The world has been waiting for George R.R. Martin to write a new story for as long as Game of Thrones characters have been waiting for Winter to come. This year, at last, it’s finally happening … only not in the way you want.

The new material is not The Winds of Winter, the sixth novel in the Song of Ice and Fire series, but rather a short story set in the world many years prior to the events of Game of Thrones. It will be in an anthology called the Book of Swords and it is rumored to be a version of “The Sons of the Dragon,” a story Martin has previously read at fan conventions that focuses on Aenys and Maegor Targaryen, who are Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen’s ancestors.

Aenys Targaryen was the second Targaryen king to sit on the Iron Throne, while his younger half-brother Maegor, aka Maegor the Cruel, was the third.

The former was in a similar vein to Rhaegar Targaryen, Jon Snow’s father and Daenerys’s older brother: a violet-eyed, mild-mannered musician. Unlike Rhaegar, however, he was an unskilled fighter and a weak ruler. So, think along the lines of a mixture of Rhaegar’s traits with that of Sansa’s creepy breast-feeding cousin, Robin Arryn.

Maegor was more along the lines of Ramsay Bolton, a sadist with a true appetite for violence. But as different as the brothers were, for a time they had a symbiotic relationship. Aenys gifted Maegor with his Valyrian steel sword Blackfyre, which was a legendary sword of House Targaryen. Maegor also served as his Hand of the King, though Aenys was forced to strip him of his power and exile him when he caused a scandal by engaging in a polygamous marriage. Marriage scandals are apparently hereditary in House Targaryen.

After Aenys’s death — under somewhat suspicious circumstances — Maegor ascended to the throne ahead of Aenys’s own son and heir Aegon. As a result, Aegon rebelled, and in the ensuing battle, Maegor killed both Aegon and his dragon. Like his brother before him and the Mad King years after him, Maegor later died under suspicious circumstances with his wrists slashed while on the Iron Throne.

The two were succeeded by Jaehaerys Targaryen, a wise and competent ruler who might just turn out to be Jon Snow’s ancestral namesake.

Kit Harington as Jon Snow in 'Game of Thrones
Jon Snow

Now that we know about Jon’s true status as a Targaryen, this bloody history could be an ominous sign of Jon and Daenerys’s future in House Targaryen — especially since Martin loves showing how history repeats itself.

Either way, as House Targaryen is on the rise in Game of Thrones, this story will serve as a reminder that it’s an unpredictable hot mess of a House, and anything can happen when a Targaryen is in power.


Book of Swords will be out on October 10, 2017.

Photos via HBO