From this article:

The Targaryens, for those of you who lose track of all of the surnames in the series, are the platinum-haired royal family who ruled the land for centuries prior to the events of the show/books. Daenerys' entire claim to the throne is based on the idea that she's the last surviving member of that family. She intends to press this claim using her inherent genetic ability to befriend dragons, which is how the Targaryens came to power in the first place.

So, anyone who turns out to be a Targaryen in this universe automatically is a big deal, because they can make a plausible claim to the throne. According to Internet theorists, the reason Tyrion is everyone's favorite Lannister (aside from the stone-fisted awesomeness of Peter Dinklage) might be because he isn't actually a Lannister at all -- he's half Targaryen.

First, there's the fact that Tywin, Tyrion's official father, hates Tyrion with every fiber of his being and loathes calling him "son." He even says to Tyrion, "Men's laws give you the right to bear my name and display my colors since I cannot prove that you are not mine."

Now, you could just chalk that up to another gilded gauntlet full of cold-blooded spite Tywin is so fond of hurling around, but the fact that he said "I cannot prove that you are not mine" seems to indicate that he really doesn't think Tyrion is his child.

See, in the books, Tyrion is described as having hair so blond that it's nearly white (all the Targaryens have white hair), as well as one green eye and one dark eye that's almost black (it could conceivably be a deep purple, which is the color of the Targaryens' eyes). Add to that the fact that King Aerys Targaryen, whom Tywin worked for, totally wanted to bang Tywin's wife, and the evidence begins to stack up to right around waist height -- the former king is Tyrion's real dad.

Some fans even extend the theory to Tywin's less-shame-inducing offspring, Jaime and Cersei. If you think about it, they certainly display some undeniably Targaryen characteristics: They carry on the age-old Targaryen tradition of hyper incest, they're both absurdly narcissistic, and Cersei is obsessed with fire. Jaime even compares her to King Aerys after she burns down the Tower of the Hand, and Jaime would know, because he personally stabbed King Aerys to death.

The real smoking crossbow, though, is that on Tywin and Joanna's wedding night, Aerys said that it was a "great pity that the lord's right to the first night had been abolished" before taking "liberties ... during the bedding." Exactly what sort of "liberties" are unclear, but it's entirely possible that not a damn one of Tywin's children are actually his.

Is there any evidence that any (or all) of the Lannister siblings are really Targaryens?

  • 27
    Is there anybody left in this series who isn't possibly a Targaryen? I'm only half joking here...
    – user8719
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 12:51
  • 11
    Its important to remember that Tywin hates Tyrion for more reasons than simply that he is a dwarf. Joanna died in childbirth and she was the light of Tywin's life. He is reported to have never smiled or laughed since her death, and the entire Lannister family seems to blame Tyrion for it. Plus it doesn't help that Tyrion is constantly fighting his father and rebelling against him.
    – ssell
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 14:54
  • 2
    Many people who read the books believe that at least Tyrion is a Targaryen once they reach Book 4 or Book 5. If you are just starting in the books around Book 1 or 2 and reading through and see the previous question title it is a possible spoiler that many readers wouldn't want to see before making their own conclusions and thoughts based on their reading. What may be revealed in a future released book matches the previous title. Thus, this is a possible spoiler, depending on some outcomes.
    – PW Kad
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 17:31
  • 4
    @user8719, half joking, half Targaryen?
    – Aegon
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 11:54
  • 1
    If Tyrion is called half-man, and is half Targaryen and if we are half-joking ... fractions are hard!
    – m1gp0z
    Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 15:42

1 Answer 1


The "the liberties [Aerys] took during the bedding" as the basis of a theory for Jaime and Cersei doesn't fly according to information from the recently released book The World Of Ice And Fire, as quoted by Tumblr user joannalannister:

The theory “Jaime and Cersei are Secret Targs” was based on the idea that Cersei and Jaime were conceived when Aerys allegedly raped Joanna while taking “liberties” at the bedding on Tywin and Joanna’s wedding night in 263 AC.


But even if Aerys HAD raped Joanna while taking “liberties” in 263, it’s not physically possible for Jaime and Cersei to have been conceived on Tywin’s wedding night in 263. Jaime and Cersei were born in 266 AC at Casterly Rock. Joanna was not at court; she had been dismissed immediately after “liberties” because Rhaella thought of her as a “whore” and victim-blamed her. (Click here for relevant quotes.) Joanna was not in contact with Aerys again until they moved the court to Casterly Rock for a year in 267 AC, which was after Jaime and Cersei were born.

UPDATE: Tumblr user joannalannister writes this regarding Tyrion being a Targaryen (as the result of Joanna Lannister having been raped by Aerys):

I am certain Tywin would not continue to serve the man who raped his wife, regardless of what Aerys wanted. Tywin resigned over Jaime being taken from him; he would have resigned over Joanna being raped. I feel very confident in saying that.

There is a lot more in her post, though it should be noted that there currently is no evidence to definitely rule anything out. But to me it does seem to be a case of GRRM trolling his readers; like she says:

Saving the world is not limited to Targaryens, secret or otherwise.

UPDATE 2: It appears influential ASoIaF blogger Sean T. Collins is now on board with "Tyrion Targaryen" after reading The World of Ice and Fire. And he doesn't seem to be trolling his readers.

I've just started reading TWoIaF so I don't know what "evidence" he found; I'll try to update my answer once I reach that part of the book.)

UPDATE 3: Elio M. García Jr. and Linda Antonsson, co-authors of The World of Ice and Fire, spoke in the Podcast of Ice and Fire about this topic:

They point out that the new book pretty much flat-out debunks the idea that Aerys is secretly Jaime & Cersei’s real father. That’s a theory I never thought cut any ice anyway, but they’re right, the timeline doesn’t work in any way. With a surprisingly vocal degree of regret, however, they also point out that it doesn’t debunk the idea that Aerys is secretly Tyrion's father. Interestingly, they're on the side of the many, many detractors of this theory here on tumblr — they don't like it at all. Elio said something to the effect of “You know, it's George's story, if that's where he wants to take it that's fine, but…” and he and Linda went on to voice some of the same objections I've seen here, off the top of my head the idea that it undermines the weight of the similarities between Tywin and Tyrion, and that this might be one secret Targaryen/Blackfyre too many. The whole conversation is interesting insofar as if they'd had any inside information about the truth of the matter, they surely wouldn't have brought it up at all, and they dislike the idea enough to say so publicly even though by their own admission it's entirely possible their own co-author is headed in exactly that direction.

In conclusion: most likely we'll only know for certain after the publication of the final book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series.

UPDATE 4: I've read the relevant passages in TWoIaF, and it seems to me there is indeed no reason to assume Cersei and Jaime are Targaryens. However, Tyrion's origins seem to be deliberately vague. There is no report of Aerys II Targaryen bedding Joanna Lannister, but he had lusted after her even though he seemingly hadn't consumed that relationship before her marriage to Tywin.

I see it entirely possible that he abused her at the Anniversary Tourney of 272 AC, held to commemorate Aerys’s tenth year upon the Iron Throne, especially considering his foul remarks towards her (he asked her if giving suck to them had “ruined your breasts, which were so high and proud.”). Tywin attempted to return his chain of office the next morning, but the king refused to accept his resignation.

There are no "exact dates", but I think it is a bit too coincidental that she gave birth to Tyrion in 273 AC and that some of the descriptions match the descriptions of the miscarriages Aerys's wife suffered:

a malformed, dwarfish babe born with stunted legs, an oversized head, and mismatched, demonic eyes (some reports also suggested he had a tail, which was lopped off at his lord father’s command)

Then there's also Aerys's jealousy WRT Tywin having beautiful twins:

“I appear to have married the wrong woman.”

There's his insistence that Tywin bring them and their mother to court:

“And bring their mother, too, for it has been too long since I gazed upon that fair face.”

And there's his pronouncement after the birth of Tyrion:

“The gods cannot abide such arrogance. They have plucked a fair flower from his hand and given him a monster in her place, to teach him some humility at last.”

None of that is evidence, of course.

  • 1
    so at best tyrion is the only one who could be targaryan?
    – Himarm
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 13:01
  • 7
    The same link also promises to talk about Tyrion later, but IMHO it is very unlikely he's a Targaryan. Let's also not forget what Genna Lannister said to Jaime: "...but Tyrion is Tywin's son, not you. I said so once to your father's face, and he would not speak to me for half a year."
    – BCdotWEB
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 13:57
  • 3
    Unless they lied about the birth date so people wouldn't work it out...
    – Yakk
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 20:43
  • I'm going to squabble over the wording of the relevant quotes "Not long thereafter, Queen Rhaella dismissed Joanna Lannister from her service...Lady Joanna departed at once for Casterly Rock and seldom visited King’s Landing thereafter" "Not long thereafter" isn't a precise time measure it could have been the next day or it could have been months its an opinion based time. "seldom visited" doesn't say she didn't visit only that it was an uncommon occurrence. Commented Nov 17, 2014 at 13:16
  • 1
    After the birth of Cersei and Jaime it took six years before Joanna Lannister encountered Aerys II Targaryen again: at the great Anniversary Tourney of 272 AC. Considering his behavior I don't expect her to visit more often. Seems to me "seldom" is very appropriate.
    – BCdotWEB
    Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 12:26

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