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This page is about the wife of Corlys Velaryon. For other uses, see: Rhaenys Targaryen (disambiguation)
House Targaryen
House Velaryon

"Men would sooner put the realm to the torch than see a woman ascend the Iron Throne."
―Rhaenys Targaryen to Rhaenyra Targaryen[src]

Princess Rhaenys Targaryen,[c] also known as Rhaenys Velaryon[d] and the Queen Who Never Was, was a princess of the Targaryen dynasty, and the wife of Lord Corlys Velaryon. She was a dragonrider, her mount being Meleys, the Red Queen.

Biography[]

Background[]

Jaehaerys and Chest

Rhaenys was passed over as Jaehaerys's heir for a second time at the Great Council at Harrenhal.

Rhaenys is the granddaughter of Jaehaerys I Targaryen, the daughter of Aemon Targaryen and Jocelyn Baratheon, and the first cousin of Viserys I Targaryen and Daemon Targaryen. She is named after her great-great-grandmother: Rhaenys Targaryen, the sister-wife of Aegon the Conqueror. She claimed the dragon Meleys by sneaking into the Dragonpit in the middle of the night following the passing of her aunt Alyssa Targaryen enraging Alyssa's second son, Daemon.[8]

Rhaenys married Corlys Velaryon, admiral of the Targaryen fleets and currently the wealthiest living man in Westeros, having grown rich on trading expeditions he personally made to the Further East of Essos. Rhaenys and Corlys have two children: their son Laenor Velaryon and daughter Laena Velaryon.[7]

Rhaenys's father Aemon died before her grandfather King Jaehaerys did, after which Jaehaerys made the decision to name his second son, Rhaenys's uncle Baelon Targaryen, as his heir. This proved controversial, since according to traditional inheritance law based on primogeniture, a lord's daughter stands ahead of his younger brother in the line of succession. As a result, Rhaenys is called "The Queen Who Never Was". Baelon himself died a few years later, also while Jaehaerys was still alive, leaving two rival male claimants to the Iron Throne: Rhaenys's own son Laenor (based on primogeniture), or Rhaenys's first cousin Viserys (the son of her uncle Baelon, and thus an unbroken male line). Fearing a civil war, Jaehaerys solved the issue by holding the Great Council at Harrenhal in which all the lords of Westeros held a vote, and elected Viserys as heir to the throne. Jaehaerys died two years later and Viserys ascended to the throne.[2]

House of the Dragon: Season 1[]

Rhaenys Tourney Still

Rhaenys at the Heir's Tournament.

Rhaenys attends the Heir's Tournament held to celebrate the impending birth of Viserys's son Baelon, along with her husband (who is serving on the Small Council as Master of Ships) and her two young children, Laenor and Laena. As he enters the lists, Lord Boremund Baratheon asks Rhaenys for her favour to wear, publicly calling her the 'Queen Who Never Was' (a comment that infuriates Hand of the King Otto Hightower, though Viserys dismisses it as harmless talk). When two knights fight each other to the death, Rhaenys comments scathingly to Corlys that the knights participating are as "green as summer grass", none having seen real battle given the seventy years of relative peace since the death of Maegor the Cruel. When Viserys's wife Aemma Arryn dies from childbirth complications and Baelon does not long survive her, Rhaenys is among the family members and courtiers present at their joint funeral.[2]

Six months later, Rhaenys and her husband meet with King Viserys and propose a marriage alliance between the widower monarch and their daughter Laena, uniting the greatest surviving houses of Old Valyria. While Viserys is very hesitant at the idea of marrying a child, he understands the importance of producing more heirs to secure his line. Rhaenys later speaks to Rhaenyra—Viserys's only surviving child and designated heir to the Iron Throne—and gives her a blunt lesson in politics: as much as the lords of Westeros have sworn to uphold Rhaenyra's position as her father's heir, she knows from personal experience that such oaths can easily be reneged on, and that having a woman on the throne is a much more controversial prospect than the young princess realizes.[9]

OT Rhaenys and Corlys

Rhaenys expresses her fear that Laenor is entering a dangerous marriage.

Viserys arrives at the Velaryon island stronghold of High Tide to negotiate with Corlys, who had previously resigned as Master of Ships on the king's Small Council over Viserys's decision to marry Alicent Hightower rather than Laena.[9] Rhaenys seems concerned at the apparently ill health of her cousin, but Viserys dismisses the matter and proposes that his daughter Rhaenyra should marry Laena's brother Laenor, and their firstborn child would someday inherit the Iron Throne. Both sides agree to the terms, but Rhaenys privately confesses to her husband that Laenor's secret preference for men may only cause further complications. She also admits that she made peace long ago with the fact that she wasn't chosen as queen, along with her fears for Laenor's safety, given the growing belief at court Viserys's son Aegon should succeed him could lead to violent opposition to Rhaenyra ascending to the Iron Throne.[10]

Rhaenys, along with her husband, children and her husband's extended family, travel to King's Landing to celebrate Laenor's betrothal to Rhaenyra, with Rhaenys riding on Meleys alongside her son astride his own dragon, Seasmoke. Rhaenys is part of the Velaryon entourage that enters the festivities within the throne room of the Red Keep to great fanfare. However, the celebratory occasion is marred by Criston Cole's murder of the Velaryon retainer (and her son's lover) Joffrey Lonmouth. In the aftermath, Viserys cancels the planned seven days' of celebrations, and Laenor and Rhaenyra are wed in a private ceremony officiated by the High Septon, with Rhaenys and Corlys in attendance.[10]

In the intervening decade, Rhaenys's daughter Laena marries Daemon and gives him two daughters. When she dies from complications with childbirth at their family's estate in Pentos, Laena's remains are returned to her parents' castle on Driftmark for her funeral. Rhaenys meets her granddaughters Baela and Rhaena at the wake for the first time and consoles them over the loss of their mother, though she is quietly hostile to Jacaerys and Lucerys Velaryon, her ostensible grandsons by Laenor, aware they are the offspring of their mother's affair with Harwin Strong, and clearly disapproves of her husband grooming Luke as the prospective heir to Driftmark.[11]

That evening in the Hall of Nine, Rhaenys and Corlys talk tersely: Rhaenys blames Daemon for their daughter's death, believing House Velaryon's maester could have saved her, while Corlys insists the surgeons in Pentos are every bit as skilled as the maesters, calling their daughter's death an act of the gods. Rhaenys idly wonders if the gods are punishing them for their pride, citing Corlys's determination to get a scion of their bloodline on the Iron Throne. She also rebuffs Corlys's insistence he is trying to right the wrong done to her by the Great Council, arguing he is motivated more by his own ambition and determination to secure his legacy. Rhaenys adds that she wants Baela to inherit Driftmark instead of Luke, seeing it as honoring Laena's memory. She tells Corlys that in private, they can drop the pretense: they're both aware Rhaenyra's sons weren't fathered by Laenor, and while Jace's inheritance of the Iron Throne doesn't bother Rhaenys, she wants Laena's line to inherit Driftmark. Corlys refuses, as he can't bring himself to put a darker shadow over the boys than there already is (as disinheriting Luke for Baela would immediately cast doubt on Jace's inheritance to the Iron Throne). Rhaenys says that Laena's daughters are her legacy and they must honor that, but Corlys says that history does not remember blood: it remembers names. Later that same night, the couple are awoken by the aftermath of a fight between their granddaughters, ostensible grandsons and Prince Aemond over Vhagar that left the latter blinded in one eye. Rhaenys tends to her granddaughters' injuries from the fight and positions herself to protect them when the dispute between Rhaenyra and Queen Alicent boils over into violence.[12]

A few days later, tragedy strikes Rhaenys and Corlys again when their son Laenor is ostensibly killed in a fight with his retainer, Ser Qarl Correy (unbeknownst to them, Laenor faked his own death with the connivance of Rhaenyra and Daemon to both escape his arranged marriage and free Rhaenyra and Daemon to marry for a political alliance). Upon discovering what she believes to be her son's corpse, a distraught Rhaenys breaks down in tears.[12]

The loss of both of their children causes an estrangement between Rhaenys and Corlys, with the latter departing to secure Westeros' hold on the Stepstones against a resurgent Triarchy. Six years later, Rhaenys, ruling in Corlys' absence with the aid of Baela, who she has taken in as a ward, receives word from Evenfall that Corlys has been severely, possibly even fatally wounded in a skirmish with Triarchy forces in the Stepstones. Corlys's younger brother, Vaemond insists to Rhaenys that he should inherit Driftmark if his elder brother dies, rather than Corlys's preferred choice of Lucerys Velaryon, who Vaemond asserts is Harwin Strong's bastard son. When Rhaenys warns that her cousin, King Viserys, would have Vaemond's tongue for such words, Vaemond retorts that Alicent Hightower rules in Viserys's stead, and he expects her to ratify his claim to Driftmark.[6]

Rhaenys and Baela travel to King's Landing to join the dispute over the succession. In the Red Keep's godswood, she is approached by Rhaenyra, who has also brought her own ward, Rhaenys's younger granddaughter Rhaena, with her to the capital. Rhaenys is delighted to see Rhaena, but much less so Rhaenyra. Once Rhaena leaves at Rhaenyra's request so the older women can talk privately, Rhaenyra concludes Rhaenys is in King's Landing to advocate for her own claim to Driftmark, rather than support Vaemond's. Rhaenyra insists that the proceedings are a trap engineered by Otto and Alicent, meant to insultingly denounce Lucerys as illegitimate; an angry Rhaenys snaps Rhaenyra did worse when she cuckolded Laenor. Rhaenyra insists that she loved Laenor in her own way and that she was uninvolved in his death. She also offers to betroth Jace and Luke to Baela and Rhaena, allowing Baela to be Jace's Queen and ensuring rule of Driftmark will pass through Laena's line by Rhaena as Rhaenys originally wished. Rhaenys seemingly rebuffs the offer, remarking that she must stand alone.[6]

The next day, Rhaenys is a witness in the throne room to the debate over the succession of Driftmark. When King Viserys himself, having dragged himself from his sickbed to preside over the ruling, hobbles through the throne room to the Iron Throne, Rhaenys looks genuinely saddened at her cousin's poor condition. Once seated upon the throne, Viserys declares his confusion as to why a settled succession is being debated, and invites Rhaenys to speak, insisting she is the only person fit to give further insight into Corlys's wishes. Rhaenys steps forward and, to the shock and anger of Vaemond, Otto and Alicent, asserts that Corlys always wanted Lucerys to succeed him as Lord of Driftmark. She adds that she fully supported Corlys's decision, just as she is confident Corlys would support her decision to accept Rhaenyra's proposal to betroth Jace and Luke to Baela and Rhaena. Viserys declares the matter settled, reaffirming Lucerys as heir to Driftmark and the next Lord of the Tides. A furious Vaemond attempts to protest, spitefully calling Rhaenyra's sons bastards and slandering the princess herself as a whore, much to the shock of the court and the fury of her husband and father. Rhaenys is clearly taken aback when Daemon promptly beheads Vaemond with Dark Sister for insulting Rhaenyra. Later that evening, she watches the Silent Sisters prepare Vaemond's body for burial. Grand Maester Orwyle urges her to leave, noting it is considered bad luck to look upon the face of death, but Rhaenys dismisses him, remarking that the Stranger, who has come for her family so many times, no longer cares if her eyes are open or closed to him.[13]

Unknown to Rhaenys, Viserys quietly dies in his sleep that night and the Small Council, led by Otto Hightower, initiate a scheme to place his eldest son, Aegon on the throne in place of Rhaenyra. Rhaenys is locked in her quarters under house arrest; once she realizes this, she ineffectually demands her release, and witnesses the nobility present at court being herded into the throne room to swear fealty to the new king. Later that day, Dowager Queen Alicent comes to speak with Rhaenys, who furiously demands an explanation for her imprisonment.[13]

Rhaenys's fury at her house arrest becomes sadness when she realizes her cousin is dead, then scorn when she realizes the Greens are usurping the succession, scoffing at Alicent's insistence Viserys wanted Aegon to be his heir. Alicent beseeches Rhaenys to support the new succession, pointing out the losses and insults she has suffered thanks to House Velaryon's allegiance to Rhaenyra (her daughter dead far from home in Pentos, her son cuckolded and the illegitimate children of his wife's affair passed off as his rightful heirs, her husband abandoning her to wage war in the Stepstones) and insisting that Rhaenys should have been elected Queen by the Great Council at Harrenhal, urging Rhaenys as a fellow woman to help her guide the men of the realm to peace. Rhaenys scoffs at Alicent ostensibly imprisoning her in the name of peace and demands to know what the Greens intend to do to Meleys. Alicent insists that without the power a dragon like Meleys would offer Rhaenyra to launch an immediate strike against King's Landing when she learns what has happened, Rhaenyra may be persuaded to accept a peaceful resolution to the succession. Alicent offers to grant Rhaenys rule of Driftmark to pass to her granddaughters if she helps maintain the peace. Rhaenys rebuffs Alicent's overtures, coldly replying that for all her flattery, Alicent is just helping her father and son perpetuate the system that denied Rhaenys the Iron Throne in the first place.[13]

In the early hours of the morning, Rhaenys is freed from her quarters by Ser Erryk Cargyll of the Kingsguard, who refuses to be party to the Greens' treason, and Erryk spirits her from the Red Keep. Rhaenys is appalled to find the executed body of Lord Allun Caswell, who she knows to be a Rhaenyra loyalist, on display in the castle courtyard. Once outside the castle in King's Landing's streets, Rhaenys insists that she needs to reach the Dragonpit to free Meleys, but Erryk insists it will be impossible to reach, and that they must make for the docks and get aboard a ship before the Greens discover their escape. Unfortunately, the pair get separated by a surging crowd the gold cloaks are herding to bear witness to Aegon's coronation. Initially panicked at being parted from her only ally, Rhaenys smiles when she realizes the crowd are being directed towards the Dragonpit. At the Dragonpit, Rhaenys uses the distraction provided by Otto's announcement of King Viserys's death and Prince Aegon's coronation to slip unnoticed into the caverns beneath the Dragonpit. She dons a suit of dragonrider armor and frees Meleys, who promptly claws her way out through the floor of the Dragonpit, causing chaos as she rampages through the crowd gathered to witness Aegon's coronation, trampling smallfolk. A panicking Otto bellows at the gold cloaks to open the Dragonpit's doors to allow escape, but his commands go unheard over the chaos as Rhaenys directs Meleys towards the dais. Despite having the entire Green faction at her mercy, when Rhaenys sees Alicent place herself protectively in front of Aegon, she refrains from giving Meleys the command to kill them (either out of respect for Alicent's love for her son, or unwillingness to make herself a kinslayer). Instead, she directs Meleys to escape the Dragonpit, and the Greens fearfully watch her go, aware she is likely heading to Dragonstone to inform Rhaenyra of her father's death and the usurpation of her birthright.[13]

Rhaenys arrives on Dragonstone a day later and is greeted by Ser Lorent Marbrand of the Kingsguard, sending a request to Rhaenyra and Daemon for an audience by way of him. Ser Lorent leads Rhaenys in; Rhaenyra asks if there is word of her husband Corlys's recovery, but Rhaenys interrupts to inform Rhaenyra that her father is dead and her half-brother Aegon has been crowned as his successor. A stunned Daemon asks how his brother died; when Rhaenys admits ignorance, Daemon accuses Alicent of having murdered him. Rhaenys explains that she was made a prisoner in her own chambers while the Greens made their preparations, and that she witnessed Aegon's coronation at the Dragonpit before escaping atop Meleys. Rhaenyra is appalled to learn the Greens crowned Aegon before the masses of King's Landing, knowing as Rhaenys reiterates the masses will now see Aegon as the rightful king. When Daemon angrily demands to know why Rhaenys didn't burn the Greens when she had them at her mercy, Rhaenys replies that while war will follow, it is not her place to declare war; she only brought the warning out of loyalty to her house and husband. Rhaenys advises Rhaenyra to leave Dragonstone with her family before the Greens come for her, when Rhaenyra doubles over in pain, having been sent into premature labor by the shock of the news.[3]

Rhaenys remains on Dragonstone: she finds Jace and Luke sparring on the beach under Ser Steffon Darklyn's tutelage, and brings them to their mother's chamber so Rhaenyra can inform them what has happened. She is a witness to the funeral for the stillborn Princess Visenya, the arrival of Erryk Cargyll with Viserys's crown, and Rhaenyra's impromptu coronation as Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, being the only member of the congregation not to kneel for the newly crowned Rhaenyra. She, along with her granddaughters, is an attendee at the first session of the Black Council, though she offers little contribution other than to inform the Council that Corlys has departed Tarth for Dragonstone, and demurs when Daemon asks if he intends to declare for Rhaenyra.[3]

Corlys arrives on Dragonstone and is conveyed to a bedchamber, awakening to find his wife asleep in a seat beside his bed. The couple have their first conversation in six years, with Rhaenys accusing Corlys of having abandoned her and their granddaughters to go back to adventuring on the high seas. Corlys admits his error, insisting that returning to sea was his way of coping with the loss of his children, to which Rhaenys angrily reminds him Laena and Laenor were her children too. She also informs Corlys of Vaemond's premature attempt to claim Driftmark and his subsequent execution at Daemon's hand for his slanderous outburst against Rhaenyra. Saddened by what ambitious pursuits have cost his family, Corlys insists to Rhaenys that he will abandon his pursuit of the Iron Throne, abstain from choosing a side in the conflict, and retire to Driftmark to spend their remaining days with their grandchildren. Rhaenys argues against it, reminding him that Jace, Luke, and Joffrey are all claimants to the Iron Throne, and the boys will never be safe while Aegon II holds the Iron Throne. Corlys is scornful of the idea of supporting Rhaenyra, reminding Rhaenys that she was complicit in Laenor's death, but Rhaenys insists that Rhaenyra is the only one exercising restraint to prevent Westeros from sliding into wholesale war.[3]

Rhaenys accompanies Corlys and their granddaughters to another session of the Black Council the following day. When Corlys informs Rhaenyra that with the Stepstones firmly under their control, the Velaryon fleet can place a blockade across the Gullet to strangle all sea-bound trade to King's Landing, Rhaenys volunteers herself and Meleys to reinforce the blockade against any potential Green counterattack.That evening, Rhaenys departs Dragonstone atop Meleys alongside Jace and Luke on their dragons Vermax and Arrax, traveling a short distance together before parting ways for their respective destinations (Rhaenys to the Gullet, Jace to the Eyrie and Winterfell as his mother's envoy to Lady Jeyne Arryn and Lord Cregan Stark, and Luke to Storm's End to win over Lord Borros Baratheon).[3]

House of the Dragon: Season 2[]

Rhaenys returns to Dragonstone atop Meleys, having been patrolling Blackwater Bay and the Gullet in support of her husband's naval blockade of King's Landing. Daemon angrily orders her to mount up again. Rhaenys dismisses him, saying both she and Meleys need food and rest, but Daemon insists, as his intention is to go to King's Landing and kill both Vhagar and Aemond in retaliation for Lucerys's death, insisting he needs her and Meleys alongside himself and Caraxes to win such a fight. Rhaenys asks if Rhaenyra commanded him to do so, to which Daemon replies Rhaenyra is still absent, complaining he is forced to remain on Dragonstone to wage Rhaenyra's war in her stead, rather than forcing the Riverlords to bend their knees at Harrenhal. Rhaenys points out that Rhaenyra is grieving for her son, reminding Daemon of her own feelings of loss when his raven brought her the news of her daughter, Daemon's wife Laena's death. Rhaenys insists Rhaenyra needs more than a raven to prove her son is dead, and commends the queen for not giving into vengeful impulses. Daemon spitefully insinuates that Lucerys's death is Rhaenys's fault, noting his stepson would still be alive if Rhaenys had killed Aegon II Targaryen and his inner circle when she had the chance. Refusing to be baited, Rhaenys brushes past him, and when Daemon reiterates his insistence Rhaenys accompany him as a command, Rhaenys retorts he's not the King and leaves. [14]

Rhaenys is present when Rhaenyra returns from Shipbreaker Bay, having confirmed Lucerys is dead. She attends both the impromptu memorial held for Lucerys, and a following meeting of the Black Council, informing Rhaenyra that Corlys's blockade of the Gullet will soon completely strangle all seabound trade to King's Landing. She is also a witness to Rhaenyra's command that Aemond Targaryen die in retaliation for Lucerys's death.[14]

Rhaenys is present at another session of the Black Council where word of Prince Jaehaerys's murder, funeral and the Greens accusing Rhaenyra of ordering the killing reach Dragonstone. Along with Rhaenyra, Rhaenys rebukes Ser Alfred Broome when he proposes claiming Rhaenyra ordered the assassination in a moment of grief over the murder of Prince Lucerys. She also gives Daemon a significant look, realizing he was likely the one who ordered the killing.[15]

Later that night, as she and Corlys lie in bed together, they discuss the aftermath of Rhaenyra's falling out with Daemon; Rhaenys notes that her cousin has always sought to be his own master, and she sympathizes to a degree with Daemon's frustration at being passed over to rule, given her experiences at the Great Council. Rhaenys reassures Corlys that despite his anger with Rhaenyra, Daemon will not challenge her to rule as King in his own right, and concludes that Rhaenyra will forgive her husband if he delivers Harrenhal to her, and she will not let Rhaenyra falter in Daemon's absence.[15]

Rhaenys attends the funeral of Sers Erryk and Arryk Cargyll; she insists that Otto Hightower would never have sanctioned Ser Arryk's attempt on Rhaenyra's life, insisting that younger men, more eager for violence have taken over, to the point the original reason for the outbreak of war has been forgotten. Rhaenyra snaps that the reasons is the Greens usurped her throne; Rhaenys points out that is one reason, and that others would claim it was Prince Jaehaerys's murder, Lucerys's murder, or even Lucerys taking Aemond's eye, adding that they are now at the point where it doesn't matter anymore. Rhaenys urges Rhaenyra to reach out to Alicent Hightower, who tried to convince Rhaenys in the hours following Viserys's death to help her avert war; Rhaenys insists Alicent doesn't want war, merely being pressured into it by the men around her. Rhaenyra counters that Alicent permitted Aegon's usurping of the Iron Throne and Lucerys's murder, to which Rhaenys points out Rhaenyra permitted Daemon's murder of Jaehaerys, but Rhaenyra insists there is nothing more to be said between her and Alicent.[16]

Following a sessions of the Black Council, where Rhaenyra's councilors show anger with her following her reluctance to commit more violent actions against the Greens in the wake of the attempt on her life and the Battle of the Burning Mill, Rhaenys reprimands them by reminding them Rhaenyra's crown was also worn by her own grandfather, King Jaehaerys I Targaryen, whose wise, prudent rule outlasted that of any other Targaryen king, even Aegon the Conqueror.[16]

Rhaenys travels to Driftmark, paying a visit to her husband at the House Velaryon shipyards; Rhaenys insists Rhaenyra will need Corlys at her side soon to counterbalance Rhaenyra's other councillors. Rhaenys informs Corlys of their granddaughter Rhaena's departure for the Vale of Arryn, to which Corlys commiserates with Rhaena being sent off into exile with only babes for company. Rhaenys reminds him one of those babes is now his heir, to which Corlys scoffs at the idea of the six year old Joffrey now being heir to Driftmark. Rhaenys suggest he name Rhaena instead, but Corlys laughes off the idea of naming his granddaughter Lord of the Tides. Corlys insists another solution may present itself in time, but Rhaenys worriedly warns him there may be no time, as they are at war and Corlys could die without a successor, but Corlys reassures his wife he is a good sailor and takes his leave, even as she calls after him.[16]

Quotes[]

Spoken by Rhaenys[]

"I understand the order of things. I'm not sure you do. [...] Whether it's to my daughter or someone else's, your father will remarry sooner than late. His new wife will produce new heirs, and chances are better than not that one of those will be male. And when that boy comes of age and your father has passed, the men of the realm will expect him to be heir, not you. Because that is the order of things."
―Rhaenys, to Rhaenyra[src]
Daemon: "That whore of a queen murdered my brother and stole his throne, and you could have burned them all for it."
Rhaenys: "A war is like to be fought over this treachery, to be sure. But that war is not mine to begin."
— Daemon, referring to Alicent, and Rhaenys[src]
"This council would do well to remember that their Queen wears the crown of my grandsire, Jaehaerys the Conciliator. A prudent ruler, the wisest of all Targaryen kings, whose reign outlasted every other, even Aegon the Conqueror."
―Rhaenys rebuking the Black Council[src]

Spoken about Rhaenys[]

"Rhaenys, a woman, would not inherit the Iron Throne."
―Rhaenyra, on the Great Council[src]
Rhaenyra: "When I am queen, I will create a new order."
Rhaenys: "How I wish that could be, Rhaenyra. But the men of the realm already had their opportunity to appoint a ruling queen at the Great Council, and they denied it."
Rhaenyra: "They denied you, Princess Rhaenys. The Queen Who Never Was."
— Rhaenyra and Rhaenys[src]
"The crown was yours until those fools at the Great Council plucked it from your head. Is it such a terrible thing for your husband to wish to win it back?"
―Corlys, to Rhaenys[src]
Alicent: "You, more than any soul alive, understand what I say now. Princess Rhaenys, I loved my husband, but I will speak the truth we both know. You should have been Queen."
Rhaenys: "I little thought to hear those words from you."
Alicent: "The Iron Throne was yours by blood and by temperament."
— Alicent and Rhaenys[src]
"If you'd have acted when you had the chance, Aegon's line would be extinguished, and Luke would be alive."
―Daemon blames Rhaenys for Lucerys's death[src]

Family[]

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Famtree-RhaenaTargaryen
Rhaena
Targaryen

Deceased
 
Famtree-AegonTargaryenSonOfAenys
Aegon
Targaryen

Deceased
 
House-Targaryen-HotD-Square
Viserys
Targaryen

Deceased
 
Famtree-JaehaerysI
Jaehaerys I
Targaryen
1
Deceased
 
Famtree-Alysanne Targaryen
Alysanne
Targaryen

Deceased
 
House-Targaryen-HotD-Square
Vaella
Targaryen

Deceased
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
House-Targaryen-HotD-Square
Aemon
Targaryen

Deceased
 
House-Baratheon-Main-Square
Jocelyn
Baratheon

Deceased
 
House-Arryn-Square
Rodrik
Arryn[e]
Deceased
 
House-Targaryen-HotD-Square
Daella
Targaryen

Deceased
 
House-Targaryen-HotD-Square
Baelon
Targaryen

Deceased
 
Famtree-Alyssa Targaryen
Alyssa
Targaryen

Deceased
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Famtree-CorlysVelaryon
Corlys
Velaryon
House Velaryon

 
Famtree-RhaenysVelaryon
Rhaenys
Targaryen

Deceased
 
Famtree-AemmaArryn
Aemma
Arryn
House Arryn/House of the Dragon
Deceased
 
Famtree-ViserysITargaryen
Viserys I
Targaryen
2
Deceased
 
Famtree-AlicentHightower
Alicent
Hightower
House Hightower/House of the Dragon

 
Famtree-DaemonTargaryen
Daemon
Targaryen
Daemon Targaryen

 
Famtree-RheaRoyce
Rhea
Royce
House Royce
Deceased
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Famtree-DaemonTargaryen
Daemon
Targaryen
Daemon Targaryen

 
Famtree-LaenaVelaryon
Laena
Velaryon
House Velaryon
Deceased
 
Famtree-LaenorVelaryon
Laenor
Velaryon
3 House Velaryon

 
Famtree-RhaenyraTargaryen
Rhaenyra
Targaryen
2

 
Famtree-DaemonTargaryen
Daemon
Targaryen
Daemon Targaryen

 
Famtree-Aegon Targaryen
Aegon II
Targaryen
Aegon II Targaryen

 
Famtree-HelaenaTargaryen
Helaena
Targaryen


 
Famtree-AemondTargaryen
Aemond
Targaryen


 
House-Targaryen-HotD-Square
Daeron
Targaryen


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Famtree-Baela Targaryen
Baela
Targaryen


 
Famtree-Rhaena Targaryen
Rhaena
Targaryen


 
Famtree-Jacaerys Velaryon
Jacaerys
Velaryon
House Velaryon

 
Famtree-Lucerys Velaryon
Lucerys
Velaryon
House Velaryon
Deceased
 
Famtree-JoffreyVelaryon
Joffrey
Velaryon
House Velaryon

 
Famtree-AegonIII
Aegon
Targaryen


 
Famtree-ViserysII
Viserys
Targaryen


 
Famtree-PrinceJahaerysTargaryen
Jaehaerys
Targaryen

Deceased
 
Famtree-JaehaeraTargaryen
Jaehaera
Targaryen


1 Jaehaerys had thirteen children in all. For simplicity, only the direct ancestors of future generations are on this family tree and they are not in the exact order of birth. The thirteen children in correct order are: Aegon, Daenerys, Aemon, Baelon, Alyssa, Maegelle, Vaegon, Daella, Saera, Viserra, Gaemon, Valerion, and Gael.

2 Due to the nature of their respective births and deaths, Baelon Targaryen, son of Viserys and Aemma, and Visenya Targaryen, daughter of Rhaenyra and Daemon, are not included on this family tree.

3 While Jacaerys, Lucerys, and Joffrey are officially Laenor's, he and Rhaenyra never had any biological issue. Their three sons were in fact fathered by Harwin Strong.

Behind the scenes[]

In The Dance of Dragons, a featurette from Game of Thrones: The Complete Fifth Season, Rhaenys is erroneously identified as King Viserys's sister.[5]

Rhaenys Targaryen was revealed to be a recurring character in House of the Dragon on December 8, 2020. On February 11, 2021, HBO announced that Eve Best had been cast in the role for the series. Her character description for Season 1 reads as follows:

"A dragonrider and wife to Lord Corlys Velaryon, "The Queen Who Never Was" was passed over as heir to the throne at the Great Council because the realm favored her cousin, Viserys, simply for being male."[17]

Her character description for Season 2 reads as follows:

"A skilled dragonrider and wife to Lord Corlys Velaryon, "The Queen Who Never Was" was passed over as heir to the throne because the lords of the realm favored her cousin, Viserys."[18]

In the books[]

In Fire & Blood, Rhaenys Targaryen was the daughter of Prince Aemon Targaryen and Lady Jocelyn Baratheon, born in 74 AC on the seventh day of the seventh month. She was a great beauty, possessing the signature Baratheon black hair and Targaryen pale violet eyes. By the age of fifty-five she had a lean, lined face and her hair was streaked with white. She was clever, capable, spirited, proud, fierce, and fearless, with a fiery temperament. In battle, she wore steel and copper armor that flashed in the sun.

Her father was the Prince of Dragonstone, and since she was his firstborn child many considered Rhaenys to be next in line to the Iron Throne. Her grandmother Queen Alysanne called her "our queen to be."

In 89 AC she joined her grandfather King Jaehaerys I for part of his royal progress. She flew to Highgarden on her dragon Meleys to meet up with the king and together they flew to all four of the Shield Islands. During this trip she informed him of her intention to marry Lord Corlys Velaryon, and he gave her his blessing. She married Corlys the following year, arriving at the wedding on Meleys at her own insistence, and two years later learned that she was pregnant with her first child.

In 92 AC, Rhaenys's father was killed during efforts to drive Myrish pirates out of Tarth, and the king was forced to formally appoint a new heir to the throne. Rhaenys's uncle Baelon was chosen as the new heir, causing Rhaenys to protest the decision and her husband Corlys to give up his position as lord admiral and his place on the Small Council. Rhaenys's mother and grandmother were both angered by the decision, as was her uncle Boremund Baratheon.

Rhaenys and Corlys returned to Driftmark and in 92 AC she gave birth to a daughter, Laena Velaryon, and a son Laenor in 94 AC. Both House Velaryon and House Baratheon protested that Laenor had a stronger claim to the throne, but Baelon remained King Jaehaerys's heir.

Baelon died in 101 AC and King Jaehaerys held a Great Council at Harrenhal to determine the line of succession. Rhaenys and her children were among fourteen claims considered: she and her daughter Laena were rejected on account of their sex, but the final candidates were Viserys and Rhaenys's son Laenor. Rhaenys's uncle Boremund and Lord Ellard Stark were both outspoken in their support of her claim, along with House Dustin and House Manderly. Corlys used his wealth to persuade the vassal Houses along the coasts of the narrow sea to support Laenor's claim as well, such as Lords Bar Emmon and Celtigar. In the final vote, however, Baelon's son Viserys won by a wide margin: while the ballot was secret, it was rumored that he beat Laenor by a factor of twenty to one. Following this, the fool Mushroom gave Rhaenys the moniker of "The Queen Who Never Was," which became a popular nickname for her among the commoners.

Appearances[]

References[]

  1. House of the Dragon: Season 2, Episode 4: "The Red Dragon and the Gold" (2024).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 1: "The Heirs of the Dragon" (2022).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 10: "The Black Queen" (2022).
  4. Rhaenys Targaryen. HBO. Retrieved March 15, 2023.
  5. 5.0 5.1 The Dance of Dragons (2016).
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 8: "The Lord of the Tides" (2022).
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Character Guide. HBO. Retrieved March 15, 2023.
  8. House of the Dragon: Season 2, Episode 5: "Regent" (2024).
  9. 9.0 9.1 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 2: "The Rogue Prince" (2022).
  10. 10.0 10.1 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 5: "We Light the Way" (2022).
  11. House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 6: "The Princess and the Queen" (2022).
  12. 12.0 12.1 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 7: "Driftmark" (2022).
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 9: "The Green Council" (2022).
  14. 14.0 14.1 House of the Dragon: Season 2, Episode 1: "A Son for a Son" (2024).
  15. 15.0 15.1 House of the Dragon: Season 2, Episode 2: "Rhaenyra the Cruel" (2024).
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 House of the Dragon: Season 2, Episode 3: "The Burning Mill" (2024).
  17. Unknown author (Unknown date). House of the Dragon S1 | Character Descriptions. Warner Bros. Discovery. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  18. Unknown author (Unknown date). House of the Dragon S2 | Character Descriptions. Warner Bros. Discovery. Retrieved June 5, 2024.

Notes[]

  1. Rhaenys Targaryen is stated to be in her 40s in the script for "The Heirs of the Dragon;" therefore, she was born between 63 and 72 AC.
  2. In "A Son for a Son," Daemon Targaryen and Otto Hightower mention that days have passed since Viserys Targaryen and Lucerys Velaryon's deaths. Unlike the first season, no major time jumps are expected; therefore, House of the Dragon: Season 2 takes place in 132 AC.
  3. High Valyrian: Rhaenys Targārien
  4. High Valyrian: Rhaenys Velarion
  5. Conjecture based on information from The World of Ice & Fire; may be subject to change.

External links[]


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