Game of Thrones: Rhaegar Targaryen Character Study


How many tens of thousands had to die
because Rhaegar chose your aunt Rhaegar targaryen is one of the most important
characters on Game of Thrones with the least amount of screen time. His actions catalyzed most of the events we witness. Rhaegar lies beneath the ground. So how does a dead man still have so much influence? Rhaegar Targaryen was the son and heir of
the Mad King Aerys the second and Queen Rhaella and the older brother of Viserys and Danerys. King Aerys had a strained relationship with his son. Due to his growing paranoia that Rhaegar was trying
to overthrow him and take the Iron Throne, which was entirely possible given
the mad Kings questionable mental state. While Danny was too young to remember
what her oldest brother was like, Viserys remembers him as a good killer
and lover of violence, qualities the younger looks up to. “Viserys never told you?” “He told me Rhaegar was good at killing people.” Throughout Game of Thrones history,
Targaryens have been marrying their siblings to keep their Valyrian bloodline pure. But, finding no eligible relatives, Rhaegar ended up marrying the Dornish Elia Martell. Better known in the show as Oberyn Martell’s sister, “The last time we was in the capital was many years ago. Another winning. My sister Elia and Rhaegar Targaryen the last dragon.” Tywin Lannister wanted him to marry Cersei, but the Mad King felt this match was beneath Rhaegar. Rhaegar and Elia had two children,
who didn’t live long after the War of the Usurper, or Robert’s Rebellion began. Most importantly Rhaegar had a third son, with Ned Stark’s sister Lyanna, who did survive, growing up to become one of the show’s
most beloved characters, Jon Snow. Lyanna was betrothed to Robert Baratheon when she was allegedly abducted by Rhaegar. “What Rhaegar Targaryen did to your sister,
the woman I loved. I’ll kill every Targaryen I get my hands on.” We’ll get into the question of what exactly Rhaegar’s and Lyanna’s relationship was in a bit. Lyanna gave birth to John secretly. Were Robert to find out about
this illegitimate competition to the throne, it was thought he would kill the baby. “You know it. You have to protect him.” So Lyanna’s brother, Ned, took him in as
his own bastard son. “Lord Eddark Stark is my father.” “And Lady Stark is not your mother, making you the bastard.” Not even telling his wife, Catilyn, the truth. Thus Rhaegar’s blood and legacy
live on most tangibly in John Snow. Because Rhaegar is dead at
the start of the story, we never get the opportunity to truly make a
judgment on his character. We only see the judgments of others. “In my dreams I kill him every night.” “Rhaegar would pick a spot on the hook or the street of seeds. Then he’d sing.” “He was good?” “He was very good. Rhaegar never liked killing. He loved singing.” “And what did you do with the money?” “Well one time he gave it to the
next minstrel down the street. One time he gave it to an orphanage in flea bottom. One time we got horribly drunk.” So, what was the man really like? The books depict a shift in his personality from bookworm to fighting night. Though he grew up intellectual and peaceful, he switched his focus to combat training after reading a prophecy in a scroll about
the second coming of Azor Ahai, a legendary hero who fought off the darkness with a sword called Lightbringer. With the prophesied coming of the White Walkers, Rhaegar first believed that he was the
prince that was promised. Then later believed the prince would be
all three of his future children working together, because the Targaryen sigil is a three-headed dragon. So more than his intelligence or his strength, Rhaegar believed in the power of destiny and his duty towards that destiny. When Danny sees her older brother
in her vision in the house of the undying he reveals this prophecy, which could foreshadow that three Dragon Riders potentially John, Danny, and, some
fans have speculated maybe Tyrion, are needed to reclaim the Iron Throne. The now-proven fact that Jon Snow is the
son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark has been one of the show’s most popular long-running and now proven fan theories. But the reveal of the parentage
begs the question of how Jon’s parents met and
fell in love in the first place, given that they were from opposing houses, Rhaegar was already married, and they’ve never been seen together in public. Were they truly in love, or was Rhaegar the kidnapping raping monster
the Targaryen enemies say he was? “And then he kidnapped her and raped her.” To get any solid facts, we have to go back to the books. They tell us Rhaegar won a jousting
tournament at Harrenhal, one of the greatest of the time, and instead of choosing his wife as
the queen of love and beauty, he rode past her and placed
the crown of blue winter roses in Lyanna Stark’s lap, shocking the entire audience. According to the books, earlier in the tournament there came a masked jouster to defend the honour of a man who’d been bullied by a few Squires. The mystery man was smaller than the other knights and carried a shield with a laughing tree on it. He later disappeared and the king in his
mad state thought the night must be his enemy, so the king sent Rhaegar to go
find the knight of the Laughing tree, but Rhaegar returned and claimed he could
only find the knight’s shield. Fans have theorized that Rhaegar discovered the knight of the Laughing tree was Lyanna, that the pair fell in love and that he
actually lied to the King to save her. Think this is too much of a stretch? Well it seems to check out. Rhaegar wouldn’t have told his father
that he found the knight because of his shaky relationship with the King. Lyanna was a skilled swordsman, but smaller in stature, and it would explain why
Rhaegar chose her over his wife to be the queen of love and beauty, a seemingly random and definitely
dangerous choice. Rather than merely celebrating her physical beauty, he was honoring the strength and kindness she had shown by defending the bullied man. Some fans have also theorized, however,
that this was less a love affair and more a strategic move for Rhaegar. If he truly believed he needed three children to fulfill the
prince that was promised prophecy, he would have had to have an affair, because his wife was deemed unfit to have a third child. After the knight of the Laughing tree episode, Lyanna was taken to the Tower of Joy to give birth to Jon Snow, and died shortly after childbirth. Rhaegar, his wife, and his first two children
were all killed in Robert’s Rebellion. So, who was Rhaegar, really? Was he a hopeless romantic, swept away by his love for Lyanna Stark? Another Targaryen obsessed with prophecy? Or was he just another adept player in
the game of Thrones? Or a little bit of all of those? Like many characters, Rhaegar may have roots and historical figures. Henry Stuart Prince of Wales, with his reputation of intelligence, and musical talent may have inspired Rhaegar’s early years. Meanwhile, the English Prince Edward, known as the Black Prince son of Edward the third, could be a model for Rhaegar’s skill as a jouster and military commander. Much like Rhaegar, both real-life
princes were beloved in their time and died before they had a chance to become King, causing their countries to mourn. As a character Rhaegar is one of the most complex and deeply layered examples of
George RR Martin’s ability as a writer. Without ever physically appearing in the present story, Rhaegar Targaryen manages to not
only impact the lives of an entire kingdom, but also to come across as one of
the most three-dimensional characters. In a way, he can be compared
to real-life celebrities or politicians. We’ll never truly know their intentions or inner life, yet the results of their actions can
be immensely influential and polarizing. While audiences can form strong opinions about
each of the core Game of Thrones cast, we have to imagine Rhaegar for ourselves
because we only see the impact he leaves behind. “Rhaegar fought valiantly, Rhaegar fought nobly, and Rhaegar died.”

77 Comments

  1. The Take

    July 27, 2017 at 6:57 pm

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  2. Beowulf Macbethson

    April 28, 2019 at 11:35 am

    Tywin said at the Defiance at Duskendale, in front of many people that he didn't care if the rebels (who had Aerys II, Rhaegar's dad) released Aerys II, and proceeded to say that a much better king was waiting, with his actions motioning to Rhaegar.

  3. jmusic45

    May 2, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    Now…that we know that Jon Snow is a Targarhen. Now do we find out that Tyrion is really a Targaryen also? I kept reading these theories online, but I didn't think about it until I saw how the dragon warmed up to Jon, and remembered when Tyrion freed the dragons to eat, and they didn't burn him up…is it because he is also a Targaryen? We'll see if that's true and maybe find out by the end of the season.

  4. Brianna Johnson

    May 2, 2019 at 11:01 pm

    I would love to read a prequal about the life of Rhaegar Targaryen, Elia Martell, Lyanna Stark and everything that led to Robert's Rebellion

  5. Louis Varre

    May 3, 2019 at 4:25 am

    He’s kinda a shit bang!!!

  6. Louis Varre

    May 3, 2019 at 4:29 am

    No, we can make a judgement. He fucked the entire realm bc he cheated on his wife, throwing the entire world in not chaos. All over a piece of ass.

  7. HexagonBright

    May 3, 2019 at 5:50 pm

    Commie under cover gay man Obama & Propaganda Celebrities are not role models, they are Scum Bag
    Degenerates who Hate Real hard working Americans & these Degenerates will keep promoting Propaganda &
    accusing their rivals of what they are Guilty of (Racism/Sexism ext.) just look at Avenati, Biden, Warren, Booker, Weinstien ext.
    The list is long on DemonRat Racist, Rapist & Pedophiles.

  8. Sharon G

    May 4, 2019 at 10:03 pm

    Very good 👍😊

  9. Bebos

    May 5, 2019 at 3:20 am

    Rhaegar this, Rhaegar that. To me he seems to have inherited a form of Targaryen madness that drove him to prophecy, Aerys I was the same and he was a mediocre king.

    In the end Rhaegar gave up a throne, allowed his family to fall, got his family killed, his wife raped and killed, and died himself just so he could sleep with a child…

  10. Desirée M

    May 5, 2019 at 4:48 am

    Where is Rhaegar sword ? Who has his sword or just lost in the battle?

  11. Hyri3L

    May 7, 2019 at 10:24 am

    man its all over his face good job done sean bean 😀

  12. Da Wae

    May 7, 2019 at 10:08 pm

    The sword of the morning is cool

  13. elisabeth adams

    May 8, 2019 at 6:15 am

    Well that theory is definitely gone. The dragons Rhaegal and Viserion are dead 4:09

  14. Relyt Noxin

    May 10, 2019 at 8:52 pm

    Lyanna and Rhaegar were married

  15. milan sipton

    May 11, 2019 at 5:36 am

    that little dragon age inquisition flash.. we see you

  16. Paul

    May 12, 2019 at 9:29 pm

    3:48 lmao thats the blackfyre sigil.

  17. 사신Raptron666

    May 13, 2019 at 1:42 am

    they need to make a spinoff series about these roberts rebellion the mad king rhaegar targaryn and stuff i know they can they have alot of context for it

  18. DeAngelo Hill

    May 14, 2019 at 5:28 am

    He had a bigger army, which was more refreshed before the battle at the Trident, and he still lost. He was weak ASF

  19. Hector Gonzalez

    May 15, 2019 at 7:48 pm

    The only person who can play him also plays Thor.

  20. Peppermint

    May 16, 2019 at 4:08 am

    Rhaegar was an idiot, a lunatic and a fool.

  21. Nancy González

    May 16, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    Are we gonna ignore the fact that the Rhaegar from min 6:47, for example, looks just like Heath Ledger?

  22. Brianna Johnson

    May 25, 2019 at 5:58 pm

    Did Rhaegar's son Aegon (the first one, not Jon) look like him, like a silver haired Targaryen? Or like his dark haired Dornish mother Elia?

  23. XIX85 Holland

    May 26, 2019 at 3:57 am

    I just finished the GoT series and wanted to watch character analysis vids, and this is the first one I came across. Very well done. Hope to see more of these in the future.

  24. Ilia Kokrashvili

    May 27, 2019 at 7:36 pm

    3:47 WTF This is sigil of house Blackfyre

  25. Kia Mae Tabucanon

    May 29, 2019 at 2:21 am

    Season 8 doesnt make sense!! All that hype with Jon Snow for nothing 😑

  26. Ephraim Belnap

    May 31, 2019 at 6:48 am

    Watching this post-finale lol and another parallel occurred to me

    Part of why Henry VIII had so many wives is that he was trying to get a suitable heir, switching when he couldn’t one. Rhaegar potentially did the same, only instead of an heir, he wanted a CHOSEN ONE. That kind of history repurposed as fantasy feels VERY George RR Martin, and the consequences deconstruct Henry VIII’s own notorious reputation. Whether or not it fits is something you have to think about 🤔😔😐

  27. Surbhi Jha

    June 3, 2019 at 2:15 pm

    That unnamed soldier was thought be Howland Reed and not Lyanna Stark.

  28. Julia Aarushi

    June 3, 2019 at 6:54 pm

    I hope they make a spinoff about Rhaegar and Robert's Rebellion but after season 8 I hope D&D stay far away from It and just let George handle it

  29. Adi V

    June 7, 2019 at 6:51 pm

    I hate the fact that all this cool story about rhegal being John snow's dad basically amounted to nothing in the show!

  30. Donna Cianciosi

    June 11, 2019 at 4:03 am

    Well the series really crapped all over the theories – we’re looking to you GRRM to fix this. But I fear the book series will never be completed.

  31. joseph Adcock

    June 14, 2019 at 6:47 am

    He actually has 2 kids alive

  32. Kerlos G

    June 17, 2019 at 2:10 am

    They should make a prequel to game of thrones

  33. Bruce Turner

    June 20, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    please please tell me how and where you get the footage. I cant get an answer from Youtube. is it allowed to use soundbites from movies and shows? please respond to me. please.

  34. Ediss

    June 21, 2019 at 10:30 am

    so jie mearn roe nkai likti oi ?

  35. George Cross

    June 22, 2019 at 6:14 pm

    The guy that was defended by the Knight of the Laughing Tree was Jojen Reed btw.

  36. The Sleeping Panda

    June 24, 2019 at 7:04 pm

    Why is this vid better than season 8

  37. Duchess 8891

    July 3, 2019 at 1:08 am

    My name is "Liana" too. They spell it differently but is pronounced the same. 🙂

  38. Залізний кулак

    July 3, 2019 at 3:22 am

    Dude i swear lyanna is such a slut

  39. thatsrightjay

    July 8, 2019 at 12:20 am

    What happened to the ghostbusters video? That was an awesome video and it’s gone.

  40. Francisco Ancer Gómez

    July 9, 2019 at 3:20 am

    Girls, I know what you're thinking but do not. I repeat: DO NOT fall in love with Rhaegar. Elia barely survived the first two babies and Lyanna didn't even make it past the first.

  41. Chuong H

    July 9, 2019 at 9:35 pm

    Rhaegar started a civil war over some wee prophecy. He unnecessarily humiliated his legitimate wife in front of the seven kingdoms when he went pass her (and practically declared war to Robert) at the Harrenhal tourney. He abandoned her and their children under the Mad king's clutch to keep Dorne's alliance while he went to steal a betrothed teenager from her family (and whether it was consented or not, doing so without informing the family and leading them to believe her kidnapped is entirely wrong). He left a single 17 y/o Kingsguard (whom the Mad King practically held hostage at his side) at the Red Keep to guard Eliah, Rhaenys and Aegon while Kingslanding was being taken. I don't know how good a Prince he was but this guy sounds like a total dick.

  42. nat21 regardo

    July 16, 2019 at 8:00 am

    In the books it is possible that the 3 azor ahai is jon snow, daenerys and young griff.

  43. Kasino Kaiser

    July 21, 2019 at 3:15 pm

    I sometimes wonder what would've happened if Elia had three kids

  44. Rina25tir

    July 24, 2019 at 11:46 am

    My favorite character, along with Tyrion, Sansa, Arya.

  45. J Maroof

    July 25, 2019 at 5:54 pm

    As it turns out, none of this even mattered in the end. Bravo HBO, bravo

  46. PriusRaj

    July 26, 2019 at 10:12 am

    Rhaegar annulled his marriage with Elia and married Lyanna Stark. Don't forget that bit.

  47. Johnny D

    July 26, 2019 at 6:46 pm

    Rhaegar was a lovesick fool and an adulterer that doomed the people who were loyal to him.

  48. Orca Lover

    July 30, 2019 at 2:04 am

    Dracarys 🐉

  49. NasanPapaMo Wala Na Po

    July 31, 2019 at 6:21 am

    Rhaegar the only sane in targaryen family

  50. rizaz

    July 31, 2019 at 7:56 am

    awww,,,,what would have been john be if rhaeger would have won the battle of tridents,,oh my god

  51. Floki Helga

    August 2, 2019 at 7:44 am

    A man is Rhegar targarayean

  52. Akva X

    August 4, 2019 at 9:33 am

    Yes…what happened with the Azor Ahai or how it is spelled🤔🤔

  53. Daniel Daniels

    August 4, 2019 at 3:50 pm

    Aegon I and Aegon II. Wtf, Rhaegar….

  54. Rukshar Alam

    August 13, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    Well in the books we have this character Aegon who claims to be the son of Rhaegar and Elia. He has already landed in Westeros with a powerful army.

  55. bts_are_kings_of_kpop KN_KS_MY_JH_PJ_KT_JJ_BTS

    August 18, 2019 at 4:42 pm

    Who is rhaegar targaryen?
    He is the reason why everything fucked up

  56. Hypatia Ravenclaw Kovalevskaya Sklodowska

    August 22, 2019 at 9:20 pm

    Daenerys was not too young to remember Rhaegar, she was not even born when he died… Possibly not even conceived

  57. Hypatia Ravenclaw Kovalevskaya Sklodowska

    August 22, 2019 at 10:40 pm

    What Baristan told about the Rheagar giving money to an orphanage in the show is not in the books, they added that to make Rhaegar seem more admirable

  58. Hypatia Ravenclaw Kovalevskaya Sklodowska

    August 22, 2019 at 10:44 pm

    Are we just going to ignore the fact that Rhaegar basically humiliated his wife, his pregnant wife, in front of the whole aristocracy of Westeros?
    And imagine you being on your birthbed, the doctors tell you your life is at stake if you have any more children, but your husband tells you there must be one more?

  59. Hypatia Ravenclaw Kovalevskaya Sklodowska

    August 22, 2019 at 10:46 pm

    A strategic move for Rhaegar to crown Lyanna? How? What was so smart about it? He accomplished nothing good with it? For a guy who supposedly wanted to save the realm

  60. Hypatia Ravenclaw Kovalevskaya Sklodowska

    August 22, 2019 at 10:49 pm

    Dude plunged the kingdom into a civil war, then hid until Arys ordered Gerald to go find him
    Dude stood aside and did nothing while thousands were dying
    So much for his intelligence

  61. Tasha Vladimiroff

    August 24, 2019 at 11:49 am

    He was an asshole who shot his mouth off one too many times and got jacked up by khal drogo….

  62. Raman Studios

    August 28, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    Oh boy , none of the theories mentioned in the video aged well

  63. WordWar Iii

    September 1, 2019 at 6:14 am

    GOT needs a remake with complete storyline … and not the shortcut version in the HBO …., PLEASE NETFLIX revive the GOT and be the FIRELORD hahahah

  64. Owen O'Connor

    September 4, 2019 at 2:41 am

    How did he die?

  65. C.o.R (Lex)

    September 7, 2019 at 9:35 pm

    Book Rhaegar: handsome, beautiful eyes, luscious hair, gorgeous cheekbones
    Show Rhaegar: Chongus

  66. Sabrina Mitchell

    September 8, 2019 at 7:52 pm

    SPOILER ALERT

    But after this was posted i believe mustve been the episode showing brans vision of Lyanna and Rhaegars wedding, and to me it seemed that they were truly in love with each other

  67. Damien Davis

    September 10, 2019 at 1:35 pm

    what a load of crappy acting , crappy actors, we have been watching this kind of stiff way too long.
    you people are so easily sold on, let's face it a title.

  68. ziwe

    September 14, 2019 at 8:16 pm

    And all of this in the end didn't matter

  69. Chad Coley

    September 16, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    Danny’s favorable older brother.

  70. Mick Stanhope

    September 17, 2019 at 11:34 am

    Waste of time and money. I don't care.

  71. IonlyROBwhite DrugDealers

    September 17, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    Jon Snow is the Queen Killer… Ruined the show smh

  72. um ok

    October 5, 2019 at 3:41 am

    1:45 who's back story became pointless because of how season 8 ended.

  73. stephanie naldo

    October 7, 2019 at 4:51 am

    I hope HBO create new series of GOT. Where rhaegar story involve 😊

  74. aaron guest

    October 7, 2019 at 6:34 pm

    Rhaegar and Lyanna are both dumbasses.

  75. Anush Asuri

    October 10, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    i feel bad for robert

  76. 마이배뷔

    October 11, 2019 at 12:48 pm

    I wish HBO will make a series on rhaegar targaerion, I wanna know more of his side
    PS:the ending was so bad

  77. Edd Valdez

    October 14, 2019 at 9:26 am

    Justin Bieber? Srsly..

  78. Datu Rajiev Indal

    October 15, 2019 at 9:52 am

    Tbh, Aerys was not the only person responsible for the death of their dynasty. It was also Rhaegar's. He fathered Jon, who killed the Last living full-blooded Targaryen.

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