All the secret Targaryen theories from the Game of Thrones books

Image: Game of Thrones/HBO
Image: Game of Thrones/HBO /
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George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire is famously dense. The author raises a lot of questions he doesn’t always fully answer, which is be design; some mystery is good for the reading experience.

But this passionate a readership, some fans are going to fill in the gaps. There are lots of theories about the characters in A Song of Ice and Fire, including many about secret parentages. In a feudal society where nobility and birth can determine who has the right to rule a country, who one’s parents are is a very important thing.

In particular, there are a lot of theories about which characters, in any, could secretly be descendents of the Targaryen dynasty, meaning they could have a claim to the coveted Iron Throne. Let’s go over some of the big ones below!

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

1. Tyrion Lannister is a secret Targaryen

At first glance, the idea of Tyrion Lannister being a secret Targaryen sounds far-fetched. However, there is some evidence worth looking at. Proponents point to the moment when Tywin Lannister straight-up says to Tyrion, “You’re no son of mine,” right before Tyrion kills him on the toilet. Tywin was probably just disowning Tyrion for shooting him with a crossbow, but one could make the case that Tywin at least suspected Tyrion could be someone else’s child. And the main suspect was the Mad King Aerys Targaryen.

Back in the day, Tywin became very good friends with Aerys when he served as cupbearer to King Aegon V. At the same time, Tywin’s future wife (and first cousin) Joanna was a companion of Princess Rhaella Targaryen, Aeryss wife. Tywin and Aerys even fought alongside each other during the War of the Ninepenny Kings. When Aerys later ascended the Iron Throne, he made Tywin his hand.

Tywin is generally regarded as a harsh man, but during his time as Hand, he kept the realm in check. Supposedly the only thing that made Tywin happy was his wife Joanna; during their wedding he reportedly even smiled, a great rarity for him. Joanna died while giving birth to Tyrion. So right from birth, Tywin resented his youngest child.

In Book 5, A Dance With Dragons, former Lord Commander of the Kingsguard Barristan Selmy tells Daenerys stories about Aerys and his son Rhaegar, Dany’s brother. During one of their talks, Daenerys asks Barristan if her father ever loved someone other than her mother Rhaella. “Not…not loved,” Barristan replies. “Mayhaps wanted is a better word, but… it was only kitchen gossip, the whispers of washerwomen and stableboys.”

"Prince Aerys… as a youth, he was taken with a certain lady of Casterly Rock, a cousin of Tywin Lannister. When she and Tywin wed, your father drank too much wine at the wedding feast and was heard to say that it was a great pity that the lord’s right to the first night had been abolished. A drunken jape, no more, but Tywin Lannister was not a man to forget such words, or the… the liberties your father took during the bedding."

It’s uncertainly exactly what “liberties” Aerys took, but this is pretty good proof that Aerys at least had his eye on Joanna. And as king, there would unfortunately not be much anybody could do to stop him if he wanted to sleep with her. While it is inconclusive if he ever did this, what is certain is that Tywin eventually resigned as Hand of the King and later had a hand in the destruction of the Targaryen dynasty.

When Aerys was losing his war against Robert Baratheon, Tywin’s army was his last hope. When Tywin arrived at King’s Landing, instead of helping Aerys, he sacked the city and put Aerys’ family to the sword. Aerys attempted to burn the entire city to the ground, but Jaime Lannister killed him before he could do so. It is not likely that Tywin ordered Jaime to kill Aerys, but it is poetic that Tywin’s son was the one to do it.

Another small piece of evidence for Tyrion’s supposed secret lineage is that he has an obsession with dragons, and even dreamed of them as a child. The only other characters in the series to have dragon dreams are Targaryens. However, it doesn’t seem like his visions were anything like the prophetic dreams that Daenerys occasionally has. It’s more likely that Tyrion just thinks dragons are cool. Who doesn’t?