- "Rhaegar fought valiantly, Rhaegar fought nobly. And Rhaegar died."
- ―Jorah Mormont
Rhaegar Targaryen is an unseen character in Game of Thrones. He is deceased when the events of the series commence. He was the son and heir of King Aerys II Targaryen, holding the title of Prince of Dragonstone. Rhaegar was the older brother of Viserys and Daenerys, though Daenerys was born after he died. He was the last great champion of House Targaryen.
BackgroundPrince Rhaegar Targaryen was the son and heir to the Mad King, Aerys II Targaryen. He sparked the war known as Robert's Rebellion when he kidnapped Lyanna Stark of Winterfell for reasons unknown. After the Mad King murdered her father and oldest brother Brandon, Lyanna's other brother,Eddard Stark, and her betrothed,Robert Baratheon, joined forces with several other houses to destroy theTargaryen dynasty. Rhaegar was killed by Lyanna's betrothed Robert Baratheon in single combat at the Battle of the Trident. When Rhaegar was killed, he was struck down with a massive blow from Robert's warhammer, which scattered the rubies encrusted in Rhaegar's armor under the water. That location was named the "Ruby Ford" thereafter.
His father was killed shortly afterwards by Ser Jaime Lannister during the Sack of King's Landing. His younger brother Viserys and sister Daenerys (who was born after Rhaegar's death) survived in exile in the Free Cities across the sea. Lyanna also died during the war.
When Daenerys Targaryen considers the possibility of buying Unsullied to employ as her army in her quest to win the Iron Throne, Ser Barristan Selmy pleads her not to do it, mentioning Rhaegar fighting with men that believed in his cause at the Trident. Ser Jorah Mormont counters that Rhaegar fought bravely and honorably, but perished nevertheless.
- "When your brother Rhaegar led his army into battle at the Trident, men died for him because they believed in him, because they loved him. I fought beside the last dragon on that day, your Grace. I bled beside him."
- ―Ser Barristan Selmy to Daenerys
- Daenerys Targaryen: "Did you know him well, Ser Barristan?"
- Barristan Selmy: "I did, your Grace. Finest man I ever met."
- Daenerys Targaryen: "I wish I had known him, but he was not the last dragon."
- — Rhaegar Targaryen remembered.[src]
|Aegon V Targaryen|
"Aegon the Unlikely"
"Duncan the Small"
|Aerys II Targaryen|
"The Mad King"
|Elia Martell |
In the books
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Rhaegar is depicted as a chivalrous, honorable, well loved by the smallfolk and just warrior, albeit one often distracted by other concerns and apparently unable or unwilling to restrain the worst excesses of his father. He had a strained relationship with his father, which was helped along by the king's paranoia, and lords who spoke ill of the Crown Prince and claimed he was plotting to overthrow Aerys.
Rhaegar had silver-gold hair and dark lilac eyes. He was considered to be tall and handsome. Cersei Lannister, who was infatuated with him, remembers Rhaegar as the most beautiful man she had ever seen. Rhaegar was very bookish in his youth, such that people jested that the Queen swallowed some books and a candle while he was in her wombs. As a boy he was able to impress the maesters with his wit. He was married to Princess Elia Martell of Dorne, with whom he had two children, Rhaenys and Aegon. It is suggested that he was not in love with Elia but was fond of her nonetheless.
Rhaegar's reasons for kidnapping Lyanna Stark remain a mystery to both his supporters and his detractors, but the entire realm knows that they had met at a great tourney at the castle of Harrenhal a year before the kidnapping. Rhaegar had crowned her Queen of Love and Beauty, passing over his wife.
A year after the tourney, Rhaegar and two knights of the Kingsguard fell upon Lyanna in the Riverlands and kidnapped her. This event is cited as the catalyst for Robert's Rebellion. After initially hiding in Dorne during the majority of the war, Rhaegar was summoned to lead the Royalist forces in what would be the Battle of the Trident. Robert killed him in single combat during the battle. With his death and the loss of the battle, the Targaryen cause was seen as doomed. With this decisive rebel victory, the Lannisters and Greyjoys, who had stayed out of the conflict, joined the war on the rebels' side. This led to the Greyjoy raid of the Reach, as well as the Lannister's Sack of King's Landing and the death of Aerys.
When Daenerys Targaryen was in the House of the Undying, one of the visions she saw was a man resembling Viserys but taller than him, with dark indigo eyes, and a woman nursing a newborn babe in a great wooden bed. They were confirmed to be Rhaegar, Elia, and their infant son Aegon.