Guide to Westeros
The cast of House of the Dragon

Use This Targaryen Family Tree To Keep Up With House Of The Dragon

Although, maybe a Targaryen incestuous infinity loop is more like it.

by Ani Bundel
Originally Published: 
Ollie Upton/HBO

When it comes to history, the past isn’t dead. Events that happened way before someone was born may feel ancient, but really, 100 years isn’t that long ago. House of the Dragon opened in 101 AC, a century after Aegon’s conquest. That may feel like forever to the Targaryens, who have ruled Westeros for as long as they can remember, yet it’s not that far back, nor is it that removed from Viserys to the Mad King. Let me run down the House Of The Dragon Targaryen family tree.

Warning: Spoilers for House of the Dragon Season 1, Episode 3 follow. Proof a century is not that long is present from the first episode. Viserys stands under the giant skull of Balerion. Game of Thrones identified Balerion as the dragon rode by Aegon the Conqueror, the first significant dragon to live in Westeros. But Viserys is lighting candles because Balerion was also his dragon. Balerion had been ridden by four different riders, three of them kings before he passed on. It may have been 120 human years, but it hasn’t even been one lifespan for a dragon.

House of the Dragon understands how complicated the intermarried family of Targaryens is, the same way Game of Thrones understood how complex the continent of Westeros was. The opening bloodline through the Old Valyrian castle takes viewers through the first generations of kings, from Aegon I to Viserys I. It starts with Aegon the Conqueror and his wives, Rhaenys and Visenya, his ruling heirs, elder son Aenys I, followed by younger son Maegor I. Maegor was succeeded by Aenys’ son, Jaehaerys I. After the Great Council of 101 in the premiere, he appointed Viserys as his heir.

Warning: Explaining the Targaryen family tree from here on out may spoil future House of the Dragon events, so don’t read on if you want to be unspoiled. As viewers know, Viserys I then appointed Rhaenyra as his heir, and her struggle for the Throne against her half-brother, the would-be Aegon II, is the subject of the series.

The Aftermath Years

As HOTD ends, Aegon III, who fans will meet in later seasons, will be the one left on the Throne. Aegon the Unlucky was married to his cousin, Jaehaera (who fans will meet soon), in a move to unite the warring factions. She took her own life within the year.

Aegon III then married Daenaera Velaryon, a sweet girl chosen more for her disposition than her lineage. Their son, Daeron I, succeeded Aegon III less than two decades later, at 14. Jon Snow mentions Daeron, known as “The Boy King,” in a few early Game of Thrones episodes as one of his idols. Daeron I came to power young, but he also passed young and was succeeded by his brother, Baelor I.

Baelor is famous for conquering Dorne not by force but peacefully by marrying his nephew into their ruling family. He was also super religious; The Sept of Baelor is named after him. He also was celibate, so when he passed away, the crown did not pass down to a new generation but instead backed up the chain to Aegon III’s brother and former Hand, Viserys II, who was already nearly 50 and lived less than a year after being crowned.

The Blackfyre Rebellion Generation

Viserys’s son, Aegon IV, was known as Aegon the Unworthy and considered the worst Targaryen King to ever sit on the Throne. Yes, worse than the Mad King, who at least had the sense to be murdered and leave the Throne to Robert. Aegon IV had over a dozen bastards, plus two true-born children. He legitimized them all on his deathbed, and created another succession crisis, known as The Blackfyre Rebellion, as his sons, Daemon I Blackfyre and Daeron II Targaryen, fought for control of the Throne.

As luck would have it, Daeron II happened to be the nephew Baelor married into the Martell family, and he put down the rebellion with the help of Dorne, sealing their alliance. The Dunk & Egg books begin here; Daeron’s eldest, Baelor Breakspear, is Duncan’s friend who helps him enter the tourney.

The Dunk & Egg Years

Helen Sloan/HBO

As readers of those books know, Baelor didn’t live to claim the Throne; that went to his brother Aerys I. Unfortunately Aerys was never interested in women and appointed about four different successors over his time on the Throne, with it finally passing to his youngest brother, Maekar I Targaryen.

Like Jaehaerys I so long ago, Maekar’s first two sons passed one after the other, leaving no apparent heir when he passed. But his oldest living son, Aemon, recognized the danger and took himself out of the line of succession by taking the black and going to the Wall, leaving his brother Aegon V to ascend. At this point, viewers are in known territory, as Aemon lived to be friends with Jon Snow, while Aegon V is “Egg” from the Dunk & Egg novels.

The Fall of the Targaryens

Aegon V’s son, Jaehaerys II, helped sow the seeds of discontent when he and his sister, Shaera, refused to marry outside the family, eloped, and intermarried instead. When he inherited his father’s now long dragon-less lands, he did so over a country that no longer trusted Targaryen rule and only lived three years.

The Throne then passed to the son he had with Shaera, Aerys II Targaryen, known as the Mad King, to who Jaehaerys II insisted on marrying their daughter, Rhaella. Their firstborn son, Prince Rhaegar, was to be their heir until he caused Robert Baratheon to declare rebellion by eloping with Ned Stark’s sister Lyanna.

Aerys II was the last Targaryen to sit upon the Iron Throne until his daughter, Daenerys, the Mad Queen, took it by force from Cersei Lannister in 310 AC. She was murdered on it by her half-brother, the bastard Jon Snow, ending the Targaryen line forever.

House of the Dragon Season 1 continues with new episodes on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max. All seasons of Game of Thrones are streaming on HBO Max.

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