Rhaegar Targaryen, as depicted by Karla Ortiz in The World of Ice & Fire
The dragon prince
The last dragon
The prince that was promised
Prince of Dragonstone|
|Born||In 259 AC, at Summerhall|
|Died||In 283 AC[N 1], at the Trident|
|Spouse(s)||Princess Elia Martell|
|Father||Aerys II Targaryen|
The World of Ice & Fire (mentioned)|
A Game of Thrones (mentioned)
A Clash of Kings (mentioned)
A Storm of Swords (mentioned)
A Feast for Crows (mentioned)
A Dance with Dragons (mentioned)
The Winds of Winter (mentioned)
|Played by||Wilf Scolding|
|TV series||Season 7|
Prince Rhaegar Targaryen was the firstborn son of King Aerys II Targaryen and his sister-wife, Queen Rhaella. As heir-apparent, he was the Prince of Dragonstone and crown prince for the Iron Throne. Rhaegar was popular with the smallfolk during his lifetime, but he died in Robert's Rebellion which was triggered in part by his abduction of Lyanna Stark. He was slain in single combat by Robert Baratheon at the ruby ford during the battle of the Trident. Rhaegar was the elder brother of the exiled last members of House Targaryen, Prince Viserys and Princess Daenerys.
- 1 Appearance and Character
- 2 History
- 3 Recent Events
- 4 Quotes by Rhaegar
- 5 Quotes about Rhaegar
- 6 Family
- 7 Notes
- 8 References
Appearance and Character
The beautiful Rhaegar had deep purple or indigo colored eyes. He had long, elegant fingers, and was taller than his younger brother, Viserys, would be in his adulthood. Rhaegar's hair was similar to the silver-blond of Viserys and their sister, Daenerys. The hair of Aurane Waters is reminiscent of Rhaegar's, although the Bastard of Driftmark's is more silvery than gold.
Rhaegar owned night-black plate armor, with the three-headed dragon of House Targaryen decorated in rubies on its breastplate, and underneath the plate he wore golden ringmail. Rhaegar decorated his helm with gold, orange, and red silken streamers resembling flames.
Rhaegar was an intelligent young man, who excelled at anything to which he put his mind, and grew to be a great knight and a skilled musician. The latter, however, held his preference; men said Rhaegar loved his silver-stringed harp more than he loved his lance. Jorah Mormont has described Rhaegar as valiant, honorable, and noble while Barristan Selmy has called him determined, deliberate, dutiful, and single-minded. The crown prince was said to have been uninterested in the play of other children as a boy, but bookish "to a fault". He learned to read at such an early age that people jested that his mother Rhaella had swallowed some books and a candle during her pregnancy. Later in life, however, Rhaegar did acquire several trusted and loyal companions. Rhaegar was deeply affected by "the shadow of Summerhall", because he was "born in grief" and was considered melancholic at times. At the same time, Summerhall was also Rhaegar's favorite place.
The prince was well-loved by the people of the Seven Kingdoms during his lifetime and is still fondly remembered to this day. While Robert Baratheon despises Rhaegar and accuses him of having raped Lyanna Stark, the only thought of Eddard Stark, Lyanna's brother, is he did not think Rhaegar frequented brothels. Jaime Lannister remembers the iron tones of Rhaegar's voice. Barristan Selmy, who served three kings, thinks that Rhaegar would have been better than any of them. His sister, Daenerys, is frequently compared to Rhaegar as a compliment. People who had romantic feelings toward Rhaegar include Cersei Lannister and Jon Connington.
Prince Rhaegar was the firstborn son of King Aerys II Targaryen and Queen Rhaella. He was born at Summerhall in 259 AC, on the same day as the great tragedy there. As a child he read obsessively, to the point that jests were made about his habits. He became a noted warrior later in life, although he did not initially seem inclined to martial habits. However, apparently by something he had read, Rhaegar became motivated to become a warrior.
At the age of seventeen, Rhaegar was knighted, and from all reports grew into a skilled and capable fighter. The prince always distinguished himself well at tourneys, although he seldom entered the lists. Unlike warriors such as Robert Baratheon or Jaime Lannister, Rhaegar was not enthusiastic about fighting.
Rhaegar's squires were Myles Mooton and Richard Lonmouth, and after he knighted them they remained close companions. Jon Connington, whom he had squired with, was a good friend to Rhaegar as well. Returning from a trip to Dorne, Rhaegar once visited the Connington seat of Griffin's Roost. His songs brought the castle's women to tears, while Lord Armond Connington sought House Targaryen's support against rival House Morrigen. Rhaegar's closest and oldest friend, however, was Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning, trusting him more than Ser Barristan Selmy.
Rhaegar often liked to visit the ruins of Summerhall with only his harp and when he returned he sang songs of such beauty they could reduce women to tears. Although Rhaegar was often dour, private and bookish, Cersei Lannister noted at the tournament in honor of Viserys's birth in Lannisport in 276 AC that the smallfolk cheered for Lord Tywin Lannister twice as much as for King Aerys II, but only half as loudly for Tywin as for Rhaegar. Rhaegar fought well in the tourney besting a dozen skilled knights, among them Barristan Selmy, Gerion, and Tygett Lannister but was defeated in the champion's tilt by his friend Arthur Dayne. Aerys refused Tywin's offer at the tourney to betroth Cersei to Rhaegar. Rhaegar defeated Arthur in the tourney at Storm's End.
Rhaegar was born at a time when the Targaryen's had declined, and once he came of age, there was no sister, or anyone else of their bloodline, available for him to marry. King Aerys sent his first cousin, Lord Steffon Baratheon, to seek a bride for Rhaegar. Despite Valyrian blood still being present in Essos, Steffon could not find appropriate females of noble-enough birth for Rhaegar to wed.
After this in early 279 AC, Rhaegar was formally betrothed to the Dornish princess, Elia Martell, the younger sister of Doran Martell, Prince of Dorne. They married the following year in 280 AC, a lavish ceremony was held at the Great Sept of Baelor. His father did not attend the wedding as he was paranoid about an assassination attempt and nor did he permit the young Prince Viserys to attend. Rhaegar and his father's relationship was straining at this point, and he and his new bride took up residence on Dragonstone instead of King's Landing. Rhaegar and Elia had their first child, a girl named Rhaenys, in 280 AC. When the babe was presented at court, Rhaegar's mother, Queen Rhaella, embraced her grandchild warmly while King Aerys remarked: "she smells Dornish". The relationship between Aerys and Rhaegar became more and more estranged.
Elia and Rhaegar had a son they named Aegon. Elia, due to her delicate health, was bed-ridden for half a year after giving birth to Rhaenys and nearly died giving birth to Aegon, after which the maesters told Rhaegar she would be unable to have any more children.
When Lord Tywin resigned his position as Hand of the King and left court, the new focus of King Aerys's mistrust and paranoia was his own son and heir, Prince Rhaegar. At court, there was growing tension between factions loyal to the king and to the prince. Grand Maester Pycelle dispatched a letter to the Citadel, writing that tensions and division at court strongly resembled those before the Dance of the Dragons. Pycelle was fearful a civil war would break out unless some accord could be reached that would satisfy both factions.
Tourney at Harrenhal
In 280 AC,[N 2] Lord Walter Whent announced a tourney would be held at Harrenhal to rival any previous tournament. It is believed by some that the tourney was secretly arranged and financed by Prince Rhaegar, as a pretext, so Rhaegar could meet up with the great lords of the realm to discuss arranging a Great Council and the removal of his father. The tournament was announced by Walter shortly after his brother, Ser Oswell of the Kingsguard, visited his older brother. When Lord Varys alerted Aerys II to this possibility, the king decided to attend the tourney.
During the great tourney at Harrenhal, Rhaegar seemed unstoppable and defeated even Ser Arthur Dayne. Taking the winter rose crown for the queen of love and beauty, he revealed his interest in Lyanna Stark by passing over his wife, Princess Elia of Dorne, and setting it in Lyanna's lap. Eddard Stark later recalled that moment as "when all the smiles died". The next year, Rhaegar seemingly kidnapped Lyanna, for reasons unknown. This act ultimately triggered Robert's Rebellion and the downfall of the Targaryen dynasty.
Some believe that Rhaegar spent the beginning of Robert's Rebellion, also known as the War of the Usurper, with Lyanna Stark at the tower of joy in the Red Mountains of Dorne. King Aerys sent Ser Gerold Hightower, the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, to retrieve Rhaegar. Leaving Ser Gerold, Ser Arthur Dayne, and Ser Oswell Whent at the tower, Rhaegar returned to the crownlands and took command of the Targaryen army after the defeat of his friend Jon Connington in the battle of the Bells. Ser Jaime Lannister was left at the Red Keep to protect Rhaegar's father and family.
Rhaegar met Lord Robert Baratheon in combat at a ford during the battle of the Trident, where the pair had a legendary duel in the raging rivers of the Trident. Rhaegar, despite wounding Robert, was struck down with a massive blow from Robert's warhammer, which scattered the rubies encrusted in Rhaegar's armor into the water. While Rhaegar lay dead in the stream, soldiers of both armies scrabbled in the water to search for the rubies. The location was named the ruby ford thereafter. Rhaegar died with Lyanna Stark's name on his lips. According to a semi-canon source, Rhaegar's body was cremated, as is traditional for fallen Targaryens.
His wife Elia and their children were murdered by Ser Gregor Clegane and Ser Amory Lorch during the Sack of King's Landing. Amory dragged the screaming girl, Rhaenys, from under her father's bed and stabbed her to death. Gregor, whom Rhaegar had knighted, killed the infant Aegon by dashing his head against the wall while his mother watched. He then raped and killed Elia while still covered in the blood and brains of her son. Meanwhile, Jaime Lannister killed Rhaegar's father, King Aerys, to prevent the wildfire plot, earning himself the Kingslayer sobriquet.
The circumstances of Rhaegar's taking of Lyanna, and of her reaction to it, remain unknown. The Starks, Brandon Stark in particular, saw it as an abduction, and Robert Baratheon imagined that Rhaegar was raping Lyanna while he kept her prisoner. However, the Targaryen tradition sees Rhaegar acting out of true love for Lyanna. Lord Eddard Stark, Lyanna's brother, and Lord Howland Reed found her at Rhaegar's tower of joy in Dorne. Lyanna died in the Red Mountains after Eddard's arrival and his defeat of the three Kingsguard. She made her brother give a promise, the content of which remains unknown.
What all sides seem to agree upon is that the meeting of Rhaegar and Lyanna was fateful as it led to immense bloodshed. This leads to imaginations of an alternate history, in which Rhaegar never became infatuated with Lyanna. Viserys Targaryen blames his sister Daenerys once for the downfall of the Targaryens, because she was not born earlier, as Rhaegar could then have married her and might have never become interested in Lyanna. Ser Kevan Lannister imagines that, had King Aerys accepted Lord Tywin Lannister's proposal of marrying his daughter Cersei to Rhaegar, the dragon prince might have never looked twice at Lyanna.
A Game of Thrones
During her fever dream, Daenerys Targaryen sees her brother Rhaegar mounted on a stallion as black as his armor. Fire glimmers red through the narrow eye slit of his helm. When Daenerys lifts his polished black visor, the face within is her own.
When Lord Tywin Lannister discusses with his brother Ser Kevan and his son Tyrion the dire situation of the Lannister forces after the defeats in the battle in the Whispering Wood and the battle of the Camps, Tyrion jests that his father should take comfort from the fact that Prince Rhaegar is still dead.
A Clash of Kings
Rhaegar appears in Daenerys's vision in the House of the Undying. He discusses with his wife, Elia Martell, what he will name his son (Aegon) and his destiny. Rhaegar states that the boy is the prince that was promised and his is the song of ice and fire. Dany also has a vision of Rhaegar's death at the ruby ford of the Trident at the hands of Robert Baratheon.
A Storm of Swords
While aboard the ship Balerion, Arstan Whitebeard tells Daenerys that Rhaegar was able and dutiful. While Rhaegar was bookish in his youth, he decided to become a warrior after reading about something unknown in his scrolls. Arstan later tells of the melancholy in Rhaegar's fondness of Summerhall.
While resting his head on a weirwood stump, Ser Jaime Lannister has a fever dream of five of his old Kingsguard brothers under King Aerys II Targaryen. Beside them, crowned in mist and grief with his long hair streaming behind him, rides Rhaegar, who burns with a cold light of changing colors. Rhaegar's shade accuses Jaime of not protecting his family during the sack of King's Landing.
A Feast for Crows
While standing vigil over the funeral bier of his father, Lord Tywin Lannister, Jaime recalls the day he said farewell to Rhaegar, in the yard of the Red Keep. Rhaegar had wanted to call a council after Robert's Rebellion was suppressed, but the prince was instead killed at the Trident. Jaime also recollects that when Lord Owen Merryweather failed to contain the rebellion Rhaegar could not be found, causing King Aerys to turn to Rhaegar's friend, Lord Jon Connington, whom he raised to Hand of the King.
Queen Regent Cersei Lannister remembers wanting to marry Rhaegar after meeting him at the tournament in honor of Viserys's birth, but Aerys refused Tywin's suggestion of betrothal. Cersei, Robert's widow, never forgave Robert for killing Rhaegar at the ruby ford.
A Dance with Dragons
Prior to Daenerys marrying Hizdahr zo Loraq, Ser Barristan Selmy tells her that Rhaegar was very fond of Elia Martell; Dany thinks the word fond speaks volumes. During her wedding procession she looks about for her paramour, Daario Naharis, hoping secretly that he will come and carry her off at swordpoint, as Rhaegar carried off his northern girl, Lyanna Stark.
Barristan later regrets having rescued King Aerys II from Duskendale, as he thinks Rhaeger would have been a better king than Jaehaerys II, Aerys II, or Robert I. Barristan also regrets not having defeated Rhaegar in the lists at the tourney at Harrenhal, as the victorious prince had proclaimed Lyanna Stark the queen of love and beauty.
Traveling south on the Rhoyne, Tyrion Lannister discovers the sellsword Griff is actually Jon Connington, the exiled friend of Rhaegar and former Hand of the King to Aerys II. The youth called Young Griff is said to actually be Rhaegar's son, Aegon Targaryen, widely believed to have been murdered by Ser Gregor Clegane during the sack of King's Landing. The exiles claim that Varys had switched the infant Aegon with a peasant baby and taken Aegon to safety with Illyrio Mopatis, and that Gregor killed the peasant child instead.
Jon discusses the issue of trust with Aegon, and then recalls that Rhaegar had been aware of Aerys's paranoia. After landing in the stormlands with the Golden Company to claim the Iron Throne for Aegon, Jon vows he will not fail Rhaegar's son as he failed his father. Jon thinks that Rhaegar's eyes were a darker purple than those of the boy.
Quotes by Rhaegar
Elia: Will you make a song for him?Rhaegar: He has a song. He is the prince that was promised, and his is the song of ice and fire. There must be one more. The dragon has three heads.
—Rhaegar to Willem Darry
—Rhaegar to Jaime Lannister
Quotes about Rhaegar
The battle screamed about Lord Robert and Prince Rhaegar both, and by the will of the gods, or by chance-or perhaps by design-they met amidst the shallows of the ford. The two knights fought valiantly upon their destriers, according to all accounts. For despite his crimes, Prince Rhaegar was no coward.—writings of Yandel
In my dreams, I kill him every night. A thousand deaths will still be less than he deserves.
And Rhaegar ... how many times do you think he raped your sister? How many hundreds of times? I will kill every Targaryen I can get my hands on, until they are as dead as their dragons, and then I will piss on their graves.
Eddard: You were not there. There was no honor in that conquest.Robert: The Others take your honor! What did any Targaryen ever know of honor? Go down into your crypt and ask Lyanna about the dragon's honor!
Daenerys: Ser Jorah named Rhaegar the last dragon once. He had to have been a peerless warrior to be called that, surely?
Arstan: Your Grace, the Prince of Dragonstone was a most puissant warrior, but...Arstan: As you command. A warrior without peer ... those are fine words, Your Grace, but words win no battles.
Daenerys: Go on. You may speak freely to me.
Arstan: But I am not certain it was in Rhaegar to be happy.
Daenerys: You make him sound so sour.Arstan: ... of doom. He was born in grief, my queen, and that shadow hung over him all his days.
Arstan: Not sour, no, but ... there was a melancholy to Prince Rhaegar, a sense ...
Daenerys: Say it. A sense?
Daenerys: One day you must tell me all. The good and the bad. There is some good to be said of my father, surely?
—thoughts of Cersei Lannister
—thoughts of Barristan Selmy
- Lord Aenar Targaryen, Dragonlord of Valyria and First Lord of Dragonstone
- Lord Gaemon Targaryen, Second Lord of Dragonstone
- Lord Aegon Targaryen, Third Lord of Dragonstone
- Lord Aerys Targaryen, Fifth Lord of Dragonstone
- Lord Daemion Targaryen, Eighth Lord of Dragonstone
- Lord Aerion Targaryen, Ninth Lord of Dragonstone
- King Aegon I Targaryen, Tenth Lord of Dragonstone and First Lord of the Seven Kingdoms
- King Aenys I Targaryen, Second Lord of the Seven Kingdoms
- King Jaehaerys I Targaryen, Fourth Lord of the Seven Kingdoms
- Prince Baelon Targaryen
- Prince Daemon Targaryen
- King Viserys II Targaryen, Tenth Lord of the Seven Kingdoms
- King Aegon IV Targaryen, Eleventh Lord of the Seven Kingdoms
- King Daeron II Targaryen, Twelfth Lord of the Seven Kingdoms
- King Maekar I Targaryen, Fourteenth Lord of the Seven Kingdoms
- King Aegon V Targaryen, Fifteenth Lord of the Seven Kingdoms
- King Jaehaerys II Targaryen, Sixteenth Lord of the Seven Kingdoms
- King Aerys II Targaryen, Seventeenth Lord of the Seven Kingdoms
- Prince Rhaegar Targaryen
- Erroneously listed as 282 AC in early prints of The World of Ice & Fire, which has subsequently been corrected into 283 AC in later prints.
- The World of Ice & Fire lists two contradicting dates. In "The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II", the announcement is stated to have been made in 280 AC, but in "The Fall of the Dragons: The Year of the False Spring", the announcement of the tourney is stated as having been made in 281 AC. It is confirmed 280 AC is correct in later editions.
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