The Big Picture
- Knowing who’s who among the Targaryens in Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon can be confusing, with multiple characters and complicated relationships.
- The Targaryen family is filled with tragedy and conflict, from killings during Robert’s Rebellion to backstabbing and power struggles within the family.
- The Targaryen family goes far back to Aegon the Conquerer who first conquered Westeros with his sister-wives and extends down to Jon Snow in Game of Thrones, who is revealed to be a Targaryen.
Ah, the Targaryens… They sure love their family. Almost as much as they love white wigs. This familial love, however, comes with a very serious problem: between all the incest, the backstabbing, and the multiple Aegons, Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon fans can sometimes get lost in the specifics of the most important family in the Seven Kingdoms. Game of Thrones alone already has about six Targaryens featured as proper characters, not to mention the ones that are brought up as relevant figures in the history of the Iron Throne. When we throw House of the Dragon into the mix, things get even more complicated. After all, this is a show in which basically all the characters are Targaryens, and they’re all related to one another by either blood or marriage – sometimes, both! Still, if you find yourself at a loss about who’s who in this neverending dance of dragons, fear not: here’s a guide to all the most important Targaryens in Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon.
Raised as the bastard son of Lord Eddard Stark (Sean Bean), Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is actually the son of Rhaegar Targaryen (Wilf Scolding) and Lyanna Stark (Aisling Franciosi). He’s the product of the relationship that gave rise to Robert’s Rebellion, which eventually put an end to the Targaryen dynasty and led King Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) to the Iron Throne. Before the events of Game of Thrones, Lyanna, who was engaged to Robert, was allegedly kidnaped and raped by Rhaegar. In reality, she ran away with him, and the two got married in secret, which makes Jon the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, if we’re going by Targaryen rules.
Rhaenys and Aegon Targaryen
Young Rhaenys and Aegon were the children of Rhaegar Targaryen and his first wife, Elia Martell. They were killed horribly alongside their mother by the Mountain (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) during Robert’s Rebellion.
The Stormborn, Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains, etc. Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) is the youngest daughter of Aerys II (David Rintoul), the Mad King, and his sister-wife, Rhaella Targaryen. She is the baby sister of Viserys (Harry Lloyd) and Rhaegar, and the sole survivor of the Targaryen lineage until the truth about Jon Snow’s parentage hits the Westerosi fan. She was briefly married to Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa), a leader of the Dothraki people, with whom she had only a stillborn child. Thus, she gives most of her motherly love to her three dragons, Drogon, Rhaegon, and Viserion, who were the first of their kind born after they were deemed extinct centuries prior to events of Game of Thrones, during the reign Aegon III.
The horrid brother of Daenerys and Rhaegar is the middle child of Aerys and Rhaella. Forced into exile at a young age, following the victory of Robert Baratheon’s forces, he married his sister to Drogo in the hopes of getting an army that would help him storm Westeros and put him in the Iron Throne. All he got, however, was a pan of liquid, boiling gold thrown onto his head after screaming bloody murder that he needed a golden crown.
The firstborn son of King Aerys II and Rhaella Targaryen, Rhaegar was killed during Robert’s Rebellion, considered guilty of the so-called kidnaping of Lyanna Stark. Before secretly marrying Lyanna, Rhaegar was married to Elia Martell, a Dornish princess with whom he had two children, Rhaenys and Aegon.
Aerys II Targaryen
Perhaps best known as the Mad King, Aerys II Targaryen was the one sitting on the Iron Throne during Robert’s Rebellion. He was killed by a member of his own Kingsguard, Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), after ordering his men to burn down the town of King’s Landing alongside its people. Aerys is the son of King Jaehaerys II and his sister-wife, Shaera Targaryen.
Rhaella is one of the children of Shaera and Jaehaerys II. She was wedded to her own brother, Aerys, with whom she had three children: Rhaegar, Viserys, and Daenerys.
A maester and a member of the Night’s Watch, Aemon (Peter Vaughan) is one of the six children of King Maekar I and his wife, Dyanna Dayne. He’s a younger brother to King Aegon V, which, in turn, makes him a great-uncle to King Aerys II. Apart from Viserys and Daenerys, he’s one of the only known Targaryens living at the beginning of Game of Thrones. He’s also one of the few characters in both the HBO show and the A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels to die of natural causes.
Aegon III, Viserys II, and Visenya Targaryen
Time to leave the world of Game of Thrones behind and delve into the Targaryens that matter the most in House of the Dragon. Though so far none of them has had an important role in the show, Aegon III, Viserys II, and Visenya are the three children of Princess – or Queen, depending on your inclinations – Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy/Milly Alcock) and her uncle-husband Daemon (Matt Smith). Out of the three kids, only Aegon and Viserys live long enough to become kings in their own rights in the books. Visenya does not survive past her birth. During Aegon’s reign, dragons are seen for the last time, which earns the king the moniker of Dragonbane.
Jaehaerys and Jaehaera Targaryen
Yet another pair of little ones that still don’t have much to do in the series, Jaehaerys and Jaehaera are the twin children of King Aegon II (Tom Glynn-Carney), who may or may not be a usurper, and his sister-wife, Helaena (Phia Saban). The pair also has a younger brother by the name of Maelor who still hasn’t made an appearance on the show.
The youngest son of Rhaenyra and her first husband, Laenor Velaryon (Theo Nate), Joffrey, much like his brothers, gives away his true parentage in the dark color of his hair. At least in House of the Dragon, he has been confirmed as the son of Rhaenyra with the goldcloak Harwin Strong (Ryan Corr).
The middle child of Rhaenyra and Laenor (or Ser Harwin), Lucerys (Elliot Grihault) is killed in the last episode of Season 1 of House of the Dragon by his uncle, Aemond Targaryen (Ewan Mitchell). He’s riding on his dragon, Arrax, near Storm’s End when Aemond attacks him with his own mount, Vhagar. Aemond doesn’t mean to kill his nephew, merely threaten him, but the result is disastrous either way: with one bite, Vhagar splits Arrax in the middle and swallows poor Luke whole.
The eldest son of Rhaenyra and Laenor Velaryon/Harwin Strong, Jacaerys Targaryen (Harry Collett), or Jace, as he is known by his family, is supposed to be the heir to the throne following his mother’s reign. As of the end of Season 1, he is flying north to Winterfell to gain the alliance of the Starks.
So far absent from House of the Dragon, Daeron Targaryen is the youngest son of King Viserys (Paddy Considine) and his second wife, Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke). He has a brief appearance in the show’s opening credits and is believed to be in the Citadel. Perhaps he’ll make an appearance in Season 2, as he is supposed to support his brother Aegon’s claim to the throne in the Dance of the Dragons.
Aemond “One-Eye” gained his less-than-adorable nickname after losing his left eye in a childhood fight with his nephew Lucerys over the latter’s parentage. He eventually gets back at Luke in the worst way possible by accidentally killing him with his dragon, Vhagar, effectively making him a kinslayer — one of the worst taboos in Westeros. There are rumors around King’s Landing that Aemond may be the true father of his sister Helaena’s children.
Helaena Targaryen is the second daughter of King Viserys and Queen Alicent. She’s a dragon dreamer, meaning she has visions of the future. She’s married to her brother Aegon, with whom she has three children.
The firstborn son of King Viserys and Queen Alicent is also the first male living son of King Viserys. His birth is what eventually leads to the beginning of the so-called Dance of the Dragons, as the presence of a direct male heir to the king weakened Rhaenyra’s claim to the Iron Throne. Despite being a horrible little man who enjoys watching his own baby bastards fight to the death in makeshift arenas, Aegon is crowned king in the final episode of Season 1 of House of the Dragon.
Baela and Rhaena Targaryen
Baela (Bethany Antonia) and Rhaena (Phoebe Campbell) are the two daughters of Daemon Targaryen and his first wife, Lady Laena Velaryon. Baela, whose dragon is Moondancer, is by far her father’s favorite child. Meanwhile, in the books, Baela’s twin sister Rhaena has never managed to get on Daemon’s good side due to her first dragon dying when it was still in its infancy. In the show, it simply seems like Rhaena never had a dragon to begin with. Eventually, though, Rhaena does manage to bond with a dragon named Morning, making her the last dragonrider.
The only living child of King Viserys and his first wife, Aemma Arryn (Sian Brooke), Rhaenyra is the match that lights the fire of the Dance of the Dragons. It is her father naming her heir in lieu of his brother Daemon that leads the noble houses of Westeros to split up and fight in the bloody war that we have only seen the beginning of in House of the Dragon. Rhaenyra gets married twice over the course of her life and has three children both with Laenor Velaryon (or with Harwin Strong, but we’ve covered that already) and her uncle-husband Daemon.
Before marrying his niece, Daemon was her opponent in the fight for the Iron Throne, but his claim eventually went down the drain with the birth of Aegon. Daemon initially marries Laena Velaryon, with whom he has two daughters, Baela and Rhaena. After Laena kills herself via dragon in order not to die in childbirth, however, he marries Rhaenyra, with whom he has three children, including the stillborn Visenya.
Daemon’s brother, Viserys was unable to produce a male heir with his first wife, Aemma. So, he names his only daughter, Rhaenyra, as his successor to the throne. This proves to be a mistake for King Viserys eventually remarries Alicent Hightower, with whom he has three sons: Aegon II, Aemond, and Daeron. The two also have a daughter, whom they name Helaena.
The Queen Who Never Was earned this moniker after losing the throne to her cousin, Viserys, in the Great Council held by her hierless grandfather, King Jaeherys I. Due to her will to see a woman in the Iron Throne, Rhaenys eventually comes to support Rhaenyra in the Dance of the Dragons. She is married to Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint), with whom she has two children, Laenor and Laena.
King Jaehaerys I is the grandson of King Aegon I by way of his son Aenys and Alyssa Velaryon. He had nine children, all of whom died before the end of his reign. Without a proper heir, he held a Great Council so that the lords of Westeros could choose to be ruled by either Rhaenys, the daughter of his eldest son, of Viserys, his eldest living grandson. Due to the fact that the realm prefers a male heir, Viserys is the one chosen in the very first episode of House of the Dragon.
Aegon I Targaryen
The founder of the Targaryen dynasty, Aegon the Conqueror flew from Valyria to Westeros and unified the Seven Kingdoms before the events of both Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon. He had two children, one with each of his sister-wives: Aenys was Rhaenys son, while Maegor was his son with Visenya.