The Citadel

The Archive of 'A Song of Ice and Fire' Lore

So Spake Martin

Good Queen Alysanne and Rhaenyra

[Note: The following continues GRRM's series of descriptions of notable Targaryens (and Targaryen bastards) for Amoka.]


Alysanne was the queen, consort, and sister of King Jaehaerys I, the Old King, and like him she lived a long life. Since you pictured him as an old man at the end of his reign, I figure it would be most appropriate to do her the same way, rather than as the young woman she was when Jaehaerys first ascended the Iron Throne.

You might consider Alysanne as the Eleanor of Aquitaine of Westeros, and model her on Katherine Hepburn's portrayal of Eleanor in the film THE LION IS WINTER. Tall and straight, unbowed by time, she had high cheekbones, clear blue eyes. Age left crow's feet around her eyes and laugh lines about her mouth, but her face never lost its strength. She was a fine archer and hunter in her youth, and loved to fly atop her dragon to all the distant parts of the realm. Alysanne was slim of waist and small of breast, with a long neck, a fair complexion, a high forehead. In old age her hair turned white as snow. She wore it in a bun, pulled back and pinned behind her hear.

Her relationship with King Jaehaerys was always very close. She was his most trusted counselor and his right hand, and often wore a slimmer, more feminine version of his crown at court. Beloved by the common people of Westeros, she loved them in return, and was renowned for her charities.


The first-born child of King Viserys I, Rhaenyra Targaryen was almost ten years older than her half-brother Aegon. She was the king's only living child (two siblings having died in infancy) by his first wife, an Arryn of the Vale, and grew up expecting to become the first ruling queen of Westeros. When the second of her brothers died soon after being born, Viserys himself began to treat Rhaenyra as his heir, keeping her by his side in court and at council meetings. Many of the nobles of the realm took nte, so the young princess was surrounded by flatterers and favor-seekers all through her childhood.

Her mother's death and her father's second marriage did little to disturb her expectations, but when his new Hightower queen gave the king three healthy sons and a daughter in rapid succession, the seeds of the Dance of the Dragons were sown.

You will probably want to paint Rhaenyra as she was at her father's death, when she laid claim to the Iron Throne. Pampered from an early age, she was a pudgy girl and a stout woman, with a thick waist and a very large bosom. She was very proud and stubborn, and there was a certain petulance to her small mouth. Rhaenyra did have the silver-gold hair of the Targaryens, which she wore long and braided in the manner of Aegon the First's warrior wife Visenya. Rhaenyra was no warrior herself. She always dressed richly, favoring purple and maroon velvets and golden Myrish lace in intricate patterns. Her bodice often glittered with pearls and diamonds, and there were always rings on her fingers. Whenever she was anxious, she would turn them compulsively, round and round. Though Rhaenyra could be charming, she was quick to anger and never forgot a slight. During the Dance of the Dragons, she wore her father's crown.