Game of Thrones: What happened to Daenerys’ mother Rhaella Targaryen?

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HBO drama House of the Dragon is a prequel to Game of Thrones, which wrapped up back in 2019. The new series is set during the rule of Viserys I (played by Paddy Considine) and charts the line of succession for the Iron Throne as well as sewing the seeds for the civil war known as the Dance of the Dragon. However, many viewers are curious to know more about Daenerys Targaryen’s (Emilia Clarke) family including her mother. 

What happened to Daenerys’ mother Rhaella Targaryen?

Throughout the course of Game of Thrones, much is made of Daenerys’ father Aerys Targaryen (David Rintoul).

Although he died before the start of the events of Game of Thrones, his figure looms large on the horizon and his presence is very much felt.

Aerys or the Mad King is mentioned by numerous characters such is his infamy.

Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) even discuss how the knight earned his moniker of “Kingslayer”.

The knight only killed Aerys because the king had ordered him to murder his own family which was the last straw.

Also, Daenerys is compared to Aerys constantly with fears she will become insane like her father – a prophecy which is fulfilled during the burning of King’s Landing.

The Khaleesi was worried as well with her bother Viserys (Harry Lloyd) displaying madness and cruelty like his father.

However, fans know very little of Dany’s mother Rhaella who perished before the timeline of the series.

Rhaella was the sister and wife of Aerys, who wed in the incestuous tradition between the Targaryens.

She was the daughter of Aegon V Targaryen and forced to marry her brother.

In the books, Rhaella is said to have fallen in love with a young knight from the Stormlands.

Even though his name is never mentioned, the knight is thought to be Ser Bonifer Hasty.

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Their marriage was said to be an unhappy one with Jaime saying he once heard Aerys raping Rhaella as he guarded the royal bedchamber.

He couldn’t do anything about it but simply had to listen to the harrowing ordeal as the other members of the Kingsguard refused to take action.

They had three children together Rhaegar (Wilf Scolding), Viserys and Daenerys – who was the youngest.

Rhaella also had a number of stillbirths and the marriage was abusive and violent – particularly towards its end.

She was also the paternal grandmother of Jon Snow after it was revealed his father was Rhaegar.

After Rhaegar was killed on the Trident while fighting Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy), a pregnant Rhaella fled with her young son Viserys to the Targaryen ancestral home of Dragonstone.

There, she gave birth to her youngest child and only daughter Daenerys as a storm raged outside.

Sadly, Rhaella died during childbirth while Aerys was killed during the sacking of King’s Landing.

Daenerys and Viserys were then forced to flee across the Narrow Sea and to the safety of Essos.

The Mother of Dragons went on to listen to tales of her family from Viserys but Rhaella fell into the background.

Game of Thrones seasons 1 to 8 are available to watch on NOW

House of the Dragon airs on HBO on Sundays and Sky Atlantic on Mondays and streams on NOW 

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