House Targaryen

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House Targaryen of King's Landing
House Targaryen.svg
Fire and Blood
Coat of arms A red three-headed dragon, breathing red flame on black
(Sable, a dragon thrice-headed gules flammant of the last)
Overlord None; sovereign
Cadet branch House Blackfyre
Ancestral weapons
Founded Targaryen family: before 114 BC
House Targaryen of Dragonstone: 114 BC
House Targaryen of King's Landing: 1 AC

House Targaryen of King's Landing is a noble family of Valyrian descent who once ruled the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. The Targaryen sigil is a red three-headed dragon, breathing red flames on black.[1][2][3][4] The house words are "Fire and Blood".[5]

The only family of dragonlords who survived the Doom of Valyria, the Targaryens left the Valyrian Freehold twelve years before the Doom. They resided for more than a century at Dragonstone castle on Dragonstone island, until Aegon the Conqueror and his sister-wives, Visenya and Rhaenys, began the first of the Wars of Conquest in 2 BC.

During Aegon's Conquest, the family built the Aegonfort in the new capital city of King's Landing. The Aegonfort was later torn down and replaced by the Red Keep, which remained their main seat for the duration of their dynasty, and which housed the Iron Throne. Their original castle was almost always given to the heir to the throne, the Prince of Dragonstone. The Targaryens eventually built the summer residence Summerhall, which has been given to several younger sons of the family over time.

House Targaryen ruled as the Kings of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men, the Lords of the Seven Kingdoms, and the Great House of the crownlands for nearly three hundred years. Seventeen male Targaryens ruled from the Iron Throne.[N 1] The dynasty ended with the death of Aerys the Mad King during Robert's Rebellion, in which the Targaryens were overthrown and replaced by House Baratheon. The two surviving children of Aerys II, Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen, fled into exile, and have resided in the Free Cities of Essos ever since.[6]



Daenerys Targaryen with her purple eyes and hair of silver-gold, by Joshua Cairós © Fantasy Flight Games

The phrase "blood of the dragon" refers to the Valyrian descent of the Targaryens, and more specifically to the fact that they were one of forty dragonlord families of the Valyrian Freehold.[7]

The Targaryens are renowned for their beauty.[8][9] They usually have typical Valyrian features: pale skin, silver, platinum, or gold hair and eyes in various shades of purple or light blue.[10][11] A few Targaryens had darker hair, such as Princess Rhaenys, Prince Baelor Breakspear, Prince Valarr, and Prince Daeron.

According to semi-canon sources, the Targaryens can tolerate more heat than most ordinary people, but they are not immune to fire.[12][13] The Targaryens long believed themselves immune to illness, but Princess Daenerys then died of the Shivers,[14] and the Great Spring Sickness claimed the lives of King Daeron II, Prince Valarr, and Prince Matarys.[15]

Another trait typical to Targaryens is the ability to have premonition-like dreams.[16] The trait has been in House Targaryen since before the Doom of Valyria, with the dreams of Daenys Targaryen compelling the family to relocate from Valyria to Dragonstone in 114 BC.[7] This trait was passed on to the cadet branch, House Blackfyre, as well.[16]

The Targaryens are seen as prone to madness, presumably caused by their inbreeding.[13] According to King Jaehaerys II Targaryen, "madness and greatness are two sides of the same coin. Every time a new Targaryen is born [...] the gods toss the coin in the air and the world holds its breath to see how it will land".[17]


House Targaryen's words are "Fire and Blood."[5] Their sigil is a three-headed dragon breathing flames, red on black.[1][2][3] The three-headed dragon represents Aegon the Conqueror and his two sisters, Rhaenys and Visenya.[3] King Aegon II Targaryen used a golden dragon to rally his supporters during the Dance of the Dragons.[18] Some younger sons of the house used variations of the standard sigil. Before his own reign, Maekar I Targaryen used the three-headed dragon, quartered,[15] while his son, Prince Aerion Targaryen, changed the colors of the three heads—one orange, one yellow, one red—while the flames they breathed had a sheen of gold leaf.[4]

In line with the sigil colors, most Targaryens used armor black in color. For instance, Prince Aemond Targaryen had night-black armor chased with gold,[19] Prince Valarr Targaryen wore armor black as night in the tourney at Ashford Meadow,[4] and Prince Rhaegar Targaryen had the three-headed dragon wrought in rubies on his black breast plate.[1][20][21]

Although the Targaryen kings took their seat at King's Landing, the place where Aegon and his army first landed in Westeros and made their first fort, replaced by the Red Keep later on, their earlier seat of Dragonstone remained in their possession as well.[22] It eventually became the traditional seat of the heir-apparent to the throne, who was known as the Prince of Dragonstone (or Princess of Dragonstone, in a few occasions). in 188 AC, the Targaryens eventually built a third seat, Summerhall, which was granted to several younger sons[23] who were granted the title Prince of Summerhall.[4][24]

House Targaryen historically followed the old gods of Valyria, but sometime before Aegon's Conquest the family abandoned the Valyrian gods and converted to the Faith of the Seven, the predominant religion in Westeros.[25] However, they continued to follow the Valyrian practice of incestuous marriage, wedding brother to sister, cousin to cousin, uncle to niece and aunt to nephew, holding themselves apart from and above the noble Westerosi families.

Deceased Targaryens are traditionally cremated,[26][27][4] a custom since the days of Old Valyria.[8] If a dragon is available, it is used to light the flame of the pyre.[8] The ashes of many of the dead of House Targaryen have been interred on Dragonstone, including those of King Aegon I,[8] Queen Visenya,[8] King Maegor I,[8] Princess Daenerys,[14] Princess Daella,[14] King Jaehaerys I,[28][N 2] and Queen Alysanne.[28][N 2] However, Queen Rhaena's ashes were interred at Harrenhal,[29] and her daughter Princess Aerea's ashes were scattered on the wind.[29]


Prince Daemon Targaryen and Caraxes, by Ken Laager ©

As one of the forty dragonlord families of Valyria, the Targaryens were closer to dragons than other men. Aenar Targaryen brought five dragons with him when he moved from Valyria to Dragonstone, and Aegon I Targaryen and his sister-wives, Rhaenys and Visenya rode them to battle during the Conquest of the Seven Kingdoms in 2 BC - 1 BC.[7] The Targaryens rode their dragons during the first century and a half following Aegon's Conquest. Deaths in battle, especially during the Dance of the Dragons, and a growing infirmity in each following generation caused the family's stable to dwindle. The last dragon was a deformed and sterile creature, who died young in 153 AC, during the reign of Aegon III, the Dragonbane.[30]

The Targaryens housed their dragons in an immense domed structure in King's Landing, the Dragonpit, which was constructed during the reign of Maegor I Targaryen.[31] Not all dragons which hatched were ridden, however. On the island of Dragonstone, several dragons, both wild and previously ridden, resided at least during the reigns of King Jaehaerys I, Viserys I, and Aegon II Targaryen.[32][33]

The Targaryens often gifted a newborn child with a dragon's egg in the cradle.[28][34] This practice continued even after the death of the last dragon, with the last Targaryens confirmed to have been given an egg having been the sons of Prince Maekar during the reign of Daeron II Targaryen.[16] Whether the tradition was continued beyond this point is unknown, but the Targaryens still possessed eggs as recently as the reign of Aerys II Targaryen, the last king of the Targaryen dynasty.[35] Several attempts have been made, since the death of the last dragon, to hatch these eggs by members of House Targaryen, including by Aegon III and his younger brother and Hand of the King, Viserys,[30][36] Baelor I,[37] Aegon V,[38] and Aerys II.[35]


A complete history of House Targaryen is planned for Fire and Blood,[39] to be published several years after the completion of A Song of Ice and Fire.[40]

Origins and relocation

House Targaryen was one of the forty ancient noble houses known as dragonlords who ruled the Valyrian Freehold, a great empire spanning much of Essos. The Targaryens were not one of the most powerful houses, however. The family resided in Valyria until Daenys Targaryen, also known as Daenys the Dreamer, the daughter of Lord Aenar Targaryen, had visions of a cataclysm that would come over Valyria. Aenar sold his estates in Valyria and moved his wives, children, other relatives, slaves, wealth, and five dragons (including Balerion) to Dragonstone, an island at the entrance of Blackwater Bay and the westernmost outpost of Valyrian influence, where he took possession of a castle of the same name, in 114 BC. Twelve years later the Doom descended on the city of Valyria, leading to the collapse of the Freehold. The Targaryens were the only dragonriders of Valyria to survive. In the century that followed, four of the five dragons of House Targaryen died, with only Balerion surviving. Two more dragons, Vhagar and Meraxes, were hatched from eggs on Dragonstone, however.[7]

During the century after the Doom, which became known as the Century of Blood due to the violent struggles for power in Essos, Volantis attempted to seize power over Valyria's colonies. Most of the other Free Cities rebelled against Volantis, and towards the end of the Century of Blood, the young Lord Aegon Targaryen, rider of the dragon Balerion, was approached by Pentos and Tyrosh to form an alliance. Aegon, mounted on his dragon Balerion, flew to meet the Prince of Pentos, and then to Lys, where he set the Volantene fleet aflame. With Volantis's campaign at an end, he returned to Dragonstone and focused his attention to the lands west, which had always been of interest to him.[7]

Aegon's Conquest

Aegon Targaryen, Lord of Dragonstone, aspired to unite the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros under one ruler. Slightly more than a hundred years after the Doom of Valyria, in 2 BC, he began his invasion, in which he was aided by his two sister-wives, Rhaenys and Visenya. All three were dragonriders, and used their dragons, Balerion, Meraxes, and Vhagar in battle. Aegon's Conquest, which lasted for two years, began with Aegon's Landing at the mouth of the Blackwater Rush with a small force, and ended when Aegon was anointed king by the High Septon in Oldtown.

Aegon's Conquest, which lasted for two years, began with Aegon's Landing at the mouth of the Blackwater Rush with a small force. House Hoare, the Kings of the Isles and the Rivers, were extinguished in the burning of Harrenhal, and Aegon granted the riverlands to House Tully. House Durrandon, the Storm Kings, were defeated in the Last Storm and replaced by House Baratheon, whose founder Orys was Aegon's half brother. Visenya achieved the submission of Crackclaw Point, but Dorne refused to yield to Rhaenys. House Gardener, the Kings of the Reach, were extinguished at the Field of Fire and replaced by House Tyrell, and House Lannister, the Kings of the Rock, submitted the following day. Rather than face House Targaryen's dragons, House Stark, the Kings in the North, and House Arryn, the Kings of Mountain and Vale, also submitted to the invaders. The Conquest ended when Aegon was anointed king by the High Septon in Oldtown.[41]

From the swords of his enemies, Aegon created the Iron Throne, and the dynasty he began would rule for nearly three hundred years.[7][42] Aegon had constructed a wooden castle, the Aegonfort, at the place where he had first come to shore, and the town that grew around it became King's Landing, the kingdom's new capital.[7][22] Dragonstone remained in the possession of the Targaryens as well, and was one of Aegon's favorite places.[22] The region around King's Landing became known as the crownlands. During his invasion of the Iron Islands, King Aegon allowed the Iron Islands to choose House Greyjoy as their new rulers.[43]

First Dornish War

The death of Meraxes at Hellholt, by Chase Stone ©

In 4 AC, Aegon's Wars of Conquest continued with the First Dornish War, during which he and Rhaenys attempted to bring the Dornish under Targaryen rule as well.[22][44] This was a bloody war, during which Queen Rhaenys Targaryen was killed with her dragon, Meraxes, at Hellholt in 10 AC.[44] An assassination attempt on Aegon that same year led to the creation of the Kingsguard, who would guard the kings of the realm for centuries to come.[22]

The First Dornish War eventually ended in 13 AC, after Nymor Martell, Prince of Dorne, had sent his daughter Deria to King's Landing with a letter and the skull of Meraxes. Though the contents of the letter have never been revealed, Aegon agreed to end the war the next day.[44]

The Sons and Grandsons of the Dragon

Aegon I Targaryen died in 37 AC, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Aenys I Targaryen. Almost immediately, Aenys faced four rebellions which had grown out of dissent, dreams of the old days or of vengeance, and of the fact that Aenys and his younger brother, Maegor, had both been born from incestuous marriages. A bandit named Harren the Red, claiming to be a grandson of Harren the Black, took Harrenhal and killed Lord Gargon Qoherys. In the Vale, Lord Ronnel Arryn and his family were taken hostage by his younger brother, Jonos Arryn. On the Iron Islands, a man claimed to be the priest-king Lodos the Twice-Drowned, and in Dorne, the Vulture King raised thirty thousand followers against the Targaryens.[45]

Lord Goren Greyjoy killed the Lodos and sent his head to King Aenys. Lord Royce of Runestone defeated the supporters of Jonos Arryn, though this caused the death of Lord Ronnel and his family when Jonos threw them out of the Moon Door in the Eyrie.[45] Prince Maegor, who had claimed the dragon Balerion after his father's death, eventually flew up to the Eyrie and had Jonos and his followers executed.[45][46] The Vulture King had made the mistake of splitting his large army, and was defeated during the Vulture Hunt, in which Lord Orys Baratheon and several other Marcher lords, including Lord Dondarrion, Lady Caron, and Lord Sam Tarly, marched against him.[45][46] And the last rebel, Harren the Red, was eventually caught by Aenys's Hand of the King, Lord Alyn Stokeworth. Though Alyn was killed by Harren in the fighting that ensued, Harren himself was slain shortly after. As Alyn's replacement, King Aenys named Maegor as his Hand.[45]

The next challenges Aenys faced came from the Faith of the Seven. Even though the Targaryens had been followers of the Faith of the Seven since before the Conquest, the Targaryens held themselves apart from the laws of gods and men. By marrying both his sisters, Aegon I had continued both the Valyrian practice of incestuous marriage, which was considered a sin in the eyes of the Seven, as well as the more rarely practiced custom of polygamy, even though the Faith of the Seven considered marriage only possible between one man and one wife.[45] Even though Aegon I had always been careful regarding the Faith, the High Septons had never declared his marriages lawful, though they had not spoken up against Aegon's polygamous and incestuous marriages either.[46] However, when Queen Visenya Targaryen had suggested, in 23 AC, that her son Maegor should be married to Aenys's infant daughter, Princess Rhaena, the High Septon had protested, and Maegor had been married to the High Septon's niece, Ceryse Hightower, instead.[45] After sixteen years of marriage, however, Maegor remained childless. Following the birth of Aenys I's sixth child in 39 AC,[46] Maegor took a second wife, Alys Harroway. This greatly angered the Faith, and Aenys gave his brother the choice between abandoning Alys, or going in exile. Maegor chose the latter option, after which he left for Pentos.[45]

Maegor I Targaryen and Balerion burn down the Sept of Remembrance, by Jordi Gonzalez Escamilla ©

The Faith remained discontent. Though they had not objected to Aenys's own marriage in 22 AC, to his cousin Alyssa Velaryon, new troubles arose in 41 AC when Aenys married his eldest daughter, Rhaena, to his eldest son and heir, Prince Aegon. The uproar this marriage caused led to the start of the Faith Militant uprising.[45] Aenys fled to Dragonstone, but fell sick and died in 42 AC. Dowager Queen Visenya immediately called Maegor back from his exile, allowing him to claim the throne. Maegor took King's Landing back from the Faith Militant, though he would spent his entire reign fighting against them. In addition, he fought against Aenys's heir, Aegon, and killed both him and his dragon Quicksilver in 43 AC.[31]

Maegor's reign was a cruel one. He finished the construction of the Red Keep, which had begun in 35 AC, during his reign,[22][31] though he honored his moniker "the Cruel" when he killed all the construction workers after work was completed. He had come back from his exile with a third wife, Tyanna, but was still without an heir towards the end of his reign. Denouncing the claims of Aenys's only surviving son, Jaehaerys, Maegor married his three Black Brides, one of whom was Jaehaerys's sister, Rhaena, and named Rhaena's daughter Aerea as his heir until he had a child of his own. While support for Jaehaerys grew, support for Maegor dwindled. When Maegor died mysteriously in 48 AC, Jaehaerys succeeded him.[31]

The Old King

The royal family in 82 AC, by Jota Saraiva ©

A wise ruler known as the Conciliator and the Old King, King Jaehaerys I Targaryen ruled for fifty-five years, during which time he made peace with the Faith. The Doctrine of Exceptionalism was promulgated to have the Faith accept House Targaryen's incestuous marriages.[47] The king had his councillors begin work on what would become the Books of Law,[29] and he created or expanded several roads through the Seven Kingdoms, including the kingsroad, the roseroad, the ocean road, the river road, and the goldroad.[48]

Jaehaerys faced a difficult decision in 92 AC following the death of his heir, Prince Aemon, when he had to name either Aemon's daughter, Rhaenys, or Aemon's brother, Baelon, as his heir. Jaehaerys chose Baelon, but Baelon died in 101 AC, which caused Jaehaerys to become the first king to call the Great Council of 101 AC at Harrenhal, where Baelon's son was chosen as Jaehaerys's heir. Jaehaerys died two years later, in 103 AC, and was succeeded by his grandson, Viserys I Targaryen.[49]

Death of the Dragons

The Dance of the Dragons, by Jota Saraiva ©

King Viserys I's reign had troubles of its own. By his first wife, Lady Aemma Arryn, to whom he had been married since 93 AC, he had one surviving daughter, Rhaenyra. Aemma died in 105 AC in childbed, as did her son, Baelon, after which Viserys officially declared Rhaenyra to be his heir, having the lords of the realm swear fealty to her. Though Viserys remarried in 106 AC, and had three sons, Aegon, Aemond, and Daeron, and one daughter, Helaena, by his new wife, Queen Alicent Hightower, he insisted that Rhaenyra remained his heir. Rivalry between Rhaenyra and Alicent resulted in two fractions being formed at court, called the blacks and the greens. Alicent's three sons loathed Rhaenyra's three eldest sons, Jacaerys, Lucerys and Joffrey Velaryon, all three rumored to have been bastards fathered by Ser Harwin Strong, as they considered themselves to have been robbed of their birthright to the Iron Throne.[28]

Both Rhaenyra and her uncle, Prince Daemon, the younger brother of Viserys I, had been married into House Velaryon, and both had children by their respective spouses. When both Rhaenyra's husband Laenor and Daemon's wife Laena died in 120 AC, they married each other, and had three more children (Aegon the Younger, Viserys, and the stillborn Visenya). Meanwhile, King Viserys's son Aegon and daughter Helaena had been married as well, with three children resulting from their marriage (Jaehaerys, Jaehaera, and Maelor).[28]

When Viserys died in 129 AC, his widow, Dowager Queen Alicent Hightower, and the Lord Commander of his Kingsguard, Ser Criston Cole, defied Viserys's last will, and crowned Viserys's son Aegon II while Rhaenyra, unaware of her father's death, resided on Dragonstone. Unwilling to submit to her brother, Rhaenyra declared war, and the resulting conflict over the succession, called the Dance of the Dragons (129131 AC), divided the kingdom. During this bloody war, thousands died, as did most of the Targaryen dragons. Rhaenyra herself was devoured by Sunfyre, Aegon II's dragon, in late 130 AC while her son Aegon the Younger looked on.[50][51] Despite her death and Aegon the Younger's capture, the war raged on for another half year.[52] Aegon II was forced into betrothing his daughter and only remaining child, Jaehaera, to Rhaenyra's eldest surviving son, Aegon the Younger, and name them his heirs,[53][54] though he planned to remarry.[50] The was lasted until mid-131 AC, when Aegon II was poisoned by his own councilors.[50]

With the war at an end, the eleven-year old Aegon the Younger ascended the throne as Aegon III Targaryen. Until Aegon reached the age of sixteen, the realm was ruled by a regency. Aegon's younger brother Viserys, formerly thought to have died during the Dance, returned to Westeros, married to Lady Larra Rogare. Viserys served as his brother's Hand of the King towards the end of his reign. The Targaryen dragons had been greatly diminished in numbers because of the war, and when the last dragon died in 153 AC, Viserys convinced Aegon to sent for nine mages from Essos, to allow them to use their arts to hatch a clutch of dragon eggs. Sadly, their attempt failed.[30]

Conquest of Dorne

When Aegon III Targaryen died in 157 AC from consumption, he was succeeded by his eldest son, Daeron I Targaryen, born to him by his second wife, Queen Daenaera Velaryon (his first marriage having ended both quickly and childless with the death of Queen Jaehaera in 133 AC).[30] Though Daeron was only fourteen years of age, his uncle, Prince Viserys, decided not to insist on a regency, and continued to serve his new king as Hand.[55] Daeron I had great ambition, and wished to "complete the conquest" which his ancestor Aegon I Targaryen had begun a century and a half before.[55] During Aegon's Conquest, Dorne had been the only kingdom to resist the Targaryen forces,[7] and following the conclusion of the First Dornish War in 13 AC, a peace had been agreed upon by the Targaryens and Martells which had long lasted.[44] Daeron I managed to convince his councilors of his plans, and managed to conquer Dorne within a year. In 258 AC, the Prince of Dorne and several other Dornish lords bent their knees at the Submission of Sunspear. The hinterlands were pacified by 159 AC, and Daeron returned to King's Landing with fourteen highborn Dornish hostages, leaving Lord Harlan Tyrell behind to keep the peace.[55]

However, Daeron's conquest did not last. The smallfolk rebelled, and though Lord Tyrell attempted to fight back, traveling from holdfast to holdfast, the rebels always struck back.[55] After he was murdered in his bed at Sandstone, all of Dorne rose in open rebellion, and they managed to liberate themselves within a fortnight.[56] Daeron returned to Dorne in 160 AC, and when the Dornish requested to discuss peace terms the next year, they betrayed Daeron by attacking him and his retinue beneath the peace banner. One of Daeron's Kingsguard knights surrendered, while another, his cousin Aemon the Dragonknight, was captured. Three other Kingsguard knights were slain, as was Daeron I himself.[55] Though his reign had lasted only four years, it had been a bloody one. It is said that ten thousand men died conquering Dorne, and another forty or fifty thousand died trying to keep it.[55][57] Only eighteen years old at the time of his death, Daeron I had never been married[N 3] and left no issue. He was succeeded by his younger brother, Baelor I Targaryen.[55]

Though in King's Landing Prince Viserys argued for the execution of the Dornish hostages, the new King Baelor I decided to free them instead. He walked barefoot from King's Landing to Sunspear, escorting the hostages home, and met with the Prince of Dorne. They forged a peace, and Baelor agreed to betroth his cousin, Prince Daeron (his uncle Viserys's grandson), to the eldest child of the Prince of Dorne, Princess Myriah Martell. During his journey back home, Baelor passed by Wyl, where he freed his cousin Aemon, though he was bitten by venomous snakes in the process. When he finally returned to King's Landing, Baelor convinced the High Septon to dissolve his marriage to his sister, Daena, whom he had wed in 160 AC, as it had never been consummated. He then locked Daena and her sisters Rhaena and Elaena in the Maidenvault, to "preserve their innocence". Baelor I was focused mostly on the Faith of the Seven, and even took a septon's vows, ensuring he would never father heirs. His edicts became more focused on spiritual matters as his reign continued, causing unease among the highborn. Baelor began the construction of a new sept, though it would not be completed until after his death. Baelor also began to fast more frequently and for longer periods of time towards the end of his reign. And when his sister and former wife Daena, who had escaped the Maidenvault on several occasions during Baelor's reign, gave birth to a bastard son she named Daemon Waters in late 170 AC, Baelor began a forty-day fast (even though another lengthy fast several years before had nearly killed him). Baelor was found collapsed on the forty-first day, and died soon after, in 171 AC.[58]

As the next male in line, Prince Viserys, who had served as Hand of the King for Aegon III, Daeron I, and Baelor I, ascended the throne after Baelor's sisters were passed over.[59] Though he ruled for only a year, Viserys II Targaryen made several reforms in the royal household, established a new royal mint, attempted to increase trade across the narrow sea, and revised the code of laws established by Jaehaerys I years before.[59]

The Blackfyre Pretenders

Daemon I Blackfyre fighting in the Battle of the Redgrass Field, by Jose Daniel Cabrera Pena ©

Viserys II was succeeded by his eldest son, Aegon IV, who was rumored to have had a hand in his father's death.[60] Aegon's reign was filled with corruption, and he gave and took from noble houses as he wished, whenever he wanted to.[60] He had been married to his sister Naerys in 153 AC.[59] They differed greatly in personalities,[59] and childbirth was hard on her. When their son Daeron was born in 153 AC, the Grand Maester warned that another childbirth could kill Naerys. However, Aegon took no heed, and impregnated Naerys three more times. Only one child, however, survived: Princess Daenerys, born in 172 AC. Naerys died in childbirth several years later.[60]

Aegon was very promiscuous, both before and during his reign. He had bastard children by several women, though he only acknowledged those fathered upon his nine official mistresses, with one exception: his cousin Daena's son, Daemon Waters. In 182 AC, Aegon openly recognized the boy as his own son[61] and gifted him the Valyrian steel sword Blackfyre.[60] There were some who felt that the sword symbolized the monarchy,[62] as the sword had been passed on from king to king since Aegon the Conqueror (with one exception[N 4]). Aegon's public gift of the sword to his bastard son was one of the seeds from which the First Blackfyre Rebellion would eventually grow. Following the acquisition of the sword, Daemon took the surname "Blackfyre" for himself.[60]

Aegon IV's relationship with his trueborn heir was more troublesome. Once he was old enough to voice his own opinions, Prince Daeron and Aegon IV quarreled more often, and towards the end of Aegon's reign, Daeron became his chief obstacle. When Aegon attempted to invade Dorne with wooden dragons and a fleet in 174 AC, the homeland of Daeron's wife, Myriah Martell, rumors were heard for the first time that Daeron had been fathered by Aegon's brother Aemon instead of Aegon. Though Aemon defeated Ser Morgil Hastwyck in a trial by combat when he accused Naerys of adultery, the rumors remained, and it was believed that they had originated with King Aegon himself, though he denied it. Following the death of both Aemon and Naerys, Aegon began more openly to refer to Daeron's illegitimacy, though he never disowned him. Finally, on his death bed in 184 AC, Aegon IV legitimized all of his bastards.[60] Though his successor, his son Daeron II Targaryen, could not undo this, he made attempts to keep his half-siblings close.[23]

Daeron II Targaryen and his family, by Riotarttherite ©

Daeron II began his reign by negotiating with his brother-in-law, Maron Martell, who had inherited the rule of Dorne. He arranged a marriage between Maron and his sister, Daenerys, which occurred in 187 AC. Following the wedding, Dorne officially joined the realm, and did fealty to the Iron Throne. However, while the Seven Kingdoms were now finally united, dissatisfaction grew with the concessions that Dorne had won, as well as the growing Dornish influence at Daeron's court. Daeron II's heir, Prince Baelor, favored his Dornish mother in his physical appearance, and more and more lords began to wish for "the old days", when the Dornish had been the enemy in battle, and not rivals for power at court.[23]

These lords looked at Daemon Blackfyre, and saw in him a warrior, tall and powerful, with the hallmarks of Old Valyria (deep purple eyes, silver-gold hair down to his shoulders), who was described as having had an "almost inhumane beauty", being "half a god among mortal men".[23][61] Though it took many years, talk eventually turned into treason when Daemon planned to make his claim for the Iron Throne. The First Blackfyre Rebellion began in early 196 AC and lasted nigh on a year, ending late in the year with the Battle of the Redgrass Field.[23] Daemon and his two eldest sons, Aegon and Aemon Blackfyre, were killed,[23][15] whereas Aegor Rivers, another one of Daeron II's half-brothers, fled into exile with Daemon's remaining children and the sword Blackfyre. For a while, Aegor resided in Tyrosh with Daemon's family,[16] until he formed the Golden Company in 212 AC.[63]

The Great Spring Sickness

The remainder of Daeron II's reign was peaceful. However, in its final year, 209 AC, problems began when Daeron's heir and Hand of the King, Prince Baelor, died when defending a hedge knight, Ser Duncan the Tall, in a trial of seven at the tourney at Ashford Meadow.[23][4] It is believed that Baelor's youngest brother Maekar, who had fought on the side of the two accusers, his own eldest two sons Daeron and Aerion, had been the one to fatally his Baelor's head.[23][4] Following Baelor's cremation, Maekar sent Aerion into exile, while he allowed his youngest son, nicknamed "Egg", to squire for Duncan, so he could be taught humility and honor.[4]

Not long after the death of Baelor, the Great Spring Sickness began. Thousands died as a result, and among the victims were Daeron II and his two most immediate heirs, Baelor's two sons Valarr and Matarys.[23][15] As such, Daeron II was succeeded by his second son, Aerys I Targaryen, in 209 AC, whose reign began with a two-year drought.[15] The Spring Sickness had hit the cities of the Seven Kingdoms most, especially King's Landing, and most of the hostages King Daeron II had once taken after the First Blackfyre Rebellion had died, leaving their relatives feeling secure enough about attempting a new rebellion.[16] Lord Gormon Peake convinced Daemon II Blackfyre to cross the narrow sea to claim the throne.[63] However, the Second Blackfyre Rebellion was far less successful than the first, as Daemon II was arrested at Whitewalls before he could even gather an army.[16] He was kept alive as a hostage at King's Landing, but died within years, allowing Aegor Rivers to crown Haegon I Blackfyre the new Blackfyre pretender. Haegon attempted his invasion in 219 AC, when he crossed the narrow sea with the Golden Company, led by Aegor Rivers. Haegon was slain after he had surrendered his sword, while Aegor was arrested, and sentenced to join the Night's Watch. He managed to escape, and returned to Tyrosh, where he crowned Haegon's son, Daemon III Blackfyre.[63]

Succession problems

In addition to the two Blackfyre Rebellions, Aerys's reign knew multiple other troubles, including the plague and drought, dwindling trade, rising banditry, and the reaving of Dagon Greyjoy.[15][16][63] Additionally, Aerys had difficulties with his heirs. Though he had been married to Lady Aelinor Penrose before his reign began, his marriage remained unconsummated. He additionally refused to take another to wife. As he had no issue of his own, he firstly acknowledged his younger brother Rhaegel as his heir. Following Rhaegel's death in 215 AC, Rhaegel's son Aelor was named Prince of Dragonstone. Aelor died in 217 AC, after which Aerys I's youngest brother, Maekar was named heir.[63]

Maekar succeeded Aerys I in 221 AC, and reigned for twelve years.[64] However, when Maekar himself died while leading an attack on Starpike in the Peake Uprising[65] in 233 AC, the succession once more became a problem. Maekar I's eldest son, Prince Daeron, had predeceased his father, and left behind only one child: a simple-minded daughter, Vaella. Maekar's second son, Aerion, had died in 232 AC when drinking a cup of wildfire. Aerion's only issue was an infant son named Maegor, born the same year Aerion had died. Maekar's third son, Aemon, had been sent to the Citadel at Oldtown by King Daeron II at a young age,[66] where he had completed his maester's chain at the age of nineteen,[67] and his youngest son, Aegon (also known as "Egg"), was disliked by several lords, as he had often meddled in their affairs.[24][66]

A Great Council was called by Brynden Rivers, who had served as Maekar's Hand of the King. The council passed over Daeron's daughter and Aerion's infant son, and because of the dislike some had for Maekar's youngest son, the crown was quietly offered to Aemon first. Following Aemon's refusal, they crowned Maekar I's youngest son as Aegon V. Aegon V became known as "The Unlikely", as he had been the fourth son of a fourth son.[24][66]

The Unlikely Reign

Betha Blackwood and Aegon V Targaryen, by Rae Lavergne ©

The reign of Aegon V Targaryen began troubled. He felt forced to arrest Brynden Rivers, who had served both Maekar I and Aerys I as Hand, after Brynden, who had offered safe passage to Aenys Blackfyre, the fifth son of the late Daemon I Blackfyre, from Tyrosh to King's Landing, so Aenys could present his own claim during the Great Council, betrayed Aenys by arresting and executing him upon arrival. Rivers was sent to the Wall and joined the Night's Watch. Aegon V's brother Aemon accompanied Rivers, intent on joining the Night's Watch as well so his claim to the throne could not be used against the king.[68]

Aegon spend much of his reign in battle. When winter ended in 236 AC, Daemon III Blackfyre and Aegor Rivers crossed the narrow sea to begin the Fourth Blackfyre Rebellion. They were supported by few, however, and Daemon III was eventually slain by a knight of Aegon V's Kingsguard, Ser Duncan the Tall.[38]

Further opposition came from the lords of Aegon V's realm, as many disagreed with his policies, or distrusted and hated him, as they felt that his wanderings with the hedge knight Duncan had left him "half a peasant".[24] Aegon's reign had begun in the middle of a cruel six-year long winter, which had led to starvation and suffering in the north. Concerned for the welfare of the poor and weak, Aegon V made attempts to increase the flow of food to the north. However, some disagreed, as they felt Aegon did too much in this regard.[38] Aegon further wanted to diminish the powers of the lords, and enacted numerous reforms while giving new rights and protections to the smallfolk. For this, he faced fierce opposition and at times even open defiance. One lord even went as far as to denounce Aegon V as a "bloody-handed tyrant intent on depriving us of our gods-given rights and liberties."[38]

A major rebellion in 239 AC was caused by Aegon's eldest son. Aegon V had five children, Duncan, Jaehaerys, Shaera, Daeron, and Rhaelle, and for the eldest four betrothals had been arranged to several great Houses (House Baratheon, Tully, Tyrell and Redwyne respectively). When Duncan, in 239 AC, broke his betrothal to a daughter of Lord Lyonel Baratheon to marry Jenny of Oldstones, going as far as to renounce his rights to the throne for her, Lord Lyonel declared the independence of the Stormlands in response. Only after his defeat in a trial by combat against the Lord Commander of Aegon's Kingsguard, Ser Duncan the Tall, and the promise of the hand of Aegon V's daughter Rhaelle in marriage to Lyonel's heir, Ormund Baratheon, did Lyonel join the King's peace again.[38] Aegon's other children (except Rhaelle) all broke their own betrothals as well. While Jaehaerys and Shaera secretly married each other in 240 AC, Daeron chose to remain unwed.[38]

Towards the end of his reign, Aegon V began to dream of dragons with whom he could bend the lords of Westeros to his will. As several Targaryen kings had tried before him, seems to have attempted to hatch dragon eggs at Summerhall, where he had gathered those closest to him to celebrate the upcoming birth of his first great-grandchild in 259 AC. However, in a great tragedy occurred, causing the death of Aegon V, Prince Duncan, and many more. Though the survivors would not speak of what had happened, the histories of Archmaester Gyldayn, note that the last maester to serve at the castle, spoke of seven eggs and pyromancers.[38] As Summerhall was burning down, Princess Rhaella Targaryen, the only daughter of Prince Jaehaerys and Princess Shaera, gave birth to a healthy son named Rhaegar.[27]

War of the Ninepenny Kings

Aegon V's second son Jaehaerys II Targaryen ascended the throne in 259 AC following the Tragedy of Summerhall, and was immediately faced with a threat from the east when the Band of Nine conquered first Tyrosh and then the Stepstones.[69] The Band of Nine had formed in the Disputed Lands in 258 AC from nine outlaws, exiles, pirates, and sellsword captains. They swore to aid one another in conquering a kingdom for each member. One of these members was Maelys I Blackfyre, known as "the Monstrous", who held command over the Golden Company.[38]

To face the "Ninepenny Kings", as Prince Duncan Targaryen had named them before his death,[38] King Jaehaerys II sent an army, including his own heir Prince Aerys and his Hand, Lord Ormund Baratheon, which landed on the shores of the Stepstones in 260 AC. For most of the year, the war continued, but ended when a young knight called Barristan Selmy killed Maelys, thereby ending the male line of the Blackfyres after five generations.[70][71][72][69] As the remainders of the Band of Nine had little interest in Westeros, this victory ended the war.[69]

In total, Jaehaerys II only reigned for three years, and died after a short sickbed in 262 AC. He was succeeded by his only son, Aerys II Targaryen.[69]

Mad King Aerys

Aerys II Targaryen by Arthur Bozonnet ©

While the reign of King Aerys II Targaryen began with much promise, his would become the reign which ended the Targaryen dynasty. Upon ascending the throne, he replaced all of his father's elderly councilors with younger men, and appointed a friend from his youth, the twenty-year old Tywin Lannister, as his Hand of the King. While Aerys had great plans for his realm, his attention span was short and most plans were quickly forgotten. While Tywin would be Aerys II's Hand for nineteen years, tensions between the two friends began early in Aerys's reign. Aerys grew increasingly jealous of Tywin and over time began to insult him, while the deaths of several of his children contributed further to his madness. When in 276 AC, after three miscarriages, two stillbirths, and three deaths in the cradle, Prince Viserys was born, Tywin hosted a tournament in honor of Viserys's birth at Lannisport, which Aerys II and Rhaegar attended.[35] There, Tywin suggested his ten-year-old daughter Cersei as a bride for Rhaegar, and her twin Jaime as Rhaegar's squire.[35][73] Aerys refused him, stating he would not wed his son to the daughter of his servant.[73]

Aerys's jealousy for Tywin increased further when he learned of the saying that Tywin was the true ruler of the kingdom, making his suspicious of his subjects at court. His jealousy and desire to show himself as a leader led to his rash action of accepting the invitation of Lord Darklyn to travel to Duskendale, as to discuss Darklyn's petition. Aerys went to Duskendale with only a small escort, and was captured upon arrival. This revolt, known as the Defiance of Duskendale, lasted for half a year, during which time Aerys II was kept in the dungeons, while Lord Tywin besieged the city. Though he was eventually freed, the last of Aerys's sanity had died during his captivity. He became increasingly suspicious everyone, including his own heir, Rhaegar, and refused to leave the Red Keep for four years. Tensions between Aerys and Rhaegar grew, more so after Rhaegar and his new bride Elia Martell moved to his seat of Dragonstone in 280 AC.[74]

In 281 AC, Aerys appointed Tywin's heir, Ser Jaime, to his Kingsguard, leaving Tywin with a dwarf for an heir. Tywin resigned as Hand and left King's Landing. Convinced that his son Rhaegar planned to gather as much lords as possible to depose him at the tourney at Harrenhal held later that same year, Aerys personally attended the tourney. When the victorious Prince Rhaegar passed by his own wife, Elia, and named Lyanna Stark, the betrothed of his cousin Robert Baratheon, as his queen of love and beauty, it caused fury and tensions among those present, and inflamed Aerys's council against Rhaegar further.[74]

The next year, Prince Rhaegar left his wife and newborn son Aegon at Dragonstone and went on a journey. Ultimately, he ended up in the riverlands where he disappeared with Lyanna Stark. Lyanna's brother Brandon went to King's Landing, threatening Rhaegar's life. Though the prince was not present, King Aerys had Brandon arrested and summoned his father, Lord Rickard, to court. Aerys had both Rickard and Brandon killed at their "trial", after which he demanded the heads of Lord Robert Baratheon, Lyanna's betrothed, and Eddard Stark, Lyanna's younger brother, from the Eyrie. Their foster father, Lord Jon Arryn, refused Aerys's commands and raised his banners, thereby starting a civil war.[75]

War of the Usurper

Lord Robert Baratheon and Prince Rhaegar Targaryen clash on the Trident, by Smirtouille © Fantasy Flight Games

Aerys's acts triggered a chain of events that would become known as the War of the Usurper to Targaryen loyalists and Robert's Rebellion to those who fought on the rebel side. Houses Arryn,[76] Stark,[77] and Baratheon,[77] and later on in the war also Houses Tully[78] and Greyjoy,[79] united in rebellion against the Iron Throne.[74] Houses Tyrell[80] and Martell remained loyal to Aerys,[81] however, and House Lannister stayed neutral for most of the conflict.[77] In the riverlands, Houses Darry, Goodbrook, Mooton, and Ryger defied the Tullys and remained loyal to the Targaryens.[82][83]

Towards the end of the war, Lord Robert Baratheon proclaimed his intent to claim the Iron Throne.[84] Robert had the better claim than Eddard Stark and Jon Arryn,[85] as his grandmother had been Princess Rhaelle Targaryen, the youngest daughter of King Aegon V Targaryen.[27] Prince Rhaegar Targaryen eventually returned from the south and took command of the royal troops, leading them during the Battle of the Trident, where he was killed by Robert.[81]

Aerys sent his new heir, Prince Viserys, and the pregnant Queen Rhaella to Dragonstone, while keeping Rhaegar's wife and two children as hostages at King's Landing.[81][86] Though he had ignored calls to arms from both the loyalists and the rebels, Lord Tywin Lannister appeared with an army at the gates of King's Landing hours before the arrival of a rebel army. Feigning loyalty to House Targaryen, the Lannister forces began the Sack of King's Landing once allowed into the city,[77][81] slaying Princess Elia Martell, Princess Rhaenys, and the infant Prince Aegon.[87][88] Aerys's only Kingsguard knight in the city, Ser Jaime Lannister, killed the king in the throne room.[86][81]

The war was at an end, and on the mainland the final opposition to the reign of Robert I Baratheon was resolved. On Dragonstone, however, the last Targaryens held their last stronghold, and Dowager Queen Rhaella crowned her son Viserys.[89] Nine months after her flight from King's Landing, howeer, Rhaella died giving birth to Princess Daenerys in 284 AC during a great storm which destroyed the Targaryen fleet protecting the island. With Stannis Baratheon approaching the island and the garrison willing to surrender, Ser Willem Darry spirited young Viserys and Daenerys to the Free City of Braavos, where they remained until Willem's death near 289 AC.[6] Afterwards, Viserys and Daenerys traveled from city to city for years,[6][90] forced to sell the last of their belongings, until they were taken in by Magister Illyrio Mopatis in 297 AC.[6]

And so, following two hundred and eighty-three years of rule, the Targaryen dynasty ended in 283 AC with the death of Aerys II and the exile of his young son Viserys.

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

The exiled Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen, by John Matson © Fantasy Flight Games

Across the narrow sea, the Aerys II Targaryen's surviving son is claiming legitimacy as "Viserys III". He and his sister, Daenerys Targaryen, having wandered the Free Cities for years seeking aid from various merchant princes to restore House Targaryen to the throne, have been taken in by Illyrio Mopatis, a magister of Pentos.[6] With Illyrio's help, Viserys betroths his thirteen-year-old sister Daenerys to Drogo,a khal of the Dothraki, in exchange for the promise of warriors to reclaim his throne.[91] Daenerys marries Drogo,[91] and the two accompany the khalasar in the journey to Vaes Dothrak.[92] During this time, Daenerys begins to learn to stand up to her brother, while Viserys's behavior leads to him being mocked by the other Dothraki.[93] Viserys is killed by Drogo after threatening the lives of Daenerys and her unborn child with a sword, despite weapons being forbidden in the sacred city.[94]

King Robert I Baratheon promises a lordship to whoever manages to kill Daenerys, her unborn child, or Viserys.[95] After Daenerys escapes an assassination attempt by poison, Drogo vows to invade the Seven Kingdoms.[96] When Drogo is injured in battle against another khalasar, Daenerys has one of her newly acquired slaves, Mirri Maz Duur, see to his wounds,[97] but Drogo's wound infects nonetheless.[98] Daenerys attempts to save his life by having Mirri perform blood magic, but this causes disagreement among the warriors in Drogo's khalasar, and ensues in fighting. Daenerys goes into labor[98] and eventually wakes to find her child was stillborn and deformed, Drogo's khalasar broken up, and Drogo himself an empty shell of the man he once was.[98] Daenerys has Mirri arrested and smothers Drogo with a pillow to end his suffering.[98] She places her three dragon eggs on Drogo's funeral pyre, as well as Mirri. When the fire is burning, Daenerys enters the pyre herself, and when the flames have died out the next morning is found unharmed, with three newly-hatched dragons in her arms. They are the first dragons in the known world in a century and a half.[99]

At the Wall in Westeros, the hundred-year-old Maester Aemon, brother to the late King Aegon V, still resides at Castle Black. Aemon intervenes when a new recruit, Jon Snow, asks for his help with a fellow recruit, Samwell Tarly, naming Sam his personal servant to prevent him from remaining in training, which would have meant his death.[100][101] Aemon later advises Jon regarding the conflict of loyalty between family and duty to the Night's Watch, revealing he had felt such conflicting feelings himself trice, most recently when he was informed of the deaths of the last of his house.[102]

A Clash of Kings

Daenerys Targaryen and her three fledgling dragons, by John Picacio ©

Daenerys has named her three dragons Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion, after her late husband and brothers.[103] She leads the few remaining people of her khalasar through the red waste,[103] and is given entrance to Qarth.[104] There, she resides with merchant prince Xaro Xhoan Daxos.[104] Once in Qarth, Daenerys learns of the death of King Robert I Baratheon in Westeros and the war that erupted as a result.[104]

After having been denied help by the Pureborn of Qarth, Daenerys decides to request aid from the warlocks.[105] She drinks shade-of-the-evening and enters the House of the Undying, where she meets the Undying Ones after seeing many visions. The Undying Ones give her cryptic information before attempting to consume her. Drogon rescues her, setting the House of the Undying on fire.[106] Unwelcome in Qarth following the destruction of the home of the warlocks, Daenerys begins to seek passage on a ship. She is rescued from an assassination attempt by a Sorrowful Man by Arstan Whitebeard and Belwas, who inform her that they have been sent by Magister Illyrio with three ships to escort Daenerys and her people to Pentos.[3]

A Storm of Swords

On route to Pentos, Daenerys is convinced by Jorah Mormont to change course towards Astapor, one of the three Slaver Cities in Slaver's Bay.[90] There, she acquires eight thousand six hundred Unsullied and five thousand boys in training.[104] She uses her new army to conquer and sack Astapor,[107] beginning her campaign to abolish slavery in Slaver's Bay, after which she frees the slaves, inviting them to join her.[108]

Daenerys marches on Yunkai, where she faces the slave soldiers of Yunkai, and two sellsword companies, the Second Sons and the Stormcrows. Daenerys defeats the Yunkish soldiers, while the Stormcrows join her cause.[108] With their leader gone, the Second Sons also join Daenerys and elect a new commander.[109] Daenerys frees the slaves of Yunkai and marches on Meereen, the last of the slaver cities.

Daenerys conquers Meereen with the help of the city's slaves, whom she frees. After she learns how the council she had created to rule Astapor had been replaced by the butcher Cleon, who now rules Astapor as its king and has enslaved all the nobility in the city, Daenerys decides to prevent Meereen from the same fate. Believing she needs to learn how to rule before conquering Westeros, Daenerys decides to remain in Meereen and rule as its queen.[17] Having discovered that Jorah Mormont had been spying on her for months for the Iron Throne and that his information had led to the poisoning attempt, and that Arstan is actually Ser Barristan Selmy, a former Kingsguard knight who had accepted pardons from Robert Baratheon, Daenerys furiously gives them one chance to redeem themselves.[109] While she is later able to forgive Barristan, and takes him into her service, she finds herself unable to forgive Jorah, and sends him into exile.[17]

Ben Plumm, who is chosen as the leader of the Second Sons following the disappearance of Mero at the battle near Yunkai, claims to have Targaryen ancestry, as his ancestor Ossifer Plumm was married to Elaena Targaryen.[109]

At Castle Black, Maester Aemon believes Jon Snow when he claims he was ordered to join the wildlings by Qhorin Halfhand.[110] Following the death of Donal Noye, Aemon tells Jon to take command of Castle Black during the attack by wildlings.[111] When Jon is arrested on suspicious of treason, only Aemon's intervention prevents Jon from being executed.[112] When ordered before King Stannis Baratheon, Aemon requests to see Stannis's sword Lightbringer, and orders Samwell Tarly to describe the sword to him, as he cannot see for himself.[113] Aemon is in charge of the choosing of a new Lord Commander, but as a maester is not allowed to influence the choosing. Instead, he subtly suggests that Samwell could,[113] leading to the election of Jon Snow as Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.[114]

A Feast for Crows

Lord Commander Jon Snow, fearing that the priestess Melisandre will wish to sacrifice Aemon to R'hllor for his king's blood, orders Aemon to travel to Oldtown, accompanied by Samwell Tarly, singer Dareon, wildling Gilly, and Mance Rayder's son.[37] Aemon's health deteriorates during the first part of the journey,[68] and becomes worse once they are in Braavos.[115] After Dareon abandons them, Samwell manages to arrange passage to Oldtown on the Cinnamon Wind.[115] Though talk of dragons and Daenerys Targaryen temporarily increases Aemon's health, it worsens again during the journey, and he eventually dies at the age of a hundred and two off the coast of Dorne.[27] His body is preserved in a cask of rum, so he can be cremated once the ship makes port.[27] Upon arrival in Oldtown, Samwell informs Archmaester Marwyn of Aemon's passing, and his desire to join Daenerys, causing Marwyn to travel to Slaver's Bay in Aemon's stead.[116]

A Dance with Dragons

Aegon Targaryen and the Golden Company, by Diego Gisbert Llorens © Fantasy Flight Games

Daenerys rules Meereen, but meets with resistance from several parties. A resistance group of Ghiscari noblemen, the Sons of the Harpy, engage in a shadow war against her,[117] while Yunkai resumes its slavery and starts to make alliances against her. Daenerys forms a city watch,[118] the Brazen Beasts,[119] to combat the Harpy's Sons, killings continue. Daenerys promises to web Hizdahr zo Loraq if he can stop the murders for ninety days.[120] Meanwhile, the Yunkai'i defeat the Astapori in battle[119] and besiege and later sack the city,[120][121] leaving them free to march against Daenerys. The Yunkai'i besiege Meereen,[122] and the Second Sons desert Daenerys[122] after she is unwilling to use her dragons in battle following the death of the young girl Hazzea,[123] who was killed by Drogon.[117] Daenerys had Viserion and Rhaegal locked up after learning about Hazzea, though Drogon escaped capture and left Meereen.[118]

Hizdahr aids Daenerys by negotiating a peace with Yunkai, in which their marriage plays a large role.[124] Seven leaders of Yunkai come to Meereen to sign the peace and celebrate the opening of Daznak's Pit, the largest of the fighting pits in Meereen.[125] Daenerys is sickened by the battles, and after a female warrior is slain by a boar decides to leave. At the same time, Belwas falls ill due to eating poisoned locusts which had been meant for Daenerys. Just as Belwas falls to his feat, Drogon returns to the city and lands in the Pit. While the public panics and attempts to flee, Daenerys rushes to Drogon's side and flies away from Meereen on his back.[126] Drogon flies her to the Dothraki sea, where the dragon makes a lair at "Dragonstone". Daenerys eventually encounters the khalasar of Khal Jhaqo.[127]

Meanwhile, Doran Martell, Prince of Dorne, has sent his son Quentyn to Essos to find Daenerys.[128] Having secretly made a wedding pact years before, promising the hand of his daughter Arianne in marriage to Viserys Targaryen in exchange for supporting Viserys's claim, Doran now wishes for Daenerys to fulfill the pact by marrying Quentyn.[122] Quentyn eventually reaches Meereen, but is introduced to Daenerys only a day before her wedding to Hizdahr.[122] After Daenerys has left Meereen on Drogon's back, Quentyn plans to steal one or two of Daenerys's dragons to proof himself and enlists the help of the Tattered Prince and his Windblown to accomplish his goal.[129] Though her dragons are freed,[72][130] Quentyn dies from his attempt.[131]

On the Rhoyne, Jon Connington, a friend of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen who had faked his death in exile, has secretly been raising Rhaegar's son Aegon, who is believed to have died during the Sack of King's Landing. Instead, it is revealed that Varys had switched Aegon with another child, who had died in his place.[132] Connington and Aegon plan to meet Daenerys in Volantis,[71] but in Selhorys learn that Daenerys has remained in Meereen, and that several cities, including Volantis, are either already at war against her, or are about to join the war on the side of Yunkai.[132] Connington presents Aegon to the Golden Company, who had been enlisted by Magister Illyrio to aid them in conquering Westeros. As Daenerys is still in the east, Prince Aegon proposes traveling west to start conquering Westeros without her,[133] a plan previously suggested to him by the exiled Tyrion Lannister.[132] reasoning that Daenerys will come west once she learns about his purpose.[133] The Golden Company agrees, and they travel to Westeros, where Aegon, after the first few victories in the stormlands, decides to personally lead an attack on Storm's End.[134]

Beyond the Wall, the three-eyed crow who has been appearing to Bran Stark in his dreams is revealed to be none other than Bloodraven, Brynden Rivers, kept alive by sorcery and living in a cave.[135][136]

House Targaryen at the end of the third century

The known Targaryens during the timespan of the events described in A Song of Ice and Fire are:

  • King {Viserys III}, called "the Beggar King", Khal Rhae Mhar (Sorefoot King), and Khal Rhaggat (Cart King). Self-proclaimed King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men, and Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, in exile. Fatally "crowned" in Vaes Dothrak.
  • Queen Daenerys I, called Daenerys Stormborn, Mother of Dragons, sister of Viserys and last known Targaryen heir. Self-proclaimed Queen of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Shackles/Chains, Queen of Meereen.
    • her dragons, Drogon, Viserion, Rhaegal,
    • Khal {Drogo}, her first husband. Euthanized after disabling wounds.
      • {Rhaego}, her son by Drogo. Died at birth.
    • King Hizdahr zo Loraq XIV, her second husband, King of Meereen, Scion of Ghis, Octarch of the Old Empire, Master of the Skahazadhan, Consort to Dragons, Blood of the Harpy. A Ghiscari noble of Meereen.
  • Maester {Aemon}, sworn to the Night's Watch. Great-granduncle to the Mad King. Died of a chill at sea, at the age of one hundred and two.
  • Prince Aegon, Rhaegar's son. Believed to have died at Gregor Clegane's hand in the Sack of King's Landing, but is purported by some to be alive under the identity of Young Griff and with the Golden Company.

Daenerys's Household

The Queen's protectors

  • Ser Barristan Selmy, called Barristan the Bold. Lord Commander of the Queensguard and Hand of the Queen.
    • his two known knights:
    • his lads, squires training for knighthood:
      • Larraq, called 'The Lash', of Meereen.
      • the Boys, three Ghiscari brothers and freedmen.
  • Belwas, called Strong Belwas, eunuch and former pit fighter.
  • her Dothraki bloodriders:
    • Jhogo, the whip, blood of her blood and ko. Currently a hostage of the Yunkish
    • Aggo, the bow, blood of her blood and ko. Away from Meereen seeking Daenerys.
    • Rakharo, the arakh, blood of her blood and ko. Away from Meereen seeking Daenerys.
  • Ser Jorah Mormont, called 'Jorah the Andal', former Lord Commander. Banished. Currently with the Second Sons.

The Queen's captains and commanders

The Queen's Meereenese court

The Queen's handmaids and servants

Young Griff's/Aegon's supporters

Historical Members

On Dragonstone

Targaryen Dynasty

The Sons of the Dragon

Era of the Old King

Descendants of King Viserys I Targaryen

After the Dragons Danced

The Good

Descendants of King Aegon V Targaryen

The Last Dragons

Targaryen Family Tree

Valaena Velaryon
Aegon I
1–37 AC
Orys Baratheon
Argella Durrandon
Aenys I
37–42 AC
Alyssa Velaryon
House Baratheon.svg
Alys Harroway
Maegor I
42–48 AC
Rhaena[N 5]
Jaehaerys I
48–103 AC
Viserys I
103–129 AC
Alicent Hightower
Daemon[N 6]
Daemon[N 6]
Laena Velaryon
Laenor Velaryon
Rhaenyra[N 7]
Daemon[N 6]
Aegon II
129–131 AC
Alyn Velaryon[N 8]
Corwyn Corbray
Garmund Hightower
Jacaerys Velaryon
Lucerys Velaryon
Joffrey Velaryon
Viserys II
171–172 AC
Daenaera Velaryon
Aegon III
131–157 AC
House Velaryon.svg
Six daughters
Aegon IV
172–184 AC
Baelor I
161–171 AC
Daeron I
157–161 AC
Alyn Velaryon[N 8]
Elaena[N 9]
Michael Manwoody
Rohanne of Tyrosh
Ossifer Plumm
Maron Martell
Myriah Martell
Daeron II
184–209 AC
House Blackfyre 2.svg
Ronnel Penrose
Viserys Plumm
Aerys I
209–221 AC
[N 10]
Maekar I
221–233 AC
House Plumm.svg
House Martell.svg
Aegon V
233–259 AC
of Tyrosh
Jenny of
Jaehaerys II
259–262 AC
Aerys II
262–283 AC
House Baratheon.svg
Viserys[N 11]
Daenerys[N 12]
Hizdahr zo Loraq


A man had only to look at them to know that they were not like other men; their eyes, their hair, their very bearing, all proclaimed their differences. And they flew dragons.[138]

Gyldayn writing about the Doctrine of Exceptionalism

Other great houses might choose to bury their dead in the dark earth or sink them in the cold green sea, but the Targaryens were the blood of the dragon, and their ends were writ in flame.[4]

—thoughts of Duncan the Tall

Ours is the house of the dragon. The fire is in our blood.[6]

I will kill every Targaryen I can get my hands on, until they are as dead as their dragons, and then I will piss on their graves.[77]

What did any Targaryen ever know of honor? Go down into your crypt and ask Lyanna about the dragon's honor![77]

The dragon kings had wed brother to sister, but they were the blood of old Valyria where such practices had been common, and like their dragons the Targaryens answered to neither gods nor men.[139]

—thoughts of Catelyn Stark

I am no maester to quote history at you, Your Grace. Swords have been my life, not books. But every child knows that the Targaryens have always danced too close to madness. Your father was not the first. King Jaehaerys once told me that madness and greatness are two sides of the same coin. Every time a new Targaryen is born, he said, the gods toss the coin in the air and the world holds its breath to see how it will land.".[17]


  1. Aegon I, Aenys I, Maegor I, Jaehaerys I, Viserys I, Aegon II, Aegon III, Daeron I, Baelor I, Viserys II, Aegon IV, Daeron II, Aerys I, Maekar I, Aegon V, Jaehaerys II, Aerys II
  2. 2.0 2.1 The World of Ice & Fire and The Rogue Prince stated that King Jaehaerys and Queen Alysanne's ashes were interred beneath the Red Keep, but this was corrected to Dragonstone in Fire & Blood.
  3. Though Martin has stated in 2008 that Daeron I had been married at the time of his death (So Spake Martin: Targaryen History, April 20, 2008, The World of Ice & Fire states that Daeron had never been married during his lifetime (The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Baelor I).
  4. Aenys I Targaryen gifted the sword to his brother, Prince Maegor, after their father's cremation
  5. Rhaena also married a third time — without issue — to Androw Farman.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Daemon was married thrice. From 96 AC until 115 AC to Rhea Royce, from 115 AC to 120 AC to Laena Velaryon, and from 122 AC to 130 AC to his niece, Rhaenyra Targaryen
  7. Styles herself as "Rhaenyra of the House Targaryen, the first of her Name, queen of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lady of the Seven Kingdoms."
  8. 8.0 8.1 Alyn Velaryon was married to Baela Targaryen, but fathered twins on Princess Elaena Targaryen out of wedlock
  9. Elaena Targaryen gave birth to Alyn Velaryon's bastards, after which she was married thrice. First to Ossifer Plumm, then to Ronnel Penrose, and last to Michael Manwoody
  10. A cousin of her husband, Aerys I, through unknown descent. Aelinor does not descent from Elaena Targaryen and Ronnel Penrose.
  11. Styles himself as "Viserys of the House Targaryen, the Third of his Name, King of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm."
  12. Reigns as the Queen of Meereen, styles herself as "Queen of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men".


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
  2. 2.0 2.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 18, Catelyn IV.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 63, Daenerys V.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 The Hedge Knight.
  5. 5.0 5.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 23, Daenerys II.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 3, Daenerys I.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Fire & Blood, The Sons of the Dragon.
  9. Fire & Blood, The Year of the Three Brides - 49 AC.
  10. The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Rise of Valyria.
  11. The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: The Quarrelsome Daughters: Myr, Lys, and Tyrosh.
  12. "Interview with the Dragon" Copyright © 2003 Robert Shaw.
  13. 13.0 13.1 So Spake Martin: Egg and the Targaryens, November 05, 1998
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Fire & Blood, The Long Reign - Jaehaerys and Alysanne: Policy, Progeny, and Pain.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 The Sworn Sword.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 16.6 The Mystery Knight.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 71, Daenerys VI.
  18. Fire & Blood, The Red Dragon and the Gold.
  19. Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Triumphant.
  20. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 39, Eddard X.
  21. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 58, Eddard XV.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 22.5 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon I.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 23.5 23.6 23.7 23.8 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Daeron II.
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Maekar I.
  25. Clarification of So Spake Martin: Forum Chat, July 27, 2008
  26. So Spake Martin: Forum Chat, July 27, 2008
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 27.4 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 35, Samwell IV.
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 28.4 Fire & Blood, Heirs of the Dragon - A Question of Succession.
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 Fire & Blood, Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Their Triumphs and Tragedies.
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 30.3 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III.
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Maegor I.
  32. Fire & Blood, Birth, Death, and Betrayal Under King Jaehaerys I.
  33. Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Blacks and the Greens.
  34. Fire & Blood, The Lysene Spring and the End of Regency.
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 35.3 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II.
  36. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 54, Davos V.
  37. 37.0 37.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 5, Samwell I.
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 38.3 38.4 38.5 38.6 38.7 38.8 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon V.
  39. Not A Blog: The Rogues Are Coming...
  40. Not A Blog: The Dangerous Women Are Coming
  41. Fire & Blood, Aegon's Conquest.
  42. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 43, Eddard XI.
  43. Fire & Blood, Reign of the Dragon - The Wars of King Aegon I.
  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 44.3 The World of Ice & Fire, Dorne: Dorne Against the Dragons.
  45. 45.0 45.1 45.2 45.3 45.4 45.5 45.6 45.7 45.8 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I.
  46. 46.0 46.1 46.2 46.3 Sons of the Dragon (reading at LonCon 2014)
  47. Fire & Blood, A Time for Testing - The Realm Remade.
  48. Fire & Blood, The Long Reign - Jaeaherys and Alysanne: Policy, Progeny, and Pain.
  49. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys I.
  50. 50.0 50.1 50.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon II.
  51. Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Overthrown.
  52. Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Short, Sad Reign of Aegon II.
  53. Aegon II and Aegon III (April 23) - post 1
  54. Aegon II and Aegon III (April 23) - post 2
  55. 55.0 55.1 55.2 55.3 55.4 55.5 55.6 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Daeron I.
  56. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 66, Tyrion IX.
  57. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 5, Jon I.
  58. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Baelor I.
  59. 59.0 59.1 59.2 59.3 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Viserys II.
  60. 60.0 60.1 60.2 60.3 60.4 60.5 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon IV.
  61. 61.0 61.1 So Spake Martin: The Great Bastards, December 26, 2005
  62. So Spake Martin: SF, Targaryens, Valyria, Sansa, Martells, and More, June 26, 2001
  63. 63.0 63.1 63.2 63.3 63.4 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys I.
  64. A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
  65. The World of Ice and Fire sample
  66. 66.0 66.1 66.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 6, Jon I.
  67. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Aemon.
  68. 68.0 68.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 15, Samwell II.
  69. 69.0 69.1 69.2 69.3 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys II.
  70. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 67, Jaime VIII.
  71. 71.0 71.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 5, Tyrion II.
  72. 72.0 72.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 67, The Kingbreaker.
  73. 73.0 73.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 24, Cersei V.
  74. 74.0 74.1 74.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The Fall of the Dragons: The Year of the False Spring.
  75. The World of Ice & Fire, The Fall of the Dragons: Robert's Rebellion.
  76. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 9, Davos I.
  77. 77.0 77.1 77.2 77.3 77.4 77.5 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 12, Eddard II.
  78. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 29, Arya V.
  79. The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands: The Old Way and the New.
  80. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 27, Eddard VI.
  81. 81.0 81.1 81.2 81.3 81.4 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 37, Jaime V.
  82. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 28, Catelyn V.
  83. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 43, Arya VIII.
  84. So Spake Martin: US Signing Tour (Huntington Beach, CA), November 19, 2005
  85. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 30, Eddard VII.
  86. 86.0 86.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Fall of the Dragons: The End.
  87. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 70, Tyrion X.
  88. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 53, Tyrion VI.
  89. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Rhaella Targaryen.
  90. 90.0 90.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 8, Daenerys I.
  91. 91.0 91.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 11, Daenerys II.
  92. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 36, Daenerys IV.
  93. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 23, Daenerys III.
  94. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 46, Daenerys V.
  95. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 33, Eddard VIII.
  96. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 54, Daenerys VI.
  97. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 61, Daenerys VII.
  98. 98.0 98.1 98.2 98.3 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 64, Daenerys VIII.
  99. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 72, Daenerys X.
  100. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 41, Jon V.
  101. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 48, Jon VI.
  102. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 60, Jon VIII.
  103. 103.0 103.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 12, Daenerys I.
  104. 104.0 104.1 104.2 104.3 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 27, Daenerys II.
  105. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 40, Daenerys III.
  106. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 48, Daenerys IV.
  107. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 27, Daenerys III.
  108. 108.0 108.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 42, Daenerys IV.
  109. 109.0 109.1 109.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 57, Daenerys V.
  110. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 48, Jon VI.
  111. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 64, Jon VIII.
  112. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 73, Jon X.
  113. 113.0 113.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 78, Samwell V.
  114. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 79, Jon XII.
  115. 115.0 115.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 26, Samwell III.
  116. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 45, Samwell V.
  117. 117.0 117.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 2, Daenerys I.
  118. 118.0 118.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 11, Daenerys II.
  119. 119.0 119.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 16, Daenerys III.
  120. 120.0 120.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 23, Daenerys IV.
  121. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 25, The Windblown.
  122. 122.0 122.1 122.2 122.3 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 43, Daenerys VII.
  123. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 30, Daenerys V.
  124. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 36, Daenerys VI.
  125. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 50, Daenerys VIII.
  126. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 52, Daenerys IX.
  127. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 71, Daenerys X.
  128. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 6, The Merchant's Man.
  129. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 60, The Spurned Suitor.
  130. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 68, The Dragontamer.
  131. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 70, The Queen's Hand.
  132. 132.0 132.1 132.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 22, Tyrion VI.
  133. 133.0 133.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 24, The Lost Lord.
  134. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 61, The Griffin Reborn.
  135. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 34, Bran III.
  136. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Brynden Rivers.
  137. Fire & Blood, Heirs of the Dragon—A Question of Succession.
  138. Fire & Blood, A Time of Testing - The Realm Remade.
  139. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 33, Catelyn IV.