Viserys Targaryen

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Viserys Targaryen
A Song of Ice and Fire character
Game of Thrones
Viserys Targaryen-Harry Lloyd.jpg
Harry Lloyd as Viserys Targaryen
First appearance
Last appearance
Created byGeorge R. R. Martin
Portrayed byHarry Lloyd
(Game of Thrones)
  • The Beggar King
  • The Sorefoot King
  • The Cart King
  • King of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men (claimant)
  • Lord of the Seven Kingdoms (claimant)
  • Protector of the Realm (claimant)
FamilyHouse Targaryen
KingdomThe Crownlands

Viserys Targaryen is a fictional character in the A Song of Ice and Fire series of fantasy novels by American author George R. R. Martin, and the first season of the television adaptation Game of Thrones.

Introduced in 1996's A Game of Thrones, Viserys (along with his younger sister, Daenerys) is one of the last confirmed members of House Targaryen who, until fifteen years before the events of the first novel, ruled on the Iron Throne for nearly three hundred years.

Viserys is portrayed by Harry Lloyd in the HBO television adaptation.[2][3][4]

Character description[edit]

Viserys Targaryen is the middle child and younger son of Aerys II Targaryen, also known as The Mad King, and his sister-wife Rhaella Targaryen.[5]



A coat of arms showing a red three-headed dragon on a black field over a scroll reading "Fire and Blood."
Coat of arms of House Targaryen

Viserys Targaryen is the second born son of Aerys II Targaryen.[6] Thirteen years before the events of the series, he and his sister Daenerys fled Westeros to escape death at the hands of rebel Robert Baratheon.[7] Viserys is an arrogant, cruel and ambitious man given to violent mood swings. In A Game of Thrones, he sells his sister as a wife to the Dothraki Khal Drogo, as a means to secure the allegiance of Drogo's army toward his goal of reclaiming the throne.[7] Frustrated with Drogo, Viserys demands a crown and threatens Daenerys and her unborn child; Drogo kills him by pouring a pot of molten gold over his head.

Daenerys later names one of her dragons Viserion, after Viserys. She explains that in spite of everything, he was still her brother, and that his draconic namesake will help do what he could not. She also tries to remember him as the good person he was before the stresses of their exile made him violent and bitter, and acknowledges that he at least kept her alive and safe through her childhood.


Season 1[edit]

Viserys Targaryen is the exiled prince and heir of the Targaryen dynasty and is known as "The Beggar King" for his search for an army to recapture his throne. A narcissist, he is arrogant and self-centered, caring only about himself and looking down on others, especially his sister Daenerys. In exchange for an army to help regain the Iron Throne, Viserys marries off his sister to the powerful Dothraki warlord Khal Drogo in the first episode, "Winter Is Coming", and follows his horde's journey to the Dothraki capital to ensure Drogo will keep his end of the bargain. But as they journey, it becomes evident that Viserys does not have any leadership skills to reclaim the throne as his arrogance and disrespect for the Dothraki does not win him any hearts. Furthermore, Daenerys, whom he has always threatened throughout his life, starts to stand up to him. Seeing that Daenerys is loved by the Dothraki and that her and Drogo's unborn son are prophesied to unite the world, Viserys realizes that it is not he but Daenerys who will reclaim the Iron Throne. In the sixth episode, "A Golden Crown", he gets in a fit of drunken rage, threatens Drogo to give him his army and crown or he will kill his sister and her unborn son. Having had enough of his behavior, Drogo kills Viserys by giving him a "Golden Crown"; molten gold poured over his head. Daenerys watches her brother's agonizing death, proclaiming that he wasn't a true dragon, as "fire cannot kill a dragon".

Daenerys later names one of her dragons Viserion, as a tribute to Viserys, although the reasoning is not explained on-screen.

Development, overview and reception[edit]

Harry Lloyd plays the role of Viserys Targaryen in the television series.

Viserys Targaryen is played by British actor Harry Lloyd in the television adaption of the books.[8] Viserys Targaryen is not a point of view character in the novels, so his actions are witnessed and interpreted through the eyes of his sister Daenerys.[9]

Harry Lloyd on Viserys Targaryen:

As soon as I looked into more of the history of the Targaryen family and actually read the other books, I found out more and pieced together his backstory, and he became sympathetic. I understood more what motivated him, and the fear he had, and the responsibility he had, and his childishness. I mean, he never really had a parent. That changed a lot my view from reading it to playing it.[10]

Lloyd on his character’s death scene:

I've never had to die on camera before, let alone in such a grisly way. So you just have to kind of give it everything. You talk to the two actors holding you and say, ‘Let's not pansy around here. I'm gonna absolutely try and get out of this, so don't let me.' Then, you let it rip. It can't be some sort of half-assed whimpering – you've got to really believe the pain and the fear. It's actually quite liberating.[11]

Lloyd has received positive reviews for his role as Viserys in the TV series.[12]

Family tree of House Targaryen[edit]


  1. ^ "See the Connections Behind Ned's Promise With This Infographic". (HBO). June 28, 2016. Archived from the original on June 29, 2016. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  2. ^ "Game of Thrones Cast and Crew: Viserys Targaryen played by Harry Lloyd". HBO. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
  3. ^ "The Official Website for the HBO Series Game of Thrones". HBO.
  4. ^ "From HBO". Archived from the original on 2016-03-07.
  5. ^ Butler, Leigh (25 March 2011). "A Read of Ice and Fire: A Game of Thrones, Part 2". Macmillan Publishers. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  6. ^ A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
  7. ^ a b A Game of Thrones, Chapter 3: Daenerys I.
  8. ^ Lambie, Ryan (4 April 2011). "Jason Momoa interview: Game Of Thrones, playing Conan and more". Dennis Publishing Limited. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  9. ^ "Game of Thrones Viewer's Guide". HBO. Archived from the original on 28 May 2017. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  10. ^ Crow, David (16 April 2015). "Interview: Harry Lloyd Talks Game of Thrones & Supreme Tweeter". Dennis Publishing Limited. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  11. ^ "Interview with Harry Lloyd". HBO. Archived from the original on 19 September 2017. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  12. ^ Hoare, James (14 March 2012). "Game Of Thrones' Harry Lloyd gets into the mind of Viserys Targaryen". SciFiNow. Retrieved 15 April 2019.