As you read this, you may not immediately recognize the name Rhaella Targaryen. She did not seek fame or fortune, but instead focused her efforts on raising her family and serving her kingdom. While history has not always been kind to the Targaryen dynasty, Rhaella herself was a figure of grace, dignity and strength. Her life was not easy, living as a woman of royal blood in a time when women were expected to be seen and not heard. Yet through it all, she persevered and left behind a legacy as the mother of dragons and the wife of the Mad King. Though she passed from this world too soon, her memory lives on through her children and the kingdom she loved. In the following pages, you will learn the truth about the woman behind the Iron Throne and come to understand why the realm still whispers her name.
Who Was Rhaella Targaryen?
Rhaella Targaryen was born in 244 AC at King’s Landing to Prince Aegon V Targaryen and Princess Betha Blackwood. As the firstborn daughter of the King, Rhaella was raised in the Red Keep where she received the traditional education of a highborn lady, focusing on history, etiquette, music, and dance.
At a young age, Rhaella’s father betrothed her to her older brother, Prince Aerys, to continue the long-standing Targaryen tradition of incestuous marriages to keep the bloodline pure. The marriage took place in 260 AC when Rhaella was 15 and Aerys was 17. A year later, Rhaella gave birth to her first child, Prince Rhaegar. Over the next decade, Rhaella had two more children: Prince Viserys in 276 AC and Princess Daenerys in 284 AC.
Tragically, Rhaella’s final pregnancy was very difficult and she died from complications while giving birth to Daenerys. Rhaella was only 40 years old at the time of her passing. Although her time as Queen was short, Rhaella endured immense hardship during her marriage to the increasingly erratic and violent Aerys. However, she found solace in her children and worked to protect them from their father’s wrath. Rhaella is remembered as a kind, caring, and dutiful woman who always put the needs of her family and subjects first.
Rhaella’s Family and Early Life in King’s Landing
As a member of House Targaryen, Rhaella was born into a life of privilege in King’s Landing. However, as the only daughter of King Aegon V Targaryen, her future was destined to be one of political alliances and duty to her family name.
Rhaella’s Parents and Siblings
Rhaella was the fourth child born to King Aegon V and Queen Betha Blackwood. Her three older brothers were Prince Duncan, Prince Jaehaerys, and Prince Shaera. Sadly, Prince Duncan renounced his claim to the throne to marry for love, and Prince Jaehaerys died at a young age. This left Prince Shaera as the heir to the Iron Throne.
- Prince Shaera later became King Aerys II, known as “The Mad King”, after ascending to the throne.
- Rhaella was very close with her brother Shaera in their youth. However, his descent into madness later caused a rift between them.
Betrothal and Marriage
As was customary for noble ladies of Westeros, Rhaella’s marriage was arranged for political gain when she was just a child. At the age of 13, she was betrothed to her own brother, Prince Shaera, to maintain the purity of House Targaryen. They wed three years later, and Rhaella gave birth to their first child at the age of 17.
Over the years, Rhaella bore six children for her brother-husband King Aerys II, though only three survived into adulthood: Crown Prince Rhaegar, Prince Viserys, and Princess Daenerys. Rhaella endured immense physical and emotional suffering during her long, troubled marriage to the increasingly unstable Aerys. Her life in King’s Landing was one of duty, sacrifice, and tragedy.
Rhaella’s Arranged Marriage to Her Brother Aerys
Rhaella’s Arranged Marriage to Her Brother Aerys
As a member of House Targaryen, Rhaella Targaryen was expected to marry within the family to maintain the purity of the bloodline. At a young age, she was betrothed to her brother Aerys, who would later become known as the “Mad King”. Their marriage was arranged by their father Jaehaerys II Targaryen in accordance with the family tradition of incestuous marriages.
The union between Rhaella and Aerys was not a happy one. Aerys was cruel to Rhaella, subjecting her to physical and emotional abuse. He was unfaithful, taking many mistresses, while Rhaella remained loyal and devoted to him as was expected of her. Despite the troubles in their relationship, Rhaella gave birth to Prince Rhaegar, Princess Elia, Prince Viserys, and Princess Daenerys.
Rhaella’s life was one of obligation and sacrifice as she endured hardship to fulfill her duties as a Targaryen queen. She had little control or autonomy over her own life and was unable to find love or affection in her arranged marriage. However, she found purpose and meaning in mothering her children, striving to protect them from the instability and volatility of Aerys’ reign.
Rhaella met a tragic end when she died giving birth to Daenerys during a fierce storm at Dragonstone. Her death marked the end of the Targaryen dynasty’s reign over the Seven Kingdoms. Though she lived a difficult life, Rhaella’s legacy lives on through her children who continued the Targaryen lineage and shaped the future of Westeros. Her story serves as a sobering reminder of the hardships women faced in a medieval, patriarchal society where they were often seen as political pawns rather than human beings.
Rhaella Targaryen’s tale is a tragic one, but her resilience, sacrifice, and devotion as a mother in the face of immense suffering has cemented her status as an icon who overcame adversity with perseverance and quiet strength of will. Her memory lives on as an inspiration and her legacy as the mother of dragons shaped the destiny of Westeros for generations to come.
Rhaella’s Children: Rhaegar, Viserys and Daenerys
Rhaella Targaryen was the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and wife to King Aerys II Targaryen. Together, they had three children who would shape the future of Westeros:
Rhaegar was Rhaella’s firstborn son and heir to the Iron Throne. Known for his charm and intelligence, Rhaegar was beloved by the people of Westeros. Sadly, Rhaegar perished during Robert Baratheon’s rebellion at the Battle of the Trident. Rhaegar was married to Elia Martell, with whom he had two children: Aegon and Rhaenys Targaryen.
Viserys was Rhaella’s second son. After Rhaegar’s death and the fall of House Targaryen, Viserys believed himself to be the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. Known for his cruelty and volatility, Viserys emotionally and physically abused his sister Daenerys. He was killed by Khal Drogo, Daenerys’ husband, for threatening her unborn son.
Daenerys was Rhaella’s only daughter and youngest child. After Rhaella died giving birth to Daenerys, Daenerys was raised in exile across the Narrow Sea. She emerged as a conqueror in her own right, amassing an army and three dragons to take back her family’s throne. Through her strong leadership and empathy for the downtrodden, Daenerys won the loyalty of people across Essos and Westeros. She sought to build a better world through her revolutionary vision.
Rhaella’s children shaped the destiny of Westeros in profound ways. Though Rhaella did not live to see her children’s impact on the world, her legacy lives on through them. Her bloodline and House Targaryen endured even after the fall of the dynasty she knew.
Rhaella’s Experiences During Robert’s Rebellion
During Robert’s Rebellion, Rhaella endured immense hardship and personal loss. As the rebellion erupted following her son Rhaegar’s abduction of Lyanna Stark, Rhaella was separated from Rhaegar and soon learned of his death at the Battle of the Trident. This battle marked a major turning point in the war, enabling the rebel forces led by Robert Baratheon to gain the upper hand over the Targaryens.
Confinement at Dragonstone
With the tide turning against her family, Aerys II confined Rhaella to Dragonstone for her safety. While there, Rhaella gave birth to her only daughter, Daenerys Targaryen, amidst a massive storm that destroyed the Targaryen fleet. This storm, with its raging winds and torrential rains, mirrored the chaos and turmoil engulfing Rhaella’s world.
The Sack of King’s Landing
Rhaella’s life was shattered when rebel forces sacked King’s Landing. Aerys II was killed by Jaime Lannister, leaving Rhaella widowed. Her eldest son Viserys was also believed dead, though he had secretly escaped with Daenerys to Essos. Bereft of husband and children, Rhaella’s spirit was crushed by the destruction of her family and dynasty.
Flight to Dragonstone
With the capital fallen and the rebellion victorious, Rhaella fled with Daenerys to Dragonstone, the ancestral seat of House Targaryen. There, she succumbed at last to the grief and hardship of the war, passing away six months after the rebellion’s end. Daenerys was left orphaned, the last remainder of a once mighty family.
In her final years, Rhaella endured the loss of her eldest sons and husband, the collapse of her family’s reign, and the sundering of the Targaryen dynasty she had helped build. Though her life was marked by suffering and sorrow, her legacy lives on through Daenerys, the last dragon and heir to the Iron Throne. Rhaella’s tremendous strength and perseverance in the face of tragedy serve as an inspiration, demonstrating the indomitable will of the dragon.
Rhaella’s Final Years and Death on Dragonstone
Rhaella endured immense difficulties during her later years as the Queen of Westeros. After the death of King Aerys II in 281 AC, Rhaella was left alone to rule over the Seven Kingdoms as its first ruling Queen Regnant. However, her reign proved tumultuous and brief.
Rhaella’s health deteriorated rapidly during her brief rule. The Queen had suffered several miscarriages and stillbirths over the years that took a toll on her body. Maesters noted symptoms of fatigue, depression, and trauma. By 282 AC, Rhaella was bedridden for long periods. With no male heirs left, the line of succession fell into question, plunging the kingdom into a succession crisis.
The Blackfyre Rebellion
To further destabilize her rule, Daemon Blackfyre and his followers launched a second rebellion in late 281 AC with the goal of claiming the Iron Throne. The Blackfyre forces gained momentum, rallying discontented lords and peasants to their cause. Outnumbered, Rhaella’s armies suffered defeats early on. The rebellion only ended after the miraculous hatching of dragon eggs, with the newborn dragons helping to rout the Blackfyre forces at the Battle of Redgrass Field in 282 AC.
A kingdom in disarray
Rhaella spent her final months attempting to hold the remnants of her crumbling kingdom together. With the royal coffers depleted, she struggled to pay the City Watch and Kingsguard. Flea Bottom descended into lawlessness, and riots became common in King’s Landing. Lords refused to send taxes and troops, leaving Crownlands largely ungoverned.
Exhausted and heartbroken, Rhaella passed away peacefully in her sleep at Dragonstone in 283 AC. She was 58 years old. Her death marked the end of nearly 300 years of Targaryen rule, plunging Westeros into a new period of political instability and violence known as the Interregnum. Rhaella was survived by her son, Prince Viserys, the last known Targaryen heir, though his claim to the throne remained in doubt.
Rhaella’s tragic life and brief, tumultuous rule served as a sobering reminder of the precarious position of women in power within the political structures of Westeros. Though faced with immense hardships, Rhaella persevered with dignity, grace, and a deep sense of duty till the end. Her legacy stands as an inspiration and a cautionary tale. The Queen Who Never Was continues to capture the imagination, representing the roads not taken and the promises unfulfilled.
The Impact and Legacy of Rhaella Targaryen
Rhaella Targaryen was the sister-wife of King Aerys II Targaryen and mother to Daenerys Targaryen, the Mother of Dragons. Through her role as Queen Consort and her noble lineage, Rhaella has had a profound and lasting impact on the Seven Kingdoms.
As Queen, Rhaella held a position of power and was able to exert political influence over the realm. Though she did not directly rule, Rhaella served as an advisor to Aerys and sought to temper some of his madness and cruelty. She played a key role in mediating disputes between the king and his subjects, working behind the scenes to promote peace and stability. Her political acumen and ability to navigate complex situations were great assets to the crown during her time.
Mother of the Dragon Queen
Rhaella’s most significant and enduring legacy was as the mother of Daenerys Targaryen. Despite enduring multiple miscarriages and stillbirths, Rhaella finally gave birth to Daenerys during a fierce storm. She sacrificed her own life to bring the young dragon queen into the world. Daenerys would go on to hatch the first dragons seen in over a century and reclaim the Iron Throne, honoring her mother’s memory. Through her daughter, Rhaella’s lineage and impact on Westeros live on.
Remembered as a Tragic Queen
Though Rhaella served dutifully as Queen Consort for many years, her life was marked by deep personal tragedy and suffering. Her marriage to Aerys was loveless and marked by abuse and cruelty. The loss of her children left her devastated and emotionally scarred. However, she persevered with grace and dignity until her dying breath. Rhaella is remembered as a tragic queen who overcame immense hardship, serving her realm and family with courage and honor until the end. Her story serves as an inspiration, demonstrating the power of perseverance and resilience in the face of suffering.
The reign and legacy of Rhaella Targaryen highlight the influence that queens and mothers have held throughout history. Though she lived a life of tragedy, Rhaella’s memory lives on through her daughter Daenerys – the Mother of Dragons who shaped the future of Westeros. Her story serves as a sobering reminder of the suffering that many women endured in a male-dominated world.
Rhaella Targaryen’s Net Worth and Properties
As the Queen Consort of the Seven Kingdoms, Rhaella Targaryen lived a life of immense wealth and privilege. At the time of her death during Robert’s Rebellion, Rhaella’s net worth was estimated to be over $50 million in today’s dollars, the majority of which came from the crown estates and royal treasury.
As royalty, Rhaella did not personally own any property. She resided in the Red Keep of King’s Landing, home to the Iron Throne and seat of power for House Targaryen. Constructed by her ancestor Aegon I Targaryen, the Red Keep consisted of lavish royal apartments, throne rooms, gardens, and courtyards.
Outside of the capital, the Targaryen dynasty ruled over numerous castles and strongholds across Westeros. Dragonstone, the ancient seat of House Targaryen, was passed down to Rhaella’s son Rhaegar upon her death. Other royal residences included Summerhall, Harrenhal, and Driftmark.
Jewels and Valuables
The royal vaults were filled with priceless Targaryen heirlooms collected over centuries of rule. Rhaella frequently wore extravagant gowns and jewelry befitting her station, including gem-encrusted crowns, necklaces of rare gems, and rings with large precious stones like rubies, emeralds and black diamonds. As dowager queen, Rhaella retained use of many royal jewels and passed several pieces down to her daughter Daenerys.
The majority of income for the royal family came from taxes paid by lords and smallfolk across the Seven Kingdoms. The Master of Coin oversaw the royal treasury and paid expenses for the court and kingdom. As queen, Rhaella received an annual allowance for her personal use, in addition to having all her needs cared for by servants.
Rhaella lived her entire life in service to the realm as a Targaryen queen. Though she did not personally own land, property or generate income, she enjoyed immense wealth and privilege as a member of the ruling royal family of Westeros. Her legacy lives on through her surviving children Viserys and Daenerys, the last scions of House Targaryen.
Rhaella Targaryen FAQs: Answering Common Questions
Rhaella Targaryen lived a difficult life as both a political pawn and a dutiful queen. As the only daughter of King Jaehaerys II, Rhaella was destined for an arranged royal marriage from birth. She wed her brother Aerys at a young age, eventually bearing him three children before his descent into madness. Though Rhaella endured immense suffering during her reign, she is remembered as a kind and devoted mother who loved her children deeply.
Who was Rhaella Targaryen?
Rhaella Targaryen was a princess of House Targaryen and Queen of the Seven Kingdoms as the wife of King Aerys II Targaryen. Born in 258 AC, Rhaella was the only daughter of King Jaehaerys II Targaryen. At age 17, Rhaella was married to her brother Prince Aerys in a political match designed to continue the Targaryen bloodline. The pair had three children: Rhaegar, Viserys, and Daenerys.
What was Rhaella Targaryen’s role?
As Queen, Rhaella’s primary role was to bear heirs to the Iron Throne. However, Rhaella endured immense difficulties in her marriage to the increasingly unstable Aerys. His descent into madness and paranoia led to vicious physical and emotional abuse of Rhaella for over two decades. Despite the cruelty she faced, Rhaella remained devoted to her children. She shielded them from Aerys’s wrath and gave them the love and affection she herself was denied.
How did Rhaella Targaryen die?
Rhaella died in childbirth on Dragonstone in 284 AC, while delivering Daenerys Targaryen. After years of miscarriages and stillbirths due to Aerys’s abuse, Rhaella’s body was too frail to survive the birthing process. Her death marked the end of the Targaryen dynasty’s reign over Westeros. Though Rhaella’s life was filled with suffering, her memory lives on through her children, who fought to reclaim their family’s throne and honor their mother’s legacy.
Rhaella Targaryen demonstrated immense courage, resilience, and compassion despite facing unimaginable hardship. Her devotion to her children serves as an inspiration, reminding us of the power of a mother’s love. Though Rhaella’s story ended in tragedy, her memory will endure as a queen who sacrificed everything for the good of her family and kingdom.
Though her life was cut tragically short, Rhaella Targaryen’s legacy lives on. Her strength and perseverance in the face of immense hardship serve as an inspiration. Despite the immense challenges of her station and the cruelty she endured, Rhaella never lost her dignity or grace. She fought for her children and sacrificed her own happiness to protect them. Though seldom recognized, her pivotal role in shaping the future of Westeros cannot be overstated.
Rhaella’s story is a sobering reminder of the plight of women in a male-dominated world. Though she was born into privilege, her life was marked by a lack of agency and control over her own destiny. Her tale should motivate us all to build a society of greater equality, compassion, and justice. By honoring Rhaella’s memory, we take a step toward forging a world where the suffering and sacrifice of women like her are no longer required or expected. Though gone too soon, the Dragon Queen’s indomitable spirit lives on.