How Jon Snow and Daenerys are related to Rhaenyra and Daemon

Image: House of the Dragon/HBO
Image: House of the Dragon/HBO /

The family trees in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire universe are famously complicated. You thought learning the names of Ned, Catelyn, Arya, Sansa, Bran, Robb and Rickon Stark was hard? Martin has traced their lineages back several generations, sketching out the lives of many Starks past. You could fill a book with just the family trees of Westeros. Knowing Martin, he’s probably working on one right now.

Game of Thrones fans are getting a taste of this firsthand with House of the Dragon, a prequel show set nearly 200 years before the original series. The new show revolves around the Targaryens of yesteryear. In Game of Thrones, Daenerys was pretty much the last one (save Jon Snow, who only learned he was a Targaryen late into the series). But here we’ve met Viserys Targaryen, his brother Daemon, his daughter Rhaenyra, and more. The budget for nuclear blonde wigs on this thing is insane.

Watching the new show, you might be wondering: how are the Targaryens of this generation related to the ones we meet on Game of Thrones? As it happens, George R.R. Martin has provided the answer in exacting detail. Let’s go on a journey through time. But first, be aware there will be some SPOILERS for the remainder of House of the Dragon below.

Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO
Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO /

The children of Rhaenyra and Daemon Targaryen

On the most recent episode of House of the Dragon, Daemon and Rhaenyra got married. (Yes, they’re uncle and niece. Targaryens are big into incest, just go with it.) And here’s where the SPOILERS start. Rhaenyra and Daemon have two children who survive to adulthood. We’ve met both of them on House of the Dragon. They are Aegon III Targaryen and Viserys II Targaryen.

Rhaenrya and Daemon don’t choose those names idly. Obviously, young Viserys is named after Rhaenyra’s father. As for young Aegon, Rhaenyra picks that name specifically to troll Alicent Hightower, whose eldest born son by King Viserys is also named Aegon.

Anyway, without spoiling what happen over the course of the actual series, I’ll just say that Viserys II Targaryen, the second child of Rhaenrya and Daemon Targaryen, will eventually sit the Iron Throne. A lot stuff happens between now and then — a few other people will plant their butts on the throne in the meantime — but I’m just going to skip over all of that because it will spoil House of the Dragon. Viserys II won’t sit the Iron Throne until years after the events of the show, so let’s start there.

From Viserys Targaryen all the way to Jon Snow

Viserys II reigns from 171-172 AC. It’s a short reign, but he was Hand of the King to multiple monarchs before that, and is credited with keeping the realm together with his sound advice. Even during his year on the throne, Viserys II reforms the royal household, establishes a new royal mint, makes efforts to increase trade across the Narrow Sea, and makes progressive updates to the code of laws. By all accounts, he is a very successful king. He was married to Larra Rogare of Lys.

Viserys II dies of a sudden illness. He is succeeded by his son Aegon IV Targaryen, also known as Aegon the Unworthy. As the nickname implies, Aegon IV is a really sucky king; the apple falls pretty far from the tree with this guy. He’s most infamous for legitimizing all of his bastard children on his deathbed, which leads to a conflict called the Blackfyre Rebellion. Aegon IV reigns from 172-184 AC.

Aegon IV was married to his sister-wife Naerys Targaryen, and theirs was an unhappy marriage. Upon his death, Aegon the Unworthy is succeeded on the Iron Throne by his son Daeron II Targaryen, known as Daeron the Good. There are rumors that Daeron’s true father was Aegon’s brother Aemon Targaryen, who wasn’t nearly as big a tool as Aegon, but those were never proven.

Daeron II is best known for marrying Princess Myriah Martell of Dorne, successfully making Dorne a part of the Seven Kingdoms. He reigns from 184 AC – 209 AC. After Daeron dies of plague, he is succeeded by his son Aerys I Targaryen. (This is NOT the same Aerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones, known as the Mad King. That’s Aerys II and he’ll come later.)

Aerys I rules from 209-221 AC but dies without having had any kids, so the throne passes to his younger brother Maekar I Targaryen, who reigns from 221-233 AC. Maekar fights in the Blackfyre Rebellions.

The time of Dunk and Egg

Incidentally, this is around the time that George R.R. Martin set his Tales of Dunk and Egg stories, which HBO is considering adapting into a different TV show. We’ll see if those plans go anywhere. Other than House of the Dragon, I think a Dunk and Egg show is the idea most likely to make it to television. By this point in the timeline, dragons have completely died out, so the Targaryen family isn’t as secure as it once was.

One of the main characters in Dunk and Egg is Aegon V Targaryen, the fourth son of Maekar by his wife Dyanna Dayne. (I know, another Aegon; the Targaryens love naming their kids after the original Aegon the Conqueror.) Aegon V is known as Egg to his friends on account of his bald head. To history, he’s known as Aegon the Unlikely, because he has so many older brothers that no one thinks he has a chance of ascending the Iron Throne. In fact, he’s allowed to marry Betha Blackwood for love because no one considers him important enough to be worth making a political marriage for.

But ascend the the Iron Throne he does! Upon the death of his father King Maekar, the throne is first offered to Aegon’s older brother Aemon, who turns it down and heads off to the Night’s Watch. You might remember him as kindly old Maester Aemon from Game of Thrones. Yes, we’ve officially reached the point where these characters actually appeared on the original show, which is set well over 100 years after House of the Dragon!

Image: Game of Thrones/HBO
Image: Game of Thrones/HBO /

So the throne goes to Aegon V instead, who reigns from 233 AC – 259 AC. Aegon tries to pass reforms that will help the smallfolk, but becomes convinced that the only way he can enforce them is if he has dragons to back him up. He makes a plan to hatch some dragon eggs, but it goes horribly wrong, he and his team accidentally light the castle of Summerhall on fire, and Aegon V dies in the blaze.

After that, the throne passes to Aegon’s son Jaehaerys II Targaryen, who was married to his sister-wife Shaera Targaryen. Jaehaerys reigns from 259 AC – 262 AC. He was always sickly and dies of illness. He is succeeded by his son Aerys II Targaryen, who we all remember as the Mad King from Game of Thrones! Aerys II was married to his sister-wife Rhaella Targaryen.

Image: Game of Thrones/HBO
Image: Game of Thrones/HBO /

Finally, we reach Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow

Aerys, of course, is the father of Daenerys Targaryen as well as her older brother Viserys, who shares a name with the two other guys named Viserys we meet on House of the Dragon. Aerys was also the father of Rhaegar Targaryen, who was born on the day Summerhall burned. And Rhaegar is the secret father of Jon Snow, whose mother was Lyanna Stark.

So there you go! We’ve now traced the lineage of Rhaenyra and Daemon Targaryen all the way through down the decades to Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. And if that was too much, here’s a simplified verson:

"Rhaenrya and Daemon Targaryen are the parents of —> Viserys II Targaryen, father of —> Aegon IV Targaryen, aka Aegon the Unworthy, father of —> Daeron II Targaryen, aka Daeron the Good, father of —> Maekar I Targaryen, father of —> Aegon V Targaryen, aka Aegon the Unlikely, father of —> Jaehaerys II Targaryen, father of —> Aerys II Targaryen, aka the Mad King, father of —> Daenerys Targaryen AND Rhaegar Targaryen, father of —-> Jon Snow"

Again, House of the Dragon will likely end long before Viserys II Targaryen ever sits the Iron Throne, but if you’re wondering exactly how the generation of Targaryens from the new show is related to the old one, now you know.

Next. All the dragons in House of the Dragon, HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel. dark

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