A Song of Ice and Fire/Characters/House Targaryen
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. 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 of 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 Targaryen II and his surviving children fled into exile in the Free Cities. Members often have silver-blond hair and unusual purple eyes, and their sigil is a three-headed dragon.
Aerys Targaryen, the Second of his Name
"This guy made Hitler look like Mother Theresa."
The king of Westeros during the War of the Usurper, and the last Targaryen to sit the Iron Throne. 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 and his own son Rhaegar, 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.
- Affably Evil: He is described as having been a "charming and generous" man in his younger days.
- The Butcher
- The Caligula: He was called "King Aerys the Mad," or just "the Mad King," among other things.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: When Lyanna was "kidnapped", her father and brothers tried to win her back by Combat by Champion. The Stark champion was her brother Brandon. Aerys chose as his champion a torture device. Guess who won?
- In-Series Nickname: Besides the one already mentioned, he was also called "King Scab" for his habit of cutting himself on the Iron Throne.
- The One That Got Away: according to Ser Barristan in aDwD, there was a woman Aerys would rather have married instead of his sister Rhaella: Joanna Lannister, who wed Lord Tywin and became the joy of his life.
- Posthumous Character
- Start of Darkness: the Defiance of Duskendale, which he caused by ignoring his advisors. The debacle convinced him to keep ignoring them.
- Taking You with Me: Wanted to burn down the entire city of King's Landing with wildfire just to spite Robert.
- Too Dumb to Live: well, "too mad to live" might be more accurate.
Daenerys 'Dany' Targaryen, the First of Her Name*
"When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east. When the seas go dry and mountains blow like leaves in the wind. When my womb quickens again and I bear a living child. Then you will return, my sun and stars, and not before."
The exiled last princess of House Targaryen, who was born at the end the first civil war, after Jaime killed her father and Robert became King. Impoverished and hiding in the Free Cities in the East, she is initially an abused little girl living under the whims of her bullying older brother Viserys. While initially meek and frail, Dany grows stronger in every book and her destiny is far, far beyond what she ever imagined.
- A Child Shall Lead Them
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Drogo and Daario definitely fits this trope.
- It's more that one creates this trope for the other. When she first meets him, Dany very much doesn't want Drogo because he seems so dangerous and intimidating. Once she falls in love with him, it perhaps gives her something of a taste for bad boys, leading to Daario.
- Arranged Marriage: to Khal Drogo. It works out.
- Again in A Dance With Dragons, to Hizdhar zo Loraq as part of her plan to bring stability to Meereen. It didn't work out so well
- Badass Princess: Eventually.
- Because Destiny Says So: Daenerys is believed to be the prophesied Prince Who Was Promised.
- Bi the Way. Either that or Situational Sexuality. (Fandom is divided, make your own opinions.)
- Bolivian Army Cliffhanger: At the end of her final chapter in ADWD, and the final one before the epilogue. Dany, lost on the Dothraki Sea, calls out for Drogon, and he comes. She rides him, and he attacks a herd of horses and riders. The riders flee but Drogon kills a horse and settles down to eat it (desperately hungry, Dany shares his kill). Then Khal Jhaqo and fifty of his outriders appear out of the grass. End chapter.
- Broken Pedestal: When Barristan Selmy tells her of her father's madness.
- Catch Phrase: "I am only a young girl and know little of the ways of war, but..."
- Also, " I am the blood of the dragon."
- "If I look back I am lost."
- The Chosen One: See above.
- Darkskinned Blonde: As dark as a sun-tanned Dothrak.
- Dead Older Brother: Rhaegar, to whom she is often compared. She even names her son and one of her dragons after him.
- Death by Irony: Invoked by her on the Great Masters of Meereen, who left 163 slave children nailed to posts by the road, each with an arm pointing towards the city. When she takes control of the city, she nails 163 of the Great Masters to posts in the central square, with their arms pointed at one another.
- Dragon Rider: she's been looking forward to it ever since she had dragons. Finally happens in the fifth book.
- Egg McGuffin: The dragon eggs she receives from Illyrio are more than just a wedding gift.
- Fish Out of Water: At first she's very unfamiliar with the cultures of Essos, beginning with the Dothraki. She learns quickly however.
- Gender Blender Name: At least, by our world's standards.
- Guile Hero: Is rapidly becoming one, though not without growing pains.
- How Do I Shot Web?: How do I teach my dragons not to eat children?
- Also, how did I been a queen? She knows how to lead her khalasar, but she specifically decides to stay in Meereen at the end of A Storm of Swords in order to learn how to rule. Turns out it's damn hard, especially when most of the populace hates you, and numerous people are plotting your overthrow.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: She's described as small even for her age (14), whereas her husband Khal Drogo is a giant of a man.
- I Have Many Names: Daenerys Stormborn, the Unburnt, Mother of Dragons, Mother, the Queen Across the Water, and her titles are: Queen of Meereen, Queen of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, Protector of the Realm, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Shackles, Breaker of Chains.
- Impoverished Patrician: She and Viserys.
- Lady of War: Not initially, but she grows into one.
- Last Of Her Kind: She and Viserys were believed to be the last surviving members of House Targaryen. We think. Probably.
- Turns out Maester Aemon's last name was Targaryen
- ADWD also introduces us to the very much not dead Aegon Targaryen
- Malicious Slander: She's the subject of this outside of Meereen.
- Mama Bear: She put up with Viserys' crap for pretty much all of her life, until he threatened to cut her unborn child from her womb. And when Drogo was preparing to kill Viserys, she let him see her standing there and watching, so he would know that even if she could have prevented his death, she was choosing not to. Then, the woman who caused her to lose her husband and unborn child ended up burned alive for her trouble. She is also very protective of her dragons, which are (to anyone's knowledge) the only three living ones in the world.
- Mercy Kill: She does this to Drogo when it becomes apparent he can't be healed.
- Not Quite the Right Thing: She makes many of these types of decisions.
- No Pronunciation Guide: Word of God is that people should be allowed to interpret names however they want. Having said that, here is an interview with GRRM calling her "den-air-iss tar-gair-ee-yen". (Curiously, the one time we hear her nickname, it's pronounced "Danny".) Drogo, when learning Westerosi, calls her "Dan Ares".
- Out of the Inferno: When Dany "gives birth" to her dragons on the funeral pyre, in the end of A Game of Thrones.
- Pay Evil Unto Evil: She's fond of this approach, as the slavemasters of Astapor and Meereen learn.
- Princess Classic: Subverted almost point-for-point; the sole exception is her unusual beauty.
- Princess in Rags
- Purple Eyes
- Put on a Bus: She's one of the characters who disappears during A Feast For Crows.
- Happens again after she flies off on Drogon after he attacks Daznak's Pit, but she gets one final chapter before the epilogue.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something
- Survival Mantra: "If I look back I am lost." Used at two points in the story, when she starts to feel hopelessness creep up on her: after learning that her son was a stillborn monster and Drogo is an Soulless Shell in A Game Of Thrones, and when she's lost on the Dothraki Sea in A Dance With Dragons.
- Take a Third Option: A specialty of hers, best demonstrated by how she dealt with the Astapori slavers.
- Tell Me About My Father: When she asks if the rumors about her father being batshit insane are true, she changes her mind upon seeing the uneasy reaction to her question and decides that she doesn't want to hear of it at that time.
- Took a Level in Badass: She's taken several of these as well over the course of her adventures.
- Try to Fit That on A Business Card: Her full title is "Daenerys Stormborn, the Unburnt, Queen of Meereen, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Khaleesi of Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Shackles and Mother of Dragons".
- Vorpal Pillow: How she puts Drogo out of his misery.
- White-Haired Pretty Girl
- The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: She grows into this. Exemplified by her attraction to Daario Naharis; she's keenly aware of the girl's wants versus the queen's needs.
Viserys Targaryen, the Third of His Name
"You forget yourself, slut! I am the blood of the dragon!"
The exiled prince of House Targaryen and the older brother of Daenerys, who lives with her in hiding. Unlike Dany, he lived as a prince in his childhood and knew his family, but was still very young when he lost everything overnight. A young man with serious mental problems, Viserys has made it his goal in life to return to Westeros and take back the throne. Too bad he foams at the mouth, regularly pinches his sister's boobs and refers to himself as "the dragon".
- Attempted Rape: according to narration in A Dance with Dragons, he tried this on Daenerys the night before her wedding. Fortunately Illyrio was Genre Savvy enough to have put guards on her.
- Break the Haughty: So very much.
- Cultural Posturing: Constantly disparages the Dothraki and their culture. In a language most of them do not speak, of course.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: His repeatedly annoying the Dothraki with 'I will be crowned' leads them to 'crown' him with molten gold. Ouch.
- Freudian Excuse: Part of how he turned out is due to this. Dany notes that when they were younger he was more of a caring brother to her, but the humiliations he had to undergo to support the two of them took their toll on him. She remembers that the last straw was being forced to sell off their mother's crown, after which all remaining kindness in him was gone.
- Impoverished Patrician
- In-Series Nickname: "The Beggar King", and "Khal Raggat" or "the Cart King" among the Dothraki. When he's forced to walk back to the khalasar after Dany's khas catches him abusing her, he's called "Khal Rhae Mar", "The Sorefoot King".
- In the Blood: The other reason for how he turned out. Barristan recalls that even as a young boy he showed some signs of his father's instability.
- In Name Only: A rare instance of this trope occurring in-universe and being applied to a character. Viserys insists that he is the rightful king of Westeros (and technically, he is, as far as he knows at least), and styles himself Viserys III Targaryen. Some characters, like Illyrio and Ser Jorah humor him by calling him "Your Grace," while everyone else (who has even heard of him) simply calls him "the Beggar King".
- Karmic Death: "I am the dragon, the dragon, and I will be crowned!"
- Kick the Dog: In almost every scene he appears in, he sexually assaults his sister.
- Not So Different: Because they interact with a completely separate set of characters, the similarity is never mentioned (and it may even be unintentional), but the reader may notice that Viserys acts a lot like Joffrey. They are both very arrogant, prone to acting irrationally (especially when they lose their temper), torment those weaker than themselves, and are cowards at heart. Viserys abuses Daenerys in some way in every scene he has, and it is implied that Joffrey abused his little brother Tommen. However, the most notable similarity is that both of them order a subordinate to beat their victim: during one of his humiliations, Viserys orders Mormont to hit Daenerys, and Joffrey does this all the time with his guards and Sansa. Daenerys tentatively saying that Viserys "wouldn't be a very good king" was always an understatement, but we see just how much of an understatement it was when we see how Joffrey turned out.
- Princess in Rags: A male version. Unlike his sister, he is extremely haughty and acts like he is still royalty.
- Smug Snake: Contemptuous to everyone, with an overinflated sense of his own abilities, and ends up dead due to his own stupidity and hubris.
- Spanner in the Works: To Doran Martell's plan to help him regain King's Landing. Had he not gotten himself killed, he would have had the army he desperately wanted.
- Too Dumb to Live: An extreme example.
- Turn Out Like His Father: Went batshit insane and got himself killed just like his father.
- Unknown Rival: Viserys likes to imagine that he's the Big Good to Robert's Big Bad, but he belongs squarely in this trope.
- Robert did want him dead, but he seemed much more concerned with the possibility of Daenerys having children.
- Values Dissonance: An in-Universe example. The way Viserys acts and the warlike traditions of the Dothraki don't mesh very well. Less "the dragon commands!" and more "please, Mr. Drogo" would have been wise.
"What is honor, compared to a woman's love? What is duty against the feel of a newborn son in your arms, or the memory of a brother's laughter? Wind and words. We are only human, and the gods have fashioned us for love. That is our glory, and our great tragedy."
The oldest man in Westeros, he is a maester and a member of the Night's Watch. He was a prince of House Targaryen many years ago, and was offered the crown after he took his vows. He refused and went to the Wall rather than undermine the younger brother who eventually got the crown.
- Killed Off for Real: passes away of old age during the events of Feast. He was 102 and probably the oldest man in Westeros.
- Healing Hands: Comes with being a maester.
- Mentor Archetype
- Old Master: He was blind with age and in very poor health, but his hands were steady and his mind sharp, and when he spoke the Night's Watch listened.
- Unexpected Successor: He was on the brink of being King, but refused.
Aegon Targaryen, the Fifth of His Name
A king 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 (himself included) expected the throne to ever devolve upon him. He eventually died at the "Tragedy at Summerhall," on the same day that his granddaughter Rhaella gave birth to a son named Rhaegar (yes, that Rhaegar, Daenerys's eldest brother); with Aegon perished his best friend, Lord Commander Duncan the Tall of the Kingsguard, and Crown Prince Duncan, Aegon's son, who was called "the Small" to differentiate from his namesake. (He also had a daughter named Rhaelle who was Robert Baratheon's grandmother, which proved useful when he tried to proclaim himself king.)
Of course, readers of the prequels know King Aegon by another name: Egg, one of the main characters of the "Dunk and Egg" stories. Taking place about eighty years before the main series, these prequels cover the adventures of a seven-foot-tall hedge knight named Duncan who is persuaded to take on a bald kid named Egg as his squire. After discovering that Dunk was a genuine Knight in Shining Armor, Egg's father Maekar formally apprenticed him to Dunk as his squire, and the two began Walking the Earth.
- Hero of Another Story
- Lost Him in a Card Game: Egg's eldest brother, Daeron, called Daeron the Drunk, once took him to a tavern and completely misplaced him. This is how he stumbled across Dunk.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something
- Unexpected Successor: Came to the throne despite being born the fourth son of the then-King's fourth son.
Aegon Targaryen, the Sixth of His Name
At the beginning of the series, Viserys and Daenerys were the only Targaryens any of the other characters knew about... but that book hadn't even ended before revealing that they had a living great-granduncle, Maester Aemon, secreted away in the Night's Watch. In A Dance with Dragons, the family tree gets more complicated still.
Aegon is the son of the late Crown Prince Rhaegar Targaryen and his wife Elia of Dorne, and is thus Daenerys' nephew despite being two years older than her. Believed for many years to have been killed along with his grandfather, mother and sister during the Sack of King's Landing, he was actually switched with a common child prior to the battle, smuggled across the Narrow Sea, and brought up in Pentos by Lord Connington as his son, "Young Griff". Groomed to become a king who actually puts the people first for a change, Aegon is preparing an attempt to retake Westeros - with or without help from his kin.
- Death Faked for You
- Red Herring: Quaithe's prophecy mentions six characters who seek Daenerys over the course of the book. All of them map closely to other visitors--Tyrion, Quentyn, Victarion, Moqorro, Connington--but the last is a "mummer's dragon." Mummers are traveling actors and a "mummer's [noun]" is slang for a counterfeit version of same. Varys was once a mummer. Does GRRM have something his sleeve? ...Or does it just mean that Young Griff is a dragon who is under the overall care of Varys the mummer?
- Royal Brat: Shows some signs of this, perhaps because of his sheltered upbringing. He becomes irrational during a cyvasse game with Tyrion (Rage Quit and all), both due to Tyrion beating him at the game, and Tyrion casting doubt on his assumption that Dany would immediately accept him with open arms. Especially funny because Tyrion's reaction to his sudden freak-out is along the lines of, "Well, at least we know that this kid is definitely a Targaryen".
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Despite recieving all the standard education for a prince Aegon's also been brought up as a relatively ordinary boy, learning the skills a commoner needs to survive, such as treating wounds and cooking. Varys thinks this will be good preparation for being a king who will do everything to help his people; whether he's right remains to be seen. He also insists on leading the upcoming attack on Storm's End from the front.
- That may or may not be a wise idea, as Storm's End has basically never fallen. The odds of Young Griff contracting a fatal case of arrow-through-head are significant.
- Foil: put him next to Robb and Joffrey and the similarities and differences between them get scary.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: If the WMG is true he and jon Snow are halfbrothers and share this dynamic
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: No, really, he honestly does need it. His real hair colour might just give the game away.
- Curtains Match the Window: invoked. It draws out the blue in his eyes, which might also give the game away.
"He is the Prince that was Promised, and his shall be the Song of Ice and Fire."
Son and heir to the Mad King, Rhaegar is a Posthumous Character and victim of Second Hand Storytelling. By and large, he seems to have been well-loved by lords and commons alike... with the sole exception of Robert Baratheon, who considered him an Arch Enemy. Nonetheless, he casts a long shadow over the narrative (especially since everyone had their own opinions of him, not all of which reconcile neatly). He remains a very popular and enigmatic character despite having long ago kicked the bucket and many fans think he will prove to have a major influence on the story before it's over.
- Abduction Is Love: Robert seems to think that Rhaegar abducted Lyanna against her will. Others are not so sure.
- The Ace: He's described as having been a highly respected and very handsome man who excelled at anything he put his mind to.
- Arranged Marriage: to Elia Martell.
- Badass Bookworm: and how!
- Because Destiny Says So: Had absolutely no interest in knightly training growing up, preferring to play the harp and study as a scholar. Until he read something that makes him show up in the training yard the next morning and tell the master-at-arms, "I shall require a sword and mail. It seems I must become a warrior."
- Blondes Are Evil: Subverted. Everyone who isn't Robert seems to think that Rhaegar was the greatest thing since sliced bread.
- Big Screwed-Up Family: The Targaryens. Big time.
- Dead Guy, Junior: "Rhae" is a common prefix in Targaryen names. Daenerys later names her son "Rhaego" and one of her dragons "Rhaegal" after her dead brother, which is sweet. One of the numerous Freys named his son Rhaegar, which is creepy.
- Emo Teen: he is repeatedly stated to have "melancholy eyes". And he plays the harp. 'Nuff said. (Tropes Are Not Bad!)
- Even the Guys Want Him: Or at least Jon Connington did...
- Knight in Shining Armor
- Love Ruins the Realm: His running off with Lyanna causes a civil war in which most of his family is killed.
- Posthumous Character: Died before the series began.
- Prince Charming: A typical (albeit melancholy and reserved) handsome fantasy prince in a non typical fantasy setting, most have a high opinion of him - and is slain by the far less charming Robert Baratheon, who has a lower opinion of him.
- Purple Eyes
- Second Hand Storytelling: We only ever hear about Rhaegar though the reminiscing of other characters.
- Star-Crossed Lovers
- Together in Death: Rhaegar and Lyanna Stark. Robert later remarks: "Rhaegar won, damn him. I killed him, Ned, I drove the spike right through that black armor into his black heart, and he died at my feet. They made up songs about it. Yet somehow he still won. He has Lyanna now, and I have her."
- Now that all three of them are dead, one wonders what sort of arguments Robert and Rhaegar are getting up to in the afterlife.
- Tragic Hero
- What Beautiful Eyes!
- White-Haired Pretty Boy: Although there is no official art, just about every fan picture of him looks like Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII...
- The Wise Prince
Brynden "Bloodraven" Rivers
"A Thousand Eyes, and One"
One of the "Great Bastards" that were the legitimized children of the debauched King Aegon IV Targaryen (known as "The Unworthy"), Bloodraven was an albino with a reputation as a sorcerer. Despite his own lineage, when other Targaryen bastards rebelled against the Targaryens in the first "Blackfyre Rebellion", he fought on the side of the Targaryens, and was branded as a kinslayer for killing his rebellious cousin, Daemon Blackfyre, in battle. Bloodraven served as Hand of the King under Aerys I, but due to his unpopularity, ultimately fell from grace and ended up in the Black Cells. He was released and sent as a conscript to the Night's Watch by Aegon V (AKA Egg) and eventually rose to Lord Commander. In A Dance With Dragons, it is revealed that Bloodraven still "lives" as a weirwood tree and is the Three-Eyed Crow that has been advising Bran in his dreams, being a powerful skinchanger and greenseer.
- Ambiguously Evil
- Animal Eye Spy: It's implied that his amazing skills as a spymaster are attributable to his ability to skinchange into ravens
- The Archer
- Brother-Sister Incest: The love of his life was his half-sister Shiera Seastar
- Cain and Abel: He was enemies with his half-brother Aegor Rivers, known as "Bittersteel". Bloodraven's mother was a Blackwood and Bittersteel's mother was a Bracken.
- Distinguishing Mark: A large, reddish birthmark on his neck that was somewhat bird shaped, and is the source of his nickname.
- Evil Albino / Heroic Albino: Hard to tell, although his reputation was as the former.
- Evil Sorcerer: By reputation. He definitely was a sorcerer, although the evil part is still up in the air.
- Evil Chancellor: His reputation was as one, but the reality seems more like Loyal and Extremely Ruthless Chancellor.
- Expy: He's one for Elric.
- Gambit Roulette: He tells Bran that he's been watching him for a long time, and it's creepily implied that Bloodraven had a plan for Bran to come to him, which he accomplished by "causing" Bran's fall (Bran climbed that fateful wall attracted by ravens) and by sending prophetic dreams along the way.
- In-Series Nickname: Bloodraven Also, The Three-Eyed Crow and the Last Greenseer.
- The Mentor: To Bran Stark as of A Dance With Dragons. Possibly an Evil Mentor.
- Ravens and Crows: Besides his nickname, his first name is Gaelic for raven and he was a "Crow" (A member of the Night Watch) and is the Three-Eyed Crow.
- Shoot the Dog: This seems to have practically been his life philosophy, with the result that coupled with prejudices against his appearance, he was very unpopular.
- The Spymaster
- Sinister Surveillance: The meaning of the song written about him, "A Thousand Eyes, and One". The one eye is because he was blinded in battle, and the thousand was because he seemed to have spies everywhere.
- Two Aliases, One Character: It's implied in the Dunk and Egg novella The Mystery Knight that a hedge knight calling himself Maynard Plumm who is revealed as one of Bloodraven's spies was actually Bloodraven himself using a glamour.
- Was Once a Man: Now he's a tree.
- He shows up at a banquet in Vaes Dothrak (the Dothraki holy city) wearing a sword, which is forbidden, then not only threatens Dany's life but also to cut her unborn son out of her. Yeah, he's drunk and frustrated, but threatening the wife of a barbarian warlord while you're surrounded by 5,000 of his followers isn't too bright. Drogo melts down his own belt of gold medallions and dumps it on Viserys' head.