Fire and blood, terrifying words from the man that conquered Westeros along with his two sisters and their three dragons. House Targaryen, even in the most recent episodes of the series, is a house unwilling to go gently into the frozen night. But where did the Targaryens get their start? We already know about the Mad King and Rhaegar, but what about the other Targaryens? Let’s dive into some of the stories from the history of House Targaryen that the Game Of Thrones showrunners left out of their adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s books.
10. Rulers In Old Valyria
One of the most important things to know about the Targaryens that isn’t really touched on in detail in Game Of Thrones is that the Targaryens are used to being in power. This was the family that had already come from a position of power when they came to Westeros and made Dragonstone their new home after the Doom of Valyria. It’s not difficult to imagine that the family riding the dragons probably had a decent amount of pull, back in Valyria, but sometimes riding a dragon around just isn't enough to get you everything you want. Especially when society is crumbling all around you.
Dragonstone had actually been in Aegon’s family since before Valyria even fell, and while it’s distant location managed to spare House Targaryen from the decay of Valyria, it does little else to aid in the upcoming battle for the seven kingdoms. After Aegon’s conquest, Dragonstone is used as a home to the heir of the iron throne. It’s also the same place the Robert maroons Stannis after successfully taking the throne from the Targaryens, in order to keep him from amassing an army formidable enough to take on the crown. It’ll certainly be interesting to see how Daenerys continues to use her old family home in the final series.
8. Aegon The Unworthy & The Battle Of The Unworthy Heirs
While Aegon the Conqueror is the Targaryen that brought the kingdoms under the control of House Targaryen and their powerful dragons, not all of the Aegons of House Targaryen are as worthy of the crown. Aegon the Unworthy, as anyone can probably guess from his title, was not a worthy king. He is described as so large that flesh actually began to rot off of his body. Before his death, however, Aegon the Unworthy decided to legitimize all of his 13 bastards. This act set off a war that would last years and years while claiming the lives of many men.
7. Violet Eyes & Silver Hair
Another fact that didn’t make it over from page to the screen is the famous silver hair and violet eyes of the Targaryens in the book. While HBO’s Game Of Thrones did get relatively close to the iconic Targaryen hair color, the showrunners clearly made a decision to avoid drawing on the more whimsical aspects of Daenerys or Viserys’ characters with the inclusion of their violet eyes. Either that, or Emilia Clarke didn't feel like wearing purple contacts for the entire series. All in all the few changes that have been made to the Targaryens we’ve seen on screen so far have done very little to harm the show.
6. Olena Tyrell & Daeron Targaryen
In Game Of Thrones, we hear very little about the Targaryens of the past, but one Targaryen we do hear mentioned is Daeron Targaryen. Daeron was the young Targaryen that had come to be promised to Ollena Tyrell. While in the series Ollena tells Sansa that she “put an end to that” because she wasn’t too keen on marrying a Targaryen, in the book, it is Daeron who chooses to end the engagement as he much preferred the company of his fellow knight Ser Jeremy Norridge, a young man with whom he squired as a young boy in Highgarden.
5. The Three-Eyed Raven (Crow) The Oldest Living Targaryen
Many viewers of the show may have watched the early seasons of the show and assumed that maester Aemon was the oldest man in Game Of Thrones, and if not, then certainly the oldest Targaryen shown. In the books, however, it is revealed that the three-eyed raven, who is actually the three-eyed crow in the original texts, is actually yet another in a long line of lost Targaryens. Brynden Rivers, the bastard son of Aegon the Unworthy, who we mentioned earlier, was one of the 13 legitimized bastards who would fight for the iron throne. He was an albino with red eyes and a birthmark on his face that resembled a raven, leading to the nickname the bloodraven. But that was over a century ago, in another life.
4. Robert Baratheon...The Targaryen?
While many early Targaryens preferred to keep their bloodline pure through incestuous marriages, by the time they had managed to united the seven kingdoms, there wasn’t much left in the way of pure bloodlines. Many Targaryens had chosen to love and marry partners from other houses, and in one of these such marriages, a child was born that would end up bearing the fruit that would end the reign of House Targaryen. That’s right, Robert Baratheon’s grandmother on his father’s side was actually a Targaryen names Rhaelle and she would eventually give birth to Robert’s father Steffon.
3. Daenerys Targaryen, First Of Her Name
While fans of Game Of Thrones may believe the Daenerys Targaryen of the show is the first of her name (they say it enough), in the books she’s at the least the second of her name. The real Daenerys Targaryen, first of her name, was born well before the events of the series, during the rule of King Daeron the Good. While it was clear to everyone in the kingdom that the original Daenerys was in love with her half-brother Daemon Blackfyre, King Daeron made sure that her betrothal to Prince Maron of House Martell went through as planned. King Daeron knew that the marriage would solidify Dorne’s entry into the seven kingdoms and that was more important than the love of two people.
2. Not The Only Dragon Riders
While dragon-riding was nearly as rare back in Old Valyria as it in Westeros, there a few people other than House Targaryen that were capable of riding atop the great fire-breathing beasts. The dragonlords of Old Valyria were a group from the noble houses of Valyria that had managed to form a bond with the dragons of their time. Among them, many from House Velaryon were able to form bonds with dragons, thus allowing them to ride high atop the backs of dragons like the Targaryens we’ve heard so much about. Targaryens, however, often put unhatched dragon eggs in the cribs of their children to ensure the bonding process.
1. Aegon The Conqueror & His Sister-Wives - The Three-Headed Dragon
Game Of Thrones has seemingly gone out of its way to avoid diving too deep into the complicated history of Westeros and the noble houses found within its borders, which is a shame because some of the greatest stories happen well before the series takes place. Aegon Targaryen is often mentioned but rarely talked about in detail. After the doom of Valyria, Aegon and his sisters/wives decide to use the dragons their family has bonded with to take over the kingdoms. Aegon and his sisters only ever use the full force of all three dragons in battle once and that was enough to dissuade any real opposition to their power.