Viserys Targaryen

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House Targaryen.svg Prince
Viserys Targaryen
the Beggar King
House Targaryen.svg
Viserys Targaryen.jpg
Viserys Targaryen, by Amok ©

  • King Viserys III[1]
  • The Beggar King[2][3][4]
  • Khal Rhae Mhar[5] (Sorefoot King)
  • Khal Rhaggat[5] (Cart King)
Allegiance House Targaryen
Race Valyrian
Culture Free Cities
Born 276 AC
Red Keep, King's Landing[7]
Died 298 AC
Vaes Dothrak, the Dothraki sea[8]
Father Aerys II Targaryen
Mother Rhaella Targaryen

Played by Harry Lloyd
TV series Game of Thrones: Season 1

Prince Viserys Targaryen[9] is the heir of his father, King Aerys II Targaryen, following the death of his older brother, Prince Rhaegar, during Robert's Rebellion.[6] The war turned Viserys and his younger sister, Daenerys, Princess of Dragonstone, into exiles from the Seven Kingdoms who can only plot to regain control of the Iron Throne.[1]

He styles himself as "Viserys of the House 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",[1] as he had been declared king on Dragonstone after his father's death.[10] In the Free Cities[1][11] Viserys was mockingly dubbed the "Beggar King", a name which spread towards the Seven Kingdoms.[12][2][13][4]

In the television adaptation Game of Thrones, Viserys is portrayed by Harry Lloyd.[14]

Appearance and Character

Viserys possesses the classical Valyrian features: he has pale skin, silver-blond hair, and pale lilac eyes.[1][15][16][8][17] He had been a small, robust, and healthy child,[7] but in his early twenties, after more than a decade of living in exile, Viserys has become a gaunt young man with hard lines in his face and a feverish look in his eyes.[1] He prefers to dress in silks and wool,[16][5][8] keeps a sachet in the sleeve of his tunic to sniff,[5] and wears a borrowed sword to look more "kingly".[1][8] He was not as tall as his older brother Rhaegar had been.[17]

Viserys is considered to be a cruel, weak, frightened,[18][19] impatient,[20][19] vain, greedy,[21] stupid and foolish man.[19][22] He is violent and abusive with many,[5] including his sister Daenerys, whom he blames for their mother's death.[1] The fifteen years Viserys spend in exile were hard on him. He kept lusting after his father's throne,[21] and became obsessed with winning back the Seven Kingdoms.[1] He became an angry and bitter man,[23] and when he was forced to sell his mother's crown, the last joy had gone from him, leaving only rage.[24] His sister Daenerys considers his anger, which Viserys himself called "waking the dragon", to be "a terrible thing when roused".[1] Daenerys believes that Viserys has been driven mad by his exile and the status of beggar it eventually gave him.[23] However, according to Barristan Selmy, Viserys already often seemed to show signs of madness as a young child, like his father had.[25]

Viserys loves to talk about dragons,[26] and has a hatred for horse meat[5] and fermented mare's milk.[8]


Early life

Prince Viserys was born in King's Landing in 276 AC to King Aerys II Targaryen and his sister-wife Queen Rhaella, their first child to survive in the seventeen years since their son Rhaegar's birth, after multiple stillbirths, miscarriages, and infant deaths. The celebrated Viserys was small but robust and beautiful.[7]

Aerys's paranoia made him fear for the infant's life beyond reason, however. The Kingsguard watched him day and night, and Rhaella was forbidden to be alone with her son. Aerys insisted that his food taster drink from the breasts of the prince's wet nurse, to make sure she had not smeared poison on her nipples. The king burned gifts sent by Westerosi lords, thinking they might be cursed. Lord Tywin Lannister hosted a tournament in honor of Viserys's birth in Lannisport, but only Aerys and Rhaegar attended from the royal family. When Rhaegar married Elia Martell in the Great Sept of Baelor in 280 AC, Aerys refused to allow Viserys to attend.[7]

Robert's Rebellion

Viserys was only a young boy at the time of Robert's Rebellion, and Queen Rhaella sheltered him from King Aerys's madness as much as she could.[27] When his brother Rhaegar was killed at the Battle of the Trident, Viserys was named his father's heir, passing over Rhaegar's infant son Aegon. Viserys was sent with the pregnant Rhaella to the fortified island of Dragonstone.[6][1][28] After news of Aerys's death and the deaths of Rhaegar's children in the Sack of King's Landing reached Dragonstone, Viserys was declared king.[10]

In 284 AC, nine months after they fled King's Landing, Rhaella died while giving birth to Viserys's younger sister, Daenerys, during a storm which destroyed most of the Targaryen fleet, which had been anchored at Dragonstone.[1] Stannis Baratheon was about to set sail with his new fleet for the assault on Dragonstone, and the garrison of Dragonstone was prepared to turn Viserys and his sister over to him, but Ser Willem Darry and four loyal men smuggled the children to the Braavosian coast.[1][29]


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

Viserys and Daenerys lived under Ser Willem Darry's protection in a house with a red door in Braavos.[1] While they lived in Braavos, Willem signed a secret marriage pact with Prince Oberyn Martell of Dorne, with the Sealord of Braavos 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. However, Viserys was never made aware of this pact,[30][20] as he was an immature child when it was decided, and he was not ready for the information.[31] Willem fell ill five years after fleeing from Dragonstone, however, and eventually died.[1][32]

After Willem's death, the servants stole what little money the children had, leaving Viserys and his sister impoverished. They were put out of the house in Braavos soon after.[1] 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 hired knives of the Usurper, King Robert I Baratheon. 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.[1] Selling Rhaella's crown took the last joy had from Viserys, leaving only rage.[24] Over time, men started calling him the Beggar King.[1][12] At some point Viserys feasted the captains of the Golden Company, in hopes they might take up his cause and restore him to the throne of Westeros. They ate his food and heard his pleas, but only laughed at him.[33]

While his relationship with his sister was initially warm, Viserys grew to resent Daenerys for the death of their mother during her birth, and began treating her abusively, both with cruel words and with physical assaults. He would frequently warn her not to "wake the dragon" and incite his anger.[1] Viserys taught Daenerys all he knew of Westeros history and the history of House Targaryen, teaching her to take pride in her family heritage,[1][8] though sometimes abusively.[19] Daenerys always expected she would marry Viserys when she came of age, as Viserys had often told her the line must be kept pure and that Targaryens did not mingle their blood with that of lesser men.[1]

Viserys and Daenerys have been guests for half a year at the manse of Magister Illyrio Mopatis in Pentos.[1] One servant, a young girl trained in Lys, is purchased by Illyrio to please the would-be king and keep him from claiming Daenerys' maidenhead.[34]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

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

In Pentos, Magister Illyrio Mopatis 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.[1] Viserys believes he could conquer Westeros with only ten thousand Dothraki screamers, and that among[1] the houses that would rise for him upon his landing would be the Tyrells, Redwynes, Darrys, Greyjoys, and Martells, and that the smallfolk cry out for the return of House Targaryen. Viserys says when he takes Westeros, he will kill the Usurper, King Robert I Baratheon, and also the Kingslayer, Ser Jaime Lannister.[1]

Viserys, while willing to wed Daenerys to Drogo, is resentful of having to give her up, and the night before the wedding tries to enter her room and claim her maidenhead. Illyrio, however, has the foresight to post guards on her room and ensure the impetuous Viserys does not undo "years of planning".[21] At the wedding feast, Viserys meets the exile knight Ser Jorah Mormont,[1] who swears himself to his service.[15] Viserys gifts his sister with three handmaids, Irri, Jhiqui, and Doreah. Viserys is angered at having to sit in a place below Daenerys and at being offered the food that only the khal and his bride have already refused. Before Daenerys and Drogo leave to consummate the marriage, Viserys warns his sister that she must please Drogo, or else she "will see the dragon wake as it has never woken before."[15]

After the wedding, Khal Drogo's khalasar leaves for Vaes Dothrak to present the new khaleesi Daenerys to the dosh khaleen. Viserys insists on traveling along to ensure the khal honors the agreement of support. Viserys believes that Drogo is delaying fulfillment of his promise, and grows increasingly insistent on making a start to the invasion. He believes he sold Daenerys to Drogo, and that the khal has not paid him for her, although Illyrio and Jorah try to explain that the Dothraki do not buy or sell, but rather receive gifts and give gifts back eventually in return.[16]

Viserys tries to browbeat Daenerys into persuading Drogo, but with her new position of authority as khaleesi she begins standing up for herself. When Daenerys wishes to experience the Dothraki sea in solitude, she requests that Jorah tell Viserys and the rest of her khas to stay behind. Viserys becomes infuriated at Daenerys giving him a command, and verbally and physically assaults her. She defends herself, and one of the young warriors of her khas, Jhogo defends his khaleesi, snapping a whip around Viserys's neck. Daenerys commands that he not be harmed, only that his horse be taken away, forcing Viserys to walk. Viserys demands that Jorah hurt Daenerys and kill the Dothraki for this insult, but the knight ignores Viserys and enforces Daenerys's orders. Jorah regrets swearing himself to Viserys's service, and intimates to Daenerys that Viserys would be a terrible king. Daenerys realizes that Viserys will never win the Iron Throne and take her back to Westeros, as he is not respected and could not lead an army even if Khal Drogo gives him one.[16]

Viserys Targaryen, the "Cart King", by Kim Sokol © Fantasy Flight Games

When Viserys walks back to the khalasar, he is greatly shamed in the eyes of the Dothraki, as they feel a man who does not ride is no man at all, and this 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 Daenerys did to him. Unknown to Viserys, this is a greater insult than walking on foot — as carts are for cripples, eunuchs, the very old or very young — which earns Viserys the new nickname Khal Rhaggat, the Cart King.[5]

At Vaes Dothrak, Daenerys wishes to reconcile with Viserys, and prepares gifts for him, including new Dothraki-style clothing "fit for a khal" to replace his filthy garments. However, when Daenerys sends Doreah to request that Viserys join her at dinner, he takes offense that she would send a whore to give him commands and strikes the woman, before angrily approaching Daenerys. He mocks the clothes and the idea that he should dress like a "savage", and begins to assault Daenerys until she defends herself, hitting him with the belt of bronze medallions she had hoped to give him. Viserys storms off angrily, saying she will rue this day when he regains his kingdom.[5]

Khal Drogo crowns Viserys with molten gold (Game of Thrones)

The day of the ritual ceremony for Daenerys's unborn child, Rhaego, Jorah stops Viserys from stealing Daenerys's dragon eggs, intending to sell to the traders of Vaes Dothrak for gold to buy himself a sellsword army. The feasting Dothraki are then greatly offended by a drunken Viserys wielding a sword in Drogo's hall, as blades are banned in the sacred city of Vaes Dothrak and it is forbidden to shed a free man's blood there. Khal Drogo does not let Viserys sit at the high bench but rather tells him to sit with the cripples and boys, and all the Dothraki laugh and mock Viserys. Viserys draws his sword, angering the Dothraki, and threatens Daenerys's unborn child while again insisting that Drogo give him his crown. In response, Drogo has Viserys seized by his bloodriders, melts down his belt of golden medallions, and upends the pot over Viserys's head, fatally but bloodlessly "crowning" him with molten gold.[8]

After Daenerys is nearly assassinated in the Vaes Dothrak marketplace, she learns that King Robert has offered lands and lordships for her death or Viserys's;[35] she half-hysterically sobs and tells Jorah that the Usurper owes Drogo a lordship.[36]

A Clash of Kings

Word of Viserys's death reaches Westeros not long after King Joffrey I Baratheon's execution of Lord Eddard Stark.[2]

In the red waste, Daenerys remembers that Viserys told her when they were children that only dragons and men eat cooked meat, which enables her to finally find a way to feed her newborn dragons. Daenerys names her white dragon Viserion in his memory.[18]

While wondering how she can succeed in taking back her father's throne, Daenerys recalls that Viserys had believed that the realm would rise for its rightful king. Although she considers the notion to have been a foolish one,[22] there appears to have been some truth to his beliefs.[N 1]

In Qarth, after being refused help by the Pureborn, Daenerys remembers how Viserys 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.[23]

A Storm of Swords

While traveling to Astapor by ship, Daenerys recalls a young Viserys telling her tales of the Seven Kingdoms and of how much better their lives would be once he claimed his crown.[19]

In Meereen Ser Barristan Selmy tells Daenerys that Viserys was his father's son, in ways Rhaegar never was.[25]

A Feast for Crows

At Sunspear, Arianne Martell learns from her father, Doran, of a secret marriage pact between Houses Targaryen and Martell. While her younger brother Quentyn was to rule Dorne, Arianne was intended to marry the exiled Viserys. Doran, the Prince of Dorne, had suggested older consorts for her to marry, knowing she would reject them. Doran planned to send Arianne to Tyrosh to serve as the Archon's cupbearer and meet Viserys in secret, but Doran's wife, Mellario, had been so upset by Quentyn's fostering at Yronwood that Doran could not bear to take another of her children from her, and Arianne was never told of her betrothal to Viserys. With Viserys now dead, Doran intends for Arianne to rule Dorne and sends Quentyn to court Daenerys in Meereen.[30]

A Dance with Dragons

Daenerys and Viserys, by Fkaluis

In Meereen, Ser Barristan Selmy tells Daenerys that after he was dismissed from the Kingsguard by Joffrey I Baratheon, he realised that he had to redeem himself by finding the true king, meaning Viserys, and serve him loyally with all the strength that still remained to him.[26] Daenerys remembers that Viserys had told her stories of the tourneys he had witnessed in the Seven Kingdoms.[39]

Ser Tristan Rivers reveals that one of Magister Illyrio Mopatis's plans was for Viserys to join the Golden Company with fifty thousand Dothraki screamers at his back, but then the Beggar King died, putting an end to that plan.[4]

Upon Quentyn Martell's arrival at Daenerys's court in Meereen, he informs her of the secret marriage pact concluded by Ser Willem Darry and Oberyn Martell with the Sealord of Braavos as witness, while Viserys and Daenerys were living in Braavos. It promised that if Viserys wed Arianne Martell he would receive Dorne's aid in placing him upon the Iron Throne. Daenerys realizes 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. Quentyn agrees that this would have brought Robert I Baratheon's wrath down on Dorne and that Doran was content to wait until Viserys found an army. Quentyn had been sent to Meereen by his father to fulfill the pact; instead of Viserys marrying Arianne, Quentyn would marry Daenerys and give her the support of Dorne.[20] Barristan tells Quentyn that the pact, written by two dead men and referring to a dead man, cannot be enforced for him and Daenerys.[40]

Near "Dragonstone" in the Dothraki sea after fleeing Daznak's Pit atop Drogon,[41] Daenerys dreams of Viserys. Her burnt and gilded brother accuses her of not having mourned him. The siblings argue about Daenerys marriage to Drogo, the delay in Viserys receiving a Dothraki khalasar, and Daenerys receiving dragon eggs from Illyrio. Viserys's jaw falls away as he laughs in the dream.[42]

The Winds of Winter

This information has thus far been released in a sample chapter for The Winds of Winter, and might therefore not be in finalized form. Keep in mind that the content as described below is still subject to change.

Stannis Baratheon tells Ser Justin Massey that he will not leave Westeros to raise an army, as exiles rarely return, using the beggar king Viserys as an example.[11]

While sailing the Sea of Dorne to Cape Wrath, Arianne discusses Viserys and his death with Ser Daemon Sand.[43] Near Griffin's Roost, Arianne encounters Lysono Maar of the Golden Company. She says the Lyseni's appearance (long silver-gold hair and pale lilac eyes) reminds her of a Targaryen, which he finds flattering. She is somewhat unnerved by Lysono, however, and thinks it is perhaps a good thing that Viserys is dead if that is what her betrothed looked like.[44]

Quotes by Viserys

Harry Lloyd as Viserys Targaryen in HBO's Game of Thrones

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.[1]

—Viserys to Daenerys Targaryen

Daenerys: He says you shall have a splendid golden crown that men shall tremble to behold.
Viserys: That was all I wanted. What was promised.[8]

Daenerys Targaryen and Viserys

No, you cannot touch me, I am the dragon, the dragon, and I will be crowned![8]

—Viserys to Drogo's bloodriders

Viserys: You were supposed to be my wife, to bear me children with silver hair and purple eyes, to keep the blood of the dragon pure. I took care of you. I taught you who you were. I fed you. I sold our mother's crown to keep you fed.

Daenerys: You hurt me. You frightened me.
Viserys: Only when you woke the dragon. I loved you.
Daenerys: You sold me. You betrayed me.
Viserys: No. You were the betrayer. You turned against me, against your own blood. They cheated me. Your horsey husband and his stinking savages. They were cheats and liars. They promised me a golden crown and gave me this.

Daenerys: You could have had your crown. My sun-and-stars would have won it for you if only you had waited.[42]

—Viserys in a dream of Daenerys Targaryen

Quotes about Viserys

Viserys is less than the shadow of a snake.[16]

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.[8]

He was no dragon. Fire cannot kill a dragon.[8]

—thoughts of Daenerys Targaryen

The Beggar King is dead. Viserys. 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.[2]

The cream-and-gold I call Viserion. Viserys was cruel and weak and frightened, yet he was my brother still. His dragon will do what he could not.[18]

Even as a child, your brother Viserys oft seemed to be his father's son, in ways Rhaegar never did.[25]

Arianne: Who is it? Who have I been betrothed to, all these years?

Doran: It makes no matter. He is dead.
Arianne: The old ones are so frail. Was it a broken hip, a chill, the gout?

Doran: It was a pot of molten gold. We princes make our careful plans and the gods smash them all awry.[30]

Words are wind, and the wind that blows exiles across the narrow sea seldom blows them back. That boy Viserys Targaryen spoke of return as well. He slipped through my fingers at Dragonstone, only to spend his life wheedling after sellswords. "The Beggar King," they called him in the Free Cities.[11]


Aegon V
of Oldstones
Jaehaerys II
Aerys II
House Baratheon.svg
zo Loraq


  1. At Castle Darry, House Darry still displays Targaryen tapestries fifteen years after Robert's Rebellion.[37] The Martells of Dorne signed a secret marriage pact promising to aid Viserys's cause.[20] In the riverlands, a peasant speaks of better days in the past under King Aerys II Targaryen.[38]

External links


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 3, Daenerys I.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 2, Sansa I.
  3. A Feast for Crows, Prologue.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 24, The Lost Lord.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 36, Daenerys IV.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The Fall of the Dragons: The End.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II.
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 46, Daenerys V.
  9. A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
  10. 10.0 10.1 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Rhaella Targaryen.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 The Winds of Winter, Chapter , Theon I.
  12. 12.0 12.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 12, Eddard II.
  13. A Feast for Crows, Prologue.
  14. Game of Thrones Cast & Characters
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 11, Daenerys II.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 23, Daenerys III.
  17. 17.0 17.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 48, Daenerys IV.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 12, Daenerys I.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 8, Daenerys I.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 43, Daenerys VII.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 5, Tyrion II.
  22. 22.0 22.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 27, Daenerys II.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 40, Daenerys III.
  24. 24.0 24.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 27, Daenerys III.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 71, Daenerys VI.
  26. 26.0 26.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 11, Daenerys II.
  27. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 36, Daenerys VI.
  28. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 37, Jaime V.
  29. A Clash of Kings, Prologue.
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 40, Princess In The Tower.
  31. So Spake Martin: Interview in Barcelona (July 28, 2012)
  32. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Daenerys Targaryen.
  33. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 16, Daenerys III.
  34. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 1, Tyrion I.
  35. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 33, Eddard VIII.
  36. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 54, Daenerys VI.
  37. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 30, Jaime IV.
  38. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 26, Arya VI.
  39. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 30, Daenerys V.
  40. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 59, The Discarded Knight.
  41. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 52, Daenerys IX.
  42. 42.0 42.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 71, Daenerys X.
  43. The Winds of Winter, Chapter , Arianne I.
  44. The Winds of Winter, Chapter , Arianne II.
Preceded by 24th Prince of Dragonstone
283 AC
Succeeded byas Lord of Dragonstone
Titles in pretence
Preceded by — TITULAR —
King of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men
Lord of the Seven Kingdoms
Protector of the Realm

Targaryen claimant
283298 AC
Reason for succession failure:
Targaryen monarchy deposed in 283 AC
Succeeded by