Rhaenys Targaryen

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Rhaenys Targaryen
House Targaryen.svg
Rhaenys by Amok©

Title Queen
Allegiance House Targaryen
Race Valyrian
Culture crownlands
Born In 25BC or 26BC[1], at Dragonstone
Died In 10 AC, at Hellholt
Spouse Aegon I Targaryen
Book(s) The World of Ice and Fire (mentioned)
A Game of Thrones (mentioned)
A Clash of Kings (mentioned)
A Storm of Swords (mentioned)
For other articles sharing the same title, please see this disambiguation page.

Queen Rhaenys Targaryen was the younger of the two sister queens of King Aegon I Targaryen, the first Lord of the Seven Kingdoms. Rhaenys was Aegon's favorite sister-wife, though it was whispered she may have dabbled with other bed-mates. She was a dragonrider who rode the dragon Meraxes. The Hill of Rhaenys in King's Landing is named after her.

Appearance and Character

See also: Images of Rhaenys Targaryen

Rhaenys was a year or two younger than Aegon. She had the silver-gold Targaryen hair which she kept long and wore loose. Physically she was more slender and graceful than her sister. She was known as less stern and more playful and curious than her older sister, Visenya.[2] She was also interested in music and poetry.[3]

Rhaenys loved to ride her dragon, Meraxes, and spent twice as much time riding than her siblings. She surrounded herself with comely young men and there were whispers that she entertained men while Aegon was with Visenya - yet Aegon spent ten nights with Rhaenys for every one with Visenya.[4]


The youngest of three siblings, Rhaenys was born on Dragonstone to Lord Aerion Targaryen and his wife, Lady Valaena Velaryon. Though it was traditional for Targaryens to marry their older sister, Rhaenys was married to her brother Aegon, as was her older sister, Visenya. It was said that Aegon had married Visenya out of duty, and Rhaenys out of desire.[4]

Rhaenys had been a dragonrider to the dragon Meraxes since before she was wed.[4]

The Conquest

See also: Aegon's Conquest
Rhaenys with her siblings Aegon (middle) and Visenya (left), by Amok

In 2 BC, Aegon Targaryen, Lord of Dragonstone, began his Wars of Conquest, and both Rhaenys and Visenya participated, riding their dragons in battle.[4]

Aegon's Conquest began when a modest Targaryen army put ashore on the mouth of the Blackwater Rush. While Aegon put up a palisade around the highest of three hills, Rhaenys and Visenya were sent to secure the submission of the castles nearby. Rhaenys flew on Meraxes to Rosby, which yielded peacefully to her.[4]

When the Aegonfort was finished, Aegon was crowned in front of old supporters and newly defeated enemies. Visenya placed a Valyrian circlet on his head, and Rhaenys hailed him as "Aegon, First of His Name, King of All Westeros, and Shield of His People". Within days of this coronation, the armies were sent out again, and Rhaenys on Meraxes accompanied Orys Baratheon and his army on their way to Storm's End. Some of the bannermen to Storm's End, Lords Errol, Fell, and Buckler, resisted Orys's advance, cutting down more than a thousand men before fading back into the trees. Rhaenys answered them by burning the woods using Meraxes. This killed Lord Errol, but Lords Fell and Buckler survived to send word to Storm's End. King Argilac Durrandon, having heard of the death of Harren the Black in the burning of Harrenhal, decided to march from Storm's End to meet the Targaryen host, instead of awaiting to be burned in his castle. Rhaenys, on Meraxes, witnessed how he departed from Storm's End.[4]

When the two armies met, a storm began, preventing Meraxes from flying. When the Durrandon host broke through the Baratheon host, however, they came across Meraxes on the ground. Rhaenys had the vanguard burned, and Orys killed Argilac. After the death of the Storm King, Rhaenys flew to Storm's End to parley. Argilac's daughter and heir, Argella, refused to surrender the castle, but the garrison eventually yielded both Argella and Storm's End to Orys.[4]

Rhaenys went to join Aegon and Visenya at Stoney Sept when Loren I Lannister, King of the Rock, joined forces with Mern IX Gardener, King of the Reach. On top of Meraxes, Rhaenys participated in the battle that would later be called the Field of Fire. This would be the first and only time when all three dragons were unleashed together in the war.[4]

Rhaenys Targaryen by Feliche©

After the Field of Fire, Aegon went north to deal with the Starks. Meanwhile, Rhaenys led the invasion of Dorne. Ignoring the Dornish host in the Prince's Pass, she flew to Vaith but found the castle empty and abandoned, with only old women and children being present in the town besides it. In Godsgrace and the Planky Town, she found exactly the same.[4] Rhaenys continued her journey to Sunspear, where the eighty-year old Meria Martell, Princess of Dorne, rejected the Targaryen's claims. After this, the queen and the princess parted ways, and Dorne remained unconquered, as the only one out of the Seven Kingdoms.[4]

Reign of the Dragons

With Aegon's initial conquest at an end in 1 AC, Rhaenys, Aegon and Visenya took residence at the Aegonfort. In 7 AC, Rhaenys gave birth to the first of Aegon's children: Prince Aenys, who was named his father's heir. Rhaenys's line eventually continued the line of dragonkings, as fifteen out of the sixteen kings that came after Aegon I descended from her line. Daenerys Targaryen is the last of her descendants who still bears the Targaryen name, although Rhaenys's progeny can still be found amongst Baratheons, Martells, and others. Her only child, Aenys, became the second king to sit on the Iron Throne.[5][6]

During the early years of her brother's reign, Rhaenys often aided Aegon in his efforts to win the respect of his vassals and the smallfolk. The smallfolk were a special concern for Rhaenys. She was fond of singers and bards as well. In addition, she arranged all kinds of marriages between far-flung houses,[5] including the marriage between Lord Ronnel Arryn and a daughter of Lord Torrhen Stark.[7]

Rhaenys was also responsible for the rule of six, established by Rhaenys while Aegon was on a progress. This law declared that only six blows were allowed to be struck by a husband to his wife, when she had been unfaithful; one blow for each of the Seven, save the Stranger. As the cause of her rule had been a husband who had struck his unfaithful wife a hundred times, causing her death, the queen declared that the man had struck his wife unlawfully ninety-four of those times, and the dead woman's brothers were allowed to punish the husband equally.[5]

In addition, it was Rhaenys who urged Aegon to make it unlawful for the ironborn to steal woman throughout the Seven Kingdoms.[8]

First Dornish War

In 4 AC, Aegon I decided to start another campaign against Dorne, continuing the Wars of Conquest. Rhaenys participated in the First Dornish War, flying on Meraxes. She led the first assault on Dorne, seizing castles and burning Planky Town while approaching Sunspear. The Dornish resisted stubbornly, though not by giving open battle. When Rhaenys and Aegon eventually reached Sunspear, Princess Meria Martell, as well as most others, had fled. With Lord Rosby in place as castellan of Sunspear, and Lord Harlan Tyrell in charge of a host to fight the last revolts, Rhaenys and Aegon returned to King's Landing. When they reached the capital, Dorne revolted, leading to the deaths of both Lord Rosby, by the hand of Princess Meria herself, and Lord Tyrell, who vanished with his entire army.[9]

The Targaryens returned to Dorne once more, unleashing their dragons. It was at Hellholt in 10 AC where the Dornishmen won their greatest victory, as a bolt from a scorpion pierced Meraxes through the eye. The dragon fell from the sky, with Rhaenys on its back, destroying half the castle. It is not certain, whether Rhaenys outlived Meraxes or not. There are those who say that Rhaenys lost her seat, and fell to her death, while there are others who claim that Rhaenys was crushed to death beneath Meraxes in the castle yard. A third option, claimed by a few accounts, state that Rhaenys survived the fall, and that she died a slow death, being tortured by the Ullers. Due to the uncertainty about Rhaenys's exact death, history records that she died in 10 AC at Hellholt in Dorne. Her body was never returned to King's Landing.[9]


Aegon I
Aenys I
Maegor I
Jaehaerys I
Tyanna of
the Tower


Meria: I will not fight you, nor will I kneel to you. Dorne has no king. Tell your brother that.

Rhaenys: I shall, but we will come again, Princess, and the next time we shall come with fire and blood.
Meria: Your words. Ours are Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken. You may burn us, my lady ... but you will not bend us, break us, or make us bow. This is Dorne. You are not wanted here. Return at your peril.[4]

- Meria Martell and Rhaenys

References and Notes

  1. See the Rhaenys Targaryen (sister of Aegon I) calculation.
  2. So Spake Martin: More Targaryen Descriptions, December 24, 2005
  3. [1]
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon I.
  6. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I.
  7. The World of Ice & Fire, The North: The Lords of Winterfell.
  8. The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands.
  9. 9.0 9.1 The World of Ice & Fire, Dorne: Dorne Against the Dragons.

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