For the main character index, see here
See also the book character sheet for these characters.
"Half the Targaryens went mad. What was the saying? 'When a Targaryen is born, the gods flip a coin.'"The last surviving noble house descending from the now extinct eastern land-mass of Valyria. They invaded Westeros and unified the seven kingdoms under a single monarchy using dragons, some three hundred years before the start of the show. They were in turn overthrown by a rebellion led by House Baratheon seventeen years prior to the beginning of the series, though a few surviving members of the family escaped into exile and are still waiting for an opportunity to strike back and reclaim their lost dynasty.
— Cersei Lannister
— Cersei Lannister
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- Adapted Out: Partly because of the Age Lift and narrative convenience, King Jaehaerys II is not the father of Aerys II; rather, it is King Aegon V, the star of Tales of Dunk and Egg, who is the father of the Mad King and grandfather to Daenerys, rather than her great-grandfather.
- From supplementary materials for the series specifically, Prince Duncan "The Small" Targaryen is the only one of Aegon V's children from the books who is confirmed to exist within this continuity — the books have him, Jaeherys, Daeron, Shaela, and Rhaelle (who married the Lord of Storm's End, giving birth to Lord Steffon Baratheon and being grandmother to Robert/Stannis/Renly). Aegon does have at least three children confirmed in this continuity, however (and Daeron is alluded to in one episode, though not named), even though the added-on Aerys and Rhaella would likely be young compared to Duncan (even with the Age Lift).
- Adaptational Dye Job: The Targaryens of the books are described as having very striking Mystical Silver Hair and Supernatural Purple Eyes, as opposed to the platinum blond hair and natural eye colouring of the show. Word of God stated that the purple contact lenses interfered with the actors' performances.
- Animal Motifs: The Dragon. Unlike the other Westerosi houses, this seems to be partially literal: Daenerys was immune to the flames of Drogo's pyre due to Mirri's spell, which she interpreted as true Targaryens being fireproof. (Hint: All the past Targaryens were cremated...)
- Balance of Power: The Targaryens served as an Outside-Context Problem (from Westeros' perspective) for most of its near 300 years of reign. They held power by dragons but they also managed to keep a lid on all kinds of regional grudges and jealousies when they were in charge and they kept the Faith of the Seven on a leash, removing their militancy and curbing some of their most fundamentalist strains. Seventeen years after Robert's Rebellion when the new dynasty has a Succession Crisis, all the old problems come out, regional grudges, over-ambitious vassals, dislike between the North and the South and the far south as well as religious fundamentalism is back and all of them trying to go back to some ideal past before Aegon's Conquest.
- Brother–Sister Incest: To keep the bloodlines pure, despite diminishing returns. However, Aerys and Rhaella represent the first time it had been practiced in more than a century. Even before that, it was by no means a given. Aenys I married a Velaryon, Maegor I married many women but the closest relative was his niece (and none of them had any children), Viserys I married an Arryn and a Hightower in succession, and Rhaenyra I married her cousin once removed (paternal grandfather's brother's daughter's son). Her paternal uncle, Aegon III married his cousin followed by a Velaryon, Viserys II married a Lyseni from Essos, Maekar I married a Dayne, and Aegon V married a Blackwood. Aerys II's father Jaehaerys II did marry his sister, but he has been adapted out of the TV series. That means that the only monarchs to marry their sisters were Aegon I (Dany's greatx10 grandfather), Jaehaerys I (her greatx8 grandfather), Aegon II (no direct relation as all of their children died but technically her greatx6 uncle), Baelor I (unconsummated, and therefore no direct relation, but her cousin five times removed), and Aerys II (her father). That said, many splinter branches of the family did marry their siblings, but these are the only monarchs to do so and two of them had their branches die out.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Taken as a group across three centuries. It is said that madness and genius are two sides of the same coin, or only a difference of degree. In-universe, a common saying became that every time a Targaryen was born, the gods would flip a coin to see if they'd be insane. Half of them were crazy, the other half were brilliant statesmen, conquerors, and builders of empire. They were all kinds of quirky, though (routinely practicing incestuous marriages to "keep the bloodline pure", apart from probably causing half of them to be born with mental defects, was also considered an abomination to every major religion in Westeros). Even in the current generation, Aerys II was infamously known as "the Mad King" and his younger son Viserys wasn't far behind (and at the least, delusionally arrogant); yet on the other hand, Aerys II's elder son Rhaegar was considered one of the most skilled knights of his generation, while Aerys's uncle Maester Aemon and his daughter Daenerys are born leaders. A Targaryen might either be a great monster or a great hero, but they're never boring.
- Crippling Overspecialization: Littlefinger, beholden to Realpolitik as he is, regards this as the real cause for the Targaryens eventual downfall. Their power was based almost entirely upon their dragons and when the dragons died out, with a few exceptions, several successive kings wasted time, energy, and lives trying to reclaim their lost advantage, with the resulting failure driving many of them mad. It was only a matter of time, before the other vassals would rise up in rebellion — though Varys's counterpoint is that "a matter of time" turned out to be over a century, with long periods of stable Targaryen rule even without dragons. Still, dragons helped a lot.Daenerys: [The dragons] were terrifying, extraordinary, they filled people with wonder and awe — and we locked them in here. They wasted away, grew small... And we grew small as well. We weren't extraordinary without them. We were just like everyone else.
- Dragon Rider: The Targaryen armies were unstoppable during Aegon the Conqueror's invasion because their dragons could attack from the air, and their fire breath had the power to reduce entire cities or castles to ashes. They inherited this from the former Valyrian Freehold where their family originated from.
- The Exile: Twice! Once from Valyria (they were the original lords of Dragonstone, Stannis' seat), and then again from Westeros.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: To the Norman invaders of England and the House of Normandyand The House of Plantagenet. Them being of Valyrian (i.e. "Roman") descent and having access to wildfire, an analogue of Greek Fire, makes them also a bit Byzantine. Their preference for dynastic incest to maintain the purity of their bloodline, and their rulership of a land to which they have little ethnic relation and speak a different language, draws from Ptolemaic Egypt.
- They are also similar to the semi-legendary Tarquinius family, the ancient kings of early Rome. Besides the similarly spelt names and connections to a lost, ancient civilization, Sextus Tarquinius, the son of the final (and notably cruel) Roman king, kidnapping and raping another man's wife is seen as the event that triggered the eventual overthrow of the Etruscan kings and the establishment of the Roman Republic, much like Prince Rhaegar and Lyanna Stark.
- Impoverished Patrician: After Robert's Rebellion.
- Last of His Kind:
- Daenerys believes she'll never have children.
- Not to mention that the only other Targaryen known to be alive is the one-hundred year old Maester Aemon, who is sworn to celibacy and not holding titles twice over and whom she probably assumed died decades ago, if Viserys ever got around to telling her about him at all. Well, that and her second cousin Stannis, second cousin once removed Shireen, Robert's surviving 13 bastards, third cousins of various degrees of removal descended from her great-great uncle Aerion Brightflame, and fifth cousins of various degrees of removal descended from her great-great-great-great half-uncle Daemon Blackfyre. And Shireen went up in smoke.
- As it turns out, Daenerys has a nephew she never knew — Jon Snow.
- Meaningful Name: It is likely not coincidence on the part of George R.R. Martin that the naming traditions of the house are such that about a third of the Targaryens have names ending in "aerys"; phonetically "heiress". Helps that the sole known living family member, the major POV character and only Targaryen we walk through the program with, again knowingly, is a female inheritor.
- Might Makes Right: Became Kings of Westeros by bare conquest alone, without even a pretense of a claim (which was probably inevitable, considering that Westeros was divided between seven kingdoms upon Aegon's landing).Jorah Mormont: Forgive me, Khaleesi, but your ancestor Aegon the Conqueror didn't seize six of the kingdoms because they were his right. He had no right to them. He seized them because he could.
- No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Of the House of Normandy and also, The House of Plantagenet, the longest ruling dynasty of England.
- Oddball in the Series: Aegon "Jon Snow" Targaryen is the only one of his family to not have the classical Targaryen silver white hair. From the Books .
- One Steve Limit: Averted; the Targaryens have about ten names that they keep using over and over, and many of those names look/sound alike. This makes it difficult to figure out which Aeron, Aemon, or Aegon is being discussed in a specific moment.
- Pride: They've got it even worse than the Lannisters, who at least have the money and holdings to back it up.
- The Remnant: Daenerys is the last Targaryen. House Targaryen themselves are The Remnant of the Valyrian dragonlords.Maester Aemon: A Targaryen alone in the world is a terrible thing.
- Royally Screwed Up: Because of the incest thing, some Targaryens are born mad or gradually become mad as they grow up. In later generations, some were born with moderate to severe mental defects, or "feeble-witted". Even their physical health was eventually effected, with several being intellectually and emotionally normal but possessing such fragile health that they suffered from numerous ailments and died young.
- Rule of Symbolism: The three heads symbolize Aegon the Conqueror and his sister-wives.
- Seven Deadly Sins: Wrath.
- Theme Naming:
- Targaryens are typically identified by their penchant for incorporating "ae" in almost all of their names — for example; Aegon, Aerys, Aemon, Daenerys, Rhaella, and a double usage example with Jaehaerys. Fittingly, those were the only letters Ned replaced when he renamed his sister's son with Rhaegar.
- Also common in the Targaryen dynasty are names ending in "ys"; ''Viserys", "Rhaenys", "Aenys", "Naerys", and "Daenerys".
- Übermensch: As Catelyn Stark notes in Histories and Lore, the Targaryens bowed neither to gods or men, and most Targaryens, even the good ones, have an ethos that makes them believe that they are not subject to the norms and rules of society. The bad Targaryens take this to tyrannical extremes (such as Aerys II) believing Screw the Rules, I Make Them!, while the good ones, like Aegon I or Daenerys believe Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!.
- What the Romans Have Done for Us: Dragon-riding conquerors who unified a continent with dragonfire and solidified a dynasty that lasted for 300 years. In that time they abolished Droit du Seigneur, built King's Landing, the Kingsguard, and put the Faith of the Seven on a leash, and permanently suppressed the Faith Militant until Cersei revived it. You can't blame Varys for going to Dany to bring back that old time Targaryen autocracy.
Queen Daenerys Targaryen
Played by: Emilia ClarkeThe Mad King's youngest child and only daughter. She and her brother Viserys are the only surviving Targaryens and are exiled in Essos for most of their lives after Robert Baratheon takes their family's throne.See Daenerys' Court
Prince Viserys Targaryen
Played By: Harry Lloyd
"You dare? You give commands to me? To me? You do not command the dragon. I'm lord of the Seven Kingdoms. I don't take orders from savages or their sluts. Do you hear me?"The last known male heir of the Targaryen line, and self-proclaimed rightful King of Westeros. Viserys is obsessed with claiming his birthright at any cost, including marrying his own sister off in exchange for an army.
- Adaptational Heroism: While his creepiness is still present, his actual attempts to claim Daenerys's maidenhead are absent in the show and never mentioned by her sister. In the books, Ilyrio has to post guards in her room so Viserys doesn't derail years of planning, ruining the alliance with the Dothraki in a single night.
- Asshole Victim: In the end, he dies pathetically pleading for his life. Even his sister wasn't remotely torn up about it — however, he did just threaten to carve out her baby in front of everyone.
- Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Viserys stumbles drunkenly into a Dothraki party to insult and threaten them all. Stupid as he may have been, it seems from his drunken behaviour that even Viserys needed some liquid courage to blunder forward.
- Bait the Dog: His more humane side is briefly seen during a love scene with Doreah, in which he talks nostalgically about the life he felt was taken away from him. However, Doreah inadvertently says the wrong thing and Viserys proceeds to overreact, flip out and revert back to his usually cruel nature.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Viserys got his crown all right.
- Berserk Button: He hates being commanded to do anything, because he thinks it undermines the authority he believes he should have as the self-proclaimed rightful king. When Daenerys sends her handmaid Doreah to invite him to supper, he flips out.Viserys: (angrily dragging Doreah into Daenerys' tent) You send this whore to give me commands?!? I should have sent you back her head!
- Big Bad Wannabe: The unrelenting self-proclaimed rightful King gets easily trumped by the first powerful foe he antagonizes.
- Big Brother Bully: Viserys has spent his entire life browbeating his sister through emotional and physical abuse.
- Blatant Lies: In the DVD extras, he tells one after another in defense of House Targaryen. Of course, he may actually believe his lies.
- Break the Haughty: His time among the Dothraki is not fun for him. Subverted in that it does little to break his haughtiness.
- Brother–Sister Incest:
- One-sided and very creepy. His very first scene involves forcing his sister to undress and commenting on her figure while pawing at her boobs. Cersei later mentions that the Targaryens wed brother-to-sister for three hundred years.
- In interviews, the actor who portrays him describes Daenerys as his "sister, wife, and daughter" all in one, often mentions that his character feels as though he "owns" Daenerys due to the fact that he would have married her if he still had the throne, and is even somewhat jealous of having to give her up to another man.
- Bullying a Dragon: If your sister — who is effectively the Barbarian Tribe's queen — is the only person who can ensure you will be tolerated, assaulting her is definitely a pretty dumb thing to do. The irony is that when he Turns Red, he describes it as "waking the dragon." Viserys tries this with Drogo himself by threatening Dany's life right in front of the horse-lord... a horse-lord nearly a half foot taller, more heavily built, and vastly more skilled at fighting than the amateur Viserys. Even without his bloodriders, it's hard to imagine that Drogo wouldn't have been capable of easily snapping his brother-in-law in half like a twig.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Pot of molten gold poured over his head. "A crown for a king" indeed. His death currently adorns the series’ Cruel and Unusual Death page.
- Death by Irony: Should have been more specific when he demanded a golden crown, because his idea was not 'being forced to participate in the ALS Gold Bucket Challenge'.
- Dies Wide Open: The "golden crown" forced on him is so painful for him to close his eyes.
- Entitled Bastard: Viserys seems surprised to discover Dany is unwilling to save him after he threatens her life and the life of her unborn child.
- The Exile: He fled Westeros as a very young child with his younger sister Daenerys.
- Fantastic Racism: Seems to have a disdainful dislike of the North, decrying them as ignorant and referring to Ned’s sister Lyanna Stark as a whore. Not that his opinions of Southerners are any better, specifically Faith of the Seven followers.
- Freudian Excuse: Both due to what happened to his family and the pressure on his shoulders to avenge them. He hints at the reasons behind his behavior in a conversation with Jorah Mormont, expressing the overwhelming pressure of being the "last hope of a dynasty" and his obsession to restore it, as well as bitterness over Dothraki reverence of his sister, not a piece of which he's ever gotten himself. A lot of his behavior is an obvious case of In the Blood... One of Aerys' kids had to have inherited his crazy gene, after all. Blame the inbreeding.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Is quite jealous of his sister when he realizes that the entire Dothraki tribe loves and respects her.
- Hate Sink: His stupidity, arrogance and overall horrible treatment of Daenerys just make his inevitable death all the more satisfying.
- Hidden Depths: He managed to survive in a hostile world for over a decade while simultaneously raising his sister. Daenerys would be long dead if it wasn't for him.
- Impoverished Patrician: Formerly a member of the Royal Family.
- In-Series Nickname: Viserys likes to style himself as the rightful King of Westeros, along with its other titles, but most people simply refer to him as the Beggar King. During his time with the Dothraki, he is also known as the Sorefoot King and Cart King.
- Insistent Terminology: Referring to Robert Baratheon as "The Usurper", and calling himself a "King".
- It's All About Me: He does not share credit that it was his sister and Magister Illyrio who won him the Dothraki alliance, insisting it was his idea. Also, he claims that the Dothraki are his people and army to command when they aren't and are actually Daenerys'. In the DVD extras, he narrates the history sections, giving the perspective of House Targaryen. While recounting the Sack of King's Landing, he mentions that he was spirited out of the city before it fell because, with his brother Rhaegar's death, he was now heir to the throne. Technically, he was second in line behind his nephew, Aegon. In fact, as his sister-in-law was a Dornish princess, he may well have been third in line behind his niece and nephew (Dornish law puts women in the line of succession; while Dornish law doesn't officially apply to the royal line, had the Targaryens won, Dorne would have had a significantly stronger army than the Targaryens, having not taken part in the war). And that's to say nothing of where Rhaegar's other son may have fit in.
- Jerkass: Viserys is self-absorbed, disrespectful to just about everyone, thoughtlessly cruel, abusive to his own family members and he's generally unpleasant.
- Kick the Dog: Pretty much every scene with Daenerys involves him abusing her physically and/or emotionally.
- Kick the Morality Pet: As mentioned above in Bullying a Dragon, the only reason the Dothraki tolerate him is because he is their Queen's older brother. Any mercy he had from Daenerys or the Dothraki evaporated the second he threatened Daenerys' unborn child.
- Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Despite his pretenses of restoring the family name and dreams of being a conquering hero, he's thoroughly incompetent about politics and incapable of commanding an army, as noted by both Jorah and Daenerys.Daenerys: My brother didn't know anything about dragons. [beat] He didn't know anything about anything.
- Might Makes Right: He is a firm believer of this in the History and Lore videos in regards to Targaryen's actions. He flat out says that whether the accusations of his brother Rhaegar raping Lyanna Stark are real or not are irrelevant because "the dragon answers to no-one". Likewise, he admires his distant ancestor Maegor the Cruel (or as Viserys calls him, "Maegor the Wise") for brutally putting down the Faith Militant uprising.
- My Parents Are Dead: His father was killed by Ser Jaime Lannister. His mother died not long after she fled with him.
- No Respect Guy: Despite being the brains of his and Dany's attempt to reclaim the Iron Throne during his time on the show, almost all of the attention, both positive and negative, was directed toward his sister. All of the Dothraki were in love with her, and King Robert primarily focused on her when dreading their return (not that Viserys actually knew this; to him Robert was his Arch-Nemesis, but Robert was more concerned with Dany having children, making this a case of Unknown Rival). Since Viserys was doing all of this so he could be on the throne and not Dany, it perhaps explains why he went off the rails so much more toward the end of his life.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: In the History and Lore feature on the Dance of Dragons, Viserys is shown to be misogynistic against Rhaenyra's faction. While in the Aegon's Conquest feature from Season 7, he looks down on the Northners for being savages that worship the Old Gods, though to be fair he is disdainful to believers of the Faith of the Seven. You could say he is bigoted to anyone non-Valyrian.
- Promotion to Parent: Has been taking care of Daenerys for almost her entire life since their exile. He is abusive, but Daenerys still gets to her wedding day healthy, unharmed, reasonably innocent, and with her virginity intact.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Viserys is not quite sane. He's prone to tantrums when his sense of childish entitlement is infringed even slightly.
- Revenge: One of his driving motivations is to punish those who stole the Iron Throne.
- Rose Tinted Narrative: One can blame his youth and the circumstances of the death of his father and exile, but even then he's thoroughly deluded about what kind of person his father was. He also believes that the Usurpers are unpopular and hated and people are secretly dreaming of a Targaryen restoration.
- Small Name, Big Ego: As far as he cares, he carries the blood of "the dragon". Nobody else, besides Dany to begin with, gives a hoot.
- Smug Snake: He's far too arrogant for his own good, acting like he's a King before he even has an army...or anything, for that matter.
- Spare to the Throne: He was this in his childhood since Rhaegar was supposed to become king. Then came he Rebellion, Rhaegar and his son died, and Viserys thought to be the legitimate king. But as Rhaegar had the time to marry Lyanna Stark, that means Jon Snow is actually born legitimate and the ultimate irony of Viserys's life is that he has never been the true rightful king to begin with.
- Stupid Evil: Provoking his superiors is not a wise idea.
- Too Dumb to Live: Maybe he shouldn't have spent most of his time in the company of the Dothraki wigging out at them every few minutes, openly insulting their traditions and threatening his sister, who happens to be carrying the unborn son of their king. His visible intoxication during his final scene doesn't improve his chances of living.
- The Unfettered: He will do anything to retake the Iron Throne. Or rather, he'd let his sister do anything.Viserys: I would let his whole tribe fuck you. All forty thousand men and their horses too if that's what it took!
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: All audiences get to see is his worst side, but it's implied that Viserys had been a reasonably nice guy at one point before the hardship of his own and his sister's life broke him. In the books...
- Unknown Rival: To Robert Baratheon. When Robert hears that Daenerys is pregnant, he goes berserk and calls for her assassination, but when giving the order he throws out "and that fool Viserys", almost as an afterthought. Viserys however saw Robert ("the Usurper") as his Arch-Nemesis.
- Villainous Breakdown: Never the most stable of individuals to begin with, but becomes increasingly unhinged as he loses control over Daenerys and realizes his powerlessness in the new 'alliance' with Khal Drogo. This finally culminates in his drunkenly storming into a feast and threatening Drogo's wife and unborn child in front of him and his entire Khalasar. He ends his life whimpering and begging before the molten gold does its work.
- White Hair, Black Heart: He is a total JerkAss and crappy person — at least toward the end.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Seems to be under the impression that he's the divinely appointed hero in a epic tale that will end with him retaking the Iron Throne for the Targaryen Dynasty. Suffice to say, it seems obvious to everyone else that he's not.
Played By: Wren Ros Elliot-Sloan
"The stallion who mounts the world. The stallion is the Khal of Khals. He shall unite the people into a single Khalasar. All the people of the world will be his herd."The son of Daenerys and Khal Drogo, who according to prophecy will unite all Dothraki khalassars under his command.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: In the books, Daenerys sees a vision of the man he would have grown up to be. He closely resembles Drogo, except with the Targaryen silver-blonde hair and purple eyes.
- Body Horror: His unseen body is claimed to be greatly deformed.
- Dark Messiah: He's prophesied to be "The Stallion Who Mounts the World" (in which 'Mounts' doesn't mean 'ride' but 'fuck') and the khal of khals who will lead the Dothraki to dominion over all the lands of the world.
- Dead Guy Junior: Named after Daenerys's older brother, the late Prince Rhaegar, with the termination changed to reflect Dothraki naming customs.
- Draconic Humanoid: His unseen stillborn body is claimed by Mirri Maz Duur to have dragonlike features such as scales and tiny wings, a combination of Mirri Maz Duur's blood magic and the Targaryen blood of the dragon. Deconstructed since, if true, rather than becoming some super strong dragon-human hybrid, it just means he didn't survive in this hybrid state.Daenerys: He was scaled like a lizard, blind, with leather wings like the wings of a bat. When I touched him the skin fell from his bones. Inside he was full of graveworms.
- Fetus Terrible: Mirri Maz Duur considers him this.
- Magical Abortion: Due to Mirri Maz Duur's Blood Magic, Mirri Maz Duur uses Rhaego as the sacrifice for the life of his father Drogo, unbeknownst to Rhaego's mother Daenerys at the time. Rhaego is said to be born dead and deformed.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: As stated above, the Dothraki title for him would effectively be "The Stallion Who Fucks the World". Had he been born and if this prophecy was fulfilled as stated, things would probably not have been good for the Westerosi.
Maester Aemon Targaryen
Played by: Peter VaughanThe son of King Maekar, First of His Name, Aemon Targaryen stepped aside so that his brother Aegon V, "The Unlikely", could inherit the throne. Aegon V is the father of the Mad King Aerys, which makes Aemon the great-uncle of Daenerys Targaryen and after the death of Viserys, her only known surviving blood relation. After completing his studies as a Maester, he took the black and became a sworn brother of the Night's Watch, secure from the backstabbing politics of King's Landing that he loathed all his life.See The Order of the Maesters.
Played by: Kit HaringtonKnown as Jon Snow and he is the hidden son of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. Unknown to the entire world, Prince Rhaegar had a trueborn son with his true love Lyanna, marrying Lyanna after having his marriage to Elia Martell annulled. When Lyanna's brother Eddard (Ned) Stark found Lyanna near the end of Robert’s Rebellion, she was dying after a difficult childbirth. She lived just long enough to tell Ned her son's name and for a promise that he'll take care of her child. Knowing that his sister’s son would be a target from all corners of Westeros if the truth became known, Ned claimed his nephew as his own illegitimate child to protect him, named him ‘Jon’, and raised him at Winterfell alongside his children in the Stark family, keeping the secret until the day he died. Jon remains unaware of his true parentage.See House Stark Children.
King Aerys II Targaryen
The Mad King
Played By: David Rintoul
"'Burn them all,' he kept saying. 'Burn them all.' I don't think he expected to die. He— he meant to... burn with the rest of us and rise again, reborn as a dragon to turn his enemies to ash. I slit his throat to make sure that didn't happen."The last reigning Targaryen King of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Aerys II was deposed by a successful rebellion led by Robert Baratheon, Jon Arryn, and Ned Stark after he had summarily executed Rickard and Brandon Stark. He was renowned for his cruelty and numerous atrocities and reviled as "The Mad King" even two decades after his ignominious death. Before the Sack of King's Landing, he had sent his pregnant wife (who would give birth to his daughter Daenerys) to Dragonstone along with his son and heir, Viserys. He was killed by Jaime Lannister, a member of his Kingsguard, an action for which Jaime is known as the Kingslayer.
— Ser Jaime Lannister
— Ser Jaime Lannister
- Adaptational Attractiveness: In the books, Aerys is described as being extremely gaunt, with a long unwashed beard and fingernails that are nine-inches long. The show version lacks these features, and he is comparatively more conventional looking. It was kind of considered a major blunder that the brief seconds-long flashbacks of Aerys in Season 6 depicted a cleanshaven actor, when he not only had an infamously crazy appearance in the books, but prior Histories & Lore animated featurettes had depicted him with his infamously uncut and unkempt beard and hair. To top it off, even the Season 6 set of Histories & Lore videos *very prominently* depicts him this way, and even has Meera Reed point out in explicit detail that his inches-long fingernails and matted, filthy beard made him look obviously insane.
- Age Lift: Being Aegon V's son (rather than grandson, from the books), this is inevitable. More specifically, Aerys is close in age to Tywin Lannister, who in the books was 57 when he was killed (in the show he was stated to be 67 at that time). Aerys was a bit younger, barely 40 when he died (Tywin was 41); given his Childhood Friends backstory with Tywin has been retained in the series, Aerys in the show would have likely been in his mid-to-late 40s when he died. No specific age has been given as yet, however.
- Asshole Victim: He enjoyed burning people alive and his contingency plan in case King's Landing was ever sacked was to blow it sky-high. His last words were: "Burn them all!"
- Ax-Crazy: There's a very good reason he's known as The Mad King.
- Bodyguard Betrayal: His homicidal mania is ended when he is backstabbed by Jaime Lannister, a member of his Kingsguard.
- Broken Pedestal: Daenerys finally finds out from Ser Barristan that the Usurper and his followers didn't have to spread propaganda against her father. He really was the Mad King after all. Later, she tells Tyrion that if she ever returns to Westeros, she will not return to the old form of feudalism that created something like her father and that she will break from her family traditions as well.
- The Caligula: Was known as "The Mad King" and apparently had a penchant for killing people in nasty ways.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: While Aerys was an evil bastard to everyone, he was a Doting Parent to Viserys, and sent him and his mother, whom Aerys abused, off to Dragonstone after Rhaegar died to keep him safe. Seeing how Aerys planned on burning the entire city of King's Landing, it's a huge Pet the Dog moment for him, since he kept Rhaegar's wife and children to force the Martell family to help, which led to their deaths by Gregor Clegane's hands.
- Evil Is Petty: Due to jealousy over Tywin more or less running the kingdoms, when Tywin advised something Aerys would do the opposite purely out of spite and even turned most of the Lords against Tywin.
- Hearing Voices: Renly says that he used to burn women and children because the voices in his head told him to.
- In-Series Nickname: Known by many as "The Mad King", and with good reason. From the books...
- In the Blood: His insanity was passed on to Viserys, and he himself probably inherited it from over three hundred years of Brother–Sister Incest.
- Jerkass: This guy was rotten to the core. The History and Lore on the Kingsguard reveal how Jaime had to stand guard while he raped his wife, unable to intervene. He also tried to blackmail the Martells, his in-laws (and long-time allies), by virtually holding Elia Martell and her children hostage. The Martells saw their collaboration with the Targaryens (Aerys and Rhaegar) as Teeth-Clenched Teamwork for a bunch of Ungrateful Bastards who insulted and dishonored their beloved princess.
- Kill It with Fire: Loved to have people burned to death and was known to laugh hysterically while it was done. Never actually did it himself, though.
- Loophole Abuse: Used one of these when Lord Rickard Stark asked for a Trial by Combat. Aerys chose fire.
- Madness Mantra: "Burn them all!"
- Memetic Psychopath: Aerys' madness was so horrifying that it reached very horrifying memetic levels in-universe. He's now the go-to comparison for when you really want to offend someone, or want to make a really dramatic point. This is shown a few throughout the show — firstly, when Ned Stark says that Robert's and his council will be little better than the Mad King should they kill Daenerys and her unborn child. The second time is when Cersei is on the brink of an emotional breakdown, recognising that her incestuous affair with Jaime has created another Aerys.
- No Historical Figures Were Harmed:
- To the French King Charles VI the Mad who was initially seen as a good and wise King but eventually became mentally ill. Charles VI was famously paranoid, believed he was made of glass, would randomly attack and kill pageboys and knights and in the infamous Ball of the Burning Men, he and a bunch of people covered themselves in inflammable resin which accidentally caught firenote .
- His idea of burning down King's Landing together with himself rather than surrender it to the Rebellion's armies? Surprise! It's the same idea Adolf Hitler had in his last days when Germany's pretty much expected to fall.
- Roman emperor Nero might be an inspiration as well. He was reputedly mad and cruel, and he is said to have caused the Great Fire of Rome himself.
- Omnicidal Maniac: He arranged to burn the Westerosi capital King's Landing, a city of some 500,000 people, to the ground purely to spite Robert for winning the civil war. He wanted all of his subjects to burn to death along with him, and until Cersei hijacks his wildfire for her own scheme no king ever aspired to such levels of destruction.
- One-Winged Angel: According to Jaime, his lunacy got to the point that during his downfall he believed he would turn into a dragon if he were burned alive with his subjects. Jaime, normally skeptical, slit his throat just to make sure it didn't happen.
- Posthumous Character: Jaime killed him at the end of Robert's Rebellion. We finally get a brief glimpse of him in Bran's flashback in Season 6.
- Pyro Maniac: His last words were "Burn them all." Also, that's how he killed Ned's father. His obsession with wildfire and burning things also derived from the Targaryen fixation on lost dragons. Since he did not have dragons, he decided the next best thing was burning people so he could pretend to be one.
- Sanity Slippage: It's implied his raving madness increased with time, and Pycelle describes the young Aerys thusly: From the books... Pycelle: Aerys Targaryen. Of all the thousand thousand maladies the gods visit on us, madness is the worst. He was a good man, such a charmer.
- Slashed Throat: Since he believed he will turn into a dragon upon death, Jaime did this just to make sure it won't happen
- Spanner in the Works: Indirect example but wildfire which he left under King's Landing, will a spanner in the plans the High Sparrow to establish the theocracy in Westeros and ultimately leads to his death.
- Taking You with Me: He intended for his pyromancers to burn all of King's Landing to the ground and kill everyone in it to spite Robert.
- Ungrateful Bastard: He's not very appreciative of Tywin propping up his kingdom for him.
- Villainous Breakdown: He completely lost it when his defeat was imminent.
- Villainous Incest: Rhaegar, Daenerys, and Viserys are the products of his marriage to his sister.
- Villainous Legacy: His actions continue to be felt by the people of Westeros twenty years after his death, and in entirely bad ways. Jaime still struggles to get out of the shadow of the name Kingslayer, Joffrey is compared to him a few times for his cruelty and borderline insanity, in Season 6 Cersei uses his wildfire caches to destroy the Sept of Baelor, along with a good chunk of her enemies, and in Season 7 Daenerys has to struggle with being his daughter who is known for using dragonfire to kill her enemies, which causes a lot of the Westerosi to fear she's just Mad Aerys 2.0.
- You Killed My Father: He killed Ned's father, and had his elder brother Brandon Driven to Suicide. This action, along with Rhaegar's abduction of Lyanna, incited the Rebellion that led to his downfall and the exile of the Targaryens.
Prince Rhaegar Targaryen
The Last Dragon
Played By: Wilf Scolding
Barristan Selmy: When your brother Rhaegar led his army at the Battle of the Trident, men died for him because they believed in him, because they loved him. Not because they'd been bought at a slaver's auction. I fought beside the last dragon on that day, Your Grace. I bled beside him.Daenerys and Viserys's elder brother. His abduction of Lyanna Stark was the spark that ignited Robert's Rebellion. Killed in battle by Robert Baratheon roughly seventeen years prior to the start of the series.
Jorah Mormont: Rhaegar fought valiantly, Rhaegar fought nobly, and Rhaegar died.
Daenerys Targaryen: Did you know him well, Ser Barristan?
Barristan Selmy: I did, Your Grace. The finest man I ever met.
Jorah Mormont: Rhaegar fought valiantly, Rhaegar fought nobly, and Rhaegar died.
Daenerys Targaryen: Did you know him well, Ser Barristan?
Barristan Selmy: I did, Your Grace. The finest man I ever met.
- Abduction Is Love: Allegedly abducted Lyanna Stark, stealing her from her family and betrothed, Robert Baratheon. Whether he did it out of lust or love, it has yet to be discovered. In Season 6, The Reveal shows that Lyanna died shortly after giving birth to her son with Rhaegar and passing their child into the care of her brother, who fought in the war against Rhaegar. Lyanna makes a Dying Wish to her brother, asking him to promise to protect her son from Robert. In Season 7, it is revealed that the relationship between Rhaegar and Lyanna was a consensual love affair, and that Lyanna loved Rhaegar over Robert.
- Alternate Character Interpretation: In-universe and out of it. Daenerys and Barristan regard Rhaegar positively while Robert views him as evil. Oberyn Martell, who was initially taken by Rhaegar's charm and good looks, regards him as an arrogant idiot who got himself killed and who made the Realm suffer for his actions.From the books...
- Arch-Enemy: Robert Baratheon viewed him as this for stealing away his bride-to-be. The climactic moment of Robert's Rebellion was his single combat with Rhaegar during the Battle of the Trident.
- Big Brother Worship: Both Viserys and Daenerys revere his memory. Viserys saw him as a great warrior who died in battle. Daenerys names her son and one of her dragons after him and seeks to live by his memory. Jorah and Barristan later tell her that he was The Ace and after Viserys's death, Dany is happy to learn from Ser Barristan that Rhaegar was much nicer than Viserys led her to believe, especially after he had told her that her father really was The Caligula.
- Bling of War: Wore armor that was adorned with rubies, many of which wound up in the ford of the Trident when Robert killed him.
- Blood from the Mouth: He died of internal injuries thanks to Robert channeling all his hate on a single smash of his iconic weapon.
- Broken Pedestal: Downplayed. Oberyn had made fun of all of Elia's suitors but even he was taken by Rhaegar's charisma and good looks. He became rightfully angry when Rhaegar spurned Elia and absconded with Lyanna Stark. In the "Conquest and Rebellion" series, Jaime, as well, thought that Rhaegar could have been a better ruler than Aerys II until his affair with Lyanna which made him conclude that Rhaegar is Not So Different than his father.Oberyn: My sister loved him. She bore his children. Swaddled them, rocked them, fed them at her own breast. Elia wouldn't let the wet nurse touch them. And beautiful, noble Rhaegar Targaryen... left her for another woman.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Robert smashed his ribcage with his warhammer. It was enough to knock some of the rubies in his armor into the ford of the Trident, dubbing the place the "Ruby Ford."
- Didn't Think This Through: His love affair with the already engaged Lyanna Stark. The country was torn into civil war and his own House was destroyed.
- Disappeared Dad: He's revealed to be this to Jon Snow. He died shortly before Jon's birth, while Jon's mother Lyanna Stark died shortly after his birth. However, before she died, she left Jon in the care of her brother Ned Stark, Jon's uncle, who raised Jon as his own child and protected him from the Baratheon regime by hiding his true parentage, as Robert Baratheon would have killed Jon if this ever came out (meanwhile, Jon hasn't the slightest clue of any of this).
- Domestic Abuse: His cruelest actions were usually directed at his wife, Elia. While not physical or intentionally cruel, they included spurning her at the tourney in favor of Lyanna and annulling his marriage to her in her own homeland.
- Fatal Flaw: Rhaegar was known as an elegant, able man who played harp for commoners in disguise, but everything goes out the window when he goes full fantasist mode: His love for Lyanna (and her love for him) led to diplomatic disaster and really callous handling of his wife and kids. Charging in single combat against the hammer-wielding betrothed in an epic duel didn't end well for him, either.
- The Hero Dies: From the view of the Targaryen supporters and loyalists.
- Hidden Depths: Barristan tells Daenerys her brother was far happier being a musician than a warrior and relates some of the exploits they got up when Rhaegar chose to practice his love of music to the people of King's Landing.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: Robert Baratheon's ascension ensures that Rhaegar is remembered as a vile rapist and the Mad King's son. Ser Barristan Selmy, who respected Robert Baratheon, however, regards Rhaegar as the finest man he ever knew and obviously Viserys and Daenerys think highly of him too.
- I Have Your Wife: His kidnapping of Robert Baratheon's betrothed, Lyanna Stark, (probably in combination with his father's penchant for burning his vassals) is what started Robert's Rebellion. He hid her in a tower in Dorne and appointed a retinue of Kingsguard knights to guard the tower and prevent anyone from entering. In reality, Lyanna fled to Dorne with Rhaegar willingly to get away from Robert, who she never loved in the first place. Robert, meanwhile, was utterly oblivious to the fact that Lyanna preferred Rhaegar, going so far as to marry him herself and bear his child. When Rhaegar left to face Robert on the Trident, the Kingsguard were ordered to the Tower of Joy to protect Princess Lyanna Stark and their newborn son named Aegon Targaryen (later Jon Snow, who was renamed by Lyanna's brother Ned). So it wasn't really a case of I Have Your Wife, more like a secretive I Have My Wife, Please Leave Us Alone, Thank You.
- Idiot Ball: Clung to it for dear life with Lyanna Stark. Had he told Aerys, Robert Baratheon, Rickard Stark, or anyone else, then his elopement would not have been mistaken for a kidnapping. Of course, falling in love with Lyanna in the first place was a stupid idea. Breaking the news to the realm would doubtlessly have had political consequences down the line, but not telling anyone at all is what caused the Civil War that claimed the lives of him, his mother, his father, two of his children, and ultimately both his wives.
- Informed Attractiveness: Many call him beautiful, even Oberyn who despised him; when we actually see him in flashback, he looks like a more mature-looking Viserys but nothing particularly outstanding.
- Informed Kindness: His noble qualities of The Wise Prince are only ever told to the audience by people like Barristan Selmy and Jorah Mormont. While he never abducted and raped Lyanna Stark as Robert suspected, he still endangered the realm for his own personal desires, as well as humiliating Elia and endangering her children by annulling his marriage to her. Also, in the end, he still fought for his mad father, not against him.
- Jerkass: While Rhaegar was by all accounts a classic case of Prince Charming adored by all, his treatment of his wife, Elia, after he meets Lyanna Stark is rather appalling. At a tourney he won and had to crown his Queen of Love and Beauty, Rhaegar passed over his own wife in favor of crowning the already spoken for Lyanna, publicly humiliating his wife in the process. Then when he ran away with Lyanna, he left his wife and children behind at the mercy of his father so that he could annul his marriage to Elia and marry Lyanna. Doing so likely removed his children by Elia from the line of succession — possibly even making them bastards. Oh, and he had the nerve to so in Dorne, his wife's homeland.
- His actions get even worse in episode seven of Season 7, when Jon Snow's true name is revealed; Aegon Targaryen. Which is also the name of Rhaegar's son with Elia, his previous heir. Which makes it come off as not only was he removing his first son from the line of succession, but he fully intended to have him replaced.
- Kick the Dog: He went to Dorne, the homeland of his wife Elia, to annul his marriage to her and marry Lyanna Stark at the same time. And then he had the gall to name his son with Lyanna the same name as his son with Elia.
- Love Ruins the Realm: His love life seems to have hurt badly the kingdom, as Littlefinger lampshades:Petyr Baelish to Sansa Stark: How many tens of thousands had to die because Rhaegar chose your aunt?
- Luke, I Am Your Father: He is Jon Snow's biological father.
- Modest Royalty: Ser Barristan tells Dany that he often went King Incognito and mingled with the smallfolk. He was also a gifted musician who successfully busked a lot of money and then distributed that among the people.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: Despite knowing what Aerys did to Lyanna's father and brother, and that he planned to have her entire family wiped out, Rhaegar still fought for his father during Robert's rebellion.
- My Own Private "I Do": He married the love of his life, Lyanna Stark, in Dorne before their son Jon's birth, having his first marriage to Elia Martell annulled by the High Septon himself right before the ceremony. It turns out the marriage was entirely consensual and Lyanna loved Rhaegar just as much as he loved her. As such, their son Jon is in fact trueborn and a Targaryen by legal right. Furthermore, Jon is Rhaegar's legal heir and the true heir to the Targaryen Iron Throne, ahead of Daenerys in the line of succession.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: His love affair and elopement with Lyanna Stark ultimately led to the end of the Targaryen dynasty. His defeat at the Trident drove Tywin to turn on Aerys and sack King's Landing, which led to the deaths of his father, his children, the rape and murder of Elia, and the exile of his mother, brother, and unborn sister.
- No Historical Figures Were Harmed: To Edward the Black Prince. Seen as the ultimate embodiment of medieval chivalry and subject to a great deal of romance in his life and after his death, and regarded as the ultimate Great-King-That-Never-Was, at least by his supporters.
- Non-Indicative Name: His Red Baron is "The Last Dragon" despite the fact that his two youngest siblings and his own youngest son all outlived him. However, he is called as such since he is the last known Targaryen to possess the positive aspects of his family, at least until his sister and youngest son Took a Level in Badass in the present day.
- Papa Wolf: Sent his two most skilled Kingsguards, Sers Arthur Dayne and Gerold Hightower, to protect his wife Lyanna and their newborn child — the now-legal heir to the Iron Throne by marriage, on the off-chance Robert Baratheon sent anyone after them. Averted with his children from his previous marriage, who he left behind with his mad father and were eventually brutally killed because of it.
- Posthumous Character: He died near the end of Robert's Rebellion.
- Pretty Boy: Despite Oberyn's anger at Rhaegar's abandonment of Elia, he acknowledges that Rhaegar was beautiful. Petyr Baelish also admits that Rhaegar was incredibly good looking.
- Strong Family Resemblance: In the one flashback we finally see him, Rhaegar is remarkably identical to his younger brother Viserys, give or take him being more muscular and having a more dignified air. From the books Meanwhile, he has a marked lack of strong family resemblance to his son Jon Snow, who takes after his mother Lyanna Stark. Jon is a brooding Pretty Boy like his father, however.
- Warrior Prince: He is implied as this by Jorah Mormont, who refers to him as "the real Dragon" of the Targaryen family at the time of the Rebellion. Robert turned out to be a far better one when they met, though.
- Wham Episode: The Tourney at Harrenhal as Petyr Baelish describes it to Sansa:Petyr Baelish: Lord Whent held a great tourney at Harrenhall. Everyone was there. The Mad King, your father, Robert Baratheon, and Lyanna. She was already promised to Robert. You can imagine what it was like for me, a boy from nowhere, with nothing to his name, watching these legendary men, tilting at the lists. The last two riders were Barristan Selmy and Rhaegar Targaryen. When Rhaegar won, everyone cheered for their prince. I remember the girls laughing when he took off his helmet and they saw that silver hair, how handsome he was. Until he rode right past his wife, Elia Martell, and all the smiles died. I've never seen so many people so quiet. He rode past his wife and he lay a crown of winter roses in Lyanna's lap. Blue as frost. How many tens of thousands had to die because Rhaegar chose your aunt?
- The Wise Prince: According to Ser Barristan, who considers Rhaegar the finest man he ever knew. In the Conquest and Rebellion series, Jaime initially thought that he would be a better ruler than the Mad King.Barristan: When your brother Rhaegar led his men at the battle of the Trident, men died for him because they believed in him. Because they loved him. I fought beside the last dragon that day, my grace.
- Your Cheating Heart: Oberyn Martell is highly critical of Rhaegar for running off with Lyanna Stark, humiliating his sister (and Rhaegar's wife) Elia, and then starting a war which ultimately led to the deaths of his children and the brutal rape and murder of his wife. Littlefinger confirms that Rhaegar publicly spurned Elia at the Tourney at Harrenhal by putting a crown of winter roses on Lyanna's lap. In the Conquest and Rebellion animated series, Viserys is aware what Rhaegar had done but he blames Lyanna for being a "distraction" and labels her as a "whore" or "mistress".
Played By: N/AEldest child of Prince Rhaegar and Princess Elia Martel of Dorne.
Played By: N/ASon of Prince Rhaegar and Princess Elia Martel of Dorne.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Gregor Clegane smashed his skull.
- Death by Adaptation: If Young Griff is really Aegon, Aegon turns up Not Quite Dead in the books.
- Infant Immortality: Averted in the worst possible way.
- Posthumous Character: Killed by Gregor Clegane at the conclusion of Robert's rebellion.
- The Unfavorite: With his mother's marriage to Rhaegar annulled, his status as Rhaegar's heir may have been removed.
King Aegon V Targaryen
Played By: N/A
"Aegon the Fifth tried to hatch stone dragon eggs with sorcery, and burned to death. Against these, the Mad King seems almost sensible."Maester Aemon's younger brother, who ended up being crowned king after their father Maekar died. While he is the Mad King's grandfather in the books, the TV series condensed this to make him the Mad King's father. Aegon V's nickname was "Egg", and he is one of the two titular heroes in the Tales of Dunk and Egg prequels (which HBO is in discussions to adapt as a prequel series after the main TV series finishes).
— Grand Maester Pycelle
- Adapted Out: Partly because of the Age Lift and narrative convenience, King Jaeherys II is not the father of Aerys II; rather it is King Aegon V, the star of Tales of Dunk and Egg, who is the father of the Mad King and so grandfather to Daenerys, rather than her great-grandfather.
- Big Brother Instinct: Aemon felt this way about Egg all his life. When he plays with Little Sam he remembers little Egg and their youth together.Aemon: Egg, I dreamed that I was old.
- The Good King: Cersei remarks to Margaery Tyrell upon Tommen's coronation in Season 4's "First of His Name" that a good king hasn't really sat on the Iron Throne in about fifty years. Joffrey was king for about three years, and Robert for about 17 (in the TV timeline). The Mad King ruled for over 20 years. She doesn't mention Aegon V by name, but she was apparently referring to him (Aegon V ruled for over 25 years, so there's no way she's talking about his father Maekar).
- Hero of Another Story: If the negotiations succeed for HBO to make a prequel TV series adapting the Tales of Dunk and Egg.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: In the eyes of Grand Maester Pycelle, Egg was another madman who got himself killed while trying to hatch dragon eggs, ignorant or indifferent to any deeper intentions he might have had.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: In "Histories and Lore: Dragons", Maester Pycelle states that in his final years he became obsessed with dragons and burnt himself and several others in an attempt to hatch dragons at Summerhall. Bear in mind this is Maester Pycelle we are talking about, but the Summerhall disaster is mentioned numerous times in the Lore.From the books...
- Posthumous Character: Outside of Histories and Lore, we only know him through the reminiscences of Maester Aemon, his elder brother who outlived him by nearly fifty years.
- Unexpected Successor: Egg was not the eldest son and was not expected to become king. Maester Aemon was not the eldest son either. But the heir to the throne died, and Aemon refused the throne due to his vows as a maester (and not wanting to fight his own brother) and left to join the Night's Watch to remove himself from court. Thus the crown passed to Aegon V.
King Baelor Targaryen
Baelor the Blessed
The famously pious Targaryen King who built the Great Sept which bears his name, Baelor I Targaryen was known for his religious devotion and his piety. He remains one of the most controversial Kings and opinions on him are divided even by characters in the present day narrative of the series.
- Cloudcuckoolander: How high lords like Tywin Lannister see him. Tywin mentions that he appointed a six-year-old boy as High Septon and starved himself to death.
- The Fundamentalist: Strong in the Faith and loved by the commons yet neglected his responsibilities as a ruler. On the other hand, the High Sparrow likewise sees him as not fundamentalist enough and regards the Great Sept he built as a mere display of vanity rather than genuine religious belief.
- The Good King: Tywin presents him as a test case on how Baelor fit the picture of a Good King but actually was not a technically good ruler. On the other hand, Oberyn Martell in the 'Histories and Lore' series seems to like him for his attempts to bring peace to Dorne and arrange a marriage contract between the Targaryens and the Martells.
- Heroic Willpower: How else would he have survived getting bit by vipers to save his cousin?
- The Madness Place: If Madness and Greatness are two sides of the same coin, then Baelor is the test-case. He built a great Sept and an impressive work of architecture, was kind to the poor and brought peace between the Iron Throne and Dorne, but he also neglected his responsibilities and made a mockery of the Crown.
- Messianic Archetype: A deconstruction. Many of the characteristics that made him a beloved ruler among the smallfolk also got in the way of his actual job of ruling and his responsibility to perpetuate the royal line.
- Monument of Humiliation and Defeat: As per the High Sparrow, Baelor built his Great Sept over a smaller and far more modest Sept that pre-existed the Targaryens. To him, the Great Sept, regardless of Baelor's piety, is a symbol of the Targaryen imposition of the Faith's traditions which Baelor never upended.
- Sex Is Evil and I Am Horny: He locked up his sisters in the Maidenvault so they wouldn't tempt him.
- Turbulent Priest: Has shades of this in his personality, though he was not as Turbulent as the Sparrows.
- Villain with Good Publicity: The High Sparrow loathes Baelor who he sees as the king who enslaved the Faith.
King Daeron I Targaryen
Daeron the Young DragonSon of Aegon III and brother of Baelor the Blessed. Remembered for conquering and losing Dorne.
King Aegon III Targaryen
"Children spouting oaths they did not understand; all that was left of mighty House Targaryen."Son of Princess Rhaenyra.
— Shireen Baratheon
Prince Viserys Targaryen
Younger brother of Aegon III and youngest son of Rhaenyra.
Prince Aemond Targaryen
Aegon II's brother.
Prince Daemon Targaryen
Rhaenyra's uncle and husband. He was the most dangerous man in the realm in his time.
- Death SeekerAemond: You have lived too long, Uncle.
Daemon: On that much, at least, we agree.
- The Dragon: Rhaenyra's most capable commander.
- Dragon Rider: Rode Caraxes.
- Taking You with Me: Killed himself and Aemond with him.
Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen
Daughter of Viserys I by his first wife Aemma Arryn and prospective Queen Regnant of Westeros. She led the Blacks faction during the Dance of the Dragons.
- Adaptational Heroism: The history and lore adaptation of The Dance of the Dragons makes Rhaenyra's faction more obviously sympathetic and correct than the Greens, with very little attention given to her paranoia, with the issue of her children from her first Velaryon marriage (who were called "Strong" bastards in Archmaester Gyldayn's Histories) not being made an issue for the Greens.
- Doomed Moral Victor: Rhaenyra is her father's rightful heir but she is treacherously usurped and killed. Her claim is eventually vindicated when her son becomes King Aegon III after Aegon II's whole family died in their war.
- Famous Ancestor: The current House Targaryen descends from her and her son, since her brother and rival king died without male issue.
- The Smurfette Principle: The only Queen Regnant in the history of Westeros until Cersei takes the throne at the end of Season 6.
King Aegon II Targaryen
Son of Viserys I by his second wife Queen Alicent. He led the Greens faction during the Dance of the Dragons.
- Dragon Rider: He rode Sunfyre.
- Frontline General: He rode his dragon into battle and against other dragons. One of the few nice things you can say about Aegon II is that at least he wasn't a coward.
- I Was Quite a Looker: Injuries from the war messed up his, as Joffrey puts it, handsome visage.
- Pyrrhic Victory: He outlived his opponent Rhaenyra, both of his sons, his wife and his dragon Sunfyre. Aegon never really recovered from his injuries. Living in pain for the rest of his days, his reign would only last for about 6 months, with his own supporters eventually poisoning him when it became obvious that they couldn't win the continuing civil war. And, adding insult to injury, the crown passed to her child, Aegon III, when he died without (male) issue. Rhaenyra's claim was vindicated in the long run.
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Aegon was initially not interested in his claim and was willing to go along with his father's wish to have Rhaenyra take the throne. He was convinced after Alicent told him that Rhaenyra would have put his family to the sword as soon as she became the queen. It became a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy as their actions inevitable forced the Blacks to battle them to the death. All his sons were actually killed during the war.
- Slasher Smile: The blu-ray lore shows him with this as he has Sunfyre eat Rhaenyra.
King Maegor Targaryen
Maegor the CruelSon of Aegon the Conqueror. His reign was defined by his war with the Faith Militant. It was in his reign that the Red Keep was completed.
- Arch-Enemy: Of the Faith.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: Maegor challenged the Faith to a Trial of Seven if they believe he is unfit to rule. He won.
- The Caligula: The earliest example of this in the Iron Throne’s history.
- The Dragon: To his brother Aenys while serving as Hand of the King.
- Dragon Rider: Rode his father's dragon Balerion.
- Evil Overlord: Big, violent and always wore armor.
- Hero-Worshipper: In the histories and lore for the Red Keep, Joffrey admires Maegor the most of all Targaryens. As they say, consider the source.
- Obligatory War-Crime Scene: Burning down the Sept of Remembrance with people still inside.
- Playing with Fire: Maegor was the Alchemist Guild's first great patron because he saw wildfire's potential for a weapon to substitute for dragon fire.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Had the builders of the Red Keep massacred to protect its secrets.
King Aegon I Targaryen
Aegon the Conqueror
Played By: N/A
"Forgive me, Khaleesi, but your ancestor Aegon the Conqueror didn't seize six of the kingdoms because they were his right. He had no right to them. He seized them because he could."The conqueror and unifier of six of the Seven Kingdoms (Dorne forced him out), along with his two sisters, Visenya and Rhaenys. Founder of the Targaryen Dynasty, of the capital King's Landing and maker of the Iron Throne. Wed to his elder and younger sisters, Visenya and Rhaenys, respectively. The original Lord of Dragonstone, currently King Stannis's seat.
— Ser Jorah Mormont
- The Ace: To all the Targaryens and to Westeros in general.
- Beast of Battle: He introduced the concept of using dragons as weapons of war to Westeros.
- Brother–Sister Team: Each with a dragon mount.
- Dragon Rider: His personal dragon was Balerion "the Black Dread", the biggest dragon ever known. He forged the Iron Throne by melting down the swords of Aegon's enemies, and is one of the dragons that turned Harrenhal into the blasted ruin it is now. From the books...
- Famed In-Story: Remembered in a positive light as founder of the realm by many, his conquest ended the independence of the Seven Kingdoms and while many of the previous kings were downgraded to Lords Paramount, others were elevated. From the books...
- Famous Ancestor: Of the current house Targaryen (Viserys, Daenerys, Maester Aemon and Jon Snow). Through the female line, even House Baratheon and House Martell are his descendants.
- Founder of the Kingdom: Unifier of the realm, founder of King's Landing and maker of the Iron Throne. Aegon's Landing established a Year Zero in the current Westerosi calendar.
- Hollywood History / Historical Badass Upgrade: In-universe, he is remembered as the founder of the realm, while his sisters' part in the conquest tends to be sidelined.
- The Magnificent: Known as "Aegon the Conqueror" for subjugating six of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros into one realm, making him the single-most successful named conqueror in the history of the series. From the books...
- Outside-Context Problem: To the seven divided kingdoms he invaded, though not to Houses Tyrell and Tully, whom he elevated to their current ranks.
- Posthumous Character: Not surprising, since he lived 300 years before the start of the story.
- Shrouded in Myth: Aegon didn't melt the thousand swords of his vanquished foes into the Iron Throne, but less than 200. This kind of mystique helps to seam the realm together.From the books...
Queen Visenya Targaryen
Played By: N/A
"Visenya Targaryen was a great warrior. She had a Valyrian steel sword she called Dark Sister."Aegon I's elder sister, and one of his sister-wives. She wielded the Valyrian steel sword Dark Sister, and rode the Dragon Vhagar into battle alongside her brother and younger sister, Rhaenys.
— Arya Stark
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: Dark Sister was this even more than most Valyrian steel weapons, since it was designed for Visenya, and was, therefore, skinnier and more flexible than the typical broad or longsword, and thus had to rely on sharpness for cutting power more than raw force. It was not, however, a rapier like Arya's Needle.
- Action Girl: Riding dragons into battle and subduing whole kingdoms certainly qualifies her.
- Cool Sword: Again, Dark Sister.From the books...
- Dragon Rider: Visenya rode Vhagar, the smallest of the original three Targaryen dragons. But, according to a history Davos reads, Vhagar was still large enough to swallow a horse whole.
- Femme Fatale: Described as such in the books.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: Her sword, Dark Sister, is probably actually more famous than she is, due to the marginalization of her martial attributes in the histories.
- Hero-Worshipper: She is the idol of every highborn girl feeling oppressed by the institution of arranged marriage, certainly including Arya and probably including Cersei and Brienne of Tarth.Lord Tywin: She's a heroine of yours, I take it? Aren't most girls more interested in the pretty maidens from the songs? Jonquil with the flowers in her hair?
Arya: Most girls are idiots.
Tywin: Ha! You remind me of my daughter.
- Posthumous Character: Long dead by the time the show takes place.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: With her sister, Rhaenys. Visenya was far more martial than her gentle sister, and preferred her sword and mail to Aegon's bed, and so Rhaenys become the mother of the Targaryen lineage. Only one Targaryen king descended from Visenya, the third, Maegor the Cruel, who built the Red Keep and died without issue.
- 24-Hour Armor: Preferred plate and mail to gowns.
Queen Rhaenys Targaryen
Played By: N/A
Arya Stark: It wasn't just Aegon riding his dragon. It was Rhaenys and Visenya too.The younger of Aegon's sister wives, and one of the original Targaryen dragon riders.
Lord Tywin: Correct. A student of history, are you?
Arya: Rhaenys rode Meraxes. Visenya rode Vhagar.
Lord Tywin: Correct. A student of history, are you?
Arya: Rhaenys rode Meraxes. Visenya rode Vhagar.
- Action Girl: Less so than Visenya, but definitely still an example.
- Dragon Rider: Alongside her siblings.
- Girl Next Door: Compared to her sister, which is part of why Aegon preferred Rhaenys.
- Posthumous Character: Along with all her siblings.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Much girlier than her sister. Though she rode a dragon and fought in Aegon's wars, she fit the image of a "proper" queen much better than her sister, which is probably why she's better known.