Dissecting Daenerys Targaryen’s Name and Long List of Titles

Weeks after the controversial ending of HBO’s Game of Thrones and people still can’t stop talking about Daenerys Targaryen and how she met her untimely death. While fans are divided on whether or not Dany’s madness came out of the blue or had been foreshadowed the entire time, we can all agree that seeing her unleash her and her dragon’s full potential on King’s Landing shows just how she had been a player in the Game of Thrones that others shouldn’t have ignored a long time ago.

Still, her ending doesn’t change all the memorable moments she’s had in the past eight seasons (what’s yours? Let us know in the comments!). One of her most memorable moments (because it was kind of funny) was when she and Jon Snow met for the first time. And while Missandei spent a good 30 seconds rattling off all of Dany’s titles, Jon… well, it’s Jon.

 

But did you know that despite how long Missandei took to announce Dany’s names and titles, that list is still incomplete? And what do those titles even mean? Some are pretty self-explanatory, but if you haven’t read George R.R. Martin’s books or tried to learn more about the context behind the show, those titles’ meaning may have slipped your mind.

So, here’s a run-down on all of Dany’s titles and what they mean.

What Are Daenerys Targaryen’s Titles?

Missandei addresses Dany as such: “Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, Rightful Heir to the Iron Throne, Rightful Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms, The Mother of Dragons, The Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, The Unburnt, The Breaker of Chains.”

However, Missandei fails to mention some of these titles, some of which are just as important as the other titles she mentioned.

  • First of Her Name
  • Queen of Mereen
  • Queen of the Rhoynar
  • Princess of Dragonstone
  • Protector of the Realm

This also doesn’t include the other epithets used to name her or any non-official titles used to revere Dany, but has been used quite often in the books and TV series:

  • The Silver Queen / Silver Lady
  • Dragon Mother
  • The Dragon Queen
  • Bride of Fire
  • Daughter of Death
  • Slayer of Lies
  • Child of Three
  • Mhysa
  • The Prince That Was Promised

The epithets are pretty self-explanatory, so we’ll be dissecting all the names and titles Missandei mentioned as well as the legal titles Daenerys is entitled to that are used in Westerosi culture. To fully understand the context behind these titles, we’ll be using references from A Song of Ice and Fire, the TV show, and interviews from the creator himself, George R.R. Martin.

Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen

Daenerys Targaryen was born to King Aerys II (known later in his reign as The Mad King) and Queen Rhaella Targaryen, Aerys’ sister and wife. Dany was conceived a month before the end of Robert’s Rebellion. She is the sister of the Crown Prince Rhaegar and Prince Viserys, as well as several other brothers and sisters that were born before her but died shortly after birth.

Some fans speculate that Dany was conceived the night Jamie Lannister recalled hearing Aerys sexually abuse Rhaella (he wanted to defend her, but was told not to defy the king). However, there’s no proof to support that this was Dany’s conception.

If you want to understand why Robert Baratheon started a war in the first place, here’s an in-depth video explaining why it happened and the different perspectives from some of the characters that lived through it.

House Targaryen had conquered and combined the Seven Kingdoms after centuries of their rule. When Aerys learned that Rhaegar was killed in the Battle of the Trident, he realized he was losing the war and the rebels were making their way to King’s Landing. He sent Rhaella and his son Viserys to flee for Dragonstone, House Targaryen’s ancestral seat, which was protected by Targaryen loyalists. Aerys remained in King’s Landing with Rhaegar’s wife and two children.

A month later, Robert won the war after Jamie Lannister killed Aerys as he attempted to burn down King’s Landing. Rhaella and Viserys remained besieged inside Dragonstone. Nine months later, Rhaella died in labor, but not before naming her newborn daughter Daenerys. While Rhaella was giving birth, a major storm hit Dragonstone, destroying the remaining Targaryen fleet. Having been born amidst a great storm, she was given the nickname “Stormborn.”

Princess of Dragonstone

After Rhaegar was killed in the Battle of the Trident, Aerys named Viserys as his heir, skipping Rhaegar’s children, Rhaenys and Aegon, in the line of succession because he disliked his half-Dornish grandchildren and wanted a pure Targaryen on the Iron Throne. After his death, Rhaella crowned Viserys as king. House Targaryen was a patriarchal house and practiced passing the crown to the next possible male in the family tree before considering a female Targaryen as ruler. With no other male Targaryen alive, Rhaella named Daenerys as Viserys’ heir and was given the title “Princess of Dragonstone.”

The title Prince or Princess of Dragonstone is given to the next heir of the Iron Throne. It’s similar to the way the English title “Prince of Wales” isn’t inherited but given to the heir of the British Monarchy. Dragonstone, the seat of House Targaryen, represents the Targaryen’s ancestry and almost always dictates who the next monarch will be.

While Aerys was king, the title went to Rhaegar, his eldest son. After Rhaegar died, Aerys named his younger son Viserys the heir and thus the Prince of Dragonstone. After Aerys’ death and Rhaella crowned the young Viserys king, Daenerys was named Princess of Dragonstone because there was no other male Targaryen the Iron Throne could be passed to should Viserys die.

After Viserys and Daenerys fled for Essos, King Robert Baratheon (a distant descendant of a Targaryen through his paternal grandmother) decided to continue the tradition of passing on Dragonstone to the heir to the Iron Throne. With no children yet, he named his younger brother, Stannis, the Lord of Dragonstone.

House Baratheon’s seat, Storm’s End, was a far more pleasant and wealthier place to rule as lord. With Robert ruling as King of the Seven Kingdoms, Stannis hoped to rule as Lord of Storm’s End. However, Robert gave him Dragonstone as he thought that it was only fitting that his younger brother and heir inherited the seat. Unfortunately, this actually offended Stannis, who hated his assignment and the fact that Storm’s End had been given to his and Robert’s youngest brother, Renly, who was still a child. Stannis remained on Dragonstone and founded House Baratheon of Dragonstone, even after Robert apparently had children with Queen Cersei Lannister and named his son Joffrey as his heir.

In the books, because Dany has yet to take the Iron Throne for herself, she still has the right to call herself the Princess of Dragonstone. In the TV series, however, in the short moment she had won against Cersei, she could have named an heir who would take on the title as Prince or Princess of Dragonstone.

First of Her Name

Based on the Targaryen family tree, Daenerys isn’t the first Targaryen to receive that name. The first Daenerys was a princess of King Jaehaerys I and Queen Alysanne Targaryen who died at the age of seven due to the Shivers, a disease that leaves a victim cold and dies within days.

The second Daenerys was the daughter of King Aegon IV and Queen Naerys Targaryen. When her brother, Daeron II, was crowned king, she was arranged to marry Prince Maron Martell, the ruling Prince of Dorne, as part of a treaty to make Dorne a part of the Realm and under the Iron Throne. Despite her love for her half-brother, Daemon Blackfyre, Daenerys did her duty and married Maron. Her new husband built the Water Gardens for her to shield her from the heat of Dorne. Originally, only their children and the children of nobles could play in the pools, but when Daenerys saw the lowborn children suffering from the heat, she allowed all children to play, regardless of status, and began the tradition that has lasted ever since.

While the Dany Targaryen we know is the third to carry the name Daenerys, she is technically the first Daenerys Targaryen to rule as queen in her own right. While the second Daenerys ruled as a Princess Consort of Dorne, her power came from her husband. Dany married Drogo to gain the title of Khaleesi, but her khalasar’s decision to follow her did not come from her husband.

When a Targaryen comes into power as a monarch, they take the title “X of Their Name” to distinguish themselves from other monarchs with the same name. For example, the name “Aegon” is very common in the Targaryen family tree, so Aegon the Conqueror can be known as Aegon I, while the succeeding Aegons that ruled as king are Aegon II, Aegon III, and so forth.

Viserys, Dany’s brother, styled himself as “Third of His Name” because there were two other King Viseryses in the past. Because no other monarch named Daenerys existed, she has the right to call herself “First of Her Name.”

Rightful Heir to the Iron Throne

The first Targaryens that arrived in Westeros were Aegon the Conqueror and his sister-wives. Prior to their arrival, Westeros consisted of seven kingdoms: The North, The Vale, The Riverlands, The Westerlands, The Reach, The Stormlands, and Dorne. These were ruled by the Great Houses Stark, Arryn Hoare, Lannister, Gardener, Durrandon, and Martell. Out of these seven kingdoms, the Targaryens would conquer six kingdoms (though they would take Dorne years later through a marriage pact with the second Daenerys Targaryen). Those Kings that bent the knee and swore fealty to the Targaryens were made Great Lords in their area, while those that fought were killed and replaced by their vassal houses that surrendered.

After conquering six kingdoms, Aegon Targaryen was given the title Lord of the Seven Kingdoms by the maesters of Old Town. He then made a throne out supposedly out of the thousand blades of his surrendered or fallen enemies using the dragon fire of his mount, Balerion the Black Dread. It took nearly two months to hammer the blades into what became known as the Iron Throne.

Since then, the Iron Throne has become a symbol for a monarch’s power and hold over Westeros. Whoever sits on the Iron Throne has the authority to rule over the Seven Kingdoms. It’s why only the reigning monarch may sit on the Iron Throne. The only other person allowed to sit on it is the Hand of the King.

Although Daenerys has never personally seen the Iron Throne, having the title “Rightful Heir to the Iron Throne” is her way insisting that it is her birthright to have its symbolic power and the right to rule over the Seven Kingdoms. Because of such strong symbolism, it is why Daenerys in the TV could not simply ignore Cersei’s claims and rule from Dragonstone; as long as Cersei sits on the Iron Throne, no one would be able to take Daenerys’ claims as Queen seriously.

Rightful Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men

Prior to the Targaryen Conquest, there were three ethnic groups that existed: the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men. They were the ones to populate and eventually form the Seven Kingdoms. The First Men formed the North and established a religion for the Old Gods, the Rhoynar’s descendants formed Dorne, and the Andals populated the rest of Westeros and practiced the Faith of the Seven.

 

 

After the Targaryen Conquest, Aegon the Conqueror was crowned King of All Westeros and Shield of His People by his sister-wife. However, Aegon dropped these in favor of the High Septon’s title, “King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men.” The latter title implied that Aegon had power over Dorne – descendants of the Rhoynar – even if they successfully resisted his conquest.

While “Rightful Heir to the Iron Throne” establishes Daenerys’ lawful right to wield power, this title establishes everyone’s duty to follow Daenerys because she is queen of everyone in Westeros descended from these ethnicities. So, even if a subject is physically not present in Westeros (say, hiding out in Essos), they are still subject to her power and have the duty to dollow her.

Protector of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm

Although Daenerys would have been called “Lady of the Seven Kingdoms” instead of Protector in the books, she would also have been Protector of the Realm. As mentioned earlier, the Lord or Lady of the Seven Kingdoms is another title a monarch receives upon their ascension as king or queen. While there are Great Lords and Wardens ruling different parts of the Seven Kingdoms, this title ensures that the monarch still has overall power over these Great Lords.

The title “Protector of the Realm” focuses on the militaristic nature and command of a monarch over the armies of the Seven Kingdoms. Each of the Great Houses commands their own men and have their own armies to protect their interests, as does the monarch. But should the monarch ever need help in defending their lands, they can call upon the Great Houses to march in their name and make military decisions for the greater good even if their lords do not agree.

Normally, a monarch receives the title of Protector of the Realm upon becoming king or queen. However, it is possible for a monarch to renounce this title and give it to someone they believe may be more suited to protect Westeros and handle its infantry for the Realm’s sake.

For example, when Robert Baratheon was at his deathbed, he knew his supposed son Joffrey would take his place as king. However, knowing fully well Joffrey was too young for the responsibility, he named Eddard Stark Protector of the Realm and Regent until Joffrey came of age. After Eddard’s death, both Cersei Lannister and Kevan Lannister were made Protectors of the Realm by Joffrey and later on his brother Tommen even though neither of them were monarchs.

Despite the tedious list of titles, enforcing these titles onto her name strengthens Daenerys’ beliefs that she is the true ruler of Westeros. By refusing to just go by Daenerys Targaryen and insisting she is entitled to add these titles to her name, she wants people to know that she is not just another claimant to the throne – she is the queen people need to recognize.

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