Last night’s episode of “Game of Thrones” began on a bit of a low note as Jon Snow was given some blunt advice from one of the show’s most underrated yet massively important characters. Maester Aemon has been a consistent through line in the show’s Castle Black plotline, but few people know his background or history.
[SPOILER ALERT: Minor details of Season 5, episode 5 are mentioned below]
The actor had a lovely speech in the most recent episode of the HBO hit when Jon Snow (Kit Harington) voices his apprehension about letting the wildlings fight with the Night’s Watch.
“Kill the boy,” he says. “And let the man be born.”
The character mentioned early on that he’s a very unique man to the world of Westeros, and not just because he’s one of the oldest men in the country or because he’s a high-ranking member of the Night’s Watch. It was revealed late in Season 1 (episode 9) that Maester Aemon was born Aemon Targaryen, and is apparently the only living relative to Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke).
According to the official “Game of Thrones” wiki, Aemon was born the son of King Maekar I, making him a prince in the Targaryen dynasty. He was not his father’s eldest son so he thought nothing of joining the order of Maesters. In doing so, he gave up his title as prince and vowed to live a humble life. However, when his oldest brother died many wanted him to take the throne, which he politely refused so that he could keep to his vow. In order to remove himself from future political mishaps, he exiled himself to the Night’s Watch. He was there, removed from society, when the Targaryen dynasty fell to Robert’s Rebellion. Unable to break his vows to both the order and the Night’s Watch, he was helpless as all but two members of his family were mercilessly slaughtered.
Aemon is a very old man now and age has taken his sight from him. He keeps his lineage a secret to most but revealed himself to Jon Snow during the show’s first season when he learned that Ned Stark (Sean Bean) had been captured by King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) and that his brother, Robb Stark (Richard Madden), was forced to start a war against the Lannister family.
“I am a master of the Citadel, bound in service to Castle Black and the Night’s Watch. I will not tell you to stay or go. You must make that choice yourself, and live with it or the rest of your days – as I have,” he said.
In addition to giving Jon Snow the most eloquent “man up” speech in episode 5, he revealed to Samwell Tarly (John Bradley-West) that he’s been keeping tabs on his one remaining relative in the world, Daenerys. Only time will tell if circumstances will ever force or allow him to revive his last name and help his great niece conquer Westeros for the Targaryen’s once again.