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Why The Targaryen House Split Between Greens And Blacks Explained

By Mabel Judith Andrady
June 17,2022

Before the Civil War, the “Green” and “Black” factions of Targaryen allegiance within the realm of House of the Dragon will play a significant role in the series. House of the Dragon depicts a broader battle fought among numerous monarchs, similar to that shown in Game of Thrones.

However, the main factor is the long-simmering feuds within House Targaryen that erupted after King Viserys’s death. As a result of the Westerosi lords having to choose between the two Targaryen claimants, the kingdom will be split between the Greens and the Blacks.

After their father’s death, Rhaenyra Targaryen and Aegon II Targaryen will battle for the Iron Throne in the most pivotal scene of House of the Dragon: the Dance of the Dragons. Despite her uncle Daemon’s claims to the throne, Rhaenyra has always been seen as King Viserys I’s heir because she was his oldest child. When Viserys remarried and ultimately produced a son, the situation regarding the throne got more complicated.

Aegon II’s mother, Alicent Hightower, grandfather Otto Hightower, and several other lords plotted to give him the throne, despite Viserys’ insistence that Rhaenyra would be his heir. This sparked the momentous Targaryen Civil War. The war lasted for about three years and was one of the deadliest in Westeros’ history because of the rare circumstance of both sides having access to dragons.

It will be simpler to keep track of the allegiances of the various powerful families in House of the Dragon’s Civil War than in Game of Thrones’ War of the Five Kings. The fact that there were only two groups to pledge allegiance to made it necessary for individuals to make more private arrangements to pledge their swords to the Blacks or the Greens.

Given that all families were expected to be devoted to House Targaryen, the only question was which of the Targaryens had the most substantial claim to their allegiance or the brightest future. Before the Dance of the Dragons, tensions between Greens and Blacks had been mounting for years.

Why The Greens and the Blacks Are On Opposite Sides

Targaryen Greens & Blacks

In the Targaryen Civil War, greens and Blacks are the banners of Alicent Hightower and Rhaenyra Targaryen, respectively. A feud arose between Alicent and Viserys, Rhaenyra’s father after the king’s young wife bore him a male heir.

At the great tourney held in King’s Landing in 111 AC, Alicent represented House Hightower in green, while Rhaenyra represented House Targaryen in black and crimson. Following this, those who sided with the monarchy and those who backed the young lady were given their respective names.

The Greens and Blacks of the House of the Dragon referred to the queen’s party and the princess’s party at first but later became synonymous with Alicent’s son Aegon II Targaryen’s claim to the throne and Rhaenyra’s claim to the throne. Therefore, the Targaryen Civil War was divided into the Green and Black parties, even though the conflict was between Rhaenyra and Alicent in the court.

The Long-Stirring Rivalry Between Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower

Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower

In the first season of House of the Dragon, Rhaenyra and Alicent start as friends but quickly become enemies. Rhaenyra and Alicent spent much time together in court because of their close age difference. Both Jaehaerys I and his son Viserys I relied on Alicent’s father, Otto Hightower, to serve as Hand of the King.

Alicent’s sons, with Viserys of the House of the Dragon, continued to weaken Rhaenyra’s claim to the throne, even though the two remained on friendly terms after marriage. Although Alicent and her father, Otto, believed their son Aegon II was more deserving of the Iron Throne than Rhaenyra, the latter was adamant about upholding Viserys I’s decree that she be his rightful heir.

Although Rhaenyra was 16, her half-sibling Aegon was just 6., Alicent suggested they get married. When King Robert rejected Alicent’s marriage proposal, Viserys accused her of trying to guarantee a seat for her children on the Iron Throne.

One of them could only be the most powerful woman in the kingdom, and as Rhaenyra was the heir and Alicent was the king’s wife, this fact fostered their rivalry. When Rhaenyra wed her uncle Daemon Targaryen, tensions between the House of the Dragon figures escalated further because Matt Smith’s character had shown notable contempt for Alicent and her children.

Aemond, son of Alicent, and Lucerys, son of Rhaenyra, fought nearly ten years before the Dance of the Dragons, and Lucerys ended up taking out Aemond’s eye. Then Alicent demanded that Lucerys be treated the same way, prompting King Viserys to send Rhaenyra and her children to Dragonstone and keep Alicent and her children at court. Alicent lost it when she discovered that Rhaenyra’s first son by Daemon was named Aegon, which she considered an insult to her firstborn son, also named Aegon.

Thus, following the death of King Viserys I in 129 AC, Alicent and Criston Cole of the House of the Dragon convened a small council to discuss their plans to crown Aegon II over Rhaenyra. When Rhaenyra heard that Aegon II had been crowned, she promptly planned her coronation, setting off the Targaryen Civil War.

Which HOTD Targaryen Claim Is More Valid: Rhaenyra or Aegon?

Aegon II should have been crowned king of Rhaenyra according to the customary laws of succession set in place over the past century during the reign of House Targaryen in Westeros. However, no previous Targaryen king had ever insisted until their death that their eldest daughter would succeed them rather than a son.

Although Viserys I’s cousin Rhaenys Targaryen was the eldest living heir of Jaehaerys I’s eldest child, the Great Council at Harrenhal ultimately decided that Viserys would succeed to the Iron Throne. Nevertheless, Jaehaerys did not name Rhaenys as his heir; if he had, the Old King’s support might have helped her cause. However, Viserys I of House of the Dragon’s Rhaenyra was officially named heir to the Iron Throne, and King Aegon V refused to revoke the decree, even after Alicent gave birth to his sons.

Viserys had many noble lords come to court and publicly declare their support for Rhaenyra as his successor. This demonstrates that the king of the House of the Dragon had done everything he could to ensure that Rhaenyra would succeed him on the Iron Throne. Having been groomed and reared for years, Rhaenyra was ready to assume her rightful place as the realm’s monarch, Queen Rhaenyra I.

The protagonists of House of the Dragon, Alicent, and Otto, conspired to install Aegon II on the Iron Throne without ever convening a Great Council to determine among the most powerful lords and ladies of Westeros, even though Aegon II grounds his claim on a proclamation from the king and man.
Rhaenyra Targaryen was denied the lawful succession to the throne due to her gender, despite the legitimacy of her brother Aegon II’s claim as the eldest male child.

Rhaenyra Targaryen of the House of the Dragon had a better right to the throne than Aegon II. However, as the events of Game of Thrones have shown, it is irrelevant if a more formidable rival is willing to try to steal the throne.