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When they write the history of my reign, sweet sister, they will say it began today.
~ Viserys talking to his sister about when he reclaims the Iron Throne.

Viserys Targaryen, also called the "Beggar King", is a major antagonist in the A Song of Ice and Fire novels and its TV adaptation Game of Thrones. He is the son of the "Mad King" Aerys II Targaryen and Queen Rhaella Targaryen, younger brother of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen and the older brother of Daenerys Targaryen. He is also Aerys' heir after his brother Rhaegar is killed during Robert's Rebellion. The war, however, turned him into an exile who plots to regain control of the Iron Throne. He styles himself as Viserys Targaryen, the Third of His Name, King of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm.

In the television series, Viserys appears as a major antagonist in Season 1 and a posthumous antagonist for the rest of the series. In the novels, he can be regarded as the main antagonist of Daenerys' POV point in the first novel.

He was portrayed by Harry Lloyd, who also portrayed Viktor in Arcane, Son of Mine of the Family of Blood in the Doctor Who episodes "Human Nature" and "The Family of Blood".


Early life

Viserys was born in 276 AC in King's Landing. A tourney in honor of his birth was hosted at Lannisport by Tywin Lannister, but only Aerys and Rhaegar attended at the tourney, leaving Queen Rhaella and Viserys in the safety of the capital.

In the year 280 AC Prince Viserys was refused by his paranoid father to attend the wedding of Rhaegar and Princess Elia Martell, at the Great Sept of Baelor.

Viserys was a young boy at the time of Robert's Rebellion. When his brother Rhaegar was defeated on the Trident, King Aerys disinherited Prince Aegon, Rhaegar and Elia's baby son, and Viserys was declared King and Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, also recorded in official legal documents. Viserys and his pregnant mother, Rhaella, were evacuated to Dragonstone, where they remained for nine months.

Nine months after the deaths of King Aerys, Rhaenys and Aegon (Viserys' nephew and niece), Queen Rhaella died giving birth to Daenerys Targaryen, during a fierce storm that destroyed the royal fleet anchored at Dragonstone. Meanwhile Lord Stannis Baratheon, King Robert's younger brother, took it as an opportunity to attack the island and deal with Viserys and Daenerys, but the Targaryen children were smuggled to Braavos by the loyalist Ser Willem Darry before he had sailed. There they lived under Ser Willem's protection until his death.

Ser Willem's servants later evicted the last Targaryens, forcing them to wander the Free Cities as guests of powerful citizens. Their welcome eventually faded, and they were forced to sell off their possessions to survive, even Rhaella's crown. When Viserys sold his mother's crown the last joy left in his heart was gone from him, leaving only rage and bitterness. Men started calling him The Beggar King. While his relationship with his sister was initially warm, Viserys grew to resent Daenerys for killing their mother during her birth, and began treating her poorly. He would hurt her when she disobeyed him, and frequently warn her not to "wake the dragon" and incite his anger.

Viserys is an ambitious man but also impatient, delusional and blind to reality. He sees himself as the rightful King, due instant respect and admiration, and takes anything less as an insult. He refuses to accept the reality of House Targaryen's situation when Robert Baratheon took the Iron Throne. Viserys believes that among the houses that would rise for him upon his landing would be the Tyrells, Redwynes, Darrys, Greyjoys, and Martells.

While there is no question that Viserys is blind to the desperate reality of his situation, the Darrys were still displaying Targaryen tapestries fifteen years after Robert's Rebellion, and even a peasant spoke of better days in the past under King Aerys, during the march of captives to Harrenhal. Also unbeknownst to him, the Dornish princess Arianne Martell was betrothed to him, meaning that Dorne would have risen for him, had he managed an invasion.

Game of Thrones

In Pentos, Viserys meets Illyrio Mopatis, who takes an interest in returning Viserys to the Iron Throne in return for rewards upon his ascension. Illyrio and Viserys arrange a marriage between Daenerys and Khal Drogo, a powerful Dothraki horselord who promises Viserys 10,000 men to conquer the Seven Kingdoms. Viserys, while willing to wed Daenerys to Drogo, is also resentful of having to give her up, and the night before the wedding tries to enter her room and at least claim her virginity. Illyrio, however, had the foresight to post guards on her room so this would not happen and ensure the impetuous Viserys didn't undo years of planning on Illyrio's part.

Viserys insists on traveling with Drogo to ensure the Khal honors the agreement. Illyrio tries to stop him by offering Viserys the use of his manse, but Viserys declines. Viserys believes that Drogo is delaying fulfilment of his promise and Viserys grows increasingly insistent on making a start to the invasion. Viserys believes he sold Dany to Drogo and that the Khal has not paid him for her. As Ser Jorah Mormont explains, the Dothraki do not buy or sell, but rather receive gifts and give gifts back eventually in return. He refuses to listen to Illyrio and Ser Jorah, who tell him repeatedly that the Khal sees Daenerys as a gift, and would give Viserys a gift (an army) in return, but only in the Khal's own time. Viserys is too foolish and impatient to listen.

He tries to browbeat Daenerys into persuading Drogo, but with her new position of authority as khaleesi she begins standing up for herself. After he tries to hit Daenerys, she has his horse taken away, forcing Viserys to walk. This is taboo amongst Dothraki as a man who is not on horseback is no man at all, and earns him the mocking nickname Khal Rhae Mhar, "The Sorefoot King". Khal Drogo later offers him a place in a cart and Viserys accepts, in his ignorance believing it the Khal's way of apologizing to him for the wrong Dany did to him; unknown to Viserys, this is a greater insult then walking on foot, as carts are for cripples, eunuchs, the very old or very young, earning Viserys the new nickname Khal Rhaggat, "The Cart King". At Vaes Dothrak, Viserys gets drunk and again insists that Drogo give him his crown, only for Drogo to tell him that he is no king. Viserys draws a sword — banned in the sacred city of Vaes Dothrak as it is forbidden to shed a free man's blood there — and threatens Daenerys's unborn child. In response, Drogo announces that he is giving Viserys his crown. Belieiving himself victorious, Viserys is horrified when he is instead seized by Drogo's men and he melts down his belt of golden medallions and, after pleading for an indifferent Daenerys to have his life spared, upends the pot over Viserys's head, fatally "crowning" him, though not one drop of blood is split in doing so. Daenerys than says that Viserys was no dragon, because fire can't kill a dragon.

She later names one of her dragons Viserion after him, though only for keeping her alive for years.


Viserys has the silver-blonde hair and purple eyes (blue in the TV series) common in House Targaryen. His face was hard and gaunt, a result of years of bitterness, hardship and rage.  


Viserys was ambitious, arrogant, dimwitted, and impatient. He believed strongly in the superiority of House Targaryen, and that they were beyond ordinary men. He was cruel and quick to anger. In his youth, Daenerys remembered him as kind and compassionate, but as he grew older, his instances of compassion and tenderness grew few. According to Daenerys, Viserys was a kind boy in their youth, but years of crushing disappointment, constant persecution and hard living turned him bitter, angry, cruel and delusional. Viserys's vicious personality is considered part of the "Targaryen madness", which is said to be part of the long generations of incest in House Targaryen in order to "keep the bloodlines pure", being the last dragon-taming Valyrians left in the world.



  • Viserys is one of the few A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones villains who many fans hate yet at the same time, people feel sympathy for him. This is due to the fact that his entire childhood of having to live as a beggar and the treatment he suffered is what shaped him into the person he is. Even Daenerys herself states that Viserys was once a kind person, but his childhood shaped him to become a bitter and horrid person. This is in contrast to Joffrey, who is more universally hated, because while Viserys was once kind-hearted to his sister, but became evil due to having to live as a beggar and his rough childhood, Joffrey's evil was the result of him being spoiled and pampered as a prince and was never kind-hearted to anyone, due to him being a psychopath and a spoiled brat. In fact, Joffrey arguably represents the monster Viserys would have become had he actually lived as a prince.
    • Surprisingly, many fans believe that had Viserys succeeded in taking the Iron Throne, he would have become a better person and would have been a better king than Joffrey, who, in contrast, became worse when he took the throne. 

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