[SPOILER] Meets an Early End Midway Through Season 2 of 'House of the Dragon'

Rhaenys Targaryen was known as the "Queen Who Never Was" for a reason -- and Season 2 of 'HotD' explores her death.

Sara Belcher - Author

Jul. 7 2024, Published 10:01 p.m. ET

Corlys and Rhaenys in 'House of the Dragon'
Source: HBO

This article contains spoilers for House of the Dragon Season 2, Episode 4.

The Dance of the Dragons is well underway, and though Episode 4 shows the first big battle scene of the season, it seems both sides are suffering some pretty significant losses. Rhaenys, Rhaenyra's aunt and trusted confidant as she battles for her right to the Iron Throne, is the first to volunteer to go to battle for her as Ser Criston Cole rallies an army to fight for Aegon.

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Unfortunately, it seems that the Battle at Rook's Rest is where the former heir meets her end. But how does Rhaenys die in House of the Dragon? Let's break down her demise as it happens in Episode 4.

Rhaenys sitting between Rhaenyra and Ser Alfred Broome in 'House of the Dragon'
Source: HBO

Rhaenys sitting between Rhaenyra and Ser Alfred Broome in 'House of the Dragon'

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Rhaenys dies in the Battle of Rook's Rest.

In a noble act, Rhaenys offers to fly into battle with her dragon, Melys, instead of Rhaenyra. Though the battling heir insisted that she fly into battle herself to face off against Ser Criston's growing army, Rhaenys declared that she should go in her queen's stead. As Melys was the largest dragon fighting for the blacks, it made sense for Rhaenys to ride into battle.

Just as the green's army begins its march on Rook's Rest, Melys and Rhaenys fly into battle, torching a good portion of the approaching army and defending one of their only strongholds on land. She is alone in her pursuit, singlehandedly facing off against an army after Rhaenyra denied her son from joining Rhaenys's side.

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Unfortunately, a slightly drunk Aegon aboard Sunfyre meets Rhaenys in the air, and the battle between the dragons begins. Rhaenys manages to get a few good shots in, in between Sunfyre's attempts to burn the opponent alive. Not long after, Aemond and Vhagar join the battle, Aemond orders his dragon to torch the two battling in the air, causing the king and his steed to fall while Rhaenys manages to get away only partially harmed.

Rhaenys and Corlys
Source: HBO
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While surveying the land, taking in the carnage done by the battle, Vhagar and Aemond manage to pop up out of hiding (despite Vhagar's size) and attack Rhaenys and Melys. It's a savage attack, with the bigger dragon snapping the neck of Melys.

With honor, Rhaenys falls with her now-dead dragon, accepting her fate. Upon hitting the ground, she and Melys go up in flames, ending their time fighting for the blacks.

Her death in the show happens almost exactly as it does in the book, though the showrunners lean into Aemond's betrayal more than Aegon's contribution to the aerial battle.

Though viewers don't get to see the fallout from the battle, which seemed to have significant losses on both sides, it's likely Corlys will be dealing with some resentment for his chosen queen for the result of the Battle at Rook's Rest.

This is still only the beginning of the Dance of the Dragons -- and it's not likely to get less bloody in the coming episodes. Watch as the whole thing unfolds when House of the Dragon airs new episodes on Sundays at 9 p.m. EST on HBO and Max.

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