It seemed like we saw the last of King Viserys Targaryen in episode 8 of House of the Dragon, as his final scene was one wherein he finally passed away in relative peace. In that regard, we could only talk about his legacy at this point as we are about to enter the Dance of the Dragons, which is the civil war that erupted due to different parties battling for the Iron Throne. Viserys might have contributed to this impending Targaryen civil war to some extent. But was Viserys actually a good king?
Viserys Targaryen was a good king, especially when compared to the other monarchs we’ve seen in Game of Thrones. He was not a perfect king, but he was able to enjoy a reign that was peaceful and had little to no economic issues or political infighting about the different lords of the Seven Kingdoms.
It might be true that Viserys had his own faults and mistakes, and that’s why the kingdom is about to enter a civil war. But those were things that were almost well beyond his control as a king. He did have his weaknesses, especially when it came to his inability to confront his wife and his daughter. Nevertheless, he was a good king, and that is what we are here to look at.
Was Viserys A Good King?
The adaptations of George RR Martin’s works into House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones have no shortage of kings and queens that ruled the Seven Kingdoms. Of course, Game of Thrones had a lot of kings and queens during the lifetime of the series. However, season 1 of House of the Dragon only allowed us to see one king’s rule (not counting Jaehaerys in the prologue) in the first eight episodes. And that king is Viserys Targaryen.
We already knew that King Viserys was never going to live to become an old man because he was already suffering from a mysterious disease that ate him from the inside and allowed him to rot away slowly but steadily. In that regard, the time was ticking for this king as the different time skips allowed us to see the fact that his illness was never kind to him at all. Nevertheless, he still tried to rule the Seven Kingdoms to the best of his abilities.
In episode 8, we finally saw that he was no longer the one ruling as he had left the duties to his Hand and to the queen consort. But he was able to act as king in the final moments of his life when he ruled in favor of Lucerys Velaryon as the heir to Driftmark. And he had one final dinner with his family because this was the last time that House Targaryen was under one roof before he kicked the bucket in the very last scene of episode 8.
King Viserys Targaryen is now dead, and we are now entering the initial moments of the Dance of the Dragons or the Targaryen civil war that will erupt due to two different parties battling for the right to sit on the Iron Throne. He did have his mistakes, for sure. But was Viserys actually a good king?
Viserys was by no means a perfect king because he did have a lot of weaknesses during his rule. He was not the most aggressive king, as he valued keeping the realm’s peace over confronting the enemies of the Seven Kingdoms. On top of that, he was also obsessed with producing a male heir so he chose to allow his first wife to die. He himself was the first to admit that his obsession with Aegon’s dream was what killed Queen Aemma. Viserys also seemingly chose his feelings over what was good for the realm when he opted to marry Alicent Hightower instead of Laena Velaryon.
However, King Viserys was a good king in the sense that he tried to rule the Seven Kingdoms to the best of his abilities. His rule had little to no personal interests because he never clung to the throne as much as the other kings of the Seven Kingdoms did. In that regard, he was a good king and a good man despite the fact that he was never the perfect ruler.
Why Was Viserys A Good King?
There are a lot of reasons why Viserys was not a perfect king, but there are also several reasons why he was a good king. And we are going to go over them one by one.
King Viserys Targaryen enjoyed a peaceful reign as he continued the time of peace that began when his grandfather, King Jaehaerys, ruled the Seven Kingdoms for more than five decades. Aside from the War for the Stepstones, which primarily involved the Velaryons and had little to nothing to do with the rest of the Seven Kingdoms, Viserys’s reign was peaceful and had no major wars.
Of course, he was always the type of king that didn’t like any conflicts. That can sometimes be a weakness, but he made sure that the realm was as peaceful during his time as it was in his grandfather’s reign.
Viserys focused a lot on the importance of keeping his family together because he hardly took any sides during the different conflicts that involved Rhaenyra’s side and Alicent’s side. Sure, he was a bit partial towards Rhaenyra in a lot of cases, but he never punished Alicent or tried to make her and her sons feel that he didn’t care about their well-being. Viserys even tried his best to make his sons get along with his grandsons so that Rhaenyra could rule peacefully during her time.
Kept The Realm Intact
During Viserys’s reign, the different lords of the Seven Kingdoms didn’t fight amongst one another, as this was a common occurrence in the different reigns of the other kings in the history of Westeros. There were no political rivalries that escalated to wars and battles among the different lords. As such, he was able to keep the realm intact during his reign, even though some of the houses didn’t necessarily get along with one another.
Viserys Compared With The Other Game Of Thrones Kings And Queens
Of course, the one thing that we can say about Viserys and his rule was that he was actually a lot better when compared to the other kings and queens that we’ve seen in Game of Thrones, which wasn’t short on rulers.
Compared to Robert Baratheon, Viserys Targaryen was far better because he was actually active in ruling his kingdom and never had any problems with his drinking and whoring. He never left his kingdom to his Hand, except during the time when his illness had already gotten the better of him.
Of course, all of the kings we’ve seen were better than Joffrey Baratheon, who focused more on punishing his opponents rather than actually ruling the Seven Kingdoms. Most of Joffrey’s decisions were made out of pure malice, as he never even thought about what was good for the realm. In that regard, there is no doubt that Viserys is far better compared to Joffrey.
Tommen Baratheon was a lot nicer than his older brother and was quite mild-mannered. However, he was too nice and mild-mannered to be a king because he let other people make his decisions for him. He gave Queen Margaery too much power during his rule and was too weak to do anything about the Faith Militant. In that regard, although he tried his best to be a good king, he didn’t have the backbone that Viserys had.
Queen Cersei was a tyrant that focused more on trying to keep her power as queen instead of actually ruling the Seven Kingdoms. Even when she already knew that she couldn’t win against Daenerys, she still tried to hold on to her power as much as she could because she didn’t care about anything else in her life. As such, Viserys was a much better king because he actually didn’t care about holding on to his power.
Finally, there is Brandon Stark, who became king after Cersei and Daenerys died in the burning of King’s Landing. We don’t know much about Bran’s reign because the series ended during the early part of his rule. But we do know that Bran left the kingdom in the hands of capable men in his Small Council as he spent his days watching over the Seven Kingdoms using his powers as the Three-Eyed Raven. In that regard, he wasn’t as hands-on as King Viserys, but we do know that the Seven Kingdoms were peaceful during the early part of his reign.