‘House of the Dragon’: How Is Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen Related to Daenerys Targaryen?

House of the Dragon is the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel that’s all about House Targaryen. Based on George R. R. Martin’s book Fire & Blood, the story is set roughly two centuries before the original series when the Targaryens were at the height of their power. 

The prequel’s protagonist has been revealed to be Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, played by Emma D’Arcy. But how is she related to Emilia Clarke’s Daenerys?

House of the Dragon Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, played by Emma D’Arcy
Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen | Ollie Upton/HBO

Who is Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen on ‘House of the Dragon’?

House of the Dragon tells the story of the Dance of the Dragons, a bloody civil war among the Targaryens, which begins because not everyone supports Princess Rhaenrya’s claim to the throne.

In Martin’s novel, Rhaenyra Targaryen is a dragon rider who is the oldest child of King Viserys (Paddy Considine) and his first wife Aemma Arryn. She was named as her father’s heir at the age of eight, and grew up assuming she would eventually be crowned Queen of Westeros.

However, Princess Rhaenyra was a controversial choice of successor. King Viserys refused to abide by the male-heir succession precedent set forth by his grandfather and one of Westeros’ great kings — Jaehaerys I (aka The Conciliator). 

When the Dance of the Dragons arrives, King Viserys’ second wife Queen Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke) supports the claim of her son Aegon Targaryen (Tom Glynn-Carney). And it’s Alicent who works behind the scenes in an attempt to help her son win the throne.

How is Princess Rhaenyra related to Daenerys Targaryen?

Two hundred years after the Dance of the Dragons, the Targaryen family had finally been unseated after three centuries on the Iron Throne. 

In Game of Thrones, Daenerys and her brother Viserys (Harry Lloyd) were the only two heirs left to claim their birthright. When Viserys was killed by Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa), Daenerys was the last remaining heir to the Iron Throne.

According to the family tree, Princess Rhaenyra is a distant aunt of Daenerys. And the two characters have quite a few similarities. Both characters had two older brothers who died before them, and they are both described in Martin’s novels as extremely stubborn. Both women also grew up assuming they would be the first ruling Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.

‘House of the Dragon’ will feature an infamous ‘Game of Thrones’ plotline

Rhaenyra’s family originally consists of her first husband Laenor Velaryon (John Macmillan), her Uncle Daemon (Matt Smith), her mother-in-law Rhaenys Velaryon (Eve Best), and her children with Laenor — Jacaerys Velaryon, Lucerys Velaryon, and Joffrey Velaryon. In her fight for the throne, Princess Rhaenyra is supported by Daemon and Rhaenys Velaryon. 

Related

‘House of the Dragon’ Will Feature 1 Weapon That Both Started and Ended Wars in ‘Game of Thrones’

The prequel will feature an infamous Game of Thrones plotline — incest. This time, it’s a relationship between uncle and niece — Daemon and Rhaenyra. They eventually marry and have three children of their own — Aegon “The Younger” Targaryen, Viserys Targaryen, and Viserys I Targaryen.

House of the Dragon premieres Sunday, August 21 on HBO. All eight seasons of Game of Thrones are available to stream on HBO Max.