Who is Princess Rhaenys Targaryen aka “The Queen That Never Was”

Custom of Targaryen states that no woman can rule Westeros, which is why Prince Viserys Targaryen was chosen instead of Rhaenys Targaryen. The world of Game of Thrones is set in a time when Cersei Lannister, along with Daenerys Targaryen, reigned on the Iron Throne, albeit for short periods.

House of the Dragon transports readers to a time nearly centuries before the events of Game of Thrones, when the Targaryen bloodline reigned supreme over the Seven Kingdoms but were on the verge of a catastrophic fall at the hands of their blond dragon riders.

Today we’re going to focus on Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, aka “The Queen Who Never Wages War”, and explain why she lost her race to claim the Iron Throne to her brother Viserys.

Who is Princess Rhaenys Targaryen

Rhaenys Velaryon, is the wife of Lord Corlys Velaryon as well as a member of the Targaryen family. She is a skilled dragon rider and Meleys, the Red Queen, serves as her mount. Corlys Velaryon, commander of the Targaryen ships and the wealthiest gentleman in Westeros, married Rhaenys.

Velaryon amassed his fortune through a series of trade missions to the Far East. Rhaenys and Corlys are the parents of a daughter, Laena Velaryon, and a son, Laenor Velaryon.

Why Rhaenys Targaryen Wasn’t Made Queen

Men would rather put the kingdom to the torch than see a woman ascend the Iron Throne.

The Great Council in 101 AC marks the beginning of the Dragon House. After nearly sixty years of quiet rule, King Jaehaerys realized that the question of inheritance could cause conflict within the Targaryen dynasty. To discuss the future and the 14 potential heirs to the Iron Throne, Jaeherys convened a Grand Council of Westerosi Lords.

The arguments of Prince Viserys, as well as Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, were given equal weight, but only one could win. Viserys was the eldest child of Baelon Targaryen, making him a descendant of King Jaehaerys. After Baelon’s death, the question of who would succeed him as head of the Targaryen blood became crucial. Likewise, Rhaenys staked her right to Aemon Targaryen, the king’s third child and Rhaenys’ own father.

The Grand Council ultimately chose Viserys, as seen in the first episode of the miniseries. Male Targaryens have always been valued above female Targaryens, so this choice was based on the misogynistic culture of Westeros. As a result, Aegon I, unlike his older sister Visenya, who captured the Seven Kingdoms, was crowned the first ruler of Westeros.

Viserys’ entire Targaryen pedigree was considered superior to Rhaenys’ portion of Baratheon heritage due to their respective mothers, though Rhaenys was indeed a Targaryen through both of her parents. After Jaehaerys died in AD 103, his son Viserys became monarch and Rhaenys became known as “the queen that never was.”

The dragon dance

Spoiler alert!!!!

Princess Rhaenys was a member of Rhaenyra Targaryen‘s dark advice. The Black Council had planned for Rhaenys to rise above while the Velaryon Navy blockaded the Gullet, crossing Dragonstone and Driftmark to prevent any ships from entering Blackwater Bay, to prevent their enemies from attacking their ships with dragons. Lord Staunton sent a request for assistance, and nine days later the dragon Meleys emerged atop Rook’s Rest. Rhaenys Targaryen, clad head to toe in armor that shone in the sun, mounted her mount.

King Aegon II astride Sunfyre, along with Aemond Targaryen atop Vhagar, emerged into the sky as Rhaenys battled Ser Criston Cole’s troops. Rhaenys fell into Criston’s ambush and was successfully caught.

Rhaenys did not try to escape, instead drawing Meleys’ attention to the threat. Although Meleys had a good chance of fighting Vhagar alone, she was doomed to face two dragons. About 1000 feet in the air, the three dragons collided with such force that all three whirled to the ground.

Only Vhagar managed to rise unscathed from the dust of battle. Later, near the dead dragon, a corpse was discovered thought to be that of Rhaenys Targaryen, though it was so badly burned that no one could be sure.

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