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- "It wasn't just Aegon riding his dragon, it was Rhaenys and Visenya too...Rhaenys rode Meraxes, Visenya rode Vhagar."
- ―Arya Stark
In the booksEdit
Rhaenys and Meraxes were both killed in Dorne at some later point in Aegon I's reign. Meraxes died when a crossbow bolt pierced her eye and drove into her brain. Aegon attempted to conquer Dorne during the War of Conquest but later withdrew after the Dornish resorted to guerrilla warfare, fleeing before the dragons but harassing his supply lines, which ate up too much time and resources as he had six other kingdoms to worry about reining in. Apparently, the Targaryens continued to conduct several punitive expeditions into Dorne for years afterwards, and Meraxes and her rider were ultimately killed in one such incident.
George R.R. Martin only figured out the details of Meraxes's death some time after he wrote the first novel, which introduces a conundrum: when Tyrion saw the three largest dragon skulls kept under the Red Keep, he thought the smallest one belonged to Vhagar, who was indeed the smallest at the time of the War of Conquest. The revelation that Vhagar outlived Meraxes complicates this, however, and indeed the The Princess and the Queen novella states that when Vhagar died 130 years after the War of Conquest, she had grown almost as large as Balerion. The simple answer is probably that as with all POV narrations, Tyrion's POV is not objectively true, and he simply assumed that the smallest skull belonged to Vhagar - even though logically, it should have belonged to Meraxes.