Rhaena Targaryen (daughter of Aenys I)
Rhaena Targaryen, as depicted by Magali Villeneuve in The World of Ice & Fire.
The Queen in the West
The Queen in the East
Alyssa Velaryon (queen consort)|
Maegor Towers (Lord of Harrenhal)
Alysanne Targaryen (queen consort)|
Bywin Strong (Lord of Harrenhal)
|Born||In 23 AC, at Dragonstone|
|Died||In 73 AC, at Harrenhal|
1st: Prince Aegon Targaryen|
2nd: King Maegor I Targaryen
3rd: Androw Farman
|Father||Aenys I Targaryen|
The World of Ice & Fire (mentioned)|
Fire & Blood (mentioned)
The Sons of the Dragon (mentioned)
The Rogue Prince (mentioned)
The Princess and the Queen (mentioned)
Following her marriage to King Maegor I Targaryen, Rhaena became known as one of his Black Brides. During the reign of her brother, Jaehaerys I Targaryen, Rhaena became known as the Queen in the West during her time on Fair Isle, and as the Queen in the East during the years she held Dragonstone.
Appearance and Character
- See also: Images of Rhaena Targaryen
Rhaena was a shy, dreamy child, more comfortable with animals than other children. She would often hide behind her parents as a child when near strangers, and never warmed to any of the female companions her mother presented her with. She much more preferred books. After bonding with her dragon Dreamfyre, however, Rhaena began to overgrow her shyness. Although she would remain quiet, she could no longer be considered timid after she had flown for the first time. Shortly thereafter, Rhaena made her first friend. Numerous female favorites would follow throughout her life.
Rhaena had an exquisite singing voice. At eighteen, Rhaena was considered brave, fierce and headstrong. Due to numerous betrayals and tragedies in later life, she became withdrawn and detached. In her last years her hair had turned completely white.
Rhaena was born at Dragonstone in 23 AC to Prince Aenys Targaryen and Lady Alyssa Velaryon. She was named in honor of Aenys's late mother, Rhaenys Targaryen. Rhaena was the first grandchild of King Aegon I Targaryen, and it is said that he wept the first time he held her. Following Rhaena's birth, people suggested that her uncle Maegor would fall behind her in the line of succession, as she was the eldest (and at the time only) child of Aenys, the heir to the throne. That year,[N 1] Queen Visenya Targaryen suggested a betrothal between her son Maegor and Rhaena in order to settle the succession issue. Both Rhaena's parents and the High Septon protested the match. The High Septon instead suggested his niece, Lady Ceryse Hightower, as a bride.
As a child, Rhaena was shy, preferring the presence of animals over that of other people. At age of nine Rhaena was presented with a dragon hatchling. She bonded instantly with the dragon, whom she named Dreamfyre. At the age of twelve Rhaena flew upon Dreamfyre for the first time. Shortly thereafter, Rhaena became good friends with her cousin Larissa Velaryon. The two girls were inseparable, until Larissa was suddenly betrothed and wed to the second son of the Evenstar of Tarth. Rhaena next befriended Samantha Stokeworth, the daughter of Lord Alyn Stokeworth, the Hand of the King. Rhaena would have a number of favorites, all of whom she would shower with affection and attention to such extends, that it was cause for whispering at the court.
Rhaena and her eldest brother Aegon were close during their childhood, and Rhaena would sometimes take him with her to fly upon Dreamfyre. Rhaena doted on her siblings, and it was said that she placed a dragon egg in the cradles of her brother Jaehaerys and sister Alysanne, from which their dragons Vermithor and Silverwing hatched. Although she would sometimes take others flying with her upon her dragon, Rhaena most often flew Dreamfyre by herself. When she turned sixteen, she declared herself to be free to fly wherever she wanted.
Reign of Aenys I
By the time Rhaena was eighteen, she had numerous suitors, but she gave no encouragement to any of them, preferring instead her siblings, animals, and her newest favorite, Alayne Royce. In 37 AC King Aenys I Targaryen, Rhaena's father, ascended the Iron Throne. When King Aenys went on a royal progress, he took his eldest three children, including Rhaena, with him. Rhaena loathed being separated from her dragon Dreamfyre, and her most recent favorite, Melony Piper. As she toured the realm with her father, she reverted back to her former shyness and became sullen at feasts, refusing to partake in any of the festivities. After Queen Alyssa Velaryon summoned Lady Melony to join the progress, Rhaena's mood improved.
By 41 AC, Rhaena spent much of her time with her siblings, cats, dogs and her friends, including Alayne. That year, Rhaena was betrothed to her eldest brother, Prince Aegon. It was rumored, although never proven, that Rhaena had given her maidenhead to a man.[N 2] Archmaester Gyldayn has suggested that, due to these rumors, he wished for Rhaena to marry as soon as possible. As, according to Gyldayn, Rhaena and Aegon had likely expected to be wedded to one another ever since they were young, neither objected. The Faith of the Seven, on the other hand, did not accept the incestuous match. The High Septon wrote that the marriage would be "an obscenity" and that any children born from the marriage would be "abominations in the sight of gods of men".
Despite this reception, Rhaena and Aegon were wed in the Sept of Remembrance, while Warrior's Sons stood in the streets, making note of every wedding guest. After the wedding, King Aenys decided to send his children on a royal progress, remembering the cheers of his own progress when he ascended the throne. Rhaena asked her father's leave to bring her dragon, but Aenys forbade it, fearing that Aegon, who had not yet claimed a dragon of his own, might be considered unmanly by the lords and commons if they saw his wife on dragonback but him on a palfrey. During their entire journey, Rhaena, Aegon, and their escort were jeered by crowds. When, at one village, Rhaena and Aegon were pelted with dirt by a group of Poor Fellows that far outnumbered their escort, Rhaena rode up to them to threaten them. The High Septon continued to speak against the marriage, and the pious of the realm heeded his words, starting an uprising against the Iron Throne.
By the start of 42 AC, Rhaena and Aegon found themselves besieged at Crakehall by members of the Faith. Upon learning of this news, Rhaena's father, King Aenys I, collapsed, and died three days later on Dragonstone.
Reign of Maegor I
Upon the death of King Aenys I Targaryen, Dowager Queen Visenya Targaryen flew to Pentos to retrieve Aenys's brother, Maegor, from his exile. On Dragonstone, Maegor claimed the throne for his own, ignoring the claim of Rhaena's husband, Aegon.
When the Poor Fellows who had besieged Crakehall finally departed for a march on King's Landing, Rhaena and Aegon took their refuge at Casterly Rock, where Lord Lyman Lannister protected them by extending guest right. There, Rhaena discovered she was pregnant. Her twin daughters, Princess Aerea and Princess Rhaella, were born at Casterly Rock the following year, in 43 AC. Following their birth, the High Septon proclaimed them to be abominations, born of lust and incest. According to the maester serving at Casterly Rock at the time, Rhaena begged Aegon to flee with her across the narrow sea, out of Maegor's reach, stating that she would be willing to give her life for Aegon, but was unwilling to risk the lives of their children. Aegon refused, however, as he was determined to claim his throne.
Although Lord Lyman refused all of Maegor's demands to turn Aegon and Rhaena over, he also refused to pledge his swords to Aegon's cause. While most of their companions abandoned them, Rhaena's friend Alayne Royce stayed by her side, while Melony Piper arrived at Lannisport with her brother to give their support. In late 43 AC, Rhaena and Aegon took advantage of Maegor's half a year absence from King's Landing. They managed to successfully infiltrate the city with the help of several collaborators within the city. They did not dare seize the throne, knowing they lacked the strength to hold it. Instead, they had come for Rhaena's Dreamfyre, and for a dragon for Aegon. When Rhaena and Aegon left King's Landing, they did so flying side by side, Rhaena on her Dreamfyre and Aegon on their late father's Quicksilver. Rhaena and Aegon returned to the westerlands to assemble an army, gathering an army at Pinkmaiden Castle. When Aegon marched to war against Maegor, Rhaena did not accompany him, although it is not know whether the choice was hers or Aegon's. Aegon fell to Maegor in the Battle Beneath the Gods Eye. Rhaena received the news of the deaths of her husband Aegon and her loyal friend, Melony, in stony silence.
Rhaena returned to Lannisport and next fled on to Fair Isle, where she was given hospitality by lord Marq Farman. On Fair Isle, Rhaena disguised her daughters and sent them away with allies, ensuring even she was unaware of where her daughters had gone, so she could not reveal their whereabouts under torture. However, disguising herself was impossible, due to her dragon Dreamfyre. Instead, she remained on Fair Isle, where it is said that she grew fond of Lord Marq's second son Androw. However, according to Smike, the maester of Fair Isle, it was Androw's sister Elissa, who was Rhaena's true love.
In 47 AC, Lord Daemon Velaryon, Rhaena's uncle and a member of Maegor's small council, advised Maegor summon Rhaena and wed her, thereby uniting their claims and prevent new rebellions. Later that year, Maegor summoned Rhaena to King's Landing, taking her to bride in a triple ceremony, together with Elinor Costayne and Jeyne Westerling. Although many present for the wedding believed that Rhaena would give a show of defiance, the revelation that Queen Tyanna had found Rhaena's disguised daughters, whom she presented at the wedding, ensured Rhaena's cooperation. Together with Jeyne Westerling and Elinor Costayne, Rhaena became known as one of Maegor's "Black Brides". Rhaena would later claim that she attempted to kill Maegor with a dagger hidden beneath her pillow during the wedding night.
Immediately following the wedding, Maegor declared Rhaena's eldest daughter Aerea as his heir, until he had sons of his own, while disinheriting Rhaena's youngest brother Jaehaerys in the same decree. Rhaena's youngest daughter, Rhaella, was instead sent to Oldtown to be trained as a septa. Rhaena herself remained at King's Landing until 48 AC. When she learned that Jaehaerys had announced his claim to the Iron Throne, she escaped King's Landing in the night on Dreamfyre to join Jaehaerys's cause, taking her daughter Aerea and the Valyrian steel sword Blackfyre, which she stole from Maegor while he slept, with her. Enraged, Maegor sent a rider to Oldtown commanding Lord Hightower to behead Rhaella as punishment for Rhaena's betrayal. Hightower refused, and instead imprisoned the messenger. Rhaena flew to Storm's End, where Jaehaerys was gathering his support. Following Maegor's death, Rhaena and her siblings Jaehaerys and Alysanne flew on their dragons to King's Landing to claim the throne for Jaehaerys.
Queen in the West
Following Maegor's death, discussion arose as to who had the better claim to the Iron Throne. There were some who suggested that Rhaena's claim, as the firstborn child of King Aenys I Targaryen and Queen Alyssa Velaryon, was the strongest. Her gender argued against her, however, and Rhaena herself had come to loathe King's Landing and its court. The claims of her daughters were argued for as well. If Maegor was to be considered a usurper, the true king would have been Rhaena's husband, Aegon, who had claimed the throne before Jaehaerys had. As such, some suggested the throne should pass to one of his daughters by Rhaena, Aerea and Rhaella. The girls did not have much support, however, and Rhaena herself agreed that the crown should go to Jaehaerys instead.
In late 48 AC, Rhaena traveled to Oldtown with the court for the coronation of Jaehaerys in the Starry Sept by the High Septon. Nine days later, Jaehaerys departed Oldtown for King's Landing with Rhaena's elder daughter Aerea, whilst her younger daughter Rhaella remained in Oldtown. At the time, it was widely believed that someone had switched Rhaena's twin daughters, disguising Aerea as Rhaella and Rhaella as Aerea. Archmaester Gyldayn has suggested both Rhaena and her mother, Dowager Queen Alyssa, as the person responsible for the switch.
Rhaena accompanied Jaehaerys on until Highgarden. From there, she flew to Fair Isle, to return to Lord Marq Farman's seat. Within a fortnight of 49 AC, Rhaena married Marq's second son, Androw in a quick and small ceremony. Lord Farman presided the wedding, and Lord Lyman Lannister, his wife, Lady Jocasta, and two of Rhaena's friends, Samantha Stokeworth and Alayne Royce, attended the wedding. Days after the wedding, a raven was sent to King's Landing from Casterly Rock, to inform the new king and his court of the marriage. Rhaena's mother, Queen Regent Alyssa, was deeply offended that she had neither been informed of nor invited to the wedding. According to chroniclers in King's Landing, this caused a rift between the pair. Lord Rogar Baratheon, the Hand of the King, was furious about the fact that Rhaena had not asked the Crown's leave to wed. King Jaehaerys himself, however, and Rhaena's younger sister Alysanne, welcomed the news, and dispatched gifts in celebration.
Rhaena's choice of Androw as her husband was another matter. Lord Marq's second son possessed neither martial skills, nor was he considered clever, and the maester of Fair Isle claimed he could hardly write and read. Some have suggested that Rhaena married Androw as a way of showing gratitude to his father, who had sheltered Rhaena after King Maegor had killed her husband. Maester Smike speculated that Rhaena had taken Androw for her husband not because she loved him, but because she loved his sister Elissa.
Although she honored Lord Rogar Baratheon, grudgingly, for supporting Jaehaerys against Maegor, Rhaena could not forgive nor forget his inaction when her husband Aegon had fought Maegor. When her mother married Lord Rogar, later that same year, Rhaena did not attend the wedding. Instead, she remained on Fair Isle, and men in the westerlands, the Reach, and parts of the riverlands began referring to her as the "Queen in the West". As time passed, Rhaena also began to resent the fact that her claim to the throne, and that of her daughters, had been dismissed in favor of Jaehaerys, to whom she began to refer as "my baby brother". In addition, Rhaena begrudged her mother for promoting Jaehaerys's claim over her own.
On Fair Isle, Rhaena became fast friends with her sister-in-law, Elissa. Together with two of Rhaena's oldest friends, Alayne Royce and Samantha Stokeworth, they formed an inseparable group which Ser Franklyn Farman, Elissa and Androw's brother, called "the Four-Headed Beast". Yet despite the welcome Lord Farman had given her, others were less pleased with the presence of Rhaena and her dragon on the isle, chief among them Franklyn. When Franklyn succeeded his father as the Lord of Fair Isle in the early weeks of 50 AC, he ordered Rhaena to leave the island, and to take her dragon, friends, and husband with her. He insisted that sister Elissa, however, would remain at Fair Isle. Rhaena refused to stay where she was not welcome and left that same night. She ignored Franklyn's second demand, however, and took Elissa with her. Rhaena left on dragonback, while Elissa and the rest of Rhaena's companions departed the isle on Elissa's ship, the Maiden's Fancy, for Casterly Rock.
Rhaena and her retinue were taken in by Lyman and Jocasta Lannister. They remained at Casterly Rock for more than a month, until Rhaena began to realize that Lord Lyman wanted more than a guest: he wanted an alliance with the Iron Throne by wedding either his bastard son or one of his trueborn sons to Rhaena, and he wanted a dragon of his own. Rhaena and her court took their leave of Casterly Rock and traveled the westerlands and the riverlands, visiting Ashemark, Castamere, the Golden Tooth, Wayfarer's Rest, and Pinkmaiden Castle. At every seat she encountered the same problems: all of the lords wanted to take advantage of her, were afraid of her, or desired a dragon of their own. Eventually, in 50 AC, Rhaena returned to King's Landing where she was a guest for the second wedding of her brother Jaehaerys and sister Alysanne. Rhaena met with Jaehaerys after the wedding, and told him of her troubles. Insisting on having a seat of her own, Rhaena requested to be granted Dragonstone. In addition, she asked for her daughter Aerea, Jaehaerys's heir who had been living with him at King's Landing, to be returned to her care. Jaehaerys granted both her requests.
Queen in the East
On Dragonstone, Rhaena came to be called "the Queen in the East". Although Rhaena was content on Dragonstone, her friend Elissa Farman and daughter Aerea grew more and more unhappy on the island. Elissa often spoke of returning to the western seas. As she was denied any incomes from Fair Isle by her brother, Lord Franklyn, she petitioned Rhaena for sufficient gold to build a ship to sail the sunset sea. Rhaena denied her request, stating she could not bear to see Elissa go, opening a rift in their relationship. In 54 AC, Elissa announced to Rhaena she was leaving the island. Rhaena received the news stone-faced. A fortnight after Elissa had departed, it was brought to Rhaena's attention that Elissa had stolen three dragon eggs from the Dragonstone hatcheries. Enraged by the betrayal, Rhaena commanded Ser Merrell Bullock, the commander of her garrison, to question the grooms and stableboys sharply, and expelled Merrell and his son Alyn from the island when the questioning did not turn up answers. She further expelled a dozen others, and even summoned her own husband to demand if he had known anything of Elissa's theft. She only grew more enraged when he denied any knowledge, being unable to believe he had not been Elissa's accomplice. When her husband, Androw Farman, asked to be appointed as Merrell's successor, Rhaena and her companions laughed at him to his face. Rhaena sent men after Elissa, but after the trail had gone cold Rhaena traveled to King's Landing to inform King Jaehaerys. Jaehaerys warned her that, should one of the eggs hatch, they would have no choice but to go to war.
Rhaena's mother, Dowager Queen Alyssa Velaryon, had meanwhile grown great with her second child by Lord Rogar Baratheon. However, her health took a turn for the worst and before the child was due. When Rhaena learned that her mother was on her deathbed, she flew to Storm's End on Dreamfyre. When Androw announced that he would accompany her, she mockingly refused him, just as she had refused his offer to accompany her to see Jaehaerys at King's Landing following the theft of the dragon eggs. Alone, Rhaena flew to Storm's End to make amends with her mother, but arrived too late. She was livid, blaming her mother's death on Lord Rogar. Before returning to Dragonstone, Rhaena threatened Lord Rogar that if he ever married again, she would personally kill him.
Following her return to Dragonstone, a strange sickness fell over the island. Rhaena's maester, Culiper, was the first to die, suddenly and mysteriously. One by one, Rhaena's close friends fell sick and died as well: Cassella Staunton, Septa Maryam, Alayne Royce, Samantha Stokeworth, and finally Lianna Velaryon, who died in Rhaena's arms. Rhaena had Dragonstone closed and barred, and sent word to King's Landing, where Lord Rego Draz recognized the described symptoms as the result of the tears of Lys, a deadly poison. Jaehaerys dispatched a raven to his sister, and when Rhaena read the letter, she realized at once that her husband had been the culprit. She and her garrison found Androw after a long search in the Chamber of the Painted Table, where he confessed. Rhaena ordered him gelded, and determined that his private parts were to be cooked, and that he would be forced to eat them all before his death. However, Androw jumped from a castle window, denying Rhaena her revenge against him. Instead, Rhaena had his body hacked apart and fed to her dragons.
Rhaena's reunion with her daughter Aerea had been troubled as well, as she knew nothing about her daughter, and her daughter could not remember her, and in addition strongly disliked Dragonstone. Following Androw's suicide, Rhaena plunged into deep sadness as a result of the deaths of her friends, and grew enraged every time she heard her husband's name. When Queen Alysanne Targaryen came to visit the island in an attempt to comfort Rhaena, she found Rhaena unresponsive. Rhaena, on the other hand, attempted to send Alysanne away on three occasions. Failing that, Rhaena locked herself in her room, while Alysanne instead approached Aerea. Aerea, feeling more and more isolated on the island, requested Alysanne to take her back to King's Landing with her. Alysanne brought Aerea's request to Rhaena, who refused coldly, stating that Rhaena had nothing and Alysanne had everything, but would not have Rhaena's daughter too, concluding that "you have my throne, content yourself with that." Next Rhaena called her daughter to her chambers, where they argued loudly about the matter. Eventually, when Alysanne left the island, she left alone.
Despite their troubled relationship, during their time on Dragonstone Rhaena had encouraged her daughter to claim one of the dragons on the island for her own. In 54 AC, Rhaena one day discovered that Aerea had fled the island on the back of a dragon: Balerion, the Black Dread. Rhaena mounted Dreamfyre and flew to the Red Keep, convinced that Aerea had gone there. Rhaena remained at court while Jaehaerys sent forth ravens across the realm, but after seven days, she declared that she was going to look for Aerea herself and left on Dreamfyre in search of her daughter.
Rhaena first traveled to Oldtown, where she was reunited with her younger daughter, Rhaella. Next, she visited Highgarden, Crakehall, and Casterly Rock, but nowhere a trace of Aerea and Balerion could be found. Rhaena then traveled to Fair Isle, where Lord Franklyn Farman received her coldly, telling her that, if Aerea was to turn up at his island, he would "see her off" just as he had Rhaena. Before leaving, Rhaena wished Franklyn luck in seeing off Balerion, stating that the dragon had enjoyed eating Franklyn's brother, and by now might desire "another course." Historians do not know where Rhaena went afterwards. She would not be seen for the remainder the year, although reports mention sightings of Dreamfyre at the barrowlands, the Fever River, the Red Mountains of Dorne, the canyons of the Torrentine, flying over the Fingers, the Mountains of the Moon, the forests of Cape Wrath, the Shield Islands, and the Arbor. Instead of seeking the company of others, Rhaena preferred to spend this time on her own.
In 55 AC, Rhaena traveled to Greenstone, home to the first of her favorites, Larissa Velaryon, whose daughter had married Lord Estermont. On Greenstone, Rhaena lingered for a while. In 56 AC, Princess Aerea returned to King's Landing on Balerion. She had been infected with an insidious disease that killed her that same day. By the time the raven carrying the news about Aerea reached Greenstone, Aerea had already been cremated. Rhaena returned to King's Landing and took possession of her daughter's ashes. Refusing Jaehaerys's offer to have Aerea's ashes interred on Dragonstone as Aerea had hated the place, Rhaena instead took Aerea's ashes into the sky on Dreamfyre and released them into the wind, claiming that Aerea had "wanted to fly."
After her daughter's death, Rhaena did not wish to return to King's Landing or Dragonstone, as both places were now filled with bitter memories to her, nor did she wish to return to Greenstone. She refused Alysanne's suggestion of taking a fourth husband as well. Instead, Rhaena eventually settled for Harrenhal, where she was a guest of House Towers. She made her residence in the Widow's Tower of the castle, and befriended the sickly and impoverished Lord Maegor Towers, who was the last of his line. When Maegor died in 61 AC, she took his small household into her own care.
Once a year, Rhaena would visit her daughter Rhaella in Oldtown, but otherwise she remained at Harrenhal. As her hair turned white, the smallfolk in the riverlands began to fear her as a witch. Although Rhaena agreed to grant hospitality to all the travelers who turned up at Harrenhal, she would never seek their company. Rhaena remained at Harrenhal until her own death in 73 AC. Her body was cremated at Harrenhal and King Jaehaerys I Targaryen ordained that her ashes were interred there as well.
Quotes by Rhaena
I do not have time for tears.—Rhaena after hearing of the Battle Beneath the Gods Eye
—Rhaena to Alysanne Targaryen
Quotes about Rhaena
—Jaehaerys I Targaryen at Rhaena's funeral pyre
|Maegor I||Aenys I||Alyssa|
- Printed versions of Fire & Blood state that the suggestion of a betrothal occurred shortly after Maegor turned twelve, placing the event in 24 AC. Maegor's age was adjusted to eleven in the ebook editions, placing the event in 23 AC.
- Stories have suggested a hedge knight, a singer, a blacksmith's son, and a village septon.
- Fire & Blood, A Surfeit of Rulers.
- Fire & Blood, A Time of Testing - The Realm Remade.
- Fire & Blood, The Sons of the Dragon.
- Fire & Blood, Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Their Triumphs and Tragedies.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Appendix: Targaryen Lineage.
- The Princess and the Queen.
- Fire & Blood, Birth, Death, and Betrayal Under King Jaehaerys I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Maegor I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Westerlands: House Lannister Under the Dragons.
- Fire & Blood, Prince into King - The Ascension of Jaehaerys I.
- Fire & Blood, The Year of the Three Brides - 49 AC.