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'House of the Dragon': The Previous Riders Of The Dragons Involved Makes The Battle Of Rook's Rest Even More Heartbreaking

Rest In Peace to the Queen That Never Was.

By Kristy AndersonPublished 15 days ago 3 min read
Credit: HBO

WARNING! SPOILERS for House of the Dragon 2x04, 'The Red Dragon and the Gold'.

The war of Dragon vs Dragon has finally begun in heartbreaking fashion. When Criston Cole's forces take the Blacks off guard by opting to attack the small, unprotected castle of Rook's Rest rather than their expected destination of Harrenhal, currently held by Daemon Targaryen, Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, also known as the Queen Who Never Was, takes off on her dragon Meleys to aid in the battle.

While Rhaenys manages to deal heavy damage to Aegon II and his dragon, Sunfyre (Who's presence at the battle was neither expected or sanctioned), Rhaenys and Meleys eventually fall at the hands of Aemond Targaryen and his own monstrous dragon, Vhagar. Readers of the Targaryen history book Fire and Blood have pointed out an extra element of tragedy in these deaths, all to do with the previous riders of the dragons involved.

Prince Baelon the Brave and Princess Alyssa Targaryen

Prince Baelon with his grandaughter, Rhaenyra. Credit: chillyravenart.

The second of Vhagar's four known riders was Prince Baelon 'The Brave' Targaryen, the fourth child and third son of the much loved King Jaehaerys I Targaryen, and Father to Princes Viserys and Daemon Targaryen. After his older brother and Jaehaerys's heir apparent, Prince Aemon, was killed by Myrish exiles on Tarth, Baelon flew on Vhagar to avenge his brother, earning the admiration of King's Landing.

Meleys had just one known rider before Rhaenys, Prince Baelon's Sister-Wife, Alyssa Targaryen. Alyssa had decided to claim a dragon shortly after her wedding to Baelon, initially wanting Balerion, the Black Dread. However, the Dragonkeepers convinced the Princess that a younger, faster dragon would be more suitable. Alyssa ultimately chose and claimed Meleys, an adult female who lived in the Dragonpit, but had never had a rider, and soon developed a deep passion for dragon flight. Soon after the birth of each of her sons, Alyssa took flight on Meleys with the baby strapped to her chest.

Alyssa and baby Viserys aboard Meleys. Credit: Rene Aigner.

Alyssa and Baelon would often take flights around the Kingdom together on Meleys and Vhagar, right up until Alyssa's death following childbirth complications, after which Meleys was eventually claimed by Alyssa and Baelon's niece, Rhaenys. These two dragons knew each other, were once bound to a couple deeply in love who would never have dreamed of hurting one another, or each other's dragons. Yet now, bound to the whims of their new riders and thrust into a human war, one dragon has been forced to kill the other.

Unfortunately, it gets worse.

Lady Laena Velaryon

After Prince Baelon's sudden death, Vhagar was left riderless for an extended period, and after growing too large for the Dragonpit, Vhagar lived free and mostly wild, until being found and claimed by Lady Laena Velaryon. After Laena's marriage to Prince Daemon Targaryen, Vhagar was brought back into contact with Caraxes, previously flown by Prince Aemon Targaryen, the older brother of Vhagar's previous rider, Prince Baelon.

Vhagar, like any bonded dragon, remained devoted to Laena until her death in child birth. Laena is the daughter of Princess Rhaenys, the rider of Meleys. This means that, tragically, Rhaenys was killed by her own daughter's former dragon, who had also been her Uncle's dragon.

Many of the dragons in the Dance may once have been kin, but bound to the whims of their riders, their own previous bonds to each other matter little. They will be forced to fight, and die for their riders. And with Caraxes and Vhagar, dragons once flown by brothers, almost certain to face battle with Daemon and Aemond in the future, there's plenty more tragedy to come on House of the Dragon.

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Kristy Anderson

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    Kristy AndersonWritten by Kristy Anderson

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