Prince Rhaegar Targaryen as depicted by Karla Ortiz in The World of Ice and Fire
The Dragon Prince
The Last Dragon
Prince of Dragonstone|
|Born||In 259 AC, at Summerhall|
|Died||In 283 AC, at the Trident|
|Spouse||Princess Elia Martell|
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 King Aerys II Targaryen and his sister-wife, Queen Rhaella. As heir-apparent, he was the Prince of Dragonstone and crown prince for the Iron Throne. Rhaegar was popular with the smallfolk during his lifetime, but he died in Robert's Rebellion which was triggered in part by his abduction of Lyanna Stark. He was slain in single combat by Robert Baratheon at the ruby ford during the Battle of the Trident.
Appearance and Character
- See also: Images of Rhaegar Targaryen
Rhaegar was tall and beautiful, with dark indigo eyes and the silver hair of the Targaryens, worn long. Rhaegar was exceedingly intelligent and excelled at anything he put his mind to. He was considered to be a talented musician and skilled knight. While well-loved by the people, Rhaegar was said to be quiet, private and bookish. He was deeply affected by "the shadow of Summerhall", because he was "born in grief" and was considered melancholic at times.
While King Robert Baratheon despises and accuses him of having raped Lyanna Stark, the only thought of Eddard Stark, Lyanna's brother, that is mentioned in the books is that Eddard did not think Rhaegar frequented brothels. Ser Jaime Lannister still remembers the iron tones of Rhaegar’s voice. Ser Barristan Selmy, who served three kings, thinks that Rhaegar would have been better then any of them. His sister, Daenerys Targaryen, is often compared to Rhaegar as a compliment. People who had romantic feelings toward Rhaegar include Cersei Lannister and Jon Connington.
Prince Rhaegar was first born son of King Aerys II Targaryen and Queen Rhaella. He was born in 259 AC, on the 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, apparently by something he had read, Rhaegar became motivated to become a warrior.
At the age of seventeen, Rhaegar was knighted, and from all reports grew into a highly skilled and capable fighter, always distinguishing himself well at tournaments, although he seldom entered the lists - he never loved the song of swords the way that men like Robert Baratheon or Jaime Lannister did. Men said Rhaegar loved his harp more than he loved his lance.
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.
Rhaegar 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 noted at the tournament in honor of Viserys's birth in Lannisport in 276 AC that the smallfolk cheered for Lord Tywin Lannister twice as much as for King Aerys II, but only half as loudly for Tywin as for Rhaegar. Rhaegar was defeated in the champion's tilt by Ser Arthur Dayne. Aerys refused Tywin's offer at the tourney to betroth Cersei to Rhaegar. Rhaegar defeated Arthur in the tourney at Storm's End.
When Rhaegar was born the Targaryen bloodline had decreased, and once he came of age, there was no sister, or anyone else of the bloodline, available for him to marry. To try and rectify this matter, his father, King Aerys, send his first cousin, Lord Steffon Baratheon, to seek a bride for Rhaegar. Steffon could not find appropriate females of noble-enough birth for Rhaegar to marry, despite Valyrian blood still being present in Essos, thereby failing his mission.
After this, Rhaegar married the Dornish princess Elia Martell in a lavish ceremony. His father did not attend the wedding because he was paranoid about an assassination attempt and did not even permit the young Prince Viserys to attend. Rhaegar and his father's relationship was straining at this point and he and his new bride took up residence on Dragonstone instead of King's Landing. Rhaegar and Elia had their first child, a girl named Rhaenys, in 280 AC. When the babe was presented at court, Rhaegar's mother embraced her grandchild warmly while King Aerys remarked "she smells Dornish". The relationship between Aerys and Rhaegar became more and more estranged. 
Elia and Rhaegar would later have a son who they named Aegon. 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.
When Lord Tywin resigned his position as Hand of the King and left court, the new focus of King Aerys's mistrust and paranoia was his own son and heir Prince Rhaegar. At court, there was growing tension between the factions loyal to the king and those loyal to Prince Rhaegar. Grandmaester Pycelle had dispatched a letter to the Citadel, writing that tensions and division at court strongly resembled those before the Dance of the Dragons. Pycelle was fearful of a civil war between those loyal to the king and those who supported Rhaegar would break out unless some accord could be reached that would satisfy both factions.
Tourney at Harrenhal & Robert's Rebellion
When Lord Whent announced a tourney would be held at Harrenhal in either 280 AC or 281 AC to rival any previous tournament. It is believed by some that the tournament was secretly arranged and financed by Prince Rhaegar, as a pretext, so Rhaegar could meet up with the Great Lords of the realm to discuss arranging a Great Council and the removal of his father. The tournament was announced by Lord Whent shortly after his brother Oswell, of the Kingsguard, visited his older brother. When Varys alerted King Aerys to this possibility, Aerys decided to attend the tourney. 
During the great 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. Eddard Stark later recalled that moment as "when all the smiles died". The next year, Rhaegar seemingly kidnapped Lyanna, for reasons unknown. This act ultimately triggered Robert's Rebellion and the downfall of the Targaryen dynasty.
Commanding the Targaryen army, 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. While Rhaegar lay dead in the stream, soldiers of both armies scrabbled in the water to search for the rubies. The location was named the ruby ford thereafter. Rhaegar died with Lyanna Stark's name on his lips.
His wife Elia and their children were murdered by Ser Gregor Clegane and Ser Amory Lorch during the Sack of King's Landing. Amory dragged the screaming girl, Rhaenys, from under her father's bed and stabbed her to death. Gregor, whom Rhaegar had knighted himself, killed the infant Aegon by dashing his head against the wall while his mother watched. He then raped and killed Elia while still covered in the blood and brains of her son.
The circumstances of Rhaegar's taking of Lyanna, and of her reaction to it, remain unknown. The Starks, Brandon Stark in particular, saw it as an abduction, and Robert Baratheon imagined that Rhaegar was raping Lyanna while he kept her prisoner. However, the Targaryen tradition sees Rhaegar acting out of true love for Lyanna. By the time Lyanna was found by her brother, Eddard, she was being kept in the Tower of Joy in Dorne where, on Rhaegar's command, she was guarded by three knights of the Kingsguard. Lyanna died soon after Eddard's arrival and his defeat of the knights. She made her brother give a promise, the content of which remains unknown.
What all sides seem to agree upon is that the meeting of Rhaegar and Lyanna was fateful as it led to immense bloodshed. This leads to imaginations of an alternate history, in which Rhaegar never becomes infatuated with Lyanna. Viserys Targaryen blamed his sister Daenerys once for the downfall of the Targaryens, because she was not born earlier, as Rhaegar could then have married her and might have never become interested in Lyanna. Ser Kevan Lannister imagines that, had King Aerys accepted Lord Tywin Lannister's proposal of marrying his daughter Cersei to Rhaegar, the Dragon Prince might have never looked twice at Lyanna.
After his death Rhaegar was cremated, as is traditional for fallen Targaryens.
A Game of Thrones
King Robert Baratheon, when referring to Rhaegar, vilifies him as a monster and a rapist.
During her fever dream, Daenerys Targaryen sees her brother Rhaegar mounted on a stallion as black as his armor. Fire glimmers red through the narrow eye slit of his helm. Daenerys lifts his polished black visor. The face within is her own.
When Lord Tywin Lannister discusses with his brother Kevan and his son Tyrion the dire situation of the Lannister forces after the defeats in the battle in the Whispering Wood and the Battle of the Camps, Tyrion jests that his father should take comfort from the fact that Prince Rhaegar is still dead.
A 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 was killed 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 Targaryen 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 her 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, Ser Jaime Lannister has fever dreams. In part of his dream he sees five of his old Kingsguard brothers under King Aerys II Targaryen. 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 his father, Tywin Lannister, would hurt his family.
A Feast for Crows
While standing vigil over his father's funeral bier, Jaime thinks about the day he said farewell to Rhaegar, in the yard of the Red Keep.
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 his cousin, Robert Baratheon. Aerys wanted Jaime close so Tywin could not harm him. Rhaegar 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 spoke to Jaime. Outside the gates an army had assembled, whilst another descended on the Trident. The Prince of Dragonstone mounted up and donned his tall black helm, and rode forth to his doom. 
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.
Jaime recollects that when Owen Merryweather failed to contain the rebellion Rhaegar could not be found, causing King Aerys to turn to Rhaegar's friend, Jon Connington, whom he raised to Hand of the King.
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.
Daenerys thinks to herself that the word fond speaks volumes.
During her wedding procession the girl in Daenerys looks about for her paramour Daario Naharis, hoping secretly that he will come and carry her off at swordpoint, as Rhaegar carried off his northern girl, Lyanna Stark. However, the queen in her knows that is folly.
Tyrion Lannister travels south on the Rhoyne in the company of a sellsword named Griff. During their journey, Tyrion discovers that Griff is actually Jon Connington, the exiled friend of Rhaegar and former Hand of the King to Aerys II. The youth called Young Griff is said to actually be Rhaegar's son, Aegon Targaryen, widely believed to have been murdered by Ser Gregor Clegane during the Sack of King's Landing. The exiles claim that Varys had switched the infant Aegon with a peasant baby and taken Aegon to safety with Illyrio Mopatis, and that Gregor killed the peasant child instead.
When Jon is discussing the issue of trust with Aegon, he warns him not to become too wary - else mistrust can poison and make a person sour and fearful. He thinks to himself that:
Later, after landing in the stormlands with the Golden Company to claim the Iron Throne for Aegon, Jon vows he will not fail Rhaegar's son as he failed his father. When Prince Aegon tells Jon that he likes his castle, 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
The battle screamed about Lord Robert and Prince Rhaegar both, and by the will of the gods, or by chance-or perhaps by design-they met amidst the shallows of the ford. The two knights fought valiantly upon their destriers, according to all accounts. For despite his crimes, Prince Rhaegar was no coward.
In my dreams, I kill him every night. A thousand deaths will still be less than he deserves. 
Ned: You were not there. There was no honor in that conquest.Robert: The Others take your honor! What did any Targaryen know of honor? Go down into your crypt and ask Lyanna about the dragon's honor! 
I wish I could have known him.
There was a melancholy to Rhaegar, a sense... of doom.
Rhaegar fought valiantly, Rhaegar fought nobly, Rhaegar fought honorably. And Rhaegar died.
Daenerys: Ser Jorah named Rhaegar the last dragon once. He had to have been a peerless warrior to be called that, surely?
Barristan: Your Grace, the Prince of Dragonstone was a most puissant warrior, but...
Daenerys: Go on. You may speak freely to me.Barristan: As you command. A warrior without peer... those are fine words, Your Grace, but words win no battles.
Had any man ever been so beautiful? 
References and Notes
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Rhaegar Targaryen.
- A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 48, Daenerys IV.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 24, Cersei V.
- The Winds of Winter, Chapter , Arianne.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 35, Eddard IX.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 8, Jaime I.
- So Spake Martin: Union Square Signing
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 35, Samwell IV.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 42, Daenerys IV.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 8, Daenerys I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II.
- So Spake Martin: To Be Continued (Chicago, IL; May 6-8), May 06, 2005.
- A Clash of Kings, Prologue.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 61, The Griffin Reborn.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Fall of the Dragons: The Year of the False Spring.
- The World of Ice and Fire lists 280 AC in "The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II", but 281 AC in "The Fall of the Dragons: The Year of the False Spring". It has not yet been confirmed which date is correct
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 67, The Kingbreaker.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 58, Eddard XV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Epilogue.
- So Spake Martin: Asshai.com Forum Chat, (July 27, 2008)
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 15, Sansa I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 69, Tyrion IX.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 44, Jaime VI.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 27, Jaime III.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 23, Daenerys IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 43, Daenerys VII.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 18, Tyrion V.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 22, Tyrion VI.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 24, The Lost Lord.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Robert's Rebellion.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 12, Eddard II.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 23, Daenerys III.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 71, Daenerys VI.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at House Targaryen. The list of authors can be seen in the page history of House Targaryen. As with A Wiki of Ice and Fire, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.