Rhaegar Targaryen was only known as the mysterious Targaryen who was Jon’s father, until the Game of Thrones Season 7 finale tonight. It turns out that the many rumors the Starks were told about Rhaegar all these years were wrong.
Fans finally got to see Daenery’s older brother, and it was a moment we won’t be forgetting.
But exactly who was Rhaegar and what is his history? We have the details here.
Rhaegar is long dead by the time Game of Thrones starts. He was Daenerys’ and Viserys’ older brother, the oldest son of the Mad King. His mother is Rhaella Targaryen. Daenerys never knew him, because he died long before she was born. She was always told that Rhaegar was a great killer, but Barristan Selmy told her that Rhaegar was actually quite kind. He used to disguise himself as a minstrel and play in King’s Landing. He usually gave the money he made to other minstrels or orphans. He said that despite Rhaegar’s history, he actually never liked killing and preferred singing.
It seems Dany and Rhaegar had quite a bit in common. (Not to mention their love of Starks!)
Interestingly, Tywin originally wanted Cersei to marry Rhaegar. Aerys wouldn’t go for this idea and, instead, Rhaegar was married to Elia Martell of Dorne. They had a daughter, Rhaenys, and a son, Aegon.
The story commonly known in Westeros (and now known to be fake) was that Rhaegar was always infatuated with Lyanna Stark and ultimately kidnapped and raped her. However, fans had long theorized that there was actually a mutual attraction between the two and she may have left willingly. It turns out they were right.
Petyr Baelish told Sansa that during a tournament, after Rhaegar won, he rode past his wife, Elia, and put a crown of winter roses in Lyanna’s lap instead. This showed Rhaegar’s deep affection for Lyanna and how unlikely it was that he actually physically hurt her.
As it turns out, Rhaegar somehow had is marriage to Elia annulled and secretly married Lyanna Stark, making Jon Snow a legitimate son and a legitimate heir to the Iron Throne. This isn’t a completely happy story, however. It also means that Rhaegar turned his own children into bastards. They didn’t live long, however, and were also killed in Robert’s Rebellion.
Rhaegar was killed in “Robert’s Rebellion,” during a battle called the Battle of the Trident by Robert Baratheon, Lyanna’s betrothed. He killed Rhaegar with a single blow from his warhammer. Shortly after his death, Jaimie killed his dad, The Mad King.