In George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire universe, family trees are notoriously convoluted. You thought it was difficult to remember the names of Ned, Catelyn, Arya, Sansa, Bran, Robb, and Rickon Stark? Martin has traced their ancestors’ ancestors’ ancestors’ ancestors’ ancestors’ ancestors’ ancestors’ ancestors’ The Westeros family trees alone might fill a book. Martin, knowing Martin, is most likely working on one right now.
House of the Dragon, a prequel drama set roughly 200 years before the original series is giving Game of Thrones viewers a taste of this. The new show is centered on the Targaryens of old. Daenerys was the last one standing in Game of Thrones (save Jon Snow, who only learned he was a Targaryen late into the series). But we’ve already met Viserys Targaryen, his brother Daemon, his daughter Rhaenyra, and other characters. This thing’s budget for radioactive blonde wigs is crazy.
You might be wondering, as you watch the new show, how the Targaryens of this age are linked to the ones we meet on Game of Thrones. As it happens, George R.R. Martin has supplied an exacting answer. Let’s take a trip through time. But before, please be informed that there will be SPOILERS for the rest of House of the Dragon below.
Rhaenyra and Daemon Targaryen’s children
Daemon and Rhaenyra married in the most recent episode of House of the Dragon. (They are, in fact, uncle and niece.) Targaryens are big on incest, so accept it.) And this is where the SPOILERS begin. Rhaenyra and Daemon will have two children that will grow up. In tonight’s new episode, we’ll meet both of them. Aegon III Targaryen and Viserys II Targaryen are their names.
Rhaenrya and Daemon didn’t pick those names at random. Young Viserys is obviously named after Rhaenyra’s father. Rhaenyra chooses the name Aegon particularly to taunt Alicent Hightower, whose eldest-born son with King Viserys is also named Aegon.
Anyway, without giving too much away about what happens in the series, I’ll simply state that Viserys II Targaryen, the second child of Rhaenrya and Daemon Targaryen, will eventually sit on the Iron Throne. Between now and then, a lot happens — a few other individuals will place their buttocks on the throne in the meanwhile — but I’m going to skim over all of that since it will spoil House of the Dragon. Viserys II will not occupy the Iron Throne for several years after the events of the program, so let’s start there.
Viserys II reigns from 171 to 172 A.D., from Viserys Targaryen to Jon Snow. It was a brief reign, but he had previously served as Hand of the King to several monarchs and is credited with keeping the realm together with his firm hand. Viserys II improves the royal household, develops a new royal mint, works to increase trade across the Narrow Sea, and makes gradual updates to the code of laws during his year on the throne. According to all accounts, he is a very successful king.
Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow are distant ancestors of Rhaenyra and Daemon Targaryen. But how EXACTLY are they related? Let's get detailed. https://t.co/cTYHllalDJ
— Winter is Coming (@WiCnet) October 9, 2022
Viserys II succumbs to sudden sickness. His son Aegon IV Targaryen, sometimes known as Aegon the Unworthy, succeeds him. As the nickname suggests, Aegon IV is a terrible ruler; the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree with this one. He is most remembered for legitimizing all of his bastard children on his deathbed, resulting in the Blackfyre Rebellion. From 172-184 AD, Aegon IV governs.
Aegon the Unworthy is succeeded on the Iron Throne by his son Daeron II Targaryen, known as Daeron the Good, after his death. Daeron II is most known for marrying Dorne’s Princess Myriah Martell and successfully bringing Dorne into the Seven Kingdoms. He reigned from 184 to 209 AD.
Daeron is succeeded by his son Aerys I Targaryen when he dies of the plague. (This is NOT the same Aerys Targaryen as shown in Game of Thrones as the Mad King.) That is Aerys II, and he will arrive later.)
Aerys I governs from 209 to 221 A.D., but dies without having children, therefore the crown passes to his younger brother Maekar I Targaryen, who reigns from 221-233 A.D. Maekar takes part in the Blackfyre Rebellions.
The Dunk and Egg era has here.
This is also the historical period in which George R.R. Martin placed his Tales of Dunk and Egg novellas, which HBO is considering adapting into a new TV show. We’ll see if those plans pan out. Aside from House of the Dragon, I believe a Dunk and Egg show is the most likely to be adapted for television. Because dragons have all but vanished by this point in the chronology, the Targaryen family isn’t as secure as it once was.
me being torn between wanting to see all the dunk and egg era charcaters being brought to life on screen vs me knowing hbo’s track record with asoiaf related content
— mia (@silvcrwings) January 21, 2021
Aegon V Targaryen, Maekar’s fourth son, is one of the characters in the Dunk and Egg story. (I know, another Aegon; the Targaryens prefer to name their children after Aegon the Conqueror.) Aegon V’s buddies call him Egg because of his bald head. He’s known throughout history as Aegon the Unlikely because he has so many older siblings that no one believes he has a chance of coming to the Iron Throne…
….but he does! After his father, King Maekar, dies, the crown is first given to Aegon’s older brother Aemon, who declines and joins the Night’s Watch. You might recognize him as a Game of Thrones-friendly elderly Maester Aemon. Yes, we’ve finally arrived at the period where these characters appeared on the original show, which is set more than 100 years after House of the Dragon!
As a result, the kingdom passed to Aegon V, who reigned from 233 to 259 AD. Aegon attempts to enact reforms that will benefit the smallfolk but soon realize that the only way he will be able to enforce them is if he has dragons to back him up. He devises a plot to hatch some dragon eggs, but it goes tragically wrong, and he and his squad accidentally set fire to Summerhall Castle, killing Aegon V.
The throne then transfers to Aegon’s son, Jaehaerys II Targaryen. From 259 to 262 AD, Jaehaerys reigns. He was constantly unhealthy and died as a result of his sickness. His son Aerys II Targaryen, who we all know as the Mad King from Game of Thrones, succeeds him.
We finally get to Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow.
Aerys is, of course, the father of Daenerys Targaryen and her older brother Viserys, who shares a name with the two other Viserys characters we meet in House of the Dragon. Rhaegar Targaryen, who was born on the day Summerhall burnt, was also the father of Aerys. And Rhaegar is Jon Snow’s hidden father, whose mother was Lyanna Stark.
So there you have it! We’ve now traced Rhaenyra and Daemon Targaryen’s ancestry all the way down the generations to Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. And if that’s too much for you, here’s a shortened version:
Rhaenrya and Daemon Targaryen are the parents of —> Viserys II Targaryen, father of —> Aegon IV Targaryen, aka Aegon the Unworthy, father of —> Daeron II Targaryen, aka Daeron the Good, father of —> Maekar I Targaryen, father of —> Aegon V Targaryen, aka Aegon the Unlikely, father of —> Jaehaerys II Targaryen, father of —> Aerys II Targaryen, aka the Mad King, father of —> Daenerys Targaryen AND Rhaegar Targaryen, father of —-> Jon Snow
Again, House of the Dragon will most likely end long before Viserys II Targaryen takes the Iron Throne, but if you’ve been wondering how the new Targaryen generation is related to the ancient one, now you know.