Game of Thrones – Aemon Targaryen

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“What is honor compared to a woman’s love? What is duty against the feel of a newborn son in your arms, or the memory of a brother’s smile? Wind and words. Wind and words. We are only human, and the gods have fashioned us for love. That is our great glory, and our great tragedy.”

It was necessary to make this the next priority in the ‘Portraits of Westeros’ project. Sadly actor Peter Vaughan – who portrayed the noble and wise blind-man Maester Aemon, formerly a Targaryan and now a man of the Night’s Watch – passed away on December 6th, 2016. Vaughan breathed life into this role with generosity and finesse. There was an honesty and a subtlety to his portrayal that is rarely achieved. He was a prolific actor in British television, cinema, and theater. He will surely be missed by those who knew him, and we are certainly saddened to learn that the flame of his talent has been extinguished.

Aemon Targaryen, whose character has quietly disregarded his own surname, is the maester at Castle Black and is an important adviser to the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. When Maester Aemon is first introduced, he is elderly and frail, blind, but clearly intuitive, wildly intelligent, and serves under Commander Jeor Mormont.

Aemon is the last known Targaryen in Westeros, the great-uncle of Daenerys Targaryen. Unknown to all of the principle character of ‘Game of Thrones,’ Maester Aemon is also the great-great uncle of Jon Snow, a tremendous irony given Aemon’s affinity to (and advocacy for) Jon Snow’s ascent within the ranks of the Night’s Watch.

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Game of Thrones – Viserys Targaryen

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Viserys Targaryen, the white-haired menace whose political ambitions outweigh any shred of compassion or decency, is the youngest son of Aerys II Targaryen. For those only familiar with the television series, Aerys – whose name bears a marked resemblance to the Greek God of War, Ares (or Aris), is better known to audiences as ‘The Mad King.’

Thirteen years before the events of the television series, Viserys and his sister, Daenerys, were forced to flee the continent of Westeros in order to escape certain death at the hands of the war-hammer-wielding rebel, Ser Robert Baratheon. Viserys is depicted as an almost inhuman twit, with an appropriate level of arrogance and cruelty to match. He is an ambitious political creature, given to unpredictable, violent mood swings. Although it is merely subtext in the television series, he doesn’t just arrange to marry his sister, Daenerys, off to Khal Drogo – he sells her. The reason for this arrangement is to secure Drogo’s allegiance – and the might of Khal Drogo’s army – with a means toward reclaiming the Iron Throne of Westeros.

Frustrated with the wild and unpredictable ways of Drogo and the Dothraki people, Viserys does ultimately receive the golden crown that he demands, the he believes is his birthright – but it isn’t the crown he had anticipated.

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