Plantagenets when Henry II sold his wife’s duchy as part of a political alliance. Not only did it alienate his wife, but it also stripped his son Richard a large chunk of his inheritance. All of these factors became the final straw for Henry’s family.

In an attempt to kick Henry II off the throne, Eleanor and her sons formed alliances with France and Scotland and instigated a rebellion in England. However, Henry II quelled the rebellion, kept his wife in captivity, and “pardoned” his sons. Even though he “pardoned” his sons, Henry II still had no intention of giving them any real power.

Nine years later, the Young King died and Henry’s surviving sons fought to become his successor. Eventually, Richard waited long enough and staged a rebellion against his father and won. After accepting Richard as his heir apparent, the dying Henry muttered, “May God spare me until I have taken vengeance on you.” Shortly afterward, Henry II died and was succeeded by Richard, who would become Richard the Lionheart.

I am thinking of including some elements of Henry II’s reign to the reign of the main character in my third fantasy book.