RHAEGAR: WHAT’S THE APPEAL?

whysogrimm asked: What is it about Rhaegar that gets him so many apologists–in universe and out? I don’t deny there’s appeal, I just don’t get it.

I’m gonna admit to you, I literally had to google in defense of Rhaegar Targaryen thinkpieces for this, and they’re just as awful as you expect them to be. I find a lot of the Rhaegar fans tend to be SUPER-mega Targaryen fans, and as far as Targaryens go, Rhaegar doesn’t even suck the most. I’m not mocking Targaryen fans because of course, dragons are cool, but truthfully, no matter the truth we end up finally receiving about what really happened in the Rebellion era, Rhaegar fucked up big time.

I think the lovely silver prince aspect keeps him afloat more than anything – the guy with the long silver mane, playing harp, wooing the ladies, bookish, trained in combat – Rhaegar is just as romanticized as any of the ladies in the Rebellion; from lines like Rhaegar loved his Lady Lyanna to The dragon prince sang a song so sad it made the wolf maid sniffle, ASOIAF is telling the tragedy of love, war, and losing.

What is honor compared to a woman’s love? What is duty against the feel of a newborn son in your arms … or the memory of a brother’s smile? Wind and words. Wind and words. We are only human, and the gods have fashioned us for love. That is our great glory, and our great tragedy.

Does that make Rhaegar a bad person? Does that land him on the black end of the Morality Scale? No, totally not. I don’t think he intended any of this to happen the way it did, but it still did.

At the end of the day, Rhaegar biffed it. However the cookie crumbles, he didn’t shoot his shot in time to depose his dad from the throne, he lost whatever bit of handle he could’ve had on Tywin’s faction and in turn, failed to protect his children and wife, and I just don’t see how he can make up for those things. Literally. Nothing sounds appetizing. Elia had a secret lover? Nah. Elia was dying? Nah. Elia gave him explicit permission to go chase his prophecy-hard dick’s dreams? Still sounds shitty.

For every moment people think of Rhaegar in his glorious scaled black and red armor, I hope they also think about little Rhaenys, hiding under her dad’s bed, crying, screaming as she was ripped in half, and Aegon, dashed against the wall, and Elia, Elia who held on til the bitter end. The blood is just as much on his hands as it is House Lannister and their men, no matter the spin you put on it.

2 thoughts on “RHAEGAR: WHAT’S THE APPEAL?

  1. Rhaegar is one of those who has everything right on paper but there is still a lot of mystery about him. Because of that I think people tend to inject their own fantasies and make him their manic pixie dream boy. The relationship between Lyanna and Rhaegar (and the whole series…) is a take on what happens after the happily ever after in fairytales. You might have inspired me to think more about this. 😂

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