House Targaryen
'House of the Dragon' protagonist Rhaenyra Targaryen is a distant ancestor of 'Game of Thrones' Daen...

Here's Exactly How Rhaenyra Targaryen Is Related To Dany And Jon Snow

The blood of the dragon runs thick.

by Dylan Kickham and Ani Bundel
Originally Published: 

The Game of Thrones universe is officially back, and it brought even more confusing family lineage along with it. The new prequel series House of the Dragon rewinds the clock nearly two centuries back to when the Targaryens were thriving as the dragon-riding rulers of Westeros. Although the spinoff is 172 years removed from the events of Game of Thrones, it’s still connected to the characters in the original show in a compelling way — by blood. Our new protagonist, Rhaenyra Targaryen, is an ancestor of both Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow.

To fully understand how the characters in House of the Dragon are related to the Mother of Dragons and the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, you first need to remember how Dany and Jon are related. In Game of Thrones Season 7, Jon discovered his real name was Aegon Targaryen. He learned he was the son of Daenerys’ eldest brother, Rhaegar, and heir to the Iron Throne. That made Dany his aunt and him ahead of her in the line of succession. (Obviously, fans would assume a reveal like that would complicate their romance, but in Westeros, incest is far less of a problem than who inherits what.) Had Jon become king, he would have been Aegon VI Targaryen, sixth of his name.

Rhaenyra Targaryen is at the center of House of the Dragon, the firstborn of her father, King Viserys, I Targaryen, and his only child by his first wife, Aemma Arryn. With no sons when Aemma died in childbirth, and no plans to remarry, Viserys insisted on naming Rhaenyra his heir. (Viserys’ refusal to remarry didn’t last long, which is where the trouble starts.)

Rhaenyra will remind viewers a lot of her equally ambitious descendant, Daenerys. Rhaenyra is Daenerys’ great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother (yes, that’s seven “greats”). That means she’s Jon Snow’s (aka Aegon Targaryen’s) eight-times great-grandmother since he’s one generation after Aunt Dany, despite the two being the same age.


Spoiler alert: Explaining the Targaryen family tree may give away some future plot points in House of the Dragon, so if you want to stay totally in the dark, don’t read on. Rhaenyra isn’t the only notable House of the Dragon character Dany and Jon are related to due to the habit of incestuously intermarrying. They’re directly related to Viserys (who is Daenerys’ eight-times and Jon’s nine-times great grandfather), however, the two characters are also direct descendants of Rhaenyra’s uncle, Daemon Targaryen.

As House of the Dragon’s first season has revealed, the attraction between Rhaenryna and Daemon has flared repeatedly throughout their relationship. Even though it’s unclear if Daemon is begging for Rhaenyra’s hand because he wants the throne or lusts for her, their hook-up won’t be the last. When Viserys passes and the conflict between her and the Hightowers escalates, she will find herself conveniently widowed, and Daemon will make sure he is in the same boat. The two will strike up a romance which produces two sons: Aegon and Viserys.

After the Dance of Dragons ends, there’s rapid shuffling through several kings over a short period, ending with Viserys II on the throne at the age of 49. He doesn’t last a year, but his son, Aegon VI, will follow him. Dany and Jon both descend directly from that line, several generations down.

It’s important to remember that the Game of Thrones TV series made several changes from the books, so House of the Dragon may also rewrite the book saga’s history a bit. Still, the show has laid the groundwork for Rhaenyra and Daemon’s relationship, eventually leading to the births of both Daenerys and Jon Snow. Plus, it’s impossible not to see Daenerys’ same fiery spirit in Rhaenyra. You know what they say: Like seven-times-great-grandmother, like seven-times-great-granddaughter.

New episodes of House of the Dragon Season 1 arrive Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max.

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