Game of Thrones is about certain characters vying for control of the Seven Kingdoms. Their primary goal is to claim the Iron Throne, the most coveted of uncomfortable chairs. However, the history of the Iron Throne extends further back than just Cersei Lannister and Daenerys Tagaryen's upcoming fight for it. The lore of the Game of Thrones series is legendary.
By simply reading the books, you can glean that Westeros has a longer history than a single episode has the time to tell you. Many kings ruled the Seven Kingdoms before the events of the show that we're seeing now. Read on if you want to learn about the best and most memorable kings who ever sat on the Iron Throne.
Known as the Young Dragon, Daeron I was only a fourteen-year-old boy when he ascended to the Iron Throne. Frequently described as handsome and brave, Daeron is most well known for invading and conquering Dorne. In the books, Jon Snow states that Daeron is one of his heroes. However, this is a young and naive Jon Snow we're talking about here, before he knows about White Walkers and the burden of leadership. Daeron I's invasion of Dorne was an extremely costly war in terms of lives lost. More than ten thousand men met their end in Daeron's foolhardy conquest of the Dornish. The Young Dragon himself perished during peace talks when the the Dornish tricked and betrayed him.
Fans of the show know Baelor I by the Great Sept of Baelor in King's Landing. This sept was named after Baelor I, also known as Baelor the Blessed. Baelor was a godly man, and many of the smallfolk remember him with fondness. His brother was the Young Dragon, and after he was slain by the Dornish, Baelor pardoned and forgave them. Piety and humility is all well and good until it prevents you from ruling your kingdom. Baelor eventually imprisoned his own sisters in order to keep them away from the eyes of men, one of them being his own wife.
He outlawed pleasure houses to the dismay of many in King's Landing. He finally fasted himself to his own demise, not eating or drinking for forty days until he passed away.
Robert Baratheon might not have been the best king to grace the Seven Kingdoms, but he made it onto this list purely for breaking the Targaryen dynasty. Mad King Aerys II of House Targaryen was a monster. There is no other way of putting it. He derived enjoyment from watching people burn, setting the sons and daughters of smallfolk and lords on fire purely for pleasure. With Robert's Rebellion, Robert Baratheon ended the Mad King's tyranny. So while Robert's tenure as king was not the most stable, he was a better option than Aerys II.
Targaryen kings are typically known for that streak of cold brutality that allowed their family to take over the Seven Kingdoms in the first place. The first Targaryen king in Westeros was Aegon I, also rightly known as Aegon the Conqueror. His spot on this list is clearly earned by the fact that he made the Iron Throne. After conquering six of the Seven Kingdoms (only Dorne retained its independence), Aegon took the swords of his enemies and forged the Iron Throne. Being a conqueror is not the only thing Aegon should be known for. He also established the notion of the King's Peace and created the position of Hand of the King. And who could forget his large dragon Balerion, the Black Dread.
Jaehaerys II is mostly known for being the father of Mad King Aerys II. However, he should earn recognition for being the last (so far) of the prudent Targaryen kings. Rather sickly in appearance, Jaehaerys II made up for a lack of physical prowess with a cunning mind. He knew when to move forward and when to hold back.
He reigned during the War of the Ninepenny Kings, which he handled expertly. It was after this conflict that Jaehaerys named Ser Barristan Selmy to his Kingsguard. Unfortunately for Jaehaerys and the realm, Jaerhaerys took ill during the third year of his reign, and he perished shortly after.
Viserys I does not fit the typical image of a Targaryen king. He was known to be plump and pleasant, more inclined to be generous than not. Viserys was lucky enough to inherit a peaceful realm from his father, Jaehaerys I. He was a forward-thinking king well ahead of his time. When his first wife passed away during the birth of his son, he elected to name Rhaenyra, his daughter, his successor instead. Kudos to him for trying to change the way things are. Unfortunately, the memory of his actions is tarnished by the fact that Rhaenyra and her half-brother Aegon II, Viserys' son under a second marriage, started a Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of Dragons. Both fought for the Iron Throne.
Viserys II only ruled the Seven Kingdoms as its king for a single year. He took ill after that time and perished, though some suspect he was poisoned by his eldest son. However, Viserys II should be remembered for the good he did the realm not just as its king but as its Hand of the King during the years before. Viserys served as Hand for Aegon the Unlucky, Daeron the Young Dragon, and Baelor the Blessed.
All three of these kings would have sent the Seven Kingdoms to ruin due to their outrageous exploits if it hadn't been for Viserys. Viserys II is definitely one of the more underappreciated kings of his time. He actually reminds us of a certain dwarf from House Lannister that is currently on the show.
Jaehaerys I is the longest-ruling Targaryen king. He sat on the Iron Throne for fifty-five years, a feat which should be applauded given what we know about the brevity of a person's life once they claim the throne. His reign is one of the most peaceful Westeros has ever known. Jaehaerys I used his time as king wisely, building roads throughout the Seven Kingdom. That's right, folks. Jaehaerys built the kingsroad. He also worked on a system of laws, many of which still remain during the events of the show. Jaehaerys might not be the most interesting king to read about in a book, but he is definitely the kind of king you would want to be ruled by if you lived in Westeros.
Daeron II was not called Daeron the Good for nothing. He was one of the greatest Targaryen kings to rule the Seven Kingdoms. Unlike Daeron I, Daeron II did not fight his battles solely with his armies. He fought them first and foremost in his mind. Daeron the Good was highly intelligent, and this is demonstrated by his brokerage of a peace with Dorne. He didn't use a sword for that; he used diplomacy. Daeron II was also known for keeping wise council. He filled the small council with learned men instead of lackeys who would just follow his wishes. The peace of Daeron's reign, though interrupted briefly by the Blackfyre Rebellion, was a well-founded peace.
Aegon V was often called Aegon the Unlikely because he was technically fourth in the line of succession. His two eldest brothers perished, and they would have been terrible kings anyway. The third brother, Aemon, became a Maester of the Citadel and refused to take the Iron Throne. Thus, Aegon the Unlikely became King of the Seven Kingdoms. Aegon is definitely the best king of Westeros even though he does not have a large list of accomplishments to his name. Before he ever became king, he squired for a knight of the Seven Kingdoms named Ser Duncan. While they traveled together, Aegon V learned a lot about the lives of the smallfolk. He is perhaps the only king to ever truly understand the people under his rule, and in our opinion, that makes him the best person to ever sit on the Iron Throne.