Category Archives: Ladies of Fire

Queen of Woe: Rhaella Targaryen

Introduction

Hello and welcome once again to The Three Heads of the Dragon: Kings, Pretenders, and the Ladies of Fire, the first multi-author series for Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire.  In this series, SomethingLikeaLawyer, MilitantPenguin, and I have explored the Targaryen dynasty from its rise in the Conquest to its fall in Robert’s Rebellion.  My pieces, the Ladies of Fire, have analyzed the queens and princesses of House Targaryen, as well as those ladies who had a substantial impact on the dynasty itself.

For over two and a half centuries, the Targaryen dynasty had seen its fair share of ladies. Rhaenys and Visenya were celebrated as founding, conquering matriarchs of the royal house, while Jaehaerys’ queen Alysanne was universally beloved for her clever goodness. Alongside the good, of course, were those ladies less pleasantly remembered – tyrannical, usurping Rhaenyra, or defiant Daena, whose son caused many decades of grief. Whether they were considered paragons or fiends, however, both sorts of ladies played into the inheritance of the Targaryen female: a well-bred marriage pawn she might have appeared to be, but a dragon princess was still the descendant of warriors, through whose veins ran the exalted blood of mighty Valyria.

Such was the burden placed on the delicate shoulders of the last of these dragon princesses, Rhaella. It was her duty to live up to this inheritance – to be the hope of a dynasty which, by the time of her birth, was already slipping into decline. Yet Rhaella, more than any of her lady predecessors, seems to have incurred the wrath of Fate; her life, at least since the age of 14, was an almost unmitigated, relentless tale of woe. It was hers to watch the collapse of everything she had ever relied on – a stable marriage, a role as royal mother, her very kingdom – and hers to endure the cruelties of marriage to the Mad King. It was hers, most of all, to be given glimmers of hope for the improvement of her lot, and then to watch them be snatched away one by one, until the Stranger finally relieved her of her tragic burden.

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Brides of War: Ladies of the Blackfyre Rebellion

Hello and welcome once again to The Three Heads of the Dragon: Kings, Pretenders, and the Ladies of Fire, the first multi-author series for Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire.  In this series, SomethingLikeaLawyer, MilitantPenguin, and I will explore the Targaryen dynasty from its rise in the Conquest to its fall in Robert’s Rebellion.  My pieces, the Ladies of Fire, will analyze the queens and princesses of House Targaryen, as well as those ladies who had a substantial impact on the dynasty itself.

Aegon IV had never adopted a personal sigil, but for a personal motto he might have taken Madame de Pompadour’s declaration: “Après nous, le déluge” (after us, the deluge).  His reign had seen the encouragement of gross excesses and extravagant immorality as ladies, backed by powerful families, surrendered themselves to the king’s pleasure. Yet as a direct consequence of the king’s capriciousness, Westeros would fall into civil war again. Instead of fighting directly, as had happened in the last civil war, the ladies involved would take a supporting role, through the traditional places for women in Westerosi society – as wives, mothers, and dynastic marriage pawns.  The threat of war and the necessities of politics would nudge these ladies and princesses into advantageous places across the great cyvasse board of Westeros until the board was set for the rise of the Black Dragon.

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Loves of the Dragon, Mothers of Chaos: The Ladies of Aegon IV, Part 2

Hello and welcome once again to The Three Heads of the Dragon: Kings, Pretenders, and the Ladies of Fire, the first multi-author series for Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire.  In this series, SomethingLikeaLawyer, MilitantPenguin, and I will explore the Targaryen dynasty from its rise in the Conquest to its fall in Robert’s Rebellion.  My pieces, the Ladies of Fire, will analyze the queens and princesses of House Targaryen, as well as those ladies who had a substantial impact on the dynasty itself.

By 171 AC, Aegon’s campaign of sexual conquest was already 22 years old and had included four of his nine lifelong “true loves”.  Yet Prince Aegon found that his boundless energy and passionate desire had limits – from his capricious self, of course, but also from his masterful father and the larger world of Westerosi politics.  Predictably, these limits taught Aegon only a selfish lesson: in order to have full control  over his love life, he needed to be his own master.  As king, he would create his own court of beauties to serve at his pleasure – a court never seen before and never seen again in the history of the Targaryen dynasty.

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Loves of the Dragon, Mothers of Chaos: The Ladies of Aegon IV, Part 1

Hello and welcome once again to The Three Heads of the Dragon: Kings, Pretenders, and the Ladies of Fire, the first multi-author series for Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire.  In this series, SomethingLikeaLawyer, MilitantPenguin, and I will explore the Targaryen dynasty from its rise in the Conquest to its fall in Robert’s Rebellion.  My pieces, the Ladies of Fire, will analyze the queens and princesses of House Targaryen, as well as those ladies who had a substantial impact on the dynasty itself.

With the death of Baelor I in 171 AC, the male line of Aegon III died out. A possibility existed, however, for the line of Aegon III to continue, as a few lords and smallfolk briefly considered Princess Daena for the vacant throne. Their arguments, however, fell on deaf ears; the wounds of the Dance were still too raw to allow a woman (especially a woman as wild as Daena) to take the crown.  Instead, Aegon’s plain gold circlet was placed on the brow of his younger brother, Viserys.  The realm looked set to prosper under the stable, mature prince – until Viserys’ death just a year after becoming king. The court of his son, Aegon IV, would be the polar opposite of that of Baelor: the ladies of Aegon’s court would earn favor not through stifling piety but through the embrace of immorality, with official mistresses being exalted and richly rewarded.  The lascivious court would set the tone for one of the most infamous periods of Targaryen history, but its lurid exterior hid dangerous consequences.  The same bastards whose mothers had been celebrated in turn in this new court would echo their mothers’ bitter rivalries, and their respective factions would nearly tear the realm apart in another brutal civil war.

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Taming the She-Dragons: The Ladies of Aegon III

Hello and welcome once again to The Three Heads of the Dragon: Kings, Pretenders, and the Ladies of Fire, the first multi-author series for Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire.  In this series, SomethingLikeaLawyer, MilitantPenguin, and I will explore the Targaryen dynasty from its rise in the Conquest to its fall in Robert’s Rebellion.  My pieces, the Ladies of Fire, will analyze the queens and princesses of House Targaryen, as well as those ladies who had a substantial impact on the dynasty itself.

The Dance of the Dragons had closed the first great chapter of the she-dragons during the dynasty’s reign in Westeros. Rhaenyra’s vaulting ambition had been crushed; the dragons, her means of asserting that ambition, were hurtling toward extinction.  The Dance had scarred its survivors, literally and psychologically, and the ladies who remained would need to reconcile the tragedies of their past with the new world order.  For the princesses of the next generation, however, the Dance was not a tragic memory but a crisis of identity. Left only with the Westerosi model of innocent maidenhood and dynastically advantageous marriage, but possessing all the fire of their predecessors, these women would attempt to maintain that spirit in a newly dragonless age.

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The She-Dragons of the Dance, Part 2

Introduction

Hello and welcome once again to The Three Heads of the Dragon: Kings, Pretenders, and the Ladies of Fire, the first multi-author series for Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire.  In this series, we are taking a comprehensive look at the Targaryen dynasty in Westeros, from its rise to power in the Conquest to its fall in Robert’s Rebellion. My pieces, the Ladies of Fire, will examine the queens and princesses of House Targaryen, as well as those ladies who had a substantial impact on the dynasty itself.

By the time the Dance of the Dragons had truly gotten underway, both the blacks and the greens had suffered personal losses – the death of Prince Lucerys Velaryon by Vhagar over Shipbreaker Bay and the beheading of Prince Jaehaerys Targaryen in vengeance for the former. Yet neither side would give any quarter. Though more dragons and she-dragons would fight and fall, neither Alicent not Rhaenyra would be satisfied until the crown belong to her faction and hers alone. So blindly dedicated to the cause of victory, neither appeared to understand that the death of the dragons was the death of everything they represented – for themselves and their dynasty.

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The She-Dragons of the Dance, Part 1

Introduction

Hello and welcome once again to The Three Heads of the Dragon: Kings, Pretenders, and the Ladies of Fire, the first multi-author series for Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire.  In this series, we are taking a comprehensive look at the Targaryen dynasty in Westeros, from its rise to power in the Conquest to its fall in Robert’s Rebellion. My pieces, the Ladies of Fire, will examine the queens and princesses of House Targaryen, as well as those ladies who had a substantial impact on the dynasty itself.

By the time of Viserys I’s death in 129 AC, the Targaryen dynasty seemed to have recovered from the instability of the Aenys-Maegor days and the succession crises that plagued the last years of the Old King’s rule; with three sons, two daughters, seven grandsons, one granddaughter, and two nieces (and dragons for nearly everyone), Viserys had admirably ensured the Targaryen line would continue.  Yet this recovery was a sham with only the thinnest veneer of believability, as two rival courts – that of his eldest daughter and officially proclaimed heir and that of his second wife and mother of his sons – both thought themselves the rightful heirs of Viserys’ crown. This simmering conflict exploded upon the king’s death, and the two female leads of each faction – Dowager Queen Alicent and the Princess Rhaenyra – committed everything – wealth, children, and dragons – to the cause of victory.  Only Alicent, Aegon, and a handful of the youngest Targaryen generation survived, but no one could be said to have won.  Indeed, the driving ambitions of both queens brought about the end of the age of the great she-dragons; never again would Targaryen ladies (or any Targaryen) take to the sky on dragonback, and never again would a Targaryen lady claim a crown in her own right (until after the dynasty had fallen).

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The Court of Viserys I

Introduction

Hello and welcome once again to The Three Heads of the Dragon: Kings, Pretenders, and the Ladies of Fire”, the first multi-author series for Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire.  This series will explore the Targaryen dynasty from inception to destruction, and my pieces – the “Ladies of Fire” – will focus on the ladies of the dynasty – both those born into the red-and-black and those who had a great influence on the dynasty.

In Parts 1 and 2, we examined the sister-queens of Aegon the Conqueror, Rhaenys and Visenya.  In Part 3, we discussed Rhaenys’ granddaughter, and Jaehaerys the Conciliator’s beloved consort, Alysanne. The good queen predeceased her brother-king, yet she did live long enough to see the birth of her great-granddaughter Rhaenyra.  What she did not see – and could not have imagined – were the internal, backbiting politics of her grandson’s court, and the strong-willed women in it who would drive the peaceful realm of Jaehaerys once again to the brink of destruction.

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Alysanne

Introduction

Hello and welcome once again to “Three Heads of the Dragon: Kings, Pretenders, and the Ladies of Fire”, the first multi-author series for Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire.  This series will explore the Targaryen dynasty from inception to destruction, and my pieces – the “Ladies of Fire” – will focus on the ladies of the dynasty – both those born into the red-and-black and those who had a great influence on the dynasty.

In Parts 1 and 2, we explored the lives and times of Aegon the Conqueror’s two sister-queens, Rhaenys and Visenya.  By the time of Visenya’s death in 44 AC, the Iron Throne had already hosted both of Aegon’s sons, and the dynasty the Dragon had founded threatened to collapse into chaos.  The realm would need a strong, capable leader to reassert the power of House Targaryen, and an equally strong queen by his side – not a warrior-queen like Visenya, or a scandal-haunted one like Rhaenys, but a clever, gracious, and virtuous woman.  As it happened, the perfect pair were about to take the throne.

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Visenya

Introduction

Hello and welcome once again to “Three Heads of the Dragon: Kings, Pretenders, and the Ladies of Fire”, the first multi-author series for Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire.  This series will explore the Targaryen dynasty from inception to destruction, and my pieces – the “Ladies of Fire” – will focus on the ladies of the dynasty – both those born into the red-and-black and those who had a great influence on the dynasty.

In my first part of this series, we explored Rhaenys Targaryen, the younger sister and queen of Aegon I Targaryen.  Yet although she was more favored by Aegon, Rhaenys was not her brother’s only wife – or only sibling. Older than both was Visenya Targaryen, who would prove to be a fearsome queen in her own right.

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