House Targaryen is one of the most fascinating families in the world of Game of Thrones. From their origins as dragonlords in Valyria to their conquest of the Seven Kingdoms and their eventual downfall, the Targaryens have left an indelible mark on Westerosi history. The family’s complex lineage, with its many intermarriages and power struggles, can be difficult to follow at times. One particular relationship that has been a source of confusion for some fans is that between Rhaenyra Targaryen and Daenerys Targaryen. While both women played important roles in the Targaryen dynasty, the exact nature of their connection has been a subject of debate. In this blog post, we’ll take a deep dive into the Targaryen family tree to explore how these two women are related, and what their legacies mean for the future of Westeros.
The Early Days of House Targaryen
The Early Days of House Targaryen
To understand the relationship between Rhaenyra Targaryen and Daenerys Targaryen, it’s essential to look back at the early days of House Targaryen. The Targaryens were originally part of a group of noble families known as the dragonlords in Valyria, a powerful empire located on the continent of Essos. The dragonlords had the ability to bond with and ride dragons, which gave them immense power and influence.
However, the Doom of Valyria changed everything. A catastrophic event that occurred around 400 years before the events of Game of Thrones, the Doom was a series of volcanic eruptions that destroyed Valyria and its civilization. Only a handful of dragonlords survived, including House Targaryen. They fled to Dragonstone, an island fortress located off the coast of Westeros.
Over time, House Targaryen established themselves on Dragonstone and began to expand their influence throughout Westeros. Aegon Targaryen, also known as Aegon the Conqueror, led his army of loyalists and dragons in a conquest of the Seven Kingdoms, eventually seizing control of the Iron Throne.
The early days of House Targaryen were defined by their Valyrian heritage and their ability to ride dragons, giving them a significant military advantage over their enemies. However, they faced challenges and obstacles, including resistance from those who saw them as outsiders and usurpers. Despite this, House Targaryen endured and became one of the most powerful dynasties in Westerosi history.
In conclusion, the early days of House Targaryen were marked by their status as dragonlords and their escape from the catastrophic Doom of Valyria. These events shaped the path that House Targaryen would take in their conquest of Westeros, culminating in the rise of Aegon the Conqueror and the establishment of their dynasty on the Iron Throne.
The Rise of Aegon the Conqueror
The Rise of Aegon the Conqueror
Aegon I, also known as Aegon the Conqueror, was the first Targaryen king to sit on the Iron Throne and rule over the Seven Kingdoms. His conquest of Westeros marked a significant turning point in the history of the continent, forever changing the political landscape and setting the stage for centuries of conflict and turmoil.
Prior to Aegon’s arrival, Westeros was divided into seven independent kingdoms, each ruled by a monarch in their own right. The kingdoms often warred with one another and alliances were constantly shifting, leading to a state of near-constant conflict. However, Aegon saw an opportunity to unite the land under a single ruler and set out to conquer all seven kingdoms.
With his two sister-wives, Visenya and Rhaenys, and their three dragons at his command, Aegon began his campaign of conquest. He started with the eastern kingdom of the Stormlands, defeating the local lords and installing his own loyal vassals. From there, he moved on to the Riverlands, where he defeated the Ironborn and brought the Tullys into his fold.
Next, Aegon turned his attention to the Reach, which proved to be his toughest challenge yet. After several battles, including the famous Field of Fire, Aegon emerged victorious and installed the Tyrells as his new vassals. He then travelled north to deal with the Starks and the Boltons, who had formed an alliance against him. The North was the only kingdom that Aegon did not fully conquer but through negotiations secured the vassalage of House Stark.
Finally, Aegon conquered the western kingdom of the Rock and the Vale from the Arryns soon submitted without conflict, completing his unification of Westeros.
Thanks to his military genius and the power of his dragons, Aegon the Conqueror was able to achieve what no other ruler had before. He created a centralized government, with the Iron Throne as its seat of power, that brought peace and stability to the Seven Kingdoms for the first time in history. The Targaryen dynasty would rule over Westeros for nearly three centuries, with Aegon’s legacy shaping their reign and the fate of the realm.
The Lineage of Rhaenyra Targaryen
Marriage and Children
One of the most distinguishing traits of House Targaryen is their tendency to marry within their own family, and Rhaenyra Targaryen was no exception. Rhaenyra was first married to Laenor Velaryon, who many believed to be homosexual and impotent. Despite this, Laenor was able to provide Rhaenyra with three children: Jacaerys, Lucerys, and Joffrey Velaryon.
However, rumors circulated that the true father of Rhaenyra’s children was not Laenor but her uncle, Prince Daemon Targaryen. Daemon was known for his ruthless nature and was rumored to have a romantic relationship with his niece. The legitimacy of Rhaenyra’s heirs was therefore called into question, leading to further tension in an already unstable dynasty.
When Laenor died, Rhaenyra wed her uncle Daemon, and together they had a son named Aegon. It was widely accepted that Aegon was, in fact, the son of Daemon and Rhaenyra, cementing the rumors that their previous children were also fathered by Daemon rather than Laenor.
The question of succession became even more contentious with the birth of Aegon. Rhaenyra believed that Aegon was the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, while Aegon II (son of Rhaenyra’s half-brother) claimed that he was the true heir. This led to the brutal civil war known as the Dance of Dragons, which tore the Targaryen dynasty apart and left behind scars that would last for generations.
In conclusion, Rhaenyra’s marriages and children played a significant role in the Targaryen succession crisis. The rumors surrounding the paternity of her children created tension and uncertainty, while the birth of Aegon only added fuel to the fire. The events that followed would shape the future of House Targaryen and the Seven Kingdoms for years to come.
The Dance of Dragons
The Dance of Dragons was a devastating civil war that tore apart the Targaryen dynasty and forever changed the course of Westerosi history. At its core, the conflict was a battle over succession between two branches of the Targaryen family tree: Rhaenyra Targaryen, daughter of King Viserys I, and her half-brother Aegon II.
The dispute began when Viserys I died without naming a clear successor to the Iron Throne. Rhaenyra believed that she had the strongest claim as the firstborn child, while Aegon II argued that he should be king because he was male and older. The situation quickly escalated into violence as both sides gathered armies and sought out allies.
However, what made the Dance of Dragons particularly brutal was the involvement of dragonriders – individuals who could bond with and ride dragons, which were considered the ultimate weapon in warfare. The Targaryens had long been known for their dragons, and many noble families had intermarried with them specifically to gain access to these powerful beasts.
As a result, the fighting in the Dance of Dragons often took to the skies, with dragon battling dragon and rider battling rider. The devastation caused by this type of combat was immense, and it’s estimated that thousands of people died in the conflict.
The war dragged on for years, with both sides suffering significant losses. Eventually, Aegon II emerged victorious and assumed the Iron Throne, but at a great cost to the Targaryen dynasty. The dragons, which had been so important to their power and prestige, were nearly extinct. In fact, only a handful remained by the time of Daenerys Targaryen’s birth, centuries later.
The Dance of Dragons was a stark reminder that even the most powerful families can crumble under the weight of internal strife. It also demonstrated how much the Targaryen dynasty relied on their dragons for both military might and political stability. Without them, they were just another noble house struggling to maintain power in a world of shifting alliances and constant warfare.
The Lineage of Daenerys Targaryen
Daenerys’ Paternal Lineage
Daenerys Targaryen is one of the most well-known members of House Targaryen, but her roots run deep into the family’s complex lineage. On her father’s side, Daenerys is the daughter of Aerys II, also known as the Mad King, who was notorious for his erratic behavior and cruel treatment of his subjects.
Aerys had two children, Rhaegar and Viserys, before he was overthrown in Robert’s Rebellion. Rhaegar, Daenerys’ older brother, was known for his skills as a warrior and his obsession with prophecy. He famously set aside his wife, Elia Martell, to marry Lyanna Stark in a secret ceremony, which many believe was the catalyst for the rebellion.
Their union produced a son, Jon Snow, who was raised by Ned Stark as his own bastard child and went on to become a prominent character in the Game of Thrones storyline. While Jon was not technically a Targaryen by name, his heritage was revealed to be a crucial plot point in later seasons.
Daenerys never knew her older brother or her nephew, but their impact on her life cannot be understated. She inherited their legacy and their claim to the Iron Throne, which drove much of her actions throughout the series. Despite the turmoil and tragedy that surrounded her lineage, Daenerys remained determined to restore her family’s rule and reclaim the Seven Kingdoms.
In summary, Daenerys’ paternal lineage connects her to some of the most significant events in Westerosi history, from Aerys II’s reign to Rhaegar’s untimely death to Jon Snow’s secret identity. Her connection to these figures shapes her character and motivations, making her a compelling and fascinating part of the larger Game of Thrones narrative.
Daenerys’ Maternal Lineage
Daenerys’ Maternal Lineage
Daenerys Targaryen’s maternal lineage traces back to her mother, Rhaella Targaryen, who was the sister-wife of King Aerys II. Rhaella was known for her beauty and grace, but she suffered greatly during her husband’s rule. She endured multiple miscarriages and stillbirths before finally giving birth to Daenerys and her brother Viserys III.
The relationship between Rhaella and Aerys II was strained, with rumors of abuse and infidelity plaguing their marriage. In fact, it was said that Aerys II became increasingly paranoid and erratic after losing his first love, Joanna Lannister, who died giving birth to her son, Jaime. This led to a breakdown in communication between Rhaella and Aerys II, with Rhaella eventually seeking refuge on Dragonstone with her two surviving children.
Despite the difficult circumstances of her upbringing, Daenerys looked up to her mother and admired her strength and resilience. It is said that Rhaella tried to warn her brother, Viserys III, of the dangers of their family’s legacy and told him to flee Westeros before it was too late. Unfortunately, Viserys III did not heed her advice and met a tragic end at the hands of Khal Drogo.
Rhaella herself also met a tragic end during Robert’s Rebellion, when she was pregnant with Daenerys’ younger brother, who would later become known as Jon Snow. She died giving birth to him in what is known as the “Tragedy at Summerhall”, a fire that destroyed the castle where she was staying.
In conclusion, while Daenerys Targaryen’s maternal lineage was filled with hardship and tragedy, it played a significant role in shaping her character and motivations. Her admiration for her mother and her desire to break the cycle of violence and madness that plagued her family is a central theme in her journey throughout the series.
Comparing the Two Targaryen Women
Similarities and Differences
When it comes to comparing Rhaenyra and Daenerys, there are several similarities and differences that come to mind. One of the most significant similarities between them is their birthright. Both women were born into House Targaryen and had a legitimate claim to the Iron Throne. However, they faced challenges in asserting their claims due to the male-dominated society in which they lived.
In terms of conquests, both Rhaenyra and Daenerys sought to expand their power and influence through military campaigns. Rhaenyra’s claim to the throne sparked the infamous Dance of Dragons civil war, which saw her fight against her half-brother Aegon II for control of the Seven Kingdoms. Similarly, Daenerys used her dragons to conquer several cities in Essos before setting her sights on Westeros.
Of course, one of the most significant similarities between these two Targaryen women is their connection to dragons. Rhaenyra was known as the “Realm’s Delight” due to her affinity for dragons and dragonriding ability. She also had several dragon companions throughout her life, including Syrax and Meleys. Daenerys, on the other hand, hatched three dragon eggs and became known as the “Mother of Dragons.” Her dragons, Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion, played a crucial role in her conquests and were seen as symbols of her power.
Despite these similarities, there are also notable differences between Rhaenyra and Daenerys. For instance, Rhaenyra was born into a Targaryen dynasty that had already been established for centuries, while Daenerys was forced to flee from Westeros due to the fall of her family’s rule. Additionally, Rhaenyra was primarily concerned with maintaining her position as heir to the Iron Throne, while Daenerys sought to break the wheel of power and create a better world for all.
In conclusion, while there are certainly similarities between Rhaenyra and Daenerys, they were also unique in their approaches to power and the challenges they faced. Nonetheless, both women had an undeniable impact on the Targaryen dynasty and the world of Westeros as a whole.
Impact on the Targaryen Dynasty
The impact of Rhaenyra Targaryen and Daenerys Targaryen on the Targaryen dynasty is a complex topic, defined by moments of glory and despair. While both women shared a common ancestry, their actions and choices led to different consequences for the House of Targaryen.
One of the most significant impacts was the succession crisis that arose after the death of King Viserys I. Rhaenyra believed she had the right to inherit the Iron Throne as the king’s oldest surviving child, but her half-brother Aegon II contested her claim. This led to a civil war known as the Dance of Dragons, which lasted for several years and resulted in the deaths of many Targaryens, including Rhaenyra and most of her children. The conflict weakened the Targaryen dynasty and paved the way for further instability.
The destruction caused by the Dance of Dragons cannot be overstated. The war saw countless lives lost, cities burned, and families torn apart. The dragons, once a symbol of Targaryen power, were nearly extinct by the end of the conflict. The damage inflicted on the realm was so severe that it took years to rebuild the cities and communities affected by the war.
However, despite the tragedy and devastation, the Targaryen dynasty managed to survive and rebuild itself. The reign of Daenerys Targaryen brought about a resurgence of dragon power, as she hatched three dragons from eggs thought to be dead. Her conquests across Essos and eventual return to Westeros helped to restore the reputation of House Targaryen and establish her as a powerful queen.
In conclusion, the impact of Rhaenyra and Daenerys Targaryen on the Targaryen dynasty was far-reaching and complex. Their actions led to a succession crisis, destruction, and rebuilding. While the Dance of Dragons weakened the Targaryen dynasty, the legacy of Daenerys helped to restore it.
The Targaryen family tree is complex and full of twists and turns, but the stories of Rhaenyra Targaryen and Daenerys Targaryen stand out as some of the most compelling. From Rhaenyra’s tragic Dance of Dragons to Daenerys’ quest to reclaim her birthright, these two women have left an indelible mark on the Targaryen dynasty. Their struggles for power, their determination in the face of adversity, and their legacies continue to fascinate readers and viewers alike.
As we delve deeper into the Targaryen family tree, we are reminded of the importance of understanding our own family histories. Just as the Targaryens’ past shaped their present, our own ancestors and their stories have helped to shape who we are today. And just like Rhaenyra and Daenerys, we too must navigate the challenges that come with lineage and legacy.
In the end, the stories of House Targaryen remind us that our histories are not just stories of the past, but powerful forces that continue to shape our lives today. Whether we are grappling with issues of inheritance, identity, or power, we can look to Rhaenyra and Daenerys as examples of strength, resilience, and determination. Their legacies will continue to inspire us for generations to come.