The former ruling house of the Seven Kingdoms from the capital city of King's Landing. Also known as the Dragon Kings, because they used to ride dragons and had a strange bond with them. They came from the eastern continent of Essos and under the historical leadership of Aegon The Conqueror, they unified Westeros with their dragons as weapons and ruled there for 300 years. They often married brother to sister throughout their rule despite the laws of their religion, which probably accounts for their history of mental instability among the later rulers. Their rule ended when Robert Baratheon overthrew Aerys II Targaryen and his surviving children fled into exile in the Free Cities. Their sigil is a three-headed dragon and their members have silver hair and purple eyes.
House Targaryen was one of the ancient noble houses known as dragonlords who ruled the Valyrian Freehold, a great empire spanning most of the eastern continent. They were traditionally not one of the most important of these families, however. Daenys the Dreamer, daughter of the head of House Targaryen Aenar, had predicted that a cataclysm would come over Valyria, only the Targaryens heeded their vision and fled to the westernmost outpost of Valyrian influence, the island of Dragonstone, off the east coast of Westeros. Twelve years later the Doom descended on the city of Valyria, leading to the collapse of the Freehold. The Targaryens were one of the few families to survive the destruction of their home and were the only dragonriders of Valyria to survive.
Following the Doom, however, the Targaryens remained on Dragonstone for another century. When the young Aegon the Conqueror developed ambitions toward Westeros. He aspired to unite the seven Westerosi kingdoms under one ruler, himself. A hundred years after the Doom, Aegon set forth from Dragonstone with his sister/wives Rhaenys and Visenya, their dragons, and a small force, landing at the mouth of the Blackwater Rush and beginning the Wars of Conquest. Those who had bent the knee to him were allowed to remain in power (such as Houses Lannister, Stark and Tyrell) as Lords Paramounts of the Seven Kindgoms. During his campaigns, Aegon was anointed king by the High Septon in Oldtown, leading to the unification of the Seven Kingdoms under Targaryen rule from the Iron Throne, starting a dynasty that lasted nearly 300 years. The area where the Targaryens began their conquest became the site of their new capital, King's Landing. Dragonstone was used as the seat of the heir to the throne. The region around these strongholds became known as the Crownlands. Another close ally was House Baratheon; Aegon had installed his bastard brother Orys Baratheon to rule the Stormlands. After extinguishing House Hoare, the Greyjoys were allowed dominion over the Iron Island while Dorne was joined through dynastic marriage after decades of resisting conquest.
The Targaryens kept dragons for much of their reign in Seven Kingdoms. To house them they built an immense domed structure in King's Landing called the Dragonpit. New dragons were bred from Aegon's original three: Vhagar, Meraxes, and the dreaded Balerion. However, violent deaths in battle and a growing infirmity in each following generation caused the family's stable to dwindle. The last Targaryen dragon was a deformed and sterile creature that died very young. It is not clearly understood what caused the last dragons to die out. A legend holds that Aegon III poisoned them, but Archmaester Marwyn suggested that the maesters were somehow responsible. Others have also claimed that raising dragons in enclosed spaces, even the Dragonpit, was unnatural and stunted their growth.
It was said that "Madness and greatness were two sides of the same coin and every time a new Targaryen was born, the gods would toss the coin in the air and the world would hold its breath to see how it would land." and true to this statement, they had as many insane rulers as great ones. This madness was likely the result of inbreeding due to marriage between brothers and sisters, some were born already mad while others may not display madness when they are younger but can develop it as the years go by, and may also skip a generation.
King Aerys II Targaryen was the last king in a dynasty which had held for nearly 300 years of unbroken rule. Where the Targaryens had begun as untouchable demigods atop fire-breathing dragons, their power had fallen noticeably since the time of those beasts, with many more large-scale civil wars featuring pitched battles. In the short term, Aerys's madness had provoked the nobles to action, but such open defiance would not have occurred if his family's prestige had not been in decline for some time.
When his son, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, ran off with Lyanna Stark. her brother and father protested, and in response, Aerys had them executed, starting a civil war. Rhaegar took command of the royal troops, leading them to defeat in the Battle of the Trident, where he was killed by Robert Baratheon. Prince Viserys and the pregnant Queen Rhaella fled to Dragonstone. While the treacherous Lannisters had sacked King's Landing in Robert's name and Aerys was murdered by his own Kingsguard Jaime Lannister. On Dragonstone, Rhaella died giving birth to Princess Daenerys, who was spirited to the Free Cities along with Viserys by the loyal Ser Willem Darry. Robert Baratheon was crowned king, partially due to his having a Targaryen grandmother. The surviving Targaryens', Viserys and Daenerys wander through the Free Cities looking for aid in retaking the Seven Kingdoms but few take their claim seriously. Even if they are reduced to only two members after the Rebellion, Robert Baratheon still fears the Targaryens may become a problem in the future in the case they forge a powerful alliance to travel west.
- Aenar Targaryen: A dragonlord of the Valyrian Freehold who relocated the family to the backwater outpost of Dragonstone twelve year prior to the Doom of Valyria.
- Lady Daenys Targaryen: Youngest daughter of Aenar and sister-wife to She had visions of the Doom of Valyria twelve years before the event, prompting her father to relocate the whole family to the backwater outpost in Westeros.
- Lord Aerion Targaryen: Son of Daemion (who was the grandson of Aegon and Elaena, Gaemon's and Daenys' children), and Lord of Dragonstone. Married to Valaena Velaryon, with whom he had three children, the future monarchs Visenya, Aegon I, and Rhaenys.
- Aegon I Targaryen, also know as Aegon the Conqueror and Aegon the Dragon: Second child and only son of Aerion, Lord of Dragonstone. Married to both of his sisters, Visenya and Rhaenys. He had two sons, Aenys I (by Rhaenys) and Maegor I (by Visenya). Founder of the Targaryen dynasty and conqueror of six of the Seven Kingdoms. Crowned as King of All Westeros and Shield of His People. Aegon I created the offices of Hand of the King and Wardens of the Realm and founded the Small Council. After the Conquest, he ordered the construction of the Red Keep and forged the Iron Throne from the swords of his enemies in the fiery breath of his dragon, Balerion.
- Aenys I Targaryen AKA King Abomination: Son of Aegon I and Rhaenys. Married to Alyssa Velaryon, with whom he had six children (Rhaena, Aegon, Viserys, Jaehaerys I, Alysanne and Vaella). His reign proved troublesome as one rebellion after another had to be crushed, the most serious being the Faith Militant Uprising. Aenys' inability to crush the rebellion condemned him as a weak and feckless ruler.
- Maegor I Targaryen AKA Maegor the Cruel: Son of Aegon I and Queen Visenya. Maegor served as Hand during the short reign of his brother Aenys. Had a total of six wives (Ceryse Hightower, Alys Harroway, Tyanna of the Tower, and the "Black Brides": Elinor Costayne, Jeyne Westerling and his niece Rhaena Targaryen). Though Aenys had three sons of his own, Maegor came to the throne ahead of his nephews. He put down the Faith Militant rebellion with much bloodshed which earned his nickname "The Cruel". It was in his reign that construction of the Red Keep was completed. (The royal apartments are housed in the holdfast that continues to bear Maegor's name.) Died without (surviving) issue, supposedly killed by the blades of the Iron Throne.
- Jahaerys I TargaryenAKA Jahaerys the Conciliator, the Old King and Jahaerys the Wise: Fourth child and third son of Aenys I and Alyssa. He took the throne after Maegor I died without issue. Was married to his sister, Good Queen Alysanne, with whom he had thirteen children, nine of which lived to adulthood. Throughout the entirety of his fifty-five year reign, Jaehaerys I took great steps to consolidate the Targaryen kingship over Westeros by reforming and reassessing the governance of the realm. His efforts included the ending of the barbaric tradition of 'First Night' (when lords bedded the wives of their smallfolk and retainers on their wedding nights), and reconciling the Faith with the Iron Throne. Stretching from King's Landing in the south, all the way north past Winterfell and to the Wall, the Kingsroad best exemplified Jaehaerys' efforts to make his writ binding across the realm. At the Wall, the king, on the word of his sister-wife, extended the Gift and breathed new life into the Night's Watch. These, among other acts, made the king and queen beloved of the smallfolk and ushered an age of peace never before seen in Westerosi history (and the likes of which was never seen again to the present time).
- Viserys I Targaryen AKA The Young King: Oldest son of Baelon and his sister-wife Alyssa. Succeeded his grandfather Jaehaerys I, whose crown he wore. His cousin Aemma Arryn was his first wife. They had two sons who died in infancy and a single surviving child, Rhaenyra, who he intended to have as his successor. He later took Alicent Hightower as his second wife, having four children by her: Aegon II, Helaena, Aemond, and Daeron. His marriages would have dire consequences for the realm after his death.
- Aegon II Targaryen AKA Aegon the Elder and Aegon the Usurper: Oldest child of Viserys I and Alicent Hightower. Was married to his sister Helaena and had three children by her (twins Jaehaerys and Jaehaera and Maelor). Crowned by Ser Criston Cole at behest of his mother, Queen Alicent Hightower, sparking the civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons. His personal sigil was the Targaryen dragon, gold, on a field of black. He wore the crown of Aegon the Conqueror and carried Blackfyre, the Conqueror's blade. He was lazy, sulky, and gluttonous.
- Rhaenyra Targaryen AKA The Half-Year Queen, The Realm's Delight, The Whore of Dragonstone, King Maegor with Teats, Maegor's Teats: Daughter of Viserys I by his first wife Aemma Arryn. Her first husband was her cousin Laenor Velaryon, while her second was her uncle Daemon Targaryen. She had three sons from her first marriage, Jacaerys, Lucerys and Joffrey, and three children from her second marriage, Aegon III, Viserys II and Visenya (who was stillborn). Her claim to the Iron Throne, which was stated in her father's will, was challenged by her younger half-brother Aegon II, sparking the civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons. Rhaenyra lost and was fed to her brother's dragon. She succeeded from beyond the grave, though, when Aegon II died heirless and her eldest surviving son became King Aegon III. She is the only recorded woman to have been crowned Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and sat on the Iron Throne in the annals of Westeros up to the present narrative in A Song of Ice and Fire.
- Aegon III Targaryen AKA The Younger, The Dragonbane, The Unlucky, The Broken King: Older son of Queen Rhaenyra by her second husband and uncle, Daemon. Crowned after Aegon II's death, at the age of only eleven. His first wife was his cousin Jaehaera, and his second was Daenaera Velaryon, with whom he had five children (Daeron I, Baelor I, Daena, Rhaena and Elaena). Haunted by the horrific demise of his royal mother during the Dance, Aegon struck his contemporaries as a gloomy, melancholy, self-isolated man, who never smiled and always wore black. It was during his reign that the last Targaryen dragon died, some say at the behest of the king himself.
- Daeron I Targaryen AKA The Boy King, the Young Dragon. Oldest child of Aegon III and Daenaera. Daeron I was the first Targaryen King to rule after the last dragons died under his father Aegon III. His singular achievement in his brief reign was his short-lived conquest of Dorne. Died unmarried and without issue. He wore (and lost) the crown of Aegon the Conqueror. There is a statue of Daeron in Oldtown where he is astride a tall, stone horse with his sword lifted towards Dorne.
- Baelor I Targaryen AKA Baelor the Blessed, Baelor the Beloved. Second child of Aegon III and Daenaera, the 'most beloved' of the Targaryen kings. He was training to be a septon when his brother King Daeron died without issue. The Great Sept of Baelor, the high seat of Faith of the Seven in King's Landing, was built by him and named in his honor. Adored by the smallfolk, Baelor I was jeered, mocked, and despised by the lords and knights of the realm for his emasculating behavior. He either starved himself to death or was killed by his uncle and Hand, Viserys. He died without issue.
- Viserys II Targaryen: Second son of Rhaenyra by her second husband/uncle Daemon. Married to Larra Rogare, with whom he had three children (Aegon IV, Aemon and Naerys). He served as Hand for his brother Aegon III and nephews Daeron I and Baelor I. He was already fairly old when he became king, and reigned for only a year before his death, the crown then passing to his older son, Aegon IV. An unsung hero of House Targaryen, Viserys II labored for years as Hand to keep the realm at peace despite the oddities and eccentricities of his predecessors.
- Aegon IV Targaryen AKA Aegon the Unworthy: Oldest child of Viserys II and Larra Rogare. Married to his sister Naerys, who gave birth to his only legitimate children, Daeron II and Daenerys. His unchecked libido would ravage the Seven Kingdoms for generations to come as he would take countless mistress and concubines and as result fathering several bastard children. At his deathbed, he legitimized all of his bastards which would threaten to undermine the claim of his trueborn son Daeron (and that of House Targaryen as a whole) to the throne. Aegon's epitaph, "The Unworthy", proved to be apt in the face of his excesses and misrule, and many recall him as the very worst of the Targaryen kings. Some historians (such as in The World of Ice and Fire) half-seriously remark that he seemed outright devoted to misrule, as if he was actively trying to be the worst king in history - and if he wasn't trying to, it was impossible to distinguish. He had a new crown made for himself of red gold, huge and heavy, each of its points a dragon head with gemstone eyes.
- Daeron IV Targaryen AKA Daeron the Good, the Falseborn: Son of Aegon IV (or Prince Aemon the Dragonknight, according to some) and Naerys. Married Princess Mariah Martell, with whom he had four sons (Baelor, Aerys I, Rhaegel and Maekar I). Succeeded where his predecessors failed by bringing Dorne into the realm not by war, but through marriage. Unfortunately, this brought in unwanted Dornish influence. This and his questionable paternity would lead to a rebellion raised by his half-brother Daemon Blackfyre. The steady and insightful kingship of Daeron the Good was desperately needed after the catastrophe that was his father's reign. It is arguable that he alone was responsible for prolonging the Targaryen dynasty by another century. Daeron died during the Great Spring Sickness in 209 AC along with his two eldest grandsons and most immediate heirs. He wore the crown of Aegon IV, as a statement that he was indeed his trueborn son. He also had the palace of Summerhall built along the Dornish Marches.
- Aerys I Targaryen: Second son of Daeron II and Mariah Martell. Was married to his cousin Aelinor Penrose, but died without issue. The monarchy reached a new low under his reign, as he was rather unconcerned about reigning and did not produce issue. He wore the crown of his grandfather Aegon IV.
- Maekar I Targaryen AKA The Anvil, Summerhall Prince: Fourth son of Daeron II and Mariah Martell, succeeded his brother Aerys I. Was married to Dyanna Dayne, with whom he had six children: Daeron, Aerion, Aemon, Daella, Aegon V and Rhae. He was killed in battle against a rebellious lord during one of the Blackfyre rebellions. Maekar I was noteworthy for keeping his own personal sigil; the Targaryen dragon, red on black, quartered. He wore a crown of black iron and gold, with sharp points.
- Aegon IV Targaryen AKA Aegon the Unlikely, the Fortunate: Fifth child and youngest son of Maekar I and Dyanna Dayne. Was married to Betha Blackwood, with whom he had five children: Duncan, Jaehaerys II, Shaera, Daeron and Rhaelle. Deceased by the time of Robert's Rebellion, Aegon was called "the Unlikely", as he was the fourth son of a fourth son and absolutely no one ever expected the throne to ever come to him. A wise and well-loved ruler, he eventually died at the "Tragedy at Summerhall", on the same day his granddaughter Rhaella gave birth to a son named Rhaegar; his best friend, Lord Commander Duncan the Tall of the Kingsguard, and his oldest son Duncan (called "the Small" to differentiate him from his namesake) perished along with him. His daughter Rhaelle wed Ormund Baratheon, which later provided her grandson Robert's claim to legitimacy after he won The War of the Usurper. He wore the crown of Aegon III.
- Jahaerys II Targaryen: Second child of Aegon V and Betha Blackwood. Married his sister Shaera, with whom he had two children, Aerys II (the Mad King) and Rhaella. His short, three-year reign was hardly remarkable, save for the War of the Ninepenny Kings, which bore witness to the end of House Blackfyre when Ser Barristan Selmy slew Maelys the Monstrous. He wore his grandfather Maekar's crown.
- Aerys II Targaryen AKA The Mad King, King Scab. The king of Westeros during Robert's Rebellion, and the last Targaryen to sit the Iron Throne. Son of Jaehaerys I and his sister-wife Shaera, he was married to his own sister Rhaella, with whom he had three (surviving) children, Rhaegar, Viserys and Daenerys. He was known as "Aerys the Mad" behind his back due to becoming increasingly insane in the latter years of his rule. Though served ably by Tywin Lannister as Hand of the King, Aerys nonetheless managed to destabilize his own kingdom, eventually leading to Robert's Rebellion and his own death.Aerys was by all accounts sane during the early years of his reign, his later mental illness likely a consequence of generations of Targaryen inbreeding. He wore the elaborate dragon-emblazoned crown of Aegon IV.
The Mad King's surviving son Viserys Targaryen betroths his sister to Drogo, a mighty khal of the Dothraki, hoping to use his horde to retake the Seven Kingdoms, but Drogo has little interest in Viserys desire. Viserys alienates the horselord with his arrogance and is eventually killed. With Viserys' death, Drogo loses interest in the notion of invading Westeros, despite Dany's attempts to persuade him. This changes, however, when Ser Jorah prevents an assassin from poisoning Daenerys and discovers that Robert Baratheon has placed a price on her head. Enraged, Drogo vows before his khalasar to avenge this insult by conquering Westeros to seat his son on the Iron Throne that his mother's ancestors had once held. Drogo however dies before he could reach Westeros and Daenerys takes command of the khalasar's ragged remnants, and is able to hatch three dragon eggs, the first in a century and a half.