Rhaenys Targaryen (daughter of Aemon)

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House Targaryen.svg Princess
Rhaenys Targaryen
House Velaryon.svg
Rhaenys Targaryen the Queen Who Never Was by Jota Saraiva.jpg
Rhaenys Targaryen by Jota Saraiva ©

  • The Queen Who Never Was[1]
  • Lady Velaryon[2]
Race Valyrian
Culture Crownlands
Born 7th day of the 7th moon of 74 AC[3]
Died 129 AC (aged 55)[1]
Rook's Rest[4]
Father Aemon Targaryen
Mother Jocelyn Baratheon
Spouse Lord Corlys Velaryon

Played by Eve Best
TV series House of the Dragon: Season 1 | 2

Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, known as the Queen Who Never Was,[5] was the daughter of Prince Aemon Targaryen and Lady Jocelyn Baratheon. She was married to Lord Corlys Velaryon of Driftmark. She was a dragonrider whose dragon was Meleys, the Red Queen.[3]

In the television adaptation House of the Dragon, Rhaenys is portrayed by Eve Best.[6]

Appearance and Character

Rhaenys was a great beauty.[2] She had black hair[N 1] and lilac eyes.[3][7] By the time Rhaenys was fifty-five, she had a lean, lined face, and her black hair was streaked with white.[5]

She was a clever, capable, spirited, proud,[2] fierce and fearless woman.[5] She had a fiery temperament.[4]

Rhaenys wore steel and copper armor which flashed in the sun.[4]


Early life

Rhaenys was born in 74 AC on the seventh day of the seventh moon of the year. As her father was the Prince of Dragonstone, and she was his firstborn child, many considered her as being next in line for the Iron Throne, after her father Aemon. Queen Alysanne Targaryen, when being presented with her granddaughter, called her "our queen to be".[3]

Rhaenys became a dragonrider in 87 AC when she claimed the dragon Meleys, that had been ridden by her late aunt Alyssa Targaryen. In 89 AC, Rhaenys joined King Jaehaerys I Targaryen for part of his royal progress. She flew on Meleys to Highgarden to meet up with Jaehaerys, and together they flew to all four of the Shield Islands. On Greenshield she informed the king about her intention to marry Lord Corlys Velaryon, and received her grandfather's blessing.[3] Rhaenys married Corlys in 90 AC at the age of sixteen. She insisted on arriving at the wedding on the back of Meleys.[3]

In early 92 AC, Rhaenys learned that she was pregnant with her first child.[3]

The Queen Who Never Was

The Queen Who Never Was, by Bella Bergolts ©

Rhaenys's father, Prince Aemon Targaryen, died in 92 AC. As Aemon had been the Prince of Dragonstone, King Jaehaerys I Targaryen had to formally appoint a new heir to the Iron Throne. The choice was between Rhaenys, Aemon's only child and heir, and Aemon's brother Baelon. Jaehaerys appointed Baelon as the new Prince of Dragonstone, passing over the pregnant Rhaenys and her unborn child. Rhaenys herself was the first to object to the king's decision, and her husband, Lord Corlys Velaryon, gave up his position as lord admiral and his place on the small council. Following that, Rhaenys and her husband returned to Driftmark. Others angered by the king's decision included Rhaenys's mother, Lady Jocelyn Baratheon, her uncle, Lord Boremund Baratheon, and her grandmother, King Jaehaerys's wife, Queen Alysanne Targaryen.[2]

Rhaenys gave birth to her first child, a daughter she named Laena Velaryon, late in the year 92 AC.[N 2] Two years later, she give birth to a son, Laenor Velaryon. Although both House Velaryon and House Baratheon insisted that Laenor had the better claim to the throne, Prince Baelon remained King Jaehaerys's heir.[2]

When Baelon died in 101 AC, King Jaehaerys called the first Great Council at Harrenhal to decide the matter of succession. Fourteen claims were considered, including the claims of Rhaenys and her children.[2] Rhaenys's uncle, Lord Boremund Baratheon, was outspoken in supporting the claims of Rhaenys and her son Laenor during the Great Council,[8] and Lord Ellard Stark gave his support to Rhaenys and Corlys as well.[9] Other supporters included House Dustin of Barrowton and House Manderly of White Harbor.[5] Yet the claims of Rhaenys and her daughter were rejected on account of their sex. Rhaenys and Corlys used their wealth and influence to persuade the lords present to vote for their son Laenor, one of the two primary claimants. For this they received support from Lord Boremund, Lord Ellard, Lord Manderly, Lord Dustin, Lord Blackwood, Lord Bar Emmon, Lord Celtigar, as well as others. However, Laenor was eventually passed over in favor of Baelon's son Viserys.[2] While the tally was kept secret, it was rumored the assembled lords favored Viserys by twenty to one.[10]

For having been passed over in the line of succession, the court jester Mushroom would name her "The Queen Who Never Was",[5][8] the nickname stuck among the smallfolk.[11]

Following the death of Queen Aemma Arryn, in 105 AC, Grand Maester Runciter suggested to King Viserys I Targaryen that he take Rhaenys's twelve-year-old daughter, Laena, to wife. King Viserys, however, chose Alicent Hightower, daughter of the Hand of the King, Otto Hightower. Angered by the third time she and her family had been scorned by House Targaryen, Rhaenys and her family did not attend the wedding in 106 AC. In 113 AC, King Viserys I and his small council began discussions concerning a betrothal for Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, Viserys's heir. They eventually agreed on Rhaenys' son, Laenor. Rhaenyra and Laenor were wed the next year.[2]

Both of Rhaenys's children died in 120 AC; Laena (and her child) died in childbirth during the early days of the year, while Laenor was killed by Ser Qarl Correy while attending a fair in Spicetown.[2]

The Dance of the Dragons

The bodies of Rhaenys and Meleys, as depicted by Douglas Wheatley in Fire & Blood.

When the Dance of the Dragons began in 129 AC, Princess Rhaenys sat on the black council of Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen, the daughter of the late King Viserys I Targaryen. When the Velaryon fleet closed off the Gullet, sailing forth from Dragonstone and Driftmark to block all shipping for Blackwater Bay, the blacks' plan was for Rhaenys to fly overhead on Meleys to keep the greens from attacking their ships with dragons.[5]

When news arrived on Dragonstone about the death of Lucerys Velaryon at the hands of Prince Aemond Targaryen, Rhaenys and her husband prevented Lucerys's brother Joffrey from mounting his dragon to avenge his brother. Grief-stricken following the death of Lucerys, Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen gave Rhaenys and Corlys command over her war council.[12]

Nine days after Lord Staunton dispatched a plea for help, Rhaenys appeared above Rook's Rest upon Meleys. They attacked the soldiers of Ser Criston Cole during the battle at Rook's Rest, but the attack proved to be a ploy. When King Aegon II Targaryen and Prince Aemond Targaryen suddenly appeared upon Sunfyre and Vhagar, Rhaenys turned to meet the attack, despite the knowledge that Meleys stood no chance against the two dragons. The three dragons attacked each other and fell to the ground, entangled. Meleys died in the attack, and besides her carcass was a body was found which was believed to be Rhaenys, although it was so blackened that no one could be certain it was her. Her husband, Corlys Velaryon, was enraged that Rhaenyra had sent Rhaenys instead of going herself, and that Rhaenyra had forbidden her sons Jacaerys and Joffrey from accompanying Rhaenys.[4]


We can go back to the ends of the earth together. But I'll get there first, as I'll be flying.[3]

—Rhaenys to her husband-to-be, Corlys Velaryon

What did Viserys ever have that she did not? A little sausage? Is that all it takes to be a king?[5]

Mushroom, on the choice of succession

Beloved daughter of Lady Jocelyn Baratheon and Prince Aemon Targaryen, faithful wife to Lord Corlys Velaryon, mother and grandmother, the Queen Who Never Was lived fearlessly, and died amidst blood and fire. She was fifty-five years old.[4]

—writings of Gyldayn


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. Although The Princess and the Queen, published in 2013, stated that Rhaenys had silver hair, this was changed for the publication of Fire & Blood, where she is described to have had black hair, like other Baratheon descendants.
  2. Earlier editions of Fire & Blood mentioned Rhaenys learning of her pregnancy in early 92 AC and giving birth to Laena in 93 AC. Later editions of Fire & Blood corrected Laena’s birth to late in the year 92 AC.


  1. 1.0 1.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon II.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Fire & Blood, Heirs of the Dragon - A Question of Succession.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Fire & Blood, The Long Reign - Jaehaerys and Alysanne: Policy, Progeny, and Pain.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Red Dragon and the Gold.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Blacks and the Greens.
  6. HBO.com: House of the Dragon Cast & Characters
  7. The Rise of the Dragon, The Reign of Jaehaerys I: The King's Works.
  8. 8.0 8.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Stormlands: House Baratheon.
  9. The World of Ice & Fire, The North: The Lords of Winterfell.
  10. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys I.
  11. The Princess and the Queen.
  12. Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - A Son for a Son.