The Targaryens of Game of Thrones are getting their due in HBO’s House of the Dragon, although the prequel only covers a portion of the vast Targaryen family tree. While House Stark was the main character in Game of Thrones, the family’s most interesting dynamic was its relationship with House Targaryen, who controlled the Iron Throne for three centuries. By the end of Game of Thrones, it was evident that the central struggle was centered on House Stark and House Targaryen’s history and relationships.
After three centuries on the Iron Throne, the Targaryen line had finally been deposed, with only two heirs, Danaerys and Viserys, remaining to claim their birthright when Game of Thrones began. Despite this, the legacy of the numerous kings who came before impacted greatly on the strategies and decisions taken by the prominent houses while playing the titular game of thrones; House Targaryen’s history and influence never dwindled in relevance for Westeros. One statement about the Targaryens would endure throughout Westeros’ history: “Every time a new Targaryen is born, the gods toss a coin.” Many Targaryen kings and queens ruled over Westeros, with too many being torn between rage and destruction and peace and splendor.
The promotional materials for HBO’s House of the Dragon include this quotation as one of its taglines, setting up one of the most pivotal periods in Targaryen’s history. This sentiment would be passed down through the Targaryen line, all the way to Daenerys Targaryen, the Mother of Dragons in Game of Thrones. Here’s a breakdown of the Targaryen family tree in Westeros, from Aegon the Conqueror to Jon Snow, as depicted in House of the Dragon.
House Targaryen’s tale in Game of Thrones begins when Westeros was conquered and ends when Jon Snow (Aegon Targaryen) begins his life Beyond the Wall. While Westeros’ history is believed to go back 12,000 years, Game of Thrones’ timeline is calculated in BC (Before Conquest) and AC (After Conquest), with the first year AC being the first year of House Targaryen’s reign. Following Aegon the Conqueror, the Iron Throne was occupied by 16 more kings/queens until Daenerys Targaryen’s death in 305 A.D. The Targaryens would not be deposed until Robert Baratheon took the throne from Aerys II and Rhaegar Targaryen in 283 AC.
House Targaryen’s past is also known for its frequent incest, with Targaryens being married off to brothers, sisters, aunts, and uncles for millennia in order to preserve the dragon’s blood “pure.” Dragons were also one of the most important components of the Targaryen families reign in Game of Thrones, as their might allowed them to terrorize their foes. However, in 153 AC, the last of House Targaryen’s dragons appeared to have died out, and Daenerys Targaryen became the first Targaryen to reign with dragons over a century later. House Targaryen’s history in Game of Thrones is characterized by fire and blood, which came to an end when Bran the Broken was named King of Westeros.
Aegon I Targaryen, often known as Aegon the Conqueror, was the first Targaryen to rule Westeros and the founder of their dynasty in Game of Thrones. Aegon I Targaryen, born on Dragonstone, captured Westeros’ kingdoms with his dragonrider sisters, Visenya and Rhaenys, whom he also married. Aegon was supposed to have married Visenya, a formidable warrior, out of obligation, while his younger sister Rhaenys, noted for her beauty and love of the arts, was married out of desire. Throughout Aegon’s 37-year rule, he fought many wars with House Martell on Dorne, who refused to budge even after Rhaenys and her dragon had destroyed most of the land. The deaths of Rhaenys and her dragon, Meraxes, in one such fight only served to aggravate Aegon’s rage. Aegon had two sons with Rhaenys and Visenya: Aenys I and Maegor I. The Iron Throne passed to Aenys, Aegon’s eldest son, after his death from a stroke at the age of 64.
Aenys I Targaryen, the second king of the seven kingdoms, was noted for missing the fighting skills of his father and brother while being more prone to gentleness and hesitation. Aenys, the son of Queen Rhaenyra, married Alyssa Valeryon and had three sons (Aegon, Viserys, and Jaehaerys) and three daughters with her (Rhaena, Alysanne, and Vaella). Many rebellions occurred under Aenys’ brief reign of only five years, mainly among warriors linked to Game of Thrones’ Faith of the Seven. Aenys stated before his death that he was marrying his son Aegon to his daughter Rhaena, and that their children would be his heirs to the throne. However, Aenys died at the age of 35 in 42 AC, and his younger half-brother Maegor usurped his position.
Maegor, the younger son of Aegon the Conqueror, ascended to the Iron Throne after his brother died, having spent years in exile for his polygamous marriages with Ceryse Hightower and Alys Harroway. Because his prior spouses had never given him offspring, Maegor continued to marry, eventually marrying six wives by the end of his life. Maegor proceeded to fight the High Sept on and Warrior’s Sons, killing dozens of septons before marrying his next bride to one of them. When Aenys’ eldest son, the legendary Aegon Targaryen from Game of Thrones, declared his claim to the throne, Maegor slew him and his dragon, then imprisoned Aenys’ children Jaehaerys and Alysanne on Dragonstone as his mother’s wards. Maegor kept Aenys’ eldest surviving child Viserys, with him at court, and when he learned that his nephew and niece had escaped Dragonstone, he tortured and killed him. Maegor then forcibly married his niece Rhaena, intending her daughter from a previous marriage to be his successor. Jaehaerys announced his claim to the Iron Throne in 48 A.D., with his sister Rhaena and many other lords of Westeros supporting him. Maegor was discovered dead, sat on the Iron Throne, his wrists slit and his throat impaled by the throne, though it is unknown who killed him.
Following Maegor’s death, Aenys’ son Jaehaerys was crowned at the age of 14, becoming the ancient Iron Throne’s fourth monarch. Jaehaerys was seen as intelligent above his years, forgiving, determined, and destined to be a king. Despite advice to the contrary, Jaehaerys married his sister Alysanne Targaryen and had 13 children with her: Aegon, Daenerys, Aemon, Baelon, Alyssa, Maegelle, Vaegon, Daella, Saera, Viserra, Gaemon, Valerion, and Gael. Jaehaerys’ son Baelon married his daughter Alyssa, who had three children: Viserys, Daemon, and Aegon Targaryen. Following Baelon’s untimely death, Jaehaerys convened a Great Council to determine the line of succession, with the lords finally choosing Baelon’s eldest son, Viserys, as his successor. Jaehaerys’ 55-year rule, which was mostly tranquil, came to an end in 103 AC when he was 69 years old.
The dragonrider Viserys I Targaryen assumed the Iron Throne after his grandfather’s death, continuing Jaehaerys’ tranquil reign. Viserys’ reign, on the other hand, would sow the seeds of the House of the Dragon’s Civil War, the Dance of the Dragons, which would pit his eldest daughter and heir, Rhaenyra, against his oldest son, Aegon.
Viserys married his first cousin Aemma Arryn, with whom he had Rhaenyra, though the queen died, giving birth to their son, Baelon, who died the next day. Even in the face of his younger brother Daemon, who considered himself the successor to the Iron Throne, Rhaenyra was quickly declared Viserys’ heir. When Viserys wedded to Alicent Hightower, he had a son named Aegon, as well as several other offspring who would challenge Rhaenyra’s claim following Viserys’ death in 129 AC.
Rhaenyra married Laenor Velaryon first, and they had three sons together. Meanwhile, Prince Daemon and his wife, Laena Velaryon, had two daughters. Rhaenyra and Daemon Targaryen’s spouses died shortly after, prompting the niece and uncle to marry. Rhaenyra and Daemon had a son, Aegon the Younger, who would eventually become her heir. Anger between Rhaenyra and Alicent developed at this time, resulting in a split among the Targaryens known as the “greens” (Aegon II supporters) and the “blacks” (Rhaenyra supporters). Rhaenyra was declared Viserys I’s heir after his death, but the greens elected to back his eldest son Aegon II Targaryen’s claim, resulting in the Targaryen Civil War.
Aegon II assumed the throne after Viserys’ death, though his claim was contested by his sister Rhaenyra. During their conflicts, the two Targaryens separated the realm, with both Targaryens dying in the Dance of the Dragons. Aegon had married his sister Helaena and had two kids with her, both of who perished as little boys during the war. Aegon’s heir became Rhaenyra and Daemon’s son Aegon III Targaryen after his children died. When Aegon II died in 131 AC, his nephew inherited the Iron Throne.
Following the deaths of his mother, Rhaenyra, and uncle, Aegon II, Aegon the Younger gained the Iron Throne, bringing the Dance of the Dragons to a close. With the support of his brother and Hand of the King, House of the Dragon’s Viserys, Aegon’s reign brought unification to the Seven Kingdoms following the Civil War. His 26-year reign was characterized by minimal emotion unless a dragon was mentioned, which would send him into a rage because dragons had died out during his reign.
Jaehaera, Aegon III’s cousin, was his first wife, and she died two years later, apparently by suicide. Daeron, Baelor, Daena, Rhaena, and Elaena are the five children he had with Daenaera Velaryon. When Aegon the Younger died of consumption at the age of 36, the Iron Throne was passed down to his eldest son, Daeron I Targaryen, who was 14 at the time.
Daeron I, the eighth king of House Targaryen, assumed the throne in 159 AC. His brief rule, which lasted only until 161 AD, was distinguished by his famous invasion of Dorne, which concluded in 158 AD when the Dornish prince and numerous lords ultimately knelt. Despite the Young Dragon’s capture of Dorne, the Dornish uprising sprang out, and the 18-year-old monarch was shortly assassinated by dozens of opponents. Daeron’s kingship devolved to his younger brother, Baelor, because he had no children of his own.
Baelor I Targaryen, often known as Baelor the Blessed, was crowned King of Westeros at the age of 17. Many Westerosi lords were outraged when Baelor’s first act was to forgive his brother’s assassins. Baelor quickly made amends with the Prince of Dorne by marrying his cousin Daeron to the Princess of Dorne from House Martell in Game of Thrones. Baelor, known for his piety, quickly prohibited prostitution, built the big sept, and became a septon. Because Baelon died in 171 AC after fasting for 40 days and had no offspring, the Iron Throne was passed down to Viserys II, Rhaenyra and Daemon Targaryen’s youngest son.
Viserys II ascended the throne with far more experience and expertise in leading than his predecessors, having previously served as Hand of the King to his two nephews. Viserys’ legacy was not well remembered in Game of Thrones history since it was thought throughout Westeros that he poisoned Baelor in order to obtain the Iron Throne. Viserys’ reign, however, would only last a year, as he died of a severe illness in 172 AC.
Viserys II was followed by Aegon IV Targaryen, also known as Aegon the Unworthy, his eldest son. Aegon IV, regarded as one of the worst Targaryen monarchs in Game of Thrones history, was notorious for his extravagant lifestyle, misrule, and numerous tyrants. Aegon’s enormous weight produced various health difficulties at the age of 49, leading to the king’s horrible death. Aegon IV Targaryen legitimised his bastard children, including Daemon I Blackfyre (sired with his cousin Daena) and Brynden Rivers, before his death (the Three-Eyed Crow).
Daeron II Targaryen, the sole trueborn son of Aegon IV Targaryen, won the throne in 184 AC, despite numerous challenges from his newly legitimised bastard siblings, called The Blackfyre Rebellion. Daeron II is hailed as one of Game of Thrones’ greatest kings for uniting the Seven Kingdoms and bringing peace to the land. Daeron II had four sons after marrying Myriah Martell: Baelor, Aerys, Rhaegel, and Maekar Targaryen. Baelor was inadvertently killed by his brother Maekar during a trial of the seven near the conclusion of Daeron II’s reign in 209 AC. His heir was therefore Baelor’s son Valarr; yet both Daeron and Valarr died in the Great Spring Sickness, leaving Aerys to be his heir.
Aerys I Targaryen, the second son of Daeron II, became King of Westeros in 209 AC, and was noted for his love of literature and lore. Aerys appointed his uncle Brynden Rivers as Hand of the King during his studies, allowing him to rule in his place. In Game of Thrones history, Aerys’ reign was marked by conflict with the Blackfyre Rebellions. Because Aerys had no offspring, his crown was passed down to his younger brother, Maekar Targaryen, when he died in 221 A.D.
Maekar I, Daeron II’s youngest son, was known for his harsh judgement, impatience, and success as an army leader. Maekar had a new crown created in a more warlike manner, despite hwas reign, is best known for its brief period of calm. Daeron, Aerion, Aemon, Daella, Aegon V, and Rhae Targaryen were Maekar’s six children. Maekar’s successor faced a crisis when both of his eldest sons died young, leaving youngsters thought unworthy to govern. Following Maekar’s death, a Great Council was convened to determine succession, with his third son, Game of Thrones’ Maester Aemon, declining the throne and insisting it should be given to his younger brother, Egg.
Aegon V Targaryen, sometimes known as “Egg,” was the younger brother of Maester Amon Targaryen from Game of Thrones. In 233 AC, Aegon was king, and his first act was to arrest Bloodraven and send him to the Night’s Watch. During this time, his brother Aemon became the Maester of the Night’s Watch, where he would eventually forge a close bond with Jon Snow. Aegon’s reign saw another Blackfyre Rebellion and numerous uprisings, but the king focused heavily on improving the life of the common people, resulting in numerous reforms that enraged the lords. Duncan, Jaehaerys II, Shaera, Daeron, and Rhaelle Targaryen were Aegon’s five children with Betha Blackwood. Duncan’s wedding to Jenny of Oldstones, for whom he abdicated as heir to the Iron Throne, became well-known. Aegon’s son Jaehaerys secretly married his daughter Shaera, who would inherit the Iron Throne after Aegon’s death in 259 AC, despite his hatred for the Targaryens’ history of incest.
Jaehaerys II Targaryen ascended the throne for barely three years, with the War of the Ninepenny Kings, the last of the Blackfyre Rebellions, being the most notable event during his reign. Ser Baristan Selmy of Game of Thrones put a stop to the rebellion by slaying Maelys the Monstrous in battle, and Jaehaerys named him to the Kingsguard as a result. Jaehaerys was succeeded by his son Aerys II, whom he had forced to marry his daughter Rhaella after his death in 262 AC.
The events that closely preceded the timeline of Game of Thrones take place during the reign of King Aerys II Targaryen, also known as the Mad King. Aerys was notorious for his paranoia and fear of being poisoned or facing dangers to the lives of his children, interpreting any tiny act of defiance as a plot against him. Aerys’ passion for fire and wildfire grew quickly, and he began to punish criminals by burning them alive. Only three of Aerys and his sister’s children lived to adulthood: Rhaegar, Viserys, and Daenerys Targaryen.
Rhaegar, Aerys II’s eldest son, was quickly married to Elia Martell, who was recognized throughout the realm for his charm and fighting prowess. In Game of Thrones’ world, Rhaegar and Elia’s two children were both murdered during Robert’s Rebellion, which began after Rhaegar allegedly kidnapped Lyanna Stark, Robert Baratheon’s fiancee. Rhaegar was eventually killed in combat by Robert Baratheon at the Battle of the Trident. After Aerys II ordered the executions of famous lords and prepared to burn down the entire city of King’s Landing, Aerys was assassinated by Jaime Lannister, a knight of his Kingsguard. Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen, Aerys’ young children, were exiled to Pentos after Robert Baratheon claimed the Iron Throne.
Viserys’ scheme in Game of Thrones began when he married his sister Daenerys to Jason Momoa’s Khal Drogo in order to recapture the Iron Throne. Drogo, on the other hand, assassinated Viserys by pouring molten gold over his head, leaving Daenerys as the sole Targaryen heir to the Iron Throne. The Targaryen queen aspired to seize the Iron Throne in Westeros after gaining a huge following in Essos, where she got support from Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, and Lord Varys. After sacking King’s Landing, where she murdered thousands of innocent people while burning the city down, Daenerys would be named Queen of Westeros for just a short time.
Her rage drove Jon Snow to slay her in front of the Iron Throne, after which she was taken away by Drogon, her dragon. Jon Snow was revealed to be the trueborn son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark just before Daenerys took the Iron Throne, making him the true successor to Aegon VI Targaryen. However, a Great Council was convened to name Bran Stark as King of Westeros, effectively ending the Targaryen reign once more, with Jon being sent Beyond the Wall to dwell among the free folk.