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Why did Rhaenys Targaryen turn back during Battle at Rook’s Rest?



Rhaenys Meleys death scene

Eve Best’s Rhaenys Targaryen was truly a warrior queen. She was smart, bold, and absolutely deserving to be a great queen of the Seven Kingdoms. More than the men’s mighty proclamations and empty promises, a woman like Rhaenys would have done plenty of good for the realm. However, the cruel world of Westeros and Targaryen family politics never let her claim the Throne.

Now, as the Battle of Rook’s Rest was upon the Blacks, Rhaenys offered her services to ride into the battlefield and claim victory for Rhaenyra. She believed her niece should get the chance she never got and prove to the world how Queens can eventually save the realm from destruction.

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Why did Rhaenys turn back to face Aemond and Vhagar?

house of the dragon aemond

Credit: Max

Rhaenys was surprised to find both Aemond and Aegon with their respective dragons at Rook’s Rest. The intel that Blacks received only informed them of Criston Cole’s army laying siege at the castle. Nevertheless, Rhaenys and Meleys manage to attack Aegon II and Sunfyre, leaving them harmed and damaged. However, the tides soon change when Aemond appears with the mighty Vhagar and breathes fire on both Rhaenys and Aegon II.

Even then, Rhaenys manages to escape while Aegon II and Sunfyre plummet below. The turning point in this entire sequence? Rhaenys’s decision to turn back, refuse safety, and attack Aemond and Vhagar. She had the chance to go back to Dragonstone and save her life. But, being the brave warrior she has always been, Rhaenys commands Meleys to turn around and finish what her enemy started. Alan Taylor, the director of House of the Dragon season 2 episode 4 revealed to EW,

That decision became the tentpole of the scene, shaping everything else around it. It goes way back to season 1, to her decision not to toast the Greens when she could have, and to the death of her grandson [Elliot Grihault’s Lucerys Velaryon] at the hands of this very beast. She has to go back in.

Also Read: Biggest moments from House of the Dragon Season 2 Episode 4: The Red Dragon and the Gold

Eve Best harnessed her warrior energy for Rhaenys at the Battle of Rook’s Rest

Eve Best as Rhaenys in House of the Dragon Season 2 Episode 4

Photograph by Ollie Upton/HBO

Both Rhaenys and Rhaenyrs understand the brutality and severity of a war involving dragons. So, they are trying to do their best to limit the damage and cut down on casualties. However, Rhaenyra rightly says that her opponents are confusing her caution for weakness and the time to attack had come. Talking about the crucial in-the-moment decision, actress Eve Best claimed,

She’s got that nobility of that absolute samurai: honorable, noble, f—ing cool-ass warrior queen. The honorable thing is that she could have escaped, and then she’s like, ‘No, we’ve got to go back.’ Because there’s the potential to end it. I think she knows she’s going back to die, but she has to try because if Vhagar can be taken down, then it’s done. It’s cauterized. The potential for nuclear war is cut down.

Best further recalls how tough it was to shoot those intricate dragon-riding scenes. She recollected, “I tell you, my core muscles and my thigh muscles have never worked so hard in their lives. I kept asking for more cushions. It got to me. I certainly felt not in my comfort zone, but I managed to cling on, and I’m glad that I sold it. It’s intense, also, because there’s no letup. There are no other actors. It’s just you.”

No matter how courageous her actions were, Aemond’s strategy proved to be stronger. He attacked Rhaenys and Meleys from the shadows and took out the biggest dragon in the Blacks’ infantry. Not just that, the Blacks also lost Rhaenys, one of the most powerful assets in their stead as she always steered the ship with utmost clarity and precision.

Also Read: Eve Best (Rhaenys) talks about her audition process for House of The Dragon

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Vidhi has been an entertainment writer for the past 4 years. She has a knack for identifying subtleties and intricacies of movies and television shows that can add a new dimension to her content. Having watched Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon countless times, she knows most details by heart and thrives in trivia contests related to the same!


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