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Viserys was the younger son of Rhaenyra Targaryen, the grandson of King Viserys I, the younger brother of Aegon III and the uncle of Daeron I and Baelor I. He was named for his grandfather, whom his mother loved very much. Viserys was alive during the Dance of Dragons, but it is unknown what role he played, or whether he was also present with his brother when his mother was eaten by his uncle Aegon II's dragon.
As Hand and KingEdit
After Aegon II's death, his brother inherited the throne, and then both his nephews after them. His nephew Daeron I made him his King's Hand when he came to the throne in 157 AL, with responsibilities for keeping the kingdom running whilst he fought in Dorne. Baelor kept him in the position when he succeeded, and Viserys spent a lot of time suppressing his pious but politically naive nephew's more outlandish notions. He succeeded and his nephew died as one of the most popular kings in the history of Westeros.
With the death of both Daeron and Baelor without issue, Viserys finally took the throne as Viserys II. His reign was short, only one year, before succumbing to age. In that year he ruled well and released his neices from the Maidenvault where Baelor had secured them, but there was a scurrulous rumour that he had arranged Baelor's death out of frustration at not being king. Although never proven, the rumour damaged his name somewhat. Upon his death he was succeeded by his eldest son, Aegon.
Character and AppearanceEdit
Viserys II reigned for a year but, as Hand, effectively ruled for fifteen. In this role he was a skilled negotiator and diplomat, as well as an able treasurer and administrator. He kept the realm ticking over whilst Daeron warred and Baelor prayed. He appears to have been strong and reliable, but the rumours over Baelor's death continued to besmirch his reputation long after his death.
Viserys was in his late fifties when he took the throne. He was strong and clean-shaven, but with a prominent nose, bushy eyebrows and a somewhat calculating look to his face. He was not a warrior and was usually found consulting with the small council. He wore his brother Aegon III's simple crown.
Some early American editions of A Game of Thrones and most of the British ones list Viserys II as the fourth son of Aegon III Targaryen. However, George R.R. Martin subsequently realised that this would make Viserys II too young to believably rule. He changed the order of succession to make Viserys II the younger son of Rhaenyra and the younger brother of Aegon III. This change was canonised in a discussion between Tyrion Lannister and Oberyn Martell in A Storm of Swords, in which Tyrion states that Viserys II was a great ruler since, whilst only ruling a year as king, he ruled for fifteen as Hand to both of his nephews.