It certainly wasn’t anything I planned — to draw similarities between the fantasy societal and political mores that run the world of HotD (House of the Dragon) and the forces that shape and move American politics of 2022. If I intended anything, it was to just enjoy the show as I have enjoyed other fictions, including the one for which this show is a prequel, Game of Thrones.
A necessary part of that enjoyment is of course the suspension of disbelief that allows one to just to just go on the journey — to just take the story at face value. I mean, you can’t really get immersed in a world of dragons and jousting and thrones made of swords if you’re constantly looking for ways that the fantasy is “just like” something in real life.
However…the parallel between Rhaenys Targaryen and the women of today’s republican political party just sort of leaped out at me. Rhaenys is part of the royal Targaryen family and someone who would’ve ascended by natural lineage to the throne had she not been rejected because she is a woman. When her name is mentioned in the gossip of the realm, it is as the “Queen who never was”. Finding herself cut off from power by these restrictive traditions might have prompted her to become a woman full of ambition- someone driven to prove herself to the patriarchy. It could have turned her into someone who is bitter and constantly scheming against the people who unjustly denied her. But, no.
That’s not who Rhaenys is. She is a woman who seems to have settled within herself that her station in life is to never rule or wield absolute power. She seems to move through life with acceptance that she can be a partner to someone with power; a consort to the bearer of the crown, but never the one who wears it. She knows her station in life is to follow, and never to lead.
And she preaches what she practices. In episode 2 of the first season, she is found telling Rhaenyra that “Men would rather see the realm put to the torch, than see a woman ascend the iron throne.” This is after Rhaenyra’s father Viserys has publicly proclaimed Rhaenyra as his heir. Rhaenys is telling her to know her place.