House of the Dragon is undoubtedly the hottest show right now. And there’s a question that some ardent fans of the series have brought up after episode 7. Spoiler warning if you haven’t caught up to this point. Go watch it and come back. Anyway, let’s try and answer why someone like Aegon had 2 wives, But Rhaenyra could not be married to two men at the same time.
As you may have read about Aegon Targaryen’s history, he first married his older sister Visenya out of duty. And then he also took his younger sister Rhaenys as his second wife out of love. Upon his conquest of Westeros, he came with his two sisters and united 6 out of the 7 kingdoms as one under his rulership. But as the Targaryens stayed in Westeros to establish a dynasty, the rules and regulations, even in their own culture, changed slowly and gradually with time.
Rhaenyra married Ser Laenor Velaryon for political purposes, even though she had feelings for other men. But she and Daemon knew that they couldn’t be married unless Laenor was dead. So, they orchestrated Laenor’s death or instead faked his death so they could get married to each other. But why couldn’t she have married both of them? Why couldn’t she have married ser Harwin Strong when she fancied his company more than Laenor? Her ancestors had multiple wives. So, why couldn’t she have multiple husbands? Well, there are two particular reasons for this.
The first and most important reason is that Aegon wasn’t originally from Westeros. He came from the East and conquered almost the entire land of Westeros. And he had two wives before stepping on these golden fertile lands. So the rules of Westeros didn’t necessarily apply to him. If he had done it a few years down the line after conquering Westeros, then maybe the High Septon could have disallowed it.
But even then, it wouldn’t have mattered to Aegon and co as his son Maegor the Cruel went on to have six wives. He married those many women to piss off the Faith Militants who tried to oppose him. So, the power and might of the Targaryens were at an all-time high in the first few decades. Then, as the Targaryen dynasty’s peaceful years approached with King Jaehaerys the Wise, the Targaryens began to take up Westerosi practices to maintain peace. So for that reason, multiple marriages at the same time weren’t allowed anymore.
Rhaenyra, being married to both Daemon and Laenor, would have been disallowed if she had done it in the public eye. Daemon and Rhaenyra’s wedding still won’t be legitimate if Ser Laenor Velaryon were to return shortly. The second reason is that during those years, the rules bound to women weren’t the same as men. That’s why Princess Rhaenys wasn’t chosen as the heir to the Iron Throne, even though she had a more significant claim than Viserys. That’s also why people began questioning Rhaenyra’s claim as soon as Aegon the second was born.
So, male figures held a high power and could get away with certain things that women wouldn’t. But there’s evidence suggesting that multiple weddings weren’t allowed, even for males. Daemon only got married to Laena Velaryon after Rhea Royce died. And he could only marry Rhaenyra after both Laena and Laenor died. Something like this was also questioned in later events involving King Aegon the fourth and his bastard son, Daemon Blackfyre. Daemon Blackfyre was promised he could have two wives, but ultimately the second wedding was not allowed.
So clearly, multiple weddings weren’t common practice in Westeros even though it had been done before. And besides, having multiple spouses could seem unjust and unfaithful to many. Okay, that’s all we know about this matter.