Viserys Targaryen

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House Targaryen crest.PNG
Viserys Targaryen
House Targaryen crest.PNG
Sardag Viserys TargaryenIII.jpg
by Sardag©

Alias The Beggar King
Khal Rhae Mhar (The Sorefoot King)
Khal Rhaggat (The Cart King)
Title King of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm
Allegiance House Targaryen
Culture Valyrian
Born In 276 AC[1], at King's Landing[1]
Died In 298 AC, at Vaes Dothrak
Book(s) The World of Ice and Fire (mentioned)
A Game of Thrones (appears)
A Clash of Kings (mentioned)
A Storm of Swords (mentioned)
A Feast for Crows (mentioned)
A Dance with Dragons (mentioned)

Played by Harry Lloyd
TV series Season 1
For other articles sharing the same title, please see this disambiguation page.Disambig.png

King Viserys III Targaryen, called The Beggar King, is the heir of his father Aerys II Targaryen and brother Rhaegar after their deaths during Robert's Rebellion. The war, however, turned him into an exile who plots to regain control of the Iron Throne. He styles himself as Viserys Targaryen, the Third of His Name, King of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm, as he had been crowned by his mother Rhaella Targaryen on Dragonstone, during the first months of his exile.[2]


See also: Images of Viserys Targaryen

Viserys has the silver-blonde hair and purple eyes of House Targaryen, and a hard, gaunt face.[3]


Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen, wandering somewhere in Essos, by Jacqui Davis ©

Viserys was born in King's Landing in 276 AC. Numerous Westerosi lords sent gifts to the newborn, but King Aerys II Targaryen feared for Viserys' life, as his most of his elder siblings had died young, and thus had the gifts destroyed for fear of sorcery. Lord Tywin Lannister hosted a tournament in honor of Viserys's birth in Lannisport, but only Aerys and Prince Rhaegar Targaryen attended from the royal family.[4] When Viserys' elder brother Rhaegar got married in the Great Sept of Baelor in 280 AC, King Aerys refused to allow Viserys to attend.[4]

Viserys was only a young boy at the time of Robert's Rebellion. When his brother Rhaegar was defeated upon the Trident, Viserys, and not Rhaegar's son Aegon, was named his father's heir and sent with his pregnant mother, Rhaella, to Dragonstone.[5] After news of King Aerys' death had reached Dragonstone, Viserys was declared King.[2] Nine months after fleeing King's Landing, however, Viserys' mother died whilst giving birth to his younger sister, Daenerys, during a storm. The storm had destroyed most of the Targaryen fleet, which had been anchored at Dragonstone. With Stannis Baratheon about to set sail with his new fleet for the island, the garrison of Dragonstone was prepared to turn Viserys and his sister over. Ser Willem Darry and four loyal men, however, smuggled Viserys and his sister to Braavos. When Stannis Baratheon began his assault on Dragonstone, the Targaryen children were out of reach. In Braavos, they lived under Willem's protection in a house with a red door. However, Darry fell ill five years after fleeing Dragonstone and died a while after.[3][6]

Ser Willem's death allowed the servants to steal what little money they still had, leaving Viserys and his sister impoverished. Viserys and Daenerys were put out of the house in Braavos soon after.[3] Viserys and Daenerys began to wander the Free Cities as guests of powerful citizens. From Braavos, they went to Myr, next to Tyrosh, on to Qohor, Volantis, and Lys, never staying long at one location. Viserys was convinced they were being followed by the Usurpers hired knives. While originally, they were welcomed into the homes of the powerful citizens of the Free Cities, their welcome eventually faded, and they were forced to sell off their last possessions to survive, including Rhaella's crown. Selling Rhaella's crown took the last joy had from Viserys, leaving only rage. Over time, men started calling him The Beggar King. While his relationship with his sister was initially warm, Viserys grew to resent Daenerys for killing their mother during her birth, and began treating her poorly. He would frequently warn her not to "wake the dragon" and incite his anger.[3]

Unbeknownst to Viserys, Ser Willem Darry had signed a pact with Prince Oberyn Martell from Dorne, with the Sealord of Braavos at the time as a witness, agreeing that Viserys would take Princess Arianne Martell, daughter to Doran Martell, the Prince of Dorne, as his bride in exchange for Dorne supporting his claim for the throne. Viserys was kept in the dark about this pact, however.[7]

Viserys is an ambitious man but also impatient, delusional and blind to reality. He sees himself as a rightful King due instant respect and admiration and takes anything less as an insult. He refuses to accept the reality of House Targaryen's situation when Robert Baratheon took the Iron Throne. Viserys believes that among the houses that would rise for him upon his landing would be the Tyrells, Redwynes, Darrys, Greyjoys, and Martells.

While there is no question that Viserys is blind to the desperate reality of his situation, the Darrys were still displaying Targaryen tapestries fifteen years after Robert's Rebellion,[8] the Martells signed a pact promising to aid Viserys' cause years ago,[7] and even a peasant spoke of better days in the past under King Aerys, during the march of captives to Harrenhal.[9]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

You don’t want to wake the dragon, do you? - by aprilis420 ©

In Pentos, Viserys is guested for half a year by Illyrio Mopatis, who takes an interest in returning Viserys to the Iron Throne in return for rewards upon his ascension. Illyrio and Viserys arrange a marriage between Daenerys and Khal Drogo, a powerful Dothraki horselord who promises Viserys an army which he can use to conquer the Seven Kingdoms. Viserys, while willing to wed Daenerys to Drogo, is also resentful of having to give her up, and the night before the wedding tries to enter her room and at least claim her maidenhead. Illyrio, however, had the foresight to post guards on her room so this would not happen and ensure the impetuous Viserys didn't undo, according to Illyrio, "years of planning."[3][10]

Viserys insists on travelling with Drogo to ensure the Khal honors the agreement. Illyrio tries to stop him by offering Viserys the use of his manse, but Viserys declines. Viserys believes that Drogo is delaying fulfilment of his promise and Viserys grows increasingly insistent on making a start to the invasion. Viserys believes he sold Dany to Drogo and that the Khal has not paid him for her. As Ser Jorah Mormont explains, the Dothraki do not buy or sell, but rather receive gifts and give gifts back eventually in return. He refuses to listen to Illyrio and Ser Jorah, who tell him repeatedly that the Khal sees Daenerys as a gift, and would give Viserys a gift (an army) in return, but only in the Khal's own time. Viserys is too foolish and impatient to listen.[11]

He tries to browbeat Daenerys into persuading Drogo, but with her new position of authority as khaleesi she begins standing up for herself. After he tries to hit Daenerys, she has his horse taken away, forcing Viserys to walk. This is taboo amongst Dothraki as a man who is not on horseback is no man at all, and earns him the mocking nickname Khal Rhae Mhar, "The Sorefoot King". Khal Drogo later offers him a place in a cart and Viserys accepts, in his ignorance believing it the Khal's way of apologizing to him for the wrong Dany did to him; unknown to Viserys, this is a greater insult then walking on foot, as carts are for cripples, eunuchs, the very old or very young, earning Viserys the new nickname Khal Rhaggat, "The Cart King".[11][12]

At Vaes Dothrak, Viserys gets drunk and again insists that Drogo give him his crown. Viserys draws a sword — banned in the sacred city of Vaes Dothrak as it is forbidden to shed a free man's blood there — and threatens Daenerys's unborn child. In response, Drogo announces that he is giving Viserys his crown; he melts down his belt of golden medallions and upends the pot over Viserys's head, fatally "crowning" him, though not one drop of blood is split in doing so.[13]

A Clash of Kings

Viserys Targaryen - by Amok ©

After Viserys's death, Daenerys tries to remember Viserys as her brother and a good person behind all of his cruelty. Dany states that Viserys was cruel and weak and frightened, but he was still her brother. His dragon will do what he could not. She names her white dragon Viserion in his memory.

Although dead, Viserys is still an influence on Dany and her thoughts sometimes turn to the brother who raised her. In Qarth after being refused point blank by the Pureborn she remembers how he was forced to survive in order to take care of them and the negative effect it had on him and that she has now found herself in the same position:

I have become the most splendid beggar in the world, but a beggar all the same. She hated it, as her brother must have. All those years of running from city to city one step ahead of the Usurper’s knives, pleading for help from archons and princes and magisters, buying our food with flattery. He must have known how they mocked him. Small wonder he turned so angry and bitter. In the end it had driven him mad. It will do the same to me if I let it. Part of her would have liked nothing more than to lead her people back to Vaes Tolorro, and make the dead city bloom. No that is defeat. I have something Viserys never had. I have the dragons. The dragons are all the difference.[14]

A Storm of Swords

In Astapor, after the viewing of the Unsullied slaves that Daenerys is considering purchasing, Arstan Whitebeard tries to discourage her from buying slaves, as that is not the Westerosi way. He begs her to hire sellswords, to find her army in Pentos, Myr and Tyrosh instead. Dany remembers the beggary her brother suffered. She knows she must leave Astapor with an army, she replies,

My brother visited Pentos, Myr, Braavos, near all the Free Cities. The magisters and archons fed him wine and promises, but his soul was starved to death. A man cannot sup from the beggar’s bowl all his life and stay a man. I had my taste in Qarth, that was enough. I will not come to Pentos bowl in hand.[15]

When Daenerys goes to make an offer to the Good Masters of Astapor for all eight thousand Unsullied and the boys in training, Kraznys mo Nakloz wants her pretty crown as part of the price, but she tells him her crown is not for sale. She remembers that,

When Viserys sold their mother’s crown, the last joy had gone from him. [16]

In Meereen Ser Barristan Selmy tells Dany that Viserys was his father's son, something Rhaegar never was. [17]

A Feast for Crows

When Arianne, after being brought to see her father, tells him that she wants her rights to Dorne, Prince Doran finally reveals that she will have the kingdom when he passes. Arianne divulges that she knew of his scheme to make Quentyn his heir, but her father tells her that he had other plans for her. He had offered her hand to old men because he knew she would rebuke them, but he had to be seen as trying. All along, he had promised her to Prince Viserys Targaryen, but now that the last male Targaryen was dead, he had no reason to deny her her right to Dorne. He finishes by saying,

We princes make our careful plans and the gods smash them all awry.

His original plan was to send her to Tyrosh to serve as the Archon's cupbearer, where she could meet her betrothed in secret, while her brother Quentyn was being raised to assume the seat of their House. Finally Doran reveals why her brother is overseas, "to bring us back our heart's desire". When Arianne asks what that is, her father replies,

Vengeance. Justice. Fire and blood. [18]

A Dance with Dragons

Harry Lloyd as Viserys Targaryen (TV series)

While travelling in Illyrio Mopatis’s litter, Illyrio tells Tyrion Lannister of Daenerys and Viserys Targaryen. He tells Tyrion that Viserys gave his sister to Drogo to win the khal’s friendship and that he was a vain young man, and greedy. He adds that Viserys lusted for his father’s throne, but he lusted for Daenerys too, and was loath to give her up. [10]

He reveals that the night before Daenerys’s wedding he tried to steal into her bed, insisting that if he could not have her hand, he would claim her maidenhead (there is no indication that Daenerys is aware of this). Illyrio says that if he had not taken the precaution of posting guards upon Dany’s door Viserys might have undone years of planning. Tyrion then comments that Viserys "sounds like an utter fool", to which Illyrio replies that Viserys was Mad Aerys' son.[10]

Ser Barristan Selmy tells Daenerys that after he was dismissed from the Kingsguard he realised that he had to redeem himself by finding the true king, and serve him loyally with all the strength that still remained to him. Dany answers that that would have been her brother Viserys. Ser Barristan agrees that that was his intent.[19]

While playing cyvasse with Haldon Tyrion thinks to himself that Illyrio plays the game of thrones and Haldon and Griff and Duck are only pieces, to be moved where he will and sacrificed at need, just as he sacrificed Viserys.[20]

At the Lazy Eel the patrons are gossiping and one of them recalls that Prince Viserys wasn’t the only Targaryen and talk turns to his sister, the princess Daenerys, although no one can recall her name at first.[21]

The Golden Company’s Tristan Rivers reveals that one of Illyrio’s plans was that Viserys Targaryen was to join them with 50,000 Dothraki screamers at his back, but then the Beggar King died, putting an end to that plan.[22]

Daenerys remembers that Viserys had told her stories of the tourneys he had witnessed in the Seven Kingdoms.[23]

Upon Quentyn Martell’s arrival at Daenerys court he presents her with a parchment with seals and signatures. It is revealed that while Viserys and Daenerys were in Braavos, under the care of Ser Willem Darry, a secret pact was signed by Ser Willem and Oberyn Martell with the Sealord of Braavos as witness, promising that if Viserys wed Arianne Martell he would receive Dorne's aid in placing him upon the Iron Throne.[7]

Due to Viserys' impatience, he was made purposefully unaware of the marriage pact, lest he try to claim his bride too early, thereby bringing the wrath of the Iron Throne on Dorne. Dany immediately realises this and says to Ser Barristan that if her brother had known that he had a Dornish princess waiting for him, he would have crossed to Sunspear as soon as he was old enough to wed.[7]

In Daenerys Targaryen's final chapter in A Dance with Dragons, she wanders alone through the wasteland trying to get back to Meereen. She sleeps next to a stone wall, when she awakens she is reminded of the Wall of Westeros and that her brother would tell her it was the biggest wall in all the world, as proud as if he had built it himself. She also recalls that Viserys had told her of knights so poor that they had to sleep beneath the ancient hedges that grew along the byways of the Seven Kingdoms.[24]

Later on, when Dany goes to sleep she dreams of her dead brother. He looks just as he had the last time she had seen him. His mouth is twisted in anguish, his hair is burnt, and his face is black and smoking where the molten gold has run down across his brow and cheeks and into his eyes. She tells him that he is dead. She hears him whisper murdered. Viserys says,

You never mourned me sister. It is hard to die unmourned.[24]

She replies,

I loved you once.[24]

He echoes once, so bitterly it makes her shudder. He tells her that she was supposed to be his wife and bear him children with silver hair and purple eyes, to keep the blood of the dragon pure. He says to her that he took care of her. He taught her who she is. He fed her and sold their mother’s crown to keep her fed. Dany argues with him, telling him her hurt her, frightened her, sold her and betrayed her. Viserys names Daenerys the betrayer and says that he never got his promised golden crown, that she turned against him and that Drogo and the Dothraki cheated him. She argues further with him and he says,

Do you want to wake the dragon, you stupid little whore? Drogo’s khalasar was mine. I bought them from him, a hundred thousand screamers. I paid for them with your maidenhead.

Dany tries again to explain to him that he should have waited for his crown, he replies,

I did wait. For my crown, for my throne, for you. All those years, and all I ever got was a pot of molten gold. Why did they give the dragon’s eggs to you? They should have been mine. If I’d had a dragon, I would have taught the world the meaning of those words.[24]
Viserys then begins to laugh until his jaw falls away from his face, smoking, and blood and molten gold runs from his mouth. Dany then awakens, gasping.

The Winds of Winter

Arianne Martell asks Ser Daemon Sand to tell her of Prince Viserys. She remarks that everyone says that Prince Rhaegar Targaryen was beautiful, and wonder whether Viserys was beautiful as well. Ser Daemon replies that he supposes so - as Viserys was Targaryen - but he never saw the man so cannot say.[25]

Arianne then thinks of the secret pact that Prince Doran had made all those years ago, which had called for her to be wed to Prince Viserys and that it had all come undone on the Dothraki Sea, when he was murdered. Crowned with a pot of molten gold. She says to Ser Daemon that Viserys was killed by a Dothraki khal, the dragon queen's own husband. Ser Daemon Sand says that he’d heard that but what of it? Arianne then wonders,

Just... why did Daenerys let it happen? Viserys was her brother. All that remained of her own blood.[25]

Ser Daemon Sand merely replies that the Dothraki are a savage folk, who can know why they kill? Privately Arianne wonders if Daenerys resented her brother. She wonders to herself if perhaps Daenerys realised that once her brother was crowned and wed to her, she would be doomed to spend the rest of her life sleeping in a tent and smelling like a horse.[25]

However Arianne is unaware that Daenerys knew absolutely nothing of the secret pact until Quentyn Martell presented her with the pact parchment upon meeting her in Meereen, and does not know the exact events surrounding Viserys's death.

Quotes by Viserys

We go home with an army, sweet sister. With Khal Drogo’s army, that is how we go home. And if you must wed him and bed him for that, you will. I’d let his whole khalasar fuck you if need be, sweet sister, all forty thousand men, and their horses too if that was what it took to get my army.[26]
– Viserys, to Daenerys Targaryen

Quotes about Viserys

Viserys is less than the shadow of a snake.[11]
Jorah Mormont

My mother died giving me birth, and my father and my brother Rhaegar even before that. I would never have known so much as their names if Viserys had not been there to tell me. He was the only one left. The only one. He is all I have.[13]
Daenerys Targaryen

His soul was starved to death.[15]

Even as a child, your brother Viserys oft seemed to be his father's son, in ways Rhaegar never did.[17]
Barristan Selmy

A vain young man and greedy. Viserys lusted after his father's throne, but he lusted after Daenerys too, and was loath to give her up. The night before the princess wed he tried to steal into her bed, insisting that if he couldn't have her hand, he would claim her maidenhead. Had I not taken the precaution of posting guards upon her door, Viserys might have undone years of planning...Viserys was Mad Aerys's son, just so.[10]
Illyrio Mopatis

The last son of Mad King Aerys. He’s been going about the Free Cities since before I was born, calling himself a king. Well, Mother says the Dothraki finally crowned him. With molten gold. [27]
Joffrey Baratheon

He sounds an utter fool.[10]
Tyrion Lannister


Aegon V
of Oldstones
Jaehaerys II
Aerys II
stillborn child
zo Loraq

References and Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 The World of Ice and Fire, Aerys II.
  2. 2.0 2.1 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Rhaella Targaryen.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 3, Daenerys I.
  4. 4.0 4.1 The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II.
  5. The World of Ice and Fire, The Fall of the Dragons: The End.
  6. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Daenerys Targaryen.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 43, Daenerys VII.
  8. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 30, Jaime IV.
  9. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 26, Arya VI.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 5, Tyrion II.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 23, Daenerys III.
  12. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 36, Daenerys IV.
  13. 13.0 13.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 46, Daenerys V.
  14. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 40, Daenerys III.
  15. 15.0 15.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 23, Daenerys II.
  16. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 27, Daenerys III.
  17. 17.0 17.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 71, Daenerys VI.
  18. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 40, Princess In The Tower.
  19. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 11, Daenerys II.
  20. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 14, Tyrion IV.
  21. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 15, Davos II.
  22. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 24, The Lost Lord.
  23. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 30, Daenerys V.
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 71, Daenerys X.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 The Winds of Winter, Arianne I (made available on GRRM's website as of January 8th, 2013)
  26. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 3, Cersei I.
  27. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 2, Sansa I.

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