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Briana Hansen
July 02, 2016 12:03 pm

The history of Daenerys and the Targaryen family in Game of Thrones is fascinating. And if you’re not caught up on the series this post may contain spoilers you don’t enjoy as much as whatever you’ve seen of the show so far. 

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The world of Westeros now has two Queens and a King in the North. Needless to say, things are getting pretty complicated in an already convoluted political system. And if you weren’t (somehow) already a fan of Daenerys Targaryen and rooting for her to sit on the Iron Throne, you most likely are now so that she can at the very least get rid of Cersei Lannister.

Also, she’s proven she’d be like an amazing ruler and she’s got like psychic connections to her dragons, so, she pretty much rocks all around.

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But there’s an interesting bit of Targaryen history that Nerdist has just written about that could give some insight into what her reign might actually look like (or, at least, some warnings about what she’ll be up against). It’s the history of the only other Targaryen Queen to sit on the throne, Rhaenyra.

The general gist is this: Rhaenyra’s brother’s died, which mean if her father didn’t technically have any “rightful heirs” (because Westeros is a world where little magical forest people can turn humans into zombies yet living people somehow can’t fathom a woman would be capable of being in charge…go figure).

Rather than leaving it to chance that his brother might inherit the throne, King Viserys made it clear he wanted his daughter, Rhaenyra, to follow him no matter what. And that didn’t change when he went and got married again then had a whole new set of offspring (including some boys who were technically supposed to be the heirs). So the whole thing was poised for a bit of a fight if he were to pass, despite the fact that his wishes were clear (his new wife was not having it… she wanted one of her boys to rule).

King Viserys died, Rhaenyra crowned herself ruler, and her stepmother and half-brothers went nuts. A Targaryen civil war broke out (and lots of dragons, who were more plentiful at the time, died) and Rhaenyra ended up only sitting on the Iron Throne for a half of a year before she captured and sentenced to death.

So what does any of this mean for Daenerys? Well, hopefully the people of Westeros have grown a bit more progressive so a Queen ruler won’t be that big of a deal anymore. And especially after a Cersei reign, they’ll probably be happy to have anyone else.

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But more importantly, she won’t just get to rule easily simply because she technically should. Especially when we now know that R+L=J which means there’s a technical male Targaryen heir to the throne (though Jon would probably be fine not ruling).

Even more worrying, Rhaenyra’s story shows that as much of a help as dragons are, they’re not a guaranteed win. Her ancestor Rhaenyra tried to rule with only “fire and blood” but it didn’t work out awesome for her. Hopefully Daenerys will be able to learn from her mistakes and start a new era of Targaryen rule (not to mention a new era of dragons because they’re ba-ack!).

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