The Targaryen genealogy to better understand House of the Dragon

The Targaryen genealogy to better understand House of the Dragon

There are just a few days left until the debut of House of the Dragon, from 22 August exclusively on Sky and Now, at the same time as Hbo. As it is now known, the series serves as a prequel to Game of Thrones, being set hundreds of years before the events of Westeros that we all know and focusing in particular on the then reigning dynasty, the Targaryen. The powerful dynasty, known for riding fearsome dragons, is also very fascinating for its complicated genealogy, thanks to a particular predilection for incest between brother and sister as well as the propensity to generate illegitimate children and, consequently, cadet branches. Understanding the relationships between the various characters of this family (which is made even more complicated by the similar names and the numerous cases of homonymy) is important to better understand the conflict that will arise from the very first episodes of the new series.

Origins The Targaryens were originally from Essos, the eastern continent. After the so-called Valyria Disaster, an unidentified cataclysm that destroyed the greatest power of that continent, the dynasty moved to Westeros and settled in Dragon's Rock, where it remained for more than a century. Then Aegon I, known as the Conqueror, begins together with his sister-wives, Visenya and Rhaenys, the Wars of conquest with which he unites all the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros under his power. He is the one who has the Iron Throne forged with the weapons of defeated enemies. From his sister Rhaenys he had a son who succeeded him with the name of Aenys I.

Dragonstone, historic home of the Targaryens in Westeros

After the death of the latter the throne passed with a coup to the half-brother Maegor the Cruel, son of Aegon I and Visenya; after a sadistic and violent reign, Maegor died without heirs and therefore the power returned to the oldest surviving son of Aenys, Jaehaerys I. Jaehaerys I reigned for 55 years, becoming the longest-serving of the Targaryen monarchs. He was equally prolific, with his sister Alysanne having 13 children, who died one after the other: his nephew Viserys I, son of his own sons Baleon (who died before Jaehaerys) and Alyssa, succeeded him. And it is with this latter king that we arrive at the era in which House of the Dragon is set.

The Dance of the Dragons Viserys I is the fifth Targaryen king and reigns at the height of the power of this house over Westeros, which has now also thrived in numerous cadet branches. Viserys marries Aemma Arryn and she has two children: Rhaenyra and Baelon, who however dies one day after her birth with his mother Aemma. The king at this point remarries with Alicent Hightower and has three children with her: Aegon II, Helena, Aemond and Daeron. Despite having a son, he still decides to appoint Rhaenyra as his heir to the throne, also unleashing the ire of his brother Daemon. On the death of Viserys, the civil war breaks out, the so-called Dance of the Dragons, between the supporters of Rhaenyra on the throne and those who instead consider only his half-brother Aegon II as the legitimate heir.

King Viserys I, his daughter Rhaenyra and her brother Daemon

Attention, from now on important spoilers about what could happen in House of the Dragon:

The ensuing conflict is very bloody, so much so that they lose the life both Rhaenyra and her children had from their first marriage to Ser Laenor Velaryon (Jacaerys, Lucerys and Joffrey). Instead, the children she had by marrying uncle Daemon Targaryen survive: Aegon and Viserys. Shortly after Rhaenryra's death Aegon II also dies, who is succeeded by the son of his half-sister and uncle with the name of Aegon III, who eliminates all the dragons (his mother had been given to one of them) and marries his cousin Jaehaera Targaryen, Aegon II's only living descendant in order to reunite the two parts of the family.

His continued dynasty However, it was from his second wife Daenaera Velaryon that Aegon III had his two heirs who succeed him one after the other, Daeron I and Baelor I; the latter, particularly devoted (to him we owe the Great Temple of Baelor), died without heirs and then was succeeded by his father's brother, uncle Viserys II. His reign lasted only a year, however, leaving room for his son Aegon IV, known as the Unworthy. Quickly flying over illegitimate children claiming power, rebellions of cadet houses and so on, the Iron Throne passes fairly linearly from father to son: from King Daeron II to son Aerys I and then to the other son Maekar I, then to the son of the latter Aegon V and his heir Jaehaerys II. Son and heir of the latter was Aerys II.

The mad king Aerys II seen in Game of Thrones

At the time of Game of Thrones If the name of Aerys II tells you something, it is because he is just the Mad King that we hear so much about in Game of Thrones. Initially a wise and benevolent king, his family's incestuous legacy begins to make itself felt, essentially driving him mad. He was then dethroned by Robert Baratheon and assassinated by Jaime Lannister, a member of the Royal Guard. Previously, however, Aerys had three children with her sister Rhaella: Rhaegar, Viserys and Daenerys.

Viserys and Daenerys in exile in Essos

The latter two are made to flee to Essos, and there we meet them in the first episodes of the first season, before Daenerys recaptures the dragons and returns to Westeros for seek revenge. Rhaegar, on the other hand, had been killed by Robert Baratheon himself on charges of kidnapping her betrothed, Lyanna Stark, who was actually in love with Rhaegar and had married him secretly. From the union of the two was born Aegon Targaryen, entrusted to his maternal uncle in swaddling clothes and raised under another name: Jon Snow.

Powered by Blogger.