Rhaenyra is among the top most important characters we will witness throughout the entire series. And people are already rooting for her since she shares quite a few parallels with Daenerys Targaryen. After all, she is the 6th great-grandmother of Dany. But even though King Viserys decreed that his first-born child, Rhaenyra, would be the heir to the throne after his demise, people are still left asking this question – Does Rhaenyra become Queen?
Everyone’s in doubt because even though Rhaenys Targaryen had a greater claim to the throne than Viserys, the latter was chosen as the successor to Jaehaerys the wise. Even in episode 2, Rhaenys had this to say, “men would sooner put the realm to the torch than see a woman ascend the Iron Throne.” And in the history of Westeros told in Game of Thrones, it was suggested that a queen hadn’t officially sat on the Iron Throne before Cersei Lannister.
Well, this isn’t entirely accurate because Rhaenyra does become the queen. But how does it happen? Why did Game of Thrones tell a different story? Was it another Daenerys situation where she got very close to the Iron Throne but never got to sit on it? I will answer these questions based on the source material presented in George R.R. Martin’s novel, Fire and Blood.
So, there will be spoilers for the upcoming seasons of House of the Dragon in this article.
Yes, Rhaenyra does become the queen of Kings landing. She does get to sit on the Iron Throne. But this history was erased by her half-brother Aegon the Second. That’s why Game of Thrones suggests that Cersei was the first woman to sit on the Iron Throne. But here’s how things happened in Martin’s novel. Rhaenyra took possession of Dragonstone at the age of 16 in the year 113 AC. She ruled in Dragonstone for several years while King Viserys was alive and ruling over King’s Landing.
During her rulership in Dragonstone, Viserys had multiple children with his second wife, Alicent Hightower. And she had a couple of marriages. The first one was with Leanor Velaryon, the son of Corlys Velaryon and Rhaenys. Rhaenyra had three children with Leanor, Jacaerys, Lucerys, and Joffrey. And then, she married her uncle Daemon and had two children with him, Aegon the third and Viserys the second. As she awaited the birth of her sixth child Visenya in 129 AC, her father Viserys died in Kings Landing. And this is when the scheming cunt Otto Hightower finally played his hand, and the Dance of the Dragons began.
Before I move on, let me make it clear that during this time, there were two supporting parties. One of them was called the Greens, and they were loyal to Alicent Hightower and wanted her sons on the throne. The opposing party was the blacks, who were loyal to Rhaenyra. So with the help of the greens in King’s Landing, Otto had Viserys and Alicent’s son Aegon the second crowned as the new king. They denied the wishes of King Viserys and did not tell Rhaenyra of her father’s demise. All supporters of Rhaenyra in King’s landing were either killed or imprisoned.
But when the news of Aegon’s coronation eventually reached her, she was fueled with rage and went into early labor. This led to her having a stillborn child. She blamed this tragedy upon Otto, Alicent, Aegon, and the Greens and decided to arrange her own coronation. The crown that her father, Viserys, and her grandfather Jaehaerys wore was stolen and brought to her. Then, Daemon himself crowned her as the true queen in Dragonstone. Rhaenyra was offered a solution where her children would get to be the heirs of the throne if she renounced her claim. But she turns it down!
She tried to gather more support by sending her two eldest sons, Jacaerys and Lucerys. But when they were killed, Rhaenyra went into a maddening rage. She took King’s landing by force. She rode on her Dragon Syrax, Daemon rode on Caryxes, and Lord Corlys’s army helped her claim the throne. It was almost like what happened with Daenerys when she went mad queen. Even in this situation, a lot of people died as a Targaryen civil war happened.
Ultimately, Rhaenyra managed to get to the throne but sat on it only for six months. That’s why she was also called The Half-Year Queen. Meanwhile, Aegon the second had managed to flee. Then in the six months that she ruled, everyone eventually turned against her. She was desperate for money as the Greens had already emptied the vault. They had sent some of it away for safekeeping while they had spent the rest. Riots began to happen, and she ultimately had to flee King’s Landing herself.
Aegon the second once again claimed the throne. He caught up to Rhaenyra at Dragonstone and killed her by feeding her to his dragon, Sunfyre. After that, he decreed that Rhaenyra’s term as a queen would never be acknowledged. She would only be called a princess in all the chronicles and court records. So that’s how Cersei Lannister became the first queen to sit on the Iron Throne, even though she technically wasn’t.
Let’s see if House of the Dragon stays true to the source material and does exactly what happened with Rhaenyra in the book.