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Last Updated on August 5, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 656

Fire and Blood is itself a dynastic chronicle for the Targaryen monarchs of Westeros, stretching from the conquest of Aegon I through to the ascension of Aegon III. As such, the cast of characters is immense. Some of the critical personalities are discussed below.

Aegon the Conqueror, Visenya, and Rhaenys

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Fire and Blood is itself a dynastic chronicle for the Targaryen monarchs of Westeros, stretching from the conquest of Aegon I through to the ascension of Aegon III. As such, the cast of characters is immense. Some of the critical personalities are discussed below.

Aegon the Conqueror, Visenya, and Rhaenys

Aegon the Conquerer, along with his sister-wives, Visenya and Rhaenys, are the critical personalities in this first section of the book, who conquered most of Westeros (the exception being Dorne) and unified its divided realms into a single kingdom. While Aegon is the most famous of the three within the context of Westeros itself, in some ways, his sisters are the most interesting from an analytic standpoint, given the ways by which they serve as foils to one another and complement different elements of Aegon's rule. Visenya was a fearsome warrior, while Rhaenys was more diplomatic, more personable, and is cited as being critical in forging the alliances which would tie Aegon's empire together. This, however, should not discount either woman's ability in the other's particular arena. Rhaenys was herself a dragonrider who participated in the wars of conquest and would perish in war with Dorne; meanwhile, Visenya was far from incompetent as a political operator.

Maegor the Cruel

Son to Aegon I and Visenya, Maegor was one of the finest warriors and knights of his generation and overthrew his indecisive half-brother to cease the throne. However, while a dangerous warrior, he would prove a poor king and deeply unpopular, and his inability to father an heir (coupled with his reputation as a usurper) would haunt him throughout his reign.

Jaeherys I

Jaeherys I was one of the greatest monarchs of Westeros and one of the critical personalities within Fire and Blood, and his story is a mix of triumph and tragedy. He would establish for Westeros peace and prosperity, all the more notable considering his predecessor was Maegor, but this political success would be counterbalanced by the losses he and his queen would suffer in their personal lives. Interwoven throughout the historical account are several more personal narratives, following various betrayals and tragedies which would strike at the royal family: the betrayal of Elissa Farman, a close companion to Jaeherys's sister, who would steal dragon eggs from the Targaryens to fund an expedition to explore the world (and this theft would cause Jaeherys considerable distress); in addition, there are the tragedies and disappointments from within his family.

Viserys I

Jaeherys I would be succeeded by his own son, Viserys I, who would himself select as his heir his only daughter, Rhaenyra. Rhaenyra would come into conflict with Jaeherys's second wife, her stepmother, Queen Alicent, and upon Jaeherys's death, there would be a crisis of succession which would throw Westeros into a brutal and highly destructive civil war known as the "Dance of Dragons."

The Targaryen Dragons

In addition to the human characters, it should be noted that the Targaryen dragons emerge as characters as well, perhaps most notably Balerion the Black Dread, the mightiest of the Targaryen dragons and the only one born in old Valyria. In Balerion's case, we have lingering questions emerging after his disappearance with Saera and his return with gruesome wounds. The question of what happened to Balerion, and what could have wounded such a fearsome dragon in such a fashion, is one of the questions Martin leaves us with no real answer. Whether discussing the dragons of the conquest or later generations which would follow them, the dragons were essential to the Targaryen rule as the basis for much of their military power and prestige.

The Targaryen Dynasty

In the end, perhaps one can say that the ultimate character of this history is the Targaryen dynasty itself, because this is, in the end, the history of a family, with all their triumphs and disappointments and the various rivalries, civil wars, and divisions which would correspond to their rule in Westeros.

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