Rhaella Targaryen

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Rhaella Targaryen
House Targaryen.svg
Rhaella Targaryen.jpg

Title Princess
Dowager Queen
Allegiance House Targaryen
Culture Valyrian
Born In 245 AC or 246 AC[1], at King's Landing[2]
Died In 284 AC[1], at Dragonstone[3]
Spouse King Aerys II Targaryen
Book(s) The World of Ice and Fire (mentioned)
A Game of Thrones (mentioned)
A Storm of Swords (mentioned)
A Feast for Crows (mentioned)
A Dance with Dragons (mentioned)

Queen Rhaella Targaryen was the sister, wife, and queen of King Aerys II Targaryen and the only daughter of King Jaehaerys II Targaryen. Her grandfather was King Aegon V Targaryen. Rhaella was the mother of Prince Rhaegar, Prince Viserys, and Princess Daenerys. She died shortly after Daenerys's birth.[3]


Early life

Ser Barristan Selmy claimed that in her youth Rhaella was in love with Ser Bonifer Hasty, a young landed knight[4] from the stormlands, who had once named her queen of love and beauty. It had been a brief thing, as Ser Bonifer was of too low birth to ever be seriously considered a suitor for a Princess.[5]

Rhaella and Aerys' unhappy wedding

Rhaella was married to her older brother,[6] Aerys, on the command of her father, Prince Jaehaerys.[5][7][8] According to Barristan Selmy, there was no fondness between Aerys and Rhaella on the day of their wedding.[7] In 259 AC, whilst present at Summerhall, Rhaella gave birth to the first of her children, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, whilst the tragedy of Summerhall raged.[8][9]

As a princess, and eventual queen, Rhaella had multiple ladies in waiting. At some point, this included the mother of Prince Doran Martell, and, from 259 AC to 263 AC, Lady Joanna Lannister.[10][11]

Married life

Rhaella's marriage to Aerys was arranged at the command of their father, King Jaehaerys II. He had been influenced by a woods witch, who had been brought to court by Jenny of Oldstones. The woods witch prophesied that the prince that was promised would be born from Aerys's and Rhaella's line.[7]

On the same day her grandfather and his eldest son perished in the Tragedy at Summerhall, Aerys became crown prince and Rhaella gave birth to their first child, Rhaegar.[12]

Rhaella giving birth to Rhaegar as Summerhal burns down

After Rhaegar's birth, Rhaella and Aerys had more trouble where their children were concerned. In the seventeen years following Rhaegar's birth, Rhaella went through multiple pregnancies, stillbirths and miscarriages:[11]

While at first, her brother comforted Rhaella in her grief, the multiple stillbirths, miscarriages and dead children eventually caused Aerys to become suspicious of Rhaella. He accused her of being unfaithful, and that the dead children had been bastards. Rhaella was confined to Maegor's Holdfast (roughly around 270 AC), and Aerys decreed that two septas would sleep in Rhaella's bed every night, to ensure she would remain faithful.[11]

The death of Prince Jaehaerys in 264 AC shifted Aerys' suspicions to others. He first blamed Jaehaerys's wetnurse first, and had her beheaded in a black rage. It did not take Aerys long to decide Jaehaerys had been poisoned, and that the poisoner had been his own mistress, the young daughter of a household knight. The girl and her family were tortured to death, and all confessed to the murder (though the details of their confessions differed greatly).[11]

Afterwards, Aerys decided that he himself had been to blame. He fasted for a fortnight, made a walk of repentance across the city to the Great Sept, and prayed with the High Septon. When he returned, he declared that he would only sleep with Rhaella from that day forth. If the chronicles can be believed, Aerys remained true to this vow, thereby ceasing to have mistresses from 275 AC forth.[11]

In 276 AC, Prince Viserys was born, small and robust, and most of all, healthy. However, Viserys' birth terrified Aerys, who feared Viserys would suffer the fate of his brothers. No one was allowed to touch the child, Rhaella included. She was even forbidden to be alone with Viserys. And when Rhaella's milk dried up, Aerys insisted that his own food taster would suckle at the breasts of the wet nurse, to be certain that there was no poison on her nipples.

When Lord Tywin Lannister, Hand of the King, held a tournament in honor of Viserys's birth at Lannisport in 276 AC, Rhaella was ordered to remain at King's Landing with Viserys. In 281 AC, during the tourney at Harrenhal, the same occured.[13][14]

In the later years of the marriage of Aerys and Rhaella, as Aerys's insanity began to set in, he grew sexually abusive toward Rhaella. He developed a sexual fetish for fire and death, only sleeping with Rhaella after he had executed someone by burning. The final time, just before the queen was sent to Dragonstone to escape the coming siege of King's Landing by rebels during the Robert's Rebellion, Ser Jaime Lannister of the Kingsguard recalls listening to Rhaella cry as the king raped her; when Jaime protested that the Kingsguard were sworn to defend the queen as well, Ser Jon Darry replied, "We are, but not from him". In the morning, the queen's maids reported seeing scratches, bruises and bite marks all over her body.[15]

According to Ser Barristan Selmy, Rhaella did her best to protect her younger son, Viserys, from the worst of Aerys's excesses, keeping her child oblivious to the fact his father was sliding deeper into madness.[16] In Harrenhal Jaime tells Brienne of Tarth that by the time King Aerys was ordering that caches of wildfire be placed all over King's Landing Rhaella's eyes had been closed for years.[17]

Evacuation to Dragonstone

After the royalist defeat at the Battle of the Trident, Queen Rhaella, who was in the early stages of pregnancy, and Prince Viserys were evacuated, sailing to Dragonstone with the Red Keep's master-at-arms Ser Willem Darry, before King's Landing fell to the rebels. During the first months of exile Rhaella crowned her son Viserys Targaryen on Dragonstone.[18] As Robert's Rebellion wound down, Dragonstone became the last haven of the remaining Targaryens.


Rhaella spent the duration of her pregnancy on Dragonstone. Nine moons after their midnight flight from King's Landing Rhaella gave birth to her third child and only daughter Princess Daenerys while a raging summer storm threatened to rip the island fastness apart. Rhaella died shortly thereafter from complications of giving birth. [3] Rhaella's surviving children inherited her crown. Later, in poverty in exile, they sell their mother’s crown in order to survive.[19]

Quotes about Rhaella

Whenever Aerys gave a man to the flames, Queen Rhaella would have a visitor in the night.
Jaime Lannister's thoughts

Jaime: We are sworn to protect her as well.

Jonothor: We are, but not from him.[15]

Jaime Lannister and Jonothor Darry

The queen your mother was always mindful of her duty.[citation needed]
Barristan Selmy, to Daenerys Targaryen


Aegon V
of Oldstones
Jaehaerys II
Aerys II
stillborn child
zo Loraq

See also

References and Notes

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