Rhaegar Targaryen © 2012 Miguel Regodón Harkness
The Dragon Prince
The Last Dragon
Prince of Dragonstone |
|Born||In 259 AC, at Summerhall|
|Died||In 283 AC, at Trident|
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)
Prince Rhaegar Targaryen was the eldest son of Aerys II and, as heir-apparent, Prince of Dragonstone. Rhaegar was popular with the smallfolk during his life, but died in Robert's Rebellion, which was triggered in part by his alleged abduction of Lyanna Stark. Rhaegar is remembered as a heroic figure to Targaryen loyalists.
Character and Appearance
Rhaegar was exceedingly intelligent and excelled at anything he put his mind to; he was considered to be a talented musician and skilled knight. He was deeply affected by "the shadow of Summerhall", because he was "born in grief" and was considered melancholic at times.
Many think of Rhaegar with respect, even Robert's best friend, Ned Stark. Jaime still remembers the iron tones of Rhaegar’s voice.  Rhaegar was tall and handsome, he had dark lilac eyes and the silver hair of the Targaryens. His sister Daenerys Targaryen is often compared to Rhaegar as a compliment. See also this collection of images.
Prince Rhaegar was King Aerys II and Queen Rhaella first born son, and was born in the year 259 AC, on the very same day that the Tragedy at Summerhall took place. 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, he became motivated to excel in this field, apparently by something he read.
At 17 he was knighted, and from all reports grew into a highly skilled and capable fighter, always distinguishing himself well at tournaments, but seldom entered the lists. Men said Rhaegar loved his harp more then he loved his lance.
He 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 once noted that the smallfolk cheered for Lord Tywin Lannister twice as much as for King Aerys II, but only half as loudly as for Rhaegar, and Jaime Lannister still thinks he would have made a good king. Barristan Selmy who served three kings recalled that Rhaegar would have been better then all three combined.
Rhaegar's squires were Myles Mooton and Richard Lonmouth, and after he knighted them they remained close companions. Lord Jon Connington was a good friend to Rhaegar too, but Rhaegar's closest and oldest friend was Ser Arthur Dayne. King Aerys, when he was not so mad, had sent his first cousin Steffon Baratheon to seek a bride for Prince Rhaegar, who had no sisters to wed. His mission proved fruitless. Later Rhaegar married the Dornish princess Elia Martell, with whom he had two children: a daughter, Rhaenys, and a son, Aegon Targaryen.
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. Maester Aemon, whom Rhaegar corresponded with via raven messages, remembered that Rhaegar erroneously believed his child Aegon to be the Prince Who Was Promised.
Love and Death
During the Tourney at Harrenhal, Rhaegar Targaryen seemed unstoppable, and defeated even Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning. Taking the winter rose crown for the Queen of Love and Beauty, he revealed his interest in Lyanna Stark by passing over his wife, the Princess Elia of Dorne, and setting it in Lyanna's lap. A year later Rhaegar apparently kidnapped Lyanna, for reasons unknown; this act ultimately triggered Robert's Rebellion and the downfall of the Targaryen dynasty.
Rhaegar met Robert 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 under the water. That location was named the 'Ruby Ford' thereafter.
Later his wife Elia and their son were murdered by Ser Gregor Clegane and Ser Amory Lorch during the Sack of King's Landing. Lorch dragged the screaming toddler, Rhaenys, from under her father's bed and stabbed her to death. Ser Gregor killed an infant (who was believed by many to be Aegon VI, but was actually a peasant baby) by dashing his head against the wall. He then raped and killed Elia.
References in the Book
A Game of Thrones
During her fever dream, Daenerys sees her brother Rhaegar mounted on a stallion as black as his armor. Fire glimmers red through the narrow eye slit of his helm. Dany lifts his polished black visor. The face within is her own.
Clash of Kings
Daenerys names one of her newborn dragons in honor of her brother Rhaegar. The green and bronzed scaled dragon is named Rhaegal in honor of her brave brother who died on the green banks of the Trident.
"The Dragon has three heads, there must be one more". 
Rubies flew like drops of blood from the chest of a dying prince, and he sank to his knees in the water and with his last breath murmured a woman's name.
A Storm of Swords
While aboard the ship Balerion, Daenerys tells Arstan Whitebeard that she knows little of Rhaegar. Only the tales Viserys told, and he was a little boy when their brother died. When she asks him what Rhaegar was truly like Arstan replies:
"Able. That above all. Determined, deliberate, dutiful, single-minded".
He then tells Dany a tale told of Rhaegar:
"As a young boy, the Prince of Dragonstone was bookish to a fault. He was reading so early that men said Queen Rhaella must have swallowed some books and a candle whilst he was in her womb. Rhaegar took no interest in the play of other children. The maesters were awed by his wits, but his father’s knights would jest sourly that Baelor the Blessed had been born again. Until one day Prince Rhaegar found something in his scrolls that changed him. No one knows what it might have been, only that the boy suddenly appeared early one morning in the yard as the knights were donning their steel. He walked up to Ser Willem Darry, the master-at-arms, and said, 'I will require a sword and armor. It seems I must be a warrior.'"
While sleeping with his head resting on a weirwood stump, Jaime has fever dreams. In part of his dream he sees five of his old Kingsguard brothers under Aerys II. Beside them, crowned in mist and grief with his long hair streaming behind him, rides Rhaegar Targaryen, Prince of Dragonstone and rightful heir to the Iron Throne. Prince Rhaegar burns with a cold light, now white, now red, now dark. He tells Jaime:
"I left my wife and children in your hands".
Jaime replies to Rhaegar that he never thought he’d hurt them.
A Feast for Crows
The prince had donned his night-black armor, with the three-headed dragon picked out in rubies on his breastplate. Jamie pled with him to accompany him but Rhaegar refused, telling Jaime that Aerys feared his father, Tywin Lannister, more than he did cousin Robert. He wanted Jaime close so Tywin could not harm him. Rhaeger stated that he dare not take that crutch away from Aerys at such an hour. When Jaime balked at that Rhaegar put a hand on young Jaime’s shoulder and told him:
"When the battle’s done I mean to call a council. Changes will be made. I meant to do it long ago, but ... well, it does no good to speak of roads not taken. We shall talk when I return".
Those were the last words Rhaegar Targaryen ever spoke to Jaime. Outside the gates an army had assembled, whilst another descended on the Trident. So the Prince of Dragonstone mounted up and donned his tall black helm, and rode forth to his doom. 
She was ten when she finally saw her prince in the flesh, at the tourney her lord father had thrown to welcome King Aerys to the west. Viewing stands had been raised beneath the walls of Lannisport, and the cheers of the smallfolk had echoed off Casterly Rock like rolling thunder. They cheered Father twice as loudly as they cheered the King, the queen recalled, but only half as loudly as they cheered Prince Rhaegar. Seventeen and new to knighthood, Rhaegar Targaryen had worn black plate over golden ringmail when he cantered onto the lists. Long streamers of red and gold and orange silk had floated behind his helm, like flames. Two of her uncles fell before his lance, along with a dozen of her father’s finest jousters, the flower of the west. By night the prince had played his silver harp and made her weep. When she had been presented to him, Cersei had almost drowned in the depths of his sad purple eyes. He has been wounded, she recalled thinking, but I will mend his hurt when we are wed. Next to Rhaegar, even her beautiful Jaime had seemed no more than a callow boy. 
A Dance with Dragons
"Princess Elia was a good woman, Your Grace. She was kind and clever, with a gentle heart and a sweet wit. I know the prince was very fond of her.
Dany thinks to herself that the word fond speaks volumes.
During her wedding procession the girl in Daenerys looks about for her paramour Daario, hoping secretly that he will come and carry her off at swordpoint, as Rhaegar carried off his northern girl. But the queen in her knows that is folly. 
King Aerys was one such. By the end, even Rhaegar saw that plain enough.
When Prince Aegon Targaryen tells Jon Connington that he likes his castle, the Griffin's Roost, Jon suddenly recalls Rhaegar’s words to him and the way he looked when he was standing on the roof of the east tower, the tallest at Griffin's Roost:
Quotes about Rhaegar
References and Notes
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 48, Daenerys IV.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 8, Jaime I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 42, Daenerys IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, The Griffin Reborn
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 35, Samwell IV.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 24, Cersei V.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 23, Daenerys IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 43, Daenerys VII.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 24, The Lost Lord.
- A Dance with Dragons, The Griffin Reborn
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 23, Daenerys II.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 67, The Kingbreaker.
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