House of the Dragon: Rhaenys and her dragon Meleys, explained

Cameron Frew
Rhaenys riding Meleys in House of the Dragon

Rhaenys and her dragon Meleys play a major role in House of the Dragon Episode 9, so let’s break down their history riding together, and why that ending was so important.

Game of Thrones had three dragon riders: most notably, there was Daenerys Targaryen, the “mother of dragons”, who rode Drogon alongside her other two dragons, Rhaegal and Viserion.

Secondly, there was Jon Snow. While he was long considered the bastard child of Ned Stark, he was actually born Aegon Targaryen, making him the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. He rode Rhaegal in the eighth season. Thirdly, there was the Night King, who resurrected and enslaved Viserion.

Rhaenys is among the many dragonriders in House of the Dragon, controlling one of the 17 dragons we’ll see throughout its run – so, here’s what you need to know about Rhaenys and Meleys.

House of the Dragon: Who is Rhaenys Targaryen?

Rhaenys in House of the Dragon

Rhaenys Targaryen, played by Eve Best, is the first cousin of King Viserys I (Paddy Considine) and Daemon (Matt Smith), and wife of Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint), the Lord of the Tides.

In the order of succession, she should have followed her grandfather, Jaehaerys, on the Iron Throne – alas, it was unprecedented for a woman to be chosen as heir, so it went to Viserys.

House of the Dragon: Rhaenys and Meleys, explained

Meleys is Rhaenys’ dragon. She has scarlet scales and pink membranes on her wings, which is why she’s known as the Red Queen.

She was first ridden by Alyssa Targaryen in 75 AC, who enjoyed taking Viserys and Daemon on flights around King’s landing. Sadly, Alyssa died during childbirth nearly 10 years later, at which point Rhaenys claimed Meleys.

When Rhaenys married Corlys, she flew to the wedding on Meleys. In House of the Dragon, we’ve seen her riding Meleys twice: to Laenor and Rhaenyra’s wedding; and at the end of House of the Dragon Episode 9.

After being ushered to the coronation of Aegon II, Rhaenys manages to retrieve Meleys from the dragon pit, before emerging through the floor of the building and escaping the city.

This moment isn’t in George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, but it’s indicative of what’s to come. She could have murdered Aegon, Alicent, Otto, and the rest of them right there, but chose not to, instead leaving to inform Rhaenyra.

While we won’t go into much further detail, we can expect Rhaenys to sit on the Rhaenyra’s black council and fly Meleys during the Dance of the Dragons.

You can find out more about the other dragons in House of the Dragon here.

House of the Dragon Episode 10, the Season 1 finale, will be available to watch on October 23 in the US and October 24 in the UK.