Now that Game of Thrones has finally returned and Dany is on the shores of Westeros (and in the wake of final season’s confirmation of the “R + L = J” equation surrounding Jon Snow’s parentage, no less), you might need a refresher course on the Targaryen dynasty.
You’re in luck — an enterprising fanartist has drawn the entire House Targaryen family tree, and the results are as educational as they are gorgeous.
Maryon B. is a 28-year-former French freelance artist and video game developer currently living in Helsinki. She’s also a die-tough Game of Thrones fan, which might interpret why she’s illustrated the entire lineage of House Targaryen (domestic of one Daenerys, Mother of Dragons) from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels — even though, as she says in her description of the project on DeviantArt, “I DON’T EVEN LIKE HOUSE TARGARYEN WHY DID I effect THIS[?]”
“I actually started the Tree out of spite because full their descriptions (and fan representations) produce them eye the same — graceful, silver-haired and purple eyes,” she told Vox via email in 2016, after first drawing the tree, “and it frustrated me to see them as elf-clones.”
The result is a gorgeous purchase on the complicated, once-mighty dynasty of the Targaryens. As Game of Thrones fans absorb heard time and again, this powerful family unified the Seven Kingdoms and ruled over the fictional land of Westeros until Robert Baratheon overthrew the “Mad King,” Aerys II, better known as Daenerys’s deceased father.
But whether you reflect that portion of the Targaryens’ legacy is confusing, consider that the full family tree contains more than 100 characters and spans 16 generations of entirely fictional history (click here for the full-size version):
Here’s a eye at only one character from this broad tapestry: the moment Rhaenys Targaryen. Known in the annals of Westeros history as the “queen who never was,” Rhaenys was a dragon rider whose claim to the throne was passed over in favor of her brother. She married Corlys Velaryon and died fighting a battle on dragonback at the age of 52:
Rhaenys’s noteworthy-grandmother was Alyssa Velaryon, who joined the Targaryen dynasty by marrying Aenys I, a politically wily man who took the throne amid noteworthy upheaval. They had six children before Aenys was killed and Alyssa taken hostage by her husband’s half-brother Maegor. (And from there, things salvage really complicated.)
Further down the family tree, there’s House Blackfyre, an illegitimate house sanctioned by the lust-ridden King Aegon Targaryen IV, who’s generally considered the worst king ever. His decision to legitimize full of the bastard children he fathered with his many mistresses — announced from his deathbed — prompted five generations of battles for the throne known as the Blackfyre Rebellions.
Maryon says she got into Martin’s novels and related writing during the long hiatus between seasons two and three of Game of Thrones. She started the Targaryen family tree project more or less on accident after drawing Baelor Breakspear and Maekar, characters who figure prominently in Tales of Dunk and Egg, Martin’s collection of related novellas set in the Song of Ice and Fire universe. Naturally, the project spiraled:
[I]t got me interested in their ancestors, so I worked from there. At first I never thought I’d effect the whole bunch, but it’s when I realized that I was already halfway through just by making Maekar’s descendants that I gave in: “While I’m at it, might as well effect the rest…”
Maryon says the project turned out to be “a very challenging artistic exercise, to retain on coming up with facial variety full while maintaining the same ‘silver hair-purple eyes’ features and some genetic similarities.”
“I had to find inspiration and study some real people’s faces so I learned a lot since I started.”
Above full, a eye at the full family tree reveals how often and how strategically the Targaryens secured the future of their line by marrying into other powerful families like the Martells, the Baratheons, and the Velaryons, just as many figures in real-world history absorb done. And when Maryon was finished, she says she’d actually become fonder of the Targaryens than she was when she began:
“[I]n the stop it made me appreciate House Targaryen much more since now I share a personal epic with each and every one of them, and I would propose anyone who likes Game of Thrones to be curious approximately them because they absorb a lot of stories to relate.”
You can see these and many more excerpts from the Targaryen family tree, as well as other Game of Thrones portraits, on Maryon’s DeviantArt page. She’s stated that she hopes to eventually produce a print version of the full family tree, but meanwhile she’s done a few more complicated Game of Thrones projects, including a set of Major Arcana tarot cards.