Why Rhaenys Doesn’t Bend The Knee To Queen Rhaenyra
Rhaenys Targaryen is the only one on Dragonstone who doesn’t kneel to Queen Rhaenyra in HOTD’s season 1 finale, but she has good reason for this.
WARNING! This article contains SPOILERS for House of the Dragon’s season 1 finale, “The Black Queen,” and George R.R. Martin’s book, Fire & Blood.
Rhaenys Targaryen doesn’t bend the knee to Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen at her coronation in House of the Dragon’s season 1 finale, but she does still give her approval. For the past 20 years, Rhaenys has been particularly watchful of Rhaenyra as she continues to gauge whether the character is worthy of becoming Queen of Westeros. Considering Rhaenys’ crown was stolen from her due to her gender, she understands that the realm won’t accept Rhaenyra as Queen, but Rhaenyra’s gender also doesn’t automatically mean Rhaenys will support her. Laenor’s mysterious “death” further soured Rhaenys and Corlys against Rhaenyra, making it much more difficult for Rhaenyra to prove herself to the Queen Who Never Was.
In a tragic and triumphant moment, the funeral for Rhaenyra’s stillborn daughter Visenya turns into her hasty coronation, with Daemon placing Viserys’ crown on her head and calling her “Queen.” Those present at the funeral bend the knee to Rhaenyra, but Rhaenys stands strong. However, her approval is still demonstrated as she smiles seeing people bend the knee to a woman. At this point, Rhaenys is gaining more respect for Rhaenyra, even more so when witnessing Rhaenyra assert her authority over Daemon and exhibit restraint against waging war. Ultimately, Rhaenys doesn’t kneel before Rhaenyra in House of the Dragon episode 10 because she needed to discuss House Velaryon’s loyalty with Corlys first. After telling Corlys they’ll be supporting Rhaenyra in this war, Rhaenys makes Rhaenyra’s fight her own.
How Rhaenys Still Supports Rhaenyra In The Dance Of The Dragons
While Daemon will certainly be mad at Rhaenys for not burning the greens with Meleys when she had the chance, his cousin will be instrumental in the Black party’s battle strategy. In House of the Dragon episode 10’s ending, Rhaenys takes initiative in Rhaenyra’s plans by saying she’ll take Meleys to patrol the Gullet, which helps the Black party cripple the greens’ trade. George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood book reveals that Rhaenyra Targaryen steps back from battle strategy while grieving the death of her son Lucerys Velaryon, with Rhaenys Targaryen and Corlys Velaryon stepping up to lead her war council.
Despite Rhaenys being hesitant to bend the knee to Rhaenyra in House of the Dragon’s season 1 finale, Eve Best’s character becomes one of the fiercest supporters of her reign. This is no longer just Rhaenyra’s war, but Rhaenys Targaryen’s as well. From heading into battle on Meleys to being one of the most intelligent and important advisors on the black council, Rhaenys is fundamental to many of Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen’s early victories in the Dance of the Dragons.
Supporting Rhaenyra Will Be Very Costly For Rhaenys
Sadly, Rhaenys won’t be around to see Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen ascend the Iron Throne. While Rhaenyra is still grieving Lucerys’ death, Rhaenys Targaryen is sent to aid the Black army in the Battle at Rook’s Rest. Rhaenys arrives on Meleys to help attack Ser Criston Cole’s army, but the foot battle turned out to be a ploy, as Aegon and Aemond Targaryen soon appeared on their dragons. While Rhaenys knew Meleys wouldn’t be able to prevail against Vhagar and Sunfyre, the Queen Who Never Was turns in the direction of her attackers instead of fleeing.
Meleys dies in the fighting, with a charred body being found next to the dragon’s carcass. While the burned body was impossible to identify with certainty, House of the Dragon’s future will declare this to be the body of Princess Rhaenys. Until her final moment, House of the Dragon’s Rhaenys Targaryen lives fearlessly and “dies amidst fire and blood.”
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