Characters: A Song Of Ice And Fire House Targaryen
This is a listing of members of House Targaryen that appear in the Fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire. Visit here for the main character index.
For the main Crownlands entry, see here.
House Targaryen of King's Landing
- "Fire And Blood"—Targaryen House Words
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Tropes related to House Targaryen
- The Alcoholic: Underplayed, but... it does seem to crop up a fair bit in the line. Over repeated generations. Somebody is bound to reach for the drink as a solution to their woes at some point in each generation we get to hear anything much of.
- Ancestral Weapon: The greatest is Aegon the Conqueror's sword Blackfyre, lost after the Blackfyre Rebellion, is generally thought to be in the hands of the Golden Company mercenaries. Another is Dark Sister, the sword wielded by Visenya Targaryen and by Bloodraven. As Bloodraven was sent to The Wall by King Aegon V, its current whereabouts are unknown.
- Animal Motifs: Dragons, of course.
- In particular, the sigil of House Targaryen was likely inspired by Zmey Gorynych, the three-headed dragon of Slavic mythology.
- Arc Number: The number three. Aegon the conqueror and his sisters, the dragon's three heads, the three times Maester Aemon's vows to the Order and the Night's Watch were tested, the three mounts Dany must ride, the three betrayals she will suffer and finally, The three eyed crow.
- Archnemesis Dad: Aegon IV and the Mad King were antagonistic to their sons Daeron II and Rhaegar.
- Badass FamilyCatelyn Stark: "Like their dragons, the Targaryens answered to neither gods nor men."
- Big Screwed-Up Family: Their house dates back to old Valyria, and in part due to centuries of practising incest more than a few members end up unhinged. However, a greater part probably has to do with having a massive entitlement/superiority complex that tends to get passed along as an inherited attitude even without having dragons to back it up any more. Getting taught (repeatedly) how wonderful they're all supposed to be when growing up and how greatness or utter failure is only a synapse away (and, have you got lucky, punk?) will likely also help screw you up. No pressure.
- Body Horror: Some of the Targaryen women (like Daenerys and Rhaenyra) or women married to Targaryens (like Maegor's wives note ) who had miscarriages or stillbirths had babies who tended to look like hideous human-dragon hybrids (complete with scales and/or leathery wings, tails and some even being eyeless). Whether this is due to the extreme inbreeding in the family, the Targaryen affinity to dragons, or a combination of both is unknown.
- The main Targaryen kingly line were at the very least physically sound save for few exceptions, like Queen Naerys, wife of King Aegon IV The Unworthy, who was noticeably feeble and delicate. Their soundness of mind is a different matter.
- Brother-Sister Incest: The family custom is to marry brother to sister whenever possible to keep the bloodline pure. In practice, they've mainly relied on cousins. The occasional (and genetically dangerous) uncle-niece pairing has occurred, too. Only twice of any import, though and only if you also count Bittersteel and his wife.
- Brought Down to Normal: The Targaryens were still formidable without their dragons. Though once they became The High King, they found it harder to intimidate and force their vassals to make reforms.
- The Chosen One: "The Prince who was Promised". The one who will bring back the dragons.
- The Clan: Oh, yes. Like most Westerosi Great Houses. But, like almost everything, Targaryens do it the hard and the more complex way.
- Color-Coded Characters: Members often have silver-blond hair and unusual purple eyes.
- Color Motif: Their house colors are red and black, representing the color of the scales of Balerion the Black Dread as well as their potential for great passion and total darkness.
- Cool Crown: The Dragon Kings have worn their fair share from the iconic iron circlet of Aegon the Conqueror, the simple gold band of Aegon III, to Baelor's crown of flowers, to the evil-looking pointy iron crown of Maekar.
- Cool Sword: The Targaryens had two Valyrian steel swords as heritage weapons:
- Blackfyre, originally the sword of Aegon the Conqueror, traditionally wielded by heirs and rulers of the Iron Throne. It became the source of a Succession Crisis when bastard pretender Daemon Blackfyre received it from his father, King Aegon IV, "The Unworthy". Upon being legitimized by the Crown, the sword was the inspiration for the name of the new cadet house which then broke in open rebellion against the reigning Targaryens. The sword was passed down to Daemon's descendants, but its current whereabouts are unknown. The general presumption by most in Westeros is that the Golden Company keeps it in trust in some way (though that is just speculation).
- Dark Sister was originally the sword of Aegon's sister-wife, Visenya. It tended to be wielded by the most Badass and interesting of the Targaryens - Prince Daemon Targaryen, Aemon the Dragonknight and the bastard loyalist, Brynden "Bloodraven" Rivers. It is unknown what happened to it after Bloodraven was banished to the Wall.
- Culture Clash/ Values Dissonance: The family's culture and values still clash with rest of Westeros, as they share some traits with people you'd find in Valyrian-influenced Essos. This Essos-like culture might explain the repeated interaction with House Martell and House Velaryon beyond just In the Blood. Paramours (and the resulting bastards) are fairly well accepted within the family as a feature (if not to the extent of what happens in Dorne). Most are, if not bilingual, then something close to it, as High Valyrian, both spoken and written, is used as a family tongue, not just as a language of learning, but of songs, legends and stories not always shared with their Kingdom at large. That meaning, of course, being able to understand many related languages at a pinch. Although the Targaryens were originally markedly less patrilineally-based in the early days, there are still shades of acceptance of assertive women rather easier than in the rest of Westerosi society (although that has eroded a lot over the years, so it's not saying much). Even the incest has cultural roots. While they could give up the practice of polygamy to placate the Faith, that was non-negotiable. The family is also not as close to the Valyrian ideal as it once was, either. As well as losing their dragons, their old gods and pretty much all of the lore surrounding them both, most of the modern members of the main line wouldn't tolerate the idea of slavery, for example. They are of Essos...and Westeros, too. And that has led to problems and solutions in both places.
- Divided We Fall: The Greens vs. The Blacks, The Blackfyre Rebellion and possibly between Daenerys and Aegon VI.
- Dragon Rider: The earlier Targaryens, before the dragons became extinct. Dany is growing into this.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: Targaryens called their psychic dreams "dragon dreams".
- The Empire: Westeros under Targaryen rule is both a subversion and deconstruction of the typical fantasy empire ruled over by a sorcerous overlord bent on dominating the world (or at least his own little corner of it). Aegon the Conqueror showed up essentially out of nowhere with three dragons in tow and cut a swathe of destruction across Westeros while leading his armies under black and red banners, but once he settled down to rule from his Iron Throne, he proved to be a rather fair and far-sighted ruler. His successors ranged all over the morality and ability scales, and the potential for Evil Overlord-style abuse was always there, but the two who most closely fit the Evil Overlord archetype (Maegor the Cruel and Aerys the Mad) also proved to be two of the most ineffectual kings, and both met unsavory ends when the political realities of ruling a kingdom took their toll.
- The Exile: Twice! Once from Valyria (they were the original lords of Dragonstone, Stannis' seat), and then again from Westeros.
- Expy: Of the House of Normandy and also, The House of Plantagenet, the longest ruling dynasty of England.
- Definitely the Fire to the Starks' Ice.
- Targaryens are of Valyrian descent. Martells are Rhoynish descent. Both are in Westeros, even if their cultures are closer to the Valyrian one.
- The Good King: Has produced its share. Whether they were good men is entirely another matter, however.
- Hot-Blooded: As a general rule, Targaryens are extremely passionate and high tempered regardless of sanity levels.
- I Coulda Been a Contender:
- Viserys II, Baelor "Breakspear," and Rhaegar all had the promise of being The Good King but died before they could fulfill their potential.
- Daemon Targaryen was Viserys I's heir until he was bypassed on the succession by: Rhaenyra, Jacaerys, Lucerys, Joffrey, Aegon the Younger, Viserys, Aegon the Elder, Helaena, Aemond and Daeron. He went from being one step removed from the throne to down the whole damn ladder. No wonder he was pissed most of his life and tried to gain some status back by marrying Rhaenyra, though he did get some post-mortem consolation in the fact that his sons Aegon the Younger and Viserys were kings and continued the Targaryen line. Not to mention, a huge war of successionnote happened in between.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: Aegon's army was inferior to the armies of the kings who eventually bent the knee to him, and wouldn't have conquered Westeros if it weren't for his and his sisters' dragons.
- In the Blood: Though there are two sides to this coin. It is said that some Targaryens shine with the family greatness, while others are stark raving mad. The vast majority are, despite popular belief, simply middling ones who somehow tend to get forgotten by most for existing as neither particularly great, nor utterly bonkers. They usually get to live with massive confidence issues worrying about when/if that shoe is going to drop on them.
- Last Child Wins: Rhaenys, Jahaerys, Viserys II, Maekar, Aegon V carried on the main bloodline for the Targaryen dynasty.
- The Madness Place: Both Targaryens and Blackfyres might as well have changed their names to "House Madness Place" and quit the feud before it went nuclear. What fuels the special? That might very well be various forms of episodic, high-functioning, trance- or dream-like madness with resulting access to alternative thought-patterns. This can even be present in the brilliant Targaryens... which could explain why the wheels fall off so much on those who can't keep their grips on their entries and exits into and from their individual forms of this as they go along. The general belief about Targaryens is that it's hard to tell the difference between the great and the mad ones since madness and greatness are so close to each other.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: On the one hand, "Targaryen madness" might stem from the semi-prophetic dragon dreams they get. On the other, it might simply be the result of congenital conditions getting amplified through constant inbreeding. In any case, the victims are not exactly helped by the fact that Targaryens are essentially taught from birth that they're members of a superior class of people.
- Meaningful Name:
- "Rhaen" is a common female Targaryen name prefix. It also sounds like the Latin "Rein" which means queen.
- "Vis" sounds a lot like "Vice" meaning placeholder. Targaryens named Viserys and Visenya tend to be overshadowed by someone greater.
- Mystical White Hair: While white hair naturally exists in this universe as a mark of Valyrian heritage, it's very rare in Westeros. The fact that Targaryens are one of the few families (others being the Daynes and the Velaryons) that have them only contribute to their rare beauty. It helps that it's only stayed in their line for so long due to deliberate inbreeding and restricting the official outcrossing to mainly to the Daynes, the Velaryons and the Martells (who have it as a very rare recessive as a result of a Targaryen marrying into the line).
- Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: Before the Doom of Valyria, the Targaryens were one family of dragon riders among many, and not even a particularly powerful or noteworthy one. Afterward, however, they became the only dragon riders of note left in the world, allowing Aegon the Conqueror to make his conquests virtually unopposed by any rival.
- Our Elves Are Better: Unnaturally beautiful? Coming from a mythical land now lost? Affinity with magic? Check, check and check. Add pointy ears and they're the closest thing Westeros has to a typical race of epic fantasy High Elves.
- People of Hair Color: White. Justified as it's inbred.
- Pride: Their defining personality characteristic as a family, and for many their Fatal Flaw, is an immense pride in the fact that they are the last survivors of the Valyrian dragon riders. Even long after they lose the dragons that their reign was originally founded upon, they still often act like they're above the laws of gods and men. Various Targaryens' inability to swallow their pride has often led directly to their deaths, ruined the lives of many others caught in the fallout, and eventually cost them the Iron Throne itself.
- Purple Eyes: Many Targaryens are said to have purple eyes, although the exact shade varies. It's a bloodline trait and specifically said to be unnatural (the result of Valyrian heritage; though there are a couple of minor houses and even many commoners in Lys who have them, too.)
- Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits: The current Targaryens are this out of necessity.
- Daenerys Targaryen's group has consisted of an exiled knight from The North, Dothraki loyalists, a legendary Kingsguard, a Meereenese pit fighter, an intuitive child slave from Astapor, a flamboyant Tyroshi sellsword, an army of eunuch soldiers and several mercenary companies, as well as droves of devoted followers after her anti-slavery revolution in Slaver's Bay. And should Daenerys live through the rest of the books, she will likely gather many more to her cause.
- The alleged Aegon Targaryen VI's group consists of an exiled Stormlands lord, a former student at the Citadel who never officially became a maester, a mysterious Westerosi septa, a lowborn hedge knight and the Blackfyres' Golden Company from Essos (which is itself a Rag-Tag Bunch Of Misfits with Blackfyre leanings and loyalties from its founding days). Ragtag? Doesn't do it justice.
- The Remnant: Of the Valyrian dragonlords. And the Remnant of Remnants for the modern ones.
- Royal Inbreeding: Often between brother and sister, but if that could not be arranged, they married cousins. There were also a few uncle/niece and aunt/nephew couples.
- As per The World of Ice & Fire, incest was slowly discouraged in-between. Aegon the Unworthy's marriage to his sister Naerys was the last royal incest until Jaehaerys II revived it nearly a hundred years later. In-between Targaryens married Dornish families, the Martells (Daeron II married Mariah Martell) and the Daynes (Maekar I married Dyanna Dayne), while Aegon V married Betha Blackwood from the Riverlands. Aegon V was especially keen on ending incest for good and was supremely disappointed at his son's actions, while Jaehaerys II later forced his own children Aerys and Rhaella to marry against their wishes.
- Royally Screwed Up: See above. Provides the page quote, too.
- Royalty Superpower: Well, the whole Royal Blood thing's not without some compensation: to hope to control dragons and benefit from a link to fire magic in general, you need the blood of old Valyria. Some seem to inherit the various aspects of it more than others. Some seem to suffer for it, too.
- Rule of Symbolism: The fate of the Targaryen dragons sometimes mirrored that of their riders.
- Maegor's inability to bond with dragons reflected his inability to have children.
- Queen Helaena lost her sons during the Dance of the Dragons, eventually committing suicide. To avenge her, her dragon Dreamfyre went berserk.
- Nettles won the trust of Sheepstealer. She would later do the same with Prince Daemon Targaryen.
- Sunfyre was crippled just like his rider Aegon II.
- Stormcloud flew high and far but was broken by the ordeal, like his rider, the future Aegon III.
- Daenerys loses control of her dragons much as she does of Slaver's Bay.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: of the Sensitive Guy and Manly Man variety. Aenys and Maegor, Viserys I and Daemon, Baelor and Daeron I, Aemon the Dragonknight and Aegon IV, Daeron II's middle sons Aerys I & Prince Rhaegel (sensitive) and his eldest and youngest sons Baelor Breakspear & Maekar I (manly) & Viserys and Rhaegar.
- Sketchy Successor: The Dragon Kings have had their share. Examples include Aenys, Daeron I, Baelor, Aegon IV, Aerys I and Aerys II
- Strong Family Resemblance: Aegon II looked like his father Viserys I, except he never smiled. Having said that, they all tend to look fairly similar due to the frequent inbreeding.
- Succession Crisis: Several times. While the Dance was the most famous example, a mini-crisis already took place when Maegor usurped the throne from Aenys's heir after Aenys's death. This took place a mere five years after the Dragon himself passed away.
- Try to Fit THAT on a Business Card!: In official proclamations or when a King is introduced. To wit: (Insert name) Targaryen, the Nth of His Name, King of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm.
- Unexpected Successor: Several times, when a Spare to the Throne becomes king: Jaehaerys I (third son), Viserys I (grandson of his predecessor), Viserys II (uncle of his predecessor, who died without issue), Maekar I (fourth son), Aegon V (fourth son of Maekar).
- The Usurper: The family took the rule of Westeros by defeating the majority of the ruling kings already in Westeros. The surviving members of the family consider the Baratheons to be usurpers for doing the same thing.
- Warrior Prince: Maegor, Prince Daemon, Daeron I, Aemon the Dragonknight, Baelor Breakspear, Maekar, Rhaegar.
- White Hair, Black Heart: Some of their members, most recently Aerys the Mad. Of course, it has magical connotations, too.
The Last Targaryens
King Aerys Targaryen, the Second of His Name; r. 262-283
The Mad King, Aerys the Mad, King Scab
- "The traitors want my city ... but I’ll give them naught but ashes. Let Robert be king over charred bones and cooked meat".
- 0% Approval Rating: The most hated of all the Targaryen kings.
- Abhorrent Admirer: To Joanna Lannister. He never stopped hitting on her and making lewd jokes in her presence. One time, he upset Tywin so much that he turned in his badge, only for Aerys to make an apology.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: The very embodiment.
- Ax-Crazy: This guy basically oozed crazy.
- Bad Boss: On a good day, he'd just find a way to dramatically complicate your work life. On a bad... well... You'd die warm, at least.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: He wanted someone to help put an end to Robert's Rebellion. Tywin Lannister did just that...in a way.
- Blond Guys Are Evil: Some of his favorite activities include burning his own people alive.
- Bring My Brown Pants: Jaime remembers how Aerys soiled himself when he realized what Jaime was about to do to him. Oh, Crap indeed.
- Brother-Sister Incest: Reluctantly married his sister Rhaella.
- The Butcher: Quite fond of having people maimed or put to death, often in excessive fashions. Jaime Lannister reveals that Aerys planned to burn King's Landing rather than allow Lord Tywin to take the city during Robert's Rebellion, which is the reason Jaime decided to kill Aerys.
- The Caligula: He was called "King Aerys the Mad," or just "the Mad King," among other things. As a young King, he went from being a harmless version, coming up with impractical but grandiloquent plans, calling himself Aerys the Wise, extorting sexual favors and being a sleaze. He then went full Ax-Crazy after the Defiance of Duskendale.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: When Lyanna was kidnapped and Brandon arrested for threatening Rhaegar's life, Lord Rickard Stark tried to win them back through Combat by Champion with himself as champion. Aerys chose fire as his champion. Guess who won?
- Wrong Genre Savvy: As it turns out, blatantly flouting feudal rules of behaviour by choosing an elemental force of destruction as your champion in a trial by combat is pretty good propaganda for a rebellion against you.
- Domestic Abuser: Poor, poor Rhaella...
- Evil Former Friend: To Tywin Lannister, before the series started. Yeah, Tywin was the good guy in that situation. Yikes. Indeed, as per The World of Ice & Fire, his passive-aggressive abuse of Tywin's friendship and service makes you wonder why Tywin didn't try to kill him years before.
- Fleeting Passionate Hobbies: A hallmark of his early reign. He would devise grandiose and impractical schemes to showcase the might of the Iron Throne, then quickly grow bored of them and move on to his next big idea.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Towards his childhood friend Tywin and his son Rhaegar.
- I Have Your Wife: Appointed Jaime Lannister to the Kingsguard and always kept him close so he can be used as a hostage to keep Lord Tywin in line. He also forbade Rhaegar's wife and kids from fleeing to Dragonstone to hopefully get Dorne's support against the rebels.
- Large Ham: As a young King, he kept coming up with grandiose impossible plans, such as building a second Wall in the North, an underground canal and took to calling himself Aerys the Great and Aerys the Wise.
- Karmic Death: Feared sharp objects and only allowed the Kingsguard to carry weapons. He was killed by a Kingsguard, after ordering said Kingsguard to kill his own father.
- Kill It with Fire: And cackle all the while.
- Madness Makeover: As he gradually slipped into insanity, he reached a point where he would allow no blades in his presence save the swords of the Kingsguard. This resulted in him growing long, filthy fingernails and a scraggly Wizard Beard.
- Massive Numbered Siblings: His children with Rhaella: Rhaegar, Viserys and Daenerys (the ones who survived to adulthood), three miscarried children, two stillborn children (one being a girl named Shaena) and three children who died in infancy - Daeron (lived for half a year), Aegon (born very premature, lived for a few months) and Jaehaerys (also lived less than a year).
- The One That Got Away: According to Ser Barristan in ADwD, there was a woman Aerys would rather have married instead of his sister Rhaella: Joanna Lannister, who wed Lord Tywin and became the joy of his life.
- Papa Dragon: As Brandon Stark found out, to his sorrow. Though he did this solely out of power, he hated Rhaegar.
- The World of Ice and Fire revealed he was overprotective to the point of paranoia of his younger son, Viserys (due to Viserys being the first surviving child born after a long series of miscarriages, stillbirths and deaths in infancy).
- The Paranoiac: His life is a long argument against paranoid overreactions. It made him fearful and suspicious, believing in plots everywhere and he ended up becoming so unmanageable and oppressive to be around, eventually people started plotting against for him, for real.
- Posthumous Character: He died 14 years before the series' beginning.
- Predecessor Villain: Before there was Joffrey (who is referred to by Tyrion as Aerys the Third) there was Mad King Aerys.
- Pyro Maniac: This guy loved fire. Jaime speculated Aerys believed that, if his plan of burning down King's Landing with wildfire was carried out, he would not die in the inferno but transform into a dragon and crush Robert Baratheon and his followers.
- Really Gets Around: In his early reign he was a shameless skirt-chaser, earning comparisons with Aegon the Unworthy. After his wife Rhaella had many miscarriages and stillbirths over the years, and three of their children died in infancy, he turned to the Faith and became a faithful husband to Rhaella.
- Replacement Goldfish: As he and Tywin became more estranged, he turned to his other childhood friend, Steffon Baratheon for support. He asked Steffon to find a bride for Rhaegar in the Free Cities. After his tragic death by shipwreck, Aerys blamed Tywin for this action and became even more fearful of Tywin's intentions. That said, old friendships didn't refrain Aerys from ordering the death of Steffon's oldest son Robert, simply because he was associated with the Starks.
- Rich Bitch: Became this as he aged. Aerys refused Tywin's proposal that Rhaegar marry Cersei because the daughter of a servant is an unfit bride for the crown prince. Though since this is Aerys, his idea of "servant" is the wealthiest man in Westeros, someone who paid the Crown's debts to the all-powerful Iron Bank of Braavos and the man who's been running his economy like a well-oiled engine.
- Sanity Slippage: He is described as having been "a charming and generous man" in his younger days.
- Start of Darkness: The Defiance of Duskendale, which he caused by ignoring his advisors. The debacle convinced him to ''keep'' ignoring them.
- Taking You with Me: He wanted to burn down the entire city of King's Landing with wildfire just to spite Robert.
- Too Dumb to Live: Well, "too mad to live" might be more accurate. He insisted on keeping Jaime Lannister, the son of his enemy, at his side to keep his father in check. He thought he would be safer. That did not end well.
- Used To Be A Nice Guy: See Sanity Slippage.
- Villain with Good Publicity: To his son Viserys and to the Alchemists Guild.
- We Used to Be Friends: Was initially good friends with Tywin Lannister, right before his Sanity Slippage caused his jealousy to get out of control.
- White Hair, Black Heart: A classic example.
- Younger Than He Looks: Described by Martin as being around forty, but looking much older when he died.
- Your Cheating Heart: In his younger days, he used to shamelessly parade mistresses and cheat on his wife Rhaella, which she tolerated until he started seducing her ladies-in-waiting. Surprisingly, after many child losses suffered by his wife, he actually made an attempt to become faithful and change. However, the start of his madness led Aerys to start raping his wife.
Queen Rhaella Targaryen
Queen Rhaella TargaryenDaughter of Jaehaerys I and his sister-wife Shaera. Sister-wife to Aerys II, and the mother to his three (surviving) children Rhaegar, Viserys, and Daenerys. She was pregnant at the time of the Rebellion. Before the Sack of King's Landing and Aerys's subsequent death, she and Viserys were spirited away to Dragonstone, where she eventually died giving birth to Daenerys.
- Arranged Marriage: To her brother Aerys. Their marriage is described by Ser Barristan Selmy as "loveless". Also doubles as Unwanted Spouse, since neither of them were happy with the arrangement.
- Brother-Sister Incest: Married to her brother Aerys as mentioned above, to their mutual reluctance.
- Death by Childbirth: Rhaella died giving birth to Daenerys during a storm on Dragonstone; hence the name "Daenerys Stormborn".
- Domestic Abuse: Was on the receiving end of this, according to Jaime. Aerys would pay her visits every so often - usually after burning someone to death - to savagely beat and rape her to the point where it looked as though she had been savaged by an animal.
- The Fettered: Rhaella is described as putting duty and honor first, even over her own personal wishes.
- Good Parents: She is described as a good mother to Viserys, trying to shield him from his father's insanity.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: Her firstborn child, Rhaegar, was carried to term and born healthy, but her attempts to have a second child resulted in three miscarriages, two stillbirths, and three sons who died in infancy. Her second surviving child, Viserys, was eventually born 17 years after Rhaegar. And, of course, she conceived Daenerys when already far past the point of trying for another child.
- The One That Got Away / Star-Crossed Lovers: To Ser Bonifer Hasty, apparently. He crowned her Queen of Love and Beauty at a tourney, and according to Ser Barristan he had a passionate but ultimately doomed relationship with her.
- Posthumous Character: She has been deceased for years by the time A Game of Thrones begins.
- Unwanted Spouse: To her brother Aerys, who would rather have more gladly married her lady-in-waiting, Joanna Lannister. The feeling was very mutual.
- Uptown Girl: To Ser Bonifer Hasty. As Barristan Selmy said, a landed Knight is no fit consort for a Princess.
Prince Rhaegar Targaryen
Prince Rhaegar Targaryen
The Last Dragon, The Silver Prince
- "Rubies flew like drops of blood from the chest of a dying prince, and he sank to his knees in the water and with his last breath murmured a woman's name."
- 100% Adoration Rating: He seemed to have been fairly beloved by commons and high born before the incident with Lyanna Stark. However, the exact reason for this is not specified - which is weird . Still, Targaryen loyalists still adore him.
- Abduction Is Love: Rhaegar kidnapped Lyanna against her will. Some characters say he loved her.
- The Ace: He's described as having been a highly respected and very handsome man who excelled at anything he put his mind to.
- Alternative Character Interpretation / The Rashomon: Tons In-Universe. The entire situation with Lyanna Stark is kept very ambiguous and accounts about it differ from character to character, ranging from villainy and romanticism to plain stupidity. To the reader's eye, Rhaegar's path was also, and mostly, driven by prophecy.
- Antagonistic Offspring / The Evil Prince: Though it is debatable how evil he actually was, Word of God said the relationship between father and son was tense and bitter, as the king was increasingly paranoid and jealous of his Hand Tywin Lannister and his own son, to the point of getting out of the Red Keep for the first time after Duskendale to attend the tournament at Harrenhal...because Varys had told him that his son had arranged it to make alliances to overthrow him. And there are hints that Rhaegar really was planning to overthrow him, or at least force his retirement from active ruling, though given his father's madness, one wishes he did this earlier.
- Arch-Enemy: To Robert Baratheon. Well, the swine outright swiped his girlfriend and she died, dammit...
- Arranged Marriage: To Elia Martell.
- Badass Bookworm: Rhaegar was more interested in scholarly pursuits than in being a fighter, until he decided that his destiny dictated that he become a warrior.
- Because Destiny Says So: He had absolutely no interest in knightly training growing up, preferring to play the harp and study as a scholar. Until he read something that made him show up at the training yard the next morning and tell the master-at-arms, "I shall require a sword and mail. It seems I must become a warrior."
- Big Good: Almost universally loved before the whole Lyanna event. Targaryen supporters currently want to put Prince Aegon on the Throne because he is Rhaegar's son and not for his being Aerys' grandson.
- Black Knight: He was described as wearing black armor.
- Bling of War: The Targaryen dragon coat of arms on his armor were made of rubies.
- Blond Guys Are Evil: According to Robert, the ASOIAF app, and the material released for the television series, Rhaegar kidnapped and raped 15-year-old Lyanna Stark.
- The Chosen One: He believed he filled this trope before changing his views and deciding his son Aegon would fulfill this destiny.
- Dead Guy Junior: "Rhae" is a common prefix in Targaryen names (his mother's name beimg "Rhaella", for instance). Daenerys later named her son "Rhaego" and one of her dragons "Rhaegal" after her dead brother, which is sweet. One of the numerous Freys named his son Rhaegar, which is creepy.
- Elegant Classical Musician: He could bring women to tears with his beautiful harp music.
- Emo Teen: He was repeatedly stated to have had "melancholy eyes". And he played the harp. 'Nuff said. (Tropes Are Not Bad!)
- Even the Guys Want Him: At least Jon Connington did...
- Foil: Like Eddard Stark, Rhaegar was almost universally loved and their supporters are resorting to frankly insane measures to restore their children to their rightful place as rulers of the realm.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: Used a sword against Robert Baratheon during the Battle of the Trident, though despite being a reportedly decent person it is quite arguable if he could be called a hero (the whole irresponsibly disappearing and letting his insane father cause a war and and in doing so killing thousands of people, destabilizing the kingdom, causing lots of extremely serious problems for years to come and causing his own family to be deposed from the throne). Also, it did not go well for him considering the fact that Robert used a warhammer (being a much better weapon for knights in armor and Robert being a much better warrior).
- Idiot Ball: While he probably couldn't predict that his father was going to burn a Lord Paramount to death, he should have realised that kidnapping and/or spiriting away Lyanna Stark, the daughter of one powerful high lord (and betrothed to another) without anything remotely close to their permissions, was never, ever going to end well, whatever the circumstances. To say nothing of the fact that he left his actual wife (yeah, the one who was the sister to prince of Dorne and closest ally of the Iron Throne), his children, young brother and his mother with his completely insane father and at his whims and mercy. Yeah, Rhaegar was a great family man.
- Last of His Kind: Often referred to as "The Last Dragon". Daenerys begs to differ.
- Love Ruins the Realm: His apparent kidnapping of Lyanna for personal reasons triggered a civil war during which himself and most of his immediate family members were brutally killed. It also led to decades of stagnation and further strife that continually hark back to the direct consequences of that event. Whoops?
- Posthumous Character: Died years before the series began.
- Present Absence: He's been dead since before the series began, but his actions and legacy have cast a long shadow over the present day.
- Pretty Boy: Cersei and pretty much everyone who knew him considered him to be very attractive. Even Jaime Lannister is said to have looked plain next to him.
- Purple Eyes: Like many other Targaryens, Rhaegar had purple eyes.
- Second-Hand Storytelling: We only ever hear about Rhaegar though the reminiscing of other characters, some of whom have glowing memories of him. Others... not so much.
- Together in Death: With Lyanna Stark. Robert later remarks: "Rhaegar won, damn him. I killed him, Ned, I drove the spike right through that black armor into his black heart, and he died at my feet. They made up songs about it. Yet somehow he still won. He has Lyanna now, and I have her."
- Villain with Good Publicity: Despite being infamous for kidnapping and raping a teenage girl, Rhaegar is thought highly of by Cersei, Jaime, Viserys, Dany, and Barristan. Mind you, Cersei, Viserys and Dany are pretty biased...as are those like Robert, who outright paint him as a villain. It's complicated. Eddard Stark, who probably has more reason to hate Rhaegar than Robert himself, privately notes of Rhaegar's character that in contrast to Robert, he would never be the kind to sleep with every whore in sight.
- Warrior Prince: He took part in the Battle of the Trident. Even before that, he took up the sword and made himself into this trope by sheer hard work, despite his more scholarly leanings.
- The Wise Prince: The characters who had a high opinion of Rhaegar think of him this way.
- Your Cheating Heart: In the Tourney at Harrenhal, he publicly spurned his wife Elia by giving the crown of the Queen of Love and Beauty to Lyanna Stark. Elia's reaction to this is not recorded but one imagines she wasn't thrilled. To say nothing of his later kidnapping of Lyanna.
King Viserys Targaryen, the Third of His Name; r. 283-298
The Dragon, The Beggar King, The Cart King, The Sorefoot king
The second (surviving) child of Aerys II and Rhaella. Exiled prince of House Targaryen and the older brother of Daenerys, who lives with her in hiding at the beginning of the series. Unlike Dany, he lived as a prince in his childhood and knew his family, but was still very young when he lost everything overnight. A young man with serious mental problems, Viserys has made it his goal in life to return to Westeros and take back the throne. Too bad he foams at the mouth, regularly pinches his sister's boobs and refers to himself as "the dragon".
- A Real Man Is a Killer: Subverted. Vowed to kill Robert himself, though he's never killed anyone.
- The Alcoholic: Turned to drink more and more in response to everything he went through over the years. This eventually caused his death.Daenerys: They fed him wine and promises, but they starved his soul.
- Attempted Rape: According to narration in A Dance with Dragons, he tried this on Daenerys the night before her wedding. Fortunately Illyrio was Genre Savvy enough to have put guards at her door.
- Big Bad Wannabe: Viserys aspires to be menacing and fearsome.
- Break the Haughty: So very much.
- Captain Ersatz: Bonnie Prince Charlie.
- Cultural Posturing: Constantly disparages the Dothraki and their culture. In a language most of them do not speak, of course.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Repeatedly annoying the Dothraki with 'I will be crowned' leads them to 'crown' him with molten gold. Ouch.
- Despair Event Horizon: According to Daenerys, when Viserys had to sell their mother's crown, all joy was gone from him, leaving only rage.
- The Exile: Something he is not happy to admit.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Was very attached to his mother.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He was bitter and abusive, but after his death, Daenerys named one of her dragons after him, and she admits that if it wasn't for Viserys, she never would have survived on her own living on the run from Robert's assassins.
- Evil Is Petty: Very, very petty. You know your schemes aren't big when you're plotting and, most importantly, failing to steal your sister's wedding gifts (and virginity) because others saw you coming a mile off without even squinting hard.
- Fish out of Water: He's so out-of-touch with Dothraki society (and perhaps society in general) that he doesn't even realize he's being insulted when they offer him a cart to ride in, as among the Dothraki only the elderly, infirm, very young and pregnant don't ride a horse.
- Foil: Because they interact with a completely separate set of characters, the similarity is never mentioned (and it may even be unintentional), but the reader may notice that Viserys acts a lot like Joffrey. They are both very arrogant, products of brother-sister incest, prone to acting irrationally (especially when they lose their temper), torment those weaker than themselves, and are cowards at heart. Viserys abuses Daenerys in some way in every scene he has, and it is implied that Joffrey abused his little brother Tommen. However, the most notable similarity is that both of them order a subordinate to beat their victim: during one of his humiliations, Viserys orders Mormont to hit Daenerys, and Joffrey does this all the time with his Kingsguard and Sansa. Daenerys tentatively saying that Viserys "wouldn't be a very good king" was always an understatement, but we see just how much of an understatement it was when we see how Joffrey turned out.
- And like his archnemesis Robert Baratheon, Viserys never got over the loss of his loved ones, turned to drink to cope, and got killed for it.
- Free-Range Children: A total deconstruction. It's probably safe to say that Viserys could give you an entire book's worth on what a stupid trope it is. The age of eight is not really the best age to be forced to look after an entire dynasty's worth of inheritance and expectations...with a baby in tow. Worse, in an alien environment, so you face growing further away from your roots as you age, however hard you try (and fail) to cling onto them. Jerkass though he is, you do have to feel for him a little bit.
- Freudian Excuse: Part of how he turned out is due to this. He was raised as a prince, and when that was ripped from him in a rebellion he probably didn't fully understand (which his brother was a catalyst of, no less), he was forced to support his infant sister mostly by himself at the age of eight (well, maybe nine). Dany notes that when they were younger he was more of a caring brother to her, but the humiliations he had to undergo to support the two of them took their toll on him. She remembers that the last straw was being forced to sell off their mother's crown, after which all remaining kindness in him was gone.
- Humiliation Conga: When he was eight years old, he lost most of his immediate family, his House's kingdom and was left alone with his infant sister. They wandered the free cities and sold all their possessions just to survive. The last straw for him was when he had to sell his mother's crown. When he was with the Dothraki, Daenerys had his horse taken away when he tried to hit her. To the Dothraki a man who doesn't ride is no man, and they named him "The Sorefoot King". Khal Drogo then had him ride in the cart, an even worse insult from the Dothraki, as carts are for old men, very young children, and cripples. All this culminated with him finally getting his "golden crown" as mentioned above.
- Impoverished Patrician: Despite coming from a line of kings and believing himself to be the true king of Westeros, Viserys is reduced to begging in order to survive. Unlike his sister, he is extremely haughty and acts like he is still royalty.
- In the Blood: The other reason for how he turned out. Barristan recalls that even as a young boy he showed some signs of his father's instability.
- In Name Only: A rare instance of this trope occurring in-universe and being applied to a character. Viserys insists that he is the rightful king of Westeros, and styles himself Viserys III Targaryen. Some characters, like Illyrio and Ser Jorah humor him by calling him "Your Grace," while everyone else (who has even heard of him) simply calls him "the Beggar King".
- Jerkass: He is cruel to his sister and anyone else he is capable of abusing.
- Karmic Death: "I am the dragon, the dragon, and I will be crowned!" Khal Drogo responds by giving him a crown of hot melted gold.
- Kick the Dog: In almost every scene he appears in, he sexually assaults his sister.
- Lean and Mean: He is described as being thin and gaunt looking in appearance, most likely due to a life of running from Robert's assassins, as well as having to live off the charity of others. This probably didn't help his temperament, due to his immense pride.
- Promotion to Parent: After the death of their entire family, he raised his little sister Daenerys as a Parental Substitute. Too bad he was an abusive one.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Huge emphasis on the "psychopathic". If he wasn't so much the "child" and less the "man", though, he'd have a chance at seriously scary, rather than just sadly pathetic.
- Royal Brat: He acts like this all the time, calling himself King and The Dragon. However he has no kingdom, actual followers, and what little wealth he had was lost or sold just to survive.
- Sheltered Aristocrat: A World of Ice and Fire reveals that Viserys's early upbringing took place in an extremely sheltered environment due to his father's extreme over-protectiveness. Even if his issues were truly In the Blood, being effectively isolated from society at an early age certainly didn't help him learn to cope.
- Smug Snake: Contemptuous to everyone, with an overinflated sense of his own abilities, and ends up dead due to his own stupidity and hubris.Ser Jorah Mormont: Viserys is less than the shadow of a snake.
- Spanner in the Works: To Doran Martell's plan to help him regain King's Landing. Had he not been Too Dumb to Live, he would have had the army he desperately wanted.
- Start of Darkness: Being forced to sell his mother's crown.
- Stupid Evil: Oh so very much. See Too Dumb to Live below for details.
- Too Dumb to Live: Viserys shows up at a banquet in Vaes Dothrak (the Dothraki holy city) wearing a sword, which is forbidden. Then, he not only threatens Dany's life but also to cut her unborn son out of her. Yeah, he's drunk and frustrated, but threatening the wife of a barbarian warlord while you're surrounded by 5,000 of his followers isn't too bright. Drogo melts down his own belt of gold medallions and dumps it on Viserys' head.
- Tragic Villain: He's a major asshat, however: at the age of eight or so, everything he knew in life was ripped away from him, in addition to undergoing a Promotion to Parent for his little sister. After that, years of living on the run from possible assassination, plus having to swallow his pride at every turn just to live, while probably coping (or failing to cope) with what must been something like PTSD on top of any other inborn issues that only got worse thanks to time and neglect? Ouch.
- He also inherited his father's mental instabilities, and compared to his younger sister Daenerys and older brother Rhaegar (who are repeatedly noted to be awesome at pretty much anything they do) Viserys comes off as quite unimpressive. He was essentially screwed from birth. He's still an enormous tool, though, in spite of all of the aforementioned factors, so it's not at all easy to pity him.
- Turn Out Like His Father: Went batshit insane and got himself killed just like his father.Illyrio: Viserys was Mad Aerys son, just so.
- Unknown Rival: Viserys likes to imagine that he's the The Hero to Robert's Big Bad, but he belongs squarely in this trope.
- Robert did want him dead, but he seemed much more concerned with the possibility of Daenerys having children.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: According to Daenerys. According to Barristan, however, he showed signs of his father's instability even at an early age.
- Values Dissonance: An in-Universe example. The way Viserys acts and the warlike traditions of the Dothraki don't mesh very well. Less "the dragon commands!" and more "please, Mr. Drogo" would have been wise.
- White Hair, Black Heart: Has the white hair of the Targaryens, and is a physically, emotionally, and mentally abusive asshat.
- Wife Husbandry: Before he arranged her marriage to Khal Drogo, it's implied that he was waiting for Daenerys to be old enough to marry him.
- You Can't Go Home Again: Though he wants to return to Westeros to claim the Seven Kingdoms, he lives in exile with his sister.
Queen Daenerys Targaryen, the First of Her Name; r. 298
The Queen Across The Water
- See Court of Daenerys I.
Princess Elia Martell
Princess Elia Targaryen (née Nymeros Martell)
"Elia and her children have waited long for justice. But this day they shall have it."
— Prince Oberyn MartellA princess of Dorne and the sister of Doran and Oberyn. She married Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, and by him birthed Rhaenys and Aegon. Elia was murdered by Ser Gregor Clegane during the sack of King's Landing.
- Arranged Marriage: To Rhaegar.
- Brainy Brunette: Cersei mentions in one of her chapters that Elia had black hair, and Barristan claims that she was known to have a sharp wit.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: She was raped by Gregor Clegane while he still had the blood and brains of her dead infant son (whom he also killed) on his hands. He then smashed her head open and killed her.
- Cynicism Catalyst: Her death is this to Oberyn and Doran. In the fourth book it's revealed Doran and Oberyn have been plotting to help overthrow the current dynasty for a long time, all in revenge for her death.
- I Let Gwen Stacy Die: For Oberyn, she was his Gwen, thanks to the very marriage to Rhaegar that ultimately killed her may not have taken place, except for his jokes turning her off her initial marriage prospect. Instead, it could have been Cersei Lannister in the firing line if the Rebellion had still gone ahead in some way.
- Ill Girl: Her health was always problematic, and she was bedridden for a year after Rhaenys's birth and nearly died giving birth to Aegon.
- Mama Bear: "Fought like a tigress" against Gregor Clegane to save her children. It...went badly.
- Posthumous Character: In a very Family-Unfriendly Death way, poor lass.
- Proper Lady: By all accounts, she was the very picture of a good Queen, aside from her health.
Princess Rhaenys Targaryen
Princess Rhaenys TargaryenCrown Prince Rhaegar Targaryen's daughter with his wife Princess Elia Martell, Rhaenys was Aegon's older sister (and so Viserys' and Daenerys' niece). Her gender and Dornish coloring were held in disdain by her grandather Aerys, who wanted a grandson to carry on the family name. She was killed during the Sack of King's Landing along with her grandfather, mother and brother.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: See Impaled with Extreme Prejudice below. It's noted that even Tywin Lannister was shocked at how brutal her death was, but used it to prove his loyalty to Robert all the same.
- Kindhearted Cat Lover: Had a black cat named Balerion, after Balerion the Black Dread, whom she was fond of and played with in the Red Keep.
- Infant Immortality: Very much averted, she was three years old at death.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: She was hiding under her father's bed during the Sack when Amory Lorch dragged her out and stabbed her half a hundred times, because she'd kicked him and wouldn't stop screaming.
- Strong Family Resemblance: She inherited her mother's Dornish look, with black hair and brown eyes.
Maester Aemon Targaryen
Prince Aegon Targaryen
Young Griff, The False Dragon, The Mummer's Dragon
- "I am the only dragon you need."
- Chekhov M.I.A.: Both in-universe and Word of God: When Varys mentions Doran Martell in the second book, he states that the prince "still mourns Elia and her sweet babe." When asked about the Sack of King's Landing, GRRM only definitively stated that Rhaenys was killed.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Had his head bashed against a wall by the Mountain. (Except that, according to Varys, that wasn't actually Aegon.)
- Death Faked for You: Varys had Aegon switched with a peasant baby so the realm would believe he had died.
- Expy: As a result of the author's love of Decomposite Character, he resembles quite a few characters in history:
- His landing of the Golden Company on the Stormlands under the Dragon banner echoes the arrival of Henry Tudor in England (his banner was a Red Welsh Dragon) who likewise spent much of his reign on a continent separated by sea from his native place and most of his supporters were fellow exiles Fighting for a Homeland.
- It also carries echoes of the "pretenders": Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck, both of whom claimed to be the survivors of the lost and presumed dead "Princes in the Tower" challenging Henry Tudor's claim to the throne after the Wars of the Roses.
- Young Griff's upbringing closely fits the archetype for legendary kings in human mythology, especially King Arthur and King Oedipus. He also resembles other romantic stories of Hidden Backup Prince who miraculously survived a massacre or purge, such as Princess Anastasia and the Dauphin Louis XVII.
- Foil: You could say that Varys and Illyrio, in the tradition of Tales of Dunk and Egg, have tried to produce another Aegon V. Like Egg, he hides his identity by altering his hair stylenote , going by a nondescript nickname like "Young Griff". He even nominates a hedge knight, Ser Rolly Duckfield to his kingsguard, a "Duck" to his "Egg". The difference is that Egg was an Unexpected Successor who neither planned nor expected to be a King, whereas Young Griff was destined to reclaim the Iron Throne. As such, where Egg became a Humble Hero, Young Griff, as per Tyrion, is just another sheltered Targaryen bratling who never mixed with people outside a carefully selected few, who has no real idea of society and politics.
- He also seems to be a foil to the late king Daeron I Targaryen The Young Dragon and his uncle thrice removed Prince Daemon Targaryen, storming a hostile land expecting to be king (Daeron's conquering of Dorn and Daemon's conquering of the Stepstones); Daemon and Daeron's endeavors didn't last long though, which doesn't fare anything good for Aegon if he turns out like those two.
- Heir Club for Men: His general assumption, along with that of the Golden Company, is that he will be King with Daenerys as his Hot Consort. Tyrion pitilessly mocks him for this presumption, noting that the obvious flaws in assuming that a Young Conqueror with three dragons would ever choose to consent to play second fiddle to a kid who lived in a hidey-hole should have been a bit more self-evident.
- Hidden Backup Prince: Raised in Essos by Jon Connington, seemingly at Varys' instruction. However, it's unlikely Jon needed much arm-twisting.
- Incest Is Relative: True to Targaryen family tradition, Aegon desires to wed his aunt, Daenerys. If he is proven to be a Blackfyre, Daenerys is his cousin at least six generations removed.
- Moses in the Bullrushes: Spirited away from King's Landing before Lannister forces sacked it.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: The fact that he commands the Golden Company while being a Targaryen raises a question based merely on that contradiction, as the Golden Company spent a remarkable amount of time trying to bring down the Targaryens in favor of the Blackfyres. In hindsight, the Blackfyres were full Targaryens, only born out of wedlock. To be fair, after trying four times to crown Blackfyres, the Golden Company would be happy to crown just anyone, whatever his last name may be.
- Pretty Boy: Tyrion describes his good looks at length, even despite his blue hair.
- Red Herring: Invoked. In Arianne's sample chapter for The Winds of Winter it is openly discussed that Ser Daemon thinks that Aegon died when Gregor killed him, and that this new Aegon is a fake.
- Royal Brat: Shows some signs of this, perhaps because of the combination of family insanity and his sheltered upbringing. He's shown to become irrational during a cyvasse game with Tyrion, both due to Tyrion beating him at the game, and Tyrion casting doubt on his assumption that Dany would immediately accept him with open arms. Especially funny because Tyrion's reaction to his sudden freak-out is along the lines of, "Well, at least we know that this kid is definitely a Targaryen"note .
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Despite receiving all the standard education for a prince, Aegon's also been brought up as a relatively ordinary boy, learning the skills a commoner needs to survive, such as treating wounds and cooking. Varys thinks this will be good preparation for being a king who will do everything to help his people; whether he's right remains to be seen. He also insists on leading the upcoming attack on Storm's End from the front, which could very easily prove a foolish idea.
- Sheltered Aristocrat: Despite being more educated than most of Westeros, Tyrion notes that Aegon doesn't really know how people work and has little actual experience when it comes to the cut-and-thrust of politics. You'd have to agree with Tyrion: King's Landing would eat him alive as he is now, much as it did with Sansa Stark.Tyrion's thoughts: The perfect prince but still half a boy for all that, with little and less experience of the world and all its woes.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Either real or fake, he looks a lot like Rhaegar, Viserys and Daenerys by description (when he doesn't have his hair dyed, that is).
- Switched at Birth: Varys allegedly switched him with a lowborn baby to save his life.
- Unwitting Pawn: To Tyrion, who manages to convince him to stop waiting for Daenerys and prove his own mettle by invading Westeros on his own.
- Walking Spoiler: Real or fake, his very existence throws an entirely new wrench in the already-convoluted Succession Crisis.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: No, really, he honestly does need it. His real hair color might just give the game away.
- Curtains Match the Window: Invoked. It draws out the blue in his eyes, which otherwise might also give the game away.
- Young Conqueror: Now that he's got the Golden Company backing him up.