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House Targaryen
House Targaryen

"There is a part of me that wishes I'd been tested. I often think that in the crucible, I may have been forged a different man."
―Viserys I Targaryen[src]

King Viserys I Targaryen,[d] remembered as Viserys the Peaceful, was the fifth king of the Targaryen dynasty to rule the Seven Kingdoms.

Viserys I was the grandson of Jaehaerys I Targaryen, son of Baelon Targaryen and father of Rhaenyra and Aegon II Targaryen. He briefly rode Balerion the Black Dread in his youth before the dragon's death of old age.



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Viserys and Aemma at the Great Council.

Viserys I is the son of Prince Baelon and Princess Alyssa Targaryen, and grandson of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen. Viserys inherited the Iron Throne after an unprecedented sixty years of peace and prosperity under his grandfather, a golden age that Viserys strives to uphold.[2]

Upon the death of Viserys's father Baelon, Prince of Dragonstone, the succession became unclear: Viserys's first cousin Rhaenys was the only child of Jaehaerys's first son, while Viserys was the eldest son of Jaehaerys's second son, but the relatively young Targaryen dynasty did not have firmly established succession laws. To address the issue, all the lords of Westeros gathered in the Great Council at Harrenhal, which ultimately elected Viserys as the new Prince of Dragonstone, and Rhaenys grudgingly[9] accepted the result.[2] King Jaehaerys died and was succeeded by Viserys in 103 AC.[e]

At the beginning of his reign, Viserys had yet to produce a male heir with his beloved wife, Queen Aemma Arryn, despite Viserys's claim to the throne being based on direct succession from male to male. Their only living child is Princess Rhaenyra, but according to the precedent set by the council at Harrenhal, Viserys's heir should be his closest male relative: his younger brother Daemon. Yet the lords of Westeros and even Viserys himself consider Daemon too wild and hot-headed to ever be a suitable heir to the throne.[2]

House of the Dragon: Season 1[]

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Viserys with his Small Council.

Nine years into his reign, Viserys attends a meeting of the Small Council, leisurely talking and joking until Lord Corlys Velaryon brings to the council's attention that the alliance in the Free Cities known as the Triarchy is conquering the Stepstones for themselves, warning that Westerosi sea trade could be badly affected, but Viserys dismisses his concerns. Master of Coin Lyman Beesbury brings up that, at the request of Prince Daemon, the crown has invested significant money in the re-training and re-equipping of the City Watch, and he urges Viserys to make the prince fill his seat on the table to inform the council on his progress as commander. Viserys assures him that his gold is well-invested. Otto Hightower brings up the subject of the Heir's Tournament, which Viserys has planned for the approaching birth of his next child and hopeful son. Grand Maester Mellos reminds Viserys that they cannot be certain that the child will be a boy, but Viserys expresses his confidence that it will be.[2]

Viserys undergoes treatment from his maesters for an infected wound he suffered from sitting on the Iron Throne. He accepts the advice of Maester Mickon to have the wound cauterized. Viserys goes to see his wife Aemma, who is taking a bath. Viserys expresses his confidence to her that the child will be a boy, telling her of a dragon dream he had of their son being born wearing Aegon the Conqueror's crown, amidst the sound of thundering hooves, splintering shields, and ringing swords, and all the dragons roaring as one as Viserys placed his son upon the Iron Throne. Aemma insists that boy or girl, it will be their last; after several miscarriages and stillbirths, and one child dead in the cradle (a total of five within ten years), she cannot bring herself to mourn another child.[2]

The Small Council is convened to discuss the excessive violence employed by Daemon and the City Watch. Otto Hightower insists that Daemon's actions can no longer go unchecked, but Daemon defends his actions, stating that he was simply making the city safe for the guests arriving for the Heir's Tournament. Viserys agrees with Daemon, but questions his overly violent methods. Daemon and Otto get into an argument about Daemon's wife, Lady Rhea Royce, much to Viserys's exasperation. When Otto rises to Daemon's bait of mentioning his own dead wife, Viserys reminds Otto that Daemon loves to provoke him, and that he should not indulge him. Viserys gives Daemon permission to continue enforcing his laws, but warns him not to put on another performance like the previous night's. After Daemon leaves, Viserys comments that Daemon's new City Watch might be a good thing, as the city has been in decline since the death of his grandmother, Alysanne Targaryen.[2]

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Viserys by Aemma's side.

The following day, Viserys commences the Heir's Tournament, greeting his guests, praising the competing knights, and announcing that Queen Aemma has begun her labors. After Lord Boremund Baratheon asks Princess Rhaenys for her favor, calling her "The Queen Who Never Was," Otto tells Viserys he could have Lord Boremund's tongue out for that. Viserys decides to let it slide, though he does applaud happily when Boremund is knocked off his horse by Ser Criston Cole. After Daemon defeats Otto's son, Ser Gwayne Hightower, Viserys receives news of Aemma's labor, and rushes to her side. To his horror, Grand Maester Mellos explains that the child is in breech, and that they must either cut open her womb to free the baby, a procedure that will almost certainly kill her, or risk losing both. Despite being appalled by the necessity of such a choice, Viserys grudgingly gives his consent for the maesters to cut into Aemma's womb. As the maesters remove the newborn baby, Viserys weeps over his dead wife's body. Mellos informs him that the baby is a boy, and Viserys says that he is to be given the name Baelon (in honor of his father, Baelon the Brave). However, at that moment, the infant prince begins choking in the Grand Maester's arms, and passes away a few hours later.[2]

Some time later, a funeral is held outside King's Landing, for Queen Aemma and Prince Baelon. Viserys is nearly frozen with grief and shock, and can only watch tearfully as Rhaenyra orders her dragon Syrax to light his wife and son's pyre.[2]

That night, the Small Council convenes, as Otto Hightower insists that they need to discuss the succession now that Aemma and Baelon are dead, though Viserys is in too much grief to want to discuss this. Otto and Mellos argue that it would destabilize the realm for Daemon to become king. Mellos even implies that Daemon may try to kill Viserys to take the throne, a claim Viserys angrily rejects. He reminds Otto that it was his own idea to put Daemon in command of the City Watch, after arguing against every other appointment Viserys tried to make for him. Despite Otto's arguments, Viserys refuses to exile his brother from King's Landing. Otto and Mellos suggest Viserys name Rhaenyra his heir, but Viserys refuses to choose between his brother and daughter. When the council begin to argue, Viserys furiously berates them all for behaving like crows squabbling over a corpse while he is still mourning his wife and son, and storms out.[2]

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Viserys works on his model of Valyria.

Later, while a disconsolate Viserys works on a large model of Old Valyria, he is visited by Otto's daughter, Alicent Hightower. She brings him a history book to distract him, knowing his love for the subject, and offers her condolences for his loss, relating her experience of losing her mother, which Viserys appreciates.[2]

At a Small Council meeting, Viserys is informed by Otto that Daemon bought a pleasure house on the Street of Silk, where he made a speech toasting Prince Baelon, and styling him "The Heir for a Day." Enraged, Viserys summons Daemon to the Great Hall, where he confronts him over the insult. When Daemon doesn't deny saying it, Viserys accuses him of celebrating his own rise, rather than comforting his grieving brother and niece. He reminds Daemon that he has always defended him from the rest of the Small Council, to which Daemon retorts that he should have named Daemon his Hand, as he is his brother. He tells Viserys that he needs him by his side, as he is weak, and needs protection from the Small Council, who all use him for their own ends (Otto Hightower in particular.) At this, Viserys declares his intention to name a new heir. When Daemon insists he is his brother's heir, Viserys retorts "Not anymore" and orders him to return to his wife at Runestone. After Daemon leaves, Viserys accidentally cuts his finger on the Iron Throne.[2]

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Viserys names Rhaenyra his heir.

Later that evening, Viserys summons Rhaenyra to Balerion's shrine, and asks her what she sees when she looks at the dragons. She says she sees their family, and that the belief that Targaryens are more god than man is only because of their dragons. Satisfied with her answer, Viserys warns Rhaenyra that the dragons are a dangerous power that should never have been trifled with, one that caused the Doom of Valyria, and could destroy their family too if they are not careful. He announces his intention to name her as his heir, apologizing to her for wasting the years since her birth wanting for a son. He tells her that he believes she could be a great queen, and that he knows her mother did too, but warns her that the Iron Throne is the most dangerous seat in the realm. To cement his trust in her, Viserys tells Rhaenyra a secret known only by the king and his heir: Aegon the Conqueror was not solely motivated by ambition and lust for power to conquer Westeros. Just as Daenys Targaryen foresaw the Doom of Valyria, Aegon had a vision that foretold the end of the world of men. Aegon foresaw the end would be preceded by a terrible winter descending from the north, and that what lurked within that storm would destroy the world of the living, unless the kingdoms of men united against it with a Targaryen to lead them. Since Aegon's time, the Targaryen kings have passed knowledge of Aegon's vision, which he dubbed "The Song of Ice and Fire," to their heirs, to ensure Westeros was ready when the evil Aegon foresaw finally descended upon mankind.[2]

The nobility of the realm is gathered, and Viserys watches as each lord declares fealty to him and Rhaenyra as his named heir. He then stands and officially names Rhaenyra Princess of Dragonstone and heir to the Iron Throne.[2]

Half a year later, a Small Council meeting is held to discuss the death of Lord Commander Ryam Redwyne. Mellos assures Viserys that he died peacefully in his sleep. As the council discusses finding Ser Ryam's replacement on the Kingsguard, Corlys Velaryon interrupts the meeting to demand something be done about the Crabfeeder, whose forces have now destroyed four of his ships. Viserys refuses to start a war with the Free Cities, who he says are undoubtedly supplying the Crabfeeder's armies. Lord Corlys points out that Viserys's inaction has allowed Daemon to take Dragonstone, to which Viserys responds that he has acted by sending envoys to Pentos and Volantis in hopes of finding common cause. Rhaenyra speaks up, suggesting Viserys send his dragonriders to the Stepstones as a show of force, embarrassing Viserys, who, at the suggestion of Otto Hightower, has Lord Commander Harrold Westerling take Rhaenyra to help choose Ser Ryam's replacement on the Kingsguard, seeing as this knight will help protect her as well.[9]

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Viserys spends time with Alicent.

Some time later, Viserys shows Alicent his model of Old Valyria, telling her about their city, culture, and magic. When she asks if he believes Westeros could be a new Valyria, he responds that nothing will ever match the glory of Valyria at its height. Viserys accidentally drops and breaks a model dragon, which Alicent picks up and hands back to him, as they share a quietly intimate moment. Viserys asks after Rhaenyra's wellbeing, since she hasn't spoken more than a few words to him recently. Alicent tells him it will take time for Rhaenyra to open up again, remembering how it took time for her after her own mother's death. She suggests Viserys approach Rhaenyra instead, to which he quips that he would rather face the Black Dread. Viserys asks Alicent not to mention their talks to Rhaenyra, as he is worried that she might not understand them.[9]

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Viserys discusses an alliance with Corlys and Rhaenys.

Later that afternoon, in the gardens of the Red Keep, Viserys meets with Lord Corlys and Princess Rhaenys, in hopes of patching things up after their disagreements at the Small Council. After they exchange apologies, Viserys reminds Corlys that as king, it is his duty to avoid war until it becomes unavoidable. Corlys points out how precarious Viserys's reign currently looks: his wife has passed, a girl has been named heir, his disinherited brother has been allowed to seize Dragonstone, and a foreign power has established a foothold in one of their most critical shipping lanes. He urges Viserys to strengthen his image in two ways: firstly by taking back the Stepstones, and secondly by wedding his daughter Laena, thus uniting the Targaryen dragons and the Velaryon fleet by blood. Taken aback by the proposal, Viserys admits he hadn't given much thought to marriage after Aemma's death, but Rhaenys reminds him that it will be expected of him to take a new wife so as to produce more heirs and strengthen his line.[9]

That night, Viserys and Rhaenyra eat dinner together. They briefly talk about their shared love for Aemma, but Viserys is still preoccupied thinking about Corlys's proposal, and is reluctant to speak of it to Rhaenyra. Rhaenyra tells Viserys that of all the knights that were gathered to replace Ser Ryam on the Kingsguard, only Ser Criston Cole had real combat experience, and he expresses his confidence that Ser Criston will make a fine knight of the Kingsguard. She tries to apologize for speaking out at the Small Council earlier, but he dismisses it, stating that she is young, and will learn propriety in time.[9]

Afterwards, Viserys goes to Mellos for treatment of his gangrenous finger, and Mellos provides maggots to remove the dead flesh and stop the advance of the rot. Viserys informs Mellos and Otto Hightower of Lord Corlys's proposal that he marry Laena, to which Otto claims that Corlys has overreached by going over the heads of the Small Council. He expresses his doubts about the union due to Laena's young age, but Mellos advises Viserys to accept, on the basis that it would help mend the rift between their houses suffered at the Great Council at Harrenhal. Viserys is still hesitant, due to his doubts that Rhaenyra would approve (and secretly, his burgeoning feelings for Alicent), but Mellos reminds him that it is his duty to remarry and continue to propagate the royal line. Otto expresses sympathy to Viserys over his position of having to replace his beloved wife for the sake of duty.[9]

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Viserys walks with Laena.

The next day, Viserys walks through the gardens with the twelve-year-old Laena Velaryon. Laena, however, seems more interested in dragons than marriage, asking Viserys about his experience riding Balerion, and the potential whereabouts of Vhagar. She does eventually promise Viserys that she will give him many pure-blooded Valyrian children if he were to marry her, but Viserys can tell that she is merely repeating the words her father told her to say, and asks her what her mother told her. She replies that her mother told her she wouldn't have to bed Viserys until she turned fourteen, making him visibly uncomfortable.[9]

Later that evening, Viserys dines privately in Alicent's company, where she commiserates with him over his reluctance at wedding a new queen. She reveals that she had the stonemasons fix the dragon model he broke. Touched, Viserys thanks her for the gift. Their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of Alicent's father, who informs Viserys that he has called an emergency meeting of the Small Council.[9]

The Small Council is informed by a Dragonkeeper Elder that Daemon has stolen a dragon egg. Mellos reads out a letter, declaring Daemon's intention to take a second wife, Mysaria, and to place the stolen egg in the cradle of his unborn child by Mysaria, in the tradition of House Targaryen. The letter also invites Viserys to Daemon's wedding in two days' time. Knowing that Daemon is trying to provoke him, Viserys initially refuses to take action, but when Rhaenyra asks the Dragonkeeper which egg was stolen, he reveals that it was the same egg she chose for Prince Baelon's cradle. Enraged, Viserys announces his intention to lead a detachment to Dragonstone and drag Daemon back to face justice, but Otto advises against it, as it would be too dangerous, and says he'll go himself. Viserys relents.[9]

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Viserys seeks counsel from Lyonel Strong.

After Otto and his men leave, Viserys holds a private audience with Master of Laws Lyonel Strong, wanting an impartial opinion about a prospective marriage to Laena Velaryon. He expresses his discomfort at marrying a twelve-year-old, but Lord Lyonel states that he should marry her, pointing out that strengthening an alliance with House Velaryon could temper Corlys's bitterness over the Great Council's decision, unify the last descendants of Valyria, and ensure the Crown has access to the Velaryon fleet should the situation in the Stepstones deteriorate into open war. The meeting is interrupted by Ser Steffon Darklyn of the Kingsguard, announcing that Rhaenyra has returned from Dragonstone, much to Viserys's shock and confusion.[9]

Viserys has Rhaenyra brought to his chambers, where he angrily chides her for going to Dragonstone without the crown's leave, and putting herself in danger, reminding her that she is his only heir. He is calmed, however, when Rhaenyra points out that she retrieved the stolen egg without bloodshed. They speak about Aemma for a time, bonding over their shared grief, and Viserys notes that Rhaenyra has inherited a lot from her. They then reluctantly broach the topic of a prospective remarriage. Viserys emphasizes that he could never replace Aemma, but with only Rhaenyra as his heir, were anything to happen to her, House Targaryen could come to an end, and though Viserys insists he will not replace Rhaenyra as his heir, even if his new wife were to give him sons, he must ensure the continuation of their line. Rhaenyra assures him that she understands that as king, Viserys's first duty is to the realm, and that Aemma would have understood as well.[9]

Viserys calls a Small Council meeting the next morning, where he announces, to everyone's shock, that he intends to marry Alicent Hightower. Lord Corlys, enraged by this perceived insult to his family, protests the decision, to which Viserys reminds him that he is his king, causing Corlys to storm out. To Viserys's surprise, a shocked and hurt Rhaenyra shortly follows him.[9]

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Viserys with his son, Aegon.

A year after his marriage to Alicent, she gives him a son, who they name Aegon. On Aegon's second nameday, Viserys organizes a royal hunt in the Kingswood, excited to leave the politics of court behind. As the party prepares for departure, his new Master of Ships, Ser Tyland Lannister, counsels him to send aid to Prince Daemon and Lord Corlys in their efforts to retake the Stepstones from the Crabfeeder. Viserys, however, is preoccupied by the absence of his daughter, and demands to know where Rhaenyra is.[4]

As the hunting party departs, Viserys rides in the royal carriage with his pregnant queen Alicent and his children Rhaenyra and Aegon. Viserys is excited about the prospect of their entire family riding off to a hunt together, but Rhaenyra, still angry at both him and Alicent, responds coldly. She has no desire to join them in the hunt, though he reminds her that she has duties as the Princess.[4]

Upon arriving in the Kingswood, Viserys emerges from the carriage, followed by Alicent and their baby Aegon, who several of the gathered lords and ladies, most notably, Lord Hobert Hightower, applaud and hail as the "second of his name."[4]

After she is proposed to by Jason Lannister, Rhaenyra furiously confronts Viserys, accusing him of trying to marry her off to the great houses like a prize. Viserys reminds her that she is of age, and that he has tried to talk with her about the countless proposals he has received for her hand, but she has refused to discuss it. When Rhaenyra claims that she has no desire to marry, Viserys shouts that even he isn't above tradition and duty, causing the whole crowd gathered in the tent to look in their direction. Their argument is interrupted by Otto Hightower, informing Viserys that a white hart has been spotted, a regal portent for Aegon's nameday, he claims. Viserys then notices that Rhaenyra has left.[4]

Viserys is informed by the Royal Huntsman, Ser Howland Sharp, that the white hart's fresh droppings were found half a league to the east, and that they now have its trail. Sharp reminds Viserys that the white hart was the symbol of royalty in Westeros before the dragons came, to which Otto once again comments on the significance of such a creature appearing on Prince Aegon's nameday.[4]

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Viserys and Otto discuss marriages.

That night, Viserys, doubtful and conflicted over his choice of heir, drinks several cups of wine. He is approached by Jason Lannister, with a gift of a spear he had forged in the Golden Gallery of Casterly Rock in honor of Prince Aegon, in hopes that it might provide the killing stroke against the white hart. Viserys thanks him for the gift, but becomes annoyed when Jason asks for Rhaenyra's hand. Jason tells Viserys that he and many other lords had assumed that he would name Aegon as his heir, to which Viserys reminds him that he did not name Rhaenyra his heir on a whim. Viserys is then approached by Otto, who informs him that it won't be long until the white hart is cornered, and asks what he thinks of Jason's proposal, to which Viserys remarks "That man's pride has pride." When Otto reminds him that Rhaenyra will do as he commands, Viserys replies that he has no desire to command his own daughter, but simply wants her to be happy. Otto then suggests he marry Rhaenyra to her brother, Prince Aegon, but Viserys refuses, as Aegon is only two years old. As Otto continues to press the matter, Viserys laughs in exasperation, as had come to hunt, but instead he is still being suffocated by politics. Otto leaves, and Viserys continues to drown himself in wine. He is approached by Lord Lyonel Strong, who informs him that they have sent out riders to find Rhaenyra, and that Ser Criston also went with her. Viserys, now quite drunk, vents his frustration at not being able to control his own daughter, to which Lyonel reminds him that even King Jaehaerys had trouble controlling his children, especially his daughters. Lyonel offers his advice on the matter of finding a match for Rhaenyra, and Viserys assumes that he will propose his own son, Ser Harwin Strong as her match. To his surprise, however, Lyonel does no such thing, instead suggesting she be married to Laenor Velaryon, the son of Lord Corlys, as he has Valyrian blood, and their union could help sate Corlys and mend the widened rift between their houses. Viserys leaves the tent, giving Lyonel a grateful pat on the shoulder.[4]

Viserys continues drinking in front of a pyre, where he is joined by Alicent. He spills out his feelings to her, telling her about his dragon dream of placing his son upon the Iron Throne, and expressing his tremendous guilt over causing his wife's death in pursuit of that dream. He says he named Rhaenyra his heir as a means of setting things right, as he never imagined he would remarry and have a son. He wonders if he was wrong to name Rhaenyra his heir.[4]

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Viserys kills a stag with the spear gifted to him by Jason Lannister.

The next morning, the hunting party has successfully captured a stag, but to Viserys's relief, it is not a white one, and therefore not a sign that he chose wrong. Using Jason Lannister's spear, Viserys kills the restrained animal, with great difficulty and reluctance, having to spear it again after botching his first attempt. The party applauds him afterwards.[4]

Later, Viserys and the rest of the party watch in some surprise as Rhaenyra returns to the camp with a boar that she and Ser Criston Cole killed.[4]

The night after the hunting party returns to King's Landing, Viserys, now hungover from all the drinking, is visited by Alicent in his chambers. They discuss the matter of Rhaenyra's betrothal, with Alicent telling Viserys that she will not marry unless she thinks it's by her own choice. Alicent discovers a letter Viserys was sent by Vaemond Velaryon, the brother of Lord Corlys, informing him that the fighting in the Stepstones is going poorly, and pleading for aid. Viserys is reluctant to send it, as to do so after so long would make him look weak, and remarks that he is forever doomed to anger one person in the pleasing of another. Alicent simplifies the problem for him: as king, Viserys must serve the realm, and the realm will only benefit if the Crabfeeder is vanquished. This sufficiently sways Viserys.[4]

The next morning, Viserys summons Rhaenyra to the Small Council chamber, as he sends Ser Addam to the Stepstones with a letter promising to send ten ships and two thousand men to their aid. Rhaenyra accuses Viserys of wanting to replace her with Aegon, the boy he always wanted, but Viserys assures her that he has no intention of doing so, and only wants to see her happy. He reminds her that she has always understood the necessity of rulers marrying for advantage, to which Rhaenyra retorts that if it was truly for advantage, he would have married Laena Velaryon, a point Viserys concedes. He tells her that she must marry and produce offspring to strengthen her own claim, but allows her to choose her own match, as he did. As Rhaenyra begins to leave, Viserys assures her that, while he did waver at one time, she will not be supplanted as heir, swearing this on the memory of her mother.[4]

Alicent later gives Viserys a daughter, who they name Helaena.[5]

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Viserys welcomes Daemon back to King's Landing.

Some time later, a crowd assembles before the Iron Throne as Viserys puts on his full regalia to welcome back his brother Daemon after his victory in the Stepstones. He is shocked and annoyed to see Rhaenyra there, as she is supposed to be on a tour to find a husband, which he worked hard to arrange. Daemon enters the room, carrying his sword Dark Sister and the Crabfeeder's hammer, and also wearing a crown made of bone and driftwood. Viserys comments on the crown, and Daemon tells him that he was named King of the Narrow Sea after defeating the Triarchy. However, he says he knows that there is only one true king, and kneels to Viserys, giving him the crown and the Stepstones. Viserys asks where Lord Corlys is, and Daemon tells him that he sailed home to Driftmark. Daemon claims that he had two thousand dead Triarchy corsairs staked to the sand as a warning for anyone else who might challenge them. Coming down from the Throne, Viserys orders Daemon to rise, and embraces his brother. The entire court applauds their reconciliation.[5]

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Viserys hosts a gathering in Daemon's honor.

Viserys holds a feast in Daemon's honor in the Red Keep's godswood, where he shares happy stories with his brother, who he hasn't seen in years. He good-naturedly admits that Daemon was always their mother's favorite, as like him, she was a warrior and a rule-breaker who didn't care about customs or tradition. Alicent asks Daemon if he would like to see the new tapestries from Norvos and Qohor on display in the gallery, but Viserys laughs at this suggestion, as Daemon has no interest in such things. Rhaenyra says she would like to see them, and Viserys tersely excuses her.[5]

At a Small Council meeting, Tyland Lannister gives Viserys troubling news: now that the Velaryon fleet hold the Stepstones, Lord Corlys can control the vital shipping lanes going through it, giving him considerable leverage over the crown. Viserys can't believe Corlys is still upset about him spurning the marriage alliance with Laena after so many years, but as Mellos points out, Corlys is a proud man whose pride has been wounded. Otto Hightower reveals that the situation is worse than that: according to his brother in Oldtown, Lord Corlys plans to marry Laena to the son of the Sealord of Braavos. This potential alliance would necessitate the crown making a marriage pact of their own.[5]

That night, Viserys takes a bath. The infection he is suffering from wasn't stopped by amputating two of his fingers, only slowed, and the sores on his back are slightly worse than before. Alicent dismisses the handmaidens and bathes Viserys's sores herself, with him commenting that her touch feels far kinder than theirs. Later, Viserys summons Alicent to his chambers, and the two of them have sex, though Alicent receives no pleasure from it.[5]

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Viserys receives news of Daemon and Rhaenyra's misdeeds.

Early the next morning, Viserys is woken by Otto Hightower, who delivers troubling news: Rhaenyra was spotted at a pleasure house the previous night. This in and of itself doesn't alarm Viserys, but Otto goes on to say that she was herself "coupling" at the brothel, not just looking, and with her own uncle Daemon. Viserys is incredulous and says that it must be a lie, demanding to know who is responsible for this gossip so he can take their eyes. He then redirects his anger at Otto, accusing him of being so ambitious that he would have his daughter stalked with spies to destroy her reputation. Otto tries to deny this, but Viserys refuses to believe it, ordering Otto out. After Otto leaves, Viserys turns to find Alicent, who overheard the conversation.[5]

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Viserys confronts Daemon about Rhaenyra.

Several hours later, Viserys has Daemon seized by the Kingsguard. They drag a hungover Daemon before the Iron Throne and throw him to the floor, and after they leave, Viserys walks in to confront his brother, accusing him of defiling his daughter, and kicking him in the ribs when he doesn't deny it. Daemon reminds Viserys that they visited most of the brothels on the Street of Silk when they were Rhaenyra's age, to which Viserys responds that they were young men, whereas Rhaenyra is just a girl. Daemon counters that Rhaenyra is legally a woman grown, and half-sarcastically says that it's better that her first experience is with him than some random whore. Enraged, Viserys demands to know what lord would wed her in this condition. Daemon says that it doesn't matter what any lord wants, as Viserys is the dragon, and his word is law. When Viserys angrily says that he should disinherit Rhaenyra as he did Daemon, Daemon brazenly says that he will wed her. Viserys stifles a laugh at the absurdity, as Daemon is already married to Rhea Royce, to which Daemon points out that Aegon the Conqueror took a second wife. Viserys is so insulted that he draws his Valyrian steel dagger and holds it to Daemon's throat, kneeling on his chest, and saying that he is no conqueror, but a plague upon their house. When Daemon continues to insist that if Viserys gives him Rhaenyra, together they will restore House Targaryen to its proper glory, Viserys bitterly accuses him of wanting his throne more than his daughter. Viserys rises, and dismissively tells Daemon to go back to the Vale and his lawful wife, and to try to restore what scrap of honor he may have left; or not, it makes no difference to him, as he never wants to see Daemon again.[5]

In his chambers, a rattled Viserys looks out from his balcony over the city while Alicent brings him a cup of wine. She tells him that she talked with Rhaenyra, and that she denied having sex with Daemon, and isn't known for being deceitful, whereas Daemon rarely tells the full truth, thus he was likely lying about having sex with Rhaenyra. Viserys is baffled as to how Daemon claiming such things could possibly serve him, to which Alicent suggests that Daemon's entire goal was simply to taunt his older brother for disinheriting him. Viserys says that whatever happened, he can still sense that Rhaenyra is not innocent of any wrongdoing. Alicent earnestly insists that Rhaenyra swore to her that she remains a maiden, and she believes her.[5]

KOTNS Viserys and Rhaenyra Still 2

Viserys commands Rhaenyra to marry Laenor Velaryon.

That night, Viserys summons Rhaenyra to his quarters. He shows her the Valyrian steel dagger, which he has been heating in a brazier of fire, and explains to her that the dagger was carried by Aegon the Conqueror, and generations before him, by Aenar Targaryen when he left Valyria. Viserys further explains that before Aegon the Conqueror died, when he realized that the apocalyptic winter he saw in his dragon dream would not happen in his own lifetime, he sought to pass the warning on to future generations of their dynasty: in addition to passing the story down from king to heir, Aegon himself also commissioned the last of the old Valyrian pyromancers to etch a hidden message onto his personal dagger, only visible when it is heated red-hot. He hands the heated dagger to Rhaenyra, who reads off the High Valyrian glyphs on it: from my blood come the Prince That Was Promised and his will be the Song of Ice and Fire. Viserys says that the responsibility he has handed to Rhaenyra, the burden of this knowledge, is larger than the throne or herself, or her desires. She says that she hasn't been given a chance to defend herself, to which he replies that the truth doesn't matter: only the perception of it does. Rhaenyra protests that had she been born a man, she could bed whomever she wanted, even father a dozen bastards, and no one at court would blink an eye. Viserys bluntly tells her that she is right, but she was born a woman, which means she cannot. He says that Jaehaerys would have disinherited her for this, but he does not have that luxury, as his duty is to hold the realm together in preparation for the doom Aegon foresaw. They are on the verge of civil war with House Velaryon, and a marriage-alliance between their families is needed to reunite them with the rest of the realm. He commands Rhaenyra to marry Corlys's son Laenor Velaryon, a match he knows Corlys will only accept if Rhaenyra is the named heir to the Iron Throne. Rhaenyra begrudgingly accepts the match, but only on the condition that Viserys dismisses Otto Hightower as Hand of the King. Viserys at first scoffs that every lord on his council is self-interested somehow, not just Otto, but Rhaenyra insists that Otto is so self-interested that he would indeed jeopardize the stability of the realm in his goal to put an heir with Hightower blood on the throne. While reluctant, Viserys has not been blind to Otto's constant attempts at manipulation over the years, and he grudgingly relents.[5]

Later, Viserys summons Otto to the Small Council chamber. He immediately launches into the story of how his own father, Baelon Targaryen, died only five days after King Jaehaerys named him Hand, after which Otto took his place, and wonders how long it took Otto to start choosing his own interests over those of his king. Viserys says that Alicent did get him through the worst of his grief after Aemma died, but he now realizes that Otto set her up to be his wife to put his blood on the Iron Throne. Otto insists that Alicent loves him, as he knows Viserys loves her. Viserys doesn't deny this, but says that Otto's interests no longer align with those of the realm. Pained, Viserys says that the crown and the realm owe Otto a great debt that can never be repaid, but he can no longer trust his judgement. He dismisses Otto as Hand of the King, and removes his pin of office.[5]

Viserys then has Mellos deliver a bottle of moon tea to Rhaenyra, to rid herself of any "unwanted consequences" of whatever sexual encounters she may have had.[5]

WLTW Viserys and Corlys Still 1

Viserys meets with Corlys Velaryon to discuss a marriage between Rhaenyra and Laenor.

With Otto Hightower dismissed, Viserys appoints Lord Lyonel Strong as Hand of the King. He later sails to Driftmark, the seat of House Velaryon, to discuss a marriage alliance between Rhaenyra and Ser Laenor Velaryon, the eldest son of Lord Corlys Velaryon. On his way to Driftmark, Viserys becomes seasick, and his health begins to worsen. They land in Spicetown and go the rest of the way to High Tide by wheelhouse. The royal party is greeted by Laena Velaryon, who tells Viserys that Corlys is too tired from a recent voyage to meet him. Lyonel voices the apparent insult that the Lord of Driftmark wasn't there to personally greet the king, but Viserys doesn't take it any further. Viserys proceeds to the Hall of Nine, the castle's main hall. There, Corlys receives him while seated on the Driftwood Throne, amused that the king came to him to discuss a marriage alliance. Corlys informs Viserys of the death of Rhea Royce. Rhaenys then enters the hall, making note of Viserys's lost fingers and deteriorating health. During the meeting, the marriage proposal is discussed, and Corlys agrees under a term: that Laenor and Rhaenyra's children take the surname Velaryon. Viserys comments on the fact that by doing so, a Velaryon would sit the Iron Throne after Rhaenyra. As such, he insists that when Laenor's eldest child takes the throne, they take on the name Targaryen. Corlys agrees to the terms. Viserys begins coughing more violently than before but insists that he is just tired and leaves shortly thereafter.[10]

WLTW Orwyle, Viserys & Mellos

Viserys being treated by Mellos and Orwyle.

Viserys returns to King's Landing after the marriage has been secured. Upon entering the Red Keep's courtyard, he collapses as soon as he dismounts from his carriage. He is rushed to his private chambers where he is attended to by maesters. While taking a bath, Viserys is told that the amputation of his two fingers on his left hand only slowed the infection, which years later is now spreading again. Grand Maester Mellos insists on additional leechings. Maester Orwyle suggests an alternative treatment by mixing new medicines in a poultice but Mellos dismisses the idea, claiming that leechings have always brought the king relief. After Mellos leaves, Orwyle provides Lyonel with a new medicine that will help the king sleep, before departing himself. Alone with Lyonel, Viserys laments that he wishes he would have been tested during his reign. He confides in Lyonel that he is afraid he will not be remembered, since he never embarked on any great conquest but he also never suffered any major defeats. Lyonel notes that many would consider that to be a good legacy. A pained Viserys smiles and remarks that a peaceful and uneventful reign rarely made for great songs sung at feasts. He ponders whether he would have been a different man if he had been allowed to rise to the occasion during a crisis in his youth. Lyonel says that many yearn to be tested, but when faced with a crisis, most men would wish it never came to them. Viserys respects his Hand's honesty, but he cannot help but think of the different life he may have had.[10]

WLTW Wedding Still 2

Viserys at the start of the royal wedding celebrations.

Later on, the royal wedding ceremonies begin, starting with a grand feast at the Red Keep, followed by a planned seven days of tournaments and spectacle, then finally ending with the wedding ceremony itself. The feast, which is attended by envoys from most of the major noble houses, is held in the throne room. Viserys is seated next to Rhaenyra in the middle of the high table in front of the throne. They receive groups of lords, including Jason Lannister and Lord Hobert Hightower. Before long, the entourage of House Velaryon enters: Corlys, Rhaenys, Laena, Laenor, and Ser Vaemond, who take their seats at one side of the high table. Surprise grabs the attendants when Daemon enters after some distance behind the Velaryons, despite the fact that Viserys had exiled Daemon and forbade him to return. After a moment of tension, Viserys silently welcomes his brother. He orders another chair be brought up to the high table for Daemon, next to Lyonel Strong at the opposite side from the Velaryons. After the moment with Daemon has passed, Viserys rises to give a speech in praise of House Velaryon as the crown's most faithful and powerful allies, and that this marriage will unite both families as one.[10]

Just as Viserys conducts his speech, Alicent arrives dressed in green, intentionally interrupting him. When she reaches the high table she gives Viserys a curt peck on the cheek. Viserys returns to his speech, concluding with his hope that just as the Velaryons have followed the Targaryens since the Age of Dragons in Valyria, this new union will usher in a second Age of Dragons in Westeros.[10]

Viserys concernedly observes a conversation between Daemon and Gerold Royce. After Gerold leaves, Daemon joins the feast floor to dance with Rhaenyra. Viserys angrily watches on as the two come close to kissing, before being interrupted by a cry from beyond the hall. The floor soon erupts in a brawl.[10]

Viserys searches for Rhaenyra among the crowd, soon bleeding profusely from his nose due to the stress. After the ordeal, the guests are sent away and Viserys cancels the seven days of festivities. Instead, Laenor and Rhaenyra are quickly married in the messy throne room. Viserys collapses shortly after the vows are spoken.[10]

TPATQ Viserys and Joffrey

Viserys holds Joffrey Velaryon.

Ten years have passed since Rhaenyra and Laenor's wedding. After Rhaenyra shows her newborn third son to Alicent, Viserys enters to hold him. His physical appearance has deteriorated significantly: his hair has thinned out and his left arm is amputated. Despite this, he appears to be in good spirits. Viserys proudly watches his new grandson and remarks that he will make a fearsome knight. Later, as Viserys is working on his model of Valyria, Alicent discusses an incident with him concerning Aemond. The topic of Rhaenyra's children is brought up, in which Alicent implies that they were fathered by Harwin Strong.[6]

Viserys counters by stating that the nature of inheritance is a strange thing. He brings up an example of a stunning black mare he once owned, who escaped her stable and mated with an equally stunning silver stallion. However, their foal was a plain chestnut brown. Alicent asks if Viserys actually saw them mating, or if he just assumed the silver stallion was the only one the black mare was breeding with. Viserys rises and says he will hear no more of this. Sometime later, Viserys and Lyonel Strong are observing Aegon, Aemond, Jace and Luke at the training yard, which erupts in a brawl when Harwin Strong punches Criston Cole over his unfair treatment over Rhaenyra's children and his insinuation of their parentage.[6]

TPATQ Lyonel & Viserys

Viserys and Lyonel observe the training yard.

After the incident in the training yard, Viserys is present during a Small Council meeting where the renewed fighting in the Stepstones is discussed. Dorne has sided with the Triarchy, and Viserys bitterly remarks that he hoped his ongoing negotiations with House Martell would keep them out of the conflict, but that shows what he gets over trusting a Martell. After talks about the Stepstones is finished, Rhaenyra speaks of the recent tensions between their two families and proposes a betrothal between her son Jace and Alicent's daughter Helaena, which Viserys considers a judicious proposal. Alicent claims she would consider it.[6]

Later, Alicent privately argues with Viserys that the offer was an insult. She thinks Rhaenyra only made the offer because she is backed into a corner. Viserys attempts to urge her that the betrothal would bring peace to the royal family and as king he should be able to make this choice, but Alicent sharply says that he can do what he wants when she's cold in her grave. Later in Viserys' chambers, Lyonel arrives to offer his resignation as Hand of the King due to recent rumors. Viserys asks him what the rumors are, yet Lyonel cannot say them aloud. Viserys says that if he cannot bring himself to speak of these rumors, he will not accept his resignation. Lyonel agrees, but asks to take Harwin back to Harrenhal, which Viserys allows.[6]

DM Laena Funeral Still

Viserys attends the funeral of Laena Velaryon.

At Driftmark, Viserys and the royal court have arrived to attend the funeral of Laena Velaryon. During the funeral, Viserys goes to speak with Daemon and attempts to reconcile. He asks him to return home to King's Landing and let their prior differences stay in the past. Daemon says that his home is in Pentos, and that of his children. Viserys urges that there is still a place for Daemon at his side in the royal court and offers anything Daemon might need, but he cuts him off. Daemon states that he needs nothing and promptly leaves. During the evening of the funeral, Viserys is exhausted and retires for the night. He stammers Aemma Arryn's name to Alicent, though Harrold Westerling gently corrects him.[11]

Later at Driftmark, the royal court is roused in the Hall of Nine after an incident between Aemond, Jace, Luke, and Daemon's daughters Baela and Rhaena. During a fight, Luke severely injured Aemond. Viserys enters and angrily accosts the Kingsguard for not protecting the princes, to which Ser Criston protests they didn't expect to defend the princes from each other. Maester Kelvyn, who stitches up Aemond, says that his left eye is lost, much to Alicent's horror. When asked what happened, the children begin arguing with each other, to which Viserys shouts for silence. Jace whispers to Rhaenyra that Aemond had called them bastards.[11]

DM Aegon and Viserys I Still

Viserys demands Aegon to tell him about the rumors of Jace and Luke's bastardy.

Viserys asks Aemond to tell him the truth of the matter, but Alicent angrily interjects that their son has been maimed and Rhaenyra's sons are responsible, and nothing else matters. Viserys asks where the boys' father, Ser Laenor, might be, to which Alicent snidely remarks that he must be "entertaining" his squires. Viserys turns to Aemond to ask him where he heard the rumors of Jace and Luke's bastardy, who says he heard it from Aegon. Viserys then angrily demands Aegon to tell him where he himself heard this, to which he states that everyone already knows. Viserys commands that they are one family and must cease this infighting. He orders them all to make their apologies and show good will to each other by command of their king, father, and grandsire. Alicent says it is insufficient and demands one of Rhaenyra's sons' eyes as recompense. Viserys is aghast, but Alicent commands Criston Cole to bring her the eye of Lucerys. He hesitates, protesting his oath as her sworn shield and protector does not extend to maiming others of the royal family at her command. Viserys insists that the matter is finished, and from now onward anyone who dares to question the legitimacy of Rhaenyra's sons will have their tongue cut out. Shaking with grief and fury, Alicent refuses to accept this: as Viserys turns to leave she pulls the Valyrian steel dagger from his belt and rushes across the room towards Luke, but is stopped by Rhaenyra. Both Viserys and Otto demand Alicent to put down her blade. As Alicent tries to break free from Rhaenyra's grasp, she slices the princess's forearm. Viserys again declares the business finished, and leaves.[11]

The next day Viserys, Alicent, and their entourage leave on their ship back to King's Landing.[11]

Six years have passed since the funeral of Laena Velaryon. Viserys's condition has worsened significantly in the years past. He is bedridden and has suffered a significant weight loss and the removal of his right eye. Meanwhile, the Hightowers have largely taken control of the court, removing Targaryen heraldry and tapestries and replacing them with statues and symbols of the Faith of the Seven. After Corlys Velaryon suffers a grievous injury during renewed fighting in the Stepstones and is on the brink of death, his brother Vaemond, not expecting Viserys to have a say in the matter, is brazen about attempting to claim the title of Lord of the Tides after Corlys on account of the bastardy of Rhaenyra's children.[1]

Rhaenyra and Daemon arrive at the Red Keep to defend Luke's inheritance, first visiting Viserys's apartments. His model city of Old Valyria is covered in dust and cobwebs, having been unattended for years. Much to their horror, Viserys is bedridden, disorientated and clearly in pain, his hair all but gone, his teeth rotten, and his face swathed in bandages. Daemon brings up the matter of Corlys being wounded in the Stepstones and the succession of Driftmark being disputed, only for a delirious Viserys to insist that both are already settled. Daemon urges Viserys to support Lucerys's claim over Vaemond's, but Viserys confusedly remarks that Alicent and Otto attend to court business. Later, Rhaenyra introduces Viserys to his new grandsons: Aegon and Viserys. Viserys is delighted to see the children, joking that the younger has a name fit for a king. The children start to wail, and Viserys, stricken by a sudden onset of pain, insists that he needs his tea, pointing to a cup by his bedside. Daemon suspiciously smells the tea, confirming that it has powerful opiates such as milk of the poppy.[1]

The same night, in Viserys's room, Rhaenyra comes and sits by his bedside. He awakens and briefly mistakes her for Alicent before Rhaenyra corrects him. Rhaenyra then asks her father if he believes the Song of Ice and Fire, the prophetic dream of Aegon the Conqueror, to be true. She reminds Viserys that he told her it was their duty to hold the realm united against the return of a coming evil, but warns that his naming her heir divided the realm and that she has found the burden of that duty a heavy one to bear. Rhaenyra tearfully pleads for her father to defend her and her children if he believes the dream true, but Viserys is too delirious from pain, illness, and medication to respond.[1]

TLOTT Viserys I Targaryen Still

Viserys threatens Vaemond.

The next morning, as Grand Maester Orwyle and several acolytes tend to Viserys's affliction, the king orders Otto to arrange a supper that night with all of his family in attendance, as well as refusing milk of the poppy. Later that day, Otto calls the throne room into session to hear petitions about the inheritance to Driftmark. The crowd is stunned when Viserys enters, wearing a golden half-mask. Flanked by Sers Arryk and Erryk Cargyll, he makes his way to the throne, hunched over and clearly having trouble walking. He passes a glance to a surprised Rhaenyra and Alicent, then telling Otto that he will sit the throne for the day. Otto makes way for Viserys to walk the steps to the throne, but is visibly struggling. One of the Cargylls walks over to help him, but Viserys dismisses him. Viserys stops midway as his crown falls and he looks up to see Daemon helping his brother to the throne, placing the crown back on his head.[1]

Viserys remarks his confusion about discussing a succession that has already been settled. He states that the only one present who could offer more insight into Lord Corlys's wishes is the Princess Rhaenys. Rhaenys reaffirms her husband's wishes for Luke to inherit Driftmark and also gives her approval to wed Jace and Luke to Baela and Rhaena. Viserys declares the matter settled and reaffirms Luke's inheritance. Vaemond speaks out about the decision, refusing to allow Viserys to dictate House Velaryon's future. Viserys tells Vaemond that he is forgetting his place, reminding him that he is only a second son. Vaemond finally angers the king by loudly calling Luke and Jace bastards and Rhaenyra a whore. Viserys rises and threatens to cut out his tongue with his Valyrian steel dagger, before Daemon decapitates Vaemond with Dark Sister. The stress causes Viserys to collapse into the throne, but despite a panicking Rhaenyra and Alicent pleading with him to take medical assistance, Viserys refuses, insisting that he must make things right.[1]

That evening, the members of House Targaryen gather for supper. Viserys is carried in on a chair. At the head of the table, Viserys expresses his joy and sadness to see his family gathered tonight. He notes how the family have grown distant to each other in the years past, and proceeds to remove his mask, showing his disfiguration to all present. He jokes how his face is no longer a handsome one—if it ever was—but stresses that he wishes to have everyone see who he truly is: not just a king but a husband, father, and grandsire. He acknowledges that he will not be alive for much longer and insists that they not hold ill feelings for each other anymore. He exclaims that the crown cannot stand strong if the House of the Dragon remains divided. He pleads for his family to set aside their grievances; if not for the sake of the Crown, then for Viserys's. After Viserys sits back down, Rhaenyra stands to give a toast to Alicent, who in turn gives a toast for her. Tensions have simmered, and Viserys looks on lovingly to see his family interact with each other happily. However, the pain grows too great and he is forced to leave the dinner.[1]

TLOTT Viserys death

Viserys dies.

That night, Alicent visits Viserys in his chamber. Deliriously, Viserys mistakes her for Rhaenyra and admits Aegon's dream to her. Alicent mistakes this for Viserys wishing to see their son Aegon on the throne, and she promises him that it will be done. After Alicent leaves, Viserys calls out for Aemma and dies.[1]

TGC Viserys and Alicent Still

Alicent grieves over Viserys's corpse.

After Alicent learns of Viserys's death, and Ser Otto and the Small Council are informed, (which is now dominated by the Greens), a plot to undermine Viserys's will and crown Aegon as Viserys's successor is enacted. The Green Council keep Viserys's death a secret from King's Landing to put their plans into action, while the Silent Sisters prepare Viserys's corpse for burial, with Alicent observing and mourning her late husband. The coup results in Aegon being crowned King of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, displacing Rhaenyra, Viserys's intended heir. Otto gives Viserys the posthumous epithet "the Peaceful."[3]

Rhaenys arrives at Dragonstone to inform Rhaenyra of her father's death and the Greens' usurpation of the throne; upon being informed, a furious Daemon concludes Alicent murdered his brother to put her son on the Iron Throne. The stress of these news sends Rhaenyra into early labor, causing the stillbirth of her daughter Visenya. However, she is crowned queen at Dragonstone during Visenya's funeral when Ser Erryk Cargyll brings Viserys's crown to her, stolen from King's Landing in the confusion of the coup.[12]


Viserys is remembered as "the Peaceful."[3] Grand Maester Munkun believes that Viserys could not be blamed for the Dance of the Dragons, and that he did not squander the legacy of King Jaehaerys.[13]


Viserys was a kind, amiable, and peaceable person. In contrast to his quarrelsome brother, he disliked violence and preferred to make peace if at all possible. When necessary, he would use his authority to punish wrongdoers,[5][1] but was also capable of forgiveness. Viserys deeply loved his first wife Aemma, even twenty years after her death. He was fond of Valyrian history, spending his free time working on his model of Old Valyria.

In his last day, no matter how physically weak he was, he showed everyone his inner strength by appearing at the Great Hall and confirming what he decided earlier about the inheritance issue.[1] Unfortunately, as much as Viserys tried to prevent the conflict over the inheritance, the Dance of the Dragons broke out anyway.

Viserys was not stubborn, and occasionally would reconsider his decisions, but was by no means fickle or hesitant: regarding issues of top priority (the inheritance issue), he would consistently stick to his decisions till his last day.


Spoken by Viserys[]

"There's a boy in the queen's belly. I know it. And my heir will soon put all of this damnable hand-wringing to rest himself."
―Viserys to the Small Council[src]
"This child is a boy, Aemma. I'm certain of it. I've never been more certain of anything. The dream... it was clearer than a memory. Our son was born wearing Aegon's iron crown. And I heard the sound of thundering hooves, splintering shields, and ringing swords. And I placed our son upon the Iron Throne, as the bells of the Grand Sept tolled, and all the dragons roared as one."
―Viserys to Aemma Arryn[src]
"I know many of you have traveled long leagues to be at these games. But I promise, you will not be disappointed. When I look at the fine knights in these lists, I see a group without equal in our histories. And this great day has been made more auspicious by the news that I am happy to share: Queen Aemma has begun her labors! May the luck of the Seven shine upon all combatants!"
―Viserys begins the Heir's Tournament[src]
Otto: "You could have Baratheon's tongue for that."
Viserys: "Tongues will not change the succession. Let them wag."
— Viserys and Otto Hightower[src]
"Don't be scared. They're going to bring the babe out."
―Viserys's last words to Aemma[src]
"My wife and son are dead! I will not sit here and suffer crows that come to feast on their corpses!"
―Viserys berates the Small Council[src]
"My family has just been destroyed. But instead of being by my side, or Rhaenyra's, you chose to celebrate your own rise! Laughing with your whores and your lickspittles! You have no allies at court but me! I have only ever defended you! Yet everything I've given you, you've thrown back in my face."
―Viserys to Daemon Targaryen[src]
"The idea that we control the dragons is an illusion. They're a power man should never have trifled with. One that brought Valyria its doom. If we don't mind our own histories, it will do the same to us."
―Viserys I Targaryen[src]
"I, Viserys Targaryen, first of his name, King of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm, do hereby name Rhaenyra Targaryen Princess of Dragonstone and heir to the Iron Throne."
―Viserys I Targaryen[src]
Alicent: "It is truly wondrous what you've built."
Viserys: "Oh no. I only pore over the histories and provide the plans. The stonemasons built the structures."
— Viserys and Alicent Hightower[src]
"There are times when I would rather face the Black Dread himself than mine own daughter of fifteen."
―Viserys I Targaryen[src]
Corlys: "The queen has passed. A girl has been named heir to the Iron Throne, the first in its history. The king's brother, so disinherited, has claimed the Targaryen seat on Dragonstone without challenge. And now, a foreign power has established a colony in our most critical shipping lane."
Viserys: "You paint such an aspirant portrait of my reign, Lord Corlys."
— Viserys and Corlys Velaryon[src]
Viserys: "Ever since my name was read by the archmaesters at the Great Council I have felt Corlys Velaryon's envious gaze staring at me from across the Blackwater."
Lyonel: "You sit upon the highest seat in the realm, Your Grace. Proud men don't like having to look up."
Viserys: "Laena Velaryon."
Lyonel: "Lord Corlys is your Master of Ships and she is the daughter of the wealthiest house in the realm. She comes from an unimpeachable Valyrian stock and she has Targaryen blood. What's to mislike?"
Viserys: "She is 12."
Lyonel: "She will mature."
— Viserys and Lyonel Strong[src]
"I imagine even dragons get lonely."
―Viserys I Targaryen[src]
Viserys: "I have decided to take a new wife. I intend to marry the Lady Alicent Hightower before spring's end."
Corlys: "This is an absurdity. My house is Valyrian, the greatest power in the realm."
Viserys: "And I am your king."
— Viserys and Corlys Velaryon[src]
Viserys: "Since you came of age, I've been slowly drowning in a lake of parchment flung from every corner of the realm. Marriage proposals, all. And I have tried often to discuss it with you, but you've refused me at every turn."
Rhaenyra: "That is because I do not wish to get married."
Viserys: "Even I do not exist above tradition and duty, Rhaenyra! You must marry."
— Viserys and Rhaenyra[src]
Viserys: "It is your sworn duty to report rebellion stirring in my kingdom."
Jason: "Rebellion? There's been nothing of the sort, Your Grace. I, I..."
Viserys: "I did not decide to name Rhaenyra my heir on a whim. All the lords of the kingdom would do well to remember that."
— Viserys and Jason Lannister[src]
Otto: "You're not only Rhaenyra's father, you're the king. She'll do as you command."
Viserys: "It is not my wish to command her, Otto. I want her to be happy."
— Viserys and Otto Hightower[src]
"I came here to hunt. Not to be suffocated by all this fucking politicking!"
―Viserys I Targaryen[src]
"A truly great Targaryen king I am. Powerless over mine own daughter of seven-and-ten."
―Viserys I Targaryen[src]
"Many in my line have been dragonriders. Very few among us have been dreamers. What is the power of a dragon next to the power of prophecy? When Rhaenyra was a child... I saw it in a dream. As vivid as these flames, I saw it. A male babe born to me, wearing the Conqueror's crown. And I so wanted it to be true, to be a dreamer myself. I sought that vision again, night after night, but it never came again. I poured all my thought and will into it. And my obsession killed Rhaenyra's mother. I thought Rhaenyra was the way out of my abyss of grief and regret, and naming her heir would begin to set things right. I never imagined I would remarry... that I would have a son. What if I was wrong?"
―Viserys I Targaryen[src]
"Brother. I have ordered 10 ships and 2,000 men to set sail from King's Landing to join the effort in the Stepstones. Though time and circumstance have seen us estranged, know that it is not my desire to see you fail in your cause. It is instead my hope that this aid will deliver the victory that has thus far evaded us. I shall pray nightly to the gods for your safe return."
―Viserys in a letter to Daemon[src]
"Our mother, she had no regard for custom or tradition, rules. And I, sadly, was no great warrior."
―Viserys I Targaryen[src]
"Upon their birth, Ser Laenor and Rhaenyra's children shall take their father's name, Velaryon, in keeping with our traditions. However, at such time when their firstborn ascends the Iron Throne, he or she will do so bearing the name Targaryen. Dragons will rule the Seven Kingdoms for the next hundred years, just as they did the last."
―Viserys to Corlys Velaryon[src]
Viserys: "What will they say of me when the histories are written? I have neither fought nor conquered, nor suffered any great defeat."
Lyonel: "Some might call that good fortune."
Viserys: "It hardly makes a good song, does it? To be sung at feasts in a hundred years... five hundred."
Lyonel: "You have carried King Jaehaerys's legacy and kept the realm strong. Is it not better to live in peace than to have songs sung after you are dead?"
Viserys: "Perhaps. But there is a part of me that wishes I'd been tested. I often think that in the crucible, I may have been forged a different man."
— Viserys and Lyonel Strong[src]
"With House Targaryen and House Velaryon united, I hope to herald in a second Age of Dragons in Westeros."
―Viserys I Targaryen[src]
"This interminable infighting must cease! All of you! We are a family! Now make your apologies and show good will to one another. Your father, your grandsire, your king demands it!"
―Viserys I Targaryen[src]
"Anyone whose tongue dares to question the birth of Princess Rhaenyra's sons should have it removed."
―Viserys I Targaryen[src]
"I will sit the throne today."
―Viserys to Otto Hightower[src]
Viserys: "Allow it? Do not forget yourself Vaemond."
Vaemond: " (Points to Lucerys) That is no true Velaryon! And certainly... no nephew of mine."
Viserys: "Lucerys is my trueborn grandson... and you... no more than the second son of Driftmark"
— Viserys and Vaemond Velaryon.[src]
Vaemond: "Her children are bastards! And she... is... a whore."
Viserys: "I (takes out dagger)... will have your tongue for that!"
— Vaemond and Viserys about the true lineage of Rhaenyra's children[src]
"It both gladdens my heart and fills me with sorrow to see these faces around the table. The faces most dear to me in all the world, yet grown so distant from each other in the years past. My own face is no longer a handsome one, if indeed it ever was. But tonight, I wish you to see me as I am. Not just a king, but your father. Your brother. Your husband, and your grandsire... who may not, it seems, walk for much longer among you. Let us no longer hold ill feelings in our hearts. The crown cannot stand strong if the House of the Dragon remains divided. But set aside your grievances. If not for the sake of the crown, then for the sake of this old man who loves you all so dearly."
―Viserys I Targaryen[src]
"No more. No more. My love."
―Viserys's last words[src]

Spoken about Viserys[]

"Fourteen succession claims were heard, but only two were truly considered: Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, the king's eldest descendant; and her younger cousin, Prince Viserys Targaryen, the king's eldest male descendant. Rhaenys, a woman, would not inherit the Iron Throne. The lords instead chose Viserys, my father."
―Rhaenyra Targaryen[src]
"It is declared by all lords paramount and lords vassal of the Seven Kingdoms that Prince Viserys Targaryen be made Prince of Dragonstone."
―The High Septon[src]
"I hope for my father that he gets a son. As long as I can recall, it's all he's wanted."
―Rhaenyra Targaryen[src]
"I do know how passionate you are for the histories."
―Alicent Hightower[src]
"You're weak, Viserys. And that council of leeches knows it. They all prey on you for their own ends."
―Daemon Targaryen[src]
Alicent: "Your father loves you. He chose you for his heir."
Rhaenyra: "He didn't choose me, he spurns Daemon."
— Alicent Hightower and Rhaenyra Targaryen[src]
"It was never my brother's strongest trait. Being king."
―Daemon Targaryen[src]
Corlys: "The Crabfeeder is backed by powerful entities within the Free Cities who wish to see Westeros weakened, and the king's failures have allowed him to accumulate strength. If those shipping lanes fall, my House will be crippled. I will not have Driftmark beggared while our king idles himself with feasts and balls and tourneys."
Daemon: "I will speak of my brother as I wish, you will not."
— Corlys Velaryon and Daemon Targaryen[src]
"You must guide Viserys towards reason. He'll never find it on his own."
―Otto Hightower to Alicent[src]
"If it was for advantage, you would've wed Laena Velaryon!"
―Rhaenyra Targaryen[src]
"Once we smashed the Triarchy in the Stepstones, they named me King of the Narrow Sea. But I know that there is only one true king, Your Grace. My crown and the Stepstones are yours."
―Daemon Targaryen[src]
"And now we come to the matter of the great iron chair, and whose bum it might bear. Our good king names his daughter, a girl, his heir. But then to him, a babe is born. To which heir might the chair bear? Who will it be? The brother? The daughter? Or the little princeling of three?"
―Theatre player[src]
"The king will die. It may be months or years, but he'll not live to be an old man."
―Otto Hightower[src]
Alicent: "My father and I are mere stewards of the king's will and wisdom."
Daemon: "And how exactly is that wisdom expressed? In blinks and wheezes? I'd be surprised if he could remember his own name."
— Alicent and Daemon[src]
"You told me it was our duty to hold the realm united against a common foe. By naming me heir, you divided the realm."
―Rhaenyra Targaryen[src]
"We grieve for Viserys the Peaceful. Our sovereign, our friend. But he has left us a gift. With his last breath, he impressed upon the queen his final wish: that his son, Aegon, should succeed him as Lord of the Seven Kingdoms."
―Otto Hightower[src]
"I have known Viserys longer than any who sit at this table. And I will not believe that he said this on his deathbed, alone, with only the boy's mother as a witness."
―Lyman Beesbury[src]
"Viserys is dead. I grieve this loss with you, Rhaenyra. My cousin, your father, possessed a kind heart."
―Rhaenys Targaryen[src]
"My brother was a slave to his omens and portents. Anything to make his feckless reign appear to have purpose."
―Daemon Targaryen[src]
"Your father was a coward who knew I was the stronger son, that I was the leader of men and he was afraid to be seen in my shadow!"
―Daemon criticizes his brother to Rhaenyra[src]
"He was a fool who sought greatness but shrank from spilling blood to achieve it."
―Daemon Targaryen[src]
Otto: "Do you never think of your father? His forbearance, his... judiciousness, his... his... dignity."
Aegon: "Fuck dignity! I want revenge. My father is dead."
Otto: "He is, and we are all the poorer for it. He was right about you."
— Otto Hightower disparagingly compares King Aegon II to his father[src]
"The significance of Viserys's intentions died with him."
―Alicent Hightower[src]
"Feeble and foolish, the old king refused to change the succession. He didn't even see how his court had split into two rival camps of Blacks and Greens."
Viserys Targaryen[src]
"It must be noted that Viserys did not squander his predecessor's legacy. Although the Dance of Dragons scarred the Seven Kingdoms for generations, it would be difficult to lay the blame for it at the feet of the king. It was his love for his children, and his desire to keep the peace that allowed the tensions to fester as they did."





Jaehaerys I
Famtree-Alysanne Targaryen






Famtree-Alyssa Targaryen

House Velaryon


House Arryn/House of the Dragon
Viserys I
House Hightower/House of the Dragon

Daemon Targaryen

House Royce
Daemon Targaryen

House Velaryon
3 House Velaryon


Daemon Targaryen

Famtree-Aegon Targaryen
Aegon II
Aegon II Targaryen




Famtree-Baela Targaryen

Famtree-Rhaena Targaryen

Famtree-Jacaerys Velaryon
House Velaryon

Famtree-Lucerys Velaryon
House Velaryon
House Velaryon





1 Jaehaerys had thirteen children in all. For simplicity, only the direct ancestors of future generations are on this family tree and they are not in the exact order of birth. The thirteen children in correct order are: Aegon, Daenerys, Aemon, Baelon, Alyssa, Maegelle, Vaegon, Daella, Saera, Viserra, Gaemon, Valerion, and Gael.

2 Due to the nature of their respective births and deaths, Baelon Targaryen, son of Viserys and Aemma, and Visenya Targaryen, daughter of Rhaenyra and Daemon, are not included on this family tree.

3 While Jacaerys, Lucerys, and Joffrey are officially Laenor's, he and Rhaenyra never had any biological issue. Their three sons were in fact fathered by Harwin Strong.

Behind the scenes[]

On October 5, 2020, HBO announced that Paddy Considine had been cast in the role of Viserys I Targaryen for House of the Dragon. His character description reads as follows:

"Chosen by the lords of Westeros to succeed the Old King, Jaehaerys Targaryen, at the Great Council at Harrenhal. A warm, kind, and decent man, Viserys only wishes to carry forward his grandfather's legacy. But good men do not necessarily make for great kings."[14]

George R.R. Martin considers Viserys's show character as better than the book counterpart character; he is also very impressed by Paddy Considine, whose performance gives the character a tragic majesty that the book character never quite achieved.[15]

In the books[]

Roman Papsuev - Viserys I Targaryen

Viserys I Targaryen by Roman "Amok" Papsuev.©

In Fire & Blood, Viserys I was the grandson of King Jaehaerys I, who was the longest-reigning King of the Seven Kingdoms in history, ruling for 55 years. Jaehaerys I ruled for so long that his son predeceased him, and he was directly succeeded by Viserys I, who then ruled for 26 years. Between the two of them, they presided over an 80 year golden age for the Targaryen dynasty, with entire generations that were born and died knowing only the peace and prosperity brought by the dragon-kings' unification of the continent.

Physically, Viserys I was a plump and pleasant man, amiable to those around him. He grew up in and ruled over a time of plenty, so he was fat and jovial, though he was still an effective monarch. He was loved by both the nobility and the smallfolk. As king, he wore the seven-jeweled crown of his predecessor, Jaehaerys I. Viserys was the last rider of the dragon Balerion the Black Dread. He did not ride him long or extensively, as the beast died of old age in 94 AC, late in the reign of Jaehaerys I and nine years before Viserys I succeeded him as king. Although at the time there were more Targaryen dragons than under the reign of any monarch before or since, Viserys I never bonded with another dragon.

Jaehaerys I and his sister-wife Good Queen Alysanne had nine children who grew to adulthood, of which four had (legitimate) children of their own - though two of them were in a brother-sister marriage. They had four grandchildren, of which two also married each other. Their eldest son Aemon married Jocelyn Baratheon, and produced one daughter named Rhaenys before his untimely death. Their second son Baelon married his own sister Alyssa, and they produced two surviving children: sons Viserys and Daemon. Younger sister Daella married Lord Rodrik Arryn, but died giving birth to Aemma Arryn - who eventually married her first cousin Viserys, and bore his daughter Rhaenyra.

Aemon was killed in a skirmish with pirates in 92 AC, after which Jaehaerys declared that his second son Baelon would replace him as royal heir - even though according to the traditional primogeniture laws followed by the Andals in Westeros, Aemon's child should have inherited instead of his younger brother. Later in 101 AC, Baelon suddenly died of a burst appendix: while under traditional law Baelon's own heir was his eldest son Viserys, the spurned Velaryons used the opportunity to again press their claim that Baelon never should have been considered the royal heir in the first place, and by right of primogeniture inheritance should pass to Rhaenys. Failing that, they insisted that the throne should at least pass to the next male produced from Rhaenys's bloodline, her son Laenor. Viserys and his supporters claimed he should be heir on the principle of male proximity, not primogeniture, as he could claim unbroken male descent from father to son (no major group in Westeros is known to have practiced proximity-based inheritance before, but many did not want to see a woman ascend to the Iron Throne).

To prevent a civil war, Jaehaerys convened the Great Council of 101 AC in which all the great and minor lords of Westeros gathered to debate on the issue. It focused down to a vote between Viserys and Laenor, and Viserys won the final tally in a landslide of about twenty to one. Faced with such opposition, the Velaryons grudgingly accepted the result of the council, though they remained estranged from Viserys's new royal court.

In the books, Viserys's cause of death is unclear. Towards the end of his life, he suffered from a series of health issues such as gout and obesity (as opposed to his emaciated appearance in "The Lord of the Tides"). It is not mentioned in Fire and Blood if Viserys ever suffered from a form of leprosy, though he did have his fingers removed by Maester Gerardys after cutting himself on the Iron Throne in fear of developing an infection.

The epithet "the Peaceful" was invented for Viserys in House of the Dragon; the only nickname applied to him in Fire & Blood is the "the Young King," contrasting him with his predecessor Jaehaerys ("the Old King").



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 8: "The Lord of the Tides" (2022).
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 1: "The Heirs of the Dragon" (2022).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 9: "The Green Council" (2022).
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 3: "Second of His Name" (2022).
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 4: "King of the Narrow Sea" (2022).
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 6: "The Princess and the Queen" (2022).
  7. Character Guide. HBO. Retrieved March 15, 2023.
  8. House of the Dragon: Season 2, Episode 3: "The Burning Mill" (2024).
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 2: "The Rogue Prince" (2022).
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 5: "We Light the Way" (2022).
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 7: "Driftmark" (2022).
  12. House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 10: "The Black Queen" (2022).
  13. The Dance of Dragons (2016).
  14. Unknown author (Unknown date). House of the Dragon S1 | Character Descriptions. Warner Bros. Discovery. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  15. Not A Blog: Good Stuff, Bad Stuff, Strange Stuff (June 1, 2022)


  1. Viserys I Targaryen is stated to be in his 40s in the script for "The Heirs of the Dragon;" therefore, he was born between 63 and 72 AC.
  2. Conjecture based on information from Fire & Blood; may be subject to change.
  3. The premise of "The Lord of the Tides" opens with "six years later." The previous episode takes place in 126 AC.
  4. High Valyrian: Viserys I Targārien
  5. In "Before the Dance: An Illustrated History with George R.R. Martin," George R.R. Martin states that Jaehaerys I Targaryen became king at 14 and reigned for 55 years. According to Game of Thrones: House of the Dragon: Inside the Creation of a Targaryen Dynasty, "The Heirs of the Dragon" takes place in 112 AC, the 9th year of Viserys I Targaryen's reign; therefore, Jaehaerys died in 103 AC.
  6. Conjecture based on information from The World of Ice & Fire; may be subject to change.

External links[]

Preceded by Prince of Dragonstone
101 - 103 AC
Succeeded by
Preceded by King of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men
103 - 132 AC
Succeeded by