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Rhaegar Targaryen

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"Rhaegar fought valiantly, Rhaegar fought nobly. And Rhaegar died."
Jorah Mormont[src]

Prince Rhaegar Targaryen is an unseen character in Game of Thrones. He is deceased when the events of the series commence. He was the elder 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.

Rhaegar is blamed for starting Robert's Rebellion by abducting Lyanna Stark. He was killed by Robert Baratheon at the climax of the war.



Abduction of Lyanna Stark

Rhaegar's abduction of Lyanna Stark

Prince Rhaegar Targaryen was the eldest son and heir to the Mad King, Aerys II Targaryen, by his wife and sister Queen Rhaella Targaryen. Tywin Lannister desired for his daughter Cersei to marry Rhaegar, but King Aerys II insulted Tywin by indicating that such a match would be beneath Rhaegar.[1] Instead, Rhaegar was married to Princess Elia Martell of Dorne, with whom he had a daughter named Rhaenys and then a son named Aegon. In spite of Elia's love and loyalty to him, Rhaegar abducted Lyanna Stark of Winterfell for unknown reasons.[2]

After the Mad King had both Lyanna's father Rickard and oldest brother Brandon brutally executed because the latter brazenly rode to the capital, demanding Rhaegar release Lyanna, her other brother, Eddard Stark, and her betrothed, Robert Baratheon, joined forces with several other houses to overthrow the Targaryen dynasty.[3] This war became known as the War of the Usurper or Robert's Rebellion. After initially remaining away from the fighting in Dorne, Rhaegar was summoned to lead the Royalist forces in what would be the Battle of the Trident.[4] During the Battle, Rhaegar was killed in single combat with Lyanna's betrothed Robert Baratheon.[5] Rhaegar 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.[6]

His father was killed shortly afterwards by Ser Jaime Lannister during the Sack of King's Landing[7] and his mother died in childbirth at Dragonstone.[8] His younger brother Viserys and sister Daenerys (who was born after Rhaegar's death) survived in exile in the Free Cities across the sea.[9] Lyanna also died during the war.[10] Rhaenys and Aegon were killed in front of Elia by Ser Gregor Clegane, better known as "The Mountain that Rides", who afterwards raped Elia and fatally stabbed her with his sword.

Season 1

When King Robert Baratheon arrives at Winterfell, he immediately goes with Lord Eddard Stark to see Lyanna Stark's grave in the crypts beneath the castle. Robert tells Eddard that he kills Rhaegar every night in his dreams.[11]

When Daenerys successfully consumes a stallion's heart and the Dosh khaleen declare her unborn son to be the Stallion Who Mounts the World, Daenerys confirms this, and declares that he will be named Rhaego in honor of her brother.[12]

Season 3


Rhaegar lies dead in the Ruby Ford.

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.[13]

Season 5

On her way to her father's funeral at the Great Sept of Baelor, Cersei recalls visiting a maegi known as Maggy to predict her future. Young Cersei asks Maggy if she will marry the Prince as her father desired[14]. Maggy answers that she will not, but she will marry the King.[15] Around the same time, Daenerys visits her imprisoned dragons, calling Rhaegal, the second child she has named after her brother, by name.[16]

Barristan Selmy shares some of his memories of Rhaegar with his sister. Dany is pleasantly surprised to discover that Rhaegar was more than the great killer that Viserys made him out to be. Selmy tells her how Rhaegar used to disguise himself as a minstrel and play on the streets of King's Landing while Ser Barristan stood guard. Rhaegar made quite a tidy profit on these excursions, and although he once spent the money on getting himself and Selmy very, very drunk, he usually gave the money away to other minstrels or to orphanages. Barristan mentions that Rhaegar never liked killing but instead loved singing.

Around the same time, Petyr Baelish explains the events of the Tourney at Harrenhal to Sansa Stark when she accuses Rhaegar of kidnapping and raping Lyanna. Baelish gives Sansa a simple account of what everyone saw happen, rather than interpret the events that followed.[17]


"In my dreams, I kill him every night."
Robert Baratheon to Eddard Stark[src]
"Your brother Rhaegar was the last dragon."
Jorah Mormont to Daenerys Targaryen[src]
"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[src]
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]
Petyr Baelish: "The last two riders were Barristan Selmy and Rhaegar Targaryen. When Rhaegar won, everyone cheered for their prince. I remember the girls laughing when he took off his helmet and saw that silver hair. How handsome he was. Until he rode right past his wife Elia Martell, and all the smiles died. I've never seen so many people so quiet. He rode past his wife and he lay a crown of winter roses in Lyanna's lap. Blue with frost. How many tens of thousands had to die because Rhaegar chose your aunt?"
Sansa Stark: "Yes he chose her. And then he kidnapped her and raped her."
Petyr Baelish and Sansa Stark discuss Rhaegar.
Barristan Selmy: "Viserys never told you?"
Daenerys Targaryen: "He told me Rhaegar was good at killing people."
Barristan Selmy: "Rhaegar never liked killing. He loved singing."
— Ser Barristan recounts his time with Rhaegar[src]

Family tree

Aerion family tree
Aerion Targaryen
"Aerion Brightflame"
Aemon Tree
Aemon Targaryen
"Maester Aemon"
Night's Watch Crow shield icon
Aegon V family tree
Aegon V Targaryen
"Aegon the Unlikely"
Targaryen Queen
Duncan Targaryen
"Duncan the Small"
Aerys II Targaryen
"The Mad King"
Rhaella tree
Rhaella Targaryen
Daeron Targaryen
Rhaegar Targaryen
Elia Martell Martell-small
Viserys tree
Viserys Targaryen
Daenerys tree
Daenerys Targaryen
"Daenerys Stormborn"
Drogo tree
Rhaenys tree
Rhaenys Targaryen
Aegon Targaryen

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Rhaegar is depicted as a chivalrous, honorable, and just warrior well loved by the smallfolk, 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 womb. As a boy he was able to impress the maesters with his wit. He only became a warrior after reading something that changed his outlook, and thence pursued his martial training with as much dedication as his studies.

Rhaegar's reasons for taking 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 Harrenhal. Rhaegar had crowned her Queen of Love and Beauty, passing over his wife Elia Martell.

A year after the tourney, Rhaegar and two knights of the Kingsguard fell upon Lyanna in the Riverlands and took her to a secure location (eventually revealed to be a hidden redoubt in the Red Mountains of Dorne). This event is cited as the catalyst for Robert's Rebellion, although strictly speaking it was Aerys whose paranoia and brutal reaction when he executed Rickard and Brandon Stark, Lyanna's father and brother, that finally prompted the Starks, Baratheons, Arryns, and Tullies to rise in rebellion.

When Rhaegar returned to the capital to take command of the royal army and lead them into battle, Jaime Lannister - who had become quite appalled by the Mad King's actions - begged Rhaegar to take him along. Rhaegar refused but promised Jaime that changes would be made once the rebellion had been crushed. However, Rhaegar ultimately perished at the hands of Robert Baratheon at the Battle of the Trident.

With Rhaegar's death and the loss of the Battle of Trident, the Royalist 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 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 by George R.R. Martin to be Rhaegar, Elia, and their infant son Aegon.[18]

See also


v  d  e
Lord: Queen Daenerys Targaryen Heir: None
Seat: (Exiled) Lands: Exiled, currently holds Meereen in Slaver's Bay
Title(s): Queen of Meereen · Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea · Queen of Qarth· Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men (claimant) · Lady Regnant of the Seven Kingdoms (claimant) · Protector of the Realm (claimant)
Ancestors:Aegon I, the Conqueror · Visenya · Rhaenys · Aenys I · Maegor I, the Cruel · Jaehaerys, the Concilliator · Viserys I · Daemon · Rhaenyra · Aegon II · Aemond · Aegon III · Daeron I, the Young Dragon · Baelor the Blessed · Viserys II · Aegon IV, the Unworthy · Naerys · Aemon the Dragonknight · Daena the Defiant · Rhaena · Elaena · Daeron II, the Good · Daenerys Martell · Myriah Martell · Daemon Blackfyre · Brynden Rivers · Aegor Rivers · Shiera Seastar · Baelor Breakspear · Aerys I · Aelinor · Rhaegel · Maekar I · Aerion Brightflame · Aegon V, the Unlikely · Duncan the Small · Daeron
Deceased members:Aerys II, the Mad · Rhaella Targaryen · Rhaegar Targaryen · Elia Martell · Rhaenys Targaryen · Aegon Targaryen · Viserys Targaryen · Drogo · Rhaego · Aemon Targaryen
Household:Ser Jorah Mormont · Tyrion Lannister · {Ser Barristan Selmy} · {Rakharo} · Kovarro · Aggo · {Irri} · {Doreah} · Jhiqui · Malakho · Missandei · Grey Worm · Daario Naharis · {Mossador}

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