As someone who's spent most of her life on the run, separated from her homeland and only exposed to a delusional and power-hungry brother, Game of Thrones dragon queen Daenerys Targaryen is wholly reliant on others for any information about her ancestry. The supposed last living Targaryen has grand plans for her future, but how much does she really know about her own history? In "Battle of the Bastards," Dany learns an unpleasant truth from her adviser, Tyrion Lannister: that her late father, the "Mad King" Aerys, was willing to burn his kingdom (and everyone in it) to maintain his reign.
Over the course of Game of Thrones, Daenerys has learned other bits and pieces about her deceased family. Here's a guide to what she knows — and perhaps more importantly, what she doesn't — about the Targaryens who came before her. The more she talks about burning cities and making her enemies suffer, the more it seems that she's bound to follow in their frightening footsteps.
What Daenerys Knows About the Targaryens
- Daenerys knows from her brother Viserys's stories that she is "stormborn," delivered by a dying mother on a stormy night during Robert's Rebellion. After her mother died in childbirth and Robert's Rebellion proved successful, Dany and Viserys were swept away and remained on the run from Robert Baratheon until she weds Khal Drogo in season one.
- Thanks to Ser Barristan, Dany knows that her older brother Rhaegar wasn't so much of a warrior as Viserys had once led her to believe. Rather, Rhaegar didn't enjoy killing and would much prefer singing on the streets for spare change, which he would then donate or get drunk with.
- Ser Barristan also informs Daenerys that the stories about her father being mad were not merely rumors — he was actually crazy.
- During the same conversation, Daenerys was stunned to learn that her father murdered children in front of their parents, burned people with wildfire for his own entertainment, and burned villages to the ground. He refused fair trials for his citizens, choosing instead to determine his own cruel forms of "justice."
- Daenerys's brother Viserys tells her about the Targaryen dragon skulls that used to decorate the Red Keep in King's Landing — how they started large and intimidating on one side of the great hall but grew weak and deformed by the end when the species supposedly went extinct. When she discovers that she has dragons of her own, Dany names one (the green) after Viserys and one (the red and gold) after Rhaegar.
- As Tyrion informs Daenerys in season six, the Mad King stored caches of wildfire beneath King's Landing with the intention of burning the city (and everyone in it) to ash before relinquishing the Iron Throne.
What She Doesn't Know (Yet)
- Daenerys believes that fire "cannot kill a dragon," but she's unaware that multiple Targaryens (including one who drank wildfire in order to "become a dragon") have died by fire. Apparently, her complete immunity to heat and flames is an anomaly.
- So far, Daenerys doesn't know how commonplace madness is in her family. According to Cersei Lannister: "Half the Targaryens went mad, didn't they? What's the saying? 'Every time a Targaryen is born, the gods flip a coin.'"
- Dany is clueless that, up until very recently, she had a living relative — a great-uncle named Aemon, who served as Maester of the Night's Watch at the Wall.
- Another (potential) relative that Daenerys is in the dark about is her supposed nephew, Jon Snow, who is widely believed to be the love child of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. However, it is possible that the truth will come to light very soon.
- Daenerys doesn't know about her father's rumored affair with Joanna Lannister, which could likely have produced a bastard (who would be Dany's brother) named Tyrion.