The Citadel

The Archive of 'A Song of Ice and Fire' Lore

So Spake Martin

More Targaryen Descriptions

[Note: The following is a compilation of several mails from GRRM to Amok regarding his continuing project of depicting notable Targaryens of the past.]

Visenya is a year or two older than Aegon, Rhaenys a year or two younger. They share his silver-gold hair, but theirs is worn long. Visenya often braided her hair or bound it up in rings, while Rhaenys wore hers loose and flowing. Both are warriors and dragonriders in their own rights, but their personalities are much different. Visenya is both stern and sensual, more voluptuous than her sister, more passionate, but with a dark and unforgiving side. Rhaenys, the younest of the three, is slender and graceful, playful, with a mischievous aspect to her personality than Visenya lacks. Rhaenys is the flirt, Visenya the seductress. Although they share their brother Aegon between them, they compete for him too, each in her own way.... The sisters would be likely to wear jewels and clothing that reflected the dragon and fire motifs...

I might also add that Visenya is the most likely of the two to garb herself as a warrior, and when so garbed, she would wield the Valyrian longsword Dark Sister, whose slender blade is designed for a woman's hand


Your speed never ceases to astonish me, Roman.

Visenya and Rhaenys are excellent. I cannot believe you did them so quickly.

I'm thinking I will give you Aegon the Unworthy's four Great Bastards next: Bittersteel, Bloodraven, Daemon Blackfyre, and Shiera Seastar. The four would make a great group shot, once you've done them all.

Bloodraven first, since I've already described him in "The Sworn Sword." The natural son of King Aegon IV by his sixth mistress, Lady Mylessa ('Missy') Blackwood, Brynden Rivers is an albino, with milk white skin and white hair, worn long. His eye is red -- the one he still has, the right. At the Battle of the Redgrass Field, his left eye was put out by Bittersteel when they dueled. He seldom wears an eye patch, but prefers to display his scar and empty socket to the world.

On the right side of his face, over his throat and extending up to his cheek, he has the red winestain birthmark from which he gets his name. The birth mark is said to look somewhat like a raven drawn in blood. However, the likeness is hardly exact. Dunk thinks the birthmark just a splotch. It is more a suggestion of a raven shape, like a Rorschach ink blot.

His colors are "scarlet and smoke," smoke being a sort of dark grey streaked and mottled with black. Because his skin is very senstive to the rays of the sun, he frequently goes about cloaked and hooded.

His sigil is a white dragon (one-headed) with red eyes. (Elio has a version of it, I believe). He is a shade under six feet tall and very thin, gaunt, with a grim unforbidding aspect and a sinister reputation as a sorcerer and spymaster. Although he bears the Valyrian blade Dark Sister than once belonged to Aegon's Visenya, his favorite weapon is a tall bone-white weirwood longbow. He is an expert bowman. His longbow is weirwood, and should be white.


The first and greatest of the Blackfyre Pretenders was the natural son of Daena Targaryen, sister, betrothed, and (briefly) wife to King Baelor the Blessed. Baelor never consummated the marriage, and had it dissolved when he ascended the Iron Throne. Daena and her two sisters were thereafter kept in a comfortable confinement in the Red Keep, in what became known as the Maidenvault. Despite her guards, however, Daena became pregnant and give birth to a strong, healthy son, Daemon. She refused to divulge the name of his father, and thereby became known as "Daena the Defiant." It was not until many years later, when the boy was a squire and bested a score of other squires in a tournament melee, that King Aegon IV (Princess Daena's cousin) acknowledged him as his own, and presented him with Blackfyre, the Valyrian steel blade of Aegon the Conquerer and all the Targaryen kings thereafter.

Targaryen on both side, Daemon had all the hallmarks of his house; the silver-gold hair, the deep purple eyes, fine features of almost inhuman beauty. Daemon's friends and supporters often remarked on how much he resembled Aegon the Conquerer (or at least his likeness, since none of them had ever seen Aegon in the flesh), and indeed there was a certain similarlity, though Daemon wore his hair long, flowing down to his shoulders in a silvery-gold mane. He went clean-shaved, with neither beard nor mustache. Daemon looks every inch the warrior; broad shoulders, big arms, a flat stomach, but he was also a man of considerable charm. I'd give him a warm smile. He made friends easily, and women were drawn to him as well.

As a bastard, Daemon Blackfyre bore the arms of House Targaryen with the colors reversed: a black three-headed dragon on a red field. Thus he became known as "the Black Dragon." His armor would be ornate and costly, all black and red plate, and his warhelm was distinctive, with batlike steel "dragon wings" on the sides.


His real name was Aegor Rivers, and he was the natural son of King Aegon IV by his fifth mistress, Lady Barba Bracken. Younger than Daemon Blackfyre, older than Bloodraven. Bittersteel was also a warrior, and looked the part. He was only half Tagaryen, so he got the purple eyes, but his hair was black. As a adult he wore a beard, cropped very short, little more than a shadow on his face and jaws. Somewhat of a Conanesque look to him, but not the Frank Frazetta Conan and definitely not the Arnold Conan, more the Barry Windsor-Smith version, or the one described by REH -- he is tall and well made, but lean and lithe as a panther. And angry. No smiles here. Bittersteel was pissed off all his life, and had a special loathing for Bloodraven and his mother, who had displayed his own mother as the king's favorite.

His armor is well-made but plain, no nonsense grey-steel and black rings. His helm bears a horsehead crest with a horse's mane flowing down behind. His shield has a grey longsword displayed bendy sinister, witha a black dragon's head above and a red horse's head below, both facing out. The field is white.

[Note: The above heraldic description is incorrect, presenting an early idea that GRRM had for the shield which he later changed. The correct arms can be found here.]

If you are going to include the Great Bastards in a group shot, Daemon and Bittersteel should both be taller and more imposing than Bloodraven, the scrawny one of the lot.


Thanks for the look, Roman.

Stunning work, as always... but I can see why some people might be objecting. He is very pretty, yes, but maybe a shade soft-looking, compared to, say, Aegon the Dragon, whom he supposedly resembled.

On the other hand, you could argue that you simply drew him as a very young man. That portrait could easily pass for Daemon at sixteen or seventeen, I think, but maybe not as the man he was when he died on the Redgrass Field.

If the portraits of the three Great Bastards are intended to represent the same time period, Daemon needs to be considerably older. Daemon was two years older than Bittersteel, and five years older than Bloodraven, but in the portraits he looks much the youngest of the three. Of course, they could simply represent different time periods... and Daemon did die young, while the other two lived on well into middle age.

Maybe you could leave this one as Young Daemon and do another of him as he would have been on the Redgrass Field.