The whole of Westeros is abuzz with gossip and intrigue as a new heir sits on the Iron Throne in HBO’s hit prequel series House of the Dragon. Rhaenyra Targaryen (played by the talented Emma D’Arcy and Milly Alcock) took the crown in the final episode of Season 1, following a series of the usual Game of Thrones political legal loops.
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However, now that a new Targaryen has become the regent of Westeros, we have to wonder about one key element from her reign: Does she really deserve Visery’s crown? After all, the circumstances surrounding her coronation are muddy, to say the least. Beyond that, is Rhaenyra morally ready to lead House Targaryen in the coming conflict? Let’s look at what her character in the series might tell us about Rhaenyra as a Queen and whether or not she deserves the position.
The Civil War
The upcoming struggle between the dragon-riding factions of the Targaryen House might be a veritable test of character for Rhaenyra. In the series, we’ve seen that Rhaenyra has the smarts, ambition, and tactical know-how to participate in this conflict – to a certain degree.
While she has all these qualities, she lacks real combat experience. Even though she mentions she wants to become a knight early in the series, that dream never comes. She never rides Syrax (her dragon) into battle, which might be perceived as a sign of weakness by forces inside and outside House Targaryen.
During tumultuous times of conflict, a “warrior King” with some experience on the battlefield might come in handy to keep the population calm. In these circumstances, Rhaenyra’s lack of military expertise could be her downfall.
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A Twisted Line of Succession
While Rhaenyra is King Visery’s eldest child, she was never really meant for the Iron Throne. Westerosi customs, much like the real-life lines of succession laws in most of the world, dictate that the eldest male son is the only one who can rightfully inherit the crown.
In Westeros’ history, the case of Rhaenys Targaryen comes to mind. She was the eldest daughter of Aemon, and that would have made her the rightful heir. However, it was decided that Baelon Targaryen would become the new King, passing over Rhaenys’ succession.
Rhaenyra would never be known as the “Queen Who Never Was,” like Rhaenys, but her succession is still the topic of heated conflict in Westeros. Still, King Viserys named her his successor, and that carries a lot more weight than her opponents might want to admit.
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Books and TV
Of course, those who’ve read Fire & Blood know that Rhaenyra’s tenure as Queen of the Seven Kingdoms isn’t the longest one on record by a mile. There’s a reason why she’s known as the Half-Year Queen, after all. Even worse, Joffrey Baratheon, of all people, already spoiled the end of her reign for us in Game of Thrones when he mentions that Rhaenyra’s brother “Feed her to his dragon.”
Still, as the first woman sitting on the Iron Throne, the question is whether or not Rhaenyra deserves the crown, but what legacy her coronation leaves for Westeros. Already, her taking the role of Queen of the Seven Kingdoms – however brief it might be – sits a precedent that changes the entirety of Westeros’ balance of power.
Rhaenyra’s ascent to the Iron Throne sent shockwaves throughout the realm and set the stage for an epic civil war that would be forged in blood and fire. The Half-Year Queen may have a short reign, but her legacy – and her role in both Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon – is monumental.
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Do you think Rhaenyra Targaryen deserves the crown in House of the Dragon?