Sunfyre, it is said, did not seem at first to take any interest in the offering, until Broome pricked the queen’s breast with his dagger. The smell of blood roused the dragon, who sniffed at Her Grace, then bathed her in a blast of flame…
The Princess and The Queen
This is the first thing I’ve done in ages so I’ve gone back to one of my favourite TPATQ scenes.
ahh, okay, so I’m just kind of continually in a state of thoughts and emotions about Rhaenyra Targaryen
she’s so striking and she just grabs me really hard in a way I can’t quite articulate, and part of it is her personality but oddly enough for me since this isn’t something that usually resonates with me, that’s not the only part of it?
a lot of why she grabs me is how she’s presented in TPATQ - it’s such a huge example I feel like of the body as a site of rhetorical violence
she’s not dainty and beautiful. she’s not a “maiden”, not that sort of ideal that all the songs are written about, that is shorthand in Westeros and outside the text for virtue, for the type of person we’re supposed to think yes, she deserves something good. it’s really apparent if you scroll through all the descriptions that Martin gives of the historical Targ women in one go - she’s not thin, she’s not nonthreatening or “properly” feminine at all. the first scene we get with her in it in TPATQ is when she’s giving birth, and it’s violent and she’s violent and from the outset, we see bad omens and her personality and her… “embodied-ness” being all twisted up together. she shouts and screams and rants about the injustice done to her, and her child is stillborn. described as monstrous.
and we see this sort of thing again, when she takes King’s Landing and we hear about (the rumours, because I refuse to believe them true, or at least not true in the rhetorical purpose they are used for) how she sits on the Iron Throne and it cuts her. repeatedly. the Iron Throne is described as cutting the “unworthy” multiple times in other places, as well; this is an established thing, such as with King Aerys. but Aerys exists in a much different context; he is a single individual with a single individual’s failings and flaws and cruelties; he is a man. with Rhaenyra, she comes from an entirely different context and she’s already had her body used as this rhetorical tool, and it comes across very differently, that oh, once again we see her supposed bleeding as she walks from the throne, this is a sign of her unsuitedness to rule, some flaw in her character, being writ on her physical form. she is hardly alone in committing atrocious deeds at some degree of removal or another, among the characters in the story, but she is the only one where this sign is recounted.
her death, too, is visceral and physical in a way that many of the other deaths aren’t, to me - an intimate destruction and consuming that I feel like, again, ties person and body together where a lot of other deaths, almost work to separate those two entities… her destruction by family, by a symbol of her birthright and something that feels tied into her personality and her physical form as well… it’s a very deep-seated horror, to me, especially as the conclusion to the rest of her arc.
I’m not entirely sure what I’m saying any more; I don’t really have the language for what I’m trying to convey. but I have a lot of feelings. Rhaenyra just feels like such a unique part of the ASOIAF world, even as she’s kind of… where you see a lot of how the world operates being revealed in who she is, the symbolic visuals of her character design, the way she’s framed (and this I think is a strength of TPATQ in terms of it being an in-universe text, even as that framing frustrates me for other reasons)… yeah. ok. I’m done for now.
processing more tpatq ideas bc i am slo. doodles. one cannot doodle targs. the hair! i still have no idea what i’m doing.
so Vhagar has 2 nu historical dragonriders and in the same swoop gurm adds 1 more person to the Tragic Ladies of Surpassing Loveliness, Kindness and Courage team and 1 more honorary guest to the Terribl Awful Princes Symposium
whose fav pre Asoiaf character is Cassana Baratheon, mine being Rhaenyra, and since we’re sis. Fancast: Sarah Greene (young Cassana), Maria Doyle Kennedy (older Cassana). // Alison pill (young Rhaenyra), Megan Follows (older Rhaenyra)