House of the Dragon had a phenomenal first season. It broke ratings records for HBO and completely dominated social media conversation from start to finish. Season 2 is still a long way off, so fans are now diving into the various characters and their motivations. One of the most fascinating characters in the series is Aegon Targaryen. And everyone wonders why is he so vile and debauched? We have the answer.
The Neglect of Aegon Targaryen by Viserys Targaryen
In the show, it’s clear that Aegon Targaryen isn’t an ideal ruler. He sexually assaults a maid, is negligent, and also appears mentally unbalanced. But why did he shoot like that when his brother Aemond Targaryen clearly didn’t? There are several reasons for this, but the main one is the neglect of the king and his father, Viserys Targaryen.
Viserys Targaryen wanted a male heir so badly that he had his first wife, Aemma Targaryen, cut open to bring out the baby. He then married Alicent to strengthen the line and have more heirs. And the marriage gave him a son, Aegon Targaryen. By all accounts, this must be Viserys’ happiest time.
And at first he seemed happy too. After all, he organized a tournament for his son when he was 2 years old and showered him with affection at first. But somewhere down the line, he diverted that attention and started neglecting it in favor of Rhaenyra. It was probably a combination of guilt for Aemma’s death and recognition that Otto Hightower had arranged the marriage to join their homes. So he cut himself off from that side of his family.
As a result, he not only showed blatant favoritism towards Rhaenyra, but first liked Aegon and then dumped him for her. This surely negatively affected Aegon’s self-esteem and his view of himself.
Rhaenyra Targaryen as Heiress
Aegon Targaryen is likely the only eldest son of a high official in Westeros who was passed over as heir in favor of a woman. But he’s not just any eldest son. He is THE eldest son of the king in power. And since Westeros is a highly patriarchal society, it must have further hurt his confidence and self-esteem.
He was therefore neglected by his father and became the heir of a woman, which had never been done before in the history of Targaryen. It could very well have made him feel inadequate and rejected. And that’s why he could have switched to attention-seeking behavior by doing the worst.
Alice Hightower’s expectations of him
Aegon’s father ignores him, but his mother, Alice’s High Tower does the opposite. She expects a lot from him because she wants him to be the next king. But it does not prepare him to be a leader. Alicent doesn’t encourage him to learn more about the story, the combat, or how a leader should behave.
But she strongly scolds him when he comes out of it and fails to live up to the royal expectations she has set for him. Since he can’t please her anyway, he turns to alcohol and creates an overtly sexual personality. Both of his parents don’t care about him, so he does what makes him feel good. And since no one cares about him, he also doesn’t care who gets hurt in his pursuit of pleasure.
None of this excuses his actions. But that puts his behavior in perspective. What do you think? Why did Aegon Targaryen become a vile man and an unfit ruler? Let us know.