Dragon House, is the legend of Targaryen madness real?

In the four released chapters of the series. The House of the Dragonwhich you can watch on HBO Max, there was already several hints about the analysis of the plot the family mental equilibrium. Daemon Targaryen beheaded, castrated, and dismembered dozens of victims in a surprise raid on the streets of King’s Landing. Later, the disinherited prince beat a messenger to within an inch of his life. In the fourth episode of The House of the Dragon, Viserys insisted that his kinsmen are “chaotic and uncontrollable.”

Again and again, the sanity of the dynasty seems to be part of a larger problem. One that will make them in the future a black legend in Westeros and martyrs to a tragedy that will lead to their destruction. But before that happens, The House of the Dragon gives us hints about the impact of the affair. A key point in understanding the impending internecine warfare between the warring factions. Much more, the way in which an opulent reign ended up collapsing in ashes.

Madness as a complicated inheritance for The House of the Dragon

The House of the Dragon
But is madness really that close to the Targaryens? The question points to much broader layers of power. Aegon the Conqueror imposed his rule over Westeros by force of fire and brutal slaughter. Later, most of his descendants battled on the backs of dragons to destroy entire territories in terrifying massacres.

Even Daenerys, the most distant descendant in the timeline shown in her TV adaptations, ends up destroying King’s Landing the reason? The Dragon Queen insisted on “ridding the city” (and apparently, the rest of the continent) of dictators through death.

But first, the character suffered the loss of Missandei of Naath and two of her dragons. His mental health seemed to crack and despite the narration problems of the eighth season of Game of Thronesthe message is clear.

The Queen was doomed to disaster a kind of madness, inherited and shared by a good part of her family, which caused the dynasty to eventually succumb. A long line of misfortunes, murders and tragedies that turned the Targaryens into tenebrous myths in Westeros.

The slow descent into disaster

In the eighth season of Game of Thrones most of the information about the Targaryens was related to fear. Varys betrayed Daenerys, uneasy that he might lose his trial as Aerys II Targaryen.

The same happened with Tyrion Lannister when he instigated Jon Snow to kill Queen. The fact is that the possibility that he could use his firepower against his enemies was becoming more and more apparent. The death of the Tarlys was a warning the most alarming one of the last Targaryen’s decision to seize power by violence. But Was it a ruthless war strategy or a form of insanity? Whether because of potholes in the argument or lack of clarity, we have no certainty.

The book Fire and Bloodby George R.R. Martin, provides a detailed summary of the Targaryen family tree and the behavior of its members. On Reddit, a user analyzed the information and came to conclusions of interest. The extensive account makes it clear that only nine kings of The House could be considered literally insane over the course of fourteen generations.. Also, that 27 of the regents were hailed as “righteous” and that 35 of them were only eventual occupants of the Iron Throne.

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In three hundred years exercising power, it is clear that the number of dangerous or potentially unhinged Targaryen is low. Nevertheless, it would seem, their behavior was considered so terrifying as to make insanity a stigma. A latent possibility that turned the dynasty into a tragedy about to explode and sweep – as in the end it almost did – the continent with it.

The dark magic of the Targaryens, by Game of Thrones a The House of the Dragon

“Every time a Targaryen is born, the gods flip the coin and the world holds its breath,” Jaehaerys II said about his kin. Something that would later be repeated by Varys and Cersei Lannister. The idea seems to be related to a physical condition that manifests itself in extreme situations.

Also, with the link to ancestral dragon magic. Or so it suggests Blood and Fire by going into details about the insanity attributed to the family. For example, one of the monarchs considered insane was Danys Targaryen, who still in Valyria had a prophetic dream.

One so explicit about the destruction of the fief of The House in Essos, that it provoked the family flight to Westeros. The vision, which occurred twelve years before the tragedy, allowed them to save their lives. The narrative proposes that it was actually an irrational impulse and close to paranoia, but benign in essence.

The same is true of Viserys I, whose dream of a male successor is recounted in. The House of the Dragon. The king recounted, first to his late wife Aemma and then to the very young Queen Alicent, that he caught a glimpse of a man on the Iron Throne. “I saw him wearing the crown and he was my heir,” she remarked.
The House of the Dragon

Voices from the past and mystery in the family tree.

However, other similar experiences led the Targaryens to disasters and violent tragedies.. Prince Aerion had the exalted certainty that he could become a dragon after a dream. So he drank Valyrian fire, which ended up causing his instant and gruesome death.

King Aegon V attempted to bring about the birth of one of the great magical beasts from petrified eggs in the midst of a monumental bonfire he glimpsed in a vision. The attempt devastated even the ashes of the family’s summer retreat. A tragedy that became a symbol of Targaryen ambition in its darkest moments.

Madness manifests itself in a direct way

King Maegor the Cruel, son of Aegon I, was considered insane because of his cruelty. In particular, because of his cruelty to animals and his brutality in open field fighting. Martin suggests in his text that his “madness” could be due to a war wound. Even so, the monarch terrified a good part of his subjects with a behavior given to the bloody and unpredictable.

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At another extreme, familial mental disorders can also manifest themselves in a more passive form. As in the case of King Baelor, who died of starvation after refusing to eat for unclear reasons.

Before that, he suffered a snake attack in Dorne. It was speculated that his psychiatric condition was related to the effects of the venom. But it was never fully established whether his decision to starve to death was more related to mystical visions of purity.

An increasingly lethal inheritance

infusion, the house of the dragon
The list of Targaryen eccentricities grew over the centuries. Rhaegel, son of Daeron II, walked naked through the Red Keep. On so many occasions and so embarrassingly, that he ended up locked up under lock and key. Queen Helaena, wife/sister of Aegon II, threw herself from a tower. In her case, it was due to her despair at choosing which of her three sons would be killed which caused him to suffer from an incurable form of dementia.

Of course, Aerys II, the Mad King, is the most obvious example of the belief in Westeros about the madness of the dynasty. He murdered and tortured enemies and subjects alike. He also attempted to burn King’s Landing in an explosion of Valyrian fire, the mere possibility of which prompted Jamie Lannister’s decision to assassinate him. His son Rhaegar, father of Jon Snow, is described as obsessive and reckless “to dangerous levels”. Viserys, his younger brother, had delusions of grandeur and, also, outbreaks of unstoppable violence.

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The House of the Dragon: in the end, destiny is in the blood

Daenerys, the last descendant in direct line, showed no symptoms of insanity or violence immediately. But he did show symptoms of the family’s well-known prophetic dreams.

In the second season of Game of Thrones makes it clear that a “vision” told him what he should do to bring about the birth of his dragons. Even so, his mental stability seemed assured or, at least, he appeared to be much more rational than the rest of his family was.

In the end, however, he ended up carrying out his father’s plan to devastate King’s Landing. Which seemed to confirm that even the best-intentioned Targaryens could be dangerous on a level that was difficult to comprehend.