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'House of the Dragon' on HBO: How is Daenerys Targaryen related to Princess Rhaenyra?

Both Daenerys Targaryen and Princess Rhaenyra are considered strong characters in the ‘Game of Thrones’ fictional universe
UPDATED AUG 19, 2022
Daenerys Targaryen (L) is related to princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (R) in 'House of the Dragon' (Game of Thrones/Youtube screenshot and HBO Max/Youtube screenshot)
Daenerys Targaryen (L) is related to princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (R) in 'House of the Dragon' (Game of Thrones/Youtube screenshot and HBO Max/Youtube screenshot)

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Daenerys Targaryen (played by Emilia Clarke) is considered one of the strongest characters ever in the ‘Game of Thrones’ fictional universe. As the prequel ‘House of the Dragon’ is set to drop on August 21 on both HBO and HBO Max, fans might be willing to find out how Daenerys Targaryen is related to Princess Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) from the series.

Based on novelist George RR Martin’s cult book ‘Fire & Blood,' ‘Game of Thrones' is set almost two hundred years ago. Not many people might know this fact but it is real that all the Targaryen family within the ‘House of the Dragon’ are actually the distant ancestors of Daenerys as they all have similar white-blond colored hair to prove the same.

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Even though almost all the characters from the prequel are Daenerys distant relatives but in terms of personality and traits, it is undoubtedly princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock / Emma D’Arcy) who is very similar to Daenerys.

HOTD - Milly Alcock Rhaenyra !
Milly Alcock as younger Princess Rhaenyra is similar to Daenerys Targaryen ('House of the Dragon' / Game of Thrones Youtube)

How is Daenerys related to Princess Rhaenyra in Targaryen family timeline?

Princess Rhaenyra and Daenerys are distant relatives, who are living 200 years and nine generations apart within two different fictional universes within House Targaryen. According to Martin's lore of 'Game of Thrones,' The Targaryens were an honorable family from Valyria, the capital of the Valyrian Freehold, a multifaceted civilization that covered the continent of Essos for a time span of about five thousand years. Essos is a continent separated from Westeros by the Narrow Sea. Then came the ‘Doom of Valyria,’ a devastating volcanic event that destroyed the Valyrian peninsula and all its citizens. The Targaryen family was left unscathed only because, a hundred years before the natural disaster, they had ended up creating and establishing a new family outpost at Dragonstone which is a volcanic island situated within the Narrow Sea. The noble family moved only after Daenerys Targaryen had a forewarning of the disaster and due to that she also convinced her father that fleeing was the only option.

A century after the infamous ‘Doom of Valyria,’ Aegon Targaryen with his sisters and coupled with his wives Rhaenys and Visenya went to Westeros to conquer and unite the realm. Following the footsteps of ‘Aegon I the Conqueror,’ approximately 20 Targaryen rulers sat on the Targaryen-created and coveted iron throne, after Daenerys' short-lived stint as queen.

Both Daenerys and Rhaenyra lived in diverse eras within the House Targaryen

‘House of the Dragon’ takes place during a totally drama-filled chapter of the Targaryen family’s reign of the Seven Kingdoms with specific emphasis on the biggest and ugly gore-filled battle for gaining the power to rule the Westeros dynasty between Princess Rhaenyra and her half-brother Aegon II Targaryen (Tom Glynn-Carney), also known as the ‘Dance of the Dragons.’

While a lot of drastic changes will take place and be explored in the prequel series based on Martin’s book, one of the biggest consequences of the war is that it kills all the dragons for maintaining order and law within Westeros.

By the time 'Game of Thrones' came into the picture, the Targaryens had lost their powers. Jaime Lannister kills King Aerys II Targaryen who is also known as the ‘Mad King,’ in midst of the Baratheon family’s efforts to snatch King’s Landing and overthrow the king from the throne.

In Game of Thrones, Daenerys and her brother Viserys are among the last surviving Targaryens. But when Viserys dies, Daenerys wants to re-establish and reclaim her family’s place on the throne.

Daenerys Still
Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen in a still from 'Game of Thrones' (HBO Youtube)

Daenerys and Rhaenyra have many things in commonality with each other:

Even though both Daenerys and Rhaenyra are separated by hundreds of years, their similar situations and circumstances have in a way united them.

Giving an insight on how Rhaenyra is similar when compared to Daenerys, Milly Alcock who essays young Rhaenyra in the prequel during an interview with TV Line said, “She’s met with very similar challenges that Daenerys is also brought with, in not being viable in her claim to the throne and having other people constantly be like, You’re not legitimate.”

HOTD - Rhaenyra Still 1
Milly Alcock as young princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in a still from 'House of the Dragon' (HBO Max Youtube)

The plot of the series revolves around ruling King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) decision of officially unveiling that he is naming his only daughter Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock / Emma D’Arcy) as his potential next ruler/queen who would be ruling Westeros after him.

This decision invites rage and fury of patriarchal and orthodox Westeros high factions who disagree with this decision. The strong opposition also includes Rhaenyra’s former best friend Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke), the second wife of King Viserys I Targaryen, who wants her son Aegon II Targaryen (Tom Glynn-Carney) to inherit the Iron Throne and wants to cut off and snatch Rhaenyra’s chances of success because deep inside her heart she knows that no matter what, Rhaenyra is really stronger and confident in what she wants. If she comes into power then nothing is going to be the same again. This disagreement creates the biggest bloodied war within the entire House Targaryen where everyone is competing against each other including the dragons.