Viserys is the exiled head of House Targaryen and considers himself the rightful ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. He arranges the marriage of his younger sister Daenerys Targaryen to the Dothraki Khal Drogo to provide the army he needs to retake the Iron Throne. He eventually grows impatient with Drogo and threatens to kill Daenerys if Drogo does not deliver his crown as agreed. Drogo responds by crowning Viserys in molten gold, killing him.
He formally styled himself as Viserys of House Targaryen, the Third of His Name, King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm.
Viserys is the second son and heir of King Aerys II Targaryen, the former ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. During Robert's Rebellion, after Viserys's older brother Rhaegar was killed at the Battle of the Trident, his father sent Viserys and his pregnant mother Queen Rhaella to safety on Dragonstone island, location of their family's ancestral castle. King Aerys was soon afterwards killed during the Sack of King's Landing, and thus at the age of only five Viserys became the titular head of the Targaryen dynasty, though by this point the rebellion was officially lost. Not long afterwards, his mother died in childbirth, while the forces of Robert Baratheon closed in on the island. Before they could arrive, Viserys and his baby sister Daenerys were smuggled to safety in the Free Cities, across the Narrow Sea on the continent of Essos. Bereft of followers, Viserys spent the next 17 years travelling between the Free Cities trying to find new supporters for an attempt to retake the Iron Throne. At times, however, he was left literally begging for food and shelter, much less an army.
Viserys claims the title of Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and refers to Robert Baratheon only as "the Usurper". After years spent fruitlessly wandering the Free Cities seeking military support to retake his throne, Viserys and Daenerys became guests of the powerful Magister Illyrio Mopatis of Pentos.
In the Free City of Pentos, across the Narrow Sea, Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen enjoy the hospitality of Magister Illyrio Mopatis. Viserys has arranged to wed Daenerys (whom he also calls "Dany") to Khal Drogo, the warlord of a Dothraki khalasar of forty thousand warriors. In return, Drogo will give Viserys the manpower he needs to reclaim the Iron Throne. Viserys fondles a naked Daenerys before her bath, on the pretext of "seeing how much she has grown." Daenerys does not want to marry the Khal, but Viserys insists that she will. During a brief presentation at Illyrio's home Dany meets Drogo's approval. Daenerys marries Drogo and a great celebration is held on the shore outside Pentos. Several Dothraki die in impromptu duels, which Illyrio says is a good sign: a Dothraki wedding without at least three deaths is considered a dull affair. The bride and groom receive many gifts, but for Dany two are particularly interesting. The first is a box containing three beautiful stones. According to Illyrio these are petrified dragon eggs from the Shadow Lands beyond Asshai. The second is a selection of books containing stories and songs from the Seven Kingdoms, given by Ser Jorah Mormont, an exiled knight of House Mormont. Ser Jorah swears fealty to Viserys as King and offers him his support and advice. For his gift, Drogo gives Daenerys a beautiful silver mare. Viserys instructs his sister to make Drogo happy before Drogo takes her away to consummate the union.
Viserys decides to travel with Drogo's khalasar until the bargain is fulfilled. Jorah suggests that Viserys remain at Illyrio's manse but Viserys ignores the advice. While traversing the western edge of the Dothraki sea, near Qohor, Daenerys orders the khalasar to halt. Viserys is furious at Daenerys giving him orders and threatens her with a sword. Rakharo, her bodyguard, disarms Viserys and offers to kill him, but Daenerys spares his life. He is forced to walk rather than ride, a tremendous sign of weakness amongst the Dothraki. When even Ser Jorah will not take his side, Daenerys realizes that Viserys will never succeed in retaking Westeros. He could not lead an army, even if her husband gave him one. Daenerys becomes pregnant with Drogo's child.
After his horse is taken away, the Dothraki derisively refer to him as Khal Rhaggat (Cart King) and Khal Rhae Mhar (Sorefoot King). The Dothraki feel that a man is only truly a man if he rides on his own horse: only the sick or elderly would ride in a cart, and only slaves walk for miles alongside a horde. That Viserys could not stop his horse being taken away is thus seen as an utter humiliation by the Dothraki.
The khalasar reaches the Dothraki city of Vaes Dothrak. Viserys despises it as a city of sticks and mud huts and takes pleasure with Daenerys's slave, Doreah. Doreah makes him unhappy when she asks him about the dragons and their extinction. Later, Daenerys sends Doreah to Viserys with an invitation to dinner. Enraged at what he perceives as another order, Viserys drags Doreah by her hair to Daenerys. He strikes Daenerys and rants about his superiority. Daenerys hits him in the face with a heavy metal belt and warns him that the next time he raises his hands to her will be the last time he has hands. Illyrio visits King's Landing to meet with the King's Master of Whisperers, Varys. Illyrio confirms that Drogo does eventually mean to honor the bargain to invade the Seven Kingdoms, but will not move until his son is born.
Viserys grows increasingly agitated by Drogo's inaction and fears that Drogo will renege on his promise. Realizing how the Dothraki people have come to love Daenerys makes him feel jealous and inadequate. He tries to steal Daenerys' dragon eggs so he can buy his own army, but Ser Jorah stops him. He accuses Jorah of having physical desires for Daenerys, but says he doesn't care.
A drunk Viserys later stumbles into Khal Drogo's tent during a feast, and demands to be seated in the front near Drogo, in a place of honor. Drogo (through a translator) says that there is a place for him - in the back, with the children and old women. Viserys angrily insists that he is a king, and will be treated as such. Khal Drogo (haltingly) addresses Viserys for the first time in the Common Tongue of Westeros: "you are no king". Furious, Viserys unsheathes his sword, too drunk and arrogant to heed Daenerys' warning that brandishing a sword in the Dothraki holy
city is punishable by death. Instead, Viserys goes on to demand that he wants to leave immediately with the army he was promised, or else he will leave with his sister (who according to the custom of House Targaryen, should have been his wife, and whom he always thought of as his sexual property). He threatens to cut out Daenerys' unborn son and leave it for Drogo unless they leave at once and Drogo gives him what was promised: the crown of the Seven Kingdoms. The Khal coldly acknowledges Viserys' wishes (via Irri's translation) and promises him a "golden crown that men will tremble to behold".
Viserys, believing himself victorious, lowers his guard and is restrained by Drogo's men. Drogo then melts several gold medallions from his belt in a nearby pot. Viserys yells "I am the dragon" and pleads for his life from Daenerys, but when Drogo looks to her she silently nods. Drogo directly addresses Viserys once more in the Common Tongue, saying "a crown for a king", and pours the molten gold onto Viserys' head as the promised "golden crown", killing him for his impudence. Viserys dies in agony, and when his dead body slumps to the ground the solidified gold makes a resounding thud. Daenerys coldly remarks that "he was no dragon", as "fire cannot kill a dragon". This makes Daenerys the rightful (and last) Targaryen heir to the Iron Throne.
The only surviving male heir of House Targaryen, the young Viserys was sent with his newborn sister Daenerys to Essos to live in safety. In exile he grew obsessed with retaking his family's throne, but Khal Drogo executed him with a crown of molten golden before he could claim his post as king.