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The Targaryen women who kept the fire alive



Milly Alcock as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen

Throughout Game of Thrones and now on House of the Dragon, we see how much women have to fight for a place at the table. Even though King Viserys wholeheartedly accepted Princess Rhaenyra as his heir, much of the Small Council and Westerosi lords weren’t as supportive.

Though even the Targaryen follow the male heir system, we observe that Valyrians also put higher trust in the women. Old Valyria was a patriarchal society, but most words assigned to warriors were gender-neutral, like dragon riders. Even in Aegon’s Dream, the Prince that was Promised can also refer to the Princess that was Promised because they share the same word.

On-screen, much of the Targaryen history has been made by the women. Here are some of the most memorable Targaryen women according to us.

The Good Queen Alysanne

alysanne targaryen the good queen alysanne

By Amok

Queen Alysanne Targaryen was also known as the Good Queen Alysanne. She was the sister-wife to King Jaehaerys I and was his most trusted counsellor and right hand, according to author George R.R. Martin himself. Throughout her life, she was known for being kind and so brilliant that, according to Septon Barth, she would have been sent to the Citadel if she were a man.

The Queen was primarily known for her women’s courts, where any woman of any profession was welcome to share their hardships. She also put great effort into abolishing the First Night customs where a lord could sleep with any subordinate man’s wife on their wedding night.

Alysanne was a skilled dragonrider. One of the greatest joys in her life was riding her dragon Silverwing, which she did until she broke her hip. She gave birth twelve times and faced significant loss because only three of her children outlived her. Even then, she was remembered only with love by the common folk.

While she was kind, she was also an excellent strategist and knew what she had to do to get things done. She used her own jewels and crown to pay for a new watchtower. She remained King Jaehaerys’ great love even when they had quarrels which lasted years. Their one unresolved disagreement happened when Princess Rhaenys could not inherit the Iron Throne because she was a woman, which angered the Queen.

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Visenya and Rhaenys Targaryen

aegon visenya and rhaenys targaryen fanart

By Amok Amokov

Rhaenys and Visenya Targaryen were the two sister-wives to Aegon the Conqueror. Visenya was the eldest of the three siblings and was a fierce warrior and dragonrider of Vhagar. Aegon is said to have married Visenya out of duty and Rhaenys out of desire.

He left most of his day-to-day responsibilities to his wives and councillors. While Visenya was stern, Rhaenys was kindhearted. While the elder inclined towards burning towns on her dragon, the younger enjoyed aimlessly flying in the sky.

Without Visenya and Rhaenys’ skill on dragonback, it is unsure if Aegon’s Conquest would have been successful. With three being an auspicious number for Targaryens, the combined forces of three powerful dragons, Balerion, Vhagar, Meraxes and their cunning riders, Aegon became the ruler of Westeros. The only kingdom they could not conquer was Dorne, and while they tried again and again, it led to the death of Rhaenys.

The three siblings are known as the symbol of Targaryen strength and are still idolized by Targaryens and common folk alike. Fifteen of the sixteen Targaryen Kings have descended directly from Rhaenys and Aegon.

Read More: Game of Thrones prequel about Aegon the Conqueror reportedly got scrapped at the last minute

Alyssa Velaryon

alyssa targaryen rogar baratheon

Rogar Baratheon and Alyssa Velaryon’s wedding/ By Shen Fei

Alyssa was the wife and Queen consort to King Aenys I, the son of Queen Rhaenys and King Aegon. When Aenys passed away, Visenya’s eldest son Maegor unrightfully claimed the Iron Throne. This caused Alyssa to flee with her youngest children, Viserys, Jaehaerys, and Alysanne.

She declared her eldest son Aegon as the true king and heir to the Iron Throne of Driftmark. But, she was almost imprisoned by Dowager Queen Visenya for years with her children Jaehaerys and Alysanne. She went into hiding which caused Maegor to torture her son Viserys to death.

She only returned to King’s Landing after Maegor’s death and after her son Jaehaerys claimed the Iron Throne. Had she stayed with her children in King’s Landing, it was highly likely that she and her children would have been killed by Maegor the Cruel. Additionally, Maegor did not have any heirs of his own.

Throughout his marriages, he was unsuccessful in impregnating any of his wives. Had he died after assassinating Jaehaerys, the Iron Throne would have been left vulnerable with no clear succession. So we should credit Alyssa for risking everything to protect her children and preserve the Targaryen dynasty.

Daena the Defiant

By Amok

Daena Targaryen was the sister-wife to Baelor I Targaryen and is described as a true Targaryen. Baelor locked her and his two other sisters in confinement to “protect” them from the carnal thoughts of men. Daena was the most restless of her sisters and escaped thrice. She was a very skilled horserider and archer.

Baelor was very dedicated to prayer and convinced the High Septon to dissolve his marriage with Daena as it had never been consummated. Daena eventually became pregnant but refused to name the father, no matter how much she was pressured. This is how she gained the name Daena the Defiant.

Daena’s son was the bastard child of Aegon IV named Daemon Waters. Later, he took on the surname Blackfyre after the Valyrian sword and founded the House Blackfyre. The following Blackfyre Rebellions were all attempting to replace the Targaryens on the Iron Throne. After four rebellions, all five generations of the Blackfyres were dead. But it is important to note that all Blackfyres were direct descendants of Daena.

Rhaenys Targaryen: The Queen who never was

Princess Rhaenys

Rhaenys Targaryen, also known as the Queen who never was, was the eldest child of the would-be King Aemon Targaryen. After his death, many assumed the Throne would rightfully pass on to her. Unfortunately, King Jaehaerys I chose her uncle Prince Baelon to inherit the Throne after him. But, Baelon also faced an untimely death. By this time, Princess Rhaenys had given birth to her son and heir, Laenor Velaryon. Even so, she was once more declined her right to inherit the Throne.

Instead, King Jaehaerys called on the Great Council I to settle the matter of his succession. Two stood prominent out of 14 claimants, including Rhaenys and her son. This was Viserys, Baelon’s eldest and Laenor. However much Laenor’s father, Corlys Velaryon, tried to persuade the council members to vote on Laenor’s side, Viserys came out triumphant.

Later on, during the Dance of the Dragons, Rhaenys openly backed the Black Queen Rhaenyra. She died a dragonrider’s death while fighting against Sunfyre and Vhagar early on in the civil war. Her story remains one of strength and grace. She never turned her back on Rhaenyra just because she could not be the Queen.

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The Black Queen


Princess Rhaenyra’s story is now the topic of the critical success of House of the Dragon. Though it is pretty easy for us, as the audience, to proclaim that the Iron Throne should have rightfully been Rhaenyra’s, the show takes place in a patriarchal universe. She never officially became the Queen, and the opinion on her remains divided, but that does not mean her efforts were useless. She and her council rallied thousands upon thousands in support, and her legacy is carried on by her sons, who inherited the Throne.

The black spot in her story remains where she is labelled a traitor. When the Blacks finally captured King’s Landing, Rhaenyra found the treasury barely having any coin. Her father, King Viserys I, made sure to leave the treasury full, but the Greens had hidden three-quarters of it.

This caused Rhaenyra to raise taxes on the common folk who once loved her but quickly turned sour. Tired of living in fear of war and dragons, the smallfolk stormed the Dragonpit to kill the dragons once and for all. But this rioting soon killed Rhaenyra’s son Joffrey, and she had to flee the capital.

Neither Aegon II nor her sons ever recognized her six months of Queenhood as an actual reign, but she made bold strides nonetheless. Her actions and efforts showed all of Westeros that they could not expect women to suffer injustice silently.

The Mother of Dragons

daenerys rises from flames season one burning scene

Daenerys Targaryen is easily the most popular character on one of the biggest shows of the century, Game of Thrones. Her story on the show might have ended, but in the books, she’s very much alive and plotting for the Iron Throne. Her impact as a Targaryen is undeniable.

Some can go as far as calling her the Princess that was promised, seeing how she is sort of immune to fire. With wits, charm, dragons and the classic Targaryen madness, she is the first picture that comes to mind when someone talks of House Targaryen.

She has survived abuse by almost everyone she trusted, yet she remains eagle-eyed about her goal. Her ambition and dedication to breaking the wheel and taking back the Throne are awe-spiring. She has been reckless and naive at times owing to handling such enormous power at a young age. But she has always been a shrewd strategist and always plays her cards right.

In the current timeline of the A Song of Ice and Fire books, Daenerys is the last hope of the Targaryen dynasty. Her journey has taken her to impossible highs and lows, but we have yet to see if she can conquer the Seven Kingdoms.

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