Arya & Rhaeyns: A Stark/Targaryen Analysis

Part 1: Arya & Good Queen Alysanne


Rhaenys was the youngest child of the 3 Dragons that conquered Westeros and second daughter of Aerion Targaryen.

Aegon had a deep love and affection for Rhaenys and was far more detached with Visenya. So the fact that Jon feels deeply for Arya is an advantage that we can’t ignore.

Rhaenys’ personality is described as: Playful, curious, IMPULSIVE, and given to flights of fancy.

These are descriptions that would describe Arya. There are many moments in the books where Arya’s wolf-blood is on display: her impulsive and curious nature has her exploring new things, meeting new people and doing what she wants. Whereas, Sansa is sterner, reserved, follows the rules and minds her courtesies. It seems like she will grow to be even colder and sterner as the story unfolds.  Nothing like Rhaeyns.

*Dancing: Arya is a water dancer, just like her needlework, she does it a different way. Arya’s water dancing is like ballet. She is completely enthralled by this style of sword-fighting. Rhaeyns was a fan of Poetry and she also “supported many a singer, mummer, and puppeters.” Arya is literally working her mummer skills, living and working amongst them, and absolutely loves it. An interesting note: Arya remembers fondly learning the speeches in “The Conqueror’s Two Wives” (about Aegon & his sister wives). As Mercy, she enjoyed working in the plays and memorised other actors’ lines for no reason other than her enjoyment.



Arya has the strongest connection to wolves and still has her direwolf and is deeply connected to golden-eyed Nymeria. Arya is a warg and a skin-changer. There are credible cases to be made that Arya could one day ride a dragon herself, skin-changing one or with the help of Bran.

Out of the 3 Dragon conquerors, Rhaeyns was the most connected to her dragon.

Rhaenys and her Dragon Meraxes: “It was said that Rhaenys spent more time on dragonback than her brother and sister combined, for above all things she loved to fly.”

Arya not only has a connection with actual Dragons and calls them “old friends”, but she also wants to grow wings and fly. Arya says wants to see a “dragon”. GRRM uses dragon imagery in Arya’s chapters. She dreams of seeing a Dragon while remembering Old Nan’s tales, which happen to be the truest foretelling of things to come.

*Also interesting: GRRM includes an image of Arya gazing at Blarion the Black Dread, which just so happens to be Aegon the Conquer’s dragon. The only other major characters that are alive in the asoiaf that are also depicted in GRRM’s book TWoI&F were Jon & Dany.



So not only is Rhaeyns the most connected to her dragon and spends the most time on dragonback, she also said she wanted to fly on her golden-eyed Meraxes and cross the Sunset sea and discover what is West of Westeros. *squealing*

So Rhaeyns is also an adventurer at heart, brave and independent.



Arya (like her heroine Nymeria) will never be a battlefield warrior like Visenya. Nymeria was a commander and leader of her people. This is similar to Rhaenys, who was more a strategist than a combat warrior. Rhaeyns also has a vengeful side as we saw with her attack on Storm’s End,

“Rhaenys wrought vengeance upon the attackers of Orys, robbed them of familiar territory to use in the future, and struck a healthy dose of fear into the stormlords, who warned King Argilac of the dragon and her rider.”

When Rhaeyns tried to take Dorne, going on her own the first time, shows how much trust Aegon put in her, and how powerful she was with Meraxes. Rhaenys was fearsome as she threatens Dorne with bloody retribution, Rhaenys replied, “but we will come again, princess, and the next time we shall come with fire and blood.”

*SPYING:  Arya’s talents in this area are well documented with her training in the HoBW. She also demonstrates early signs of being an excellent spy BEFORE arriving to Braavos. When she was a prisoner in Harrenhal reading Roose’s letters or climbing a huge tree at the God’s Eye lake to scout miles ahead for help. Rhaenys also used this ability, “Spying from dragonback, Rhaenys could report the movements of the Storm King’s host without Argilac himself having any way to counter her scouting (as he might have with traditional ground-based scouts).”



Rhaenys focused on building allegiances and paid particular attention to the smallfolk (A common trait shared with Queen Alysanne Targaryen) and a strong link with the Stark child most linked with the smallfolk. Even before everything went to hell, a highborn Arya at Winterfell valued people for who they were, she was curious to listen to their stories and learn about their lives, and saw no class and just saw them as human beings. Arya has a natural charm, friendly and connects with people instantly:

“Sansa knew all about the sorts of people Arya liked to talk to: squires and grooms and serving girls, old men and naked children, rough-spoken freeriders of uncertain birth. Arya would make friends with anybody.”

After everything Arya went through in the Riverlands, being a prisoner at Harrenhal, with the Hound and the BwB and her training with the FM… The Arya we knew in Winterfell is still under there, charming as ever and a magnet for the smallfolk:

Cat had made friends along the wharves; porters and mummers, ropemakers and sailmenders, taverners, Brewers and bakers and beggars and whores. (Cat of the Canals, A Feast for Crows)

[Merry’s] girls were nice as well; Blushing Bethany and the Sailor’s Wife, one-eyed Yna who could tell your fortune from a drop of blood, pretty little Lanna, even Assadora, the Ibbenese woman with the mustache. They might not be beautiful, but they were kind to her. (Cat of the Canals, A Feast for Crows)

Arya even risks her own life to save a 3 year old lowborn orphan girl from burning alive in the flames. Before this moment, she ran into this battle screaming, “Winterfell! Winterfell! Winterfell!” 

Arya’s treatment and regard for Northmen are well pointed out in the books. She prays for their release while in the Godswood at Harrenhal. She calls them her pack. Her people.

For more quotes on Arya’s Leadership/Queendom, read ashotofjac’s excellent analysis here:




Aegon loved Rhaeyns the most, their closeness being the reason he married her, despite already having Visenya. He openly makes his affection for Rhaeyns obvious. Aegon was more distant with Visenya and treated his marriage with her as one of duty.

Jon & Aegon Receive Important Letters

Rhaeyns goes to Dorne to put down another rebellion when Meraxes is killed and Rhaeyns is never seen again. Her body is never returned to King’s Landing. There are many theories on how she died. Dorne later send Rhaeyns’ dragon’s skull to her husband King Aegon as a cruel taunt. But Dorne also wanted peace and Aegon received a letter:

King Aegon was determined to refuse the offer until Princess Deria placed in his hands a private letter from her father, Prince Nymor. Aegon read it upon the Iron Throne, and men say that when he rose, his hand was bleeding, so hard had he clenched it. He burned the letter and departed immediately on Balerion’s back for Dragonstone. When he returned the next morning, it was done. He had agreed to the peace and signed a treaty to that effect. (“Dorne: Dorne Against the Dragons”, The World of Ice and Fire)

It is commonly believed that what was said in that the letter revealed Rhaeyns was currently captive and being tortured in the most horrible ways by the Ullers - a sadistic House full of rage over Rhaeyns’s first visit to Dorne and all the burning her dragon did. The letter asked for peace between 2 sovereign Kingdoms, and in return Dorne would give Rhaeyns mercy and end her suffering. We see the actions of Aegon, who bleeds first, fists clenched so tightly, and acts immediately and accepts peace. Weakening his own position and risking rebellion among other powerful Houses. He never thought twice. He gave Dorne the peace they asked for.

Jon faces a similar dilemma in Dance, when his beloved sister is held captive and married off to a monster and sinister family - House Bolton. (much like the Ullers) Jon looks physically sick after reading the first letter with Arya’s marriage proposal. Jon wants to choke Ramsay to death with his own bare hands. Jon then breaks his NW vows and sends a King to rescue his sister. Notice his reaction once he received yet another Letter and learns the rescue had failed: “Snow?” said Tormund Giantsbane. “You look like your father’s bloody head just rolled out o’ that paper.”

Jon gathers Northmen to march to War in Arya Stark’s name. I love the fact that Flints are among the Northmen marching. Arya is named after Arya Flint, Ned’s grandmother. The Flints were former Kings of Winter and have the blood of the First Men. Arya’s name literally means “Nobility”.

Jon has broken several vows, too many for some brothers in black and they kill him for it.

Jon dies thinking about his lost sister. Stick ‘em with the pointy end…


There is an interesting parrallel that both characters share in the bad dreams they have and where they lead.

Arya was chasing Blarion the Black cat and she gets lost and finds the hidden room below the Red Keep filled with dead dragons.

When they had first come to King’s Landing, she used to have bad dreams about getting lost in the castle. Father said the Red Keep was smaller than Winterfell, but in her dreams it had been immense, an endless stone maze with walls that seemed to shift and change behind her. She would find herself wandering down gloomy halls past faded tapestries, descending endless circular stairs, darting through courtyards or over bridges, her shouts echoing unanswered. In some of the rooms the red stone walls would seem to drip blood, and nowhere could she find a window. Sometimes she would hear her father’s voice, but always from a long way off, and no matter how hard she ran after it, it would grow fainter and fainter, until it faded to nothing and Arya was alone in the dark.

It was very dark right now, she realized. She hugged her bare knees tight against her chest and shivered. She would wait quietly and count to ten thousand. By then it would be safe for her to come creeping back out and find her way home. - Arya Stark, AGoT

As Arya escapes through a secret tunnel under the Red Keep, she remembers Winterfell’s crypt:

Suddenly Arya remembered the crypts at Winterfell.

Arya remembers a childhood memory of all the Stark children (minus Rickon) in the crypts and a ghost jumps out and scares them. Sansa runs away screaming. That ghost was Jon, covered in flour joking around. Before he’s revealed, Arya punches the “ghost” and baby Bran is clutching Arya’s hand and Robb’s leg. They all laugh about it.

The memory made Arya smile, and after that the darkness held no more terrors for her. … She was going home. Everything would be better once she was home again, safe behind Winterfell’s grey granite walls.


Note: The last line in her dream and her later thoughts after escaping the Red Keep… is interesting. Where is Arya’s home? To Jon, Arya’s home was with him. Not Winterfell where he thinks she is at the end of ADwD.

Bring her home, Mance. I saved your son from Melisandre, and now I am about to save four thousand of your free folk. You owe me this one little girl. - Jon, ADwD   


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