5

Viewers of Game of Thrones (2011) were introduced to Prince Viserys Targaryen, the brother of Daenerys Targaryen, and Rhaegar Targaryen. In the Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon (2022), two Viseryses were also introduced: Viserys I Targaryen (father of Rhaenyra Targaryen), and Viserys II Targaryen (son of Rhaenyra Targaryen). Both Viseryses were kings that sat on the Iron Throne. Viserys II was Hand of the King to three kings before sitting on the Iron Throne. Prince Viserys styles himself as "the Third of his Name", acknowledging his two identically-named ancestors, one of which, he might be named after.

@TheLethalCarrot raises an interesting point in the comments about Daenerys:

We do, however, know that Dany was named after Daenerys Targaryen (daughter of Aegon IV) [...]

I was wondering, was Prince Viserys, like Daenerys, named after one of their Targaryen ancestors? Which King Viserys did Prince Viserys Targaryen's parents, King Aerys II Targaryen and Queen Rhaella Targaryen, name him after — Viserys I, or Viserys II? Or, did they just like that name, and did not intend to name him after a prior Viserys?

I would like to know which Viserys (if any) was respected and deemed worthy by Prince Viserys' parents of being their son's namesake. This might also give us a hint of how the Westerosi viewed the two prior historical figures in comparison to each other.

9
  • 2
    You're presuming that they named him after one of those Viserys', they may have just liked the name.
    – Möoz
    Nov 2, 2022 at 2:58
  • 1
    @Möoz Amended my question to remove presumptions. Nov 2, 2022 at 4:24
  • 1
    FWIW I don't think there is any evidence of who he was named after, if anyone. If it is someone it is almost certainly Viserys I as Viserys dies a child and Viserys II wasn't remembered too fondly and only reigned for a very short period.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Nov 2, 2022 at 10:28
  • 2
    We do, however, know that Dany was named after Daenerys Targaryen (daughter of Aegon IV) but that doesn't really help with Viserys.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Nov 2, 2022 at 10:30
  • 1
    @KorvinStarmast That wouldn't make much sense, characters with the same name is a poor way to try and sell sequels. And even if that were true, which I highly doubt, that is an out of universe reason whereas I believe the question is after an in universe one. It is also worth noting though that the two Viserys kings were names in the A Game of Thrones appendix so your theory doesn't make much sense anyway.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Nov 3, 2022 at 16:43

1 Answer 1

4
+500

Canon Answer

We do not know. There is no mention of who was Viserys III's namesake in the books. The main series makes no mention of it or Viserys' birth at all. Only account of his birth we see is in The World of Ice and Fire. And that itself makes no mention of who his namesake was.

His Grace’s new fidelity was apparently pleasing to the Mother Above, it must be said, for the following year, Queen Rhaella gave the king the second son that he had prayed for. Prince Viserys, born in 276 AC, was small but robust, and as beautiful a child as King’s Landing had ever seen.

Though Prince Rhaegar at seventeen was everything that could be wanted in an heir apparent, all Westeros rejoiced to know that at last he had a brother, another Targaryen to secure the succession. The birth of Prince Viserys only seemed to make Aerys II more fearful and obsessive, however. Though the new young princeling seemed healthy enough, the king was terrified lest he suffer the same fate as his brothers

Speculation based on available information

As you can see, there is no mention of why he was named as such. But we can use the other information in the chapter to speculate.

Queen Rhaella had two miscarriages and one stillborn before giving birth to Prince Daeron who died in infancy. This was followed by another stillbirth and another miscarriage. Then Prince Aegon was born two months premature and died in infancy. The King disowned all these children after their deaths and claimed they were bastards, struck down by Gods to secure sanctity of the throne by keeping bastards off it, presumably a coping mechanism for his grief. After that, Princess Shaena was also stillborn although Aerys never disowned her to our knowledge. She was followed by Prince Jaehaerys who also died in infancy. Viserys was born after Prince Jaehaerys.

As evident from his sons' names (Daeron, Aegon, Jaehaerys and Viserys), all of them share the names of previous Targaryen monarchs. Only Rhaegar had a unique name. In light of this info, we can reasonably speculate that Viserys was named after an illustrious ancestor like his dead brothers, not simply because the King liked the name.

Now that we have somewhat established he was indeed named after a King, we get to your question: Viserys I or Viserys II? We have to go to the main series to find impressions of the learned people of Westeros who are more or less contemporaries of Aerys II. The conversation between Prince Oberyn and Tyrion Lannister (ASOS - Sansa IV) on historical representation of Viserys II provides some insights:-

"I once had the great good fortune to see the Citadel's copy of Lives of Four Kings," Prince Oberyn was telling her lord husband. "The illuminations were wondrous to behold, but Kaeth was too kind by half to King Viserys."

Tyrion gave him a sharp look. "Too kind? He scants Viserys shamefully, in my view. It should have been Lives of Five Kings."

The prince laughed. "Viserys hardly reigned a fortnight."

"He reigned more than a year," said Tyrion.

Oberyn gave a shrug. "A year or a fortnight, what does it matter? He poisoned his own nephew to gain the throne and then did nothing once he had it."

"Baelor starved himself to death, fasting," said Tyrion. "His uncle served him loyally as Hand, as he had served the Young Dragon before him. Viserys might only have reigned a year, but he ruled for fifteen, while Daeron warred and Baelor prayed." He made a sour face. "And if he did remove his nephew, can you blame him? Someone had to save the realm from Baelor's follies."

Sansa was shocked. "But Baelor the Blessed was a great king. He walked the Boneway barefoot to make peace with Dorne, and rescued the Dragonknight from a snakepit. The vipers refused to strike him because he was so pure and holy."

"My prince is playing with you, Lady Sansa," said the woman Ellaria Sand. "The septons and singers like to say that the snakes did not bite Baelor, but the truth is very different. He was bitten half a hundred times, and should have died from it."

"If he had, Viserys would have reigned a dozen years," said Tyrion, "and the Seven Kingdoms might have been better served. Some believe Baelor was deranged by all that venom."

So here we can see that even among the learned circles (Both Oberyn and Tyrion are very well versed in History), Viserys II is a polarizing figure. It appears that people suspect him of kinslaying and consider him of little note due to his brief reign. Some like Tyrion however admire him for his long and successful tenure as the hand, prior to becoming the King. There is no similar impressions on Viserys I by the contemporaries of Aerys II so we must rely on the writings before his time. Viserys I is described in TWOIAF and F&B in following words:-

Viserys I Targaryen had a generous amiable nature and was well loved by his lords and smallfolk alike. The reign of the Young King, as the commons called him upon his ascent, was peaceful and prosperous.

Viserys I Targaryen was not the strongest-willed of kings, it must be said; always amiable and anxious to please, he relied greatly on the counsel of the men around him and did as they bid more oft than not.

He had ruled for six-and-twenty years, reigning over the most prosperous era in the history of the Seven Kingdoms but seeding within it the disastrous decline of his house and the death of the last dragons.

Here we can see that while Viserys I was not considered particularly strong-willed and decisive and somewhat blamed for the Dance in retrospect, he is still seen as the King who presided over the Golden era of Targaryen dynasty, ushering in a long period of peace, prosperity and justice for all.

In light of this information, we can reasonably speculate that Viserys III is named after Viserys I. Kinslaying is a big stigma and while some may argue that Royals may not have cared for public opinion, let us not forget that Prince Maegor (Son of Prince Aerion), lost his chance at the throne for a number of reasons, one of which was being named after Maegor the Cruel. Furthermore, Viserys II's actual reign was inconsequential so it wouldn't make sense for Aerys to name his second son after him.

In any case, it must be noted that it all in the end goes back to Viserys I as Viserys II himself was named by Rhaenyra for her father Viserys I.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.