Tag Archives: Rhaella Targaryen

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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The Ravenry: Week of 10/26/2015

Hello seekers,

As you may or may not know, Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire has its own Tumblr page (as well as its own Twitter and Facebook pages).  Even more excitingly,  we here at the blog have partnered with ASOIAF University to answer questions about A Song of Ice and Fire.  We – that is, NFriel and I – take the text-based questions submitted to us, write up thoughtful text-based answers, and publish these answers on the Tumblr.

So every Monday we present to you The Ravenry.  We collect the questions we’ve answered during the previous week over on the Tumblr in post form, with a brief description of each, and publish it here, and link that post on Twitter and Facebook as well. The Queen Regent wrote a very good post on the gulf between the legal technicalities and political realities of women and marriage and goes into some leadership and commandership questions of some of Westeros’s most notable figures.

So, without further ado, here’s The Ravenry for the week of October 26:

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The Dragon’s Shadow: Viserys Targaryen

Introduction

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Viserys Targaryen (image credit to Duhi)

Ser Jorah snorted. “Can you wake the dead, girl? Your brother Rhaegar was the last dragon, and he died on the Trident. Viserys is less than the shadow of a snake.” (“Daenerys III”, A Game of Thrones)

Viserys Targaryen is perhaps the only character more loathed in the early acts of A Song of Ice and Fire than Joffrey Baratheon.  Though only ‘on-screen’ for A Game of Thrones (and even dying partly through that book), Viserys is remembered – by the characters in the universe and readers alike – long after his ignoble death on the Dothraki Sea. He was “the last son of Mad King Aerys”, an “utter fool”, “stupid and vicious”, the man who had tortured and abused his young sister Daenerys and rightly earned his death among the horselords of Vaes Dothrak.

These are not altogether incorrect evaluations of the last surviving prince of House Targaryen. Yet these descriptions do not fully capture the nuanced tragedy which was Viserys’ life.  He had been the late-born hope of his parents’ failing marriage, a probable tool in his father’s power struggle with his chivalrous but flawed elder brother.  As a little boy, he was spirited to a foreign land, never again to see the only home he had ever known. Invested with the title of pretender to a throne he had never been prepared to claim and only barely understood, Viserys wandered Essos, carefully watched but never aided, even by those who wished to use him. He ended his life in a place both spatially and psychologically alien to the splendor of the Red Keep under Targaryen rule; virtually alone among “savage” strangers, mocked and killed with the golden crown for which he had begged virtually his entire life, and finally crying out without mercy to the last of the Targaryen line.

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The Ravenry: Week of 7/6/2015

Hello, fellow scholars!

As you may or may not know, Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire has its own Tumblr page (as well as its own Twitter and Facebook pages).  Even more excitingly, a little while back we here at the blog partnered with ASOIAF University to answer questions about A Song of Ice and Fire.  We – that is, myself and NFriel – take the text-based questions submitted to us, write up thoughtful text-based answers, and publish these answers on the Tumblr.

So every Monday we present to you The Ravenry.  We collect the questions we’ve answered during the previous week over on the Tumblr in post form, with a brief description of each, and publish it here, and link that post on Twitter and Facebook as well. If we were a book section, we’d be that one where you’re pretty sure you saw the undead librarian from Ghostbusters with an authentic Latin copy of Malleus Maleficarum. With the Queen Regent visiting a foreign realm, the Hand of the King had to sit the Throne, and he got the chance to expound on one of his favorite topics: Robert’s Rebellion.

So, without further ado, here’s The Ravenry for the week of 6 July:

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