‘House of the Dragon’ Targaryen lineage and family tree explained

Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen
Image via HBO

One of the things that has made A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones so rewarding for hardcore nerds is that there’s a ton of history and lore to pour over inside of this universe. The events of the TV show and George R.R. Martin’s books are built on tons of pre-established world-building, and the history of this world informs the decisions that individuals make.

Now that House of the Dragon is set to offer a glimpse at some of that history, it’s more important than ever to examine the history of one of the most consequential families in all of Westeros. The Targaryen dynasty is crucial to the stories set in this world, and they have a long history that dates to way before Daenerys found herself in possession of three brand new dragons. Here is the full family tree of the Targaryens, dating back to Aegon the Conqueror.

Aegon the Conqueror

The Targaryens started their reign of Westeros as foreign invaders. Originally hailing from Valyria, they were only dragon lords to survive the Doom that destroyed that city, and they left Valyria 12 years later. They resided for over a century on Dragonstone before Aegon the Conqueror began his conquest of the lords of Westeros in 2 BC.

Aegon fought alongside his two sister-wives Rhanys and Visenya, and all three were dragon riders. Aegon’s conquest only lasted a total of two years, and in that time he managed to capture six of the seven kingdoms, with Dorne remaining the last holdout. He crafted the Iron Throne out of the swords of his enemies and also built Aegonfort, a structure that would eventually be torn down and replaced by the Red Keep. King’s Landing would be built around Aegonfort and would come to be the new capital of Westeros.

King Jaehaerys

Following Aegon’s death in 37 AC, things got a little less tidy inside the Seven Kingdoms. Two of Aegon’s sons took the throne following his death, but both for relatively brief periods. Eventually, though, Aegon’s grandson Jaehaerys took the throne and began a reign that would last for 55 years. Jaehaerys had seven heirs over the course of his reign, but all of them died before he did, which ultimately defeats the purpose of having an heir to begin with. When Jaehaerys did die, he was ultimately succeeded by his grandson Viserys.

The Dance of Dragons

Viserys’s reign was troubled even before the question of succession became an urgent one. His first marriage produced one surviving daughter, Rhaenyra, who he named as his heir and made the lords of the realm swear fealty to. After his first wife’s death, though, Viserys married Alicent Hightower and had three more children, including Aegon II. Factions began to form inside King’s Landing even before Viserys’ death, with some aligned behind Alicent and others behind Rhaenyra.

After Viserys died, a full-on civil war broke out between Rhaenyra and Aegon II, and it’s those events that we’ll see depicted in House of the Dragon. The war was hugely costly for the Targaryen family, and it also led to the deaths of most of their dragons. Ultimately, both Aegon II and Rhaenyra died as a result of the war, and it was Rhanerya’s son Aegon III that wound up on the Iron Throne, although he was just 11 years old.

The Long Decline

Although it took several hundred years for the Targaryen dynasty to fall, the Dance of the Dragons was the beginning of the end for their reign. The dragons fell into decline and ultimately died out completely in 153 AC.

With that, the Targaryen lineage suffered as well. All of Aegon III’s children died before having children of their own, so the throne eventually passed to his brother, Viserys II. Viserys only ruled for a year and was succeeded by his son Aegon IV, who was also known as Aegon the Unworthy. Aegon sired a huge number of bastards, including the Blackfyres, who would eventually rebel against the crown for an extended period of time.

A number of kings took the throne following Aegon the Unworthy, including Daeron II, who brought Dorne into the realm peacefully, and Aegon V, who died in the tragedy of Summerhall in 259 AC in an attempt to bring dragons back to the realm.

The Mad King

Aegon V was Aerys II, or the Mad King’s grandfather, which brings us up to the events immediately preceding Game of Thrones. Aerys had three children: Rhaegar, who died in battle fighting Robert Baratheon and was also Jon Snow’s father; Viserys, who was banished during Robert’s Rebellion and eventually killed by Khal Drogo; and Daenerys, who you probably know at least a little bit.

The Mad King’s death brought an end to Targaryen rule in the Seven Kingdoms, and Daenerys’s death at the end of Game of Thrones brought an end to the Targaryen line altogether. After 300 years in power, a new dynasty was set to emerge inside the Seven Kingdoms.