Viserys I Targaryen

Viserys I Targaryen

Born in the year 77, Viserys I Targaryen was the grandson of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen and Queen Alysanne, and the eldest son of Prince Baelon Targaryen and his sister-wife, Alyssa.

Designated by the Great Council of 101 as the heir to the throne, he became the fifth king of the Targaryen dynasty in the year 103. He inherited a peaceful, prosperous kingdom, and his reign was a time of peace for Westeros.

However, conflict within his family grew during his reign, setting the stage for what would become the bloody war of succession known as the Dance of the Dragons.

Before he took the throne, he briefly rode the dragon Balerion the Black Terror.

Viserys I Targaryen Personality

From birth, Viserys is characterized by his great appetite and his laughing nature. Although he has little taste for jousting, hunting and swordplay, Viserys is known for his generous and kind character.

He is appreciated by both the nobles and the common people, and is concerned to please everyone. He therefore generally agrees with his advisors, but can be obstinate on certain issues. His lack of taste for conflict prevents him from discerning and resolving the tensions that plague his family throughout his reign.

He was above all a man of peace, who enjoyed balls, feasts, tournaments and singers. He was particularly liberal, distributing gold, offices and titles.

Viserys I Targaryen Physical Appearance

Viserys is a jovial and pleasant-looking man, who wears during his reign the crown of his grandfather, Jaehaerys I Targaryen, a thin gold band set with seven different colored gems.

With age, he became overweight and less vigorous. At the age of forty-three, he was afflicted with gout, joint pain, back pain and a recurring heart murmur. His health deteriorated during the last years of his reign, forcing him to remain bedridden.

Viserys I Targaryen History

Early years

Viserys was born in the year 77. He is the son of Prince Baelon Targaryen and his sister-wife, Princess Alyssa Targaryen, both children of the royal couple, Jaehaerys I Targaryen and Alysanne Targaryen.

Septon Barth describes him as a plump and jovial child, laughing more than any other baby. He also reports that Viserys sucked so hard on his nurse that she soon ran out of milk.

Shortly after his birth, his mother takes him flying on her dragon Meleys. She later recounts that he laughed all the way through the flight. Seven years later, Alyssa dies after giving birth to her second younger brother, Aegon, who does not survive her long.

Viserys and his younger brother Daemon become a source of comfort to their father, Baelon. During his childhood and youth, Viserys was very close to his younger brother, Daemon Targaryen, whose adventurous spirit he appreciated.

In the year 92, after the death of his uncle Aemon Targaryen, his cousin Rhaenys was cut off from the succession by his grandfather, King Jaehaerys I, in favor of his father, Baelon, who thus became the heir apparent to the Seven Crowns.

The following year, Viserys is sixteen and travels to Fossedragon, where he claims the most terrible and impressive dragon of House Targaryen, Balerion.

Now heavy and slow, the old dragon struggles to wake up. They circle King's Landing three times before landing. Viserys later explained to his father that he wanted to fly to Peyredragon, but the dragon seemed unable to fly that far. Less than a year later, Balerion died.

Viserys does not claim another dragon after that. That same year, Viserys married his cousin, Aemma Arryn, only eleven years old. The marriage was not consummated until two years later, after Aemma's first period.

The couple had fertility problems, however, which the ministers explained by the fact that Aemma was not old enough when they first had sex. Aemma had several miscarriages and the only son she managed to give birth to died in the cradle.

Only the princess Rhaenyra, born in the year 97, survives. Although she is not the son they had hoped for, Viserys is delighted with this child, whom he cherishes above all else.

In 101, Viserys' father Baelon dies, making the succession of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen uncertain again. Viserys' brother gathers a troop of mercenaries to defend his brother's claims, raising fears of an imminent war.

Rather than appoint an heir himself, which might be contested, King Jaehaerys I Targaryen convenes a High Council at Harrenhal to decide the matter.

Viserys is one of the two favorites of the High Council, out of eleven candidates who claim the Iron Throne. The other candidate is Laenor Velaryon. Viserys is the grandson of Jaehaerys, but he is from a younger branch, while Laenor is his great-grandson, from an older branch.

Viserys is the last dragonlord of Balerion, but has no dragon left, while Laenor has a dragon, Smoke-of-the-Sea, which he has never flown. In the end, the debate centers on two arguments: Laenor is a seven year old boy and holds his legitimacy from his mother, while Viserys is already twenty-four and holds his legitimacy from his father.

For these reasons, Viserys is preferred by the assembly of the lords of the Seven Crowns: the masters who did the final count of the votes do not give the exact results, but rumor has it that Viserys wins by twenty votes to one.

King Jaehaerys I, who was absent on the day of the final vote, complied, naming Viserys as Prince of Peyredragon and his heir.

Two years later, Jaehaerys died and Viserys succeeded him as King of the Seven Crowns.

"The Young King"

After the long reign of his grandfather Jaehaerys I Targaryen, Viserys takes at the age of twenty-six the head of a kingdom that has now fully accepted the political authority of the Targaryen dynasty over the Seven Crowns.

Jaehaerys I has also left a good memory in the common memory, and the prestige of the house is increased by the large number of dragons ridden by the members of the family.

In addition, Viserys was well liked by the nobles and the population, and was given the nickname "Young King" when he ascended the throne. In honor of his coronation, a tournament is organized in Viergetang, during which a young knight, ser Criston Cole, becomes the favorite of his daughter Rhaenyra.

The beginning of his reign is marked by the organization of numerous tournaments and banquets. He patronizes the singers and embellishes the Red Keep. The day-to-day government of the kingdom is left mainly to his small council, especially to his Hand, ser Otto Hightower.

However, King Viserys I must also channel his younger brother, the fiery Prince Daemon Targaryen, who has a terrible rivalry with his Hand. Although he rejects his requests to dissolve his marriage to Lady Rhea Royce, the King allows him to settle at the court of King's Landing, and makes him his Great Argentier, then his Master of Laws, and finally, the commander of the King's Landing Watch.

As Viserys has no living son, Daemon considers himself his rightful heir, and claims Peyredragon, the ancestral Targaryen fief and the putative heir's prerogative. Despite his love for his brother, Viserys refuses to recognize him as heir or to give him Peyredragon.

In the year 105, Viserys I appoints the young ser Criston Cole to the Kingsguard, who quickly becomes the liege shield of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen at her express request.

That same year, Viserys invited the Lord of Harrenhal, Lord Lyonel Fort, to join his small council as Master of Laws. At the end of the year, his cousin-wife, Aemma Arryn, died while giving birth to the long-awaited son, who was to become Viserys' heir.

However, the child, named Baelon, dies the day after his birth. Viserys and his court mourn, however, rumors of his brother Daemon's taunts in a brothel about the "heir for a day" are brought to his attention, and the king is deeply angry.

Pressed by his entourage, the king chooses to name his daughter Rhaenyra as Princess of Peyredragon and heir to the throne, in defiance of the precedents of succession.

A grand ceremony is held in King's Landing, where Rhaenyra sits at her father's feet on the Iron Throne and hundreds of lords recognize her as the rightful heir and vow to defend her right of succession. Rhaenyra becomes her father's cupbearer and accompanies him everywhere: in tournaments, at his table or in front of his court.

Furious, Daemon resigns from his position as commander of the Watch and moves to Peyredragon with his lover, Mysaria.

Viserys learns after half a year that Daemon's concubine is pregnant and that his brother has placed a dragon's egg in her womb without his permission, a privilege usually reserved for legitimate Targaryens.

Viserys orders him to send Mysaria away, to return the egg and to go back to his legitimate wife, Rhea Royce, under penalty of being accused of treason. Daemon obeys grudgingly, but the death of the child before term further strains the relationship between the king and his brother.

The remarriage of Viserys I

Although his daughter Rhaenyra has been named as heir, many still hope for an heir. Grand Maester Runciter suggests that Viserys remarry his young cousin, Laena Velaryon.

However, Viserys prefers to follow his inclinations rather than give in to the reason of state: he remarries Alicent Hightower, the young daughter of his Hand, Otto Hightower, in the year 106.

This marriage displeases the king's brother, Prince Daemon Targaryen, who risks falling further back in the line of succession, and the Velaryons, who have been pushed aside once again.

Rather than attend the wedding, they meet among themselves, and decide to invade the Stone Degrees, held by Admiral Craghas Drahar on behalf of the Triarchy. A three-year war ensues.

This initiative is initially well received, as it protects the Seven Crowns from the constant attacks in the Strait. The king even sends them gold, and says nothing when his brother takes the title of king of the Straits in the year 109.

During these years, Viserys I organized endless balls, parties and tournaments in King's Landing. In 107, his new wife gave birth to a boy, named Aegon, in honor of Aegon the Conqueror.

Two years later, Helaena was born. Despite these births, Viserys refuses to change the order of succession he established in 105: Rhaenyra remains his heir. Viserys asks her to accompany him to the sessions of the Restricted Council, where she is invited to listen and observe.

This situation generates reluctance and the supporters of Queen Alicent Hightower insist more and more that Viserys reconsiders the question of her succession. Alicent's father, ser Otto Hightower, finally exasperated the king, who dismissed him as Hand and sent him back to Villevieille.

He entrusted the office of Main to Lord Lyonel Fort. Despite Viserys' attempts at conciliation, his wife and daughter no longer got along, and two parties began to form around each of them.

In the year 110, Alicent Hightower gives birth to a second son, Aemond. However, Viserys does not change the order of succession any more than before. The following year, Viserys organizes a tournament in King's Landing in honor of his five-year marriage to Queen Alicent.

An unexpected guest showed up: Viserys' brother Daemon Targaryen, riding his dragon, Caraxes. He gives his crown of king of the Straits to Viserys, as a proof of fidelity and love.

Viserys gives it back to him, raises him up and kisses him as a sign of reconciliation. Prince Daemon is invited to stay in King's Landing and he even rejoins his brother's small council.

However, after half a year, a new quarrel broke out between the two brothers. Sources differ as to the causes of this quarrel, but it is said that circumstances led Viserys to exile Daemon once again, and he returned to his modest kingdom of the Stone Degrees.

In the year 112, the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, Ser Harrold Ouestrelin, died. Viserys appoints Rhaenyra's liege shield, Ser Criston Cole, to replace him.

Rhaenyra's wedding

For a long time now, Viserys and his small council have been thinking about finding a suitable match for the heir to the throne, Rhaenyra. Viserys has even been thinking of having her marry the Prince of Dorne, in order to reunite the principality with the Seven Kingdoms. He rejects the idea of his wife Alicent Hightower: she wanted her daughter-in-law to marry her own son, Aegon, but Viserys refuses because Rhaenyra is ten years older than her half-brother and they never got along.

The king and his small council finally choose Laenor Velaryon. Rhaenyra, however, was not consulted and does not approve of this choice. Viserys and his heiress argue, but nothing can sway her, until Viserys threatens to disinherit her in favor of his half-brother Aegon.

According to the septon Eustace, Rhaenyra fell at her father's feet to beg his forgiveness, but the jester Mushroom claims that she hit her father in the face instead. She eventually gave her consent.

In the year 114, Rhaenyra married Ser Laenor Velaryon. The festivities were to last for seven days, however, the tournament celebrating the event was spoiled to Viserys' displeasure, when ser Criston Cole, now wearing the colors of Queen Alicent Hightower, mortally wounded ser Joffrey Lonbec, Laenor Velaryon's favorite and champion.

The Forts

At the end of 114, Rhaenyra gives birth to her first son, Jacaerys Velaryon, while Queen Alicent gives Viserys her third son, Daeron Targaryen. Hoping to prevent any enmity between them, the king ordered that they both be given to the same nurse, so that they would be brothers in arms.

However, many have noticed that Jacaerys does not have the Valyrian physique of his parents, but looks much more like his mother's liege shield, ser Harwin Fort.

The following year, after the death of his first wife, Rhea Royce, Prince Daemon Targaryen defies Viserys once again, marrying Laena Velaryon, without the approval of his brother. The same year, Rhaenyra gives birth to a second son, Lucerys Velaryon.

King Viserys is delighted when he is presented to the court. However, like his elder son Jacaerys, Lucerys looks more like Harwin Fort than Laenor Velaryon, which makes Queen Alicent Hightower and her supporters increasingly suspicious.

In the year 117, Viserys receives a messenger raven from High Tide: his brother Daemon Targaryen has finally become the father of two twins, Baela and Rhaena. He asks permission to present them to the court, so that they may receive the royal blessing.

Despite the disapproval of his small council, Viserys agrees and reconciles with his brother once again. That same year, Rhaenyra gave birth to a third son, Joffrey Velaryon, who resembled Harwin Fort more than Laenor Velaryon, like his brothers.

Supporters of Queen Alicent Hightower now hold it to be a certainty that Rhaenyra's three sons were not conceived by Ser Laenor Velaryon. They are bastards of Ser Harwin Fort. Viserys orders that dragon eggs be placed in the cradles of his grandsons to put an end to the rumors.

The queen's supporters believe they will not hatch, yet three dragons are born: Vermax, Arrax and Tyraxes. Viserys tells the eldest, Jacaerys, that the Iron Throne will be his one day, confirming his intention to inherit Rhaenyra and her line.

In the years that follow, Rhaenyra's sons are raised in close proximity to Alicent's sons. Viserys probably hopes that they will develop a certain connivance and brotherhood, however, it is not the case: the six boys become rivals.

The Year of the Red Spring

In the year 120, several tragedies befall the royal family: Laena Velaryon and her brother Laenor die within a short time of each other under strange circumstances, leaving Viserys' daughter and her brother widowed. Viserys, his family, and his court attend Ser Laenor's funeral at High Tide, and the king then plans a trip to Peyredragon, where he hopes his son Aemond will finally get his dragon.

Without telling anyone, Aemond takes advantage of his presence in High Tide to ride Vhagar, the largest and oldest living dragon. After a successful attempt, Aemond is caught in a scuffle with the three sons of Rhaenyra, in which he loses an eye.

When the four boys are brought before him, Viserys tries to calm things down and reconcile them. They oblige them to apologize, but their mothers do not appease for all that: Alicent demands that Lucerys Velaryon's eye be removed, while Rhaenyra wants Aemond questioned, to understand why he called his nephews "Strong" during the fight.

Viserys questions his son, who explains that he heard his elder brother Aegon calling them that. The latter is questioned by his father and simply answers that one only has to look at them to know that they are the bastards of Harwin Fort.

Viserys decides to prevent conflicts and to silence the rumors: he promises that the tongue will be ripped out of the mouth of anyone who will slander his grandsons again by calling them "Strong".

Queen Alicent Hightower and her children will now stay in King's Landing with him, while his daughter Rhaenyra and her children will stay in Peyredragon. He also decides that Ser Harwin Fort, his daughter Rhaenyra's champion and liege shield, should leave his service. He sends him back to Harrenhal and appoints in his place ser Erryk Cargyll of the Kingsguard.

One last incident bloodied the year: the fire of Harrenhal, which led to the death of the King's Hand, Lord Lyonel Fort, and his heir son, Ser Harwin Fort. While the causes of this fire are disputed, Grand Maester Mellos claims that Viserys himself ordered the fortress to be burned.

The King of the Seven Crowns took umbrage at rumors that accused Ser Harwin Fort of being the real father of his grandchildren. He might have wished to punish Ser Harwin for the dishonor of his daughter and the bastardization of his grandchildren.

According to Mellos, Lord Lyonel's death was therefore a tragic accident, for no one knew that the King's Hand would find his son in Harrenhal.

Tired of gout and age, Viserys must appoint a new Hand of the King to take over the governance of the kingdom. He briefly considered appointing his heir Rhaenyra to the position, but he feared that her return to King's Landing would lead to a return of family strife.

He also considers his brother Daemon, but gives up on this option. Grand Maester Mellos proposes to bring younger men to court and draws up a list of names. Viserys chooses to recall his previous Hand of the King, Ser Otto Hightower, to court.

When he arrives in King's Landing, a messenger raven arrives at the Red Keep, announcing Rhaenyra's secret marriage to her uncle, Daemon Targaryen. Viserys is outraged and insulted by this marriage, which was made without his consent.

Furious, he declares this marriage indecent, Rhaenyra and Daemon having been widowers for less than a year. At the end of the year, their son, named Aegon, was born.

Decline and end of a king

In 122, Rhaenyra gave birth to her fifth child, whom she named after her father, Viserys. The same year, King Viserys I married his son Aegon and his daughter Helaena according to Valyrian customs. The following year, Helaena gave birth to twins, Jaehaerys and Jaehaera.

In the year 126, Lord Corlys Velaryon fell ill and the question of his succession arose. The eldest of his nephews, Vaemond Velaryon, claims the inheritance, arguing that Rhaenyra's sons cannot inherit, since they are not legitimate sons of Laenor Velaryon, but bastards of Harwin Fort.

Informed, the princess of Peyredragon dispatches her husband, Prince Daemon Targaryen, who executes Ser Vaemond. His wife, sons and brothers go to King's Landing, where they ask Viserys to give them justice.

The aged and tired king listens to them and true to his word, orders that each of the petitioners have their tongues cut out for spreading slanderous rumors about his grandsons. While descending from the Iron Throne, Viserys injures his left hand.

Grand Maester Mellos disinfects the wound with boiled wine and treats it with ointments. This treatment proves to be vain, the fever rises. Rhaenyra sends his own maester, Gerardys, to his father, who amputates two fingers and saves Viserys' life.

To celebrate his recovery, Viserys organizes a great feast on the first day of the year 127, gathering all his family. To please the king, all the participants affect friendship, make declarations of love and eternal brotherhood.

However, Viserys tires quickly and he leaves the party in the evening, leaving his guests alone. New incidents break out between the sons of Queen Alicent and those of Princess Rhaenyra.

No one knows if Viserys is aware of these events, however, the next day, the princess of Peyredragon and her sons return to their fief. From that day on, Viserys refused to sit on the Iron Throne, preferring to hold court in his chambers.

That same year, Aegon and Helaena have a third child, named Maelor Targaryen. Grand Maester Mellos also died that year, but as his wife and daughter put forward their candidates to replace him, Viserys refused to decide between them, reminding them that the choice was not up to him, but to the Conclave of Archmasters of Villevieille.

Over the next two years, Viserys' health improves slightly thanks to the care of the new Grand Maester Orwyle, which is more effective than that of his predecessor, but the king soon declines more and more.

Viserys holds his court first in his private parlor, then in his bedroom, surrounded by masters, septons and his jester Mushroom. He delegates more and more the governance of the kingdom to his small council.

In the year 129, the king is in a critical state of weakness. He can no longer climb stairs or move around the Red Keep unless he is carried on a chair. On the second moon of the year, he no longer eats and only rules from his bed, when he has the strength.

On the third moon of this year, he is visited by his daughter, Helaena, and his grandchildren, Jaehaerys, Jaehaera and Maelor. He gives a pearl ring to the last one to play with and tells the two older ones the same story for the twelfth time. Feeling weak, he dismisses them. Once alone, he closes his eyes and dies in his sleep, at the age of fifty-two.

The delayed funeral

According to the dwarf jester Mushroom, Queen Alicent Hightower poisoned her husband to hasten his demise and allow her son Aegon to claim the crown. Maester Yandel considers this hypothesis unlikely in his encyclopedia, as does Archmaester Gyldayn.

A servant, who came with the king's ritual hypocras cup, discovered his death at the hour of the bat. The servant immediately warns Queen Alicent Hightower.

According to the septon Eustace, Viserys' death had been anticipated by Alicent's followers, who had ensured that guards and servants would act on their instructions when Viserys died.

After securing her husband's death with the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, Criston Cole, Alicent took steps to prevent the rumor from spreading, and thus promote the accession of her son, Aegon II Targaryen, to the Iron Throne at the expense of Viserys' designated heir, Rhaenyra.

The king's chamber is closed and placed under guard. For seven days, his body is left to rot in his chamber in the greatest secrecy.

His death is not announced until a week later, when the smell of decay has already invaded the Red Keep. Sisters of Silence prepare his body for cremation. Soon after, Aegon is crowned king and the Dance of the Dragons breaks out.

Viserys I Targaryen Legacy

Viserys's reign is considered the height of the Targaryen dynasty's power in Westeros, but also the seed of the Dance of the Dragons, the continent's most horrific conflict of succession and the cause of the dragons' extinction.

Viserys I Targaryen did not undertake any great reforms or prestigious conquests during his reign. He was a peaceful king, relying heavily on his small council for the day-to-day running of the kingdom.

Viserys' reign was a time of splendor and celebration, with many tournaments, parties and balls. This was made possible by the reign of his predecessor, Jaehaerys I Targaryen, who had left Viserys a peaceful kingdom and a well-stocked royal treasury.

The kingdom had accepted the Targaryens and their strange Valyrian ways, and this lavish period saw the greatest number of dragonriders and dragons.

The princes and princesses of the royal family were particularly numerous, and although the Targaryens continued to practice incestuous marriages, they also entered into unions and alliances with the great houses of Westeros, which would prove instrumental in the conflicts that followed Viserys' reign.

Viserys abhorred conflict, especially within his family, so he was always quick to clumsily quell the quarrels between his second wife Alicent Hightower and his daughter Rhaenyra, not realizing that tensions persisted between them and then between their children.

Viserys II Targaryen received his name in honor of his grandfather and uncle Viserys I.