The Targaryen dynasty in the Seven Kingdoms was one that was able to last nearly 300 years, as this was a reign that was established to make sure that the realm was united against a common threat that would eventually come from the far north. As such, the Targaryens made sure that they kept their bloodline pure and produced as many heirs as possible so that the family would stay intact in time for the coming of the Night King.
Of course, it took nearly 300 years since the Targaryen reign was established for the Night King finally come. During that time, the Targaryens were no longer on the Iron Throne but were still able to defeat the threat from the north. Nevertheless, before that happened, House Targaryen was able to keep an iron grip on the Iron Throne for nearly three centuries, until the time of Game of Thrones when it was already Robert Baratheon ruling the Seven Kingdoms. That said, let’s look at all of the different Targaryen kings and queens that were able to sit on the Iron Throne.
Aegon the Conqueror
Aegon the Conqueror began his conquest of Westeros more than a hundred years since House Targaryen relocated to Dragonstone to survive the Doom of Valyria. It was said in House of the Dragon that Aegon had a dream regarding the threat that was going to come from the north, and that was the reason why he conquered the entire continent, as he believed that the Prince that was Promised that was going to unite the Seven Kingdoms against this threat was going to be a Targaryen from his line.
In that regard, Aegon started his war against the different kings and lords of the Seven Kingdoms until he was able to conquer all of Westeros except for Dorne in only two years. That’s because he was able to threaten these kings with the strength of three full-grown dragons. Chief of them all was Balerion the Black Dread, who was the biggest and strongest dragon in history. Aegon was able to rule the Seven Kingdoms in relative peace, as the only true resistance he encountered were the Dornish.
And after he constructed King’s Landing and turned it into the Seven Kingdoms’ seat of power, he began a Targaryen reign that basically reset the entire timeline and allowed history to start counting the years from his conquest. That’s why, ever since his rule, the history books in Westeros began referring to the years with the “AC” label, as it means “after conquest.”
After Aegon died 37 years after his conquest, Aenys I ascended to the Iron Throne. Aenys was Aegon’s eldest son to his sister wife, Rhaenys. He chose Aenys over Maegor, who was his eldest son to his other sister wife, Visenya. However, Maegor actually quelled the rebellions during the early part of his brother’s rule.
But the biggest problem that Aenys faced during his rule was the rebellion of the Faith of the Seven when the religious people revolted when Maegor had a polygamous marriage and when Aenys married his son with his daughter. The revolts forced them to flee for Dragonstone. In 42 AC, Aenys died due to illness.
Maegor the Cruel
After Aenys’s death, Maegor returned from his exile so that he may claim the Iron Throne over Prince Aegon, who was his brother’s eldest son. That’s because Aegon was still on Dragonstone due to the problems that the Targaryens had with the Faith of the Seven. In that regard, Maegor saw this as an opportunity for him to grab the Iron Throne by force, as he became “the pretender” due to the fact that he basically usurped the throne from his nephew.
Maegor even claimed Balerion the Black Dread as his own dragon, as he was able to use the strongest dragon in the world to kill Aegon and his dragon, Maegor, in 43 AC. While Maegor was often seen as a cruel leader, he was the one who was able to put the Faith in its place because he fought them harshly and was able to show them that not even they were more powerful than the Targaryens. He was also the one who completed the construction of the Red Keep in 45 AC, as he had all of the workers killed to make sure that none of them would be able to tell people the secrets of the castle.
Another mark of Maegor’s cruelty could be seen in the fact that he tortured Viserys, the second-born son of Aenys, to reveal the location of Aenys’s wife and Jaehaerys. This led to Viserys’s death, as many supporters eventually flocked to Jaehaerys’s side due to the cruelty of the king they called Maegor the Cruel. Jaehaerys rebelled but was not the direct cause of his uncle’s death, as Maegor was found dead on the Iron Throne. No one knows how Maegor died.
Jaehaerys I and Viserys I – The Time of Peace
After the death of his cruel uncle, King Jaehaerys ascended to the Iron Throne, as he was finally able to rule during an era of peace. There were no major wars fought during his time, even though there were still smaller battles that were being fought. Nevertheless, there were no major wars, rebellions, or revolts. That’s because Jaehaerys was a good king that was reasonable enough to reconcile different lords and parties, and this earned him the nickname “The Reconciler.”
But the problem that Jaehaerys faced during his reign was that all of his sons had died. His first son died three days after being born. Meanwhile, Aemon, his second son, died before he could ever become king. The title of successor went to Baelon, who also died before he became king.
As such, there was a problem regarding the succession, as Rhaenys, the only child of Aemon, had a claim to the throne as well as she believed that Jaehaerys passed over her and her line. On the other hand, Viserys, the eldest son of Baelon, was the oldest male Targaryen.
A Great Council of lords was called to Harrenhal to discuss this issue. As seen in the events of House of the Dragon, it was Viserys who was chosen to become the heir to Jaehaerys’s throne. The Old King died in 103 AC, as he was able to reign for 55 years and became the longest-reigning king in the history of the Seven Kingdoms.
King Viserys I ascended to the Iron Throne after his grandfather’s death. His time was also a peaceful one as there were no major wars fought, except for the War for the Stepstones, which included his brother, Daemon Targaryen.
But while the Seven Kingdoms were peaceful during Viserys’s reign, House Targaryen was not. That’s because he named his daughter, Princess Rhaenyra, as his heir because he struggled to bear sons. He was finally able to have sons when he married Alicent Hightower after the death of his first wife, Aemma Arryn.
As such, during Viserys’s reign, Rhaenyra and Alicent were often at odds with one another due to the issue of the king’s succession. Still, Viserys never unnamed Rhaenyra as his heir until his death. And it was his death that caused the Targaryen civil war called the Dance of the Dragons.
Aegon II vs. Rhaenyra – The Dance of Dragons
King Viserys I died on 129 AC, but Rhaenyra was on Dragonstone at that time. Alicent kept the king’s death a secret while she was plotting to find a way to install her son, Aegon, on the Iron Throne. As such, Aegon II was crowned the new king of the Seven Kingdoms, as Rhaenyra found out about this and went into labor early due to her rage. She gave birth to a stillborn daughter but didn’t waste any time proclaiming herself the queen of the Seven Kingdoms.
The Targaryen civil war broke out, as this was the war that basically forced the dragons to go extinct because of how plenty of dragons were lost during this war. But Rhaenyra was the first to land the first heavy war using her dragons and her larger army, as she was able to take King’s Landing from King Aegon II while Prince Aemond and the other forces were away to take Harrenhal from Prince Daemon.
Rhaenyra sat on the Iron Throne as queen for six months but had to flee the capital when the rioting started. She grew paranoid during her reign as queen because of the many different experiences she went through and the people she lost along the way. After Rhaenyra fled the capital, Aegon II captured her in Dragonstone and killed her by feeding her to his dragon, Sunfyre. Rhaenyra was never officially a queen because Aegon II released a decree that said that her reign on King’s Landing was never legitimate.
While King Aegon II no longer had anyone that could contest his claim to his throne as he held Rhaenyra’s son Aegon the Younger hostage, the Black armies that were loyal to the rightful heir still marched on King’s Landing. Believing that there was no longer any hope of winning, Corlys Velaryon conspired with a few other people to poison the king and end his reign in only two years.
Aegon III was the only living male Targaryen after the Dance of the Dragons. As such, the different lords of the Seven Kingdoms agreed to name him the new king, as he was married to Jaehaera, who was Aegon II’s only remaining child. As such, the two claims to the throne were united. During this period, Lord Cregan Stark was the Hand of the King that used the hand of justice to punish those who were responsible for the death of Aegon II.
A regency period was placed during the reign of Aegon III because he was still too young to truly reign as king. Aegon III eventually became the king in an official capacity, as he reigned as an unhappy king due to the many traumas he faced when he was still a child. Called the Dragons Bane, it was during his time that all of the remaining dragons in the world died out as he had no love for them. The only time he was truly happy during his reign was when he found out that his younger brother, Viserys, was still alive.
Aegon III died in 157 AC and was succeeded by Daeron, who was called the Young Dragon. King Daeron I felt that Dorne was one of the unfinished conquests of the Targaryen dynasty, and that was why he started a war against them. In fact, his reign was pretty short because it was full of wars against the Dornishmen of the south. He died when he was slain by a Dornishman four years after his reign began, and he left no heirs.
Because Daeron I didn’t leave any heirs, he was succeeded by his younger brother, who became King Baelor I. Called Baelor the Blessed, it was during his time that King’s Landing became holier as he was also a septon that was devout to the Faith of the Seven. In fact, he spent more of his time devoted to his duties as a septon instead of focusing on his job as a king.
It was Baelor who had the Sept of Baelor constructed, as this became one of the holiest grounds of King’s Landing many years after his death. Baelor died in 171 AC during a forty-day fast. However, it was believed that he was poisoned because some of the people in his Small Council were afraid that a war would break out because he would force the entire realm to convert to the Faith of the Seven. The Northerners wouldn’t have agreed to that because of their devotion to the old gods.
Baelor I didn’t have any male sons when he died because of his devotion to his religion. As such, Aegon III’s line ended with the death of Baelor. They tried to push one of the three sisters of Baelor to succeed him, but the people were still afraid of putting a woman on the Iron Throne due to how fresh the memory of the Dance of the Dragons was.
As such, the only living Targaryen male became the new king. Viserys II ascended to the Iron Throne and was able to make his mother proud by becoming king, even though Rhaenyra never became queen in an official capacity. It was through Viserys II that the line of Targaryens until Daenerys and Jon Snow was formed. Viserys died a year after he sat on the Iron Throne, as it was believed that his son, Aegon IV, poisoned him.
Despite his short reign, Viserys II was basically the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms ever since Daeron’s time because he was the Hand of the King for both of Aegon II’s sons. As such, by the time he became the king, he already knew how to reign. That made it easier for him to implement several reforms to the Seven Kingdoms.
Aegon IV was the one who succeeded Viserys II, but he was called “The Unworthy” for a good reason, as he truly was not a king that history loved. The fact is that he is often called the worst king in the history of the Seven Kingdoms, even though there were kings that were pretty bad as well (Maegor and Aerys II).
It was during his time that he fathered several bastard children. His worst move came when, on his deathbed, he legitimized all of his bastard children, which included Daemon Blackfyre. As a result, the Blackfyre rebellions erupted because Daemon believed himself to be the rightful heir to the Iron Throne on account that he was legitimized by his father.
Daeron II and the Blackfyre Rebellion
Aegon IV, despite how bad of a king he was, left an heir in the form of King Daeron II, who was one of the most peaceful kings ever. He was the king that brought Dorne into the realm in the most peaceful way possible as he married his younger sister to one of the Martells of Dorne. But the fact that Daemon Blackfyre wielded Blackfyre, which was given to him by Aegon IV, made him think that he was supposed to be the king, as Blackfyre was often regarded as the “sword of kings” due to its status as Aegon the Conqueror’s sword.
Due to that and the growing influence of Dorne on the Seven Kingdoms, Daemon Blackfyre rebelled against the realm by announcing his claim to the Iron Thorne in 196 AC. However, he died shortly after announcing his claim. Still, Daemon Blackfyre left children that fled to Essos. His children started new rebellions in the reigns of the kings that followed Daeron II.
Aerys I succeeded his father, Daeron II, as the new king of the Seven Kingdoms in 209 AC. His reign was marked by several more rebellions from the Blackfyres. He was largely an unimportant king due to the fact that he didn’t have any interest in the throne as he was more interested in prophecies and magic during his time. That’s why he left most of his duties to the man called the Blackraven, who eventually became the Three-Eyed Raven.
King Maekar I was the fourth son of King Daeron II and was able to become king because Aerys never had any children due to how he was never interested in ruling the Seven Kingdoms or even in furthering the Targaryen bloodline. In that regard, Maekar was the one who succeeded him.
Maekar didn’t have a lot of important reforms during his time, but he was able to quell the Blackfyre rebellions. Still, a Dornish rebellion eventually killed him, as he died in battle on 233 AC. His reign was mostly marked by different rebellions that he fought in.
Aegon V is also nicknamed “Egg” and is one of the characters in the Tales of Dunk and Egg stories that George RR Martin wrote. In the stories, he was the squire of Ser Duncan the Tall, as Egg had to become a knight to earn his place because he was unlikely to become the king.
Called Aegon the Unlikely, Egg ascended to the Iron Throne because all of the other heirs had either died or had refused the throne. As such, he became the king of the Seven Kingdoms even though he was far from being the first in line to succeed Maekar I. Aegon V had a great reign but died in Summerhall when he tried to bring back the dragons by using fire to hatch some dragon eggs. Everyone in the castle died due to that catastrophic event.
Jaehaerys II was born to Aegon V and Betha and only ruled for three years. He was a king that fought in the War of the Ninepenny Kings in the Stepstones and was known for ending the final Blackfyre rebellion.
He didn’t have a lot of notable deeds, but he was the one who forced his son, Aerys, to marry his daughter, Rhaella, out of the belief that the Prince that was Promised was going to come from their line. And the most notable deed that he had was the fact that he was able to reconcile a lot of the different Great Houses during his reign, and that’s why most of the houses of the Seven Kingdoms were friends during the reign of the Mad King.
The Mad King Aerys II
Officially, the final Targaryen ruler to sit on the Iron Throne was Aerys II, who was called the Mad King because of how crazy and cruel he was. It was often said that his madness was due to the fact that he struggled to produce more heirs after Rhaegar, who was his first son. As such, he often abused his wife during his time as king and was known to burn people who didn’t agree with his methods.
When Rhaegar secretly eloped with Lyanna Stark, Robert Baratheon gathered a lot of different houses to rebel against the Mad King. Of course, a lot of the other houses had their own reasons for rebelling, but it was mostly a rebellion built on one man’s jealousy. Rhaegar died during the rebellion, as all of Aerys II’s other children fled the Seven Kingdoms when it was clear that the Mad King was losing the war.
Finally, when Aerys commanded Kingsguard knight Jaime Lannister to kill his own father, Tywin Lannister, who had betrayed the Mad King, the swordsman killed him and became the Kingslayer for his action. The death of the Mad King allowed Robert Baratheon to rise to the Iron Throne while ending the Targaryen dynasty.
However, the Mad King’s bloodline lived in the form of his youngest daughter, Daenerys Targaryen, and his secret grandson, Jon Snow. Neither Daenerys nor Jon ever became the queen or the king, as Aerys II was indeed the final Targaryen king to sit on the Iron Throne.