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That Big Rhaenys' House Of The Dragon Twist Explained: The Decision & What It Will Mean

Includes ENORMOUS SPOILERS for House of the Dragon season 2, episode 4.


  • Rhaenys Targaryen dies in battle against Aemond and Vhagar.
  • Rhaenys’ death will create division among Rhaenyra’s ranks, particularly between her and Corlys Velaryon.
  • House of the Dragon season 2, episode 4, takes creative liberties with Aemond’s role and the betrayal of Aegon.

House of the Dragon season 2, episode 4, sees a major twist with Rhaenys, with multiple factors included in her pivotal decision. The ending to “A Dance of Dragons” sees the Battle of Rook’s Rest take place, where Ser Criston Cole leads the Greens’ infantry force up the coast in hopes of blocking Dragonstone and Driftmark off from the mainland of Westeros. In doing so, he baits Rhaenyra’s Black faction into sending a dragonrider to deter the invading force, allowing Aemond Targaryen and his dragon Vhagar to strike. Ultimately, Cole’s plan works out, though not without its losses.

Out of the many dragons in House of the Dragon, Vhagar is undoubtedly the biggest and most experienced. However, it faces off with Rhaenys Targaryen and her dragon, Meleys. Rhaenys and Meleys have been bonded longer than any other rider and dragon alive during the Dance, and they put up a decent fight against the far bigger Vhagar. Aegon II and Sunfyre surprise everyone by entering the conflict, and Rhaenys and Meleys get the best of them nearly immediately, causing serious damage to the king’s golden dragon.

Rhaenys’ Death Explained: Why She & Meleys Didn’t Flee The Battle When They Had The Chance

Rhaenys Resigns Herself To Her Fate And Charges Aemond & Vhagar

Rhaenys Targaryen’s death may have come as a shock to audiences, losing a key member of House of the Dragon’s ensemble character cast mid-way through the season. The most shocking aspect, perhaps, is that after the initial confrontation with Aegon and Sunfyre, Rhaenys has the opportunity to survive, with the Lord of the Seven Kingdoms having been sent to the ground, wounded and potentially dead, for all she knows. But she turns around and takes another go at Aemond and Vhagar, seemingly resigned to her fate.

Rhaenys knows Vhagar is a far bigger dragon than Meleys, but she rolls the dice

There’s a lot of potential opportunity here. Rhaenys knows Vhagar is a far bigger dragon than Meleys, but she rolls the dice, ultimately doing quite well until she’s taken by surprise on her eventual way out. This decision could’ve been made with the intent of essentially ending the war, as eliminating Vhagar would crush the Greens. However, Rhaenys’ decision also seems to have an element of resignation and self-sacrifice. Rhaenys may see where the war is heading and consider it better to try and end the conflict there, or at least end her part in it.

How Rhaenys Dies In The Book

Rhaenys Is Ambushed By Aemond & Aegon Together

Vhagar and Meleys fighting with fire in House of the Dragon season 2, episode 4

House of the Dragon is based on the book Fire & Blood by George R.R. Martin, but it takes creative liberties in deciding the minor details while remaining true to the more significant events. Rhaenys’ death is one of those events, and it happens in a relatively similar manner in the novels. At the Battle of Rook’s Rest, she and Meleys are ambushed by Aemond and Aegon with their dragons, and she takes out Aegon before going down herself. This was also part of Criston Cole’s plan in the books, though there are some differences in how it’s set up.

House of the Dragon’s book changes continue to pile up in season 2, episode 4, as the Battle of Rook’s Rest changes Aegon’s role. In the book, he’s part of Cole and Aemond’s plan to catch the Blacks’ dragonrider off guard while he goes on his own initiative in the TV series, wanting to prove himself. Aemond’s decision to betray Aegon is also entirely original to the show and drastically alters how the battle plays out. If not for Rhaenys turning back to fight Aemond, it could’ve been an outstanding victory for Rhaenyra’s side.

What Rhaenys’ Death Means For House Of The Dragon

Rhaenyra Will Have Division Among Her Ranks Going Forward

Rhaenys and Corlys speaking to Rhaenyra's small council in House of the Dragon season 2, episode 4

Rhaenys’ death has grander implications on House of the Dragon beyond just the loss of a main cast member. It’s a huge blow to the Blacks, who are down one of their most powerful dragonriders, likely leading to them welcoming new riders to try and claim the untamed dragons on Dragonstone and Driftmark. In terms of Rhaenyra’s council, she’s lost one of her most avid supporters, and this sows division between her and Corlys Velaryon, Rhaenys’ lord-husband. Rhaenys was the one who brought House Velaryon over to the Blacks in the first place, after all.

Corlys has been skeptical of Rhaenyra and Daemon since season 1, but will grow even more-so going forward with the loss of his wife. He will likely blame Rhaenyra’s inaction for Rhaenys’ death, leading to inter-faction conflict among the Blacks. It will be fascinating to see where Corlys goes in House of the Dragon from here, as his decisions can be pivotal to the war going forward.

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