House of the Dragon: how does Rhaenyra Targaryen die?

House of the Dragon: the Targaryen civil war doesn't end pretty for Aemond, Daemon, or even Aegon II. Here's how poor Rhaenyra Targaryen dies

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How does Rhaenyra Targaryen die? Spoilers ahead for House of the Dragon. The fantasy series House of the Dragon is building towards one of the greatest wars in the history of Westeros, the Dance of the Dragons. This civil war killed off the dragons, broke the Targaryen family’s power over Westeros, and ultimately led to Robert’s Rebellion.

On one side, we have Aegon II Targaryen and his faction, the Greens, while on the other, we have Rhaenyra Targaryen. Both have some form of a legitimate claim to the least comfortable chair in the Seven Kingdoms, but only one can win the war. So who wins? Well, spoilers, but neither wins, really. That said, Aegon II does manage to have his half-sister murdered. So how does Rhaenyra Targaryen die? Well, it’s not a pleasant story.

How does Rhaenyra Targaryen die?

Everyone in Westeros knows that Rhaenyra was fed to the dragon Sunfyre by her half-brother Aegon II. However, there’s more to the story than that, and it begins in King’s Landing during the Dance of the Dragons after Rhaenyra captures the city.

Rhaenyra immediately took up residence in the Red Keep taking Alicent Hightower and Aegon’s wife, Helaena, prisoner. Rhaenyra was initially a popular ruler, but as her paranoia grew, the commoners began to turn on her. After six months or so, riots broke out across the city —sparked by the death of Helaena — and Rhaenyra was left with no choice but to flee along with her son Aegon the Younger.

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As she tried to make her way to Dragonstone, Rhaenyra was forced to sell her crown for passage on a ship. Unfortunately, Rhaenyra’s hardships didn’t end her, and she was betrayed by Alfred Bloome and taken to her brother Aegon II who had taken control of Dragonstone.

Aegon the Younger was then ripped from her arms and taken to the wounded dragon Sunfyre. While the beats had been crippled in a battle with Meleys, it had power enough to bathe the Black Queen in its firey breath before devouring her in six bites.

The cruel Aegon II made Aegon the Younger watch as Rhaenyra died, and the dragon’s ferocity was seared into the young boy’s memory. When the young boy eventually took the throne, he refused to talk about dragons and hated the creatures for most of his life, earning the nickname Dragonsbane. Indeed Aegon is often credited for killing the last dragon, although that’s another story.

If you can’t get enough of the Targaryen civil war, check out our guide to House of the Dragons season 2 or we have guides on some of the best House of the Dragon characters, including Daemon TargaryenLarys Strong, and Ser Criston Cole.