Over two decades ago, King Daeron I led an army to conquer the Kingdom of Dorne. He was successful for all of a fortnight, after which the Dornish rose up against him and he was slain. Forty thousand men of Westeros were killed trying to unsuccessfully hold Dorne. Many are still bitter at the pointless loss of life of the war.
King Baelor was crowned after the death of King Daeron. His acts of piety were known throughout the land. He was ridiculed by the nobles for appointing an eight year old boy to be High Septon. He married his sister, but imprisoned her and never consummated his marriage. He died on a hunger fast, trying to purge himself of lust.
A footnote in history, Viserys ruled for but a year. He was King's Hand to both Baelor and Daeron I. Some say he poisoned his nephew to gain the throne, and the Seven struck him down for his crime.
Aegon IV's reign was long and not popular. He was famous as a womanizer, at one time having nine mistresses living within the walls of the castle. He was fat, old, and balding. He raised taxes, and yet festivals at the castle were stingy under his reign. He held no tourneys. His brother, Aemon the Dragonknight, was well loved throughout the land, thought to be the greatest knight who ever lived. It is said that King Aegon chose not to hold any tourneys because he despised his brother’s goodness. Aemon the Dragonknight sacrificed himself for King Aegon IV in an assassination attempt which took place several years ago. The unfairness of this was not lost on the populace.
King Aegon IV is said to have had little interest in the daily running of his realm. This was just as well, for when he did take notice, his justice was arbitrary. He was likely to order the execution of a minor criminal, or to set free a dangerous murderer. He was known as a spiteful man who kept grudges. He was unpleasant to the other nobles who lived at Kings Landing. Truly, he was little loved by his people.
King Aegon IV was old at the time of his death, but had not seemed ill of health. There have been whispers that his death was an untimely one. Some say that he was poisoned at dinner. Others rumors tell that he was run through by his own Valyrian blade.
Aegon IV’s will legitimizes his four bastards – Daemon, Brynden, Aegor, and Shiera. It does not specify who he would prefer to be his heir, but does state very clearly that the four of them should be recognized as Targaryens and given the rights that go with the blood.
There is much speculation over who has the best claim to the throne. Prince Daeron is Aegon’s eldest son and only legitimate one. However, Daeron was born the year that the last dragon died, which is thought to be a bad omen. Also, it is widely rumored that Daeron is actually the offspring of Aegon’s queen and Aemon the Dragonknight, which would make him illegitimate. If it were true that Daeron was not Aegon’s son, then by rights the heir to the throne should be his sister, Visenya. But the Iron Throne has never been held by a woman. Also, normally women are placed last in the line of succession. Before the bastards were legitimized, that would be Daeron, then Visenya, but now, there is the question: do the bastards come first?
Some say that Aegon IV always meant one of his bastards to assume the throne. As evidence, they point to Myriah Martell. Daeron was married to Myriah Martell some twenty years ago. There is much speculation about why this was done, as it is atypical for a Targaryen not to marry a family member, most commonly a sister. And Daeron does have a perfectly weddable, and still unmarried, sister. The theory is that King Aegon had been saving Visenya for one of his bastard sons. Aegon IV also had presented two of his sons with Valyrian steel blades – the finest swords in the land, and treasures that can no longer be crafted. These two sons were both bastards, Daemon Blackfyre and Brynden the Bloodraven.
Prince Daeron, now named King Daeron II assumed the throne upon Aegon IV’s death. But with so much confusion over who the rightful king should be, his power is tenuous. It has been eight weeks now since he assumed the throne, but still he has not been officially coronated by the High Septon.
In honor of his ascension to the throne, King Daeron II has called a tourney. He is offering prizes both to the knight who wins the most bouts, and to the winner of the grand melee. The coronation ceremony is to follow. At the ceremony, it is expected that the lord of each of the great houses will formally swear fealty. Should any choose not to, that would be an act of treason. But with three other possible throne claimants, is that really so unexpected?