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This article is about the Great House. For the special feature, see: House Targaryen (Complete Guide to Westeros)

"Half the Targaryens went mad, didn't they? What's the saying? 'Every time a Targaryen is born the gods flip a coin.'"
Cersei Lannister to Tyrion Lannister[src]

The banner of House Targaryen, the royal house of Westeros.

House Targaryen of Dragonstone is an exiled Great House of Westeros and the former royal House of the Seven Kingdoms. House Targaryen conquered and unified the realm before it was deposed during Robert's Rebellion and House Baratheon replaced it as the new royal House. The two surviving Targaryens, Viserys and Daenerys, fled into exile to the Free Cities of Essos across the Narrow Sea. House Lannister replaced House Baratheon as the royal House following the destruction of the Great Sept of Baelor, but the realm was reconquered by Daenerys Targaryen, retaking the Iron Throne following the Battle of King's Landing. After she laid waste to a surrendered King's Landing, Daenerys was assassinated by Jon Snow to prevent further destruction. Jon became the last known living member of House Targaryen and his identity as the son of Rhaegar Targaryen is kept hidden from Westeros. He is exiled to the Night's Watch for the assassination of Daenerys. The bloodline of House Targaryen also still exists in various houses, such as House Baratheon, House Velaryon, and House Martell.

House Targaryen's sigil is a three-headed red dragon on a black background, and their house words are "Fire and Blood."[1]

History

Background

House Targaryen was one of the forty dragonlords of the Valyrian Freehold, an empire that rose in Essos and dominated much of the known world. Due to their mastery of dragons, and thus sorcery, they had no real opposition to contend with. Using dragonfire and magic, they built their grand capital city of Valyria, which was unmatched in quality in the east.

The Valyrian Freehold's reign would continue until the Doom of Valyria, a cataclysmic event that ultimately fractured the mighty empire and left the Targaryens as the last surviving dragonlords, due to Daenys the Dreamer having foreseen the disaster and convincing her father to leave their capital take their family to Dragonstone, in spite of their rivals' sneers. Dragonstone would become the seat of their power, due to it's importance in their survival, and Aegon Targaryen would end the Century of Blood after Valyria's fall by joining the Free Cities' side against Volantis.

After a century of isolation, Aegon, disinterested in the eastern lands of his ancestors, which he saw as old and withered, looked west to the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, which he sought to conquer and unify into one realm, with the aid of his dragons and his sister-wives Rhaenys and Visenya. Using the three last living dragons of the world, they first flew over the continent and mapped it on Dragonstone in the Painted Table, which was engulfed in war between seven dynasties. At first, he was approached by Argillac Durrandon, the latest Storm King ruling the Kingdom of the Stormlands, who was seeking an alliance against the ironborn led by House Hoare, who were constructing Harrenhal for more conquests. He offered lands and his daughter for marriage, but Aegon refused, offering his friend Orys Baratheon's hand in marriage, which was firmly rejected.

Faced with defiance, Aegon set his conquest into motion. Preparing his armada to sail for Westeros, he send ravens to all lords in the Seven Kingdoms to announce his conquest, stating he will will be the only King in all of Westeros, and those who bent the knee to his authority would keep all lands and titles, while those that resisted would be destroyed. Landing at the mouth of the Blackwater River, he raised his castle of Aegonfort in the disputed lands of his chief opponents Harren and Argilac. Following Westerosi customs, he unfurled his own banner of a three-headed red dragon on a black field. Visenya crowned him with a red circlet of Valyrian steel while Rhaenys hailed him as the continent's high king. Aegon and his loyal friends formed the first small council under Orys Baratheon, the King's strong right hand, which became the official title of Hand of the King.

Aegon first decided to contend with the ironborn under House Hoare, who had plundered the Riverlands for centuries for resources and thralls to build a worthy seat of power. Constructing Harrenhal, the largest castle in Westeros meant to ensure lasting ironborn domination, was done on the same day Aegon had landed on Westeros. Harren the Black came with his ironborn banners to oppose the Conqueror, but after centuries of being plundered and beggared, the riverlords supported the Targaryens. Harrenhal's walls were too high and too thick, and well-stocked enough to withstand a siege. During a parley outside the castle, Aegon offered to confirm Harren as Lord of the Iron Islands, provided he would yield. Harren refused, trusting in the strength of his castle, confident that the stone would not burn. Aegon warned him that the line of House Hoare would come to an end that night, at which Harren returned to his castle. Descending from the sky atop Balerion, Aegon used dragonflame against the great castle, and Harren and his sons died in the burning of Harrenhal.

The next day Aegon accepted an oath of fealty from Edmyn Tully, and named him Lord Paramount of the Trident. The other river lords did homage as well, to Aegon as king and Edmyn as liege lord of the riverlands. The melted swords of Harren's ironborn were sent to the Aegonfort. Meanwhile, the majority of his forces marched under Orys Baratheon and Queen Rhaenys Targaryen astride Meraxes against the cause of the conquest, the Storm King Argilac Durrandon. Unwilling to suffer the fate of House Hoare and perish in his own seat of power, he called his banners to give open battle to Orys Baratheon. Having known Argilac's approach through Meraxes, Orys prepared for the confrontation, seizing the high ground and digging in on the hills to wait for Argilac. Orys Baratheon's Targaryen host would battle against House Durrandon in the Last Storm, due to the stormy weather at the time. Despite outnumbering the Baratheon host two to one, Argilac's forces began to splinter due to the mud and the steep hills. They frantically went up the hills and attacked the Baratheons from above, who were blinded by the rain. Although the Baratheon line broke, Queen Rhaenys, astride Meraxes, set Argillac's host ablaze with Argillac himself falling off his horse. Meeting Orys Baratheon in the battlefield, Argilac fell in combat, and his defiant daughter Argella was given to Orys in chains. Honoring the last Storm King's courage, Orys took the arms, banner, and words of House Durrandon for his own, marrying Argella, founding House Baratheon, the Great House of the Stormlands, with Storm's End as his seat.

After his successful conquest of both the Riverlands and the Stormlands, two great western kings made common cause and assembled their own armies to repel the Targaryen invasion. The King of the Rock, Loren of House Lannister, and the King of the Reach, Mern IX of House Gardener assembled the largest host in Westeros, comprising of fifty-five thousand strong, with over five thousand knights and began marching north to face the Targaryen army, confident that a large host will prevail over a smaller one and three dragons. With a force five times that of the Conqueror, both Kings were self-assured of a victory, having a wide plain with firm ground and clear skies, which allowed the use of mounted cavalry and archers. But the Targaryens were also free to use the dragons as the field was devoid of any crops and was bone-dry.

Both hosts began to charge, with House Gardener's mounted knights smashing through the center and House Lannister attacking from the left flank. The charge of their knights began to break the Targaryen army, but Aegon and his sisters took flight and unleashed their dragons, setting ablaze the dry fields, not the soldiers. Having promised no mercy against defiance, over five thousand died in this Field of Fire, and tens of thousands were wounded in the deployment of all three Targaryen dragons on the battlefield, with House Gardener dying in the inferno, and being succeeded by House Tyrell as Lords of the Reach and Wardens of the South, and Loren escaping the firestorm and getting captured the next day, along with his forces. Yielding to Aegon, along with his bannermen, he was spared and allowed to remain Lord of Casterly Rock, as the first Warden of the West.

After his victory over the Westerlands and the Reach, the King in the North at the time, Torrhen Stark, gathered his lords at Winterfell to convene on the threat of the Targaryen dragons, and commanded them to assemble the largest Northern host since the Long Night, and descend from the North, crossing the Neck into the Riverlands, arriving at the Trident. After being suggested to resist by giving open battle or retreating to Moat Cailin or even assassinating the slumbering dragons or their riders while they slept, Torrhen Stark, reflecting on the Burning of Harrenhal and the Field of Fire, which proved the ineffectiveness of large castles and large armies against dragons, he crossed the Trident under a flag of parley, surrendering his crown and remaining Lord of Winterfell and the first Warden of the North.

Following the Vale of Arryn sealing itself off against the Targaryen incursion, with House Arryn, under Queen Sharra Arryn and her son Ronnel, retreating to their seat at the Eyrie above the Mountains of the Moon high in the clouds, feeling secure against the rest of Westeros below, until the Queen saw her son on the knee of Queen Visenya Targaryen, playing with her dragon Vhagar, both of whom had simply flown over the Bloody Gate into the Eyrie's courtyard. Ignorant of his situation, his mother surrendered her crown, and Ronnel was allowed to ride Vhagar thrice and House Arryn remained as Lords of the Eyrie and Wardens of the East.

After his securing of the North, Aegon marched to Oldtown, the heart of Westeros at the time as the seat of the Faith of the Seven. During his landing, the High Septon locked himself and fasted for a week and then choose to submit to the Conqueror instead of letting the city burn, welcoming the Targaryens into the city and officially crowning Aegon as "Aegon of House Targaryen, First of His Name, King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm." The official declaration of the ruling monarchy would also affect time itself, as events would thereafter be recorded as Before and After Conquest. Instead of making Dragonstone or Oldtown his capital, he instead declared the new city that had sprouted around Aegonfort, King's Landing, named after his feat, the capital of his new realm. He then gathered the swords of all his enemies and used Balerion to forge them into the Iron Throne.

Although Queen Rhaenys Targaryen was sent by her brother to Dorne to conquer the last of the Seven Kingdoms, she was defied openly by the elderly Princess of Dorne, Meria Martell, at her seat of Sunspear, declaring they will never submit to the Targaryens under any circumstances and remain "unbowed, unbent, unbroken", refusing to openly battle them on the field or kneel before them, and told the unwanted queen to leave Dorne, for which Rhaenys vowed to return with "fire and blood". Ultimately, the Yellow Toad's promise would come true as Dorne was never successfully conquered. This makes them unique among all of the Great Houses. During the Targaryen Conquest (three centuries before the War of the Five Kings), Dorne was the only region of the Seven Kingdoms to successfully resist the Targaryens and their dragons.

Realizing that large armies could not stand against dragons (as seen at the Field of Fire), nor large castles (as seen at the Burning of Harrenhal), the Dornish instead resorted to guerrilla warfare, ambushing Targaryen soldiers and harassing their supply lines as soon as their dragons moved on to the next castle, then disappearing back into the harsh deserts when the dragons returned. The Dornish armies took advantage of Dorne's arid climate, which helped them to adopt attrition warfare against the invading Targaryens, as the arid climate and harsh wastelands of Dorne cannot easily support large invading armies. Losing many men due to attrition along with Queen Rhaenys, ultimately even Aegon the Conqueror decided to withdraw from Dorne, to focus on reining in the other six newly conquered kingdoms.

House Targaryen would have to contend with Dornish retribution after their failed incursions through Aegon's son Aenys' reign. The outlaw called the Vulture King led an uprising against the Targaryens for the destruction they wrought, without support nor opposition from House Martell, the Great House of Dorne, causing one of the many rebellions that troubled the son of the Conqueror, out of vengeance, dissent, dreams of the old days and the fact that Aenys and his younger brother, Maegor, had both been born from incestuous marriages. Ultimately, the Vulture King's campaign would end in the Vulture Hunt, where he would be defeated, along with his army by Samwell Tarly. The other rebels soon fell to the lords of their respective domains and Aenys' own martially skilled brother Maegor.

House Targaryen's next challenge would come from the Faith of the Seven, the dominant religion of the Seven Kingdoms. Although the Targaryens converted to the Faith before the Conquest, they set themselves above it's laws, including it's ban on incestuous marriages and polygamy, the former of which was a Valyrian tradition. Although Aegon promised not to continue the tradition, King Aenys tactlessly wed his daughter to his own son. The incestuous marriage of Princess Rhaena and Prince Aegon broke the Targaryens' prior promise to the Faith, which could stand the abomination no longer. Maegor's taking of a second wife after his first one remained childless also angered the Faith. The new High Septon led the denunciation of the Targaryens, and the military order of the Faith of the Seven, the Faith Militant, rose up in open revolt.

King Aenys proved to be an utter weakling in the face of the revolt and was completely overwhelmed. As the Faith Militant attacked lords that still supported him across the Seven Kingdoms, one particularly zealous force of the order even managed to scale the walls of the (still under construction) Red Keep, and would have killed Aenys and the royal family if not for the intervention of the Kingsguard. Frightened, Aenys fled King's Landing entirely and retreated to the Targaryen fortress-refuge at Dragonstone - where he soon died of cramps brought on from the stress. Instead of his own children, Aenys was then succeeded by his younger half-brother Maegor, Aegon I's only child by Visenya. Maegor was his brother's exact opposite: a highly skilled warrior and brutal tyrant, quickly earning him the name "Maegor the Cruel".

King Maegor struck back against the Faith Militant. When he arrived in King's Landing his first act was to challenge their leaders to kill him in personal combat, if they believed his rule to be ungodly. The Faith accepted, and Ser Damon Morrigen proposed they hold a trial of seven - the more dangerous but theoretically more holy variant of a traditional trial by combat in which two teams of seven men fight each other. Many tales are told of their confrontation, Ser Damon and six of the Faith Militant against Maegor and members of his Kingsguard - but all the stories agree that at the end, out of all fourteen men only Maegor himself remained alive, proving that the throne was rightfully his. Having survived the trial of seven, Maegor promptly mounted the great black dragon Balerion - his father's old mount that Maegor mastered for himself upon his death - and flew it to the headquarters of the city's local chapter of the Faith Militant, at the Sept of Remembrance. Maegor used Balerion to burn down the sept and all who were inside while they were in the middle of the morning prayers. Hundreds of the Faith Militant burned to death, their screams echoing through the streets.

Maegor now demanded the complete destruction of the Faith Militant, and made war upon the order wherever he found it. Yet the Faith Militant would not surrender, raising its own armies across the realm, and turning some of Maegor's own lords against him. Many battles were fought as the uprising dragged on for years, lasting throughout all of Maegor's reign. In the end, Maegor died upon the Iron Throne itself. Maegor's cruelty died with him, however, as he was succeeded by Aenys's remaining son, who became King Jaehaerys I. The new king was an intelligent diplomat and a benevolent man, determined to restore peace to the realm. Wisely seeing the benefits of uniting the crown and Faith, Jaehaerys and his new Hand of the King reached an accord with the High Septon: as long as the Targaryens defended the Faith, the High Septon would disband the Faith Militant, and cease its condemnation of the Targaryens for their incestuous marriage practices. The surviving members of the Faith Militant would also be granted amnesty for putting down their swords.

The Great Council at Harrenhal was convened to determine the heir to the Iron Throne in the final years of old King Jaehaerys I Targaryen, grandson of Aegon the Conqueror. Jaehaerys outlived both of his sons, leading to a succession crisis. To avoid a civil war, an unprecedented council was held at Harrenhal in which every lord of Westeros, great or small, convened to decide the succession between Jaehaerys's grandchildren. After ascending the throne, King Viserys I Targaryen named his daughter Rhaenyra, his only surviving child by his first marriage, as his heir after the death of his second born son, Prince Baelon. After three sons had been born in his second marriage, Viserys was asked about the succession repeatedly, but he chose to ignore the precedents and Rhaenyra remained his heir.

Hostilities between Essos and Westeros would reignite after the Triarchy of the Free Cities of Myr, Lys and Tyrosh conquered the Stepstones and ended it's lawless ways, they would gain the resentment of the Seven Kingdoms after they made trade on the Narrow Sea highly taxed, among them the Sea Snake, Corlys Velaryon, the greatest Westerosi seafarer who allied with Prince Daemon Targaryen to make a new kingdom in the Stepstones by driving out the Triarchy, beginning a war against the Three Daughters for control of the Stepstones, which they would dominate with the aid of dragons against superior numbers, but would eventually be defeated by the Essosi conquerors with Dornish allies.

The war of succession emerged between the children of the late Viserys I Targaryen, his eldest daughter, Rhaenyra and his eldest son, Aegon II, over who should succeed their father to the Iron Throne. The war began when King Viserys I died. His designated heir for many years had been his only surviving child by his first wife, Aemma Arryn, his daughter Rhaenyra. Viserys I later remarried, however, and had several younger children by his second wife, Alicent Hightower, the eldest of which was Rhaenyra's half-brother Aegon II. The Seven Kingdoms had never had a Ruling Queen before, and many were troubled by the thought of Rhaenyra succeeding to the throne. By the inheritance laws of the Andals, a younger brother succeeds ahead of an elder daughter, but the Targaryens had never formalized royal inheritance laws for their new realm after the War of Conquest 130 years before. Viserys I, however, had extracted oaths of fealty from the major lords of the realm that Rhaenyra would succeed him.

The same day that Viserys I died, Aegon II's followers staged a coup, and he was soon crowned in King's Landing. Rhaenyra, as the Princess of Dragonstone, had her powerbase on Dragonstone island, where she responded by being crowned queen and declaring Aegon a traitor. Ultimately, Rhaenyra was captured and Aegon II had her fed to his dragon, while forcing her son to watch. Aegon II, however, was badly wounded in the war and died months later, poisoned by his own men. The war was stalemated, but with no other male heirs Rhaenyra's son then succeeded as King Aegon III. Most Targaryen dragons were killed during the course of the war, and within a few years they went entirely extinct later in Aegon III's reign. The Dragonpit, where House Targaryen housed their dragons, was destroyed and left in ruins.

House Targaryen would eventually restart it's campaign to join Dorne with the Seven Kingdoms once more through the ascension of King Daeron I Targaryen at the age of fourteen. He had long felt that the continued independence of Dorne represented unfinished business for the Targaryens, and vowed to rectify this, planning to "complete the Conquest". When his councilors at first opposed him, informing their young king that he lacked the dragons that Aegon I Targaryen had used, Daeron replied "You have a dragon. He stands before you". His advisors became more convinced in the success of the plan after Daeron revealed the plans he had made with Lord Alyn Velaryon. Three hosts went to war against the Dornish. One was led by Lord Lyonel Tyrell, who marched through the Prince's Pass, entering Dorne at the western end of the Red Mountains. Alyn led another by sea, while the king led a host down the Boneway, using goat tracks. While Daeron conquered the Prince's Pass, where the main Dornish strength was occupied, Alyn the Oakenfist and his fleet broke the Planky Town, allowing them to sail upriver on the Greenblood. This prevented the eastern and western Dornish armies from giving one another aid in battle. A series of battles followed.

Within a year, the Targaryen armies arrived at the gates of Sunspear and battled their way through the shadow city. In 158 AC, the Prince of Dorne and forty of the most powerful Dornish lords bent their knees in the Submission of Sunspear, with all Seven Kingdoms now ruled by the Iron Throne in fact as well as name. The few rebels who remained managed to cause trouble on several occasions. Once, they attempted to hit Daeron with a poisoned arrow. Daeron's cousin, Prince Aemon Targaryen, the Dragonknight, was hit instead, and was sent home to recover. Daeron was quick to consolidate his rule, and by 159 AC returned to King's Landing, leaving Lord Lyonel Tyrell to keep the peace in Dorne. Fourteen highborn hostages were taken to ensure the loyalty of the nobility in Dorne. They were escorted to King's Landing by Prince Aegon Targaryen, the Dragonknight's older brother. Many accounts have been written about the conquest of Dorne, including a book by the Young Dragon himself. Though the hostages taken by Daeron I Targaryen ensured the loyalty of the Dornish nobility, the smallfolk continued to rebel against Targaryen rule. Lord Lyonel Tyrell moved with his train from one keep to the next each month, chasing the rebels and punishing those who had given them aid. The rebels attacked his train, stealing or destroying supplies, killing soldiers or horses, and burning camps.

True rebellion began when Lyonel reached Sandstone, the seat of House Qorgyle. It was his custom to turn the lords of the keeps he stayed in out of their chambers, to sleep in their beds. One night at Sandstone he found himself in a bed with a heavy velvet canopy, and was informed that he could summon a wench by pulling on the sash. When he did so, the canopy opened and a hundred red scorpions fell upon him. The news of his death led to a rebellion throughout Dorne, and in a fortnight all the work of the Young Dragon was undone. Daeron returned to Dorne in 160 AC, and won several victories while fighting through the Boneway. Lord Alyn Velaryon once more descended on the Planky Town and the Greenblood. One of the notable people who died during the battles outside of Sunspear was Rickon Stark, the heir to Winterfell.

In 161 AC, the Dornishmen agreed to meet to discuss terms and renew their fealty. It was a ploy to kill King Daeron I, however, and the Dornish attacked the Young Dragon while under a peace banner. Of Daeron's Kingsguard knights, three died, Ser Aemon the Dragonknight was captured, and another yielded. Ser Olyvar Oakheart of the Kingsguard died at the side of King Daeron I, though it is unknown whether he was one of the three Kingsguard knights who died with Daeron, or whether he died earlier during the war, in defense of his king. Alester Oakheart blew his warhorn while dying in the Prince's Pass, but it is unconfirmed if this was the same incident as Daeron's death. The conquest of Dorne ended with Daeron's death, after having lasted only a summer. The newly-crowned Baelor I Targaryen, however, desired peace with Dorne, and he walked the Boneway barefoot to Sunspear, returning the hostages. At the Dornish capital, he spoke with the Prince of Dorne, and negotiated a betrothal between his cousin, Prince Daeron Targaryen, and the eldest child of the Prince of Dorne, Princess Myriah Martell, as part of the peace negotiations.

As the next male in line, Prince Viserys, who had served as Hand of the King for Aegon III, Daeron I, and Baelor I, ascended the throne after Baelor's sisters were passed over. Though he ruled for only a year, Viserys II Targaryen made several reforms in the royal household, established a new royal mint, attempted to increase trade across the narrow sea, and revised the code of laws established by Jaehaerys I years before. Viserys II was succeeded by his eldest son, Aegon IV. Aegon's reign was filled with corruption, and he gave and took from noble houses as he wished, whenever he wanted to. He had been married to his sister Naerys in 153 AC. They differed greatly in personalities, and childbirth was hard on her. When their son Daeron was born in 153 AC, the Grand Maester warned that another childbirth could kill Naerys. However, Aegon took no heed, and impregnated Naerys three more times. Only one child, however, survived: Princess Daenerys, born in 172 AC. Naerys died in childbirth several years later.

Aegon was very promiscuous, both before and during his reign. He had bastard children by several women, though he only acknowledged those fathered upon his nine official mistresses, with one exception: his cousin Daena's son, Daemon Waters. In 182 AC, Aegon openly recognized the boy as his own son and gifted him the Valyrian steel sword Blackfyre. There were some who felt that the sword symbolized the monarchy, as the sword had been passed on from king to king since Aegon the Conqueror (with one exception). Aegon's public gift of the sword to his bastard son was one of the seeds from which the First Blackfyre Rebellion would eventually grow. Following the acquisition of the sword, Daemon took the surname "Blackfyre" for himself.

Aegon IV's relationship with his trueborn heir was more troublesome. Once he was old enough to voice his own opinions, Prince Daeron and Aegon IV quarreled more often, and towards the end of Aegon's reign, Daeron became his chief obstacle. When Aegon attempted to invade Dorne with wooden dragons and a fleet in 174 AC, the homeland of Daeron's wife, Myriah Martell, rumors were heard for the first time that Daeron had been fathered by Aegon's brother Aemon instead of Aegon. Though Aemon defeated Ser Morgil Hastwyck in a trial by combat when he accused Naerys of adultery, the rumors remained, and it was believed that they had originated with King Aegon himself, though he denied it. Following the death of both Aemon and Naerys, Aegon began more openly to refer to Daeron's illegitimacy, though he never disowned him. Finally, on his death bed in 184 AC, Aegon IV legitimized all of his bastards. Though his successor, his son Daeron II Targaryen, could not undo this, he made attempts to keep his half-siblings close.

Daeron II began his reign by negotiating with his brother-in-law, Maron Martell, who had inherited the rule of Dorne. He arranged a marriage between Maron and his sister, Daenerys, which occurred in 187 AC. Following the wedding, Dorne officially joined the realm, and did fealty to the Iron Throne. However, while the Seven Kingdoms were now finally united, dissatisfaction grew with the concessions that Dorne had won, as well as the growing Dornish influence at Daeron's court. Daeron II's heir, Prince Baelor, favored his Dornish mother in his physical appearance, and more and more lords began to wish for "the old days", when the Dornish had been the enemy in battle, and not rivals for power at court.

These lords looked at Daemon Blackfyre, and saw in him a warrior, tall and powerful, with the hallmarks of Old Valyria (deep purple eyes, silver-gold hair down to his shoulders), who was described as having had an "almost inhumane beauty", being "half a god among mortal men". Though it took many years, talk eventually turned into treason when Daemon planned to make his claim for the Iron Throne. The First Blackfyre Rebellion began in early 196 AC and lasted nigh on a year, ending late in the year with the Battle of the Redgrass Field. Daemon and his two eldest sons, Aegon and Aemon Blackfyre, were killed, whereas Aegor Rivers, another one of Daeron II's half-brothers, fled into exile with Daemon's remaining children and the sword Blackfyre. For a while, Rivers resided in Tyrosh with Daemon's family, until he formed the Golden Company.

Aegon V's second son Jaehaerys II Targaryen ascended the throne following the Tragedy of Summerhall, and was immediately faced with a threat from the east when the Band of Nine conquered first Tyrosh and then the Stepstones. The Band of Nine had formed in the Disputed Lands in 258 AC from nine outlaws, exiles, pirates, and sellsword captains. They swore to aid one another in conquering a kingdom for each member. One of these members was Maelys I Blackfyre, known as "the Monstrous", who held command over the Golden Company.

To face the "Ninepenny Kings", as Prince Duncan Targaryen had named them before his death, King Jaehaerys II sent an army, including his own heir Prince Aerys and his Hand, Lord Ormund Baratheon, which landed on the shores of the Stepstones in 260 AC. For most of the year, the war continued, but ended when a young knight called Barristan Selmy killed Maelys, thereby ending the male line of the Blackfyres after five generations. As the remainders of the Band of Nine had little interest in Westeros, this victory ended the war.

The Defiance of Duskendale began when the Lord Denys Darklyn of Duskendale, seemingly at the behest of his wife, Lady Serala (known as "the Lace Serpent"), refused to pay taxes, demanding a new town charter and certain rights for citizens and ended with the extirpation of two noble families - House Darklyn and their vassals, House Hollard - and a severe rift between the King and his Hand of the King, Lord Tywin Lannister. Since Aerys wished to distance himself from his Hand Tywin, he decided to deal with the Darklyns himself. Aerys went to Duskendale with the Kingsguard and a small force of men, to arrest and put to death Lord Denys. Instead, Aerys was imprisoned. During the capture, Ser Symon Hollard slew Ser Gwayne Gaunt of the Kingsguard. Lord Denys continued his defiance, even as a large host sat outside his walls, commanded by Tywin. Tywin's ability to act had been paralyzed when Lord Denys sent word that at the first sign that Tywin intended to storm the town, Lord Denys would kill the King.

The Defiance ended when Ser Barristan Selmy sneaked into the Dun Fort, the seat of House Darklyn, and rescued his King, killing Symon Hollard during their escape and avenging his fallen Kingsguard brother. Lord Denys, no longer having a hostage, immediately opened his gates and begged for mercy; Aerys, however, was not inclined to be merciful after all he had endured. Lord Denys was beheaded, along with the rest of his family. His wife Serala was burned alive, though only after she had been tortured and her tongue, breasts and genitals were cut off; the smallfolk, who blamed the Defiance on Serala since she allegedly corrupted her husband into rebelling against his rightful king, still claim Aerys was too merciful to her. Not one Darklyn remained alive. The same was true for House Hollard, who had sided with House Darklyn during the defiance, with the exception of Dontos Hollard, who was a child at the time. Ser Barristan asked for his life to be spared; since he had saved King Aerys, the latter could not refuse him.

During the increasingly erratic reign of King Aerys II, his son Rhaegar was said to have kidnapped Lyanna Stark of Winterfell for unknown reasons. When Lyanna's brother Brandon protested, Aerys responded by having both him and his father Rickard Stark arrested and executed. This sparked a massive uprising led by Eddard Stark, Robert Baratheon, and Jon Arryn. At the end of this war, Aerys and Rhaegar were dead and the Targaryen power-base in Westeros destroyed. Aerys's youngest children, Viserys and Daenerys, were taken by Targaryen loyalists into exile in the Free Cities of the East. Unknown to most, however, Rhaegar had his marriage with Elia Martell annulled and remarried Lyanna, with whom he also had a son, Jon Snow. As Lyanna lay dying after giving birth to her son, she pleaded with her brother Eddard to keep her baby safe from Robert, who surely would want her baby dead due to [Robert's] immense hatred for Rhaegar and promise to wipe out the Targaryen bloodline. She reveals her son's name is 'Aegon Targaryen'.[2] To protect his sister's son from Robert, Eddard takes his infant nephew back with him to Winterfell, names him 'Jon',[3] and claims him as his illegitimate son, raising Jon as his own child alongside his trueborn children.[4] The child would become Jon Snow and grows up with the maternal side of his family.

Generations of compound inbreeding have preserved in the Targaryen bloodline the classic Valyrian features of silver-white (platinum blonde) hair, and very fair, pale skin. Allegedly, this also preserved in their bloodline the ability to successfully bond with and ride dragons. They also seem to be somewhat more tolerant of extreme heat and high temperatures than other people, though they are by no means invulnerable to fire – or at least, not all of them. Unfortunately, some believe that this practice of inbreeding has also caused the trait of insanity to plague House Targaryen; though some members are known to be perfectly normal psychologically-speaking, other Targaryens throughout history have displayed bizarre, erratic and sometimes violent behavior, succumbing to the so-called 'Targaryen madness'.

Season 1

Viserys and Daenerys, the last of the known Targaryens.

Viserys Targaryen arranges for the marriage of his sister Daenerys to the powerful Dothraki Khal Drogo in exchange for a promise that Drogo will help him to reclaim his crown. Viserys treats Daenerys with contempt, strips her naked, and tells her that he would even let the horses have her if it meant that he could gain his crown.

The marriage was brokered by Illyrio Mopatis, a magister of Pentos. Illyrio gives Daenerys a trio of ancient fossilized dragon eggs as a gift.[5] Daenerys comes to love both Drogo and his people while Viserys is increasingly frustrated by Drogo's failure to deliver on his promise.[6] Daenerys becomes pregnant with Drogo's son, who she names Rhaego, and he is prophesied to be the "Stallion that mounts the world." Frustrated by the acceptance of Daenerys by the Dothraki, Viserys drunkenly threatens her unborn child and demands his crown. Drogo kills him by pouring molten gold over his head.[7]

Daenerys emerges from the pyre with dragons.

Drogo pledges to invade Westeros for Daenerys when she survives an assassination attempt.[8] He raids villages of the Lhazareen to enslave their inhabitants, intending to use them to barter passage across the Narrow Sea. He takes a superficial wound when he is challenged by Mago for apparently taking orders from a woman, namely Daenerys, who wants to spare the female slaves from being raped by the Dothraki.[9] Concerned that the wound could fester and become infected, Daenerys turns to the captive Mirri Maz Duur to treat him. Duur's reputation as a "maegi" causes friction between Daenerys and Drogo's warriors. Duur deliberately infects this wound, causing Drogo's life to become endangered. Unaware of Duur's actions, Daenerys allows her to use blood magic to treat Drogo, using the blood of Drogo's horse. His bloodrider Qotho violently objects, injuring Daenerys and triggering premature labor.[10] Duur's spell leaves Drogo catatonic and Daenerys's son stillborn. His khalasar splinters leaving Daenerys with only dozens of riders remaining. After a tearful, loving farewell speech, Daenerys smothers Drogo with a cushion. She then has Duur burned alive on his funeral pyre, also placing her dragon eggs among the flames. Duur dies in agony in the fire, her screaming filling the night air. Daenerys then steps into the fire, but the next morning, it is revealed that she is unharmed and holding the dragon hatchlings in her hands.[11]

Season 2

Daenerys's advisor Ser Jorah Mormont warns that rival khals will target her and advises that she flee into the Red Waste.[12] Her crossing is harrowing and she loses the majority of her horses (namely her own, Drogo's first gift to her) and some of her people.[13]

Upon arriving in Qarth she is allowed into the city under the protection of the wealthy merchant Xaro Xhoan Daxos.[14] Xaro makes a pragmatic marriage proposal, promising to fund Daenerys's return to Westeros in exchange for becoming her husband. Jorah counsels against entering Xaro's debt and reveals his own, unrequited, feelings for Daenerys.[15] Daenerys refuses Xaro's offer after finding her khalasar slaughtered and her dragons missing. After retrieving them, Daenerys locks Xaro in his own vault along with one of her handmaidens, who was sleeping with Xaro. With her dragons once more by her side, she and the remnants of her khalasar raid Xaro's wealthy home.

Season 3

Having seized as much of Xaro's wealth as she and the remnants of her khalasar could carry, Daenerys and her retainers flee Qarth by ship. Daenerys reluctantly takes Jorah's advice to make for Astapor, a city in Slaver's Bay known for its warrior-slaves. Jorah feels that using their wealth to purchase an army is her best course of action. Shortly after their arrival, Daenerys is nearly assassinated by one of the remaining Warlocks, but is rescued by Ser Barristan Selmy, who has tracked her down to pledge fealty to House Targaryen once again.

House Targaryen's fortunes take a dramatic turn when Daenerys double-crosses the Good Masters of Astapor, seizing their elite Unsullied and burning the slave-owning elite with the dragon she pretended to sell to him. Daenerys thus becomes the first Targaryen in generations to march at the head of her own conquering army.[16]

Daenerys turns her attention to Yunkai, where she manages to win over the Second Sons and liberate that city from the Wise Masters.[17][18]

Season 4

The now-sizable Targaryen army moves on the largest slaver city, Meereen. The city is taken with the aid of a slave revolt organized by the Unsullied, with its navy being commandeered by the Second Sons a few days later. Upon learning how poorly Astapor and Yunkai have fared since she left, Daenerys decides to remain in Meereen and rule as queen until the slaves are truly free and she has enough force to take all of Westeros.[19]

However, Daenerys finds she can no longer control her dragons - which are growing rapidly - and is forced to chain Viserion and Rhaegal in the catacombs after the dragons kill a young child while Drogon escapes, his whereabouts unknown. Daenerys also banishes Jorah after discovering he had spied on her for Westeros, which almost resulted in her being assassinated.

Season 5

Daenerys continues to try to control Meereen but faces major opposition from a clandestine organization calling themselves the Sons of the Harpy, who have recently begun assassinating lone Unsullied. Yunkai's return to the Targaryen fold is organized by Hizdahr zo Loraq, with a council of former slaveholders and freedmen ruling the city and all major decisions being submitted to Daenerys for approval. But Daenerys, reluctant to allow the Wise Masters to reopen the fighting pits, jeopardizes the deal.

Meanwhile, in Pentos, Varys works to convert a new asset to the Targaryen cause: the fugitive Tyrion Lannister.[20]

At the Wall, Aemon, maester of Castle Black and the only other remaining Targaryen succumbs to his old age and dies.

In Slaver's Bay, Daenerys attempts to resolve the situation in Meereen by agreeing to marry Hizdahr and reopen the fighting pits. It is whilst she is attending a fight that she meets Jorah again, who has brought the captive Tyrion Lannister to her. Daenerys orders Jorah to leave, still having not forgiven him, but she allows Tyrion to live and takes him on as her advisor.

Whilst attending the games at Daznak's Pit, Daenerys is almost assassinated by a Son of the Harpy, but is saved by Jorah. Dozens of the Sons of the Harpy are revealed to be hiding in the stands and begin killing former slaves and masters alike, including Hizdahr. Daenerys is surrounded and believes she is going to die, but at the last moment, Drogon returns and attacks the Sons, saving Daenerys. When the Sons attempt to kill Drogon, Daenerys climbs onto his back and tells him to fly. Drogon takes off, carrying Daenerys away from Meereen into the Dothraki Sea and making her the first Targaryen dragon rider in centuries. However, she cannot yet fully command him, as Drogon refuses to fly Daenerys back to Meereen. Shortly after, she is surrounded by a Dothraki khalasar.

Season 6

Daenerys's advisors manage to restore order in Meereen, with Tyrion ruling in her absence, whilst Jorah and Daenerys's lover Daario Naharis search for their missing queen. Meanwhile, Daenerys has been captured and brought before Khal Moro, who expresses interest in bedding her. He is unintimidated by Daenerys's naming of her titles, until she reveals she is the widow of Khal Drogo. Moro immediately desists from his intentions to bed her, as it is forbidden to lay with a khal's widow. However, he refuses to take her back to Meereen, saying that, as a former khaleesi, Daenerys's place is with the dosh khaleen.

Moro escorts Daenerys to the temple of the dosh khaleen in Vaes Dothrak. There, the Head Priestess reveals that because Daenerys broke Dothraki law by not coming to the dosh khaleen immediately after Drogo's death, the khals are meeting to discuss what should be done with her. Jorah and Daario manage to track Daenerys down, but rather than attempt to escape Vaes Dothrak, Daenerys come up with her own plan and asks her would-be rescuers to assist her. When Daenerys is brought before the khalar vezhven, she boldly declares none of them are fit to lead the Dothraki. When Moro threatens to have Daenerys gang-raped and killed for her insolence, Daenerys overturns the braziers, starting a fire in the temple. The khals are unable to escape due to Daario and Jorah barring the doors and are all killed, whilst Daenerys, due to her Targaryen blood, is unharmed by the flames. The Dothraki run towards the burning temple and see Daenerys emerge, naked and unburnt, from the ruins. Awed, the Dothraki immediately show their allegiance to Daenerys by bowing before her, thus making Daenerys the leader of all the Dothraki present, including at least 100,000 Dothraki warriors. The next day, Daenerys heads back towards Meereen, accompanied by the Dothraki. Upon learning that Jorah has greyscale, Daenerys orders him to leave and find a cure, which he agrees to, once again leaving her service though this time on more amicable grounds. On her way to Meereen, Daenerys finds Drogon and rides him in front of the Dothraki. She tells them they all are her bloodriders and asks them to cross the Narrow Sea on ships and help her take the Seven Kingdoms. They all shout with support to her.

In Meereen, Tyrion, in an effort to gain more support for Daenerys, arranges for the Red Priestesses to preach about her merits in the city. The Priestesses are happy to oblige, as many believe she is 'the One who was promised', sent by the Lord of Light to end slavery. Varys leaves to return to Westeros and secure more allies for Daenerys.

Meereen is attacked by the navy of Astapor, Volantis, and Yunkai, who are determined to reclaim Meereen and restart the slave trade. Just as the siege begins, Daenerys returns on Drogon. At Tyrion's urging, Daenerys meets with the Wise Masters to negotiate. However, she refuses their offer to surrender. Daenerys rides Drogon out to the bay, accompanied by Rhaegal and Viserion, and burns the Slavers' ships, whilst Daario leads her Dothraki warriors to subdue the Sons of the Harpy.

Following the defeat of the Slavers and the Sons, Daenerys is met by Theon and Yara Greyjoy, who have arrived to pledge their fleet of one hundred manned ships to the Targaryen cause, if Daenerys will help them deal with Euron Greyjoy and support their claim to the Iron Islands. Daenerys agrees to these terms, though requests that the ironborn cease their acts of piracy, thus gaining House Targaryen the support of House Greyjoy (at least under Yara, Theon and those loyal to them). Daenerys then orders that preparations for the invasion to begin in earnest: the slaver ships are to be outfitted with Targaryen colors and figureheads, and her Dothraki are to be trained as sailors and shown how to safely transport their horses. Back in Westeros, Varys secures the assistance of Dorne – now led by Ellaria Sand and her Sand Snakes – and House Tyrell, both factions left largely untouched by the previous conflicts and eager for vengeance against the crimes of House Lannister. Daenerys, realizing that she needs to be romantically unattached to play the game of Westerosi politics, instructs Daario Naharis and his Second Sons to keep the peace in Meereen until the city decides on a permanent new method of government. Her affairs in order, Daenerys brings the renewed strength of House Targaryen to bear on the Narrow Sea.[21]

Meanwhile, Bran Stark has a vision of the death of his aunt Lyanna Stark, Eddard Stark's sister. He learns that his half-brother Jon Snow is actually his cousin, as Jon is the son of Lyanna and the last living child of Rhaegar Targaryen. Jon has recently been proclaimed King in the North after reclaiming Winterfell from House Bolton, but he, along with the majority of the world, remains unaware of his true parentage at this stage.

Season 7

Daenerys approaches Dragonstone with Tyrion.

Sailing past the allied region of Dorne and the contested Stormlands, Daenerys makes immediately for Dragonstone, her birthplace and the ancestral stronghold of House Targaryen. Finding the castle deserted, Daenerys explores. Ripping down some of Stannis Baratheon's heraldry, Daenerys proceeds directly to the Chamber of the Painted Table, where her ancestor once planned his Conquest, and declares her invasion begun.[22]

Though her invasion had just begun, Daenerys has already suffered several major setbacks. Her Ironborn fleet, under the command of Yara Greyjoy, was destroyed by her uncle, Euron Greyjoy. Euron takes Yara, Ellaria, and her daughter Tyene Sand hostage to King's Landing. The Unsullied capture Casterly Rock, the seat of House Lannister, but take heavy losses and end up stranded at the castle, as Euron Greyjoy arrives and destroys the ships they arrived on. Furthermore, Jaime Lannister leads an army to Highgarden, sacking the castle and knocking the Tyrells out of the war. Daenerys is left with her Dothraki and three dragons at her command.[23]

Daenerys and Jon Snow, unaware of their familial ties, meet.

However, Daenerys gains a potential ally in Jon Snow, now King in the North; although frustrated by his refusal to bend the knee, she allows him to mine the deposit of dragonglass beneath Dragonstone to make weapons for the coming war against the White Walkers. Daenerys later leads the Dothraki in an ambush against the Lannister army at Highgarden, unleashing Drogon against them, and succeeds in defeating the army and cutting them off from King's Landing.[24]

In the Citadel, Gilly reads High Septon Maynard's diary. Gilly tells Samwell the High Septon issued an annulment for a Prince Rheagar so that he could marry another woman in Dorne. This new marriage indicates that any children Rhaegar may have with this new wife (presumably Lyanna Stark) are his trueborn children and not bastards. The revelation could mean that Jon Snow is actually a trueborn Targaryen, which would put him before Daenerys in the line of succession since he would be Rhaegar's trueborn son while Daenerys is Rhaegar's younger sister and therefore, would inherit after all of Rhaegar's children. However, Samwell doesn't realize the significance of Gilly's discovery because he is too preoccupied with his perceived failures at the Citadel and has no idea he should be paying attention to details about Rhaegar.[25]

Daenerys and Drogon after ambushing the Lannister-Tarly host.

Following the Battle of the Goldroad, Daenerys offers the remaining Lannister-Tarly forces a choice; bend the knee to her and help her to rebuild Westeros, or be executed. Most of the soldiers choose to bend the knee, save for Lord Randyll and Dickon Tarly, who are swiftly immolated by Drogon on Daenerys's orders. Daenerys and her allies then broker a temporary truce with House Lannister in order to address the impending invasion of the White Walkers and their army of the dead. Jon Snow and Jorah (now cured of his greyscale) lead a party beyond the Wall to capture a wight and bring it back as proof of the White Walkers' existence.

When the group is overwhelmed by White Walkers and wights, resulting in several deaths, Daenerys flies with her dragons beyond the Wall to rescue them. Although Daenerys is able to save the surviving members of the group and helps capture and transport a live wight, the Night King mortally wounds Viserion with an ice spear, then reanimates his corpse as a wight. She is forced to leave Jon Snow behind as he fights off wights to buy time for their escape.

Jon pledges allegiance to Daenerys.

Afterward, when Jon manages to make it back to Eastwatch, Daenerys is at his bedside and vows to fight the Night King after seeing him kill Viserion and witnessing the threat for herself. Jon gives up his crown to Daenerys and pledges allegiance to her as his queen.

At the Dragonpit in King's Landing, Daenerys, Tyrion and Jon present the captured wight to Cersei Lannister. Cersei accepts a truce with Targaryens if the North remains neutral after the dead are defeated. Jon answers that he cannot serve two queens and publicly declares his allegiance to Daenerys Targaryen, which causes Cersei to storm off. Tyrion manages to convince her otherwise, but they are seemingly unaware that Cersei has no intention to aid Targaryen-Stark alliance against the dead. Rather, she intends to let the allies fight the dead and then she will deal with the victor. This causes Jaime Lannister to abandon Cersei and join the Targaryens and Starks against the dead.

Bran Stark sees Rhaegar and Lyanna's wedding.

Daenerys decides to sail with Jon to Winterfell in order to show to the people of North that she hasn't come to conquer them, but save them. On the ship, Jon knocks on Daenerys's door and they both give in to their passion and make love. Unknown to both of them, Jon is actually Daenerys's nephew. Bran has learned Jon is the legitimate son of Daenerys's eldest brother Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, born Aegon Targaryen, and thus is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.

Season 8

Daenerys and Jon arrive at Winterfell together, bringing with them the Targaryen forces of Unsullied, Dothraki, and Daenerys's last two dragons. A pair of Unsullied carry Targaryen banners with them into Winterfell's courtyard, where Sansa Stark yields Winterfell to Queen Daenerys. Jon and Daenerys have fallen in love, drawing Sansa's suspicion of Daenerys, as well as Jon's choice to bend the knee.

Jon Snow becomes a dragonrider, riding Rhaegal.

Outside of Winterfell, Daenerys takes Jon to her dragons, Drogon and Rhaegal, after learning that they are not eating. Daenerys has Jon ride Rhaegal, and the two fly together towards a cave far away, where they make love in front of the dragons. Jon's dragonriding is witnessed by Tyrion, Varys, and Davos Seaworth.

On Bran Stark's prompting, Samwell Tarly, after learning that Daenerys burnt alive his father and brother, informs his old friend Jon in the crypts beneath Winterfell of his true parentage and calls him the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, Aegon of House Targaryen, the Sixth of His Name. Jon says that pressing his claim is treason, expressing no interest in the Iron Throne and reinforcing his loyalty towards his queen.[26]

Jon and Daenerys oversee the start of the Battle of Winterfell.

The Targaryen forces are placed outside the gates of Winterfell alongside the Stark and Arryn soldiers and knights to fight the army of the dead at the Battle of Winterfell. After their arakhs are lit by Melisandre, the Dothraki screamers charge into the darkness towards the dead army, Jorah and Ghost among them. However, the wights slaughter the Dothraki, and few Dothraki survive the charge, Jorah and Ghost among them. The wights rush forward on the White Walkers' command, pushing through the Unsullied. With the living overwhelmed, the Unsullied defend their retreat behind the castle walls. Meanwhile, Daenerys and Jon, riding Drogon and Rhaegal respectively, duel the Night King, mounting the wight Viserion, in the skies above Winterfell. Rhaegal tears open Viserion but is injured, crashing into the ground below. Drogon knocks the Night King off Viserion, but his dragonfire has no effect on the Night King, who pushes on into Winterfell on foot. Jon faces off Viserion inside the castle while Jorah and Daenerys fight new wights outside the castle. The living ultimately win when Arya Stark destroys the Night King, though Jorah dies from his wounds taken defending his queen.[27]

With the Great War won, the Targaryen-led forces plot their move to take King's Landing from Cersei Lannister, whose treachery was revealed by Jaime when he arrived at Winterfell to fight alongside the living. Grey Worm informs the council that half their forces were annihilated, and Varys comments that this more balances out their forces with Cersei's. Varys informs the council that a new Prince of Dorne has pledged Dorne to Daenerys and that Yara Greyjoy has retaken the Iron Islands in Daenerys's name.

The Targaryen fleet sails back to Dragonstone.

Tyrion, Varys, Missandei, Grey Worm, and the Unsullied sail back to Dragonstone with Daenerys riding on Drogon above them when the Targaryen fleet is suddenly ambushed by Euron Greyjoy and the Iron Fleet, who kill the injured Rhaegal with new and improved scorpions and smash the Targaryen fleet. Euron captures Missandei, who is executed by Cersei at a parley outside King's Landing in front of Daenerys and the Targaryen forces.[28]

Daenerys burns King's Landing with Drogon.

The Targaryen, Stark, and Arryn forces encamp outside the walls of King's Landing, besieging the capital. Jon, Davos, and Tyrion consolidate the Dothraki, Unsullied, Northern, and Vale armies outside a gate guarded by the Golden Company. The Battle of King's Landing begins when Daenerys attacks the Iron Fleet on Drogon, burning it and destroying the scorpions across the city's walls. Daenerys burns the gate being defended by the Golden Company, and Grey Worm, Jon, and Davos lead the Targaryen-led forces as they charge into the city. Even after the Lannisters surrender, the Targaryen, Stark, and Arryn forces sack the city, despite Jon attempting to hold them back, while a mad Daenerys burns King's Landing with Drogon. Cersei and Jaime both die as debris collapses in on them from beneath the Red Keep.[29]

Daenerys overlooks a ruined King's Landing.

With the deaths of Cersei and Jaime and Tyrion being Daenerys's Hand, House Lannister is displaced as the royal house and House Targaryen is restored to royalty. Daenerys delivers a speech to the remaining Dothraki and Unsullied, declaring the sack of King's Landing a success and calling them all 'liberators', "You tore down their stone houses, you gave me the Seven Kingdoms." She proclaims her intention to conquer the world and put an end to the rule of all tyrants, breaking the wheel for good. Before them all, Tyrion disgustedly confronts Daenerys for slaughtering an entire city and tosses his Hand pin down the steps to the Red Keep, whereupon he is arrested by Daenerys for freeing his brother and committing treason as Jon looks on, troubled.

Jon is spurred by Tyrion to assassinate Daenerys in order to end her reign of terror, warning Jon about what Daenerys has become. As Jon struggles with this, Tyrion reasons, "I know you love her. I love her too, but not as successfully as you. But I believed in her with all my heart. Love is more powerful than reason." Tyrion tells Jon that Daenerys is now the greatest threat to the people. He acknowledges he is asking Jon to do a terrible thing, "But it is also the right thing." Due to his love for Daenerys, Jon doesn't think he can do it. Tyrion reminds Jon that his his sisters will never kneel for Daenerys.[30]

Jon holds Daenerys's body after assassinating her.

In the ruins of the throne room, Daenerys approaches the Iron Throne, reaching out to touch it when she is found by Jon, who confronts her over burning down King's Landing, killing thousands of men, women, and children, and executing surrendered Lannister prisoners. Daenerys defends that these actions were necessary and Cersei mistakenly thought mercy was her weakness. Jon pleads with Daenerys to forgive Tyrion and all of the people of King's Landing, to make them see they are mistaken about her. Daenerys defends her actions and explains she can't hide behind small mercies, "The world we need won't be built by men loyal to the world we have." Jon says they need a world of mercy, but Daenerys believes her actions are the way they build a good world. Distressed, Jon asks Daenerys how she knows it's good and questions, "What about everybody else? All the people who think they know what's good?" Daenerys simply responds, "They don't get to choose." Daenerys and Jon embrace, and Daenerys asks Jon to be by her side as they build this better world. As the two kiss, an anguished Jon tells Daenerys that she will be his queen forever before he stabs her in her heart with his dagger. Jon holds Daenerys in his arms as she dies, weeping. Drogon flies and as he approaches, Jon lays Daenerys's body on the ground. Drogon nudges Daenerys's body and when she does not wake, he faces Jon. As Jon prepares to face death via Drogon's flames, Drogon roars in anger and grief and unleashes his fire across the throne room, melting the Iron Throne, destroying what Aegon the Conqueror built and "breaking the wheel" that have plagued Westeros for over 300 years. He picks up Daenerys's body and flies away, leaving a grieved Jon behind.[30]

Jon, the last known Targaryen, bends the knee to Bran I the Broken.

For assassinating Daenerys, Jon is sent to the Wall by the new king, Brandon I Stark. As a member of the Night's Watch, Jon is prohibited from fathering children and House Targaryen will become extinct with Jon's death.

After arriving at Castle Black, Jon Snow, the last known member of House Targaryen, is seen riding north beyond the Wall together with the Free Folk.

Relationships

Members

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Daeron
Targaryen

Deceased
 
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Aerion
Targaryen

Deceased
 
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Aemon
Targaryen
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Deceased
 
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Aegon V
Targaryen

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Unknown
queen
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Duncan
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Deceased
 
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Aerys II
Targaryen

Deceased
 
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Rhaella
Targaryen

Deceased
 
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Daeron
Targaryen

Deceased
 
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Rhaelle
Baratheon
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Deceased
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Elia
Martell
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Deceased
 
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Rhaegar
Targaryen

Deceased
 
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Lyanna
Stark
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Deceased
 
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Viserys
Targaryen

Deceased
 
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Daenerys
Targaryen

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Drogo

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Rhaenys
Targaryen

Deceased
 
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Aegon
Targaryen

Deceased
 
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Jon
Snow
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(Aegon Targaryen)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Rhaego

Stillborn
 
 

Ancestors

This particular section contains MAJOR spoilers for House of the Dragon. Anyone wishing to avoid spoilers for the upcoming prequel series should not click [Expand].

The crown of Aegon the Conqueror.

Sworn to Daenerys Targaryen

Vassal Houses

Royal Court and Household

  • {Irri}, a Dothraki handmaiden. Killed during the robbery of Daenerys's dragons.
  • {Doreah}, a Lysene handmaiden and former bedslave. Left to die inside Xaro Xhoan Daxos's vault after betraying Daenerys.
  • Jhiqui, a Dothraki handmaiden. Status unknown.
  • Kovarro, a Dothraki warrior and Bloodrider to Daenerys. Status unknown.
  • Aggo, a Dothraki warrior and Bloodrider to Daenerys. Missing in the Red Waste.
  • {Rakharo}, a Dothraki warrior and Bloodrider to Daenerys. Killed and beheaded by a rival khalasar.
  • Ser {Barristan Selmy}, exiled Lord Commander of King Robert Baratheon's Kingsguard, and a member of King Aerys Targaryen's former Kingsguard. After being unjustly dismissed from service by Robert's successor Joffrey and his former wife Cersei, Barristan traveled halfway around the world to find Daenerys Targaryen and pledge his support to her as the rightful heir to the throne. Slain fighting the Sons of the Harpy in Meereen.
  • {Missandei}, translator, handmaiden, and aide-de-camp to Daenerys. Beheaded by Ser Gregor Clegane at the command of Queen Cersei Lannister after her capture following the Battle at Dragonstone.
  • Daario Naharis, Daenerys's advisor and lover, and the commander of the Second Sons. Left behind in Meereen when Daenerys sailed to reclaim the Seven Kingdoms for House Targaryen.
  • Grey Worm, the commander of the Unsullied.
  • {Mossador}, a former slave and advisor to the Queen. Executed for treason.
  • {Hizdahr zo Loraq}, a former slave master from the city of Meereen and one of Daenerys's advisors. Stabbed to death by the Sons of the Harpy during the Great Games in Daznak's Pit.
  • Tyrion Lannister, Lord of Casterly Rock, Daenerys's Hand of the Queen.
  • Kinvara, a priestess of the R'hllor, she was recruited by Tyrion to preach about Daenerys Targaryen.
  • {Qhono}, a Dothraki warrior and Bloodrider to Daenerys. Killed by wights during the Battle of Winterfell.
  • Lord {Varys}, "the Spider". Burned alive by Drogon for treason.
  • Ser {Jorah Mormont}, the exiled Lord of Bear Island, advisor and bodyguard to Khaleesi Daenerys. Expelled by Daenerys after she learned he had spied against her. Jorah fights in the fighting pits to prove his allegiance to Daenerys and does so by killing a Son Of the Harpy who tries to assassinate Daenerys. Daenerys later talks to Jorah after he helps her in taking control of the Dothraki where she commands him to cure himself of greyscale and return to her, which he has now done. Died defending Daenerys from wights during the Battle of Winterfell.

Clandestine ally

Military strength

Essos

House Targaryen's military strength has fluctuated over the last few years under Daenerys Targaryen's leadership. Since the death of her husband Khal Drogo, Daenerys has commanded a khalasar containing only a few dozen riders, less than half of whom are warriors, as well as a single trained knight, Jorah Mormont. During her time in the Red Waste and Qarth, Daenerys's dragons were not large enough to provide combat assistance.

By the time Daenerys reached Astapor in Slaver's Bay, her dragons had grown enough to provide limited air support in certain engagements, and she had gained the loyalty of an additional knight, Ser Barristan Selmy. It should be pointed out that although limited, the dragons at this time are capable of providing the only air support in the known world.

Following the Sack of Astapor, Daenerys gained an army of 8,000 fully trained Unsullied, elite warrior-eunuchs who fight in large, disciplined phalanx formations, as well as several hundred Unsullied-in-training who serve as auxiliaries.[31]

Shortly after arriving at Yunkai, Daenerys is able to secure the affection of Daario Naharis, a lieutenant in the Second Sons. During a parley between Daenerys and the captains of the Second Sons, Daario points out that Daenerys's Unsullied are impressive infantry, but she still possesses no cavalry, siege weapons, or ships. Later that night, Daario slays the captains of the Second Sons, makes himself captain, and pledges the company to Daenerys. The Second Sons add 2,000 armored cavalry to the growing Targaryen army.[32]

During Daenerys's rule of Meereen, the Unsullied and the Second Sons take light, but constant losses, most of them assassinated by the Sons of the Harpy. The greatest losses of this time were both of her knights: Daenerys banished Ser Jorah upon learning that he had once spied on her for Robert Baratheon, and Ser Barristan was killed by the Sons of the Harpy. During her time in Meereen, her forces took control of the Meereenese Navy that consisted of 93 ships, although the fleet was later destroyed in the harbor.

After burning the Dothraki khals in Vaes Dothrak, Daenerys emerges unburnt from the flames, and all the people in the city bow down to her. In perhaps her greatest turnaround yet, Daenerys secured the loyalty of the roughly 100,000 Dothraki assembled at the time,[33] finally gaining the numbers – though not the means – to retake Westeros.

By this point, all three dragons had grown significantly larger, with Drogon, in particular, becoming larger than a carriage due to his continued freedom. He is now large enough for Daenerys to sit comfortably across his back, and has begun to obey her commands while riding. Should they be tamed and ridden, all three dragons are now large enough to coordinate aerial assaults should the need arise. During the Second Siege of Meereen, all three dragons were deployed to devastating effect, even though Drogon was the only one being ridden.

Upon breaking the Second Siege, Daenerys took possession of the remains of their armada, roughly 200 ships. Shortly after, she was visited by Theon and Yara Greyjoy, who offered their ships – the better part of the formidable Iron Fleet – to her in exchange for supporting Yara's claim to the Salt Throne, to which Daenerys agreed, on the condition that the ironborn change their ways forever.

Westeros

There are no official allies or vassals of House Targaryen left in Westeros. In truth, Varys is a Targaryen loyalist and possesses a vast spy network, but by himself, Varys commands no military forces and cannot be considered a military asset. He eventually relocated to Meereen and began openly serving Daenerys, again mostly through coordinating his spy network.

King Robert Baratheon expressed fear that even after all these years, there are still a sizable number of noble Houses in Westeros who are either secret Targaryen loyalists or who later developed some grievance with Robert's rule, and would flock to the Targaryen banner if they attempted to retake the Iron Throne in open war. It is not clear what influence his opinions since Ser Jorah stressed to Dany that the number of Targaryen loyalists remaining in Westeros is far lower than Viserys liked to believe. Viserys believed that because House Tyrell of the Reach and House Martell of Dorne fought on the Targaryen side during Robert's Rebellion, the prospects were good that they'd be willing to join his cause and rebel against Robert. Nonetheless, for much of Robert's reign, and most of the War of the Five Kings that followed, it is unknown that dissatisfied Houses would support a Targaryen return, while House Tyrell had become closely aligned with the Lannister-backed House Baratheon.

However, following the Assassination of Balon Greyjoy, the Coup in Dorne and the Destruction of the Great Sept of Baelor, the attitudes of several major factions changed dramatically. Fleeing their uncle upon his success at the Kingsmoot, Yara and Theon Greyjoy made for Meereen, where they agreed to support Daenerys's claim and provide transport for Daenerys's army, as well as support at sea, in exchange for Yara's accession to the Salt Throne, independent of the Seven Kingdoms. Daenerys accepted the independence of the Iron Islands, provided that the independent Ironborn give up all reaving, raping and pillaging, to which Yara reluctantly acquiesced. Meanwhile, Ellaria, in desperate need of allies, agreed to support Daenerys's invasion. At Varys's urging, she also reached out to Olenna Tyrell, who was out for revenge against Cersei Lannister.

As a result, House Targaryen gained the support of the largely intact forces of the Reach, Dorne, and the Iron Islands. After the recent events of her invasion of Westeros, Daenerys's army had already taken several heavy blows. Yara's Ironborn fleet was destroyed by her uncle, Euron Greyjoy. The Sand Snakes, along with Yara, were captured by Euron, effectively knocking Dorne out of the war. Jaime Lannister then led an army into the Reach to sack Highgarden, also knocking House Tyrell out of the war. The Unsullied took moderate casualties at the Fall of Casterly Rock, which was likewise the case with the Dothraki at the Battle of the Goldroad. When Jon Snow, King in the North, sought an alliance with Daenerys for her help in defeating the Army of the Dead threatening all of humanity, he initially refused her condition that he bend the knee as he did not know her yet. However, when Daenerys came to rescue Jon's party Beyond the Wall and the Night King managed to kill Viserion with an ice spear, upon which Daenerys vowed to fight the Night King at Jon's side, Jon bent the knee to Daenerys as queen and agreed to pledge his Northern forces to her. The Night King reanimated Viserion as a wight, leaving Drogon and Rhaegal as Daenerys's living dragons.

Half of the Dothraki and Unsullied troops were killed during the Great War. The remainder were forced to scatter and retreat behind the walls of Winterfell. Although both Drogon and Rhaegal survived, they were injured during the battle against the dead. After the Great War, Targaryen forces still maintained roughly a dozen ships in the royal fleet and a contingent of Unsullied forces. After Euron shot down and killed Rhaegal with scorpion bolts, Drogon became Daenerys’s only living dragon.

Daenerys had Varys burned alive by Drogon for treason shortly before the Battle of King's Landing. The Targaryen-Northern forces suffered light casualties in the battle, but they emerged victorious when the city surrendered to Daenerys, allowing her to take the Iron Throne. However, Daenerys laid waste to a surrendered King's Landing, killing thousands of civilians in the process. She declared to her assembled Dothraki and Unsullied forces that they "liberated" the people of King's Landing and will do so all over the world. Daenerys had Tyrion Lannister arrested for treason upon finding out Tyrion tried to save his brother Jaime. Jon pleaded with Daenerys to stop this path of destruction but Daenerys believed her actions were necessary to build her ideal world. Unable to dissuade her, an agonized Jon assassinated her to prevent more carnage upon the world. Drogon was anguished to discover his mother’s lifeless body, but he did not blame Jon for her death. Instead, he used his fiery breath to melt the Iron Throne before carrying Daenerys across the Narrow Sea.

After Daenerys’s death, Grey Worm and the Unsullied sailed to Naath to protect its people as Grey Worm had promised Missandei. Meanwhile, the Dothraki either returned to Essos or integrated themselves into Westerosi society.

Gallery

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, the Targaryen family (they were not a formal House, as this was a Westerosi concept not found in the Freehold) moved from Valyria to Dragonstone, then the most far-flung outpost of the Valyrian Freehold, apparently in fear of a prophecy predicting the destruction of Valyria a century before it happened. Both before and after their relocation, the Targaryens were counted among the dragonlords, the forty or so powerful families who bred, raised and rode their own dragons and thus dominated Valyrian politics and culture. They were, however, never among the most powerful of those families. After the fall of Valyria, the Targaryens stayed on Dragonstone for a hundred years, apparently hoarding the strength of their dragons and debating whether to invade Westeros or to attempt to seize control of the Valyrian colony-states which later became known as the Free Cities. When the time came, the Targaryens ultimately assisted the Free Cities in asserting their continued independence and then proceeded to invade Westeros.

House Targaryen ruled Westeros for 283 years, during which time they survived substantial civil wars (including the Dance of Dragons and no fewer than five Blackfyre Rebellions), plague (the Great Spring Sickness), and an attempted foreign invasion (in the War of the Ninepenny Kings). They were brought down when the Mad King's insanity became too dangerous to be ignored.

The Targaryens adopted the religion and many of the customs of Westeros, but they clung to two old Valyrian customs in defiance of public disapproval: Targaryen princes and kings were allowed to have multiple wives, and Targaryens were allowed to marry brother to sister, something considered taboo elsewhere in Westeros. The former custom was apparently considered outdated in Valyria itself, but the latter was fairly common.

The generations of Targaryen inbreeding produced a distinctive set of physical features shared by all of their members during the House's three centuries of rule. This includes a generally pale appearance with silver-white (platinum blonde) hair and purple irises. While pale, they are not albinos, although their eyebrows are white. The actors playing Daenerys and Viserys are actually both dark-haired, so they had to wear wigs, although the production team decided not to dye their eyebrows to match. The TV series opted not to portray the Targaryens with purple eyes, partially due to the logistical difficulty of matching purple contact lenses for actors in every shot. The TV series originally filmed Viserys and Daenerys wearing violet contact lenses, but show creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss quickly abandoned their use. As they explained in the Season 1 Blu-ray episode commentaries, "actors act with their eyes, and [the lenses] really hurt the emotion."[34]

By the point the novels reached, there are two living descendants of the house: Daenerys and Aegon Targaryen, the son of Rhaegar and Elia who is revealed to be alive in A Dance with Dragons. Since Jon Snow's parantage has yet to be confirmed in the books, Aegon has the strongest claim to the Iron Throne, ahead of Daenerys, although his legitimacy is questioned by Tommen's small council. A popular fan theory states that Aegon is really the son of Illyrio Mopatis and his late wife Serra, a possible member of House Blackfyre.

According to the TV series official pronunciation guide developed for the cast and crew, "Targaryen" is pronounced "Tar-GAIR-ee-in".

See also

References

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