Every Targaryen king in order, from Aegon the Conqueror to The Mad King

Cameron Frew
The Mad King in Game of ThronesHBO

The House of the Dragon has a long, bloody history of ruling Westeros – so, here’s every Targaryen who’s sat on the Iron Throne, from Aegon the Conqueror and Viserys to Jaehaerys and The Mad King.

The Iron Throne sat at the center of all of the conflicts in Game of Thrones; claimed by many and ruled by few, with a world of ice and fire revolving around its tall, tetanus-prone stature.

House of the Dragon, a prequel series based on George R.R. Martin’s Fire and Blood, chronicles the crumbling Targaryen dynasty in the lead-up to the Dance of the Dragons, a house-shattering civil war that puts a ticking clock on their rule.

With more never-before-seen Targaryens still to arrive, let’s break down all of the Targaryen rulers who’ve sat atop the Seven Kingdoms, including Aegon and the show’s own Viserys, all the way to The Mad King and beyond.

1. Aegon I Targaryen, also known as the Conqueror

Aegon I Targaryen, also known as Aegon the ConquerorAmok
Aegon I conquered Westeros and became the first king.

Aegon I Targaryen was not just the first Targaryen king, but the first king to ever sit on the Iron Throne and take the title of Lord of the Seven Kingdoms.

He became known as “the Conqueror” as a result of his conquest across Westeros. This came after the Century of Blood, a period of chaos in Essos sparked by the destruction of the Valyrian Freehold.

While many believed the conquest to have stemmed from a conflict with the Storm King Argilac, Episode 1 reframed it with a major “Song of Ice and Fire” bombshell.

He had two wives: Visenya and Rhaenys Targaryen, both of whom were his sisters. He also had two children: Aenys and Maegor. He died from a stroke 37 years after his conquest, known as 37 AC.

2. Aenys I Targaryen

Aenys, the eldest child of Aegon and Rhaenys, became king after the Conqueror’s death. Out of the next 16 Targaryen kings, 15 were direct descendants of Aenys.

He was married to Alyssa Velaryon, with whom he had three sons (Aegon, Viserys, and Jaehaerys) and three daughters (Rhaena, Alysanne , and Vaella).

He ruled for just five years, dying at the age of 35. While the cause of his death remains unconfirmed, some suggested it was Dowager Queen Visenya Targaryen who was responsible.

3. Maegor I Targaryen, also known as the Cruel

Maegor, the only child of Aegon and Visenya, shouldn’t have been king – Aenys’ first son, Aegon, was first in the line of succession. However, together with his mother, he managed to claim the throne, but his reign was defined by this injustice.

As a bad Targaryen is prone to do, Maegor responded to the complaints with dragonflame, death, and destruction, and is perhaps remembered even less fondly than The Mad King.

Maegor earned his title of kingslayer and “the Cruel” after taking on Aegon “the Uncrowned” and his dragon Quicksilver. It probably would have gone well for Aegon if Maegor wasn’t riding Balerion the Black Dread, the most fearsome dragon in all Game of Thrones history.

He had six wives: Ceryse Hightower, Alys Harroway, Tyanna of the Tower, Elinor Costayne, Jeyne Westerling, and his niece Rhaena Targaryen, the last three of whom are known as “the Black Brides.”

Maegor died on the other side of a rebellion, when Jaehaaerys put forth his claim to the throne and earned the support of other houses in the realm. He was found dead impaled on the Iron Throne; some believe he was killed, others believe he took his own life.

4. Jaehaerys I Targaryen, also known as the Conciliator and the Wise

Jaehaerys I Targaryen in House of the DragonHBO
Jaehaerys was briefly seen in House of the Dragon’s opening episode.

It’s not all doom and gloom for the Targaryen dynasty. King Jaehaerys kicked off 55 years of prosperity and peace across the Seven Kingdoms, and he’s widely recognized as the best king to have ever sat on the Iron Throne.

Not only did he have the near-universal support of the Great Houses, but he worked on the first unified code of law, improved King’s Landing, and rode Vermithor, the third-largest dragon after Balerion and Vhagar.

Jaehaerys married his younger sister Alysanne, who gave birth to a total of 13 children: Aegon, Daenerys, Aemon, Baelon, Alyssa, Maegelle, Vaegon, Daella, Saera, Viserra, Gaemon, Valerion, and Gael. However, only a few of them made it to adulthood, and none of them sat on the Iron Throne following his death in 103 AC.

5. Viserys I Targaryen

Viserys Targaryen in House of the DragonHBO
Viserys Targaryen is played by Paddy Considine in the show.

Viserys is played by Paddy Considine in House of the Dragon. As the son of Jaehaerys’s second son, Baelon, he was chosen over his cousin Rhaenys for the throne for one reason: he’s a man, and she’s a woman, and no woman had ever sat on the Iron Throne.

As we’ve seen in the show, Viserys is generally well-liked and strives to avoid conflict, but tensions brewed with Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint), his brother Daemon (Matt Smith) and daughter Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock).

His first wife, Aemma Aryn, died during childbirth following her tireless efforts to provide an heir. He then married Alicent Hightower, the daughter of his Hand, Otto Hightower.

He was the last dragonrider to fly with Balerion before his death of old age, while Viserys died in 129 AC as a result of rotting wounds from the throne. His death was the final spark to ignite the Dance of the Dragons, the civil war between the supporters of Rhaenyra’s claim to the throne and Alicent and her son Aegon.

6. Aegon II Targaryen

Aegon ultimately sat on the throne after Viserys’ death, having been crowned by Alicent, but his reign was defined by the Dance of the Dragons.

He married his sister Helaena, with whom he had three children: twins Jaehaerys and Jaeheara, and Maelor.

We won’t go into too many details about the specifics of this time of bloody unrest – let’s just say, things don’t go too well for Aegon, and he died in 131 AC.

7. Aegon III Targaryen, also known as the Dragonbane

The third Aegon to sit on the Iron Throne, the first son of Rhaenyra and Daemon, was just 10 when he was crowned king.

He ruled under a regency, with several political conflicts arising among the council of regents and Hands of the King. He also had a distaste for dragons, as he’d seen his own mother devoured by Sunfyre, and became known as “the Dragonbane” after the last dragon died during his reign.

He had two wives: Aegon II’s daughter Jaehaera, and after her death he married Daenaera Velaryon, with whom he had five children (Daeron, Baelor, Daena, Rhaena, and Elaena). He died from consumption in 157 AC.

8. Daeron I Targaryen, also known as the Young Dragon

Daeron, the first son of Aegon III and Daenaera, ascended to the Iron Throne at the age of 14. He became known as “the Young Dragon” for his spritely efforts to finish his ancestor’s conquest and bring Dorne into the realm.

He didn’t wed during his reign, nor did he bare any children – he invaded Dorne, and died as a result of an ensuing rebellion in 161 AC.

9. Baelor I Targaryen, also known as the Beloved

Baelor the BlessedAmok
Baelor was a septon as well as a king.

Baelor ruled after the death of Daeron, but his rule stood vastly apart from his predecessors due to his pious nature. He even pardoned his brother’s killers and returned the Dornish hostages, promising Dorne to unite the two families with marriage.

A septon as well as a king, he spent his rule transforming King’s Landing into a more holy place. He had a wife, Daena, but he dissolved his marriage and placed her and his other two sisters, Rhaena and Elaena, in the Maidenvault.

He died in 171 AC on the 41st day of one of his fasts, although some believe his Hand and uncle, Viserys II, poisoned him to prevent Baelor from converting everyone in the realm to the Faith of the Seven.

10. Viserys II Targaryen

Viserys II, the second son of Rhaenyra and Daemon, earlier served as Hand of the Queen for Aegon II, and his nephews, Daeron I and Baelor I. Many thought he’d died during the Dance of the Dragons, but he returned to King’s Landing with his wife, Larra Rogare, from the Free City of Lys.

His reign lasted for one year, but it wasn’t without progress; he worked on the code of laws first put into motion by Jaehaerys, and tried to establish new trade routes. His death was sudden, with some believing he was poisoned by one of his children (Aegon IV, Aemon, and Naerys).

11. Aegon IV Targaryen, also known as the Unworthy

Aegon the UnworthyAmok
Aegon the Unworthy is considered the worst king to ever sit on the throne.

I mean, it’s all in the name: even with the cruelty of his ancestors and the Mad King still to come, Aegon IV is known as the worst Targaryen king.

He had a wife, his sister Naerys, but it was an unhappy marriage. Aegon had two trueborn children: Daeron II and Daenerys, both twins, but the latter child was stillborn.

He fathered several bastards, all of whom he legitimized before his ghastly death from obesity in 184 AC, leading to the Blackfyre Rebellions: Daemon I Blackfyre, Alysanne, Lily, Willow, Rosey, Bellanora Otherys, Narha Otherys, Balerion Otherys, Aegor Rivers, Mya Rivers, Gwenys Rivers, Brynden Rivers, and Shiera Seastar.

12. Daeron II Targaryen, also known as the Good

Daeron succeeded Aegon IV, and became known as “the Good” for a major reason: he brought Dorne into the realm and established the Seven Kingdoms, completing Aegon the Conqueror’s mission.

He married Myriah Martell, with whom he had five children: Baelor, Aerys, Rhaegel, and Maekar.

Two of his bastard brothers caused problems during his reign: Daemon Blackfyre and Aegon Rivers challenged his rule, leading to the First Blackfyre Rebellion. There was also Brynden Rivers, known as “the Bloodraven”, who’d later become the Three-Eyed Raven in Game of Thrones.

Daeron died in 209 AC during the Great Spring Sickness, along with two of his grandchildren, Valarr and Matarys.

13. Aerys I Targaryen

Daeron was succeeded by Aerys, his second-born son, following the death of Baelor and his children.

He’s largely forgotten in the Targaryen’s history of ruling Westeros, as he had no interest in the job. He liked prophecies and magic, so he mostly left his duties to his Hand, the Bloodraven.

He had a wife, his cousin Aelinor Penrose, but they didn’t have any children together – according to some rumors, they didn’t even consummate the marriage.

His reign began during the Great Spring Sickness and ended after two rebellions and the capture of Bittersteel, naming four heirs in lieu of any children: Rhaegel, Aelor, Aelora, and Maekar, three of whom died before they could sit on the throne.

14. Maekar I Targaryen

Maekar came to the throne in 221 AC, and fought in two further Blackfyre rebellions. He died in 233 AC during a battle against a rebellious lord on the Dornish Marches, with some reporting he was crushed to death by a boulder.

His wife, Dyanna Dayne, died prior to his ascension to the Iron Throne, so she was never recognized as queen. However, they shared six children: Daeron, Aerion, Aemon, Daella, Aegon, and Rhae.

15. Aegon V Targaryen, also known as the Unlikely

Aegon V, the fourth son of Maekar and Dyanna, became king after his siblings either died or refused the throne, hence being known as “the Unlikely.” In his youth, he squired for Ser Duncan the Tall and had the nickname “Egg”, with their adventures found in Martin’s Tales of Dunk and Egg novellas.

He was considered a good king, and unlike his ancestors, steadfastly believed brothers shouldn’t marry their sisters. With his wife, Betha Blackwood, he had five children: Duncan, Jaehaerys, Shaera, Daeron, and Rhaelle, all of whom entered into political marriages with other houses.

He died in 258 AC after trying to wake dragons for their eggs, resulting in a catastrophic fire that killed the king, his son Duncan, and everyone else inside the Stormclad Castle. This is referred to as the tragedy of Summerhall.

16. Jaehaerys II Targaryen

Jaehaerys, the second-born son of Aegon and Betha, became king following his dad’s death. He ruled for three years and fought in the War of the Ninepenny Kings in the Stepstones, as well as ruling over the death of the last Blackfyre rebel, Maelys the Monstrous.

With his wife, his sister Shaera, he had two children: Aerys II and Rhaella, one of whom would become The Mad King. Jaehaerys died in 262 AC following a short illness, but in such a short reign he managed to restore order to the kingdom and reconcile many of the Great Houses.

17. Aerys II Targaryen, also known as the Mad King

The Mad King, the last Targaryen king in House of the DragonHBO

Here comes the ruler everyone knows: Aerys II, the infamous Mad King of Westeros, also the last member of the Targaryen dynasty to sit on the Iron Throne.

The Mad King’s reign was long, lasting from 262 AC to 283 AC, defined by his spiraling insanity which brought violence and disorder to the realm. There were several instigating factors, including the Defiance of Duskendale, in which he was held captive by House Darklyn. When he was freed, he ordered the whole house to be tortured and burned alive, and his paranoia and cruelty soon grew out of control.

He married his sister, Rhaella, who suffered multiple stillbirths, miscarriages, and children dying mere months after they were born. She died during the birth of her final child: Daenerys, the future Mad Queen.

The Mad King was slain by Ser Jaime Lannister, a member of his own Kingsguard, during Robert’s Rebellion.

You can find more House of the Dragon content here. The first four episodes are available to watch now.

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