Helaena Targaryen

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House Targaryen.svg Queen
Helaena Targaryen
House Targaryen.svg
Helaena Targaryen by Hylora.png
Helaena Targaryen, by Hylora ©

Race Valyrian
Culture Crownlands
Born 109 AC
Died 130 AC (aged 21)
Maegor's Holdfast, the Red Keep, King's Landing
Father Viserys I Targaryen
Mother Alicent Hightower
Spouse King Aegon II Targaryen

Played by Phia Saban
Evie Allen (young)
TV series House of the Dragon: Season 1 | 2

Queen Helaena Targaryen was the sister-wife to King Aegon II Targaryen. She was the only daughter of King Viserys I Targaryen by his second wife, Queen Alicent Hightower, and his second daughter overall. Helaena and Aegon had three children: the twins Jaehaerys and Jaehaera, and Maelor. Like her siblings, Helaena was a dragonrider, who rode the dragon Dreamfyre.[1]

In the television adaptation House of the Dragon, Helaena is portrayed by Phia Saban and Evie Allen (young).[2][3]

Appearance and Character

At the age of thirteen, Helaena was plumper than most Targaryens, and less striking as well. Nonetheless, she was a pleasant and happy girl, and all agreed she would be an excellent mother.[1] As queen, Helaena was loved by the smallfolk.[4] Following the murder of her eldest son, however, Helaena became depressed and descended into madness.[5]


Early life

Helaena and her dragon Dreamfyre, by Samantha Altarozzi ©

In 109 AC, Helaena was born to King Viserys I Targaryen and his second wife, Queen Alicent Hightower. She had an older half-sister, Princess Rhaenyra, and an older brother, Prince Aegon, and would have two younger brothers, Prince Aemond and Prince Daeron.[1][6]

By the age of twelve, Helaena had become a dragonrider, and rode the dragon Dreamfyre. In 122 AC, at the age of thirteen, Helaena was married to her older brother Prince Aegon, following the ancient tradition of House Targaryen. Barely a year after her wedding, Helaena gave birth to twins: Jaehaerys and Jaehaera.[1]

On the first day of 127 AC, Helaena's father, King Viserys I, held a feast to celebrate the recovery of his health. According to the court fool Mushroom, after the king had left the feast, Helaena's nephew, Prince Jacaerys Velaryon, asked her for a dance, which her husband and brother, Aegon, took offense to. Later that same year, Helaena gave birth to a third child, a boy named Maelor.[1]

On the third day of the third month of 129 AC, Helaena brought her three children to her father's chambers, where the king, the night before his death, entertained her children with a fictional tale[N 1] about their great-great-grandsire, King Jaehaerys I Targaryen.[1]

The Dance of the Dragons

With the death of King Viserys I Targaryen, a war for succession began. Helaena was informed of her father's passing a day after his death was discovered. When the decision was made to crown her husband, Prince Aegon, instead of Viserys's appointed heir, Princess Rhaenyra, Helaena became a queen. On the day of the coronation, it was Helaena's mother Alicent Hightower who placed the crown upon Helaena's head and addressed her as "my queen".[8]

Unwilling to accept Aegon as her king, Helaena's half-sister Rhaenyra was also crowned as Queen of the Seven Kingdoms on Dragonstone. While Rhaenyra declared Dowager Queen Alicent and Helaena's grandfather, Ser Otto Hightower, to be traitors, she expressed willingness to forgive Helaena and her siblings, as long as they came to Dragonstone and swore fealty to her. When Grand Maester Orwyle suggested traveling to Dragonstone to make Rhaenyra give up her claim, Helaena spoke in favor of his plan, together with her mother, after which King Aegon reluctantly agreed to send the Grand Maester under a peace banner.[8]

Helaena and her three young children, Jaehaera (left), Maelor (middle) and Jaehaerys (right), are surprised by Blood and Cheese. From Game of Thrones: Histories & Lore © HBO

After Prince Aemond caused the death of Rhaenyra's son, Prince Lucerys Velaryon, her husband Daemon Targaryen hired two men to murder one of Aegon and Helaena's sons as revenge. The assassins were aware that Helaena was accustomed to bring her children to her mother's chambers in the Tower of the Hand every night before they were put to bed. Thus these two men, known as Blood and Cheese, hid in Alicent's chambers, bound and gagged Alicent, and murdered her bedmaid. There, they awaited Helaena's arrival. After killing her guardsmen and barring the door, they took Helaena and her children hostage, and forced Helaena to choose which one of her sons would die. Helaena offered herself, but was refused. The two men forced Helaena to make a decision when they threatened to have Blood rape Jaehaera, and to kill all three of her children should she refuse to choose. In the end, Helaena reluctantly named her youngest child, Prince Maelor, who she deemed to be too young to understand what was happening. In response, the two men killed Prince Jaehaerys instead, cutting off his head with a single swing of a sword, and fled with it while Helaena screamed.[5][9]

Queen Alicent Hightower takes care of her grandchildren Jaehaera and Maelor Targaryen, while Helaena sinks into madness. Art by Jaydeewis ©

After Jaehaerys's death, Helaena became deeply depressed and slowly sank into madness, and refused to eat, bathe, or leave her chambers. Nor would she look at her younger son, Maelor, knowing that she had chosen him to die.[5] Aegon and Helaena slept apart from one another from then on, and after Aegon was severely injured at the Battle at Rook's Rest, Helaena did not even make an attempt to visit him. She became unreliable as a dragonrider, incapable to fly in battle. When King's Landing fell to Rhaenyra in early 130 AC, Helaena was taken captive.[10]

After the death of Helaena's son Maelor Targaryen at Bitterbridge, his head was sent to Queen Rhaenyra in King's Landing. Mushroom says that Rhaenyra cried when presented with Maelor's head, whereas Septon Eustace says she smiled, and ordered that the head be cremated per Targaryen funeral customs. However, false rumors spread through King's Landing that Rhaenyra had Maelor's head delivered to Queen Helaena in a chamberpot.[11]

Several days after the Battle Above the Gods Eye, Helaena jumped from the window of her room in Maegor's Holdfast. She died on the spikes below, with her throat impaled, only twenty-one years old. At the moment of Helaena's death, her dragon Dreamfyre suddenly rose and snapped two of her chains, and roared loud enough to shake the Dragonpit. When Dowager Queen Alicent was informed of her daughter's death, she tore her clothes and cursed Rhaenyra.[12][N 2]

The reasons Helaena committed suicide, after half a year of captivity, remain the subject of speculation. Court fool Mushroom asserted that Helaena had been impregnated after being sold into prostitution by Rhaenyra and Mysaria, but Archmaester Gyldayn dismisses the tale of the "Brothel Queens". Grand Maester Munkun proposes that Helaena was driven to the act by the horror of seeing Ser Thoron True and Ser Denys Woodwright hanged from the walls of the Red Keep that same day, but Gyldayn also dismisses this notion as there is no evidence she witnessed the hanging, knowing the two men as gaolers at best. For his part, Septon Eustace suggests that Lady Mysaria had chosen that night to tell her of the death of her son Maelor and the manner it had happened.[12]

By the nightfall of Helaena's death, rumors were flying in King's Landing that she had been murdered. It was believed it had been done by Ser Luthor Largent of the gold cloaks, at the behest of Rhaenyra,[12][9] for Prince Daeron would soon be at the gates of the city with his dragons. Munkun proposes these calumnies were begotten by the Shepherd, who decried both crime and the queen. Mushroom, for his part, indicates this slander was concocted by Lord Larys Strong, the Clubfoot, who had never left the capital. That same night, King's Landing rose in a riot, with men and women of the common folk shouting for justice for the beloved Helaena and her dead sons.[12]


Viserys I
[Note 1]
[Note 1]
[Note 1]
Aegon II
Viserys II
Aegon III
  1. 1.0 1.1 Prince Daemon Targaryen was married to Lady Rhea Royce from 97 AC to 115 AC, to Lady Laena Velaryon from 115 AC to 120 AC, and to Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen from 120 AC to 130 AC.


  1. Elio García has stated that George R. R. Martin confirmed to him that this story was made up by Viserys to entertain his grandchildren.[7]
  2. According to The World of Ice & Fire, Helaena Targaryen's death and the subsequent riot of King's Landing began the same day when the Battle Above the Gods Eye was fought, on the twenty-second day of the fifth moon of 130 AC.[9] However, Fire & Blood does not confirm that temporal connection,[12] and The Rise of the Dragon says that the uprising happened days after Daemon Targaryen's death.[13]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Fire & Blood, Heirs of the Dragon - A Question of Succession.
  2. HBO.com: House of the Dragon Cast & Characters
  3. WarnerMedia Pressroom: House of the Dragon | Character Descriptions
  4. The Princess and the Queen.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - A Son for a Son.
  6. The World of Ice & Fire, Appendix: Targaryen Lineage.
  7. A Forum of Ice and Fire: Inconsistencies, plot holes, and missing details in TSOTD, TRP, and TPATQ (February 28, 2018)
  8. 8.0 8.1 Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Blacks and the Greens.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon II.
  10. Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Red Dragon and the Gold.
  11. Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Triumphant.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Overthrown.
  13. The Rise of the Dragon, The Reign of Aegon II.
Preceded by Queen consort of the Seven Kingdoms
129130 AC
Succeeded by