Is House Targaryen in Game of Thrones Book-Accurate?

House Targaryen is the most popular house on Game of Thrones. Even people who’ve never seen the series or its spinoff, House of the Dragon, know that it’s full of dragons and blonde-haired people. This is all thanks to Daenerys Targaryen’s popularity. The claim to the Iron Throne is central to the two core Targaryen plots of Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon.



Of course, as part of any adaptation process, several Targaryen features got lost in translation when HBO based its Game of Thrones franchise on the popular A Song of Ice and Fire novel series by George R. R. Martin. As the original rulers of the Seven Kingdoms, the dragon-riding Targaryens don’t accept anything less. Although their altered storylines are invigorating enough on their own, there are some missing details that flesh out the Targaryens more in A Song of Ice and Fire.


The Targaryens’ Eye Color Are Originally Violet in the Books

Daemon Targaryen After His Defeat Of The Crabfeeder

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Daemon Targaryen captivated audiences with his impulsive but charismatic personality. He had some of the best quotes in House of The Dragon.

The Targaryen family doesn’t just stand out as the sole dragon-riders in George R. R. Martin’s work. The Targaryens are also known for their physical appearances. More specifically, they’re noted for their Valyrian features of silver-gold hair and violet eyes. While the silver hair was easy to achieve in the show, the same can’t be said for the violet eyes.

The violet eye color detail was ultimately cut from Game of Thrones due to practicality. In the Season 1 DVD commentary, creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss explained that the purple contact lenses were too distracting for the actors, taking away from their performance. There was also speculation that Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) and Harry Lloyd (Viserys Targaryen) found the purple contacts uncomfortable. For the remainder of Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon, every Targaryen actor has kept their original eye color.

Daenerys Targaryren’s Immunity to Fire Was a Unique Occurrence

A newly hatched dragon stands on Daenerys Targaryen's shoulder in Game of Thrones.

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Game of Thrones fans often wonder if Tyrion Lannister was in love with Daenerys Targaryen. The answer to that is more complicated fans may believe.

Daenerys Targaryen is one of the most trailblazing Targaryens in Westerosi history. Not only did she survive the downfall of her house as an infant, but she proclaimed a new age of dragons. To do so, Daenerys had to walk into a pyre of flames that could’ve easily killed her. Thanks to blood magic, she walked out unharmed.

Daenerys’ resistance to fire is exemplified in the series when she’s unharmed by a scalding dragon egg and leaves a burning Dothraki hut as the only unscathed survivor. But neither event appears in the books because Daenerys isn’t truly immune to fire, just like the rest of the Targaryens. Daenerys only survived the funeral pyre because of blood magic in a miraculous situation.

Game of Thrones Erases a Rumored Targaryen

House Of The Dragon's Baelon Targaryen

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Every Targaryen In House Of The Dragon & How They’re Related To Maester Aemon

Maester Aemon is one of a few Targareyns in Game of Thrones, which means he’s related to the Targaryens in House of the Dragon.

As most fans know, Martin has yet to release the next book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, The Winds of Winter. It’s been 16 years since A Dance with Dragons was released, so David Benioff and D.B. Weiss had to take creative liberties to complete the story themselves. One storyline that was presumably abandoned and fulfilled by another character was that of Young Griff, who claims to be Aegon IV Targaryen in the books.

A man of Valyrian origin, Young Griff believes he’s the rumored dead son of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen and Princess Elia Martell. If this is true, that puts Griff ahead of Daenerys as heir to the Iron Throne, and even Jon Snow if the theory that he’s Rhaegar and Lyanna Stark’s son is correct. Game of Thrones never mentions Griff, nor speculates that Rhaegar’s children could’ve survived the Sack of King’s Landing. However, the creators may have melded Griff and Jon’s storyline together by causing a succession scandal between Daenerys and Jon, the latter of whom was revealed to be Aegon Targaryen. More than likely, the books could be preparing Griff to be a much more dangerous and determined opponent for Daenerys than Jon ever was.

Some Targaryens’ Ages Were Altered in Game of Thrones

Rhaenyra Targaryen returning to camp covered in blood House of the Dragon

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House of the Dragon’s Rhaenyra Targaryen may fight to sit on the Iron Throne as the Queen of Westeros but her children are an important part of her.

In A Song of Ice and Fire, Daenerys is only 13 years old when she marries Khal Drogo and rises from the flames with newborn dragons. Although strong-minded and independent, her youth often gets in the way of her making sound decisions as a queen in the books. It adds a certain level of complexity to her character that’s missing from the show. But given the tragic and explicit elements of Daenerys’ storyline, it was best to age her up.

House of the Dragon‘s age differences are much more apparent when it comes to Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower. In the show, the two are the same age and grew up as best friends in King’s Landing. Fire & Blood, however, describes Rhaenyra as a young child when an 18-year-old Alicent married Viserys. Their dynamic is completely different as an emotionally distant step-mother and step-daughter, and a lot less is at stake if that relationship is put to the sword.

Rhaenyra’s Familial Affairs Are More Dramatic in House of the Dragon

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House of the Dragon has been a powerhouse spinoff for GoT fans. But there are still ideas surrounding the Targaryens that fans can’t agree with.

Fire & Blood is written as a text of historical speculation, most of which was lost in House of the Dragon. The series confirms many of the rumors surrounding the Targaryen family during the Dance of the Dragons, including Rhaenyra’s relationships. Being the first woman to inherit the Iron Throne, the men of the realm took offense to it. To squash her chances of success, they’d spread rumors of her promiscuity and affairs outside of her marriage.

Rhaenyra’s affairs with Ser Criston Cole and Ser Harwin Strong were pure speculation in the book, but confirmed in the HBO series. Rhaenyra’s first three children were fathered by Harwin due to Laenor Velaryon being gay. The biggest chance, however, was leaving Laenor’s status up for interpretation. The book, however, is clear that Laenor was killed in Spice Town in front of several witnesses, but House of the Dragon fakes his death to soften Rhaenyra’s character.

Aegon the Conquerer Predicted the Prince That Was Promised

Aegon Targaryen Depicted In The Midst Of Battle

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Game of Thrones is defined by the dynasty of the Targaryens and the life of Aerys II, the Mad King, had a lasting impact on the Song of Ice and Fire.

The age-old debate between Game of Thrones fans is that of the true Prince That Was Promised. Some believe it was Jon Snow, the half-Stark and half-Targaryen man who united the army of the living to prevent the Long Night against the army of the dead. Others say it was Daenerys Targaryen, who was “born again amidst smoke and salt” as the red star bled, just as the prophecy states of Azor Ahai’s birth.

The Prince That Was Promised prophecy is frequently visited in books, but the origins of the prophecy are unknown, leaving an ambiance of mystery. House of the Dragon fills in the blanks by introducing the prophecy as a dream Aegon the Conquerer had. Viserys I Targaryen tells his daughter Rhaenyra that a descendent of their line is destined to unite the Seven Kingdoms against a coming darkness. If the last two unpublished books go the same route, then the prophecy either has to be Jon or Daenerys, or maybe even Young Griff if Martin feels like pulling a comedic twist.

All eight seasons of Game of Thrones are available to stream on Max. House of the Dragon is expected to air in summer 2024 on HBO.

Sean Bean in Game of Thrones (2011) poster

Game Of Thrones

Nine noble families fight for control over the lands of Westeros, while an ancient enemy returns after being dormant for a millennia.

Release Date
April 17, 2011

Creator
David Benioff, D.B. Weiss

Seasons
8

Production Company
Home Box Office (HBO), Television 360Grok! Studio

Number of Episodes
73

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