- "I want us both to go home, but they took it from us. So tell me, sweet sister, how do we go home? ...We go home with an army."
- ―Viserys to his sister, Daenerys
Viserys Targaryen was the younger brother of the late Rhaegar Targaryen, the older brother of Daenerys Targaryen, and the paternal uncle of Jon Snow. Viserys and Daenerys are the remnants of the exiled House Targaryen following Robert's Rebellion against their father Aerys II Targaryen, the Mad King.
BackgroundViserys is the second son and heir of King Aerys II Targaryen, the former ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. During Robert's Rebellion, after Viserys's older brother Rhaegar was killed at the Battle of the Trident, his father sent Viserys and his pregnant mother Queen Rhaella to safety on Dragonstone island. King Aerys was soon afterwards killed during the Sack of King's Landing along with Rhaegar's widow and children, and thus at the age of only five Viserys became the titular head of House Targaryen, though by this point the war was officially lost. Not long afterwards, his mother died in childbirth, while the forces of Robert Baratheon closed in on the island. Before they could arrive, Viserys and his baby sister Daenerys were smuggled to safety in the Free Cities, across the Narrow Sea on the continent of Essos. Bereft of followers, Viserys spent the next 17 years traveling between the Free Cities trying to find new supporters for an attempt to retake the Iron Throne. At times, however, he was left literally begging for food and shelter, much less an army.
Viserys claims the title of Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and refers to Robert Baratheon only as "the Usurper". After years spent fruitlessly wandering the Free Cities seeking military support to retake his throne, Viserys and Daenerys became guests of the powerful Magister Illyrio Mopatis of Pentos.Free City of Pentos, across the Narrow Sea, Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen enjoy the hospitality of Magister Illyrio Mopatis. Viserys has arranged to wed Daenerys (whom he also calls "Dany") to Khal Drogo, the warlord of a Dothraki khalasar of forty thousand warriors. In return, Drogo will give Viserys the manpower he needs to reclaim the Iron Throne. Viserys fondles a naked Daenerys before her bath, on the pretext of "seeing how much she has grown". Daenerys does not want to marry the Khal, but Viserys insists that she will. During a brief presentation at Illyrio's home Dany meets Drogo's approval.Dany then says that she just wants to go home, but Viserys says that he would let anyone do anything to her if it would mean gaining the Iron Throne.
Daenerys marries Drogo and a great celebration is held on the shore outside Pentos. Several Dothraki die in impromptu duels, which Illyrio says is a good sign: a Dothraki wedding without at least three deaths is considered a dull affair. The bride and groom receive many gifts, but for Dany two are particularly interesting. The first is a box containing three beautiful stones. According to Illyrio these are petrified dragon eggs from the Shadow Lands beyond Asshai. The second is a selection of books containing stories and songs from the Seven Kingdoms, given by Ser Jorah Mormont, an exiled knight of House Mormont. Ser Jorah swears fealty to Viserys as King and offers him his support and advice. For his gift, Drogo gives Daenerys a beautiful silver mare. Viserys instructs his sister to make Drogo happy before Drogo takes her away to consummate the union.
Viserys decides to travel with Drogo's khalasar until the bargain is fulfilled. Jorah suggests that Viserys remain at Illyrio's manse but Viserys ignores the advice. While traversing the western edge of the Dothraki sea, near Qohor, Daenerys orders the khalasar to halt.Viserys is furious at Daenerys giving him orders and threatens her with a sword. Rakharo, her bodyguard, disarms Viserys and offers to kill him, but Daenerys spares his life. He is forced to walk rather than ride, a tremendous sign of weakness among the Dothraki. When even Ser Jorah will not take his side, Daenerys realizes that Viserys will never succeed in retaking Westeros. He could not lead an army, even if her husband gave him one. Daenerys becomes pregnant with Drogo's child. After his horse is taken away, the Dothraki derisively refer to him as Khal Rhaggat (Cart King) and Khal Rhae Mhar (Sorefoot King). The Dothraki feel that a man is only truly a man if he rides on his own horse: only the sick or elderly would ride in a cart, and only slaves walk for miles alongside a horde. That Viserys could not stop his horse being taken away is seen as utter humiliation by the Dothraki.The khalasar reaches the Dothraki city of Vaes Dothrak. Viserys despises it as a city of sticks and mud huts and takes pleasure with Daenerys's handmaiden, Doreah. Doreah makes him unhappy when she asks him about the dragons and their extinction. Later, Daenerys sends Doreah to Viserys with an invitation to dinner. Enraged at what he perceives as another order, Viserys drags Doreah by her hair to Daenerys. He strikes Daenerys and rants about his superiority. Daenerys hits him in the face with a heavy metal belt, visibly shocking him, and warns him that the next time he raises his hands to her will be the last time he has hands. Illyrio visits King's Landing to meet with the King's Master of Whisperers, Varys. Illyrio confirms that Drogo does eventually mean to honor the bargain to invade the Seven Kingdoms, but will not move until his son is born.
Viserys grows increasingly agitated by Drogo's inaction and fears the Khal will renege on his promise. Realizing how the Dothraki people have come to love Daenerys makes him feel jealous and inadequate. He tries to steal Daenerys's dragon eggs so he can buy his own army, but Ser Jorah stops him. He accuses Jorah of having physical desires for Daenerys, but says he doesn't care.
A drunk Viserys later stumbles into Khal Drogo's tent during a feast, and demands to be seated in the front near Drogo, in a place of honor. With Ser Jorah translating, Drogo says that there is a place for him: in the back, with the children and old women. Viserys angrily insists that he is a king, and will be treated as such.
Khal Drogo addresses Viserys for the first time in the Common Tongue of Westeros, "You are no king." Furious, Viserys unsheathes his sword, too drunk and arrogant to heed Jorah's warning that brandishing a sword in the Dothraki holy city is punishable by death.Defiant and undaunted, Viserys goes on to demand that he wants to leave immediately with the army he was promised, or else he will leave with his sister (who according to the custom of House Targaryen, should have been his wife, and whom he always thought of as his sexual property). He threatens to cut out Daenerys's unborn son and leave it for Drogo unless they leave at once and Drogo gives him what was promised: the crown of the Seven Kingdoms. The Khal coldly acknowledges Viserys's wishes (via Irri's translation) and promises him a "golden crown that men will tremble to behold".
Viserys, believing himself victorious, lowers his guard and is suddenly restrained by Qotho and another bloodrider. Drogo then melts several gold medallions from his belt in a nearby pot. Viserys yells "I am the dragon" and pleads for his life from Daenerys, but when Drogo looks to her, she silently nods. Drogo directly addresses Viserys once more in the Common Tongue, saying, "A crown for a king", and pours the molten gold onto Viserys's head as the promised "terrible golden crown", killing him for his impudence. Viserys dies in agony, and when his dead body slumps to the ground the solidified gold makes a resounding thud. Daenerys coldly remarks that "he was no dragon", as "fire cannot kill a dragon". With Viserys dead, Daenerys is now held by her supporters as the rightful (and last) Targaryen heir to the Iron Throne, although later events will reveal someone who may actually have a stronger claim.
Viserys is mentioned by Daenerys saying that she knew he was a fool but he is - or rather was - the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. But Jorah Mormont dismisses this saying that if Daenerys cannot inherit the Throne, she can conquer it instead like her ancestors.
Daenerys mentions Viserys at a war council on Dragonstone. She claims that if Viserys had three dragons he would have invaded King's Landing already. She turns her attention to Varys and begin interrogating him over his actions when she and Viserys were in exile. She asks if his "little birds" told him that Viserys was cruel, stupid and weak.
Daenerys tells Jon that both Viserion and Rhaegal were named for her deceased brothers.
Viserys was, in numerous ways, the precise opposite of his sister Daenerys Targaryen. He was condescending, violent, arrogant, immoral and extremely cruel. He suffered from maniacal delusions of grandeur, and was intensely self-righteous. Much like Joffrey Baratheon, Viserys believed that people should obey him simply in regards to status and, in his view, birthright. Viserys was a violent and aggressive man, and described his temper as "a dragon", but also referring to himself as such, showing that he believes he is the greatest of the Targaryens. Viserys's temper hopelessly outweighs his common sense, making him rash and extremely reckless.
Viserys also held extremely little regard for either the safety or opinions of others. An example of this was him promising Jorah Mormont that he would not be punished for trading in slaves when he was king and even implied that he would become involved in it, ignoring or discarding the fact that slavery has been forbidden and condemned in Westeros since before there were even Seven Kingdoms. Viserys was also extremely self-deluded and believed himself to be a mighty warrior, something akin to his brother Rhaegar Targaryen, but in actuality he had never wielded a sword against an opponent in his life and didn't truly know the first thing about combat, strategy or warfare, only ever seeing the moment where he would gloriously sit upon the Iron Throne as Lord of the Seven Kingdoms. When attacked by Dothraki, he did not fight back like a man, instead cowering and commanding Mormont furiously to kill the Dothraki instead, violently citing his apparent authority as king as reason to do so. This shows that Viserys preferred other people fighting his battles for him even if he was mildly capable of doing the job himself.
In regards to his sister Daenerys, Viserys was extremely cruel to her - Viserys did not regard her as a human being with emotions and rights, but rather as a property for him to abuse or hand out to others whenever he pleases. He constantly beats and abuses her verbally, and levels her self-esteem regardless of her human nature. He also viewed her derogatively as a whore to Khal Drogo, not measuring her intelligence, empathy, or promise in favor of her being another bridge for him to step over in order to take Westeros for himself. Despite this, Viserys self-righteously believes that she is loyal to him and nobody else, shown by the fact that, before his death, he begs for her to help him, despite him giving her absolutely no moral provocation to do so. In fact, only moments before, he had threatened to cut her open with a sword during her pregnancy.
Viserys has been shown to be similar to his own father, with his appearance and personality being good examples of this. One rather fascinating similarity is that Viserys, in his arrogance and madness, believed that the Dothraki wouldn't strike back at him for threatening their queen, and that he in particular had the right to bare steel against them. Similarly, Aerys opened the gates of King's Landing to his old friend Tywin Lannister, not thinking that this would cost him anything, and even ordered Jaime Lannister to murder Tywin and bring him his head - this act of utter folly led to the slaughter of Elia Martell and her children. In comparison, it cost Viserys his life and chance to even attempt to take his precious Iron Throne.
Daenerys believes that the loss of their mother, father and brother and having to beg everyone for money and shelter has driven Viserys mad, due to him being kind and respectful to her once. She clearly once had some affection for him as her only living blood relative, and in tribute to that she named her dragon Viserion after him.
|Season One appearances|
|Winter Is Coming||The Kingsroad||Lord Snow||Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things||The Wolf and the Lion|
|A Golden Crown||You Win or You Die||The Pointy End||Baelor||Fire and Blood|
|Aemon Targaryen |
|Aegon V Targaryen|
|Aerys II Targaryen|
|Elia Martell |
|Lyanna Stark |
- Spoken by Viserys
- "When they write the history of my reign, sweet sister, they will say it began today."
- ―Viserys talks to his sister about reclaiming the Iron Throne.
- "We go home with an army. With Khal Drogo's army. I would let his whole tribe fuck you, all forty thousand men and their horses too, if that's what it took."
- ―Viserys Targaryen to Daenerys Targaryen
- "You do not command the Dragon! I am Lord of the Seven Kingdoms. I don't take orders from savages or their sluts. Do you hear me?"
- ―Viserys to his sister.
- "You are a horselord's slut! And now, you've woken the Dragon!"
- ―Viserys insults his sister.
- "I’m the last hope of a dynasty, Mormont. The greatest dynasty this world has ever seen, on my shoulders since I was five years old, and no one has ever given me what they gave to her in that tent. Never. Not a piece of it. How can I carry what I need to carry without it, hmm? Who can rule without wealth or fear or love?"
- ―Viserys expresses his jealousy of Daenerys.
- "Oh, you stand there, all nobility and honor....you don't think I see you looking at my little sister, hmm? Don't think I know what you want? I don't care; you can have her. She can be Queen of the Savages and dine on the finest bloody horseparts, and you can dine on whichever parts of her you like."
- ―Viserys insults Jorah Mormont, Daenerys, and the Dothraki to Jorah's face.
- "The dragon answers to no one."
- ―Viserys Targaryen on his house.
- "The next time you raise your hands to me will be the last time you have hands."
- ―Daenerys threatens Viserys for the first time.
- "Viserys is less than the shadow of a snake."
- ―Jorah Mormont
- "You are no king."
- ―Khal Drogo
- "He was no dragon. Fire cannot kill a dragon."
- ―Daenerys Targaryen
- "My brother didn't know anything about dragons. He didn't know anything about anything."
- "Who are my people? The Targaryens? I only knew one: my brother, and he would have let a thousand men rape me if it would have gotten him the crown."
- "Before I came to power, you favored my brother. All your spies, your little birds, did they tell you Viserys was cruel, stupid and weak? Would those qualities have made for a good King, in your learned opinion?"
- ―Daenerys to Varys
Behind the scenes
- On the Season 1 Blu-ray, Viserys narrates Complete Guide to Westeros videos on "Valyria and the Dragons", "The Field of Fire", "Robert's Rebellion", "The Sack of King's Landing". On the Season 5 Blu-ray, he co-narrates the Histories & Lore video "The Dance of Dragons" with Shireen Baratheon, Robert Baratheon, Catelyn Stark, Oberyn Martell and Joffrey Baratheon. On the Season 7 Blu-ray, he narrates Chapter 1 of Conquest & Rebellion: An Animated History of the Seven Kingdoms, "Valyria's Last Scion: House Targaryen".
In the books
In A Song of Ice and Fire, Viserys is an ambitious, arrogant and power-hungry young man with a streak of cruelty and a famous temper, though he is occasionally affectionate towards his sister. The books give more detail in explaining just how much of a paper tiger Viserys is, and is largely consumed by delusions of grandeur. In the first chapter the Targaryens appear in, Viserys toys with a sword he borrowed from Illyrio while promising to kill Robert Baratheon in single combat. Daenerys notes to herself that Viserys has no idea how to use a sword, never owned his own sword, never had any kind of combat training, and is just a boy playing with a borrowed sword.
Nonetheless in the books Daenerys still shows some sympathy for Viserys after his death, though she does not regret that Drogo ultimately had to execute him. Dany notes that while Viserys was weak, petty, and cruel, he had spent most of his life as a frightened refugee after his entire family was killed and his home taken away, and thus he was largely a product of his hard childhood on the run. At the least, he had managed to keep Daenerys alive during their life in exile.
In the fourth and fifth novels it is revealed that Ser Willem Darry and Doran Martell signed a secret pact of alliance between Dorne and House Targaryen in Braavos. The alliance was to be sealed by a marriage between Viserys and Princess Arianne Martell. Ser Willem has never told Viserys (nor Daenerys) about the pact, thus Viserys died unaware it. When Daenerys learns about the pact many years later, she comments, knowing well how rash and impatient her brother was, that had he known about that - he would have crossed to Sunspear as soon as he was old enough to wed; thereby, he would have brought Robert’s warhammer down upon himself, and Dorne as well.
In the books, Viserys was about seven years old at the end of Robert's Rebellion, but in "A Golden Crown" Viserys states that he was five years old at the time, a rare instance of someone being aged down in the TV continuity.
Viserys is the only book character who ever addressed Daenerys as "Dany", and only on one occasion - when he begged her to stop Drogo from killing him.
According to the TV series official pronunciation guide developed for the cast and crew, "Viserys Targaryen" is pronounced "Vi-SAIR-iss Tar-GAIR-ee-in".
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 "A Golden Crown"
- ↑ HBO viewers guide, season 2 guide to houses, House Targaryen - Viserys Targaryen entry
- ↑ HBO viewers guide, season 2 guide to houses, House Targaryen - Rhaella Targaryen entry
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 "Winter is Coming"
- ↑ "The Kingsroad"
- ↑ "Lord Snow"
- ↑ "Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things"
- ↑ "The Wolf and the Lion"
- ↑ "The Winds of Winter"
- ↑ "A Man Without Honor"
- ↑ "Stormborn"
- ↑ "The Queen's Justice"
- ↑ "Beyond the Wall"
Aegon I, the Conqueror · Aenys I · Maegor I, the Cruel · Jaehaerys I, the Conciliator · Viserys I · Aegon II · Aegon III, the Dragonbane · Daeron I, the Young Dragon · Baelor I, the Blessed · Viserys II · Aegon IV, the Unworthy · Daeron II, the Good · Aerys I · Maekar I · Aegon V, the Unlikely · Aerys II, the Mad King