Who is the Mad King in House of the Dragon? An Important Game of Thrones Connection Explained

Aye, there be dragons. But also internal struggles, and troubled royal breeding practices, too.

by J.R. Waugh


House of the Dragon has finally premiered, and for Game of Thrones fans, the Targaryen family is put on full display, although almost 200 years before the events of the hit HBO drama. In the series, we see the ruling kingdom of Westeros in its former glory as it is about to enter its decline before the events of A Song of Ice and Fire. The ruling members of the family come at a crossroads as King Viserys I struggles to produce a male heir, and they must decide the course of action for who should succeed him on the Iron Throne should he pass. This family has its fair share of drama, power struggles, and premonitions, culminating in the fate of the Mad King, but Who is the Mad King in House of the Dragon? Read on to find out!

Who is the Mad King in House of the Dragon?


The Mad King, Aerys II Targaryen, does not appear in House of the Dragon, and remains largely only mentioned or appears in flashbacks in the Game of Thrones series. House of the Dragon takes place nearly 193 years before the events of GoT, well before Aerys’ time, but his lineage is present in the royal family, preserved for generations by inbreeding. In addition to his descent into madness being brought on by the inbreeding tradition, it is foreshadowed by the genuine power struggles that take place in this series, as King Viserys I has to make a crucial decision about the line of succession to the throne. Only read on if you are comfortable with spoilers of the series lore!

The last spoiler warning is here! The events in this series culminate in a massive civil war that breaks down the mighty presence of House Targaryen, once having as many as 18 dragons, down to few, and then none. Given how the show is seemingly altering canon a tad, however, this could change, but it would explain their weakened state by the events of GoT.

Who is the Mad King? An Important Game of Thrones Connection Explained


Additionally, concern for the Mad King, his obsession with fire, setting his victims ablaze, and ultimate wildfire likely stemmed from this sudden decline in dragon presence before he took the throne. But then again, he also had wildfire planted throughout Kings Landing and intended to catch himself in the blaze, to be reborn a dragon, so his reasoning was suspect at best. He would ultimately be stabbed in the back by his kingsguard, Jaime Lannister. Aerys II’s paranoia is well-documented in the series, and his disdain for those he sees as a challenge to his status proves to be his downfall, an element he shares in common with HotD character Daemon Targaryen, played by Matt Smith.

This concludes our coverage of The Mad King in House of the Dragon! Be sure to check out our entertainment column for more stories like this!

House of the Dragon premiered on August 21, 2022, on HBO. You can stream the series on HBO Max.

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