rhaenyra in House of the Dragon

Yes, Rhaenyra! Girlboss Your Way Into the Room on ‘House of the Dragon.’

The Targaryens of Game of Thrones have a history of being girlbosses. Despite whatever people thought of her prior to her becoming the “Mad Queen,” Daenerys was the epitome of a girlboss. She just fought her way to the top, and if she could, she probably would have worn a pantsuit to do it. You can feel how you want about the “girlboss” attitude in the real world, but in the realm of Westeros, I think it’s fun, which is why I love young Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) on HBO’s House of the Dragon.

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In the first four episodes, we watched as her entire world fell apart. The eldest child of Viserys, she lost her mother when she died in childbirth, and then she lost her younger brother at the same time. And so Rhaenyra was the only child of Viscerys and when the question of his heir became a topic of conversation, he did what he needed to and named Rhaenyra as his heir (ignoring his brother Daemon in the process).

Episode two brought us Rhaenyra as the heir and showed us that nothing really changed. When it came down to it, she was still the cupbearer in their meetings and wasn’t allowed to speak despite the fact that she would, in theory, one day be the queen—which is how I ended up getting one of my favorite Rhaenyra moments yet.

By the time we get to episode three, when Rhaenyra is forced into knowing that she has to get married and might end up losing her place as the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. She is struggling with what happened between her father and Alicent, and she’s trying to find her place while being dramatic about it because she is after all a Targaryen.

Episode four was a drama-filled adventure into Rhaenyra having a sense of power given the freedom her father appointed her in the episode before, and with the return of Daemon, it led to her acting out—and doing so in a way that was girlbossing just a bit to close to the sun.

She is, easily, my favorite character. I love Daemon because of my love for messy drama kings (and Matt Smith), but Rhaenyra is a fascinating character to look at, and the second episode of House of the Dragon showed us the lengths she’s willing to go to in order to get what she wants.

Rhaenyra speaking out

Rhaenyra is, for the most part, quiet during the meetings that her father is in, and when she does speak, she’s told to not, but in the second episode, she speaks out in such a way that benefits her and also angers her father. She was, frankly, right to do it. When it is revealed that Daemon has taken a new wife and that she’s to have his child, the council is told that he plans to lay a dragon egg with his unborn child.

Rhaenyra refuses to let it go and asks what egg, until finally, it is revealed that the egg in question is the very same one she had hand-picked for her now dead brother. So she gets on her dragon, flies to her uncle, and confronts him to yell at him for the mess he’s creating.

It leads to her also commenting on the fact that she is often reminded of her status in the third episode, and we get to see how it weighs her down. She’s still feisty and willing to fight back against her father, but she is a bit burned by the process of the last few years.

Just don’t girlboss too close to the sun

One of my fears for Rhaenyra’s future is that she’s clearly no longer the heir. What we saw in the third episode is that Rhaenyra’s father Viserys I (Paddy Considine) has remarried to Rhaenyra’s best friend Alicent (Emily Carey) and had a son, so it would mean that Rhaenyra maybe no longer has the grace that her father afforded her after the death of her mother—at least, if the Hand and the men surrounding him get their wish.

But I do love how she’s not afraid to voice her opinion and do what she wants. In the second episode, she literally flies a dragon to go and yell at her uncle at Dragstone—to the upset of her father still, but it’s pretty awesome watching her fly in, tell the Hand that if he tries to manhandle her, her dragon wouldn’t take too kindly to it, and get sh*t done.

So Rhaenyra, keep on girlbossing. Just maybe don’t hear bells and make your dragon kill an entire city. We can’t survive the internet if that happens again.

(featured image: HBO)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.