Since Jon is the trueborn son of Rhaegar, and therefore the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, what kind of legacy does he have to live up to in order to be worthy of the most famous moniker in the Realm’s history? It’s not nearly as tough a climb as you’d think.
Here are the five King Aegons, worst to first, and the odds Jon can be the best Aegon of them all.
11th Targaryen king
Reign: 172 AC – 184 AC
Known as Aegon the Unworthy
You don’t get dubbed “the Unworthy” because you excelled at your job. Aegon the Fourth of His Name was arguably the worst Targaryen ruler, ever. Over the course of his corrupt reign he got so fat they say it was hard to see his eyes in his face, the tangible manifestation of the greed and gluttony that defined his rule—if it could even be said he ruled. He had numerous bastards, many with highborn women (even if they were married), and filled the royal court with flatterers instead of capable public servants, rewarding and punishing people for spurious reasons.
But despite over a decade of disastrous leadership, his final act caused the most harm to his kingdom. On his deathbed, at only 49, he legitimized all his bastards. That led to five generations of civil strife against the crown, known as the Blackfyre Rebellions, with none being more damaging to the Seven Kingdoms than the first, when Westeros was split in two.
Chances Jon can live up to his legacy? 100%. Aegon the Unworthy was like if Robert Baratheon was a total asshole and his gluttony was multiplied by 100, and also if he looked like an out-of-shape Jabba the Hutt.
6th Targaryen king
Reign: 129 AC – 131 AC
Known as the Usurper, the Elder
Following the death of King Viserys I, a civil war broke out over the line of succession. Viserys had named his daughter Rhaenrya, from his first marriage as his heir, but after he died a faction close to Viserys’ second wife named her son Aegon king. The Dance of the Dragons was a bloody and costly affair for House Targaryen, and it ended when Aegon fed his half-sister Rhaenyra to his dragon Sunfyre.
Aegon, Second of His Name, was a lazy man of low morals. He fathered many bastards and was an ineffectual ruler. He was poisoned by someone close to him shortly before he was likely to be overthrown.
Chances Jon can live up to his legacy? 100%. Aegon the Usurper was not a man worthy of fighting other dragons. He was a putz and cruel. They also say his mustache was wispy, and Jon Snow’s hair is great.
7th Targaryen king
Reign: 131 AC – 157 AC
Known as Aegon the Dragonbane, the Unlucky, the Younger, and The Broken King
Aegon, Third of His Name, was the son of Rhaenyra, and when his uncle Aegon the Elder fed her to his dragon he made her son Aegon watch. For the rest of his life Aegon III was depressed, never smiling. He’d lock himself away for days at a time. He had little interest in anything, including ruling, which he technically assumed five years after being crowned at age 11, but he left running the kingdom to his brother and Hand of the King, Viserys.
He’s also known as the Dragonbane because the last dragons died during his reign, and some people think he was responsible for it because he hated them after seeing his mother eaten by one. But he tried—and failed—to hatch some eggs after the last one died, so that is probably an unfair criticism. He died young at 36 without much of a legacy other than being a sad guy who was sitting on the Iron Throne when dragons went extinct.
Chances Jon can live up to his legacy? 90%. Aegon the Broken King deserves sympathy, not scorn. His early life was marked by incredible sadness and loss. But so has Jon’s, and if there is any kingdom for him to rule after the Great War it might come after even more personal loss. Aegon the III makes grim-faced Jon Snow seem like a chipper guy, but things might get worse for Jon before they get better, so who knows.
15th Targaryen king
Reign: 233 AC – 259 AC
Known as the Unlikely, the Fortunate, The Prince Who Was An Egg, “Egg”
The fourth son of a fourth son, Aegon the Unlikely grew up as the anonymous squire of the legendary knight Ser Duncan the Tall. “Dunk and Egg’s” tales have been told in novellas from George R.R. Martin. Aegon Fifth of His Name was a caring man who wanted to make the lives of the common folk, who he had grown up around, better. He enacted reforms to take away some of the powers from the high lords of Westeros. That caused him to be loved by the people, but it also resulted in uprisings from those lords.
Those problems only got worse when his children kept breaking the political marriages he had arranged, which forced him to roll back some of his reforms. Convinced that if he had dragons he could rule the way he wanted, he tried hatching them with magic and wildfire. He and Ser Duncan, along with many others, died during the massive blaze known as the Tragedy of Summerhall. Aegon the Unlikely was kind and wanted to use the Iron Throne to make the world a better place for the less fortunate, but circumstances conspired against him.
Chances Jon can live up to his legacy? 50%. Jon shares many of Aegon V’s best traits, but he might also inherit a kingdom that has been so torn apart, both by infighting and the army of the dead, it might be impossible to have a truly successful rule.
1st Targaryen king
Reign: 1 AC – 37 AC
Known as the Conqueror, the Dragon, the Dragonlord
Time in Westeros is marked from the time Aegon the Conqueror was formally crowned as the first king of the Seven Kingdoms (AC = After the Conquest). Before him Westeros was made up of individual kingdoms, but two years after coming ashore, in what is now the aptly named King’s Landing, the Iron Throne was the seat of power.
He failed to ever bring Dorne into the fold, but the final 24 years of his reign were peaceful, as he built his new kingdom. But he will forever be known for creating it more than for how he ruled, even if he was an effective and just ruler after. Unfortunately the respect the lords of Westeros had for him did not carry over to his two sons that followed him to the Iron Throne, as the uprisings began almost immediately after Aegon’s death.
Chances Jon can live up to his legacy? 20%. That might seem like an optimistic number, since Aegon literally created the kingdom Jon would inherit. But for Jon to sit on the Iron Throne he will have needed to have defeated the Night King, save the living from the dead, and restore light to the world.
That’s a really good way to live up to the impossible standard set by the first, best King Aegon. And if he follows that up by being a good ruler who mends a broken Westeros, Jon snow can end up being the greatest Aegon Targaryen of them all.
But what do you think? Did we rank the Aegons correctly? Where do you think Jon will end up on this list? Tell us what you think in the comments below.