This episode covers the life of Aegon IV the Unworthy, the man who fathered the Blackfyre Rebellions. A King who used the Iron Throne to serve his needs, caring little for the realm. He made life miserable for his sister Naerys and brother Aemon the Dragonknight while siring Bittersteel, Bloodraven, Shiera Seastar and Daemon Blackfyre himself.
“Aegon the Fourth legitimized all his bastards on his deathbed. And how much pain, grief, war, and murder grew from that? I know you trust Jon. But can you trust his sons? Or their sons? The Blackfyre pretenders troubled the Targaryens for five generations, until Barristan the Bold slew the last of them on the Stepstones.”
“…no king before or after would practice so much willful misrule.”
“Treason . . . is only a word. When two princes fight for a chair where only one may sit, great lords and common men alike must choose. And when the battle’s done, the victors will be hailed as loyal men and true, whilst those who were defeated will be known forevermore as rebels and traitors.”
He was the son of a common blacksmith and had been given to the Faith while young. But his brilliance made itself known, and in time he came to serve in the library at the Red Keep, tending the king’s books and records. There King Jaehaerys became acquainted with him”
“…his body so swollen and obese that he could no longer lift himself from his couch, his limbs rotting and crawling with fleshworms. The maesters claimed they had never seen its like, whilst septons declared it a judgment of the gods. Aegon was given milk of the poppy to dull his pain, but elsewise little could be done for him.”
“His last act before his death, all accounts agree, was to set out his will. And in it, he left the bitterest poison the realm ever knew: he legitimized all of his natural children, from the most baseborn to the Great Bastards—the sons and daughters born to him by women of noble birth. Scores of his natural children had never been acknowledged; Aegon’s dying declaration meant nought to them. For his acknowledged bastards, however, it meant a great deal. And for the realm, it meant blood and fire for five generations.”