House Targaryen has been the ruling house of the Seven Kingdoms for nearly 300 years. Its seat is in King’s Landing, the royal capital of Westeros, and the Prince of the Seven Kingdoms resides in Dragonstone, an island fortress. It was the principal house in the Crownlands. Its coat of arms shows a red, three-headed dragon breathing fire on a black field, and its words are Fire and Blood.
The Targaryens originally came from Valyria on the continent of Essos. Before Valyria was destroyed in an event known as the Doom, the Targaryens left for Dragonstone, which was then the westernmost outpost in the Valyrian empire. A century after the Doom, Aegon I Targaryen began a conquest of mainland Westeros and landed at what would later become King’s Landing. Aegon conquered six of the Seven Kingdoms with his dragons; and his descendants won the seventh through a political marriage. The Targaryen dragons were the last known to exist and died out long before the events of A Game of Thrones. Unlike the other Westerosi noble houses, the Targaryens marry brother to sister, often with three people to a marriage, to keep the bloodline pure. People of Targaryen ancestry, referred to as “blood of the dragon”, tend to have silvery-gold or platinum hair and purple eyes ranging from lilac to violet.
Fifteen years before the events of the series, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen disappeared with Lyanna Stark. When House Stark and Lyanna’s betrothed Robert Baratheon protested, King Aerys II executed Lyanna’s father and one of her brothers and demanded the heads of Robert and another of her brothers. In response, Robert and many of the noble houses rebelled. Aerys, Rhaegar, and most of the Targaryens were killed in the rebellion. Aerys’s remaining children, Viserys and Daenerys, and Rhaegar’s son Aegon VI were smuggled to safety in Essos.