House of the Dragon: How Does Rhaenys Targaryen Die in the Books?

House of the Dragon How Does Rhaenys Targaryen Die in the Books

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The Game of Thrones spin-off, House of the Dragon, has brought renewed attention to the Targaryen family and their tumultuous history. While the series is based on George R.R. Martin’s book Fire & Blood, it’s unclear how much of the story will follow the events in the novels. One question that fans of the series are particularly curious about is how Rhaenys Targaryen, one of the fascinating characters in the Targaryen dynasty, met her end. In this article, we explore the life and death of Rhaenys Targaryen as it was depicted in the books. Having said that, let’s see how Rhaenys Targaryen dies in the books. 

Rhaenys Targaryen died in the battle above Rook’s Rest in the book. She was ambushed by Aegon II Targaryen and Aemond Targaryen, who were riding Sunfyre and Vhagar, respectively. Sunfyre, Vhagar, and Meleys locked in a deadly duel falling to the ground. Meleys stood no chance against the massive Vhagar, joined by a swifter and younger dragon, Sunfyre. After the confrontation, Rhaenys’ body was burned beyond recognition. She was found near the dead body of her loyal Meleys. 

Now that you know how Rhaenys died in the books, it’s time to analyze the character in a bit more depth. If you’re interested in the events that led to her death and the aftermath, stay with us and keep reading!

Rhaenys Targaryen gets a more prominent role in the Dance of the Dragons 

Rhaenys Targaryen quickly became one of the most popular characters in House of the Dragon. Although we last saw her in the series when she had the chance to burn the Greens during Aegon’s coronation in the Dragonpit, her determination and sense of honor prevailed. Instead of attacking, she flew to Dragonstone on her dragon Meleys to warn Rhaenyra of the impending danger.

Meleys staring down on Aegon

With Lucerys’ death, the war between the Greens and the Blacks is now fully underway. The Greens have dealt a heavy blow to Rhaenyra by taking her son from her. The finale left us eagerly anticipating the next chapter, and while we don’t know what will happen next, we can turn to the books for more information about our favorite characters. Among them is Rhaenys, who, although she had a relatively minor role in the Dance of the Dragons, had a more prominent one as a member of Rhaenyra’s war council in the books. Rhaenys’ increased responsibilities on the council of the Blacks ultimately led to her untimely death, which will be the focus of this post.

After Lucery’s death, Rhaenys and her husband Velaryon took on more duties leading Rhaenyra’s war campaign 

After Lucery’s death, the Blacks were in a state of disarray. Corlys Valeryon and Rhaenys Targaryen had to stop Joffrey Velaryon from mounting his dragon and taking revenge on the Greens for killing his brother in cold blood. Even though the show implied that it was an accident, the book is a little less straightforward regarding describing the manner of Lucerys’ death. 


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Rhaenyra herself was too shocked and grief-stricken to lead the war campaign. Her “mother’s heart” was too deeply wounded to continue with strategizing in the most rational way. Due to this, she handed over the reins of her war council to Rhaenys Targaryen and her husband, Corlys Verlyron. Rhaenyra was likewise scared for the lives of her other sons. She was reluctant to send them and their dragons where they were needed. This will later prove to be the point of contempt between Princess Rhaenyra and Lord Coryls Velaryon. 

How did Rhaenys Targaryen died? Who killed her? 

Lord Staunton of Rook’s Rest asked for Rhaenyra’s help in dealing with the growing danger that Ser Criston Cole’s forces presented. Instead of Rhaenyra addressing the issue herself or sending one of her sons, the duty of defending the Rook’s Rest with her Meleys fell upon Rhaenys’ shoulders. 

Rhaenys arrived at Rooks Rest nine days after the plea had been sent. Rhaenys attacked Ser Criston Cole and his soldiers stationed at the keep, only for the attack to prove to be misdirected. She was soon ambushed by Prince Aemond and King Aegon II, arriving on the back of their dragons, Sunfyre and Vhagar. 

Rhaenys on Meleys

Rhaenys was not discouraged by this. She expected her death. She knew she and Meleys stood no chance against two dragons simultaneously. She bravely faced both Vhagar, Sunfyre, and the three dragons locked in the deadly battle. Falling to the ground from thousands of feet above. It is said in the books that when the dragons fell to the ground, the ground shook with such might that “stones fell from the battlements of Rook’s Rest half a league away.”

The battle between the three dragons raged on for hours. The fires were so strong that everybody near the dragons lost their lives. Knights were cooked in their armors on the back of their horses. 

After the fires died down, only Vhagar was left unharmed. Meleys was dead, near the dragon Princess Rhaenys lay burned to crisps, unrecognizable. Sunfyre was severely wounded in the battle as it was his rider, King Aegon II Targaryen. 

Sunfyre lost one of his wings, and Aegon II suffered extreme burns. The dragonfire burned so hot that the armor melted into his flesh. He likewise suffered from broken bones, most notably his hips and ribs. He was taken from the battlefield in a horrid state with severe injuries, the ones that he won’t recover from for the rest of his ultimately short life


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And this is how Rhaenys Targaryen died. She was ambushed during the battle of Rooks Rest, and burned alive on the back of her loyal dragon Meleys. She was found after the battle blackened and charred, killed by Vhagar and Sunfyre, ridden by Aegon II and Aemond. 

After Rhaenys’ death, Coryls was enraged beyond belief; he blamed Rhaenyra for the death of his wife, and this was just one of many daggers driven between them, and just one more thing that ultimately led to Corlys betraying Rhaenyra

Rhaenys died valiantly, and she managed to strike a crippling blow to the Greens by taking the wing of Sunfyre and horribly wounding King Aegon II. 

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