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|“||Aegon the Fourth legitimized all his bastards on his deathbed. And how much pain, grief, war and murder grew from that? … The Blackfyre pretenders troubled the Targaryens for five generations, until Barristan the Bold slew the last of them on the Stepstones.||„|
|~ Catelyn Stark to Robb Stark about the rise and downfall of House Blackfyre.|
House Blackfyre is a cadet branch of House Targaryen that serves as posthumous antagonists in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire and its TV adaptation Game of Thrones. Though House Blackfyre never appears, having been long extinct by the time the story starts, their legacy still haunts the Targaryen's and Westeros as a whole, as many use them as the prime example of why bastards are to be shunned, feared and hated.
In the dying days of King Aegon IV, his bastard son Daemon was legitimized and given permission to build a keep of his own on the Blackwater rush. Daemon Blackfyre proved to be a powerful warrior and a valiant knight, entering many tourneys. However, legitimizing Daemon proved to be a catastrophic mistake for Westeros.
The first Blackfyre Rebellion
In 196 AC, Daemon rebelled against the Iron Throne using the lie that Daeron was the son of Aemon the Dragonknight instead of King Aegon IV Targaryen and that the gift of the ancestral weapon Blackfyre proved that Aegon wanted Daemon to succeed him, this was supported by many. Though the rebellion claimed to be the result of that King Daeron refused to marry his sister Daenerys to Daemon, who gave her to the Dornish instead to make peace with them after a bloody civil war.
Many believed that Daemon would make a better king than Daeron, most considered Daeron to be a weak and bookish man, while Daemon was a strong and powerful warrior, also as many had lost loved ones in the Dornish civil war, many was not at peace with the truce between Daeron and Dorne. Some lords believed that Daemon could give them what Daeron would not give them.
However the Blackfyre rebellion ended in defeat at the Battle of Redgrass Field. Both Daemon and his two eldest sons perished in the battle. Daemon's surviving sons and daughters fled to the Free Cities and went into hiding.
Second Blackfyre Rebellion
Daemon II Blackfyre, who had dragon dreams, infiltrated the Whitewalls Tourney, planning to start a second rebellion. He also had plans to have Ser Duncan the Tall in his Kingsguard, who he dreamed would become a Kingsguard one day. Daemon (disguised as Ser John the Fiddler) defeated Ser Franklyn Frey and Ser Galtry the Green in the tourney. His supporters had a dragon egg he claimed would hatch, so the tourney was staged so Daemon could win it, however the egg was stolen and Ser Glendon Ball was arrested for theft and murder. When Ser Duncan the Tall demanded a trial by combat for Ser Glendon, Daemon agreed and Ser Glendon unhorsed Daemon, proving his innocence.
The Second Blackfyre Rebellion began in 211 AC, with Daemon single handed trying to take on Lord Bloodraven and his army. However, the rebellion was snuffed out quickly by Lord Bloodraven before it could spread beyond Whitewalls and several key Blackfyre supporters were killed. Daemon was taken prisoner. Daemon later died in captivity at King's Landing.
Third Blackfyre Rebellion
In 219 AC, Bittersteel, a Blackfyre sympathizer (half-brother to Daemon I Blackfyre) and Knight of Westeros launched a new invasion after crowning Haegon Blackfyre. It was late in the reign of King Aerys I Targaryen, who was not very involved in ruling, but his younger brother Maekar's leadership during the conflict was commendable, as was the courage of his youngest son Aegon "Egg" Targaryen (Aegon V). Prince Aerion Targaryen was also active in its events. The war featured the second duel between Bittersteel and Bloodraven. At the end of the final battle Haegon I was dishonorably killed after he surrendered and had given up his sword. Bittersteel was taken captive and in chains to the Red Keep, yet while Brightflame and Bloodraven both urged that he be executed, Aerys I foolishly offered him mercy, sending him north to join the Night's Watch. The Golden Company learned of this through their informants and attacked the prisoner transport as it sailed to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea. Before the year was over, Bittersteel had returned to Tyrosh and crowned Haegon's eldest son as Daemon III Blackfyre.
Fourth Blackfyre Rebellion
In 236 AC, Daemon III Blackfyre led the Fourth Blackfyre Rebellion, landing at Massey's Hook. The rebellion had little support, however, as people thought the Blackfyres to be done, as tattered as their banners. At the Battle of Wendwater Bridge, Ser Duncan the Tall slew Daemon III Blackfyre. Bittersteel retreated across the narrow sea again, and the war was quickly over.
War of the Ninepenny Kings
30 years after the 4th Blackfyre rebellion, the Blackfyre's under the leadership of Maelys Blackfyre (also known as Maelys the Monstrous), once again gathered up enough strength in the Free Cities in the form of sellsword armies to mount another attempt to seize the Iron Throne and sailed to the stepstones of Westeros. However, King Jaeharys II caught wind of the attack and sent an army to the stepstones to engage the rebels.
The war ended when the young Ser Barristan Selmy killed Maelys the Monstrous in single combat, ending the war and the Blackfyre male line. The fate of the female line is currently unknown.
Although House Blackfyre is supposedly (truly in the tv adaptation) extinct after Maelys' death, there are some clues that the Blackfyre Pretenders might have survived through the female line. Illyrio Mopatis was gathering support to claim the Seven Kingdoms for the young exiled prince Aegon Targaryen (son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Elia Martell) who supposedly died at the Sack of King's Landing. But there are some clues that Aegon (disguised as Young Gryff) is not Aegon Targaryen, but a Blackfyre descendent, whose father is Mopatis who married a woman named Serra, a possibly descendent from the female Blackfyre line. Throughout the books there are clues that leads to this theory. Daenerys Targaryen who visions in the House of the Undying of a "clothed dragon", who can be Aegon. Later when Tyrion Lannister questions Illyrio Mopatis on how he convinced the Golden Company to support Daenerys, given that they've spent most of their history fighting House Targaryen for House Blackfyre, Morpatis simply replies "Black or red, a dragon is still a dragon", hinting at Aegon's Blackfyre heritage.