Your Ultimate Guide to the Long and Twisted Targaryen Family Tree
Content warning: The following story contains spoilers for "House of the Dragon."
If you've spent any time at all as a fan of the "Game of Thrones" universe, you know just how tangled the character webs and family trees can get. That's especially the case when it comes to the Targaryens, the twisted, intermarried royal family of dragon riders whose history is explored in the prequel series, "House of the Dragon."
If you're wondering whether Daenerys, Jon Snow, or the Mad King will ever be in "House of the Dragon," the answer is no. Based on George R.R. Martin's book "Fire & Blood," the spinoff series takes place centuries before the events that transpire in "Game of Thrones." It will eventually recount an era of civil war among the Targaryens over a disputed succession to the Iron Throne, though season one was mostly focused on the years leading up to it, full of messy marriages, deaths, and court intrigue. Midway through the first season, a major time jump added a new generation of Targaryens to the drama, and the final episodes of the season introduced viewers to Targaryen children who'll deal with the consequences of their parents' and grandparents' actions for their whole lives, shaping Westeros in the process.
To help you keep track of who's who amid all the incestuous connections, we're breaking down the most important Targaryens to know about. From the main characters like Rhaenyra, Daemon, and Viserys to a refresher on how the Targaryen dynasty plays into "Game of Thrones" centuries later, keep this handy to help keep track of all the major players.
— Additional reporting by Victoria Edel
Targaryen Family Tree
Here's a depiction of the entire Targaryen family tree according to the books (the "Game of Thrones" TV series makes slight changes), starting with Aegon the Conqueror and going all the way down the line to Jon Snow. (NOTE: Targaryens who did not survive to adulthood have been omitted from the tree.)
Image Source: HBO, Helen Sloan, Ollie Upton and Photo Illustration: Ava Cruz
Viserys I Targaryen
The fifth king in the Targaryen dynasty, Viserys I sits on the Iron Throne at the start of "House of the Dragon." He is the son of Baelon Targaryen and grandson of Jaehaerys I, known as "the Conciliator," and is descended from Aegon I, the Conqueror, who took over Westeros and launched the royal Targaryen dynasty generations earlier. Like others in his family, Viserys is a dragonrider. In fact, his dragon is Balerion, the same dragon Aegon I rode; after Balerion's death during Jaehaerys's reign, Viserys doesn't seek a new dragon. Viewers see Balerion's skull in the Red Keep during "House of the Dragon."
Viserys's reign is plagued by significant questions over who will succeed him. His first marriage to Aemma Arryn only produces one surviving heir: his daughter, Rhaenyra. Although he intends for Rhaenyra to succeed him on the throne, his remarriage complicates things. His second marriage, to Alicent Hightower, produces three sons and a daughter, and the eldest son, Aegon, is ultimately crowned King by the greens after his death. The Targaryen family tree branches out from his complicated family.
Princess Rhaenyra is the only surviving child of Viserys I and his first wife, Queen Aemma, and she is Viserys's intended heir. She, too, is a dragonrider, bonded with the dragon Syrax. She has no full-blooded siblings but multiple half-siblings through her father's second marriage, which launches the civil war.
Rhaenyra first marries Ser Laenor Velaryon, with whom she has three sons (at least, in name) before she is widowed. Her second marriage to her uncle Prince Daemon Targaryen produces two sons and a daughter: Aegon, Viserys, and Visenya. After her father dies, Rhaenyra is not even told about his death until after her half-brother Aegon claims the throne. The resulting battle between Rhaenyra and Aegon's claims explodes into the civil war.
The Targaryen line ultimately continues through her and Daemon's descendants.
Prince Daemon is the second son of the late Prince Baelon Targaryen and his wife (and sister), Alyssa. Daemon's older brother is Viserys I, the King. A dragonrider like his brother, his dragon is Caraxes. Daemon marries three times throughout his life. His first wife, Rhea Royce, dies young in a horse-riding accident. He remarries to Laena Velaryon, who has Targaryen blood through her mother, Princess Rhaenys Targaryen; they have two daughters, Baela and Rhaena.
After Laena's death in childbirth, Daemon marries for the third and final time to his niece, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen. They have two sons and a daughter, and Daemon becomes one of Rhaenyra's biggest champions in her quest to claim the Iron Throne she believes is rightfully hers and her descendants'.
Prince Aegon (not to be confused with his younger cousin/nephew, Aegon, the son of Rhaenyra and Daemon) is the eldest son of King Viserys and his second wife, Alicent Hightower. Even after the birth of Aegon and his siblings, Viserys still plans on making Rhaenyra, his daughter from his first marriage, his heir. This frustrates Alicent and her faction at court, though viewers learned in "House of the Dragon" episode nine that Aegon had mostly accepted that his father didn't want him to be king. Aegon, too, is a dragonrider, forming a bond with the golden-scaled dragon Sunfyre.
After Viserys's death, Alicent, her father, and their allies faction seize power, crowning him Aegon II, all before his half-sister Rhaenyra is even notified of her father's death. Rhaenyra isn't willing to give up her claim so easily, and the entire Targaryen clan and their allies throughout Westeros take sides in what becomes a brutal civil war.
Princess Rhaenys Targaryen is known as the "Queen Who Never Was." She is the daughter of the late Prince Aemon Targaryen and his wife, Jocelyn Baratheon. Her father, Aemon, was the son and heir of Jaehaerys I, and she was presumed to be her father's heir in turn. As with other Targaryens, Rhaenys is a dragonrider, riding the "Red Queen" Meleys.
However, when her father died before he could ascend to the throne, Jaehaerys had to choose between two possible heirs: Rhaenys, or Aemon's brother (Rhaenys's uncle) Baelon. Jaehaerys chose Baelon, who also died. Jaehaerys decided to call together a Great Council where everyone's claims for the throne would be heard. The two best claims were Rhaenys's and that of Baelon's son, Viserys. Overwhelmingly, the lords choose Viserys because he's a man. She and her husband Corlys Velaryon live with that slight forever.
Rhaenys and Corlys share daughter Laena, who marries Rhaenys's cousin Daemon, and son Laenor, who marries Rhaenyra and would have become the queen's consort if everything had gone to plan. It's one of the places where the Targaryen tree gets the most twisted, since everyone in these marriages (besides Corlys) is closely related.
Helaena Targaryen is the daughter of King Viserys and Queen Alicent. Interestingly, she's one of the only people in the Targaryen family tree with a unique name that isn't at least a version of someone else's name. It's possible that she was named for Alicent's mother, whose name is unknown. Helaena is also a dragonrider, whose mount is Dreamfyre, though viewers have yet to see her with her dragon on "House of the Dragon." There are also clues in the show that Helaena is a dreamer who can see visions of the future.
Helaena knows for most of her life that she will marry her older brother, Aegon II, though her half-sister Princess Rhaenyra does briefly suggest Helaena marry her nephew Jacaerys, Rhaenyra's eldest son, instead. Before they're married, Aegon is shown in the series as not being interested in spending any time with his sister, and he mocks her. The couple, in the books, eventually have three children.
Aemond Targaryen is the second son and third child of Kings Viserys and Queen Alicent. As a child, his brothers and nephew mock him because he doesn't have a dragon, inspiring him to claim Vhagar at Laena Velaryon's funeral.
Aemond has a lot of animosity toward his older brother, who he sees as cruel and unfit to be king. He even tells him in episode nine that he would be a better king, and Aegon doesn't disagree. He also never misses a chance to make fun of his nephews Jacaerys, Lucerys, and Joffrey over rumors they're bastards and really the sons of Ser Harwin Strong. Aemond does seem to have a close and protective relationship with his sister Helaena, however.
Thus far in "House of the Dragon," viewers have only seen three of Queen Alicent and King Viserys's children: Aegon, Helaena, and Aemond. There's been no mention of Daeron, their fourth child and third son. In the books, he's sent as a teenager to Oldtown to serve as cupbearer for his mother's uncle, but it wasn't clear if he had been written out of the show. But in October 2022, Martin confirmed in a post on his blog that Daeron does exist on the show and is in Oldtown. "We just did not have the time to work him in this season," he wrote.
Like his siblings, Daeron is a dragonrider, and his mount is Tessarion. In "Fire & Blood," he's described as the gentlest of the three boys. He is also known as Daeron the Daring, and he fights on his brother's side during the Dance of Dragons.
Jacaerys Velaryon is the eldest son of Princess Rhaenyra and Laenor Velaryon, though his biological father is Ser Harwin Strong. Laenor knows Jacaerys and his brothers are not his and accepts it, because he's gay and he and Rhaenyra were unsuccessful in having children of their own. In "Fire and Blood," Jacaerys and Daeron are around the same age.
Jace is betrothed to his cousin (and stepsister) Baela Targaryen. He rides the dragon Vermax, who he bonded with when the beast was a hatchling. Jace is the first of Rhaenyra's sons to figure out who their true father is, and he mourns his death. Jace is his mother's heir, and would become king after her rule as queen — if they ever get the throne.
Lucerys Velaryon is Rhaenyra and Laenor's second son, and, like his brothers, his biological father is Ser Harwin Strong. He is betrothed to his cousin (and stepsister) Rhaena Targaryen. His dragon is Arrax, who he bonded with when the dragon was a hatchling, just like his brothers did with theirs. Arrax is big enough to fly during the Dance of the Dragons, but still a lot smaller than older dragons like Vhagar. Luke is the heir to Driftmark and is expected to take the seat after his grandfather Lord Corlys Velaryon dies.
Luke and his brother Jace were responsible for Aemond losing an eye the night Aemond claimed Vhagar. Aemond ultimately kills Jace on Vhagar shortly after Aegon is crowned king.
Joffrey Velaryon is the youngest of Rhaenyra and Laenor's sons. His birth is shown in episode six of "House of the Dragon." Like his brother's his true father is Ser Harwin Strong, who is killed by his own brother, Larys, shortly after Joffrey's birth. Joffrey is named for his father's lover Joffrey, who was killed by Ser Criston Cole during Rhaenyra and Laenor's wedding feast. In "Fire & Blood," Lord Corlys kept Laenor from naming Jace and Luke after Joffrey, but Laenor finally seized the opportunity with their third child.
Also like his brothers, Joffrey bonded with a hatchling dragon Tyraxes. When the Dance of Dragon begins, the dragon is not quite big enough to fight yet, and Rhaenyra forbids Joffrey from fighting.
Baela Targaryen is the daughter of Laena Velaryon and Daemon Targaryen and the twin sister of Rhaena Targaryen. The sisters were born in Pentos after their parents wed. Baela's dragon is Moondancer, who has not been seen on the show yet. Moondancer is a young dragon and is not ready to fight in the Dance of Dragons.
Baela is betrothed to Jacaerys, her cousin and stepbrother. In "House of the Dragon," after her mother's death she is raised as a ward of her grandparents, Princess Rhaenys and Lord Corlys, at Driftmark. In "Fire & Blood," the couple are very devoted to each other, and Baela doesn't want to be apart from Jace during the war.
Rhaena is Baela's twin and also the daughter of Laena and Daemon. She has lived with her father's new family since her mother's death. She is betrothed to her cousin and stepbrother Lucerys Velaryon, who will succeed their grandfather Corlys as Lord of Driftmark. In the show, Rhaena does not yet have a dragon, but she will eventually hatch and bond with the dragon Morning.
Baela and Rhaena's mother, Laena, died in childbirth, as did her baby. The pair were outraged that Aemond claimed their mother's dragon Vhagar, which they felt should have gone to them. During the Dance of Dragons, she and Prince Joffrey stay in the Vale of Arryn for their protection.
King Aegon and Queen Helaena's Children
In episode eight, viewers got their first glimpse of Aegon and Helaena's two oldest children, the twins Jaehaerys and Jaehaera. In Martin's book, Jaehaerys has six fingers on his left hand and six toes on each foot. In "House of the Dragon," they're toddlers when their father is crowned, though in the books, they're 6 years old. In the books, Aegon and Helaena also have a third child, Maelor, though it's not clear if that young boy will appear in the show as well. In the book, Jaehaera bonds with the dragon Morghul and Jaehaerys is bonded with the dragon Shrykos. Maelor has an unhatched dragon egg.
Aegon and Viserys Targaryen, Children of Rhaenyra and Daemon
In episode eight of "House of the Dragon," King Viserys meets two new grandsons, Aegon and Viserys. Rhaenyra is also pregnant with a third child. Though the children will ultimately have roles to play in the war to come, for now, they are very young. Like his uncle Aegon, Rhaenyra's son Aegon is named for the first king of Westeros. Both boys had dragon eggs placed in their cradles, and Aegon's egg hatches into the dragon Stormcloud. Viserys's egg does not hatch. Both boys will eventually rule over the Seven Kingdoms together after the war, but it's a long road to that point.
At the start of episode 10, Rhaenyra gives birth to her third child with Daemon, going into an early labor when she learns her father has died and her half-brother crowned. In the books, the baby is named Visenya, though her name is never said on the show. The baby is stillborn and they hold a funeral for her shortly after her birth.
Aerys II Targaryen
Several generations after the civil war, Aerys II Targaryen (later known as "The Mad King") sits on the Iron Throne with his eldest son, Rhaegar, as his presumed heir. While he was once a generous and benevolent king, he soon begins to unravel mentally due to several factors: his incestuous lineage (he's the son of brother and sister, Jaehaerys and Shaera Targaryen, who themselves come from a long, incest-filled line), the incessant loss of family (he witnessed the deaths of three sons), and being held prisoner for six months during the Defiance of Duskendale uprising. All the while, his paranoia grew, and he descended into uncontrollable madness. He was ultimately killed by a member of his own Kingsguard, Ser Jaime Lannister, during Robert's Rebellion, making him the 17th and final Targaryen to rule on the Iron Throne.
The Mad King appears briefly in season six, episode six, of "Game of Thrones" in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it flashback, portrayed by David Rintoul (pictured above).
Rhaegar is the eldest of three children born to Aerys and his wife/sister, Rhaella, along with younger siblings Viserys and Daenerys. With the dragons long extinct or near extinct, he is not a dragonrider like his ancestors but distinguishes himself as a knight.
Rhaegar marries Elia Martell and has two children with her, a son and a daughter. As his father descends further into tyranny and madness, Rhaegar causes further problems when he falls in love with Lyanna Stark. A civil war breaks out when the Starks and the Baratheons believe Rhaegar has abducted Lyanna, and it ends with the Targaryen dynasty overthrown and both Aerys and Rhaegar dead. The truth, however, is that Rhaegar and Lyanna were in love. Rhaegar had his marriage to Elia annulled and secretly married Lyanna, who died giving birth to their secret son, Aegon. It's revealed in the final season of "Game of Thrones" that Aegon was raised by the Starks as Jon Snow.
After the fall of his father, Aerys, Viserys is the eldest surviving Targaryen. He is Daenerys Targaryen's brother, so he flees with her to Braavos, where he plots to find a way to restore their family to the throne. Part of his plan involves marrying his teenage sister to Khal Drogo, a Dothraki warlord, to get their support and military might.
Viserys's manipulations and arrogance eventually backfire, however. As Dany grows more sure of herself and becomes beloved by the Dothraki, they lose patience with Viserys. When he threatens Dany and her unborn child and demands his "crown," Khal Drogo has him killed by pouring molten gold on his head.
Daenerys, the youngest child of Aerys II, grows from a teenage pawn in her brother's plans to a strong queen claimant in her own right. After the death of her brother Viserys, she embarks on a plan of her own to return to Westeros as queen. She is briefly married to Khal Drogo, but he dies, and she soon miscarries what would have been their child. She does, however, hatch three dragon eggs, the first dragons in many generations: Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion.
Over several years, she gathers an army of misfits, freed slaves, great and small noble houses, and many others to support her claim to the Iron Throne. Eventually, she begins fighting her way through Westeros, where she meets Jon Snow, who asks for her help defeating the Night King's army. Dany and Jon fall in love, not realizing that they are actually related. As the battles grow more brutal and the losses get more personal, Daenerys's grip on sanity starts to slip. She does reach the Iron Throne, but only after going completely mad and burning the entirety of King's Landing. Jon kills her just before she can sit on the throne.
The last surviving Targaryen doesn't even know he's a Targaryen until very late in "Game of Thrones." Jon Snow is raised believing that he is Ned Stark's son, born out of an affair with a woman named Wylla. In reality, he is Aegon Targaryen, the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Ned's sister Lyanna, making him the true heir to the Iron Throne.
After spending years with the Night's Watch, Jon is eventually hailed as King in the North. He reunites with his surviving Stark "siblings" and takes on the task of liaising with Daenerys Targaryen in hopes of getting her help against the Night King. When he meets her dragons, he is surprised that one of them, Rhaegal, lets him ride him, and he later rides Rhaegal into battle.
Jon and Dany fall in love, unaware that they are actually aunt and nephew. When the revelation reaches them, Dany is concerned that Jon will want to take the throne, while Jon is more startled by the truth of their biological relationship. In the end, Jon stays loyal to Dany until the very end, when he is horrified by her burning of King's Landing. He kills her in hopes of saving Westeros and returns to exile with the Night's Watch as punishment for her death.
The Targaryen sigil is a three-headed dragon breathing fire, which is fitting for a family of dragonriders. While the colors are red on black, the sigil is pictured above as a chrome-colored fixture hung above the royal family.