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Who Is the Mad King Aerys on Game of Thrones?

Who Is Daenerys's Dad on Game of Thrones, and What Do We Need to Know About Him?

As we get closer to the end of the sixth season of Game of Thrones, the big reveals about the secrets that lie in the history of Westeros are coming fast and furious — especially since we saw Bran Stark's jarring visions of the past. In a flashback early this season, Bran sees the "Mad King," Aerys Targaryen, screaming "Burn them all!" He also comes up in the most recent episode when Danaerys and Yara Greyjoy meet and discuss their fathers. Of course, Aerys is Daenerys's dad, and he earned the nickname of the Mad King for good reason.

To understand more about why it's important for Daenerys to distance herself from her father (and avoid making the same mistakes), let's start with looking at what we know about the Mad King himself.

  • He was the father of Daenerys, along with her brothers Viserys and Rhaegar.
  • His Hand of the King was Tywin Lannister, who many say was the tail that wagged the dog.
  • He was infatuated with Tywin's wife, Joanna, which caused a rift between Aerys and Tywin.
  • He denied Tywin's request for Cersei to marry Rhaegar, instead choosing Elia Martell of Dorne. He then appointed Jaime Lannister to the Kingsguard, robbing Tywin of an heir, as being in the Kingsguard means no family. This led to Tywin's resignation as Hand of the King.
  • His son Rhaegar Targaryen kidnapped Lyanna Stark or ran away with her. Either way, this action led to Ned Stark's brother and father being killed by Aerys and Robert Baratheon seeking vengeance and then the Iron Throne.
  • In his later years, Aerys became increasingly infatuated with wildfire (that incredibly dangerous explosive green substance).
  • As Tywin's army rode in to take back King's Landing, Aerys gave the order to "burn them all." It seemed he wanted to burn all of King's Landing with wildfire. Jaime plunged his sword into the Mad King's back to save them all.

The prevalent theory now, based on Bran's flashback to Aerys, wildfire, and the White Walkers, is that somehow Bran will do to Aerys what he did to Hodor — a warging time travel that changes the course of history, possibly by driving Aerys mad himself.

Alternatively, it may simply be more revelations that the Three-Eyed Raven thought would be important to Bran's education. Perhaps Bran just needs to learn the truth of what happened, or maybe Bran will come to rely on Jaime at some point in this war and having seen what really happened gives him reason to trust the so-called "Kingslayer."

Image Source: HBO
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