The Seven Kingdoms of Westeros | House Stark (House Stark Children [Jon Snow, Sansa Stark, Arya Stark], House Stark Household) | House Bolton (Ramsay Bolton) | House Karstark | House Mormont | House Reed | Other Northern Houses | House Lannister (Tywin Lannister, Cersei Lannister, Jaime Lannister, House Lannister Household) | House Clegane | House Baratheon of King’s Landing (Joffrey Baratheon) | House Targaryen (Daenerys I’s Court [Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister], Servants of Daenerys) | House Baratheon of Storm’s End and Dragonstone (Stannis Baratheon) | House Greyjoy (Euron Greyjoy, Theon Greyjoy) | House Arryn (Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish) | House Tully | House Frey | House Tyrell (Margaery Tyrell) | House Tarly | House Martell (Sand Snakes) | The Free Cities | Slaver's Bay | The Dothraki Sea and the Red Waste | Qarth | The Night's Watch | Royal Court | The Order of the Maesters | The Kingsguard | Wildlings | Brotherhood Without Banners | The Faith of the Seven | Red Temple | Independent Characters | Theatre Troupe | Supernatural Beings
See also the book character sheet for these characters.
Only spoilers from the current season will be hidden, so beware spoilers if you're not up to date on the episodes.
— Cersei Lannister
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 Iron Throne.
- Adapted Out: 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, King Jaeherys II, 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 cousin, Maegor I married many women but the closest relative was his half-niece (and none of them had any children), Viserys I married his Arryn cousin and a Hightower in succession, and Rhaenyra I married her uncle, havingg three children with him, Aegon III, Viserys II, and Visenya. Her son, Aegon III married his cousin followed by a Velaryon cousin, Viserys II married a Lyseni from Essos. Viserys II did force his children, Aegon IV and Naerys, to wed but it was nonconsensual on their part. Their son, Daeron II, married a Martell. His son, Maekar I married a Dayne, and then Maekar's son, 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 his 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). Plus one uncle/niece marriage in her ancestry. 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 in the male line, Aegon III's daughters, Daena and Elaena are ancestors to the Blackfyres, Plumms, Longwaterses, and Penroses.
- 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' 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' 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.
- Everybody's Dead, Dave: As of the series finale, the only remaining Targaryen left alive is Jon Snow (Aegon Targaryen). Since he's rejoined the Night's Watch, however, House Targaryen is effectively extinguished since he cannot marry or have children as a member of the Watch. Even if he isn't really rejoining the Night's Watch, but is instead going to live with the Free Folk in the lands beyond the Wall as a free man, he will most likely not give any future children of his the Targaryen name.
- 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-granduncle Aerion Brightflame, and fifth cousins of various degrees of removal descended from her great-great-great-grand half-uncle Daemon Blackfyre, and Shireen went up in smoke.
- As it turns out, Daenerys has a nephew she never knew — Jon Snow.
- Locked Out of the Loop: The surviving Targaryen of the series are not privy to the knowledge that Aegon the Conqueror had the vision of "the song of ice and fire" that prophesized the Second Long Night, which made mantaining a strong realm an obligation to the ruling monarch for generations. It's not known if Rhaegar was told about it or if the chain of knowledge was broken with or before Aerys II.
- 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.
- Nice, Mean, and In-Between: Aerys II's three children, Rhaegar, Viserys and Daenerys. In many ways, Rhaegar can be seen as embodying the best Targaryen traits -– charismatic, passionate, idealistic and fearless – while Viserys embodies the worst –- vengeful, entitled, arrogant and mentally unstable -– and Dany embodies both to an extent.
- Rhaegar is the Nice one (comparatively speaking) following the revelation he didn't kidnap and rape Lyanna, but eloped with her. While dumping his loyal wife for another man's fiance was a dick move and it ended up starting a war, Rhaegar didn't intend for this to happen, genuinely loved Lyanna and was described as a brave and honourable man who was generous to the smallfolk and loyal to his friends. Considering the Undying Loyalty many of those that knew he have towards him (even after his death), he must've left some kind of positive impact upon them.
- Daenerys is the Inbetween. For the majority of the series, she can be ruthless and pragmatic, but is also a compassionate and idealistic dreamer, treating her followers like family and wanting to create a better, more equal society for her subjects. She spends years campaigning in Slaver's Bay to free slaves purely because she can't bear to leave them to suffer and many of her more brutal actions are driven by a sense of justice towards wrongdoing (e.g. crucifying slave masters in retaliation for the crucifixion of slave children). She only really crosses over into full-blown tyranny in the last two episodes of the series and even then she still has some sympathetic goals and traits, believing this is the only way to create a better world for everyone.
- Viserys is the Mean one. Compared to Rhaegar and Dany, he has very few sympathetic qualities and is a selfish, cowardly bully who abuses his sister and anyone weaker than him, and constantly demands respect he hasn't earned. He looks down on everyone, least of all commoners, has no problem with slavery and, unlike Dany, would probably not even have bothered trying to wage war in a way that avoided civilian casualties.
- 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.
- Related Differently in the Adaptation:
- An entire generation of the Targaryen family is omitted from the show, making King Aegon V the father of King Aerys II, instead of his grandfather. This also means Princess Rhaelle Targaryen, the grandmother of Robert, Stannis, and Renly, has been Adapted Out. As a result, the Baratheon brothers are no longer the second cousins of Daenerys, Rhaegar, and Viserys.
- 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.
- 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.
- Royal Inbreeding: They were enthusiastic practitioners of this in order to ensure the purity of the bloodline, with the according issues that came with this (i.e. the increased chance that members of the family would end up utterly insane).
- 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.
Post-Baratheon Rebellion Era Targaryens
Prince Viserys Targaryen
Played By: Harry Lloyd
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 Nice Guy: While his creepiness is still present, his actual attempts to claim Daenerys' maidenhead are absent in the show. 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.
- Age Lift: A downplayed example. In the books, Viserys is eight years older than Dany while in the show he's five years older, the end result being that he's 22 in both the books and the show (due to Dany being aged up from 13-turning-14 to 16-turning-17).
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Moments before his death, he starts pleading with his sister to save him, calling her "Dany". She remains unmoved.
- 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.
- Ambition Is Evil: His unrelenting desire to reclaim the Iron Throne drives some of his most despicable actions.
- Ancestral Name: He was very likely named after his ancestor King Viserys I Targaryen (seen in House of the Dragon).
- 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.
- Ax-Crazy: Definitely not as nutty as the other more vicious monsters in Westeros, but the dude is completely mentally unstable, beating Dany and one point threatening to carve out her baby.
- Bait the Dog: His more humane side is briefly seen during an intimate 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.
- Big "NO!": When Drogo's bloodriders seize him and he realizes he's screwed.
- 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 breasts. 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.
- Cain and Abel: His jealousy of Daenerys and Sanity Slippage causes him to resent her to the point that he holds at swordpoint and threatens to carve her baby out of her. As a result of his continual cruelty, Dany doesn't intervene when Drogo kills him.
- Can't Take Criticism: Viserys hates being criticized in any capacity, as he views it as undermining his authority as the 'rightful king'. When Illyrio Mopatis tactfully suggests that Viserys not mention his disparaging thoughts about the Dothraki to his future brother-in-law, Viserys angrily asks "Do you take me for a fool?" Illyrio quickly explains it away as kings lacking "the caution of common men", painting it as a compliment which gets Viserys to calm down. Daenerys and the Dothraki aren't so diplomatic and it drives Viserys up the wall.Viserys: You would turn me into one them [the Dothraki], wouldn't you? Next you'll want to braid my hair...
Daenerys: You've no right to a braid. You've won no victories yet.
Viserys: You do not talk back to me! (Viserys slaps Dany)
- 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.
- Dark and Troubled Past: At the age of five, almost his entire family were wiped out in a war that saw him ousted from his home, his mother died in childbirth and he was forced to go on the run and raise his baby sister, surviving on begging and charity. It's all but stated that these hardships contributed to his cruelty and instability.
- Dead Guy Junior: As shown in the prequel series, he's named after his ancestor King Viserys I. Crosses over with Non-Indicative Name at times, as in the other show the earlier king is shown to be a calm Reasonable Authority Figure who dotes on the female members of his family and who generally tries to do the right thing by his loved ones and his kingdom, albeit in a somewhat ineffective fashion on many occasions; the later Targaryen, however, is a spoiled, foolish, abusive Jerkass who thinks only of himself.
- Death by Irony: Should have been more specific when he demanded a golden crown, because his idea was not "a pot of molten gold poured on his head".
- Didn't See That Coming: He's wearing an expression of pure shock when he hits Daenerys only for her to hit him back and threaten him.
- Didn't Think This Through: His last moments are full of these- when he boasts the Dothraki can't do a thing to harm him because bloodshed is forbidden in their sacred city, he fails to take into account that A). By breaking one of the Dothraki's most sacred taboos, he's made himself fair game, and B). There are plenty of ways you can kill someone without shedding a drop of blood.
- Dies Wide Open: The "golden crown" forced on him covers his right eye but his left eye remains open the entire time.
- Dirty Coward: Along with the whole "beating on defenseless women" thing, he pathetically begs Dany to save him when he's about to be killed by the Dothraki over a conflict that he started. Doesn't work.
- Disappointing Older Sibling: Ultimately to Daenerys, once she stops being afraid of him. Though she does still have some love and respect for him for raising her, if nothing else, and names one of her dragons after him, by the end of his life she sees him for how pathetic and selfish he really is. She realises Viserys would never have been able to take back the Seven Kingdoms for them and straight up calls him "cruel, stupid and weak".
- Effeminate Misogynistic Guy: As much as he thinks otherwise, Viserys isn't very macho; he's a Pretty Boy with a slender build and not much of a fighter. He threatens and slaps around women, refers to them as "whores" and "sluts" and treats them as property – that includes is own sister, who is his preferred punching bag. In the History and Lore featurette, he even blames Lyanna Stark – the girl who was allegedly kidnapped by Rhaegar Targaryen – for the Targaryens' downfall, saying she 'distracted' Rhaegar.
- Embarrassing Nickname: He is commonly referred to as the "Beggar King" on account of his Impoverished Patrician status.
- 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.
- Entitled to Have You: Feels this way about Daenerys, largely Type A; as the only other remaining Targaryen (that he's aware of), it's customary that he would marry her. As a result, he's quite resentful when he has to give her away to another man to get an army.
- Epic Fail: His grand plan to take back the Iron Throne with an army of Dothraki barely even gets off the ground even though it was pretty much all set up for him, as he continuously antagonizes the Dothraki and alienates Daenerys, his only real ally. Then he really crosses the line by breaking their sacred 'no steel in Vaes Dothrak' rule, threatens their khaleesi and gets himself killed.
- Establishing Character Moment: Telling his own sister he would allow Khal Drogo’s entire tribe (including the horses) to rape her in order to get the Iron Throne back tells you everything you need to know.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: He genuinely loved his mother Rhaella, along with the rest of his family. Although it's deconstructed in the sense that he resents Daenerys for 'causing' Rhaella's death and uses it as an excuse to abuse her. From the books
- Even Evil Can Be Loved: Despite his cruel treatment of her, Daenerys still loves and respects her brother, the only family she has ever known who raised her from infancy; even after hitting him in self-defense, she still defends him as the 'rightful king'. However, eventually his cruelty and stupidity turns her against him. Though upset, she doesn't intervene when Drogo kills him for threatening to harm her and her unborn child and she is very critical of him after he dies. Given she names her dragon Viserion after him, one can infer that she does still have some love for her brother and regrets how things turned out, but she doesn't like the person Viserys became and feels he has no one but himself to blame for his demise.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Deconstructed. Viserys is shown to love his family and yearns to avenge the deaths of his father and older brother. However, in the case of his father his love for him (as well as his young age when Aerys died) blinds him to kind of man he was. From the books And while he does love his little sister Daenerys, affectionately referring to her as Dany and doing his best to protect and raise her in spite of their dire circumstances, his mental instability and arrogance leads him to use her as a verbal and physical punching bag while still expecting her to obey and respect him; he even blames her for their mother's death and isn't above forcing her to marry a complete stranger to get an army.
- Evil Uncle: He threatens to kill his nephew before he's even born.
- The Exile: He fled Westeros as a very young child with his younger sister Daenerys.
- Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: Viserys' Pretty Boy looks belie his deranged and cruel nature.
- 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. He also looks down on the Dothraki as savages, mocking their traditions and beliefs and claiming he 'owns' them. When Daenerys says he shouldn't call them savages, he indignantly replies that he'll "call them what I like".
- Fatal Flaw:
- His arrogance and Jerkass tendencies. If Viserys had just been more patient and diplomatic, or heck, just been nicer to his sister, he might not have pissed off the Dothraki enough to warrant his gruesome death and Dany might've been more willing to intercede on his behalf.
- Perhaps even more than these, however, is his complete inability to adapt to his changed circumstances; he's far from the only arrogant jerk on the show, but had he just managed to stop acting like he was still the heir presumptive in Kings Landing and made more of an effort to become accustomed with Dothraki ways like Daenerys did, he'd have probably been more successful in his goals, or at least would have lived longer.
- Foil: To Daenerys. Both are fixated on taking back the Iron Throne and have issues with pride and anger. However, Dany's wrathful nature is balanced by her genuine compassion for others and though prideful she's willing to take constructive criticism, whereas Viserys cares for no one but himself and completely loses it when he thinks people are challenging his authority. Dany also desires the throne not just because she believes it to be her birthright, but from a belief she can use her power to make the world a better place. While Viserys tends to be very rash and has No Social Skills, Dany is more cunning and very charismatic. And while Viserys views himself as threatening but is actually a coward who can only bully those weaker than him and is seen as a joke, Dany comes to be seen as The Dreaded and truly is very dangerous to those that cross her, possessing one of the highest body counts in the series while Viserys never killed anyone.
- 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 It Runs in the Family... One of Aerys' kids had to have inherited his crazy gene, after all. Blame the inbreeding.
- 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. He also provided Dany with some level of education; she knows part of Westeros' history (albeit biased in favor of the Targaryens), can read and write, and is fluent in High Valyrian, despite admitting she "never received a formal education".
- Incest-ant Admirer: As noted above in Brother–Sister Incest, he has a very creepy interest in Daenerys, who's clearly uncomfortable.
- 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.
- 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.
- Large Ham: "I AM THE DRAGON! I WANT MY CROWN!" Viserys has his moments of hamminess, likely the toll of his harsh life up to the point where he met the Dothraki, along with the instabilities he likely inherited from Aerys. His already socially-awkward disposition doesn't help in the slightest.
- Last-Second Chance: In "A Golden Crown", Jorah and Dany both beg Viserys to calm down and put his sword away. Instead, Viserys threatens Dany, sealing his fate.
- Like Father, Like Son: Out of all Aerys II's children, Viserys is the one who most closely resembles the Mad King: he's cruel, selfish, mentally unstable, a complete jerk to his sister and has delusions of grandeur.
- Might Makes Right: He is a firm believer of this in the History and Lore videos in regards to House Targaryen's actions. He flat out says that whether the accusations of his brother Rhaegar raping Lyanna Stark and his father executing Rickard and Brandon Stark without just cause 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.
- Mystical White Hair: A definitive feature of his family's ancestry (such as those seen in House of the Dragon) and one of his most notable physical features.
- Never My Fault: Viserys applies this to his entire bloodline, believing Robert had no right to initiate the rebellion and stating even if Rhaegar did abduct his promised bride, that Rhaegar need not answer to anyone for his actions just by nature of being a Targaryen.
- No-Respect Guy: Despite being the brains (to an extent; most of his good ideas are actually from other people) 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.
- No Social Skills: He lived most of his life on the run with his sister, devoted entirely to claiming the throne for himself. His already egocentric view of the world, coupled with the classist tendencies he has as an Upper-Class Twit, and along with the fact that he likely inherited some of Aerys' mental instabilities, means that he's so incredibly socially inept that he continually mistreats and belittles the Dothraki forces he's supposed to be corralling to his favor.
- Obnoxious In-Laws: Viserys is a strong candidate for 'worst brother-in-law ever'. He spends most of his time insulting Drogo and his people, whining about them not following his commands whilst mooching off them and bullying Drogo’s wife. Drogo finally has enough when he publicly threatens Daenerys and their unborn child, giving him the crown he deserves.
- Parental Abandonment: His father the Mad King was killed by Ser Jaime Lannister. His mother died not long after she fled with him.
- 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 Northerners 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.
- Prince Charmless: Viserys is self-absorbed, disrespectful to just about everyone, thoughtlessly cruel, abusive to his own sister and generally unpleasant to others.
- 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.
- Properly Paranoid: It turns out that Viserys was right (for once) in regards to Robert Baratheon's intentions to murder him and his sister, as he sends assassins after them upon learning Daenerys is pregnant (although Viserys isn't around to witness this).
- 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 and killed his family.
- Riches to Rags:
- Formerly a member of the Royal Family. He's actually nicknamed the Beggar King.
- Viserys was born before the Targaryens fell from power and spent the first five years of his life as a Prince of the Seven Kingdoms, living in castles and being waited on by servants. As a result, he is particularly resentful over what has been taken from him and is driven to get it back. Despite having spent more of his life as a beggar than a prince, he still sees himself as being above everyone else and has a very haughty attitude, which doesn't help his situation.
- Rightful King Returns: How he views his quest to reclaim the Iron Throne from Robert 'the Usurper' Baratheon. He is convinced that the people of Westeros are eagerly awaiting his return and will support him the moment he lands with his army. He's wrong. And he would make a godawful king, to boot.Daenerys: The common people are waiting for him. Illyrio said they are sewing dragon banners and praying for his return.Jorah: The common people pray for rain, health and a summer that never ends. They don't care what games the high lords play.
- 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.
- Sacrificial Lion: He's the first major character on the show to be killed off.
- Sanity Slippage: Viserys was never the most mentally stable of individuals, but his unpleasant stay with the Dothraki and losing control of Daenerys causes him to become unbalanced to the point that he threatens his pregnant sister while surrounded by her husband and his warriors. Dany also indicates that the hardships he faced growing up took a severe toll on his mental state overtime.
- Self-Serving Memory: While everyone applies their own perspectives in the History and Lore videos, his sections are the most wildly skewered as he either lies or excuses away any bad behavior from House Targaryen.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Besides having white-blonde hair and a problem with hubris, he and Daenerys are nothing alike.
- Sketchy Successor: As flawed as Prince Rhaegar was, Viserys could never have hoped to be half the king he would've been had he lived to take the throne. Jorah lampshades this to Daenerys in "Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things":Dany: I hit him. I hit the dragon.Jorah: Your brother Rhaegar was the last dragon. Viserys is less than the shadow of a snake.Dany: He's still the true king.Jorah: Truth now. Do you want to see your brother sitting on the Iron Throne?Dany: [Beat] No.
- 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.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Viserys only appears in the first half of Season 1 before getting killed off, but he had a big impact on Daenerys' character, which in turn helps shape many other major events in the series.
- 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. He also thinks he's being clever by drawing a sword in Vaes Dothrak, saying that Dothraki laws don't apply to him while subsequently meaning they can't touch him while in their sacred city. It didn't occur to him that there are plenty of other ways to kill someone without steel.
- Spare to the Throne: He was this in his childhood since Rhaegar was supposed to become king. Then came the Rebellion, Rhaegar and his children died, and Viserys was 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' life is that he has never been the true rightful king to begin with.
- Starter Villain: Viserys is one of the main antagonists for the first few episodes of the story before being killed off and replaced by more threatening villains.
- Stupid Evil: Provoking his superiors is not a wise idea. This is the last in a long line of stupid decisions he makes over the course of Season 1.
- There's No Place Like Home: His lifelong goal is to take back the Seven Kingdoms, the home he was driven from as a child. Tragically (though it was largely his own fault as well) he never gets to so much as see Westeros again, in fact dying half-way across the world from his home continent in Vaes Dothrak.Dany: I don't want to be [Drogo's] queen. I want to go home.Viserys: So do I. I want us both to go home, but they took it from us. So tell me sweet sister, how do we go home?Dany: I don't know.Viserys: We go home with an army. With Khal Drogo's army. I would let his whole tribe fuck you. All 40,000 men and their horse too, if that's what it took.
- 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.
- Tragic Dream: Reclaiming the Seven Kingdoms for House Targaryen. He completely lacks the brains, charisma and temperament to pull it off. Near the end of his arc, he even seems to be partly aware of this:"I'm the last hope of a dynasty, Mormont. The greatest dynasty this world has ever seen, on my shoulders since I was five years old, and no one has ever given me what they gave to [Dany] in that tent. Never. Not a piece of it. How can I carry what I need to carry without it, hmm? Who can rule without wealth or fear or love?"
- Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour: In Season 8, Dany says when she was a child Viserys would tell her rather graphic bedtime stories about how their father was murdered and about "all the things they would do" to the man who killed him. Viserys is five years older than Dany and so would've been a child himself when he first told her these charming stories.
- 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!
- Ungrateful Bastard: In "Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things", Dany goes to the effort of arranging a supper for them both and having Dothraki-style clothing made for him so he'll be more comfortable, in a genuine attempt to mend their rocky relationship. Viserys responds by attacking and threatening the handmaiden she sent to invite him, screaming at Dany that no one gives him 'commands', insulting her gifts and literally flinging them back in her face.
- 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. Dany later recalls he would tell her stories about Westeros and their family's history, and she did manage to survive for seventeen years under his care, so it can be inferred he wasn't always a complete asshole. 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.
- Would Hit a Girl: He is physically abusive to his sister (and has apparently been so for years) and also strikes Doreah. In fact, the only people he is seen being directly violent to are unarmed women much physically weaker than him.
- The Wrongful Heir to the Throne: Well, if you think that Robert Baratheon is a mere usurper (which Viserys certainly does), he's technically the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. However, if by some miracle he managed to get his butt on the Iron Throne, he'd likely have ended up like Joffrey or his father. As Daenerys points out to Varys in Season 7:"Before I came to power, you favoured my brother. All your spies, your little birds. Did they tell you Viserys was cruel, stupid and weak? Would those qualities have made for a good king, in your learned opinion?"
- And of course, it then turns out Viserys was unknowingly never the rightful heir, due to his brother Rhaegar marrying Lyanna Stark and fathering a son – Jon Snow – with her.
- You'reJustJealous: Is quite jealous of his sister when he realizes that the entire Dothraki tribe loves and respects her.
- You Killed My Father: He wants to personally kill Robert Baratheon and Jaime Lannister for killing his brother Rhaegar and father Aerys, respectively. He's never actually killed anyone and is an amateur with a sword. Robert barely ever thinks of him, ordering his assassination as an afterthought, while Jaime never mentions him at all.
Played By: Wren Ros Elliot-Sloan
The son of Queen Daenerys I 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 her son would have grown up to be. He has copper skin and closely resembles Drogo, except with the Targaryen silver-blonde hair and purple eyes. In the show, Daenerys' vision of Rhaego depicts him as fair-skinned with dark hair.
- Body Horror: Rhaego's unseen body is claimed to be greatly deformed.
- Censored Child Death: Rhaego ultimately dies in Dany's womb while she is in labour, likely as a result of Mirri's blood magic. The audience don't see this onscreen (nor are we shown his deformed body), with Daenerys waking up after giving birth, asking to see her son and then being told what happened.
- Children Are Innocent: Played with. Daenerys exclaims that her son was innocent when she learns Mirri's spell resulted in him being stillborn. Mirri counters that Rhaego was prophesied to be a warlord and conqueror who would no doubt have killed many people and destroyed many homes, but Daenerys clearly doesn't agree (which is understandable, considering Rhaego was her son). When Daenerys sees a vision of Rhaego in the House of the Undying, he looks and acts like a normal baby. Given the questionable nature of prophecies in Game of Thrones, it is debatable as to how justified both Mirri's and Dany's positions are.
- Dark Messiah: Rhaego is 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' older brother, the late Prince Rhaegar, with the termination changed to reflect Dothraki naming customs.
- Draconic Humanoid: Rhaego's 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 was physically weak - he was originally a human child - and didn't survive in this hybrid state.Mirri Maz Duur: 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 Rhaego 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 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 Rhaego 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 anyone, especially the Westerosi.
- Posthumous Sibling: Technically to Dany's dragons Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion, whom she hatched, raised, rides, and considers to be her children. She manages to hatch them on Drogo's funeral pyre shortly after he and Rhaego die; she redirects her motherly instincts onto the dragons because Rhaego is gone and Mirri's blood magic left her incapable of conceiving another child. Interestingly, if Rhaego hadn't been stillborn, Daenerys might never had figured out how to hatch her dragons.
Baratheon Rebellion Era Targaryens
King Aerys II "The Mad King" Targaryen
Played By: David Rintoul
— Ser Jaime Lannister
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.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: In the books (and in the animated DVD extras of the early seasons), 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.
- Adaptational Villainy: While Aerys from the books did commit the same atrocities that led to his deposition, there is no mention in the show of the improved rights he extended to the smallfolk living in the Kingswood (albeit at Ser Arthur Dayne's behest). In addition, the unhappy marriage with Rhaella in the books was attributed to them being forced to marry each other by their father, Jaehaerys II, who was Adapted Out. Instead, they seemed to have married of their own volition, leading to an Awful Wedded Life. In the Season 1 set of Histories & Lore, Robert Baratheon has this to say about King Aerys' marriage:"The dragonspawn were famous for losing their minds. It was the price they paid for centuries of keeping the bloodlines pure. And Aerys more than happily continued the "noble" sister-fucking tradition of his forefathers."
- 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.
- The Bad Guy Wins: A posthumous example, but when his daughter Daenerys sacks King's Landing with her dragon Drogon, she winds up igniting the wildfire caches that Aerys had placed in the city during Robert's Rebellion, which — along with Cersei having earlier used another cache to destroy the Sept of Baelor and the surrounding area — meant that the Wildfire Plot ultimately saw fruition, albeit twenty-something years later.
- Big Bad: He was seen as this during Robert's Rebellion; he kickstarted the war by acting like a complete tyrant and brutally killing Rickard and Brandon when they demanded that Aerys' son return Lyanna following her abduction. Although it's later revealed that Lyanna actually wasn't kidnapped, no one knew this at the time and even then Aerys' actions were completely disproportionate, prompting half the realm to finally rebel against him. Upon realizing he would lose the war, he was even willing to blow up King's Landing with wildfire, killing thousands of innocent civilians, his few remaining loyal subjects and even his own daughter-in-law and grandchildren out of pure spite until Jaime put a stop to that.
- 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.
- Brother–Sister Incest: He was married to his sister Rhaella, as is traditional for Targaryens.
- The Caligula: Was known as "The Mad King" and apparently had a penchant for killing people in nasty ways.
- Cool Crown: During the flashback (and his page image) he is wearing a dark silver crown resembling a dragon's spines.
- Domestic Abuser: Reportedly towards his wife Rhaella, combined with Big Brother Bully as she was also his sister. It's mentioned in the Kingsguard featurette that Jaime and other members of the Kingsguard would overhear him raping Rhaella. From the books...
- The Dreaded: A strange posthumous example. The fear of the return of his madness is the main weapon Cersei exploits to turn the Seven Kingdoms against his daughter, a fear she wrestles with herself across several seasons, and Jaime Lannister in particular is clearly still absolutely terrified by the man more than ten years after putting a sword through him.
- 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 is 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.
- That said, this is mostly Pragmatic Villainy: He wants a legacy.
- 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. And then he made Tywin's son Jaime a Kingsguard to deprive him of his preferred heir.
- 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...
- It Runs in the Family: His insanity was passed on to Viserys and did Dany no favors, 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.
- Large Ham: During the little screen time he see him in, his Villainous Breakdown has him yelling "BURN THEM ALL!", in a shouty melodramatic way.
- 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 times 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 and Henry VI of England, who were initially seen as a good and wise Kings 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 flammable resin which accidentally caught firenote . Charles VI also happened to be the king during the Armagnac-Burgundian Civil War, which was essentially the French counterpart to the Wars of the Roses, itself caused by the fallout of The Hundred Years War. Charles VI was, by marriage, grandfather to Henry VI—something which Martin clearly refers to with the Targaryens' inherent madness.note
- 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.
- Mystical White Hair: A definitive feature of his family's ancestry (such as those seen in House of the Dragon) and one of his most notable physical features.
- Obnoxious In-Laws: He treated his daughter-in-law Elia pretty poorly. He forced her and her children to remain in King's Landing as hostages during Robert's Rebellion to ensure House Martell's loyalty, even though this was unneccesary as they would always fight for whatever side Elia was on and he sent his own wife Rhaella and son Viserys to Dragonstone for their safety. As a result, Elia, Rhaenys and Aegon were all brutally killed by Ser Gregor when Tywin Lannister sacked the city. And even if Gregor hadn't killed them, Aerys had been intending to blow up the Red Keep and the rest of the city with wildfire, apparently uncaring of the fact Elia and his grandchildren were stuck there with him.
- 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 and his own daughter lights half the city on fire 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.
- Pyromaniac: 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.
- Royal Inbreeding: To justified to an extent, considering his family practiced incest for centuries. He is married to his to sister Queen Rhaella, they have two sons named Viserys and Rhaegar, and a daughter named Daenerys.
- 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 the wildfire which he left under King's Landing became a spanner in the High Sparrow's plans 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, screaming for his pyromancers to "burn them all!".
- 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 which becomes a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy when she sacks King's Landing in grief and rage. To top it all off, Daenerys also ignites the rest of his wildfire caches while doing so.
- White Hair, Black Heart: He had the classic Targaryen feature of white-blonde hair and was a complete psycho.
- 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.
Queen Rhaella Targaryen
Played By: N/ASister-wife to the Mad King and mother of Rhaegar, Viserys and Daenerys. She died giving birth to Daenerys on Dragonstone, at the conclusion of Robert's Rebellion.
- Awful Wedded Life: By all accounts, her marriage to Aerys was not a happy one. Aerys was abusive to her; in the History and Lore featurette on the Kingsguard, Bronn mentions that the guards overheard Aerys raping Rhaella, unable or unwilling to intervene.
- Brother–Sister Incest: She was married to her brother, Aerys, as is traditional for Targaryens.From the books...
- Dark Mistress: She was married to Aerys, the Ax-Crazy, fire-obsessed Big Bad of Robert's Rebellion. Although abusive to her, Aerys cared enough about her to send to her Dragonstone for her own safety, meaning she didn't suffer a fate similar to poor Elia Martell in the Sack of King's Landing. It's unknown what Rhaella thought of Aerys though she undoubtedly didn't appreciate his abuse and she herself is never mentioned as being cruel and/or insane. From the books
- Death by Childbirth: She died giving birth to Daenerys, her youngest child and only daughter.
- Imperiled in Pregnancy: While pregnant with her final child, Rhaella and Viserys were forced to flee to Dragonstone to escape the wrath of Robert Baratheon; she spent the remainder of her pregnancy hiding out on Dragonstone and actually gave birth to Daenerys during a massive storm, hence why Daenerys is known as 'Daenerys Stormborn'.
- Mystical White Hair: A definitive feature of her family's ancestry (such as those seen in House of the Dragon) and one of her most notable physical features.
- Outliving One's Offspring: She outlived her eldest son, Rhaegar; after he was killed in the Battle of the Trident, she and her remaining son, Viserys, were sent to Dragonstone to keep them safe. She also outlived her grandchildren, Rhaenys and Aegon, who were murdered during the Sack of King's Landing. From the books
- Posthumous Character: She's been dead for seventeen years by the start of the series.
- Royal Inbreeding: To justified to an extent, considering her family practiced incest for centuries. She is married to her brother to King Aerys, they have two sons named Viserys and Rhaegar, and a daughter named Daenerys.
- Someone to Remember Him By: Aerys was killed while she was still pregnant with Daenerys.
- Tragic Keepsake: According to Emilia Clark, the ring Daenerys is often seen wearing once belonged to Rhaella, it being the only thing she has left of her late mother. It’s notably the only part of Daenerys' costume that remains constant throughout all the seasons.
Crown Prince Rhaegar Targaryen "The Last Dragon"
Played By: Wilf Scolding
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.
Daenerys and Viserys' 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.
- 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...
- Arranged Marriage: To Princess Elia Martell. While Elia apparently loved Rhaegar, for him it was more a matter of duty. He eventually fell in love with Lyanna Stark and annulled his marriage to Elia to wed Lyanna instead. This didn't end well.
- 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' 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 isn't 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.
Jaime: We endured his reign because we hoped his son Rhaegar would right the rule when he ascended to the throne. But then Rhaegar proved as mad as his father and snatched Lyanna Stark, daughter of the Warden of the North and betrothed to Robert Baratheon, Lord of the Stormlands.
- Cool Big Bro: He's seen as this by Viserys and Daenerys, even though the latter never even knew him. Viserys would tell Dany stories about how Rhaegar was a great warrior, won't hear a bad word against him and desires to avenge his death. Dany names both her unborn son and one of her dragons after Rhaegar (Rhaego and Rhaegal, respectively) and is happy to learn from Barristan Selmy that Rhaegar didn't actually like killing, much preferring singing, and that he was kind and generous to his friends and subjects. That being said, in Season 8 she somberly remarks to Jon Snow that despite all these wonderful things she heard about Rhaegar, he still abducted and raped Lyanna Stark, indicating she no longer thinks he was such a great guy after all (unlike Viserys, who dismissed Lyanna as a "whore" and even suggested the Targaryens' downfall was her fault for 'distracting' Rhaegar). That is, until Jon tells her Rhaegar and Lyanna were actually in love and ran away together, though she's more focused upon the bombshell that Jon is actually her nephew.
- 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 Lyanna Stark who was betrothed to Robert Baratheon while he was already married to and had children with Elia Martell, pissing off three of the Great Houses in one fell swoop. It was never going to end well. His beloved's Northern family were nearly wiped out by his insane father, the country was torn into civil war, his wife and children were murdered 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).
- Disowned Parent: A possible case with Jon. Jon's feelings towards Rhaegar himself are never explored after finding out the late prince is his biological father, but he consistently refuses to embrace his Targaryen heritage.
- Domestic Abuse: Whilst his marriage to the Dornish Princess had been amicable by all accounts, his cruelest known actions were directed at his wife, Elia. While not physical or intentionally malicious, they included spurning her at the tourney in favor of Lyanna and annulling his marriage to her in her own homeland.
- Even the Guys Want Him: Oberyn admitted to being taken aback by his good looks and charm.
- 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.
- Foreshadowing: At the outset of the story Rhaegar is framed as the man who abducted, raped and murdered Lyanna Stark. However he is still thought of very highly by many, including the likes of Ser Barristan. Littlefinger also alludes to there being more to it than abduction. But perhaps most telling of all, Eddard Stark holds none of the contempt or malice towards Rhaegar (or the Targaryens in general) that Robert Baratheon does, despite losing so much in the aftermath of his sister's kidnapping. Ned had learned Lyanna loved Rhaegar and eloped willingly, promising a dying Lyanna to protect their child from Robert, and knew what a tragic mess it had all been.
- The Hero Dies: From the view of the Targaryen supporters and loyalists. Tywin Lannister seen it as the end of House Targaryen as a political force and sacked King's Landing soon after.
- 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. And then it's revealed in Season 6 that Rhaegar wasn't a crazy rapist at all, (quite a bit of a moron, selfish and neglectful of his duties as a husband and Prince, but not the outright monster others believed him to be).
- 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.
- 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 severe political consequences down the line, but not telling anyone at all is what definitely caused the Civil War that claimed the lives of him, his mother, his father, two of his children, and ultimately both his wives.
- Informed Ability: He's talked about as the better alternative to Aerys and Robert that never came to pass. His actual record as a statesman is a dismal failure. As prince and heir, his key role is to attain and keep marriages of state. Instead, he breaks the medieval contract by eloping with the betrothed of one of the Lords of the Realm and thus dynamiting the established order into civil war.
- 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.
- 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. He had the nerve to so in Dorne, his wife's homeland.
- Karmic Death: It turns out that absconding in secret with a renowned warrior Lord's betrothed will have significant repercussions for your health.
- 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. That being said, it was specifically Lyanna who named their son after he'd already died, so we don't know for certain if he intended to call Jon 'Aegon', or if that was purely Lyanna's idea.
- Laser-Guided Karma: His annulment of his marriage to Elia possibly made his children by her retroactively illegitimate, his son by Lyanna chooses to stay Jon Snow instead of Aegon Targaryen and refuses to embrace his Targaryen heritage.
- Love Makes You Dumb: It apparently didn't occur to him that running off with another guy's fiancée and not explaining things clearly might possibly have severe repercussions for him, his family, his in-laws and the entire realm.
- 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 revealed to be Jon Snow's biological father in the Season 6 finale.
- Marry for Love: Deconstructed. It turns out he didn't actually abduct Lyanna; he truly loved her and they secretly eloped to Dorne. However, this was complicated by the fact Rhaegar was already married while Lyanna was betrothed to another. Rhaegar annulled his marriage while Lyanna just up and left without telling anyone... subsequently, everyone thought she'd been abducted, her brother went to Rhaegar's father to demand her return, the Mad King had Rhaegar's brother and father-in-law executed as traitors, Lyanna's ex fiance and other brother declared war on House Targaryen when he demanded their heads and it just escalated from there.
- 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: Rhaegar knew his father's madness, paranoia and cruelty more than most but he was a loyal prince. 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.
- Mystical White Hair: A definitive feature of his family's ancestry (such as those seen in House of the Dragon) and one of his most notable physical features.
- 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. It also nearly destroyed his wife's noble house too.
- 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: Zig-zagged. Sent his two most skilled Kingsguards, Ser Arthur Dayne and Ser 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. Yet he left his other two children behind with his mad father and they were eventually brutally killed because of it.
- Posthumous Character: He died near the end of Robert's Rebellion.
- Posthumous Sibling: To Daenerys; her mother was still pregnant with her when Rhaegar was killed and all she knows about him comes from second or third-hand accounts by other people. Viserys always emphasized Rhaegar's combat prowess, so she is pleasantly surprised to learn from Ser Barristan that Rhaegar never actually liked killing, preferring more peaceful pastimes like singing.
- 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.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Receives no small amount of praise from several characters and the narrative itself, as his demise tends to be romanticized, ignoring the dismal prince, husband and father he chose to be in order to pursue his own desires, in addition to fighting for his tyrannical father. In the last seasons, the three-eyed raven - an omniscient character - even shifts the blame of the conflict to Robert.
- 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 warrior when they met on the Trident, 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 intially points out he felt Rhaegar was a would rule better than the Mad King. It's inferred that many tolerated Aery's insanity with the knowledge his heir would be more worthy.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.
Played By: N/A
Eldest child of Prince Rhaegar and Princess Elia Martell. She was killed by Ser Gregor Clegane along with the majority of her family in the Sack of King's Landing.
- Dead Guy on Display: After her murder, her body was displayed in the throne room of the Red Keep.
- Death of a Child: She wasn't very old when she was murdered by the Mountain (the books give her age as being around three or four years old). House Clegane and House Lannister are widely feared and hated for this, while the Martells, in particular Oberyn, seek revenge for it.
- Dies Differently in Adaptation: In the books, Rhaenys was found hiding under her bed by Amory Lorch, who stabbed her around fifty times. In the series, it's simplified to Gregor Clegane killing both her and her brother and mother; the specifics of her murder aren't mentioned, although one History and Lore featurette on the Sack of King's Landing depicts her as being with Elia and Aegon when Gregor came for them, hiding behind her mother, while Viserys mentions in his account of the Sack of King's Landing featurette that "It is said Princess Rhaenys was found cowering under her father's bed and put to the sword."
- Hostage Situation: She, her mother and brother were kept in King's Landing by her grandfather during Robert's Rebellion, to ensure House Martell's loyalty. This ended up getting her killed when Tywin Lannister sacked the city.
- Posthumous Character: Killed by Gregor Clegane at the conclusion of Robert's rebellion.
- Posthumous Sibling: To her half-brother Jon Snow; she was killed while Lyanna was still pregnant with Jon.
- Strong Family Resemblance: The History and Lore videos show that she inherited her mother's Dornish look, with black hair and brown eyes. From the books...
Played By: N/A
Son of Prince Rhaegar and Princess Elia Martell. He was killed by Ser Gregor Clegane along with the majority of his family in the Sack of King's Landing.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Gregor Clegane smashed his skull, reportedly by dashing his head against a wall in front of his own mother.
- Dead Guy on Display: After his murder, his body was laid before the Iron Throne as proof of his demise (as he was Rhaegar's only son and heir...or at least that's what everyone believed).
- Death by Adaptation: If Young Griff is really Aegon, Aegon turns up Not Quite Dead in the books. Not so much in the TV series.
- Death of a Child: He was only a baby in his mother's arms when the Mountain killed him. Both House Clegane and House Lannister are widely feared and hated for this, while the Martells, in particular Oberyn, seek revenge for it.
- Decomposite Character: His role as the child who got smuggled away and adopted then renamed was given to Jon Snow.
- One-Steve Limit: Averted; it's revealed in Season 7 that he and his half-brother have the same name of Aegon Targaryen. However, it's downplayed due to Aegon's younger brother going by Jon Snow for the majority of his life, including after he finds out his birth name.
- Posthumous Character: Killed by Gregor Clegane at the conclusion of Robert's rebellion.
- Posthumous Sibling: To his half-brother, Jon Snow; he was killed while Lyanna was still pregnant with Jon and his death meant that Jon was next in line for the Iron Throne (though legally-speaking where he was in the succession was unclear, because it's revealed that Rhaegar annulled his marriage to Aegon's mother Elia to wed Lyanna).
- The Unfavorite: With his mother's marriage to Rhaegar annulled, his status as Rhaegar's heir may have been removed.
Dance of the Dragons Era Targaryens (House of the Dragon)
Other Historical Targaryens
King Aegon "Egg" V Targaryen "The Unlikely"
Played By: N/A
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 reportedly has been discussing to adapt as a prequel series).
- 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 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 (the possible last 10 years with growing decadence), so there's no way she was talking about his father Maekar.
- 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.
- Like Father, Unlike Son: Aegon V was an initially popular king who cared greatly for the smallfolk. His son Aerys II (since Aerys' father/Aegon's son Jaehaerys II was Adapted Out) was an insane tyrant whose abuse of power directly caused a rebellion that brought down the Targaryen dynasty.
- 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. His epitaph was even "The Unlikely", since he was the fifth child of the fourth child.
King Baelor Targaryen "The Blessed"
Played By: N/A
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 "The Young Dragon"
Played By: N/A
Son of Aegon III and brother of Baelor the Blessed. Remembered for conquering and losing Dorne.
- General Failure: How he's seen by the Dornish and by less romantic Westerosi.
- Young Conqueror: The first Targaryen to conquer Dorne. Shame he couldn’t hold it.
King Maegor Targaryen "The Cruel"
Played By: N/A
The second son of Aegon the Conqueror and third King of the Seven Kingdoms. He rode Balerion the Black Dread and ruled as a tyrant. His reign was defined by his war with the Faith Militant and the completion of the Red Keep.
- Arch-Enemy: Of the Faith.
- Asskicking Leads to Leadership: 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's Evil Predecessor: He was an Evil Overlord compared to his nephew and immediate successor Jaehaerys' The Good King.
- Mystical White Hair: A definitive feature of his family's ancestry and one of his most notable physical features.
- 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.
- Predecessor Villain:
- In the histories and lore for the Red Keep, Joffrey admires Maegor the most of all Targaryens.
- In ''House of the Dragon', he's long dead by the prologue. Jaehaerys was a boy when he died and an old man by the time of the Great Council.
- Rhaenys notes that his tyrannical reign was the last time Westeros ever knew true warfare and that the knights of the realm have become soft without him.
- Otto Hightower is able to use the idea of Daemon being his second coming to turn the Small Council against the prince.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Had the builders of the Red Keep massacred to protect its secrets.
King Aegon I Targaryen "The Conqueror"
Played By: N/A
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' seat.
- 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.
- Betty and Veronica: Married both Visenya and Rhaenys, women very different in personality.
- Brother–Sister Team: He conquered the 6 kingdom's with his sisters and their dragons.
- Brother–Sister Incest: He was married to both of sisters Visenya and Rhaenys, as is traditional for Targaryens.
- 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...
- Dreaming of Things to Come: House of the Dragon reveals that he was driven to take Westeros because of a vision he had in his dreams. It was of the Second Long Night.
- 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.
- Living Legend: He was First Targaryen to conquer the 6 kingdom and the First King to forge and sit on the Iron Throne.
- 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...
- Mystical White Hair: A definitive feature of his family's ancestry and one of his most notable physical features.
- Outside-Context Problem: To the seven divided kingdoms he invaded, though not to Houses Tyrell and Tully, whom he elevated to their current ranks.
- Royal Inbreeding: To justified to an extent, considering his family practiced incest for centuries. He is married to both of his sisters to Queen Visenya and Queen Rhaenys,. He have a son with Queen Visenya named Mageor and a another son with Queen Rhaenys, named Aenys.
- Sibling Triangle: Aegon is married to both of his sisters.
- 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
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.
- 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.
- Brother–Sister Team: She conquered the 6 kingdom's with her brother Aegon and her sister Rhaenys and their dragons.
- Brother–Sister Incest: She was married to her brother Aegon, as is traditional for Targaryens.
- 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.
- Mystical White Hair: A definitive feature of her family's ancestry and one of her most notable physical features.
- Royal Inbreeding: To justified to an extent, considering her family practiced incest for centuries. She is married to her brother to King Aegon. She have a son with King Aegon, named Mageor .
- Sibling Triangle: She is married to younger brother Aegon who is also married to their younger sister Rhaenys.
- 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
Lord Tywin: Correct. A student of history, are you?
Arya: Rhaenys rode Meraxes. Visenya rode Vhagar.
The younger of Aegon's sister wives, and one of the original Targaryen dragon riders.
- Action Girl: Less so than Visenya, but definitely still an example.
- Dragon Rider: Rhaenys rode Meraxes, whose jaws were big enough to swallow a horse whole.
- Brother–Sister Incest: She was married to her brother Aegon, as is traditional for Targaryens.
- Brother–Sister Team: She conquered the 6 kingdom's with her brother Aegon and her sister Visenya and their dragons.
- Girl Next Door: Compared to her sister, which is part of why Aegon preferred Rhaenys.
- Mystical White Hair: A definitive feature of her family's ancestry and one of her most notable physical features.
- Royal Inbreeding: To justified to an extent, considering her family practiced incest for centuries. She is married to her brother to King Aegon. She have a son with King Aegon, named Aenys.
- Sibling Triangle: She is married to her older brother Aegon, who is also married to her older sister Visenya.
- 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.