The world of the Seven Kingdoms in both Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon treats marriage between different houses as a political scheme rather than as a romantic one, as this was one of the ways that different families were able to forge alliances. However, in the case of the Targaryens, we often see them marry within the family, as was the case in House of the Dragon and the younger characters like Aegon. So, did Prince Aegon marry his sister, and why did Alicent force the marriage?
Prince Aegon and Princess Helaena are indeed married. It is customary for Valyrians to marry into the family to keep their bloodline pure. In this case, however, Aegon was forced to marry his sister not only because it was his duty but also to keep Helaena away from Rhaenyra’s family.
As said, marriages in the Seven Kingdoms tend to be political in nature, and that still holds true for the Targaryens, who may practice incest but still find ways to make marriage a political affair for the parties involved. This is what happened to Aegon and Helaena when they were both made to marry one another. That said, let’s talk more about Aegon’s relationship with his sister.
Did Prince Aegon Marry His Sister?
Back in episode 6 of House of the Dragon, we saw that Queen Alicent’s children were now teenagers, as they were now training as dragonriders and were now learning how to fight. Aegon was obviously being groomed by his mother to be a king because she never wanted Princess Rhaenyra on the Iron Throne due to the different things that she did while she was the heir.
Of course, Aegon was never kingly in terms of his personality, as we learned of that early in episode 6 and then in episode 8. Specifically, in episode 8, Alicent was very disappointed in her son because he seemingly sexually assaulted a maid named Dyana, who the queen had to pay off so that she would disappear and stay quiet about the matter. Alicent scolded her son and told her that he was no son of hers because of the fact that he did things that a king shouldn’t be doing.
Alicent also told Aegon that he should also be thinking about his wife whenever he was doing all of the sleazy and perverted things that he was doing. This meant that he was indeed married. But to who was Aegon married?
Back in episode 6, we also got to meet a teenage version of Princess Helaena Targaryen, who is the second child of King Viserys with Queen Alicent. She was described as an odd person that was interested in insects and seemed to have the gift of foresight and dreaming. And she once again displayed that ability in episode 7 when she was talking about the green and black dragon banners that were going to appear during the Dance of the Dragons.
It was also in episode 7 that we learned that Aegon was indeed betrothed to Helaena, as they were set to marry one another. This marriage did indeed happen when the wife that Alicent was talking about was her own daughter, Helaena Targaryen, who is now married to Aegon. It was proven that they were married when Helaena entered the room during the time when Alicent was scolding Aegon. She was wondering where Dyana was, as the maid was supposed to be dressing her children.
Meanwhile, in the dinner scene that involved the entire Targaryen family, they were giving out toasts to one another, as Jacaerys Velaryon even had to become the bigger man by giving out a toast that was respectful to both Aegon and Aemond, even though his uncle tried to disrespect him and his betrothed, Baela Targaryen.
That was when Helaena suddenly gave a toast of her own as she celebrated the betrothal of Jace to Baela and of Luke to Rhaena Targaryen. She talked about her own experience as a married woman, and she said that marriage isn’t all that bad because her husband frequently ignored her except when he was drunk.
During that time, Aegon was seen in the same scene, seemingly ashamed of what his wife was talking about. That was an indication that he wasn’t exactly fond of his marriage with his own sister and was quite ashamed of how he often ignored Helaena, except during the times when he was drunk.
Why Did Alicent Force Aegon To Marry His Sister?
As established, Aegon and Helaena are married. This means that the older brother married the younger sister in what is normally seen as an incestual marriage. Nevertheless, this is quite normal among the Targaryens as it is customary for the Valyrians to make sure that their blood doesn’t thin out and gets to survive for several more generations by marrying into the family instead of marrying outside of it. After all, the Targaryens are the last of the dragonlords of Old Valyria and are two of the only families that were able to survive the Doom of Valyria.
Despite the fact that Aegon’s’ marriage with Helaena was according to normal Targaryen customs, it was clear in episode 8 that he wasn’t exactly happy being with his own sister. That was why he was ashamed when Helaena embarrassed him by saying that he often ignored her except when he was drunk, as it was clear that Aegon wasn’t exactly fond of her.
It was also made clear as early as episode 7 that Aegon wasn’t too happy about marrying Helaena. In that scene, Helaena was playing with a spider while mumbling the prophecy regarding the green and black dragon banners. That was when Aegon told Aemond that he couldn’t believe that he would have to marry her, as he believed that she was an idiot. Aemond told him that it was his duty to marry her because he was supposed to be the one that Alicent was going to push as the next king of the Seven Kingdoms.
In that regard, Alicent made Aegon and Helaena marry each other because she wanted Aegon to become king and because it was customary for Targaryen kings to marry their own sisters or cousins, whichever of the two applies, to keep the bloodline as pure as possible. However, there is also another reason.
Back in episode 6, Rhaenyra proposed to marry Jacaerys to Helaena so that they could unite the two different branches of the Targaryen family and put an end to the infighting going on between the princess and the queen. However, Helaena never agreed to such a proposal because she didn’t want anything to do with Rhaenyra’s bastard kids.
As such, she made Aegon marry Helaena because he wanted to keep both of them away from either Rhaenyra’s or Daemon’s side, as they both had kids that were suitable for marriage. She wanted to make sure that she had nothing to do with the other Targaryen faction, and that meant that she needed to wed her son to her daughter, as this would allow her line of House Targaryen to be pure and untouched by the other branches of the Targaryens.