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 Novel:
A Game of Thrones (1996)
"Winter Is Coming" (2011)
Last appearance Novel;
A Game of Thrones (1996)
"A Golden Crown" (2011)
Created by George R. R. Martin
Portrayed by Harry Lloyd
(Game of Thrones)
Aliases The Beggar King
Gender Male
Family House Targaryen
Kingdom The 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 its 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 youngest son of Aerys II Targaryen, also known as The Mad King.[5]

Development, overview and reception[edit]

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.[6]

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.[7]

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.[8]

Lloyd has received positive reviews for his role as Viserys in the TV-series.[9]


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.[10] 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.[11] 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.[11] 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.


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

Viserys Targaryen is the exiled prince and heir of the Targaryen dynasty. 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 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 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. Realizing 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 a fit of drunken rage, he threatens Drogo to give him his army now or he will kill his unborn son. Having 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.

Family tree of House Targaryen[edit]

TV adaptation[edit]

Viserys Targaryen is played by the British actor Harry Lloyd in the television adaption of the series of books.[12]