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Viserys Targaryen

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Viserys Targaryen

Prince Viserys in exile in Pentos.

"You don't want to wake the dragon, do you?"
Viserys Targaryen to Daenerys Targaryen[src]

Viserys Targaryen is a major character in the first season. He is played by starring cast member Harry Lloyd, and debuts in the series premiere. Viserys is the exiled head of House Targaryen and considers himself the rightful ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. He arranges the marriage of his younger sister Daenerys Targaryen to the Dothraki Khal Drogo to provide the army he needs to retake the Iron Throne. He grows impatient with Drogo and threatens to kill Daenerys if Drogo does not deliver his crown as agreed. Drogo responds by crowning Viserys in molten gold, killing him.

He formally styled himself as Viserys of House Targaryen, the Third of His Name, King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm.



Viserys is the second son and heir of King Aerys II Targaryen, the former ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. Aerys was killed during the Sack of King's Landing during Robert's Rebellion. Viserys was safe with his pregnant mother in hiding at his family's ancestral castle on the island of Dragonstone. After his mother died in childbirth, Viserys and his baby sister Daenerys were smuggled to safety in the Free Cities across the Narrow Sea.[1][2]

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.

Season 1

In the 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. When Daenerys expresses a desire not to marry the Khal, Viserys insists that she will.[3]

Daenerys and Viserys

Viserys and Daenerys.

During a brief presentation at Illyrio's home Dany meets Drogo's approval. 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 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, which is accepted. For his gift, Drogo gives to Daenerys a beautiful white stallion. Viserys instructs his sister to make Drogo happy before Drogo takes her to consummate the union.[4]


Doreah and Viserys.

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.[5] Whilst 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 amongst 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.[6]

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 thus seen as an utter humiliation by the Dothraki.[7]


Viserys threatens his sister.

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 slave, 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 and warns him that the next time he raises his hands to her will be the last time he has hands.[8] 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.[9]

Viserys grows increasingly agitated by Drogo's inaction and fears that Drogo 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' 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. Drogo (through a translator) 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 (haltingly) addresses Viserys for the first time in the Common Tongue of Westeros, by bluntly stating "you are no king". Furious, Viserys unsheathes his sword, too drunk and arrogant to heed Daenerys' warning that brandishing a sword in the Dothraki holy city is punishable by death. Instead, Viserys goes on to demand that he wants to leave immediately with the army he was promised, and that 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). Viserys threatens Drogo that he will leave with Daenerys and cut out Dany and Drogo's unborn child and leave it for him (as it means nothing to Viserys), unless they leave at once and Drogo gives him what was promised: the golden crown of the Seven Kingdoms. The Khal coldly acknowledges Viserys' 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 restrained by Drogo's men.


Viserys receiving his golden crown.


Viserys after being "crowned".

Drogo then melts several gold medallions from his belt in a nearby pot. Viserys 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' head as the promised "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 dispassionately remarks that a true Targaryen would not have been harmed by the heat, as "fire cannot kill a dragon". This makes Daenerys the rightful Targaryen heir to the Iron Throne, and last known member of the Targaryen dynasty.[10]


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

Image gallery

Family tree

Aerion family tree
Aerion Targaryen
"Aerion Brightflame"
Aemon Tree
Aemon Targaryen
"Maester Aemon"
Night's Watch Crow shield icon
Aegon V family tree
Aegon V Targaryen
"Aegon the Unlikely"
Targaryen Queen
Duncan Targaryen
"Duncan the Small"
Aerys II Targaryen
"The Mad King"
Rhaella tree
Rhaella Targaryen
Daeron Targaryen
Rhaegar Targaryen
Elia Martell Martell-small
Viserys tree
Viserys Targaryen
Daenerys tree
Daenerys Targaryen
"Daenerys Stormborn"
Drogo tree
Rhaenys tree
Rhaenys Targaryen
Aegon Targaryen

Behind the scenes

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.

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".

See also


v  d  e
Lord: Queen Daenerys Targaryen Heir: None
Seat: (Exiled) Lands: Exiled, currently holds Meereen in Slaver's Bay
Title(s): Queen of Meereen · Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea · Queen of Qarth· Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men (claimant) · Lady Regnant of the Seven Kingdoms (claimant) · Protector of the Realm (claimant)
Ancestors:Aegon I, the Conqueror · Visenya · Rhaenys · Aenys I · Maegor I, the Cruel · Jaehaerys, the Concilliator · Viserys I · Daemon · Rhaenyra · Aegon II · Aemond · Aegon III · Daeron I, the Young Dragon · Baelor the Blessed · Viserys II · Aegon IV, the Unworthy · Naerys · Aemon the Dragonknight · Daena the Defiant · Rhaena · Elaena · Daeron II, the Good · Daenerys Martell · Myriah Martell · Daemon Blackfyre · Brynden Rivers · Aegor Rivers · Shiera Seastar · Baelor Breakspear · Aerys I · Aelinor · Rhaegel · Maekar I · Aerion Brightflame · Aegon V, the Unlikely · Duncan the Small · Daeron
Deceased members:Aerys II, the Mad · Rhaella Targaryen · Rhaegar Targaryen · Elia Martell · Rhaenys Targaryen · Aegon Targaryen · Viserys Targaryen · Drogo · Rhaego · Aemon Targaryen
Household:Ser Jorah Mormont · Tyrion Lannister · {Ser Barristan Selmy} · {Rakharo} · Kovarro · Aggo · {Irri} · {Doreah} · Jhiqui · Malakho · Missandei · Grey Worm · Daario Naharis · {Mossador} · Malcolm Branfield · Croft

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