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.
"Fire And Blood
— Targaryen House Words
The former ruling house of the Seven Kingdoms from the capital city of King's Landing. Also known as the Dragon Kings, because they used to ride dragons and had a strange bond with them. Under the historical leadership of Aegon The Conqueror, they unified Westeros with their dragons as weapons and ruled there for 300 years. They often married brother to sister
throughout their rule despite the laws of their religion, which probably accounts for their history of mental instability
among the later rulers. Their rule ended when Robert Baratheon overthrew Aerys II Targaryen and his surviving children fled into exile in the Free Cities. Their sigil is a three-headed dragon. All reigns dated after the arrival of Aegon I in Westeros.
See this character page
for the many ancestral members of House Targaryen.
See this one
for their antagonistic, primary cadet branch, House Blackfyre.
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Tropes related to House Targaryen
- Brother-Sister Incest: The family custom is to marry brother to sister whenever possible to keep the bloodline pure.
- Brought Down to Normal: The Targaryens were still formidable without their dragons.
- The Chosen One: "The Prince who was Promised". The one who will bring back the dragons.
- Color-Coded Characters: Members often have silver-blond hair and unusual purple eyes.
- Color Motif: Their house colors are red and black, representing the skin tones 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.
- Culture Clash/ Values Dissonance: The family's culture and values still clash with rest of Westeros, as they share some traits in common with people you find in Valyrian-influenced Essos... and, Dorne. 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 so great a one as found in Dorne). To the point you'd guess that forms of Polyamory would still be practised. If the Faith of the Seven would let them get away with it, that is. It even serves a self-admitted use, despite the succession problems that can arise: providing backup husbands, wives and Council members should you run out of suitable main-line siblings or cousins. Most are, if not bilingual, then something near it, as speaking and reading High Valyrian 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. Which means, of course, being able to understand many related languages at a pinch. Although they were markedly less patrilineally-based earlier, there are still shades of accepting strong women rather easier than Westerosi society in general manages — although that is not saying a lot and has eroded over the years. Even the incest has cultural roots. Where they could give up the many official husbands and wives thing to placate the Faith, that was non-negotiable. But, the family also is no longer as Valyrian as they once were, either. As well as losing their dragons and pretty much all of the lore surrounding them, most of the more modern ones of the main-line wouldn't tolerate the idea of slavery, for example. They are of Essos... and Westeros, too. And, that's led to problems and solutions in both places.
- 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 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.
- 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's two sides to this coin. Some Targaryens shine with the family greatness, while others are stark raving mad.
- 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? May well be a form of high-functioning bonkers even in the brilliant ones... which could explain why the wheels fall off so much on those who can't keep a grip on it as they go along.
- Mystical White Hair: Their white hair is specifically said to be unnatural, caused by centuries of inbreeding.
- Except silver-blonde hair is seen as a mark of Valyrian heritage even among non-Targaryens (e.g. House Velaryon, the Lyseni, etc.). The fact that they've kept the look after centuries of separation from Valyria is a result of inbreeding, but it is not the ultimate origin.
- Our Elves Are Better: Unnaturally beautiful? Comes from a mythical land now lost? Affinity with magic? Check, check and check. Add pointy ears and they're the closest thing Westeros has for a typical race of epic fantasy High Elves.
- People of Hair Color: White. Justified as it's inbred.
- Purple Eyes: Each Targaryen is said to have purple eyes, although the exact shade varies. It's a bloodline trait and specifically said to be unnatural (though there are a couple of minor houses 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 IV's group consists of an exiled Crownlands lord, a teacher from Yi Ti, a mysterious Westerosi septon, a lowborn hedge knight, the power of The Martells and Dorne, and The Blackfyres' Golden Company from Essos (which is itself a Rag-Tag Bunch Of Misfits).
- The Remnant: of the Valyrian dragonlords.
- Royal Inbreeding: Often between brother and sister, but if that could not be arranged, they married cousins.
- 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.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Respectively:
- Rhaenys and Visenya.
- Aenys and Maegor.
- Viserys I and his son Aegon II.
- Baelor and Daeron I.
- Aemon the Dragonknight and Aegon IV.
- Daeron II and Daemon Blackfyre.
- Aerys I and Maekar.
- Rhaegar and Viserys.
- 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. For some reason.
- 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.
- 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, Aegon II, 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.
- Written by the Winners: After the fall of the Targaryen dynasty and the ascent of the Baratheons, the story of the rebellion is told primarily by the winners. For instance, the war is primarily called Robert's Rebellion instead of War of the Usurper, as Targaryen supporters would see it as. Aerys and Rhaegar can't tell their side either as they are dead.
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".
The king of Westeros during the War of the Usurper, and the last Targaryen to sit the Iron Throne. He was known as "Aerys the Mad" behind his back due to becoming increasingly insane in the latter years of his rule. Though served ably by Tywin Lannister as Hand of the King and his own son Rhaegar, Aerys nonetheless managed to destabilize his own kingdom, eventually leading to Robert's Rebellion and his own death. Aerys was by all accounts sane during the early years of his reign, his later mental illness likely a consequence of generations of Targaryen inbreeding.
- 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 realised what Jaime was about to do to him. Oh Crap indeed.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- Green-Eyed Monster: To 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. He also forbade Rhaegar's wife and kids from fleeing to Dragonstone to hopefully get Dorne's support against the rebels.
- In-Series Nickname: Besides the one already mentioned, he was also called "King Scab" for his habit of cutting himself on the Iron Throne.
- Karmic Death: Feared sharp objects and only allowed the Kingsguard to carry weapons. He is 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.
- Madness Mantra: "Burn them all."
- 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 to his sorrow.
- Posthumous Character: He died 14 years before the series begins.
- Predecessor Villain: Before there was Joffrey (who is referred to by Tyrion as Aerys the Third) there was the 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 the Usurper and his followers.
- 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 didn't end well.
- Ordered Jon Arryn to hand over Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon for execution. Yeah, Aerys, threatening 3 Great Lords is such a great idea.
- 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 of him to go out of control.
- White Hair, Black Heart: A classic example.
- Younger Than He Looks: Described by Martin as being in his forties, but looking much older, when he died.
Queen Rhaella Targaryen
Queen Rhaella Targaryen
Rhaegar, Viserys, and Daenerys's mother, as well as Aerys's sister-wife who was pregnant at the time of the Rebellion. Before he Sack of King's Landing and Aerys's subsequent death, she and Viserys were spirited away to Dragonstone where she died giving birth to Daenerys.
- Arranged Marriage: To her brother Aerys. Their marriage is described by Ser Barristan Selmy lika a "loveless marriage" and doubles as Unwanted Spouse since neither of them were happy with the arrangement.
- 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 who tried to shield him from his father's insanity.
- 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 had a passionate but ultimately doomed relationship with her.
- Posthumous Character: She has died 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.
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.
Son and heir to the Mad King, Rhaegar is a Posthumous Character
. What readers know of him is filtered through Second-Hand Storytelling
. Characters such as Cersei Lannister, Jaime Lannister, Barristan Selmy, and Daenerys Targaryen (who never met him) have a high regard for Rhaegar. He was despised by Robert Baratheon, who considered him an Arch-Enemy
, due to Rhaegar's kidnapping and rape of his fiancée Lyanna Stark, whom Robert loved.
- Abduction Is Love: Rhaegar kidnapped Lyanna against her will (according to some). A few characters say he loved her. Others hint it... may not have been that simple, all told. Whatever happened, the sorry tale of a Lord's fiancée being kidnapped by a Prince triggered a mess: romance need not have been part of the package, but people in-universe and out do include it, regardless.
- The Ace: He's described as having been a highly respected and very handsome man who excelled at anything he put his mind to.
- 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 going out for the first time from the palace to go to the tournament at Harrenhal because Varys told him that his son had arranged it to make alliances to overthrow him. Actually there are hints that Rhaegar 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, he kidnapped his girlfriend...
- 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 makes him show up in 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."
- The prophecy about The Prince Who Was Promised has haunted his life, it seems. He first believed he would fill the prophecy, but changed his mind and decided his son Aegon would. Oh, and the dragon must have three heads.
- 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. Or, one of his children, at least.
- Dead Guy Junior: "Rhae" is a common prefix in Targaryen names. His mother name was "Rhaella", think of this. Daenerys later names 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 is repeatedly stated to have "melancholy eyes". And he plays the harp. 'Nuff said. (Tropes Are Not Bad!)
- Even the Guys Want Him: At least Jon Connington did...
- Idiot Ball: While he probably couldn't predict that his father was going to burn a Lord Paramount to death, kidnapping Lyanna Stark, the daughter of a powerful high lord, was never going to end well.
- Last of His Kind: Often referred to as "The Last Dragon". Daenerys begs to differ.
- Love Ruins the Realm: His kidnapping of Lyanna causes a civil war in which most of his family is killed.
- Posthumous Character: Died before the series began.
- Pretty Boy: Cersei and pretty much everyone who knew him considered him to be very attractive. Even golden-haired Jaime Lannister looked plain next to him.
- Purple Eyes: Rhaegar had purple eyes like many in his family.
- Second-Hand Storytelling: We only ever hear about Rhaegar though the reminiscing of other characters. Some of whom have glowing memories, others... not so much.
- Together in Death: Rhaegar and 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, allegedly, raping a teenage girl, Rhaegar is thought highly of by Cersei, Jaime, Viserys, Dany, and Barristan.
- Warrior Prince: He participates in the Battle of the Trident.
- The Wise Prince: The characters who had a high opinion of Rhaegar think of him this way.
King Viserys Targaryen, the Third of His Name; r. 283-298
The Beggar King
You don't want to wake The Dragon, do you?
"They cry out for their king. They do, don't they?"
The exiled prince of House Targaryen and the older brother of Daenerys, who lives with her in hiding. 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".
Queen Daenerys Targaryen, the First of Her Name; r. 298
The Queen Across The Sea
Princess Rhaenys Targaryen
Princess Rhaenys Targaryen
Crown Prince Rhaegar Targaryen's daughter with his wife Princess Elia Martell, Rhaenys is Aegon's older sister and Daenerys and Viserys' niece. Her gender and Dornish coloring were held in disdain by Aerys, who wanted a son to carry on the family name. She was killed in the Sack of King's Landing along with her grandfather, mother and brother.
Maester Aemon Targaryen
**WALKING SPOILER WARNING**
King Aegon Targaryen, the Sixth of His Name; r. 300
"I am the only dragon you need."
Aegon is the son of the late Crown Prince Rhaegar Targaryen and his wife Elia of Dorne, and is thus Daenerys' nephew despite being two years older than her. He was killed along with his grandfather, mother and sister during the Sack of King's Landing. Had he grown up, he would have ruled as Aegon, the Sixth of his Name. ...Or so we were all told. He was actually switched with a common child prior to the battle, smuggled across the Narrow Sea, and brought up in Pentos by Lord Connington as his son, "Young Griff". Groomed to become a king who actually puts the people first for a change, Aegon is preparing an attempt to retake Westeros - with or without help from his kin.
- 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. Or maybe not.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: 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 died.
- Hidden Backup Prince: Raised in Essos by a mercenary, seemingly at Varys' instruction.
- Moses in the Bullrushes: Spirited away from King's Landing before Lannister forces sacked it.
- Pretty Boy: Tyrion describes his good looks at length, even despite his blue hair.
- 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 freakout is along the lines of, "Welp, at least we know for sure that this kid is definitely a Targaryen."
- 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.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Either real or fake, he looks a lot like Rhaegar, Viserys and Daenerys by description. That is, when he doesn't have his hair dyed.
- Switched at Birth: Varys switched him with a lowborn baby to save his life.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: No, really, he honestly does need it. His real hair colour might just give the game away.
- Walking Spoiler
- Young Conqueror: Now that he's got the Golden Company backing him up.