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|
|Born||In 275 AC|
|Died||In 298 AC, at Vaes Dothrak|
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|
Viserys Targaryen, called The Beggar King, is the heir of his father Aerys II 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.
Viserys was a young boy at the time of Robert's Rebellion. When his brother Rhaegar was defeated upon the Trident, Viserys and his pregnant mother, Rhaella, were evacuated to Dragonstone. After the death of his mother and the end of the war, Viserys and his sister, Daenerys, were smuggled to Braavos by the loyalist Ser Willem Darry. There they lived under Ser Willem's protection until his death.
Ser Willem's servants later evicted the last Targaryens, forcing them to wander the Free Cities as guests of powerful citizens. Their welcome eventually faded, and they were forced to sell off their possessions to survive, even Rhaella's crown. When Viserys sold his mother's crown the last joy had gone from him, leaving only rage, 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.
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, and even a peasant spoke of better days in the past under King Aerys, during the march of captives to Harrenhal.
A Game of Thrones
In Pentos, Viserys meets 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 10,000 men 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 virginity. Illyrio, however, had the foresight to post guards on her room so this would not happen and ensure the impetuous Viserys didn't undo years of planning on Illyrio's part.
Viserys insists on traveling 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.
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". 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.
A Clash of Kings
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 black by the Pureborn she remembers how he was forced to survive in order to take care of then 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. 
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 a beggar.” 
When Daenerys goes to make an offer to the Good Masters of Astapor for all 8,000 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. 
A Feast for Crows
When Arianne, after being brought to see her father, she 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,
A Dance with Dragons
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. 
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 an utter fool. 
To which Illyrio replies,
Viserys was Mad Aerys' son, just so. 
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.
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. 
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. 
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. 
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. 
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. 
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. 
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. 
I loved you once. 
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,
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 was beautiful, was Viserys beautiful as well? Ser Daemon replies that he supposes so - as Viserys was Targaryen - but he never saw the man so cannot say.
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 the wonders,
"Just... why did Daenerys let it happen? Viserys was her brother. All that remained of her own blood."
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.
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. Coming from a privileged, protected, entitled position with all the power of her House behind her Arianne does not appear to fully appreciate the desperate circumstances that Daenerys and her brother were in and how anger, bitterness, paranoia and beggary had driven Viserys mad long before his sister wed.
Quotes about Viserys
"Vierys is less than the shadow of a snake"
"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"
"He sounds an utter fool"
References and Notes
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 3, Daenerys
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 40, Daenerys III.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 23, Daenerys II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 27, Daenerys III.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 71, Daenerys VI.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 40, Princess In The Tower.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 5, Tyrion II.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 14, Tyrion IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 15, Davos II.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 24, The Lost Lord, page 317.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 43, Daenerys VII, page 571.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 71, Daenerys X, page 936.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 71, Daenerys X, pages 937-938.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 71, Daenerys X, page 938.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 71, Daenerys X.
- The Winds of Winter, Arianne sample chapter, made available on GRRM's website as of January 8th, 2013
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 23, Daenerys III.