The Citadel

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

So Spake Martin

June 2006

Three Maidens in the Tower
Submitted By: Amoka

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

Writing out those descriptions of Queens Alysanne and Rhaenyra somehow got me thinking about the ladies of House Targaryen. Of course, to beat two queens you need three princesses, so here are



The eldest daughter of King Aegon III was sixteen when her brother Baelor ascended the Iron Throne, dissolved his marriage to her (which had been celebrated but never consummated), and confined her and her sisters to their own apartments in the Red Keep, soon known as the Maidenvault.

Daena was Targaryen to the bone; strong, beautiful, wilful. Her silver-gold hair was thick and curly, a wild untamed mane that tumbled down across her shoulders and framed a heart-shaped face, a pair of sparling purple eyes, and a fearless "I'll dare anything" smile. She was a wild almost from birth, lithe and athletic, a runner, a climber, and an expert horsewoman. "I was born to ride a dragon," she liked to say, but the dragons were dead. Daena was expert at riding at the rings, though she was never allowed to joust in an actual tourney. She was also a hunter, and a fine archer with her short recurved bow. She worshipped her father and idolized her brother Daeron, the Young Dragon.

Daena's dress was often as dramatic as she was. As a child she often dressed all in black, like her father King Aegon III. After her brother Baelor failed to consummate their marriage, she changed to all white, and vowed to wear nothing else until she had been properly bedded, in hopes of shaming him. (It did not work. Baelor liked her in white, feeling that it made her look more innocent). Later, as a pampered prisoner in her brother's court, Daena made several escapes, usually by dressing as a washerwoman or serving girl (once with the connivance of her cousin, Aegon).

You could legimately depict her in the simple brown skirt and laced bodice of a peasant girl -- in her hunting leathers, with her bow and quiver -- in her white post-wedding court clothes -- even in the blacks she wore as a child. No matter how she was dressed, however, she always wore the golden three-headed dragon pendant she had inherited from her father. At court she wore it on a fine golden chain; when in disguise, she hung it on a leather thong and hid it beneath her clothes. Supposedly she even wore it when bathing, and when making love.

She became known as "Daena the Defiant" when she turned up pregnant, and refused to name the father. Her son was born robust and healthy, with the purple eyes and silver-gold hair of the Targaryens. Daena named him Daemon. Years later, when he distinguished himself as a squire, his father (who by that time was the king) presented him the sword of Aegon the Conquerer, and from time forth he was known as Daemon Blackfyre.


Two years younger than her sister Daena, Rhaena had a very different personality. Where Daena was wilful, wild, and adventurous, Rhaena was dutiful, meek, and passive. When older she was heavily influenced by her brother Baelor, the Blessed, and became very pious. Unlike her sisters, she never chafed at her confinement in the Maidenvault, and in later life she joined the Faith and became a septa.

At fourteen, Rhaena was just as lovely as her sister, but hers was a softer, sweeter, more feminine beauty. She loved to dress in white and gold and was very fond of lace trim on her sleeves and bodice. She loved to sew and do needlework, and often embroidered religious scenes on her own clothing (the Mother's glowing face, the Maiden and a white hart, etc). Though by no means plump, her body was more rounded than Daena's. Her breasts were larger, her lips fuller, her hair more gold than silver and always carefully coiffed and combed. She had soft, kind eyes and a shy, sweet smile.


Princess Elaena was only eleven when locked away in the Maidenvault. At that age she was a skinny thing, the runt of the litter, but she had more than a little of her sister Daena's wilfullness even then, as she would prove when she grew older. She liked to dress in black as a girl, because her big sister Daena had done it. Her eyes were a soft lilac, her mouth thin-lipped and often angry. Her hair was a platinum white with a bright golden streak down the middle, an unusual color even for the Targaryens. She wore it long, pulled back, and braided, and was always being told it was her crowning beauty.

When Baelor the Blessed confined his sisters to the Maidenvault, he said it was because they were so beautiful that just seeing them would tempt the men of his court to sin. Elaena hated the imprisonment, so she cut her braid off and sent it to her brother, hoping that if she rid herself of her beauty her brother might let her out. (He didn't). For years after, however, Princess Elaena wore her hair short. Elaena's most cherished possession was a dragon's egg whose stony shell showed the same colors as her hair.

Elaena lived a much longer life than her sister Daena, and a much more tumultuous one than her sister Rhaena. The great love of her life was her cousin, Alyn Velaryon, the seafarer and admiral known as Oakenfist, to whom she bore a bastard son and daughter, Jon and Jeyne Waters. She married thrice in later years, twice at a king's behest and once for passion. She gave birth to seven children, then declared that if seven was sufficient for the gods it would do for her as well.

Never regarded as a great beauty like her sisters, Elaena proved to be one of those women whose features improve with age, and men said she was more beautiful at seventy than she had been at seventeen. She was shrewd and intelligent as well, especially with money. Though her second husband sat on the king's small council as master of coin, it was widely known that it was Elaena who actually performed all the duties of the office.

All that lies in her future, though. When sent to the Maidenvault, she was only a girl of eleven, awkward and angular, shy and charming by turns.

Good Queen Alysanne and Rhaenyra
Submitted By: Amoka

[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.

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