Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen

Breaking Down the Targaryen Family Tree and Line of Succession

Get comfortable, this is gonna take a second.

House Targaryen. Fire and Blood. The Dragonriders.

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In A Song of Ice and Fire, the Targaryens are known as the former ruling house of Westeros (who were deposed during Robert’s Rebellion) and also, of course, for their dragons. Their last confirmed remaining family member is Daenerys Targaryen.

But what happened to the rest of them? Well, to understand that you need to break down the chaotic family tree and several big tragedies. Despite the incest (or…because of it?), it still gets pretty hectic.

A note: This timeline is based on the books (which are not finished), hence, Daenerys is still alive out there.

Origins

Cersei Lannister in the map room of 'Game of Thrones'
(image: HBO)

The Targaryens were originally from the continent of Essos (from the Valyrian peninsula) and were physically unique, due to their silver-gold hair and violet eyes. In the A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying book, it was revealed that Valyrians were originally shepherds who discovered dragons in the Fourteen Flames, a ring of volcanoes on the Valyrian peninsula.

The only family of dragonlords who survived the Doom of Valyria, were the Targaryens. Initially, they only stayed at Dragonstone, residing for more than a century at Dragonstone castle on Dragonstone island. Until, in 2 BC, Aegon the Conqueror and his sister-wives, Visenya and Rhaenys, began the first of the Wars of Conquest.

In the end, Aegon became the first King of Westeros—Kings of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men, the Lords of the Seven Kingdoms.

The Heirs Begin

Aegon had children with his sister-wives, Visenya and Rhaenys. With Visenya he had Maegor Targaryen, also known as Maegor the Cruel, and with Rhaenys he had Aenys I Targaryen.

Aenys ruled after Aegon and had six children: Rhaena Targaryen, Aegon Targaryen, Viserys Targaryen, Jaehaerys Targaryen, Alysanne Targaryen, and Vaella Targaryen.

Aenys had heirs, so the crown should have gone to one of them after he died, however, as we know, the game of thrones is a brutal one and Maegor took the throne after his brother. He was a cruel and unjust leader. But he never had any children, so the throne was passed back to his half-brother’s heir, Aenys’ son: Jaehaerys.

The Reign of Jaehaerys

Jaehaerys I was the longest reigning Targaryen monarch, ruling for fifty-five years. He had seven different heirs during his lifetime (because they just kept dying on him as he trucked along): Aerea Targaryen (48 AC-52 AC), Aegon Targaryen (52 AC), Aerea Targaryen (52 AC-53 AC), Daenerys Targaryen (53 AC-55 AC), Aemon Targaryen (55 AC-92 AC), Baelon Targaryen (92 AC-101 AC), and finally, Viserys Targaryen (101 AC-103 AC).

(image: HBO)

It all hits the fan…

Viserys I Targaryen is where things start getting tricky when it comes to the Targaryens and their politics about who sits on the iron throne. Viserys had two wives. First was Aemma Arryn—with whom he had a daughter, Princess Rhaenyra. Rhaenyra was being groomed to be the heir to the throne.

But when Aemma died, Viserys married Alicent Hightower and they had a son, Aegon.

Despite Viserys issuing his daughter be heir, after he died, civil war broke out between the Targaryens—with one half of the family and realm backing Rhaenyra and the other backing Aegon II. This conflict would lead to the Targaryen Civil War known as the Dance of the Dragons, which is the premise for House of the Dragon.

Spoilers Ahead…

During the civil war, Rhaenyra is killed, and Aegon II feeds her to his own dragon, Sunfyre, at Dragonstone. After seeing his mother be eaten by a dragon (understandably a bit traumatizing) her son, Aegon III, decides to bring about the end of dragons in Westeros. Ultimately, the Dance of the Dragons led to the deaths of many Targaryens, making their gene pool way smaller, and it caused the end of dragons.

Back to Rhaenyra’s son, Aegon III Targaryen (who was called the Dragonbane). His sons all died childless, and so, next, the throne passed to his brother, Viserys II, who only reigned for one year. Aegon IV took the throne after his father and was called Aegon the Unworthy. He sired a ton of bastards and when he died he legitimized all of them. Most notably was Daemon I Blackfyre, who became the leader of the Blackfyre House and would be a thorn in the Targaryen’s side for ages.

The video linked down below goes through it all very well.

The Blackfyre Rebellion Era

Skipping past the rebellions, Daeron II (or Daeron the Good) bought peace back to Westeros and married Myriah Martell. Their first two male heirs died and so Aerys I took the throne after his father. He was kind of boring and then Maekar I took the throne.

Now we get closer to the “present day.”

Maekar had several sons, but the two we are most concerned about are his third son, Aemon, and his (eventually successor) son, Aegon V. Aegon, or as he is known in the prequel novella’s “Egg”. Due to his travels, Aegon V wanted to give rights to the small folk, but he was constantly met with resistance. He believed that the best way to bring power back to the throne was with dragons.

Turns out, making baby dragons is not so easy, and his efforts led to The Tragedy of Summerhall (259 AC), where Aegon perished while trying to hatch dragon eggs. His heir, Prince Duncan the Small, Ser Duncan the Tall, several members of the royal family and court also died in the fire. However, born from the tragedy was Rhaegar Targaryen, known as The Last Dragon—but that’s jumping ahead.

It All Comes to an End

Following the death of Aegon V, his son, Jaehaerys II, took the throne. In his short reign, he ended the Blackfyre Rebellion. Once Jaehaerys died, his son, Aerys II, took the throne. Aerys is known, of course, as the Mad King. He had three children: Rhaegar, Viserys, and Daenerys.

Rhaegar died in the battle against Robert Baratheon. Viserys was killed by Khal Drogo, and that leaves Daenerys as the second remaining member of the official Targaryen family. The other being—Aemon, son of Maekar I, who is currently serving as a maester to the Night’s Watch at Castle Black.

And that’s how the Targs got whittled down to two. Allegedly.

(featured image HBO)


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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.