Character Of ‘Viserys Targaryen,’ Explained: Why He Will Be Remembered As A King But For All The Wrong Reasons?

Episode 5 of “House of the Dragon” ends on a cliffhanger that suggests that King Viserys Targaryen may meet his fateful end. There had been rumors from the about this since the beginning of the series. Everything around him was falling apart, and however hard he tried, he failed to grasp things. He lost Corlys Velaryon’s support, one of the strongest allies in the seven kingdoms. He consciously ignored all the possible threats to the kingdom because he feared the outbreak of war and wanted to maintain peace, at least in his denial. He just wanted to maintain a peaceful legacy just like his predecessor, King Jaehaerys Targaryen. Viserys’s only accomplishment is that he might have stopped the war with the outside world, but he broke up the kingdom from the inside.


King Viserys As A Brother: Loving, Forgiving, And Supportive

One must remember that King Viserys’ most significant challenge was from Daemon Targaryen. Daemon was a mad man, driven by desire and lust. He was never suited to sit on the Iron Throne. All he did was to spend time in brothels and torture petty criminals. Daemon is hated by the whole council for his self-centered attitude and is somewhat supported by Corlys Velaryon alone. From Otto Hightower to the Maester, nobody ever wanted Daemon to even pay a visit to the council. But Viserys could not throw his brother away. He made him the commander of the city watch. Making Daemon the commander of the night watch meant he would have to stay away from the council’s business. So, it might have made the council very happy, especially Otto Hightower, but it created a barrier between Daemon and Viserys. Daemon wanted to remain close to his brother. However, he pursued an interest in becoming the king himself; he would have settled down if he had been made the hand of the king. This love-hate relationship between the brothers grew stronger as the days passed. Otto Hightower never left any chance to point out Daemon’s failure as a ruler to Viserys. But Viserys has always been a protective brother to Daemon. Even when Otto Hightower informed him that he was engaged with Rhaenyra in an intimate relationship, Viserys angrily asked him to leave the kingdom. In terms of the gravity of his crime, the punishment seemed a relief.

King Viserys As A Father: A Caring And Protective Guide

Rhaenyra Targaryen is an independent woman who aspires to rule the seven kingdoms someday. The passion for the Iron Throne is something that you can not hide. Being a father to such a stubborn child requires a lot of patience. Viserys might have failed as a ruler, but he took great care of Rhaenyra. She had no faith in gods or anything; she knew that being Targaryen meant not giving a damn about anything. Why would she bother pleasing anyone if she owned a fully grown dragon? She rejected almost everything that Viserys had offered her. But, as a father, Viserys always protected her. When she returned from Dragonstone in the beginning, he scolded her as he was being too protective. However, he never stopped her from attending the council. He stopped her from sharing her opinion only after Otto Hightower intervened. The main obstacle between him and his daughter was pleasing the lords of the kingdom. But, finally, he took the most twisted decision by making Rhaenyra the queen. Even after the birth of Aegon II, no matter how much Otto Hightower tried to make him the heir to the iron throne, Viserys was certain that the iron throne belonged to Rhaenyra alone. He even protested against the council on behalf of his daughter. He guided Rhaenyra with Aegon’s dream and the path she should follow once her reign began.


King Viserys As A Husband: Romantic, Loyal, And Respectful

Viserys was deeply in love with his first wife, Aemma Arryn. He valued her opinions and even talked about the kingdom’s future. He respected Aemma’s decision to not bear any more children right before Baelon was born. But, here again, he was bound by his duties. When Maester told him that the process that could save the life of his unborn child could also take away the life of his loving wife, Viserys chose to sacrifice Aemma in the greed for a male heir. However, his mourning exceeded every limit, as both Aemma and Baelon died. Soon, Alicent Hightower, forced by her father Otto Hightower, came to aid Viserys in his pain. That grew into a relationship, and Viserys was very respectful towards her from the beginning. He wasn’t very romantic with her, maybe because she was almost the same age as his daughter, Rhaenyra. But, they talked a lot, leading to the premise of their marriage. However, their bond seemed to lose its charm upon marriage, but they managed to have a son and a daughter. Although Viserys tried hard to make love with Alicent, she started to feel less for him towards the end. It was not like she hated him; she cared for and respected him. But whatever relationship they shared, she never accepted Viserys as her husband, nor was Viserys able to give the same position in his heart where he had kept Aemma. It was a Marriage of convenience and they had accepted that truth. 

King Viserys As A Ruler: An Incapable, Easily Manipulated Nincompoop

Viserys thought that avoiding the war would do good for the realm as a ruler. But he never thought that when a king avoided a war, people would consider him to be an unworthy ruler. In Old Valyria, it was said that if anyone who sat on the Iron Throne was unfit, the throne would punish him. We see Viserys get his hand cut whenever he sits on the Iron Throne. He was constantly manipulated by Otto Hightower. Even his decision to marry Alicent Hightower was orchestrated by her father, Otto Hightower. Viserys is so much into feasts, tournaments, and literature that he forgets the well-being of his kingdom. He is too naive to rule the seven kingdoms. Only once had he ridden the dragon, which had also belonged to his father. Moreover, he was not the king by choice; he was elected as the lords did not want Rhaenys, a woman, to rule the seven kingdoms. From the beginning, Viserys lacked what it took to be a king.


Final Words: A King Who Will Be Forgotten?

Well, maybe not. Viserys’s decision to name Rhaenyra his heir was the spark that would eventually lead to a fierce battle in the seven kingdoms, which would come to be known as the “Dance of the Dragons.” Most of the Dragons of the Targaryen empire are going to perish in this battle and weaken the kingdom from within. The loss of the dragons will diminish the fear in the hearts of men in the seven kingdoms who never dared raise a rebellion against a Targaryen king because they feared their colossal creatures. A single battle within the family will lead to the downfall of the entire empire, and Viserys will always be remembered as the one who seeded this rebellion by putting his feet on two boats, which is by marrying Alicent and giving her enough power and by naming Rhaenyra as his heir, but not giving her enough authority to curb the rebellion and letting Daemon take charge of the affairs.

Like all mortal beings, Viserys will die too, but the choices that he made during his kinship will always be remembered as the decisions of a weak king who had failed to foresee the destruction of his empire. Viserys was a dreamer, but not a visionary, and that distinction speaks volumes. Will he be remembered? Maybe yes, but not for the right reasons, indeed.


See more: ‘House of the Dragon’ Recap And Ending, Explained: Will Rhaenyra Drink The Moon Tea?

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Shovan Roy
Shovan Roy
Shovan Roy is a creative content writer. Formerly he used to write film reviews on an international film festival website named Beyond the Curve International Film Festival. He also interviewed global directors. He also interviewed one of the characters from the show 'Trailer Park Boys', Mr. Bernard Robichaud, platformed in Netflix. Shovan tends to write through the third person narrative and he loves to do psychoanalysis. He can't say that he has mastered it but that is some sort of hobby of his. Film is a platform where he loves to spend most of his time learning.

Latest articles