House Targaryen

House Targaryen was among the forty dragonlords that ruled the Valyrian Freehold. They were among the smaller noble house of the empire.

The Definitive Glossary for Game of Thrones

House Targaryen is one of the ancient houses of the Valyrian Freehold. It is the only noble house of the fallen empire to survive the Doom of Valyria. After leaving Essos, the Targaryens migrated to Dragonstone in Westeros. After staying on the island for a while, Aegon Targaryen, the Conqueror, took his dragon and armies on a conquest of the continent. He succeeded and created the Iron Throne, leading to the formation of the Seven Kingdoms. Being the most powerful family on the continent, the Targaryens ruled as Kings until King Aerys II Targaryen’s death.

House Targaryen Details

  • Name: House Targaryen.
  • Year Founded: Before 114 BC.
  • Sigil: A three-headed red dragon breathing flames on a black background.
  • Titles: Dragonlord, Lord of Dragonstone, King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men. Protector of the Realm, Prince of Dragonstone, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, Prince of Summerhall, Queen of Meereen.
  • Current Head: Queen Daenerys Targaryen.
  • Other Living Members: Aegon VI Targaryen.
  • Region of Power: Valyrian Freehold, Westeros, Slaver’s Bay.
  • Words: “Fire and Blood.”

Physical Appearance

As they are of Valyrian descent, the Targaryens are beautiful people who have garnered the praise of many for centuries. They have pale skin and golden, silvery, or platinum-colored hair. Their eyes range from sparkling blue to lustrous purple. Because of their genetics, they can withstand heat more than others. However, they are not immune to fire. Though some of them possess the ability to get premonitions of the future, the Targaryens are susceptible to madness. A theory for this is inbreeding, which they fervently practiced.

Customs and Religion

House Targaryen takes most of its customs from the Valyrian Freehold. It adopted a three-headed fire-breathing dragon as its sigil to represent the conquering of Westeros by Aegon and his sisters, Rhaenys Targaryen and Visenya Targaryen. Throughout the years, many Targaryen Kings used variations of the sigil for their coat of arms. After landing on Westeros, the Targaryens made Dragonstone the seat of the heir apparent. They also created Summerhall for younger princes.

Before reaching Westeros, the Targaryens served the gods of Valyria. However, they became followers of the Faith of the Seven. Though with a new faith, they kept to Valyrian customs like incest; this led to problems with the Faith and would eventually lead to a conflict that led to the outlaw of the Faith Militant

Incest ran deep in House Targaryen. Brothers married their sisters and cousins and would look for others of pure Valyrian descent. Believing inbreeding kept their blood pure, the Targaryens seldom wedded outside their family. When a Targayne died, they got cremated according to the customs of the fallen Freehold. When the dragons lived, their flame got used for cremation.


When his daughter predicted the empire’s downfall, Lord Aenar left Essos with five dragons to Dragonstone. Aegon and his sisters rode three dragons, Balerian, Vhagar, and Meraxes, on their conquest of the Seven Kingdoms. However, while fighting Dorne in the first Dornish War, Meraxes, Rhaenys’s dragon, got killed by a scorpion bolt. Though more dragons were born, conflicts within House Targaryen led to a Civil War, the Dance of the Dragons, which caused their extinction. Before their deaths, the dragons of House Targaryen stayed in the Dragonpit of King’s Landing.

The Targaryens practiced the custom of gifting dragon eggs to babies while they were in the cradle. The tradition continued even after the last dragon’s death, and many attempts to hatch dragons failed till Daenerys Targaryen’s time.



House Targaryen got founded before 114 BC as one of the forty noble houses of the Valyrian Empire. It was not one of the great houses in the empire. Later, Daenys Targaryen the Dreamer had a premonition of the Valyrian Freehold getting destroyed. After her dream, her father, Lord Aenar, relocated his family, slaves, wealth, and dragons to the island of Dragonstone, the westernmost outpost of the empire. Twelve years after leaving Essos, the Fourteen Fires erupted, and the Valyrian Freehold got destroyed. Of the five dragons brought to Dragonstone, four died. However, Vhagar and Meraxes got hatched.

After the Valyrian Freehold’s destruction, the Century of Blood began as Volantis tried to seize power for itself. After getting approached by Pentos and Tyrosh, Lord Aegon Targaryen flew atop his dragon Balerion and destroyed the Volantene fleet, ending the war.

The Conquest

About one hundred years after the Doom of Valyria, Aegon I Targaryen planned to unite all Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, namely the Kingdom of the Reach, Kingdom of the North, Kingdom of the Storm, Kingdom of the Rock, Kingdom of the Mountain and Vale, Kingdom of the Isles and Rivers, and Principality of Dorne.

In 2 BC, Aegon landed at the mouth of Blackwater Rush and began his conquest. Aegon extinguished all opposition with the help of his sisters and their dragons. Two years later, he got anointed by the High Septon at Oldtown as King of Six Kingdoms because Dorne resisted fervently. Among the houses that got annihilated were House Hoare and House Gardener.

After his conquest, Aegon built the Iron Throne and created King’s Landing as the capital. Unsatisfied, Aegon attacked Dorne. However, the Dornish Wars ended in a truce as Queen Rhaenys and her dragon Meraxes got killed by the Dornish forces. After her death, Prince Nymor Martell sent his daughter with Meraxes skull and a letter. On reading the letter, Aegon ended the war the next day.

Aegon’s Death

Upon his death, Aegon’s son Aenys I Targaryen became King. However, four rebellions began. With help from his brother Maegor and supporters like Lord Goren Greyjoy and Lord Royce of Runestone, Aenys shut all opposition to his reign. Though most of his enemies were dead, the Vulture King, with an army of thirty thousand, and Harren the Red remained. Many marcher lords marched against the Vulture King and defeated him in battle. Later, Harren the Red got caught and killed by Lord Alyn Stokeworth, the Hand of the King. As Lord Alyn also died in battle, Aenys named Maegor the new Hand of the King.

The Faith of The Seven

After defeating his enemies, Aenys faced another opposition from the Faith of the Seven. Because they opposed the incestuous practices of the Targaryens, the High Septon opposed Maegor and Aenys’s infant daughter’s marriage. So the Hand of the King married Ceryse Hightower, the Septon’s daughter. 

When Maegor married a second wife, the Faith strongly opposed him and got exiled to Pentos. The Faith remained unhappy with the Targayens, and when Aenys married his oldest daughter Princess Rhaena to his son Prince Aegon, an uproar began, and the Faith Militant uprising began. When Aenys died, Maegor returned and assumed the throne. He would kill Aenys’s heir Aegon and crush the Faith Militant.

Jaehaerys the Old King

Maegors reign was cruel, and after his mysterious death, Jaehaerys the Conciliator became King. As a wise ruler, his reign lasted fifty-five years, and he made peace with the Faith. When his heir Prince Aemon died, he called the Great Council to order in 101 AC. The council agreed that Prince Viserys should become King.

The Dance of the Dragons

After his first’s wife’s death, King Viserys Targaryen crowned his daughter Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen heir. He later married Ser Otto Hightower’s daughter Alicent Hightower and had three sons, Aegon, Daeron, and Aemond Targaryen. Though formerly friends, Alicent and Rhaenyra became rivals, and two factions got formed, the Blacks, supporting the crown princess, and the Greens, supporting Alicent. Though Rhaenyra married Laenor Velaryon, she never conceived his child as Ser Harwin Strong fathered her children Joffrey, Lucerys, and Jacaerys Velaryon.

Upon King Viserys’s death, Queen Alicent and Ser Criston Cole defied his wishes and crowned Alicent’s eldest son, Aegon, King; this made Rhaenyra declare war. The Dance of the Dragons lasted for two years and saw the death of all the Targaryen dragons. Even after Rhaenyra’s death, her son by Daemon, Aegon the Younger, assumed the throne after Aegon II got poisoned. After the War, Aegon III became King, and his younger brother Viserys became the Hand of the King.

The War on Dorne

After Aegon III’s death, his son Daeron I Targaryen became King. With an ambition to conquer Dorne like the first Aegon Targaryen, Daeron attacked the kingdom and captured it for a year. However, the Dornish folk rebelled and killed Daeron when he tried to negotiate peace. After his bloody reign and death, Baelor I Targaryen assumed the throne and betrothed his cousin Prince Daeron to Princess Myriah Martell. 

Baelor also dissolved his marriage with his sister Daena and locked her in the Maidenvault with Rhaena and Elaena. The new King focused on spiritual matters and built a new Sept, the Great Sept. When Daena escaped the Maidenvault and gave birth to a son, Baelor fasted for forty days. He collapsed on the forty-first day and died later. After his death, Prince Viserys, who remained the Hand of the King, became King and ruled for a year.

The Blackfyre Rebellions

After Viserys II’s death, Aegon IV became King. He fathered many bastards and publicly accepted Daena’s son, Daemon Waters, as his child. After handing the Targaryen family sword Blackfyre to Daemon, many people started believing Daemon would be the next King.

As the relationship between Aegon and his heir Prince Daeron deteriorated, rumors spread that Aemon Targaryen fathered Daeron. On his deathbed, Aegon IV legitimized all his bastards, leading to more problems. Dorned swore to the Iron Throne after Maron Martell married Daenerys Targaryen, Daeron’s sister. Because Prince Baelor looked more like the Martells, the lords favored Daemon Blackfyre over him. When Daemon tried claiming the Iron Throne, the First Blackfyre Rebellion began and ended in Daemon and his sons’ deaths.

The Second Blackfyre Rebellion

Though most of Daeron’s reign was peaceful, his son Baelor died defending the hedge knight Ser Duncan. After the Prince’s death, the Great Spring sickness ravaged most of Westeros, killing thousands, including Daeron II and his immediate heirs. Aerys I Targaryen became King, but Daemon II Blackfyre incited a rebellion. He got captured and later died. Upon his death, Haegon I Blackfyre led the Golden Company to claim the Iron Throne. However, he died, and Aegor got captured and sent to the Night’s Watch. Aegor escaped and crowned Haegon’s son Daemon II Blackfyre.

King Aerys II Targaryen faced other problems like drought and rebellions. He got succeeded by Maekar Targaryen, who died leading an attack against the Peake Uprising. With Maekar’s death, succession became an issue as the only remaining candidate for the throne was Aegon V Targaryen, also known as Egg. 

A Great Council met, and although Aemon Targaryen got offered the throne, he rejected the offer as he was a maester; this led to Aegon V’s ascension. Though his reign was rocky, Aegon V created many reforms to help the smallfolk. When his first son Duncan broke his wedding to Lord Lyonel Baratheon’s daughter, a rebellion began, leading to Lyonel’s death. Aegon V later died in a fire at the Tragedy of Summerhall, and his son Jaehaerys became King.

War of the Ninepenny Kings

After Jaehaerys’s ascension, the Band of Nine, according to an agreement, invaded Westeros for one of its members, Maelys I Blackfyre. However, they got defeated, and after Jaehaerys II’s death, his son Aerys became King. Though his reign started well, Aerys drew closer to madness and got called the Mad King. When his son Prince Rhaegar Targaryen allegedly kidnapped Lyanna Stark, her brother and father, Brandon, and Rickard Stark, demanded justice but got killed; this led to Robert Baratheon rebelling against the Iron Throne. 

Robert’s Rebellion succeeded, and Aerys II and his heir Rhaegar died. Though Rhaegar’s wife, Elia Martell, and her children got killed, Aerys sent his pregnant wife and son, Viserys, to Dragonstone. Queen Rhaella gave birth to Daenerys and died shortly, leaving only the infant girl and her brother. When Robert asked Stannis Baratheon to seize Dragonstone, Ser Willem Darry took the Targaryen offspring to Essos. He died, leaving them alone, and eventually, they got taken in by Magister Illyrio Mopatis of Pentos.

Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire

A Game of Thrones

In Essos, Daenerys and her brother Viserys stay with Magister Illyrio Mopatis at Pentos. To get an army to invade Westeros, Viserys gives his sister Daenerys to Khal Drogo of the Dothraki. She gets gifted three dragon eggs during her wedding. Meanwhile, in King’s Landing, King Robert Baratheon sends a message offering lordship to whoever kills Daenerys. 

While in Vaes Dothrak, Viserys goes against the Dothraki customs and gets killed by having Molten gold poured on him. Khal Drogo gets wounded in battle, and Dany asks a Maegi Mirri Maz Duur to help cure her husband. However, the witch uses blood magic and kills Dany’s unborn son. Drogo dies, and Dany enters his funeral fire with her dragon eggs. She comes out with three dragons, Drogon, Viserion, and Rhaegal.

On the Wall, Maester Aemon helps Jon Snow make Samwell Tarly his servant. When Jon learns of his father’s arrest, Aemon narrates how he watched his family members get killed during Robert’s Rebellion.

A Clash of Kings

Daenerys leads her Khalasar to Quarth, where she visits the House of the Undying. After Drogon burns the house, she tries to leave the city but gets attacked by a Sorrowful Man. Arstan Whitebeard and Belways save her from the man and tell her about Illyrio Mopatis asking for her return to Pentos.

A Storm of Swords

On her way to Pentos, Ser Jorah Mormont advises Daenerys to head for Astapor instead and get an army of the Unsullied. On reaching the city, Dany meets Kraznys and Missandei. She gains command of the Unsullied and sacks Astapor. After freeing the slaves, she heads to Yunkai, where she negotiates with Stormcrows. She releases the slaves of Yunkai and marches for Meereen. After conquering the city, Dany becomes its Queen. She sends Jorah into exile for spying on her for the Iron Throne.

A Feast for Crows

Fearing Melisandre of Asshai, the Red Priestess of R’hllor, will sacrifice Measter Aemon as he is of Targaryen descent, Jon Snow, the new commander of the Night’s Watch, sends Sam and the maester to the Citadel in Old Town. However, on the way, Aemon dies. Before passing away, Aemon asks of Daenerys and learns about her and her dragons.

A Dance with Dragons

With the Sons of the Harpy killing people in Meereen, Daenerys marries Hizdahr zo Loraq to end the violence. She agrees to reopen the fighting pits in the city. However, Drogon, her long-lost dragon, appears in one of the fights. To save everyone, Dany takes off on him. With her disappearance, Yunkai besieges Meereen and tells Hizdahr to kill Viserion and Rhaegal for peace. Meanwhile, Drogon takes Dany to the Dothraki Sea, and she hallucinates many events.

In Westeros, Prince Rhaegar Targayen’s son, Aegon VI, reappears with an army of the Golden Company. He begins raiding the continent, and when Ser Kevan Lannister tries to stop him, he gets killed by Lord Varys, who reveals he has been working for the Tarharyens.

Relevance in Adaptations

House Targaryen is the primary house in HBO’s Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon. In Game of Thrones, Daenerys returns to Westeros after conquering the cities of Slaver’s Bay. She teams up with Jon Snow to reclaim her rightful position as Queen. However, it got revealed that Jon Snow is her nephew and the original heir to the Iron Throne. Though Jon refuses to take the position, he kills Dany after she destroys King’s Landing.

The current HBO tv series House of the Dragon shows the history of the Targaryen Civil War, the Dance of the Dragon. Starring Matt Smith as Prince Daemon, Milly Alcock, and Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhynaera, the show will show how the terrible conflict of the Targaryen led to the death of the dragons and the reduction of their power.

House Targaryen: The House of Fire and Blood

As the most important House in A Song of Ice and Fire, House Targaryen is the remnant of a fallen empire. Though the Targaryen ruled the Seven Kingdoms, they had so many flaws, and the lack of paying attention to those flaws led to their loss of power. Their desire for perfection led to their madness, pride, and eventual destruction.


What happened to House Targaryen after the Dance of the Dragons?

After the Targaryen Civil War, all the dragons died, drastically reducing the power the Targaryens had in Westeros. They continued ruling as the royal family until Robert’s Rebellion. With King Aerys II Targaryen’s death, House Targaryen’s influence faded in Westeros. However, Daenerys Targaryen started gaining power in Essos and rose to become the Queen of Meereen.

Who are the last Targaryens?

There are two Targaryens left in A Song of Ice and Fire, Aegon VI Targaryen, Rhaegar Targaryen’s son, and Daenerys I Targaryen, King Aerys II Targaryen’s daughter.

What happened to Prince Viserys Targaryen?

After traveling to Essos, Magister Illyrio Mopatis of Pentos took in viserys and his sister Daenerys. To become King of the Seven Kingdoms, Viserys gives his sister to Khal Drogo, a Dothraki warlord, hoping to get an army in return. However, when the Khal delays, Viserys angrily demands an army while pulling out a sword in Vaes Dothrak. For committing sacrilege, he gets killed with molten gold.

Who became King after the Dance of the Dragons?

Daemon and Rhaenyra Targaryen’s son, Aegon III Targaryen, became the King after the Dance of the Dragon. Though the Blacks eventually succeeded, they lost Daemon and Rhaenyra.

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