Rhaena Targaryen

Rhaena Targaryen

Born in the year 23, Rhaena Targaryen was the eldest daughter of King Aenys I and Lady Alyssa Velaryon. She first married her younger brother, Aegon, with whom she had twins, Aerea and Rhaella. She then had to marry her uncle Maegor, of whom she was one of the "Black Brides".

She rode the dragon Songefeu.

Her name, Rhaena, is probably a variation of her paternal grandmother's name, Rhaenys Targaryen.

Rhaena Targaryen History

Birth and youth

Rhaena Targaryen was born in the year 23 after the Conquest. Her birth challenges the order of succession to the Iron Throne established until then: indeed, Rhaena's father, Aenys, is unanimously recognized as the legitimate heir of King Aegon I, as the first of his sons.

On the other hand, it is difficult to establish who is second in the line of succession: Aenys' daughter, Rhaena, or Aegon's youngest son, Maegor? The rules of devolution of the crown were not yet clearly established at that time, and both Maegor and Rhaena could later claim to succeed Aenys.

In order to solve the problem, Queen Visenya proposes to betroth Maegor and Rhaena, as allowed by the Valyrian tradition that the Targaryens still follow. Their marriage would confuse their legitimacy and their claim to the throne.

But Rhaena's parents reject this union and the High Septon of Villevieille is adamantly opposed to it, as incestuous marriages are still considered sins by the Faith of the Seven. King Aegon I finally decides to marry his son Maegor to the niece of the High Septon, Ceryse Hightower.

As a child, Rhaena is shy, reserved and solitary. She loved animals and taking care of her younger siblings, especially Alysanne. At the age of nine, she met her future dragoness, Sonny Flame, which helped her overcome her shyness.

In the year 35, at the age of twelve, Rhaena rides her for the first time. In her teens, Rhaena was accompanied by ladies-in-waiting who became close friends, such as her cousin Larissa Velaryon and Samantha Castelfoyer.

After the death of her grandfather Aegon I in the year 37, Rhaena's father became king of the Seven Crowns as Aenys I Targaryen. After being crowned to the cheers of the people of King's Landing, Aenys travels to Villevieille with his entire family to receive the blessing of the High Septon. Together, they pass through Vivesaigues, Port-Lannis and Highgarden, and everywhere they go, the little people flock to applaud them.

The marriage of discord

In the year 41, Rhaena is married to her younger brother, the crown prince Aegon Targaryen. This union is denounced by the High Septon, who had already been offended by House Targaryen three years earlier, when Maegor Targaryen entered into a bigamous marriage with Alys Herpivoie, while he was still married to Ceryse Hightower.

The High Septon declares Rhaena and Aegon's incestuous marriage to be obscene and the unborn children of incest to be abominations. The lords and the people start to hate Aenys and her children.

On the day of the wedding, the Sons of the Warrior spread out in the streets to show their displeasure and to spot those of the lords who attend the wedding. The ceremony is presided over by the Hand of the King, the septon Murmison.

At the banquet, Aenys grants her son the title of Prince of Peyredragon, previously held by Maegor. The mother of the latter, Queen Visenya, furious, leaves the reception without the king's permission and immediately returns to Peyredragon.

In order to ease the tensions among the people, Aenys sends the newlyweds on the road to meet the people, as her father Aegon I had done, which had earned him admiration and adoration.

Rhaena and her brother-husband discover that they are booed by the crowd wherever they go. Soon, the grumbling against the royal family turned into a full-blown insurrection, which culminated in the War of Faith.

Rhaena and her brother-husband abandon their wanderings and take refuge in Crakehall. Lord Crakehall grants them hospitality under the rights of the host, but thousands of Poor Fellows besiege Crakehall in the year 42. Aenys I dies three days after learning of it.

The wife of the pretender

The death of their father makes Rhaena's brother-husband, Aegon, the new legitimate king of the Seven Crowns, but he is overtaken by their uncle Maegor who is crowned as Maegor I Targaryen. In the days following the judgment of the Seven of Maegor, Queen Alyssa Velaryon proclaims her son Aegon king of the Seven Crowns from Lamarck.

The Poor Folk raise the siege of Crakehall to follow Ser Horys Hill as he marches to King's Landing to meet Maegor. Rhaena and her brother-husband take the opportunity to leave Crakehall for Casterly Rock. Lord Lyman Lannister offers them his protection, and his wife Jocasta Lannister realizes that Rhaena is expecting a child.

After Maegor's victories against the Militant Faith, Aegon's party seems compromised, and Lord Lyman Lannister lets him know that he will not raise his ban for him. However, he refuses to obey Maegor when the latter demands that Aegon and Rhaena be expelled from Casterly Rock.

It is in the Lannister's house that Rhaena gave birth to twin daughters: Aerea and Rhaella. Being children born of incest, the High Septon makes it known that he considers them abominations.

Towards the end of the year 43, Aegon declares his claim to the Iron Throne and, mounted on his dragon Vif-Argent, leads an ost of fifteen thousand men, composed mainly of the troops of the minor lords of the Western Lands and the Conflans, as no overlord has rallied to Aegon. Rhaena remains in Casterly Rock with her daughters. Her brother-husband was killed in the battle under the Œildieu.

The Runaway Widow

When her brother-husband died, Rhaena knew her daughters were in mortal danger: as Aegon's eldest child, Aerea could claim the title of Queen of the Seven Crowns, but no lord would support a baby barely a year old. To declare her daughter's claim would be to condemn her to death.

Rhaena decides to protect her daughters by dyeing their hair, changing their names, and entrusting them to powerful allies, who are tasked with finding them foster fathers who will have no idea of their true identities. She insists on ignoring the destination of her daughters: what she does not know, she cannot reveal, even under torture.

Rhaena herself gives up hiding, because it is useless to try to conceal Songefeu. She goes to Belle Île, the stronghold of the Farman house, which grants her hospitality. She stays there for the next four years, spending her time reading and praying.

She became attached to her host, and even more so to his youngest son, Androw Farman. But Rhaena has no doubt that sooner or later her uncle Maegor will remember her and send for her.

In the year 47, Maegor summons her to the Red Keep. Rhaena knows that she can't hide or defy Maegor, for he might go after the Farmans in retaliation.

Not wanting to put them in danger, Rhaena mounts Flintstone and rides to King's Landing. Only when she arrives in the capital does she learn that her uncle plans to marry her, along with Elinor Costayne and Jeyne Ouestrelin.

The Black Brides

Rhaena, Elinor Costayne and Jeyne Ouestrelin are soon called the "Black Brides" by the people, as they are all widows. Some hope that Rhaena will challenge Maegor during the ceremony, but when the day comes, Tyanna of the Tower, Maegor's mistress of whisperers, introduces Rhaena to her two daughters, Aerea and Rhaella, whom she holds hostage. Rhaena, in tears, is forced to take her wedding vows.

The wedding night would have been eventful according to various contradictory reports. Some claim that the three new queens shared the same bed, while others report that the king visited them one after the other during the night.

Rhaena herself claims in later years to have tried unsuccessfully to assassinate Maegor with a dagger hidden under a pillow. The day after the wedding, Maegor appoints his great-niece Aerea as his heir, until a son is born. Aerea remains at the court of King's Landing as a hostage, while her twin sister is sent to Villevieille to become septa.

A little less than a year after the wedding, unrest begins again in the Seven Crowns, and Rhaena's last brother, Jaehaerys, proclaims his claim to the Iron Throne with the support of the powerful House of Baratheon in the Stormlands.

Rhaena takes advantage of this opportunity: she manages to flee on the back of Soneforth to join her brother in Accalmie. She has with her daughter Aerea and the Valyrian steel sword Feunoyr.

Rhaena joins Jaehaerys and their sister, Alysanne. Together they mount their dragons and fly to King's Landing, where they arrive nine days after Maegor's mysterious death.

Under the reign of Jaehaerys I

After Maegor's death, Jaehaerys I became king. After celebrating his coronation, Rhaena returned to Belle Isle, this time by choice: her daughter Rhaella remained in Villevieille, and Aerea in King's Landing, as Jaehaerys I's heir, since he had no children yet.

In the year 49, Rhaena married Androw Farman, a marriage that was held in secret, driving a wedge between Rhaena and her mother, Alyssa Velaryon, who suffered from the fact that she was neither consulted nor invited to the wedding. On Belle Isle, Rhaena holds her own court, adored and protected by Lord Marq Farman.

She is particularly close to Alayne Royce, Samantha Castelfoyer and Elissa Farman: all four are nicknamed "the four-headed beast" by Franklyn Farman, who is among those who do not appreciate the princess' presence.

As soon as her father dies and becomes Lord, he sends Rhaena and her court away: her husband Androw Farman and her friend and perhaps lover Elissa Farman follow her. For a while, they are received in Casterly Rock by Lyman Lannister, but Rhaena soon realizes that she, and especially her dragon Songefeu, are the object of envy.

In the year 51, after visiting several castles, Rhaena travels to King's Landing to visit her brother, King Jaehaerys I. She obtains his permission to settle in the castle. She obtains from him to settle in Peyredragon, and takes her daughter Aerea with her.

Her relations with her daughter are tense; she refuses Elissa Farman the right to leave Peyredragon to go to sea. The latter disobeys her and leaves with three dragon eggs, which she will use to buy a new ship. Furious, Rhaena goes to King's Landing to tell her brother the story.

Shortly after, her mother Alyssa Velaryon dies in childbirth. Arriving too late, Rhaena attacks Rogar Baratheon, her mother's husband, who chose to save the child over his wife. Back in Peyredragon, her relationship with her daughter Aerea deteriorates further, and her marriage to Androw Farman no longer holds.

She regularly despises him, ignores him and is cruel. Androw, full of resentment, leads a series of assassinations on Peyredragon, killing two masters as well as Rhaena's ladies-in-waiting, before killing himself.

However, Rhaena Targaryen's misfortunes did not end there: her daughter Aerea fled to Balerion. After searching for her in King's Landing, Rhaena travels all over the country on the back of Sonefeu in the hope of finding her. When, in the year 56, Aerea returned to King's Landing and died a few hours later, Rhaena was at Estremont, with her cousin and former lady-in-waiting Larissa Velaryon.

Once again, she arrives too late, and can only scatter her daughter's ashes in the sky on her dragon's back. After that, she does not wish to return to Peyredragon, and ends up staying in the Widow's Tower in Harrenhal, with the lord of the place, Maegor Tourelles, with whom she becomes friends.

When Maegor died in 61, she continued to live in Harrenhal and gained a reputation as a witch in the Conflans. She no longer left her domain, except to visit her daughter Rhaella, septa in Villevieille, once a year.

She died in the year 73 at the age of fifty. By order of her brother King Jaehaerys I, she was cremated and her ashes were buried in Harrenhal, so that she could rest near her brother-husband, Aegon Targaryen, who had died thirty years earlier in the battle under the Œildieu.