We are told from early on in Game of Thrones that Viserys and Daenerys are brother and sister, and it is said they are the descendants of dragons, although this is (as of yet -- midway through season 2 for me) not fully explained.

When Viserys is killed during the shaping of a custom-made gold crown, his sister, Daenerys, says "He was not a dragon. A dragon cannot be killed by fire." Or words to that effect.

Later, she demonstrates her own "dragonness" by surviving a fire, and at the same time establishing her status as "Mother of Dragons," when her three dragon eggs hatch.

What is the relationship between this brother and sister, and dragons? Are they not truly brother and sister, thus explaining why she is immune to fire but her brother not? Or is "dragonness" less of a biological trait, which can be lost (and perhaps gained) by some other means?


3 Answers 3


Viserys and Daenerys are the last known descendants of a noble Valyrian family called the Targaryens. Like many noble Valyrian families, they had very strong ties to dragons. They bred them, trained them, and rode them to war. In fact, the Targaryen coat of arms is a red three headed dragon on a field of black. When Valyria was destroyed in a mysterious event known as the Doom of Valyria, the Targaryens escaped to Westeros where it became apparent to them that they were the only people there who had access to dragons. Using that technological edge, Aegon the Conqueror invaded Westeros with his dragons and united the Seven Kingdoms into one, effectively beginning the royal Valyrian dynasty in Westeros.

For many years after, the Targaryens continued to use their dragons. At one time, each Targaryen noble would be given a dragon egg from birth hoping that eventually it would hatch and be that Targaryen's war mount. But as years went on, the dragons stopped hatching and those that did hatch were sick and weak. Eventually, dragons would disappear completely. As a result, the Targaryen family lost it's technological edge and it wasn't long until they were supplanted by the Baratheons who are in control of the Iron Throne at the begning of the series.

The relationship between the Targaryens and their dragons are obviously magical, but it is not well understood at this time. But what is obvious is that not all the Targaryens are the same. Even the famed Targaryen look (silver blonde hair and purple eyes) is not uniform among them. So it would seem that Daenerys simply inherited something that Viserys didn't. Or perhaps the dragon eggs themselves gave her something that it didn't to Viserys. It's all speculation at this point.

  • 3
    Great answer. A minor point: Dragons are not a 'technological' edge.
    – bobbyalex
    Jun 17, 2014 at 2:28
  • 3
    @BobbyAlexander - Well dragons themselves might not be a technological edge, but training them might count. But that's just arguing over semantics :) Jun 17, 2014 at 6:44
  • "strategic edge" would be better
    – OrangeDog
    Oct 31, 2018 at 15:48
  • If dragons are used in the production of dragonsteel, aka Valyrian steel, they may prove to be a technological edge
    – m1gp0z
    Mar 8, 2019 at 15:25

In the books, Daenerys is not immune to fire. The event in which the dragon eggs hatched was magical, according to George RR Martin. This protected Daenerys to a degree, but she still lost all of her hair and suffered fairly bad burns on her hands and feet.


It was a tradition for Targaryens to marry their sister to keep their blood pure targaryenblood but Raghear Targaryen married Elia Martell. So maybe Viserys simply inherited his mothers "blood" and Deanerys her fathers. Therefore he could be killed by fire while Deanerys is immune.

  • 2
    Interesting information, but it doesn't answer the question. At least not fully. This is probably better as a comment.
    – Flimzy
    Sep 9, 2015 at 16:01
  • Rhaegar is Viserys and Daenerys' brother, not their father. Viserys and Daenerys' mother is a Targaryen, not a Martell. Sep 13, 2022 at 14:09

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