Rhaegar Targaryen as he appeared in the eighth season of Game of Thrones

Will ‘House of the Dragon’ Ever Give Us Rhaegar Targaryen?

House of the Dragon season 2 is here, and that means it’s time for some Targaryen lore, this time focused on Rhaegar Targaryen.

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Throughout A Song of Ice and Fire, Game of Thrones, and now HOTD, The Targaryens and their dreams and prophecies, are often shrouded in myth, which makes them fascinating—none more than Rhaegar Targaryen, the eldest brother of Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen.

Spoilers for Game of Thrones season 8 ahead!

Who is Rhaegar Targaryen such a fascinating dude?

Rhaegar Targaryen was the firstborn son of King Aerys II (eventually, the Mad King) and his wife (and sister, as is Targaryen custom) Rhaella. He was crowned the Prince of Dragonstone and was the heir-apparent to the Iron Throne.

King Aerys II Targaryen, known as the Mad King, during the flashbacks in Game of Thrones

Rhaegar was married to Elia Martell, the sister of Doran and Oberyn Martell (yep, Pedro Pascal) of Dorne. And with her, he had two children, the princess Rhaenys and prince Aegon. In Game of Thrones, when Daenerys is at the House of the Undying, she has a vision of her brother Rhaegar talking to Elia about naming his son Aegon, who he believed was the Prince that was Promised.

“What better name for a king? … He has a song. He is the Prince that was Promised, and his is the song of ice and fire. There must be one more. The dragon has three heads.”

Was Rhaegar Targaryen a good guy?

Throughout Game of Thrones, we hear the characters speak of Rhaegar in duality, with both admiration and hate. He was a melancholic one, but tall, handsome, intelligent, and a great knight who won tourneys. Among the Targaryens, which included his paranoid father Aerys II, Rhaegar definitely won the popularity contest. 

Some, like Ser Jorah Mormont and Ser Barristan Selmy, when talking to Daenerys, praised him for the gentle prince and skilled musician that he was. Ned Stark recalled the moment when Rhaegar won the great tourney at Harrenhal and declared Ned’s sister, Lyanna Stark, the queen of love and beauty, ignoring his own wife Elia Martell. It was the moment when “all the smiles died,” Ned had said. 

It was this gesture that eventually led to Robert Baratheon’s rebellion, after Rhaegar was claimed to have “kidnapped” Lyanna Stark, who was betrothed to Robert. The ensuing war caused a lot of bloodshed. Rhaegar was killed by Robert, the Mad King Aerys II was murdered by Jaime Lannister to stop him from exploding King’s Landing. And Rhaegar’s wife Elia Martell and their children were brutally murdered by Ser Gregor Clegane, thus ending the Targaryen reign on the Iron Throne, which was then usurped by Robert Baratheon.

Rhaegar Targaryen weds Lyanna Stark.

Of course, we find out at the end of Game of Thrones season 8 that Rhaegar did not kidnap Lyanna Stark. They eloped to the Red Mountains of Dorne, where in the Tower of Joy, Lyanna died giving birth to their son, eventually revealed to be Jon Snow, and entrusted by Lyanna under oath to her brother, Lord Eddard Stark. And it is Jon who ends up uniting fire and ice, and defeating the long winter that threatened to destroy the realms of men, as per the prophecy.

Will House of the Dragon ever give us the connection to Rhaegar Targaryen?

In George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, Game of Thrones’ source material, it was said that Rhaegar Targaryen was a total bookworm, until one day, he found something in the scrolls and decided to become a warrior. In House of the Dragon episode 1, when King Viserys shows Rhaenyra the knife, he talks about his ancestor Aegon’s dream that the world of men would fall, and only a Targaryen on the Iron Throne could save it. The prophecy of the Prince that was Promised is critical to the Targaryens.

So it’s not a stretch to assume that Rhaegar could’ve come across this very prophecy in the scrolls, written down for record and then lost after the Dance of the Dragons, and decided to take charge. It would be cool if, in the later seasons of HOTD, we see the elusive Prince Rhaegar finding the prophecy and living his life to fullfil it!

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Jinal Bhatt
Jinal Bhatt (She/Her) is a staff writer for The Mary Sue. An editor, writer, film and culture critic with 7+ years of experience, she writes primarily about entertainment, pop culture trends, and women in film, but she’s got range. Jinal is the former Associate Editor for Hauterrfly, and Senior Features Writer for Mashable India. When not working, she’s fangirling over her favourite films and shows, gushing over fictional men, cruising through her neverending watchlist, trying to finish that book on her bedside, and fighting relentless urges to rewatch Supernatural.