House of the Dragon is a series that follows George RR Martin’s Fire and Blood novel, which includes a part where it details the Targaryen civil war or the Dance of the Dragons. The series already introduced the first key player of this Dance, as we met Rhaenyra Targaryen, who was given the title of heir to the Iron Throne by no less than King Viserys himself. But does Rhaenyra ever become queen of the Seven Kingdoms?
Rhaenyra declared herself queen of the Seven Kingdoms as the rightful heir of King Viserys. She was able to take King’s Landing, where she sat as queen for half a year until her death. Aegon II, who usurped her as the king of the Seven Kingdoms, decreed that Rhaenyra never ruled as queen.
Technically speaking, Rhaenyra never ruled as queen of the Seven Kingdoms because she was in open war with Aegon II during the time when she sat as queen. In that regard, when she was defeated by her younger half-brother, she was never a queen at all. With that said, let’s look at what happened to Rhaenyra and how she became a queen that never ruled.
Does Rhaenyra Become Queen Of The Seven Kingdoms?
At the very beginning of House of the Dragon, what became clear was that the series was going for a theme that explored how the people of Westeros were not willing to welcome a queen as the ruling monarch of the kingdom. Of course, we are not strangers to queens ruling Westeros because Cersei did so during the time of Game of Thrones. And Daenerys Targaryen sought to return to the Seven Kingdoms to reclaim her birthright as the queen.
Nevertheless, in the early part of House of the Dragon, it was shown that Princess Rhaenys was not chosen by the lords of the Seven Kingdoms in an election that allowed Prince Viserys I to rise as the heir to King Jaehaerys. This wasn’t exactly accurate as far as Fire and Blood is concerned, as it was Ser Laenor Velaryon, the son of Rhaenys, who was a runner-up to Viserys.
Whatever the case may be, the theme focuses on how women are often made background characters to men, who are the ones who are always chosen to be leaders of nations. This was what happened during the reign of King Viserys when he didn’t have a male heir to his first wife. And in an effort to make sure that his brother, Prince Daemon, would not be king, Viserys named his daughter, Princess Rhaenyra, as the heir to the Iron Throne.
Of course, the first episode of House of the Dragon allowed us to see the lords of Westeros swearing their allegiance to Rhaenyra. But what we also saw was the fact that Alicent Hightower was becoming closer to King Viserys, as the book does say that she would become his second wife. In fact, according to the book, Alicent will bear Viserys sons in the form of Aegon II and Aemond.
As it is clear that House of the Dragon will stay true to the source material, the main problem that we will see in the future is in relation to how the succession will go. In the book, Viserys never changed his mind in relation to naming Rhaenyra his heir, as she remained so until the king’s death. But Alicent and the other lords of the Seven Kingdoms were never sure of a woman rising to the Iron Throne, and that was why Aegon II was proclaimed king. If that’s the case, will Rhaenyra ever become queen?
According to the book, Rhaenyra also proclaimed herself the ruling queen of the Seven Kingdoms shortly after she learned that Aegon II had been proclaimed king right after the death of King Viserys I. It was this event that sparked the Targaryen civil war that is often called the Dance of the Dragons. Historically, this was the war that weakened the Targaryen family and diminished the dragons to the point that they eventually went extinct.
Of course, while Rhaenyra did indeed proclaim herself as the rightful queen, considering that she was always the heir to the Iron Throne, she needed to actually win the war to become the ruling queen of Westeros. For a while, she was able to hold King’s Landing after she was able to win a decisive battle that forced Aegon and Aemond to flee the capital.
That was when Rhaenyra was able to truly proclaim herself the ruling queen of the Seven Kingdoms because she now held the Red Keep and the entire capital of Westeros. During her reign, Rhaenyra was beloved by the people of King’s Landing because they always loved her more than Aegon II and his brother. However, she became paranoid about the possibility of her allies betraying her.
As such, Rhaenyra imprisoned Lord Corlys Velaryon, her most powerful ally, because he allowed his son to escape King’s Landing after being one of the people that the queen suspected would betray her. This angered the Velaryons, who abandoned Rhaenyra. On top of that, riots started to happen in King’s Landing due to the rising paranoia of the queen.
Rhaenyra was forced to flee King’s Landing and retreat back to Dragonstone, where she was betrayed. She eventually got killed by Aegon II, who sentenced her to die by Sunfyre’s flames, as the dragon devoured her in six bites after burning her. Rhaenyra’s death eventually led to the end of the Dance of the Dragons, as Aegon II rose to become the sixth king of the Seven Kingdoms.
Upon his rise as the legitimate king, Aegon II sent out a decree that denounced Rhaenyra’s rule as queen, considering that they were still at war during the time she held the Iron Throne. Technically speaking and as far as the history books are concerned, Rhaenyra was queen only by name and was never the ruling queen of the Seven Kingdoms.
When Does Rhaenyra Become Queen Of The Seven Kingdoms?
The Dance of Dragons began in 129 AC upon the death of King Viserys I. It was only shortly after that when Rhaenyra declared herself queen of the Seven Kingdoms because she was the rightful heir of her father. As such, her coronation as one of the two monarchs that battled for the Iron Throne was on 129 AC.
Meanwhile, Rhaenyra was able to take King’s Landing sometime during 130 AC. She was often called Half-Year Queen because she only held the Iron Throne for half a year. Nevertheless, because she was still at war with Aegon II, she was never able to legitimize her rule as queen of the Seven Kingdoms.
As such, while she did take King’s Landing and sit on the Iron Throne in 130 AC, she was never the ruling queen because her rule was still being contested by her half-brother, Aegon II. Still, despite her death, her claim to the Iron Throne never ended because Aegon III, her son with Prince Daemon, became the new king after Aegon II was poisoned in 131 AC.