In S05E07 of Game of Thrones Maester Aemon dies. Sam speaks the words for his funeral since it's supposed to be the Maester himself. He says all the usual stuff:

"His name was Aemon Targaryen"
"He came to us from King's Landing"
"Maester, chained and sworn."

But then he said something that struck me.

"He was the blood of the dragon...but now his fire has gone out."

Now I thought that maybe that was just something that Sam added, after all, him and Aemon were close. But of all the reasons that Sam loved Aemon, being a Targaryen wasn't really one of them, in fact they only briefly spoke about it once in the show. So it got me wondering, does he have to say that? Is the Night's Watch somehow obligated to House Targaryen? And if so why? I mean Yorin certainly made it very clear that the Men of the Watch had no obligation to Joffrey!

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    Even if he didn't like the fact that the Maester was a Targaryen (which I don't recall from the book anyway), it was still a big part of his life and history, so it makes a lot of sense to include in his eulogy.
    – Kevin
    Jun 24, 2015 at 13:23
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    Also, don't confuse what we see "on-screen" as the only interaction they've had. Sam was Aemon's steward and replacement in the making, they would have spent a lot of time "off-screen". We don't need to have seen every bit of interaction between them to know that they had a strong friendship.
    – Möoz
    Jun 24, 2015 at 23:19
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    I suspect Sam was reflecting on and making a big deal of the fact that Aemon turned down the Iron Throne and served at the Wall, instead. Jan 8, 2018 at 20:03

2 Answers 2


Even though swearing the oath of the Night's Watch means a resignation from all titles, land ownership and inheritance rights it doesn't make a black brother an anonymous person. Members from noble houses still use their family names and are de facto still nobles.

The situation is a bit more complicated with maesters:

Maesters are expected to eschew their familial background and political allegiances. They drop their family name when they join the order.

Still the past and origin of a maester is known. Even though the Order expects them to eschew their background, they are not forced to be hiding it completely (which probably wouldn't even be possible in case of maesters from noble houses). One may expect that when a maester dies the subject of his origin is being brought up.

To summarise: regardless of the fact that most of the brothers didn't know that, maester Aemon was a member of the house that for centuries was the greatest house in Westeros. It seems completely normal that it was mentioned during his funeral. He was a maester, a black brother and a Targaryen, so Sam referred to all that in his eulogy.

  • Maesters drop their family names.
    – his
    Jun 24, 2015 at 13:19
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    @his You're right, I realised that after writing my answer. However in general it doesn't change much, he was a Targaryen, even if he wasn't using this name. Jun 24, 2015 at 13:39
  • @his Thanks for your suggestion, I've added the maester part to my answer. Jun 24, 2015 at 14:15
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    That makes sense I guess, I never really thought of it as a eulogy but more of an acknowledgment of the fact that a man of The Watch had died. Jun 24, 2015 at 21:45

As part of their monastic-like rules, the Night's Watch owe no king or noble any allegiance, and that goes for the Targaryens as well. It was this disconnect from the politics of the realm that lead Maester Aemon to join the Night's Watch. He knew that if he did not remove himself from the succession he would become a tool in the hands of those who would want to gain power through his name. By swearing off lands and title (and refusing the call of the Great Council of 233 AC), he left the way clear for his brother Aegon V to assume the Iron Throne, and thus avoiding any possibility of civil war.

However, while Brothers of the Night's Watch might drop their titles they do not drop their heritage and faith. When Jon's group gets inducted in to the Night's Watch, those who pray to the Seven swear their oath in the Sept, while those who owe fealty to the Old Gods said their oaths in front of a weirwood, Sam being a notable exception of a Brother who was raised to the Seven but swore his oath to the Old Gods.

By custom Targaryens are called dragons, and when they die they are cremated. So Sam saying those words about Maester Aemon just before his body is burned is only to be expected. After all, his watch has ended and he is no longer bound by his Night's Watch oath.

Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death.

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