Viserys Targaryen

To save him from the carnage in Westeros, Aerys sends Viserys Targaryen and his mother to Dragonstone, where she conceives Daenerys.

The Definitive Glossary for Game of Thrones

After Aerys Targaryen got killed by Jaime Lannister, Viserys Targaryen became King. However, the Iron Throne got taken by the leader of the rebellion, Robert Baratheon. Viserys and his sister got forced into hiding to save themselves from Robert, who intensely hated the Targaryens because Lyanna Stark, his betrothed, got kidnapped by Rhaegar. After escaping from Dragonstone, Viserys titled himself ‘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.’ However, he got nicknamed The Beggar King in the Free Cities of Essos.

Personal Details about Viserys

  • Name: Viserys III Targaryen.
  • Year of Birth: 276 AC in King’s Landing.
  • Year of Death: 298 Ac at Vaes Dothrak.
  • Parents: Aerys II Targaryen and Rhaella Targaryen.
  • Aliases: King Viserys III, The Beggar King, Khal Rhae Mhar, Khal Rhaggat.
  • Titles: Prince of Dragonstone, King of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Protector of the Realm, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms.
  • Eye Color: Lilac
  • Hair Color: Silver-blond.
  • Culture: Valyrian.
  • Religion: Faith of the Seven.

Appearance and Personality

Viserys Targaryen has the beautiful typical Valyrian features of having lilac eyes, silver-blond hair, and pale skin. He was a beautiful child, but with the trials of his exile hitting hard on him, he became haggard and had a blurry look in his eyes. After reaching Essos, Viserys got the nickname The Beggar King because he had lost all his wealth. However, he dressed in wool and silken clothes and wore a borrowed sword to appear as someone of high standing.

Viserys was known to be a foolish, impatient, irritable, and stupid man. He had a particular madness that made him cruel towards others, especially his sister, Daenerys. Holding the grudge and pain of having to become an exile, he began lusting after the Iron Throne. Over time, his lust grew into an obsession. His anger grew, and he termed it ‘waking the dragon.’ As time went by, Viserys got crazier and plunged deeper into the madness of wanting his father’s throne at any cost. It later got revealed by Barristan Selmy that he had shown signs of being sick.


Early Life

Viserys was born in 276 AC at King’s Landing. He was a miracle child, the second son of Aerys II and Rhaella, after seventeen years of stillbirths, miscarriages, and infant deaths. Upon his birth, Aerys held a massive celebration and began handling him with extra caution. As the Mad King’s paranoia grew, he became increasingly scared that everyone was out to get him and his son. He placed guards to protect his wife all day and tasked his food taster to drink from his son’s wet nurse’s breasts.

Aerys burned every gift sent to celebrate his son’s birth and even restricted anyone but his wife and himself from attending a tournament held by Lord Tywin Lannister in honor of Viserys’s birth. Even when Rhaegar Targaryen married Elia Martell in the Great Sept of Baelor, Aerys prevented his infant son from attending.

Robert’s Rebellion

In 282 AC, Robert incited a rebellion against the Iron Throne. Rhaegar, Aerys’s heir, got killed at the Battle of the Trident, and Viserys became the heir in favor of Aegon Targaryen, Elia’s infant son. Fearing the war may lead to his defeat, Aerys sent his son and pregnant wife, Rhaella, to Dragonstone. After he got killed by Ser Jaime Lannister, Viserys got crowned King.

Nine months after fleeing King’s Landing, Rhaella conceived Viserys’s sister Daenerys. She died giving birth to her daughter during a storm that destroyed most of the Targaryen Fleet at Dragonstone. After defeating Aerys, Robert, the Usurper, got crowned King, built a new fleet, and sent his brother, Stannis Baratheon, to capture Dragonstone. However, before Stannis reaches, Ser Willem Darry and four men smuggle Viserys and his sister out of the island to the Braavos.


Upon reaching Braavos, Willem Darry took Viserys and his sister under protection in a house with a red door. To regain control over the Iron Throne of Westeros, he secretly signed a wedding pact with Oberyn Martell stating that Viserys and Arianne Martell, Prince Doran Martell’s daughter, would get married and Dorne would support Viserys when he came of age. Unfortunately, Willem fell ill and passed away.

After Willem’s death, Viserys and his sister got robbed of what they had left by the servants. They got forced onto the streets and began traveling from one Free City to another as guests of powerful nobles. They traveled from Myr to Tyrosh, Qohor, Volantis, and Lys. Scared that Robert Baratheon had men after them, Viserys never stayed in one place and moved to prevent an assassination attempt on him and his sister. He tried rallying people to support his cause, but he got laughed at, and in a moment of desperation, he sold everything he held dear, including his mother’s crown; this made him intensely resentful.

As his anger grew, Viserys started hating his sister. He blamed her for their mother’s death and abused her physically. He began teaching her all he knew about Westeros and told her the Targaryen bloodline had to be kept pure. He eventually arrived in Pentos, where he met Magister Illyrio Mopatis, who swore to help him in his cause to become King. To prevent the Beggar King from sleeping with his sister, Illyrio gifts him Doreah.

Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire

A Game of Thrones

With his claim as the true King of Westeros, Viserys meets Illyrio Mopatis, who takes an interest in making him King in exchange for becoming the master of coin at King’s Landing. Illyrio organizes a wedding between Daenerys and Khal Drogo. Believing he can collect the Iron throne from Robert with ten thousand Dothraki men, House Tyrell, Martell, Greyjoy, Redwyne, and Darry, Viserys agrees to the wedding and lists the names of people he will kill, including Jaime Lannister, the Kingslayer.

Before Daenerys gets married to Drogo, Viserys tries to take her maidenhead, but Illyrio prevents him from doing so. At the wedding feast outside the city, he meets Jorah Mormont, who swears himself into his service. He also threatens his sister to please Drogo, stating she will see him get intensely angry if she does not.

Though angry that he got treated as a second-class person during his sister’s wedding, Viserys decides to follow his sister and her husband to Vaes Dothrak. However, he grows hateful toward the Dothraki culture and tries hurting his sister. Jhoggo steps in for Daenerys and asks if he should kill Viserys, but she tells him not to and instead forces him to walk barefoot with no horse, an act that emasculates him in the eyes of the Dothraki.

Upon reaching Vaes Dothrak, Daenerys tries to reconcile with Viserys, but her efforts get thwarted as he mocks her. He then tries to steal her dragon eggs but gets stopped by Jorah. Later, he gets drunk and pulls out his blade in Vaes Dothrak, an act punishable by death. He demands Drogo give him an army, but the warlord melts his golden belt and pours it over him, killing him.

Appearance in Adaptations

In HBO’s Game of Thrones, Viserys’s character got portrayed by Harry Lloyd. He had a similar story arc to the novels and got killed by Khal Drogo with molten gold. In honor of her brother, Daenerys names one of her dragons Viserion.

Viserys: The Beggar King

Though Viserys comes off as a villain, his character had one of the most tragic pasts. First, he got taken from King’s Landing at a young age and traveled with his mother, who he watched die giving birth to his sister. Upon his mother’s death, he watched as his protector, Willem, died, and in the blink of an eye, he lost everything and got forced to become a beggar.

Viserys watched as everyone scorned him for his ambitions of wanting the Iron Throne, a throne that was his. As he faced the world’s cruelty, he got twisted, and every negative emotion, from resentment to cruelty, began thriving in his mind. Though Viserys was cruel, he became the way he was because of how broken his childhood was and how fragile his mind became from the trauma of war.


How does Viserys Targaryen die?

Viserys gets killed by Khal Drogo after violating the Dothraki law of not pulling a weapon in Vaes Dothrak. Drunk, the Beggar King threatened Daenerys and ordered Drogo to give him an army to march into Westeros. However, the Khal pours molten gold on him, killing him.

Why did Viserys die in the books?

Viserys died because of his cruelty and stupidity. He thought he could continually bully everyone into getting his way and made the stupid mistake of disregarding the Dothraki customs; this led to his death.

Who is Viserys Targaryen to Daenerys?

Viserys Targaryen is the elder brother to Daenerys and the younger brother to Rhaegar Targaryen. He and his mother fled King’s Landing when Aerys realized the rebellion was intense.

How are Viserys and Rhaenys Targaryen related?

Rhaenys is Viserys’s mother and the wife of Aerys II Targaryen, the Mad King. She left King’s Landing for Dragonstone after Robert’s Rebellion started. She died giving birth to her daughter, Daenerys.

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