House Of The Dragon: The Targaryen Family Tree, Explained

House Of The Dragon: The Targaryen Family Tree, Explained
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Families are always complicated but probably none more so than in George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones universe. One family in Westeros that is particularly complicated, as we’ll learn in House of the Dragon, is the Targaryens.

First introduced to us in Game of Thrones via Emilia Clarke’s Daenerys Targaryen, House of the Dragon will take us back hundreds of years before the Mother of Dragons even existed, to a time when the Targaryen dynasty reigned supreme.

But who are all these new Targaryen characters and how do they all relate to each other and how do they all relate to Daenerys?

George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood is the best source of information for this. But in lieu of reading all 700 pages of that, let’s break down the main players in the Targaryen family tree.

The Targaryen family tree explained

Aegon the Conquerer

balerion aegon tagaryen
Image: HBO

The Targaryen family’s reign of power in Westeros began with Aegon Targaryen, aka Aegon the Conquerer, who became the first Lord of the Seven Kingdoms.

Aegon’s power was bolstered by his dragon, the legendary Balerion the Black Dread (whose skull is kept within the walls of the Red Keep).

As is a tradition within the Targaryen family, Aegon married within the family and actually took both of his sisters (Rhaenys and Visenya) as wives. It was Aegon’s son with Rhaenys, Aenys I, who continued the Targaryen line.

Jaehaerys I, the Old King

 

Great grandson of Aegon

Fast-forward a couple of kings and we come to Jaehaerys I. Jahaerys was the fourth king of Westeros and the longest-reigning Targaryen monarch at 55 years.

Despite having many children over his lifetime, when it came time for Jaehaerys to name a successor there were a few conflicting options.

To help determine the next heir he called a Great Council of all the lords of Westeros who pronounced that his grandson Viserys take the throne, instead of Jaehaerys’ granddaughter Rhaenys, who technically had the better claim as the daughter of his third child Aemon (Viserys was the son of his fourth child).

Jaehaerys is important to House of the Dragon as it is his matter of succession that kickstarts the story.

Viserys I

Image: HBO/Binge

Grandson of Jaehaerys I

Viserys Targaryen is the fifth King of Westeros and one of the main characters in House of the Dragon, played by Paddy Considine.

Viserys’ ascension to the throne was welcomed by the Lords of Westeros, but not so much by his cousin Rhaenys, which has always caused some tension in the family. However, it’s generally agreed upon that he’s a good and fair king.

Unfortunately, like his grandfather before him, Viserys’ succession is put under pressure after he is unable to conceive a son with his wife Aemma. So instead he must choose between his daughter Rhaenyra and his brother Daemon.

As we’ll see in House of the Dragon, Viserys does eventually marry again and has more children, but he stays true to his commitment to Rhaenyra succeeding him.

Rhaenys Targaryen

(Image: HBO/Binge)

Granddaughter of Jaehaerys I, cousin of Viserys I

Rhaenys Targaryen (second of her name, played by Eve Best in House of the Dragon) was the grandchild of the Old King, Jahaerys, and once considered the true heir to the throne, but was passed over by the Great Council so eventually picked up the moniker ‘the Queen who never was’.

She rides the dragon Meleys and is married to Lord Corlys Velaryon (played by Steve Toussaint), who is the Lord of Ships on Viserys’ small council.

Daemon Targaryen

house of the dragon
Image: HBO/Binge

Brother of Viserys I

Daemon (played by Matt Smith), has one of the most legitimate claims to his brother’s throne just by the fact he is male. But when Viserys chooses his daughter over his brother, Daemon has to resort to other tactics (i.e. marriage) for a shot at power.

Daemon is sometimes referred to as the Rogue Prince and wields the Valyrian blade Dark Sister. He rides the dragon Caraxes.

Rhaenyra Targaryen

august streaming house of the dragon
Image: HBO/Binge

Daughter of Viserys I

Rhaenyra Targaryen (played by Millie Alcock and later Emma D’Arcy) is a prominent character in House of the Dragon.

After she is chosen as his heir, Viserys grooms Rhaneyra for a life of leadership. However, upon his death, her claim is disputed which leads to her leading the Blacks in a civil war within the Targaryen family known as the Dance of Dragons.

Rhaenyra rides the dragon Syrax, marries twice and bears five children, two of which go on to become Kings of Westeros.

Aerys II, The Mad King

mad king aerys targaryen family
Image: HBO

The next Targaryen many Game of Thrones fans will be familiar with is Aerys II, aka the Mad King.

Aerys comes many, many Targaryens down the line from the likes of Rhaenyra and Daemon. He is the 17th and final Targaryen King of Westeros. Paranoia led Aerys into madness and he began executing those around him without fair reason and ordering the burning of his enemies by wildfire. He was killed by Jaime Lannister during Robert’s Rebellion.

Of Aerys’ many children the notable ones include Rhaegar (who married Elia Martell and then, secretly, Lyanna Stark), Viserys (killed by Khal Drogo) and, of course, Daenerys.

Daenerys Targaryen

Image: Supplied

Daughter of Aerys II

Everyone’s familiar with Daenerys Targaryen by now, right? She starred in all eight seasons of Game of Thrones as the last surviving member of the Targaryen dynasty (or so we thought) and fought the entire way to reclaim her family’s place on the Iron Throne.

Dany was the first Targaryen to ride a dragon since they died out during Aegon III’s reign and eventually raised an army to march on King’s Landing and reclaim the throne from Cersei Lannister.

Unfortunately, her razing of King’s Landing didn’t sit well with her new subjects and she was assassinated by her lover, Jon Snow, apparently ending the Targaryen dynasty.

Jon Snow, aka Aegon Targaryen

jon snow series hbo
Image: HBO

Grandson of Aerys II, son of Rhaegar

Just kidding, there’s one more Targaryen to consider and that’s everyone’s favourite bastard, Jon Snow.

After seasons of speculation, it turned out Jon wasn’t a bastard after all and was actually the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. He was named Aegon at birth by his mother but disguised as a bastard by his uncle, Ned Stark, in order to keep him safe from Robert Baratheon’s vendetta against Targaryens.

He’s technically the true heir to the Iron Throne, but he doesn’t want it. We’ll see if that comes back to bite him in Jon Snow’s future spin-off series.


It’s safe to say the Targaryens are a confusing family, but hopefully this helps you unravel the many complicated ties in House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones.

We’ve tried not to spoil too much of the happenings in the Targaryen family so that some things remain a surprise in House of the Dragon. But if you’d like more details here’s a handy visual representation of the Targaryen family tree, or you can check out Fire & Blood which goes into detail on each of the characters.

All eight seasons of Game of Thrones are streaming now on Binge. House of the Dragon begins streaming on August 22.

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