TV & Movies

Rhaenyra’s Marriage Prospects In House Of The Dragon Could Stay Relative

The Targaryens have an infamous history when it comes to marriage.

by Kadin Burnett
Originally Published: 
Milly Alcock as Princess Rhaenyra in 'The House of the Dragon'
Ollie Upton/HBO

Family can be difficult to deal with, especially when you’re a Targaryen. This is a rather unfortunate fact that Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) will have to learn in Episode 3 of House of the Dragon. As many Game of Thrones fans know, the Targaryens are famous for their commitment to “fortifying” their family lineage, which is a fancy way of saying they inbreed. Now that Rhaenyra is getting older and still next in line for the Iron Throne, the latest trailer teases how her father, King Viserys (Paddy Considine), wants her to get married soon.

After Episode 2 highlighted how uneasy the kingdom feels about having a queen as its ruler, Rhaenyra being set up with a politically advantageous match might make her eventual succession a little more tolerable to Westeros. From Ser Criston Cole to Daemon Targaryen, let’s take a look at George R. R. Martin’s Fire & Blood to find out who Rhaenyra’s marriage prospects are in the books. Major spoilers ahead on Fire & Blood and potentially House of the Dragon.

Ser Criston Cole

Ollie Upton/HBO

House of the Dragon’s first episode introduced Ser Criston Cole (Fabian Frankel), the Dornish knight who bested Daemon during the Targaryen’s jousting tournament. After emerging victorious, the knight asked for and received Rhaenyra’s favor, which eventually led the princess to select Cole as her shield, a knight sworn to protect her. There’s no denying the spark between the two, albeit at this stage in the story, it remains friendly. The events involving Cole in the first two episodes shake out similarly in the books. However, in Martin's novel, Rhaenyra and Cole’s relationship takes a turn when Daemon instructs Rhaenyra to seduce Cole. When the princess makes her move, the knight rejects her advances because it would be a conflict of interest.

Many years pass, and Cole gets promoted to Lord Commander; around the same time, King Viserys arranges for Rhaenyra to marry another (more on that later). Upset by Rhaenyra’s wedding, Cole goes to her bedchamber and confesses his love, offering to flee with her to the Free Cities, where he would work as a mercenary. Rhaenyra refuses, stating that a Targaryen should be more than a sellsword’s wife. However, the princess would attempt to seduce Cole again, and he would refuse. Their relationship’s back-and-forth would end when Cole drops his alliance with her and supports one of her enemies during the Targaryen’s civil war.

Laenor Velaryon

Ollie Upton/HBO

Rhaenyra marries twice in the books, at first to Laenor Velaryon. In true Targaryen fashion, she marries her cousin so that they join forces with House Velaryon. Laenor (Theo Nate), the son of Corlys Velaryon (Steven Toussaint) and Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best), appears in House of the Dragon, although fans are unsure if the HBO series will be following this particular plot detail.

Rhaenyra and Laenor have three sons, Jacaerys, Lucerys, and Joffrey, but rumors swirled that Rhaenyra’s sworn shield Ser Harwin “Breakbones” Strong was the children’s true father. Laenor gets slain by a friend at a fair, and another rumor says that Daemon Targaryen was involved with his death.

Daemon Targaryen

Ollie Upton/HBO

Speaking of Daemon (Matt Smith), everyone’s favorite rogue prince could be the one to put a ring on it. The uncle and niece have an established relationship, most recently exemplified by the young princess’s ability to reason with Daemon in Episode 2. He also seems to hold little against her, despite her usurping his position in the line of succession.

Since the Targaryens like to keep in the family, it should come as little surprise that Rhaenyra eventually marries Daemon in the books. Though King Viserys was initially disapproving of their relationship, he comes to accept their marriage, and the duo ends up having two children together. Daemon ends up being Rhaenyra’s most prominent supporter during the Targaryen Civil War. Of all of Rhaenyra’s relationships, this is sure to cause the most controversy if it plays out in House of the Dragon.

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