Black King Althurin I (Wastelandic: ) is a recurring character in the third, fourth, fifth, and a major character in the sixth and seventh seasons. Althurin is the eldest son of Dyron Blackgard and his wife, Talya Blackgard, brother of Aeron and Anera Blackgard. He has an unacknowledged bastard half-brother named Ethon. He is married to Queen Lyessa Garrigon. He is the self-proclaimed Black King of Ebonheart and following his coronation, he was renamed as King Althurin of House Blackgard, First of His Name, the Black King of Ebonheart and King of the Bordermen. After adopting this new moniker, Althurin chose a personal sigil, created mainly to symbolize his new position as king. He chose a dark blue cross, surrounded by four smaller crosses on beige. The sigil is said to mimic the look of the Jagged Crown.
Althurin has a rare, early-onset, slow-progressing form of Crippling Decay, commonly known as the "Highborn's Disease", that has gradually physically deteriorated him for months. Because of this, Althurin is required to wear a mask that hides his facial deformity.
Despite being it a great taboo in the Borderlands, Althurin is openly bisexual, and prior to his illness has had many affairs from both men and women.
King Althurin was born as Steffon Blackgard, the eldest child of Talya and Dyron Blackgard. Dyron was the firstborn son of Lord Trevyr Blackgard and Lady Laenah Blackgard. Trevyr was the head of House Blackgard, Lord of Ebonheart, and Lord Paramount of the Borderlands, one of the constituent regions of the Seven Kingdoms. The Blackgards rule the region from their seat of Ebonheart, situated in the eponymous port city of Blackgard. Trevyr was also the Warden of the Borderlands and, long before Althurin's birth, the Hand of the King to Aegon the Unlikely and briefly to Aegon's son and heir, King Aerys the Second, who is nowadays commonly known as the "Mad King". Althurin was born at Ebonheart in the year 279 AL, or 8841 AB according to the Bordermen Calendar. He has two younger siblings, Aeron Blackgard and Anera Blackgard.
As a baby, Althurin contracted pneumonia, one of the starting symptoms of Crippling Decay. The Lok-Sonaak told Dyron and Talya that Althurin would contract Crippling Decay somewhere nearing his 30th nameday. However, as it was soon discovered, Althurin would catch the disease much earlier on. Dyron and Talya decided to keep this a secret to Althurin, as they didn't want this shocking revelation to affect his childhood in any way.
Although Althurin was cured of his pneumonia once he became a toddler, he grew up an aggressive boy. Althurin was smaller and weaker than the other children, and because of this the master-at-arms of Ebonheart initially refused to train the young boy, claiming the training would be too hard for him. However, Dyron kept pushing the master-at-arms to train his son, to the point that he even threatened him by placing a knife on his throat.
Almost from birth, the Black King was unusual in that he seemed to lack emotion and empathy—something that would remain constant throughout his life, regardless of the situation he would be thrown into. The child Steffon felt no affection for his mother, father, or siblings, although his family cared deeply for him. This apparent lack of emotion resulted in him being nicknamed "the Faceless King", for he feels no emotion or and has no personality (and therefore, possesses no true "face"), and for the fact that he wears a mask, hiding his true, albeit horrifically scarred, face. As King Althurin, he was a cruel ruler, enforcing his rule on his subjects in any way he saw fit. Prior to becoming King, Steffon became known as more of a scholar than a warrior, as he spent much of his time delving into the mysteries of the Bordermen.
While other Bordermen of his generation became feared warriors and guardians of their homeland, Steffon was content to remain in Blackgard even when the rest of House Blackgard went to war against House Lannister. However, his public persona of a scholar was merely a sham: by the time he entered his 25th year, he was calculating, manipulative, and patient enough to sit by while his plans took years to reach completion. When news of Lucan Blackgard's death reached the ears of the people, Steffon was able to carefully drive the rest of the Bordermen into a frenzy of panic and herd them as he wished. He also revealed his true persona to the eight thousand Bordermen who heeded his call for revolution—the reclusive scholar revealed his true intentions to bring about the downfall of his uncle Eddin Blackgard, to overthrow the Lordship of the Borderlands and replace it with a monarchical and totalitarian Kingdom of the Borderlands.
After Steffon killed Eddin, was crowned Black King Althurin, and contracted Crippling Decay, he became only motivated by the solely two emotions he could still feel: hunger for power and fear of losing it. He is relentlessly ambitious and is utterly willing to betray or otherwise murder others to achieve his long-term goals. Althurin has no problem with committing socially heinous crimes such as kinslaying, treachery, torture, or murder, as was revealed during the Black Day.
Despite his shortcomings, Althurin proved to be a cunning diplomat and strategist, singlehandedly orchestrating an event that reshaped the political power and structure of the Borderlands entirely in a relatively short period of time. He is able to think on his feet and his aristocratic background and charismatic personality proved useful in gaining the trust of those around him, only to betray it in the long run once they had outlived their usefulness to him.
His lack of emotion also proved to work in the Black King's favor. Althurin, unrestrained by emotion or personal feelings, made him a cold realist, but also gave him a rather cynical and black-and-white view of the world. The resulting effect was the Black Day and the short, but powerful rebellion that existed prior; Althurin was convinced, with good reason, that Eddin would lead House Blackgard to ruin if it continued to pursue their revenge in a passionate fashion. Althurin, instead, holds a very conservative view and his naturally distrustful of anyone who isn't a Borderman. Ironic, considering that Althurin's Black Council include both ironborn and Andals. This, again, is a good example of Althurin's realistic interpretation of his rule; he was willing to set aside his racist and xenophobic nature and was willing to openly accept non-Bordermen into his ranks, as their combined ideologies and experiences would surpass that of a Bordermen-only group.
Before he contracted Crippling Decay, Steffon was considered to be very handsome. He was broad-shouldered, tall and sinewy. Eddin notes that Steffon inherited his grandfather's stature and that sometimes he even towers over his uncles. Many note that his father, Dyron, looked more like a dornishman than a borderman, and this Steffon inherited. He has black eyes, black hair, an olive skin, and thin brows. He has a lined face, a sharp nose and thin hair. Anera claims that Steffon never smiled in his life, and that he constantly has a surly look, even from birth.
After Steffon, now renamed King Althurin, contracted Crippling Decay, he was forced to wear a mask. No one knows what is behind his mask. The only way to view Althurin's face now is behind the gapes of his mask, where scars surrounding his eyes can be seen. Over time, Althurin was forced to use a cane, as a result of the disease now affecting his muscles. He constantly walks with a bowed back, and some are even beginning to see a hunched back appearing. Furthermore, Althurin lost his broad shoulders and some are even claiming that he is shrinking. Nevertheless, Althurin never lost a grip on his mental state, and although he is aware that his body is failing him, he is still convinced that he is immortal.
- Althurin is based on two famous monarchs; King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem and, like his grandfather Trevyr, on Alexander the Great. Furthermore, Althurin is also loosely based on Adolf Hitler, Fidel Castro, Emperor Vitiate, and Scar from The Lion King.
Kings of the independent Seven Kingdoms
|Kings in the North|
|Kings of the Rock|
|Kings of the Iron Islands|
|Kings of the Reach|
| Kings of the |
Mountain and the Vale
Sanah, the Wolf Queen · Althurin I, the Faceless
|Princes of Dorne|
|Kings of the Rivers and Hills|