Rhaenys Targaryen Is House of the Dragon's Most Controversial Character, Here's Why

Rhaenys Targaryen Is House of the Dragon's Most Controversial Character, Here's Why
Image credit: HBO

Eve Best's character elicits mixed reactions from the show's fans.


  • Rhaenys Targaryen seems to be the kindest character on the entire show.
  • Her unwavering desire for peace and stability is commendable.
  • Rhaenys seems to forget her own crimes when it comes to the morality of war.

House of the Dragon doesn't have many protagonists or morally clear characters. Alicent Hightower seems to be guided by her faith and pure motives that lead to mistakes and crimes until she becomes corrupt herself. Ser Criston Cole has only honor to his name, which he is obsessed with, but he quickly becomes one of the most despicable characters on the show. And Rhaenyra Targaryen is one of the most morally ambiguous characters, despite being the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.

In this cast of unlikable people, Rhaenys Targaryen, the Queen Who Never Was, seems to be the most humane and likable. Her humility and wisdom are endearing. And her bravery is awe-inspiring. But as saintly as Rhaenys may seem, there are some disturbing things about her that raise many questions about her moral clarity.

Rhaenys the Clement

Though Rhaenys was the eldest descendant of King Jaehaerys, the great council of lords convened by the dying monarch decided that her younger but male cousin Viserys would inherit the Iron Throne. And she humbly accepted her lot, understanding but angry at the patriarchal bigotry of the Westerosi people.

When Rhaenyra was proclaimed King Viserys' heir, Rhaenys warned her cousin once removed that the men of the Seven Kingdoms would never accept her as their ruler, foreshadowing the events of the Dance of the Dragons. Throughout the series, Rhaenys has also demonstrated her willingness to uphold peace and her abhorrence of violence and bloodshed.

In Season 1, she ridiculed the brawl some knights started during the Heir's Tournament. In her conversations with her husband, Lord Corlys Velaryon, Rhaenys often scolded him for pursuing power at the expense of their family's safety and well-being.

In Season 2, Rhaenys was the only advisor to Queen Rhaenyra who argued that Team Black should avoid war if possible and try to find a peaceful way out of the conflict, unlike all the men on her council who have been sharpening their blades since day one. It was Rhaenys who inspired Rhaenyra to seek out Alicent and try to reason with her, sadly to no avail.

The Queen of Double Standards

Of course, Rhaenys seems like a saint who holds human life sacred. But she's not. While Team Green has committed more atrocities since the hereditary crisis began, none seems to have claimed more lives than Rhaenys' so-called escape from King's Landing during King Aegon II's coronation.

Riding Meley's back, Rhaenys crashed through the floor of the Dragon Pit Hall, killing and injuring dozens, if not hundreds, of innocent civilians who had been forced to attend the ceremony. The thing is, Rhaenys could have exited the Dragon Pit another way, even with the main gates closed, but she chose to do so with dramatic effect, taking lives in the process.

And yet, in the aftermath of this event, Rhaenys continues to hold herself out as the greatest peacemaker in the realm, blaming men for their thirst for blood and their desire to wage a war that would cost thousands of lives. She is either delusional about her own morality and actions, or a complete hypocrite who cares nothing for the lives of ordinary people. Either way, Rhaenys is a controversial character who proves that House of the Dragon has no innocent protagonists.

What do you think of Rhaenys Targaryen?