King Viserys I Targaryen was a kind ruler who ruled peacefully for over 40 years in Westeros. But just because he was a nice king doesn’t mean he was ultimately good. After all, his callous attitude towards his children with Alicent Hightower and his preference for Rhaenyra threw the kingdom into chaos and caused the Targaryen civil war called the Dance of the Dragons. Not sure if you agree? Let’s explain.
King Viserys I Targaryen only loved one of his children
In episode 8, when Viserys is about to die, he asks to have dinner with his family. During this scene, he delivers an impassioned speech intended to bring together the two opposing sides of his family – Rhaenyra and Alicent. But his words about their family sticking together so the kingdom can stay strong ring hollow because the Dance of the Dragons could have been avoided had he been a caring father and husband.
The show makes it very clear that Viserys is biased towards Rhaenyra. He goes against tradition by naming her heiress, ignores her banter and bastard children, and even reinforces her children’s legitimacy on the Iron Throne and Driftmark. In contrast, we have no scene of Viserys showing the same love and care for his and Alice’s children. Many fan theories say that his excessive preference for Rhaenyra is due to his love and guilt towards Aemma.
If Viserys wasn’t determined to have a son, then Aemma wouldn’t have died being opened. She was dying anyway, but Viserys’ insistence on having the child made the situation barbaric. And perhaps to make up for the act (since he gave the orders) and his guilt, he pours out his love on his daughter.
But his love for Rhaenyra blinds him to his other children. He is so indifferent about them (or his guilt for Aemma is so strong) that he does not designate his son, Aegon II, as heir, even though that decision would have kept the kingdom united. Nor does he take any steps to ensure that Aegon II does not dispute Rhaenyra’s claim.
How the situation could have been different
It’s clear he doesn’t care about his children with Alicent. But if he had, the civil war could have been avoided. After all, one of the reasons Alicent switches from supporting the Targaryens to the Hightowers is because she sees that her husband, the King, is openly biased towards Rhaenyra. And that pushes her to act to secure the lives of her children.
Her father, Otto Hightower’s poisonous words, and Rhaenyra’s lie also tip the scales in her decision to provide for her own household. But it’s also clear that Viserys’ overt partiality to Rhaenyra drives her even further into madness for the throne. So if Viserys had created a harmonious family where he loved everyone equally, maybe Alice wouldn’t need to be so bossy and power-hungry. Along with that, Alicent might not have forced his son Aegon to be king. After all, Aegon II had already said in Episode 6 that he didn’t want the throne.
Additionally, Visery’s care for her other children might have bolstered Rhaenyra’s claim to the throne since there would have been no opposition to it. Also, if Viserys was a caring father, he would have realized that Helaena was a dragon dreamer. And even though she spoke in riddles, her dreams came true. They could have befriended being dreamers, and he could have told her about the Song of Ice and Fire. Both could probably have discerned its significance as well.
Perhaps his children would also have heeded his last words to stay together as a family, if they actually cared about him. But they don’t. During the scene where he limps to the throne, neither Aegon II, Aemond, nor Helaena seem moved by his pitiful state.
In one scene, he asks Otto Hightower if the history books will be nice to him. We think this is debatable. After all, he is definitely responsible for the tragedy that befalls his home after his death.
What do you think? Let us know.