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House of the Dragon: why do Targaryens have purple eyes?

The Targaryens are known for their snow white hair and ability to tame dragons but they also have another unique attribute, their strange purple eyes

House of the Dragon: Why do Targaryens have purple eyes?

Why do the Targaryens have purple eyes? When Jaehaerys the Conciliator married his sister Alysanne he made it clear that while incest is a dreadful sin in the eyes of the Seven, that rule only applies to ordinary men and women, and the Targaryen family are anything but ordinary.

No other house in Westeros could command the dragons, for example, and the blood of old Valyria that boiled in their veins kept them safe from many of the illnesses that would regularly kill a common lord or lady. In the books, the otherworldliness of the Targaryens is clear to all who look upon them with their pale skin, snow-white hair, and purple eyes. But why do the Tragaryens have purple eyes? 

Why do Targaryens have purple eyes?

Targaryens have purple eyes because of their Valyrian heritage. While the exact reason Valyrians had purple or violet eyes hasn’t been explained in the book, we can presume it’s got links to the magic that the Old Valyrians used to bind the dragons to their cause.

In the books, the Targaryens actually use their Valyrian features, like their purple eyes, to prove they are better than the other lords of Westeros, like Otto Hightower.

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In the TV series, the Targaryens don’t have purple eyes for far more practical reasons. The actors didn’t want to wear uncomfortable contact lenses, and changing everyone’s eye colour digitally in post-production would be prohibitively expensive.

It’s also worth noting that in the books, not every Targaryen has purple eyes. Blue and pale blue eyes were also relatively common eye colours among the Valyrians.

If you’re enjoying the new fantasy series House of the Dragon, then check out our guide to the House of Dragon season 2 release date. We also have a breakdown of the House of the Dragon cast you may like or our sister site Wargamer also has a guide to the best Game of Thrones board games if you want to play this deadly political game for yourself.