House of the Dragon: 5 things to know about King Viserys Targaryen

King Viserys Targaryen (Image via Sky News)
King Viserys Targaryen (Image via Sky News)

Viserys Targaryen is known to be one of the noblest and most powerful kings in the Seven Kingdoms. His motives, strategy, and relations with other powerful allies make him one of the most complex characters on the show. Apart from the kingdom, he also strongly influences most of the central characters, including his daughter Rhaenyra and his wife, Alicent, both of whom turn into foes very soon.


The first episode of House of The Dragon premiered on HBO Max on August 21, 2022, as the rest of the episodes will be released on a weekly basis. In addition, the plot so far seems to be consistent with the vibe of the Game of Thrones universe. House of the Dragon is based on George R. R. Martin's Fire and Blood and is set 200 years prior to the events of Game of Thrones.

Some interesting facts about King Viserys Targaryen

1) He forced Rhaenyra to marry Velaryon

Though he is known for his noble deeds and firmness in making sure Rhaenyra would be his successor, Viserys Targaryen coerced Rhaenyra into marrying Velaryon, her first husband. Veserys negotiated with Rhaenyra by saying that he would change his mind about succession if she didn't give in to his pressure. However, this soon proved to be a bad decision.

Rumors suggested that Velaryon was attracted to men, and the children Rhaenyra had during their marriage were not his. These rumors catered to the hostility Rhaenyra faced when wanting to succeed her father on the Iron Throne. Moreover, Viserys' tendency to display such authority, along with his marriage to Alicent, increased the conflict between him and Rhaenyra.

2) He lost two sons when they were very young

When Viserys Targaryen was married to his first wife, the couple had two sons. Unfortunately, they lost both of them when the boys were very young. The death of the boys indirectly contributed to the havoc that later took over the family dynamic as Rhaenyra ended up marrying Daemon rather than her brother. The loss and grief that Viserys bore in his heart reflected his character at times following the incident.

Viserys Targaryen also ended up losing his wife right before the loss of their second son. After the mourning period, he decides to declare Rhaenyra the princess. Although he ended up marrying Alicent Hightower later on, his decision barely changed. Moreover, the children he had with her are going to succeed him as King. This further increased the conflict between Alicent and Rhaenyra.

3) He has a soft spot for Daemon, which led to Daemon's recklessness

Daemon Targaryen (Image via Telegraph India)
Daemon Targaryen (Image via Telegraph India)

Despite knowing Daemon and his nature, Viserys couldn't help but be kind to him. His letting go of Daemon often came across as his encouragement towards his brother's behavior.

However, this was one among Viserys Targaryen's failures, as he was unable to control Daemon's behavior to benefit the kingdom. He also refused to get Rhaenyra married to Aegon, leading to the Targaryen princess marrying Daemon. Moreover, there were numerous decisions by Viserys that contributed to the downfall of Daemon Targaryen.

4) He won over the Iron Throne by the advantage of being male

One of the main reasons for the Dance of the Dragons is the rise of Rhaenys as "The Queen Who Never Was." Before Viserys Targaryen claimed the Iron Throne, he was competing with his cousin Rhaenys, who was also popular and had an equal chance of claiming the throne. However, by the mere advantage of gender, he succeeded the Iron Throne. This political advantage was yet another factor in the discord.

The resentment remained among many, and the idea of Rhaenys being a better ruler was brought up at times when Viserys' decisions and actions have been unpopular among most influential charaters. Therefore, in this way, the plot remains very reflective of the gender politics that is relevant even today.

5) He was a rider of Balerian the Black Dread

Balerian the Black Dread (Image via IGN)
Balerian the Black Dread (Image via IGN)

Riding Balerian was one of the many things that Aegon the Conqueror has been known for. The fact that Viserys rode a dragon as famous as that is not just impressive but is functional to his identity as the King. Balerian was also one of the most famous dragons in the House of The Dragon universe, which made it a matter of prestige.

Viserys Targaryen is also known to have not ridden any other dragon since the death of Balerian. It being the last dragon he rode, making it all the more special and indicating some kind of a bond that they had shared. Furthermore, this also implies that the dragon has an important place in Viserys' heart and life.

What makes all the characters in Game of Thrones and House of The Dragon brilliant is the multi-dimensional writing that makes them all morally grey rather than being black and white. Viserys Targaryen, despite being widely popular for his nobleness, does have more depth to him that will hopefully reveal itself in this show as well.

The second episode of House of the Dragon is all set to release on August 28, 2022.

Quick Links

Edited by Priya Majumdar