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  1. Occasionally, we like to recommend works of fantasy to our fellow fans of A Song of Ice and Fire, and the upcoming release of All the Seas of the World by Guy Gavriel Kay (hits shelves on May 17th) is something we’d like to bring to our readers’ attention. Thanks to Kay and his publisher, Linda and I had the chance to read the novel early. Below, you’ll find Linda’s review of the novel (consider it co-signed by me!), but in brief: a compelling, beautifully poignant work from one of the finest authors working in the genre (and one of our very favorites in any genre!) https://www.westeros.org/Graphics/Images/_medium/GGK_All-The-Seas-of-the-World.jpg read on >>> View the full article
  2. The official House of the Dragon twitter account woke up today with a few tweets and new character posters (more on those below)... but all that led up to the release of an official teaser trailer: It’s a pretty epic trailer (if, concerningly, rather dark and desaturated) featuring all the chief characters, a Red Keep in the midst of renovation or expansion, Kingsguard, gold cloaks, violence, the Great Council at Harrenhal… and of course, dragons. Besides the new trailer, HBO also released a number of brand new character posters featuring key characters, which you can find below. https://www.westeros.org/Graphics/Gallery/_medium/HotD_Rhaenyra-Poster_01.jpg read on >>> View the full article
  3. A new report from Variety shares a piece of information from an anonymous “production insider”: the 10 episode first season of House of the Dragon managed an average per episode budget somewhat under $20 million. This is cited as a great achievement given rising production costs and the greater number of dragons that will need to be CGed in the series. Variety reports: [T]he production insider says HBO is now so adept at these world-building series through years of not just GoT, but also producing Westworld”and His Dark Materials, that the team can make a high-quality series as efficiently and effectively as possible. By way of comparison, the final season of Game of Thrones cost somewhere in the vicinity of $15 million an episode. https://www.westeros.org/Graphics/Images/_medium/HotD_Egg-Teaser.jpg View the full article
  4. King’s Landing is the greatest port on the western side of the narrow sea, a destination for ships from throughout the Seven Kingdoms, from the Free Cities on the opposite side of the sea, and sometimes even from further afield. Yet some ships at sea are famous, at least among sailors, and when one puts in to the port the word spreads. Thus, when a lean galley with purple sails pulled into port, a few dismissed it as another Braavosi merchanter… but others knew it for what she was: the Widow Wind, a merchant ship, aye… and a smuggling ship, and sometimes (it was rumored) a pirate ship. Its captain? The beautiful and infamous Bellegere Otherys, the Black Pearl of Braavos, daughter of a Sealord’s son and a princess of the Summer Isles. As captain she had indulged in all three activities with the Widow Wind, and others besides. Her vessel had occasionally docked at King’s Landing over the years, and there were rumors that her occasional guest aboard her ship or in the rooms she stayed at was no one less than Prince Aegon, now King of the Seven Kingdoms. But the Widow Wind had not been seen in a year or more, and its arrival with no forewarning raised brows. For all the rumors, the Black Pearl had never once set foot at court, even when rumors claimed she had born a child, and then another, who might (or might not) have been the prince’s. So eyebrows were raised even further when she disembarked with a company of sailors as guards led by a queer woman carrying a curving blade from the East, a woman wearing near-black garments, and a fat eunuch. That last, in turn, carried something: a young child. Few had a good look at him, but as Captain Otherys went about her business in the city, some learned more of the boy. Rumor of a master goldsmith from Lannisport having now setup shop beneath Visenya’s Hill had led a company of nobility to travel together to see his work and perhaps commission baubles, only to find the goldsmith occupied by the Black Pearl. When she exited, with her was the eunuch and the child, and it was clear to see he was a boy, tawny-skinned, his hair black like his mother’s… but his eyes a striking blue, almost purple. When she addressed him, she called him Balerion, and called him her little dragon as one of the party realized when they overheard her speaking in Valyrian. Rumors, of course, ran wild after that. Had she come to deliver this boy to the king as his natural child? Or was she seeking to renew her dalliances with Aegon despite his present mistress, Missy Blackwood? Or perhaps she merely wished the city and the court to know of the boy, for her own reasons? The days passed, and she was seen here and there in the city, trading: selling goods off the _Widow Wind_, buying supplies and different goods that might have value at her next port of call. The eunuch and his infant charge were also seen at times. But never at the Red Keep. Even when some courtiers visited the Widow Wind on business of their own, she did not reveal her intentions. The king seemed aloof to the infamous woman’s presence, though then again… Who knows where Aegon, Fourth of His Name, wandered on an evening? Even though he has a mistress whom he dotes on, the king still finds time to visit certain houses of ill repute when the mood takes him, and only his closest companions and his Kingsguard can truly say whether he keeps himself occupied there or finds other diversions… When the Widow Wind finally departed, those who saw its captain and her crew saw the boy go with her. And the king? The king seemed oddly quarrelsome for a time after, even with his mistress and those who regarded themselves his friends. [url={url}]Visit the Site![/url]
  5. A dragon egg on the verge of hatching accompanies the announcement from HBO that House of the Dragon will premiere on August 21st of this year. Along with the poster, HBO has also sent out eight new images featuring a variety of characters from the series, that you can see below. With a ten episode run, that means it’ll end on October 23rd… just two days prior to the release of The Rise of the Dragon. Interesting timing, that… For more on this informational art book that very much ties in to the events covered by House of the Dragon, see here. https://www.westeros.org/Graphics/Images/_medium/HotD_Egg-Teaser.jpg View the full article
  6. While the realm has been calm since the ascension of Aegon, the Fourth of his Name, many would say that this has little enough to do with him: it has been his small council and the other office-holders of the Crown who have done the work. What has Aegon done, then? Enjoyed the fruits of wearing the crown, largely in commanding entertainments to please him, and all the while desporting with his mistress, the Lady Melissa Blackwood. The King’s Hand, Lord Bracken, has proved capable enough at holding meetings and delegating to others, but there has been a slow creep of kinsmen (by blood and by marriage) finding sinecures in various parts of the royal bureaucracy. This has led to the usual round of complaints, but on the other hand the wags at court remark that Lord Bracken must be allowed _some_ benefit of the office, given that a Blackwood has supplanted his own daughter when it comes to the disposition of the king’s embraces. Older, more seasoned courtiers might remark, as well, that Lord Bracken has been uncommonly careful not to go too far in his nepotism, no doubt because of the loss of influence that came with Barba and her bastard Aegor Rivers being dispatched back to Stone Hedge. And so the king entertains himself: hunts, balls, idylls on the Blackwater on his fine new pleasure galleas. His brother, Prince Aemon the Dragonknight, is sometimes present for them ... but only as a White Sword, guarding the king’s person. Queen Naerys does not attend, on the other hand, nor does Prince Daeron ever since he departed with his wife and much of his household to take up the rule of Dragonstone. Sometimes one of his cousins, the daughters of the late Aegon III, attend his revels, while suitors flock about them. Elaena still grieves the missing, and now declared dead, Lord Velaryon, however, and Daena is rumored to take more fancy to brief flirtations with lovers, while Princess Rhaena most often absents herself and is increasingly cloistered among septons and septas. Some of Prince Daeron’s household returned from Dragonstone in the weeks after his departure, including Dornish lords and ladies, who are there for when he chooses to return and resume assisting his father in the management of the realm. But there are those who question whether he will, because of the tensions between them after the king so slighted Queen Naerys when she was on the threshold of death, and if these household men and women are not instead spies to keep him informed of what goes on at court. Among the king’s favorites are now a number of younger, hot-blooded knights who have shown open distaste for the Dornish at court, seeing them as potential rivals for influence at best, at worst as spies not just for Daeron but also for the Prince of Dorne. It has not helped matters that Prince Maron has written a recent letter, complaining of some marcher knights breaking Baelor the Blessed’s promised peace by robbing Dornish merchants traveling the Boneway, followed by protestations of innocence from those same marchers who argued they were responding to attacks from alleged Dornish reavers. [url={url}]Visit the Site![/url]
  7. Yesterday, we said that we wanted to make sure we could get the name of all the contributing artists out there, and the team over at Ten Speed Press put that together quickly for us. In total, there are 38 artists who’ve contributed to The Rise of the Dragon, and below you’ll find the full list as well as links to their websites or online portfolios. We’re very proud to have worked closely with all the artists on this one, providing notes, references, etc., and they’ve delivered art that we think will please fans. The Rise of the Dragon hits shelves in October 2022! https://www.westeros.org/Graphics/Images/_medium/RotD_Cover-Center_Balerion.jpg read on >>> View the full article
  8. As promised, we can now discuss in more detail our forthcoming book, The Rise of the Dragon, as it has not been posted about at Not a Blog. The book will hit shelves in October, both in the US and in the UK as HarperVoyager announced they’ve picked up the rights (and shown off their own cover). https://www.westeros.org/Graphics/Images/_medium/Cover_RiseOfTheDragon.jpg read on >>> View the full article
  9. Over at Not a Blog, George R.R. Martin has provided fans a lengthy update on The Winds of Winter, HBO’s successor shows, and more… and in the process lets the cat out of the bag regarding one project we here at Westeros.org have been working on for the last couple of years. We’ll provide a quick summary below: https://www.westeros.org/Graphics/Images/_medium/2023_Calendar_Chase-Stone.jpg read on >>> View the full article
  10. A brand new calendar has been announced for 2023: the World of Fire and Blood 2023 Calendar, a departure as it focuses on characters and events first described in The World of Ice and Fire and expanded on in Fire and Blood. Another departure: where previous calendars were single-artist affairs, this one will feature multiple artists, including prior calendar artists Marc Simonetti and Magali Villeneuve, as well as artists new to the calendars such as Chase Stone and René Aigner https://www.westeros.org/Graphics/Images/_medium/2023_Calendar.jpg read on >>> View the full article
  11. Random House has revealed their publishing plans for the summer, and fans have noticed that July seems particularly stacked with House of the Dragon tie-ins using Fire and Blood as the focal material. First, Random House revealed that on July 12th they will publish tie-in editions of Fire and Blood that will feature a cover using photography from House of the Dragon. Second, Random House announced that the 2023 A Song of Ice and Fire Calendar, to release on July 19, will be based entirely on Fire and Blood. And, in a departure from the previous calendars, this will feature an array of artists rather than just one. No word yet as to who has contributed. Fans may notice these July dates, and speculation has run that the dating relates to the as-yet-unannounced premiere of House of the Dragon. [Affiliate links to Amazon.com can be found in this post)] https://www.westeros.org/Graphics/Images/_medium/HotD_Teaser_17.jpg read on >>> View the full article
  12. A sit-down with various media outlets has provided some fresh information from Casey Bloys, HBO’s and HBO Max’s chief content officer, regarding the future of the Game of Thrones franchise, from the release date of House of the Dragon to the status of a number of projects in development. While there’s nothing really concrete, the one thing Bloys committed to is that House of the Dragon is definitely airing this year, but that the conversation has only just now started thanks to the show officially wrapping. We’ll provide a brief bullet point of the main information that came out of the interview with Bloys: https://www.westeros.org/Graphics/Images/_medium/HotD_Rhaenyra-Daemon_01.jpg read on >>> View the full article
  13. First announced in 2019, the Game of Thrones Studio Tour in Banbridge, Northern Ireland has now officially opened its doors. The opening ceremony was attended by a number of actors from the series, including Kristian Nairn (Hodor), Natalie Emmanuel (Missandei), and Isaac Hampstead Wright (Bran Stark). See below for the press release and additional images! https://www.westeros.org/Graphics/Images/_medium/GoT_Studio-Tour_01.jpg read on >>> View the full article
  14. A moon and more since the whispers first began, and now it has come to pass: Prince Daeron and Princess Mariah have taken ship to Dragonstone, moving their household there to take up the rule of the ancient Targaryen stronghold. Their leaving did not go unmarked by the court, nor by the kingslanders, as an event was made of their leaving the city. Queen Naerys herself was there to see her son off, carried down in a palanquin escorted by Prince Aemon the Dragonknight and others of the Kingsguard. So, too, were various members of the court… including the royal mistress, Mysella Blackwood, who Princess Mariah went so far as to embrace. But the king? No, not the king. King Aegon had deigned to show himself, briefly, in the yard of the Red Keep before Prince Daeron and Princess Mariah began their journey down from Aegon’s Hill to the River Gate and the docks beyond. Yet His Grace did it with customary ill grace, looking little pleased at having his day interrupted despite it being clear that Missy Blackwood had played a part in his appearing there in the first place. A few grudging words to his son, and then he marched away into Maegor’s Holdfast before they departed. For many at court, this sort of tensions between father and son was the reason for Daeron’s decision to depart to Dragonstone. There were many who stopped in the street to watch the progress down from the Red Keep to the docks, led by the prince and princess and the queen’s palanquin, followed by the courtiers who adhered to them, and then the men and women of the household, many of them Dornish lords and ladies, clad in their bright sand silks and polished jewelry and mounted on beautiful sand steeds. Almost every man and woman in the household would join them in Dragonstone… but rumor had it that in a fortnight or a moon’s turn some would return, to represent Prince Daeron at court, and to serve him and the princess whenever they deigned to return. [url={url}]Visit the Site![/url]
  15. Brian Cox, star of Succession and many, many other films and television programs over the years, has revealed his near-brush with Game of Thrones in GQ, where an excerpt of his new memoir—titled Putting the Rabbit in the Hat (Amazon affiliate link)—discusses his views on the monetary side of the acting business, and the sheer chance by which some programs become global hits and others fall flat. In the course of the excerpt, Cox writes that he’s often asked if he was ever offered a role in Game of Thrones: As we’re on the subject, 25th Hour was written by David Benioff, who of course went on to be showrunner for Game of Thrones. I’m often asked if I was offered a role in Game of Thrones—reason being that every other bugger was—and the answer is, yes, I was supposed to be a king called Robert Baratheon, who apparently died when he was gored by a boar in the first season. I know very little about Game of Thrones so I can’t tell you whether or not he was an important character, and I’m not going to google it just in case he was, because I turned it down. https://www.westeros.org/Graphics/Images/_medium/Brian_Cox_%282016%29.jpg read on >>> View the full article
  16. After years of hints, August saw the official announcement by George R.R. Martin that a short film based on “The Night of the Cooters”, written by long-time friend (and one of the funniest writers in the genre) Howard Waldrop, was in production. Now, the result of that adaptation can be glimpsed for the first time in this teaser: With a screenplay by award-winning author Joe Lansdale, Night of the Cooters stars and is directed by Vincent D’Onofrio, who fans of Netflix’s Daredevil may have very recently glimpsed on the new Disney+ show Hawkeye. Notably, the teaser’s description on Youtube also reveals that Ramin Djawadi of Game of Thrones and Westworld fame composed the music for the film. As viewers can see, the short film is executed in a merging of live-action and animation, dubbed “Trioscope” by the inventors of the process, Trioscope Studios who made the four-episode WWII drama The Liberator for Netflix. View the full article
  17. As the weeks and moons have passed, the court of King’s Landing was heartened as Queen Naerys recovered from her harrowing delivery. Having been much-missed, especially by those ladies and lords who had piously remembered her in their prayers to the Seven. Chief of all these were her brother Prince Aemon, and her son Prince Daeron, who with his wife Princess Mariah of Dorne had been often at her bedside to read from _The Seven-Pointed Star_ or to bring her grandsons to her so that they might cheer her. When at last Princess Naerys was strong enough to leave her chambers to walk in the fresh air as the maesters urged her, the Prince of Dragonstone was there with her, holding her arm; such was a son’s devotion. But not a husband’s. Besotted with Missy Blackwood, uncaring of his sister and queen’s slow struggle to recover, King Aegon, the Fourth of his Name, seemed surprised on the day he stumbled across the queen walking with Prince Daeron, Princess Mariah, and various attendants in one of the Red Keep’s gardens. On his own arm was the Lady Mysella, young and fresh and beautiful. The new royal mistress offered a deep curtsy to the queen, and offered happy words at the queen’s recovery, but Aegon was less gracious. “Still alive, sister?” he asked, and the tones of exasperation in his voice could not be mistaken. “Oh, how the gods must _love_ you.” Naerys’s face was a mask at that, but she bowed her head to her husband and said nothing with the grace of someone who had suffered his venom before. Prince Daeron, on the other hand, responded for her: “They do love the queen, your grace. The Mother, most of all, for the queen has spent her life’s blood to bring you heirs. You’ll recall, all the bells of the city rang at my sister’s birth.” It’s said that the king’s expression curdled at his son’s words, but before he could respond Missy Blackwood intervened, whispering in his ear with a giggle, and whatever she said mollified the king. “We’ll see,” were his last words to his son, or perhaps to his queen, or mayhaps Missy before he went on. (Many would remark afterward that it was just as well the Dragonknight had not been present, for the situation might have devolved further.) The rest of the day went without incident… although that evening, to the surprise of many, Missy Blackwood paid a call on the queen alone, and the next morning approached Prince Daeron and Princess Mariah. In the days and weeks that followed, the courtiers began to realize that despite her place as mistress, the young Blackwood lady had somehow begun to form a friendship with the queen and her son, seemingly embarrassed at her lover’s behavior. Some thought this very clever of her, to secure herself, but others wondered if it was not genuine. What the king thought of that is unclear… but after months of largely seeming satisfied in his new mistress and holding back from clashing with Prince Daeron, matters have changed. It began in the small council, where it was said that the king began to grow more truculent at whatever Prince Daeron said, but began to spill into open court. He picked at one scab in particular: Dorne, the land of Princess Mariah’s birth, the land where the beloved King Daeron, the Young Dragon, had died. Questions of exchanges of gifts between Dorne and the Seven Kingdoms would be contentious, suggestions that efforts could be made to improve trade with Dorne by devoting effort to improving roads leading to the passes would lead to curses, and efforts for members of the Dornish contingent of court to take part in the king’s courtly festivities and frolics became more and more rejected. When word of this reached Sunspear, and word of the response of that court arrived—including a letter for King Aegon from Prince Maron, attempting to soothe whatever this fit of temperament was—it only made Aegon dig in his heels and grow more truculent. When Prince Daeron and Princess Mariah took the opportunity at a feast to announce that the Dornish princess was once again with child, the court cheered them and toasted them with summerwine. Except, some noticed, King Aegon; he did not drink at all. When he remarked that he hoped the child that she squeezed out was not so dark as her firstborn, it was a remark made to Missy Blackwood at his side… but loudly enough that the prince and princess could not help but hear it. The next day, new whispers began: Prince Daeron had begun to talk of moving his household to Dragonstone, his seat as heir to the Iron Throne. Soon it was not just whispers, as Princess Mariah began to inform her ladies which of them would come with her and which would be asked to remain in King’s Landing to represent her. Why the sudden putting of plans into motion? When one of his friends at court asked, Prince Daeron pointed out that it had been long since a Targaryen prince had been born on Dragonstone, and it was about time that changed. [url={url}]Visit the Site![/url]
  18. It’s now official: the official Game of Thrones Studio Tour experience at Linen Mill Studios in Northern Ireland will open its doors on February 4th, and fans can already begin booking their tickets now. https://www.westeros.org/Graphics/Images/_medium/GoT_Studio_Tour.jpg read on >>> View the full article
  19. Via a report in Variety, we’ve learned that Steve Conrad—creator of Amazon’s Patriot and other shows—has been attached as lead writer and executive producer of a potential (emphasis on the potential) Game of Thrones-universe hour-long series based on the Dunk and Egg novellas [Note: Amazon affiliate link]. To date, three novellas introducing readers to Ser Duncan the Tall and Egg have been published, with a fourth existing in a partial state. Beyond that, George R.R. Martin revealed substantial hints about the future of the two characters as planned in additional novellas in our own The World of Ice and Fire, sketching out Dunk’s and Egg’s history all the way through their deaths. https://www.westeros.org/Graphics/Images/_medium/Martin_Knight7Kingdoms_title.jpg read on >>> View the full article
  20. A new book released today, James Andrew Miller’s Tinderbox: HBO’s Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers, is a massive 1,000 page tome that looks at the rise of HBO as the destination for prestige television from the past and all the way to the present. In the course of it, of course, the book can’t but help touch on Game of Thrones. While it covers ground already revealed in past interviews and books (such as James Hibberd’s Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon), there’s a few new details… particularly from a voice fans have not heard before, George R.R. Martin’s long-time entertainment agent, Paul Haas, concerning the final season and its relation to GRRM’s plans for A Song of Ice and Fire. [Note: This post contains Amazon.com affiliate links.] https://www.westeros.org/Graphics/Images/_medium/GRRM_Eyrie.jpg read on >>> View the full article
  21. The aftermath of the dismissal of Lady Barba Bracken, sent back to Stone Hedge with her royal bastard Aegor Rivers, was not entirely what some expected. There were members of the court who expected King Aegon to explode with anger at them, especially the members of the small council. Others thought the king would instead unleash his outrage at the Prince of Dragonstone, Daeron, and mayhaps his own brother Prince Aemon the Dragonknight for having led the intervention. But that is not what happened. Oh, the king did sulk, and assuaged himself with his usual recourses: wine and women. But as the days passed, word among his companions was that the king spoke of having started to grow tired of Lady Barba, however magnificent her bosom was. The celebration marking the new year—a feast, long in the planning—did not see Queen Naerys in attendance, though all accounts are that she has slowly begun to recover her strength after a long uncertainty. However, the king was there, enjoying the rich foods, the free-flowing wine, and the pleasing examples of the fairer sex at court. One, in particular, was striking: the slim, black-haired Melissa Blackwood, daughter of Bloody Ben, Lord of Raventree Hall. Missy, as her friends and family call her, was a new arrival at court, having come to reside with her brother Seth and his lady wife, and perhaps even becoming a lady-in-waiting to one princess or another. The more cynical courtiers might have wondered at the timing of her arrival, given the famously eternal feud between Blackwood and Bracken. Whatever the case may be, she was at court, a novel beauty among the women and maidens still at court (so many having quietly returned to their homes in the months since Aegon’s ascension), and the king took a fancy to her. And now, but a few days later, gossip runs rife that the king was more than captivated, that indeed he’d already wooed and bedded her. Thus does a king acquire a new mistress. [url={url}]Visit the Site![/url]
  22. Queen Naerys lingered still near death, her surviving infant Daenerys was cared for by wetnurses, Lady Barba enjoyed all the king’s favors with her infant son at her breast, and the court continued to fret over the situation. Matters came to a head when rumors ran rife that the Hand, Lady Barba’s father Lord Kennoth, had openly spoken of Barba becoming queen when (not if) Naerys succumbed to the weakness that had gripped her since the delivery of her daughter and her stillborn son. Who was angriest among the great names at court was hard to judge: Prince Aemon the Dragonknight, who had insisted on standing vigil over his sister for almost every hour of every day since her labor, or her son Prince Daeron who had become increasingly truculent towards his royal father in regards to his treatment of the queen as well as his lax approach to ruling. So when a day came that the king decided to travel in the company of his Hand to the docks to examine a new warship—though everyone knew that he would find his way to the Street of Silk—both princes, the great knight and the Prince of Dragonstone, summoned the small council to their tower to meet. Word ran through the castle of this, and many courtiers, ladies, and knights began surreptitiously to find their way to the Red Keeps outer yards to see who else might join the council and who might leave. Liveried messengers would be seen coming and going, but for a time no men of greater substance made an appearance to begin with. But then both Lord Arryn and Lord Baratheon entered the tower together, and not an hour passed before the king at least returned from his “inspection”. He seemed to have no inkling of what had gone on, nor did Lord Kennoth, but shortly after they entered Prince Daeron and Prince Aemon appeared in the yard and informed the king and his Hand that there was an urgent matter to deal with with the small council. King Aegon, seeming more than a little drunk, attempted to foist the task on to Lord Bracken, but his famed brother insisted. And so they went. What transpired, precisely, is not known. Some claim they could hear shouting from the small council chamber, though that seems unlikely as the drum tower’s walls are thick and the small council chamber is well above the ground. But what was known for certain was that when the king left, his face was red from something other than drink, and Lord Kennoth’s expression was pinched. Later that evening, it was made plain that Lady Barba’s rooms in Maegor’s Holdfast were to be emptied, her belongings and her infant son to be made ready for the journey to the Stone Hedge in the riverlands. Gossips among the court’s women would later say that Barba screamed with fury, cursing those who were against her, and even her own father for his inability to dissuade the king from allowing his brother, son, great lords, and councillors to pressure him into giving her up. Yet the king himself saw none of Barba’s outrage, for he refused to see her (though she asked, then begged, then demanded). Three days later, Lady Barba and her bastard Aegor Rivers were gone, accompanied by a wetnurse, a handful of servants, and a small company of the Hand’s guard. And word spread through the Red Keep that the maesters thought the worst danger was over, and Queen Naerys would recover given rest and time. [url={url}]Visit the Site![/url]
  23. A fortnight has passed since Lady Barba Bracken, the king’s royal mistress, gave birth to a natural son. In that time since, the lady has been most pleased with herself, as has been her lord father the Hand, and indeed as has been the king himself. Aegon, Fourth of His Name, had even had her nurse the boy Aegor in his audience chambers as he greeted lords and officials. Rumors run rife that he means to bestow on the boy some great parcel of land and make him a lord so that his mother might benefit from the revenues. There are those on the small council who are said to be resistant to such gifts, and each passing day since the birth of Aegor Rivers and the evidence of Lady Barba’s overweening pride has slowly begun to make some of the lords, knights, and ladies at court to begin to look askance at the matter. Even some of Lord Bracken’s oldest friends and allies, men who he brought with him into the king’s court, have begun to suggest to him that he allows the king to indulge too much excessive attention on the lady. Matters are not helped by the fact that Prince Daeron, heir to the Iron Throne, has begun to meet in private with some of the great lords at court, and to take counsel with none other than his uncle Prince Aemon, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. Through this all, King Aegon seems unmoved and uncaring, indulging his passion for Lady Barba and doting on the robust, strong-lunged boy she’d given him. But matters may soon change, for there has been another birth: Prince Naerys, who the maesters long ago warned might die if she was with child, has gone through her labors after weeks of seclusion in her quarters due to her delicate health. Midwives and maesters have attended on her, and when the labors began the king was informed, but he made no appearance; instead, Prince Aemon came from the White Sword Tower and stayed by Naerys’s side. Hours passed before the cries of a newborn filled the room: a daughter, a new princess. A small infant, the maesters exchanged looks, showing their concern… but matters grew worse when Naerys groaned and her labor continued. After examination, a midwife said that she had another child to deliver. That effort nearly killed Naerys, if the tales are true, and the result was a prince… a stillborn one, smaller even than his sister. The labor went too long, some said, and the child suffocated in the womb. Others say that even had he survived his birth, he would likely have not outlived his sister. Or perhaps even his mother. That sister, Naerys named: Daenerys, a name shew knew from family history and which she always thought beautiful. But even the effort of saying that much left her exhausted, and the maesters were gravely concerned that she would not survive the night. Word was sent to the king, of course, but he could not be roused from his bed. Only then did Prince Aemon, face like a stormcloud, leave his sister’s side to personally give Aegon the news. Servants would later gossip that the two men shouted at one another, though none dared repeat the words. Now, the Veiled Ladies and the septons and septas of King’s Landing pray, some holding vigil, Outside the walls of the Red Keep, there are Kingslanders holding their own watch, praying to the Mother Above that the pious Queen Naerys will live, and her daughter Princess Daenerys as well. [url={url}]Visit the Site![/url]
  24. A son! King Aegon, Fourth of His Name, has a new son! The bells of the royal sept were rung soon after the birth, and some few in the city below took it up. The king was not himself present for the birth—he was away hunting, or so the claim went, though there were whispers of his having stopped on the way of the city at the Street of Silk and simply had never left it—but a great swath of gifts were already at hand and prepared to be delivered, depending on the outcome of the birth (and the child’s gender). The mother, blessed with such fruitfulness, was gifted bolts of samite and cloth-and-gold, jewels (including choice jewels that had once belonged to Queen Daenaera), and more. Of course…. the mother was not Queen Naerys, though her own belly has swollen with child and maesters and midwives attend on her closely as she has remained confined during the late stages of her pregnancy. No, the son is a natural one, borne by Lady Barba Bracken. Vivacious and youthful, the birth was as easy as it can be for a first-time mother, and already she has had a string of visitors from lords and ladies at the court currying favor. Her lord father, the Hand of the King, has often been present when she has held audience, the babe at a midwife’s teat as the courtiers come to congratulate her. As to the boy, he is a robust and lively infant, and many remarked on his dark purple eyes. Some, too, noted his fine crop of hair for a newborn, though that is as black as his mother’s. Lady Barba had already named him by the time King Aegon paid her a visit, and she informed him that their son was named Aegor. Aegor Rivers, to be more precise, but that bastard name has yet to be spoken by the lady. [url={url}]Visit the Site![/url]
  25. The king has returned! Nearly four moons have passed since King Aegon, Fourth of His Name, departed the royal city of King’s Landing to take his first royal progress. Accompanied by his Hand, Lord Bracken, and his pregnant mistress, Lord Bracken’s daughter Barba, his ultimate aim was to visit Stone Hedge and while away time there. The journey to Stone Hedge was uneventful enough that much of the gossip left in the wake of the progress had to do with a king seemingly devoted to his own pleasures and a mistress willing to indulge them, from making use of the chambers of Lord and Lady Buckwell to bathing together in the holy baths at Maidenpool. Harmony between them was, it must be said, briefly disturbed when the progress stopped at Harrenhal where Lord Lothston—once master at arms of the Red Keep—and Lady Lothston—the king’s first mistress when he was still a youth—were all-too-pleased to host the grand entourage. Lady Lothston and Lady Barba did not get along, and the king’s intention to stay half a fortnight were cut short as the progress resumed. Once at Stone Hedge, Lord Bracken made sure that his guests had every comfort. From far and wide, lords and knights associated with the Brackens flocked to give homage to the king, and many were the days that the king hunted through the riverlands with them. The king was so taken with the reception that he decided to summon Lord Tully so that he could extend his stay rather than continue on to Riverrun. Lord Kermit and his retinue, including Lord Blackwood and Lord Blackwood’s daughter Melissa, joined the king a few days later. Though Bloody Ben Blackwood refused to sleep beneath Stone Hedge’s roof, choosing instead to remain outside the castle in a guarded pavilion, he and his kin did join in the feast in the great hall, and there were those who later whispered that Lady Barba was displeasd by the king’s eye straying more than once to the young and beautiful Melissa Blackwood. Half a fortnight more, and it was time to move on. Lord Tully returned to Riverrun, while the king and his progress continued on toward Pinkmaiden Castle where old Lord Piper hosted a fine tourney to celebrate the king’s presence. More importantly, out of the west came Lord Loreon Lannister and many of his knights and lords, to give homage to the king. The tourney was a grand affair, hotly contested, but the young bold knight Ser Quentyn Ball carried the day, crowning Lady Barba as the Queen of Love and Beauty. Shortly after, the progress resumes, lingering at Stoney Sept before continuing on to reach the Gold Road and turn east for King’s Landing. Awaiting the king in the Red Keep’s courtyard was Prince Daeron, the Prince of Dragonstone, and his lady wife Princess Mariah of Dorne, the lords of the small council, the royal princesses Daena and Rhaena (but not Elaena, who remained obstinate in her anger that the court was beginning to talk of Lord Velaryon as being lost at sea) notable lords and knights… but not Princess Naerys, who has been in confinement due to the delicacy of her own pregnancy, with courtiers whispering that her belly is so large on her small frame that some fear this latest child may well kill her. King Aegon did not seem to miss his sister and queen, it must be said. With him came some new faces as well, most notably being the smiling, open-handed Lord Butterwell, a man who had ingratiated himself to the king at Stone Hedge and had been invited to join him at King’s Landing. It’s said the king has spoken of finding him some office. And speaking of offices… while the king has been gone, it has been the Prince of Dragonstone and the small council that has steered the realm, sending messages to the king about matters but rarely hearing from him. From news that Lord Alyn Velaryon’s ship had perhaps foundered in a storm while chasing a corsair off the Stepstones, to rumors of pirates haunting the secret coves of Crackclaw Point, King Aegon seemed to have little enough interest in what to do about these matters and left them up to Prince Daeron to attend to it. Yet it’s said that Lord Bracken is of a different mind, and while the king was eager to feast on his return, Lord Kennoth was known to have spent much time consulting with the masters of the small council… but not, it must be said, with the Prince of Dragonstone. [url={url}]Visit the Site![/url]
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