The Seven Kingdoms in A Song of Ice & Fire were, for the longest time, ruled by kings that came from one single house—the Targaryens. Ever since Aegon the Conqueror made the kings and lords of Westeros bow down to his rule with the strength of his dragons, the entire continent had been ruled by House Targaryen all because Aegon believed that the Targaryen bloodline was the only one that could unite the Seven Kingdoms against the threat from the north.
For nearly 300 years, the Targaryens ruled as a dynasty because they had the strength of their dragons during the first half of their hold over the Seven Kingdoms. However, not all of the 17 Targaryen kings that ruled the Seven Kingdoms were exactly that important or considered good rulers. In that regard, we have ranked every Targaryen king from A Song of Ice & Fire in terms of their importance to the Seven Kingdoms and the course of the history of Westeros.
17. Aegon IV
Aegon IV was also called the Unworthy because he was simply unworthy. There have been a lot of different Targaryen kings that were cruel or crazy, but Aegon IV, despite being named after the greatest Targaryen king ever, was never a good king. In fact, he was widely considered the worst king of all of the kings. And it was his actions throughout his rule that led to some of the worst events in the history of the Seven Kingdoms.
While he did take a wife in the form of Naerys, Aegon IV had an unhappy marriage that led to him fathering several bastards. The problem was that he legitimized all of his bastards right before he died due to obesity. His legitimized children, of course, led the Blackfyre Rebellions that gave the entire kingdom a lot of trouble, all because Aegon IV decided to legitimize the bastards that he bore from his affairs.
16. Aegon II
Aegon II was the surviving king during the Dance of the Dragons as he executed his half-sister, Rhaenyra Targaryen, who was supposed to be the legitimate heir to the Iron Throne. That is why he was the one who ultimately survived King Viserys I as the new king of the Seven Kingdoms, but his reign was never truly recognized by the lords of the Seven Kingdoms. It was only by usurping the Iron Throne that Aegon II even became king.
His usurpation was what led to the Targaryen civil war between him and Rhaenyra, who had the support of a lot of the different houses of Westeros. While Aegon II was the one who ultimately became the next king, there were still a lot of lords that rebelled against his rule. He died after a two-year reign due to poisoning. Whoever poisoned his wine was never found, but the consensus was that Aegon II was an unworthy, impatient, and cruel king that never deserved to sit on the Iron Throne.
15. Aerys I
Even though Aerys I was able to ascend to the throne after King Daeron’s death, he was largely seen as an unimportant king because he never had any particular interest in the Iron Throne. He was probably the only king that never saw the appeal of that chair because he was more interested in prophecies and magic. As such, he left most of his duties to his Hand, the Blackraven.
Aerys I did have a wife in the form of Aelinor Penrose. However, they never had any children together because the rumors say that they never consummated their marriage. It was a largely unforgettable reign on the part of Aerys I as he never did anything of importance. But the good thing was that he never did anything bad as well because he never showed any interest in his position as king.
14. Maekar I
Maekar I, like Aerys I, was a largely forgettable king as well, considering that he succeeded the most forgettable king in the history of the Seven Kingdoms. But the good thing was that Maekar I actually cared about his job as the Lord of the Seven Kingdoms because he didn’t show the same kind of disinterest that his predecessor did.
After ascending to the Iron Throne in 221 AC, Maekar I fought in two Blackfyre rebellions. In fact, he fought in a lot of different rebellions as he cared about his place as king. It was during a rebellion by one of the lords of Dorne that ultimately killed him as he enjoyed a 12-year reign that was full of rebellions.
13. Viserys II
History often forgets that Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Prince Daemon Targaryen had a second son in the form of Viserys II, who they named after King Viserys I. However, many thought that he died during the events of the Dance of the Dragons. It was several years later that he returned to King’s Landing with his wife after they spent some time in the Free City of Lys.
Even though Viserys II only reigned for a single year, the Seven Kingdoms enjoyed progress. He was the one who continued to work on the code of laws that Jaehaerys I first worked on many decades ago. Viserys II, due to his knowledge of the Free Cities, was able to establish new trade routes as well.
12. Daeron I
Daeron I, known as the Young Dragon, was the most ambitious king of the Seven Kingdoms because he wanted to etch his name in the history books quite early. At the age of 14, he almost immediately launched an invasion on Dorne because he wanted to continue the “failed” quest of Aegon the Conqueror to unite the Seven Kingdoms under one banner.
Initially, Daeron I succeeded in conquering Dorne, but there were still various Dornish rebellions that plagued his reign. It was due to a rebellion that he died quite young without ever marrying or fathering any children. He was quite ambitious, but it was all due to his teenage bravado and over-confidence.
11. Aegon III
Aegon III was the first-born son of Princess Rhaenyra and Prince Daemon. Initially, his uncle King Aegon II wanted to execute him, but his life was spared by Lord Corlys Velaryon, who swore loyalty to the king so that Aegon III may live. However, the younger Aegon suffered many traumatic experiences during the Dance of the Dragons because he saw his brothers dying during this event. On top of that, he was forced to watch Sunfyre devouring his mother in front of his own eyes.
In that regard, Aegon III had no love for dragons as he ascended to the throne after Aegon II’s death. It was during his reign that the Last Dragon died, as he is largely known as the Dragonsbane, due to the fact that the surviving dragons from the Dance of the Dragons could not thrive during his time as king. His reign ended when he died from consumption in 157 AC.
10. Maegor I
Maegor I was the only child of Aegon the Conqueror and his second wife, Visenya. He shouldn’t have been king because it was Aegon, Aenys’s first son, that should have been the one to ascend to the Iron Throne. But because of Visenya’s help, Maegor I was able to snatch the Iron Throne from his nephew, as he basically usurped it with his own hands and even claimed Balerion the Dread as his dragon mount because he never saw any other dragon worthy enough to be his mount.
King Maegor I’s rule was defined by the fact that he usurped the Iron Throne, and he was known to be one of the cruelest Targaryen kings of all time because he often responded to complaints and uprisings with death and destruction. That is why he was named Maegor the Cruel, as he was indeed one of the worst kings of all time in terms of how cruel he was.
But while he wasn’t the best king, he was an important part of the history of the Seven Kingdoms because it was his actions that eventually led to the rise of the man widely regarded as the greatest king in history. With the support of most of the other houses in the realm, Jaehaerys was able to claim the Iron Throne by rebelling against Maegor, who was found impaled and dead on the Iron Throne. No one knew what led to Maegor’s death, as the consensus was that he took his own life.
9. Aenys I
King Aenys I had huge shoes to fill because he was the son of King Aegon the Conqueror. Considering that he was the successor of the most widely known king in the history of the Seven Kingdoms, he needed to continue the greatness that started with his father. He was 30 when he ascended to the Iron Throne, and he was able to father three sons and three daughters during his time.
However, he died at the age of 35, as many believed that it was Visenya who poisoned him so that she could find a way to put Maegor I on the Iron Throne. Despite his short five-year reign, Aenys I is an important figure in the history of the Seven Kingdoms because 15 out of the next 16 kings came directly from his line.
8. Aegon V
Aegon V was the fifth Aegon to ascend to the Iron Throne but was unlikely to become a king because he was the fourth son of Maekar and Dyanna. It was because his siblings either died or refused the throne that he became king. That was why he was called Aegon the Unlikely, as he didn’t seem to be the one to ascend to the Iron Throne. And it was a good thing that he was the one to ascend to the Iron Throne because he was largely considered a good king.
Unlike his ancestors, Aegon V believed that brothers should not be forced to wed their sisters, and that was the reason why he married Betha Blackwood and had five children with her. The first of his children was named Duncan, who was named after Ser Duncan the Tall, who he had a lot of adventures with in George RR Martin’s Tales of Dunk and Egg. Of course, he is the one named Egg in the story because, prior to ascending to the Iron Throne, he was nicknamed “Egg.”
However, Aegon V still had his shortcomings because he wanted to revive the dragons more than a hundred years after they went extinct. He died when a catastrophic fire broke out while he was trying to bring back the dragons by hatching some dragon eggs. This led to the tragedy of Summerhall, as everyone inside the castle died due to this event.
7. Viserys I
Those who have been keeping up with House of the Dragon would be familiar with Viserys I, who was the first Targaryen king to ascend to the Iron Throne after being elected by the lords and ladies of the Seven Kingdoms. He is the son of Jaehaerys’s second son, Baelon, and was the one who was chosen to become king over Rhaenys, who was the daughter of Jaehaerys’s first son. And it was the fact that he was a man that made the lords and ladies of the Seven Kingdoms believe that he was more worthy of the Iron Throne.
During the early part of his reign, Viserys struggled to bear a male heir, and this was what led him to name Princess Rhaenyra as his heir. Of course, he remarried after his first wife died, as Alicent Hightower bore him two sons. It was the birth of Aegon II and the machinations of Otto Hightower that eventually led to the Dance of the Dragons.
Viserys I died due to a mysterious disease that steadily killed him for years. It was after his death that Hightower crowned Aegon II as the new Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, all while the rightful heir was in Dragonstone. The fact that Aegon II was named heir was what sparked the Dance of the Dragons, which is the Targaryen civil war that tore the family apart and led to the extinction of the dragons from the world.
6. Daeron II
Daeron II was one of the greatest kings in the history of the Seven Kingdoms and was the one who succeeded the worst king, Aegon IV. One of his greatest achievements was bringing Dorne into the Seven Kingdoms through a political marriage, all while his predecessors all tried to conquer Dorne by force. It was this very fact that Daeron II earned the nickname “the Good,” as no other king was able to peacefully settle the disputes between the Realm and Dorne.
Of course, by marrying Myriah Martell, he was able to bring Dorne into the fold. They had five children together. But his reign wasn’t exactly good because his bastard brothers launched the Blackfyre Rebellions that nearly tore the Seven Kingdoms apart. It was during his reign that Brynden Rivers, known as the Bloodraven, was sent north to become the new Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch and, eventually, the Three-Eyed Raven.
5. Jaehaerys II
Jaehaerys II was born to Aegon and Betha and was able to rule for three years after the death of his father. He also fought in the War of the Ninepenny Kings in the Stepstones and was also known for ruling during the time of the last Blackfyre rebel’s death. It was a brief three-year reign for him, but he was the one who bore Aerys II and Rhaella, as he forced his children to marry one another because he believed that the Prince that was Promised was going to come from their line.
Despite his short reign, Jaehaerys II was a successful king that fought in a major war and ended a rebellion. It was also during his reign that many of the different Great Houses throughout Westeros were able to reconcile with one another. Had he lived longer, he might have had a great rule.
4. Baelor I
Baelor I was unlike all of his other predecessors because of the fact that his rule was too focused on his religion. It was during his time that the Seven Kingdoms became more religious, and the faithful became more powerful as his pious nature as a septon. He spent a good part of his rule transforming King’s Landing from an unruly place into a holy city, and that’s why the Sept of Baelor was constructed during his time.
As a show of his pious nature, he pardoned his brother’s killers and even returned the Dornish hostages that had a hand in Daeron’s death while promising to unite the Targaryens with the Martells with a political marriage. He himself was also married to Daena, but he dissolved his marriage because of his religious nature. Baelor died during the 41st day of one of his fasts, as many believed he was poisoned by his uncle, Viserys II, so that he could prevent him from converting everyone in the Seven Kingdoms to the Faith of the Seven and angering those who were loyal to the Old Gods.
3. Jaehaerys I
Jaehaerys I was the king that succeeded Maegor the Cruel after he rebelled against him. Called the Old King, Jaehaerys was the longest-reigning Targaryen king in history because he enjoyed a rule that lasted 55 years because of how peaceful the Seven Kingdoms were during his time as the ruler. That is why he is also often called the Wise and the Conciliator, as he found ways to reconcile many different feuds using his wisdom. The fact that he ruled for a very long time was proof of how good of a king he was, as no one attempted to assassinate him.
While Jaehaerys I had a very successful rule as king, he did have his own share of misfortune because both of his sons died during his reign. As such, an election between Viserys I and Rhaenys had to be conducted to see who would become his heir. Of course, we all know that Viserys became king and Rhaenys became the Queen That Never Was. Regardless of what may have happened, the fact is that Jaehaerys was largely considered the greatest king in terms of how good and peaceful his reign was.
2. Aerys II
Aerys II was known as the Mad King because he was simply one of the cruelest and craziest kings in the history of the Seven Kingdoms. In fact, he steadily descended into madness after the birth of his first son, Rhaegar, as he blamed the miscarriages of his children on his own wife, who he never loved. There were even instances when he was beating and raping his wife whenever he was angry and drunk.
Of course, Aerys II was also known for burning alive anyone who dared to question his decisions. It was his madness, as well as the fact that Rhaegar “kidnapped” Lyanna Stark, that drove Robert Baratheon and the many Great Houses to rebel. As such, it was during his time that the great dynasty of the Targaryens fell and opened the floodgates to a better Westeros after the events of A Song of Ice & Fire. But it was also Aerys II that bore Daenerys, who is often regarded as the Prince that was Promised.
Was the Mad King a good king? Of course not! But was he an important king in the history of the Seven Kingdoms? Absolutely.
1. Aegon the Conqueror
The greatest and most important Targaryen king in the history of the Seven Kingdoms was Aegon the Conqueror, who was the one who conquered Westeros and united the Seven Kingdoms under the Targaryen banner. He did so while riding Balerion the Black Dread, as many houses throughout Westeros bowed down to his rule without even putting up a fight. That was the reason why he conquered much of the continent in only two years, as Dorne was the only state that was able to resist him.
Aegon the Conqueror is the most important because he was the one who had the initiative to unite Westeros due to a dream that he had about a threat from the north. As such, he made sure to pass down the prophecy of the Prince that was Promised because he wanted the world to be ready for the threat that was coming. In that regard, he conquered Westeros not because he craved power but because he knew that only the Targaryens could stand up against this great threat from the north.