House Of The Dragon Just Made Rhaenyra The Most Relatable Princess Ever

One of the many ways in which "House of the Dragon" resembles its predecessor is in its sprawling story with many moving parts, characters, and locations, which nevertheless starts out contained and with a clear protagonist. In "Game of Thrones," that protagonist was Ned Stark (until he wasn't), and in this prequel show, it seems to be princess Rhaenyra Targaryen. 

Indeed, one of the major players, Daemon Targaryen is barely on screen. Then there's Viserys, who is technically on his way out if he keeps losing fingers, and we mostly just see Alicent in scenes with Viserys. So this makes "House of the Dragon" the story of a girl who got dealt a pretty bad hand from the get-go. Her mother died in a horrible fashion, she was named queen just to spite her petty uncle and with the full knowledge that the entire continent would hate her, her father married her best friend and also knocked her up with the boy that could replace her as heir. As if that wasn't enough, her uncle is out there fighting crab feeders and gaining popularity.

Rhaenyra has it rather tough, and she can't even begin to learn to be a queen because her father treats her like a little girl (except when he is trying to marry her off). So what is a princess to do to get the edge off and brood in peace? Why, force the court musician to play your favorite sad song over and over again while you sit by a tree and read book, of course. In its third episode, "House of the Dragon" had its main characters go through some personal trials and learn about themselves, but most importantly, it gave us the most relatable fantasy princess ever.

Family drama

Episode 3, "Second of His Name," makes it clear rather early that Rhaenyra has a lot to be angry and sad about, especially now that her father is parading his son with Rhaenyra's best friend as the second coming of Aegon the Conqueror. Given that she is presently supposed to be the heir to the throne, a prince with a penis being called the great uniter and a natural leader is, well, pretty bad!

To make matters worse, the king is organizing a huge royal hunting weekend trip to celebrate Aegon II's birthday, and expects Rhaenyra to simply come along and hang with his stepmom/former friend/boss/mother to her usurper. Of course, Rhaenyra is not going to sit idly by and let that happen. Indeed, our emo queen is better than that, so she avoids conflict, and her family, heads out to the godswood and sits by the Weirwood tree with a good book, and brings some random court musician along to play her favorite sad song about Princess Nymeria over, and over, and over again.

Our emo queen

Relating to a character in a fantasy show isn't the easiest thing. Even if they are humanized and given universal problems, they are still characters living in castles, in lands where dragons and zombies exist. But a teenage girl fighting with her dad and her best friend, so tired of family drama just wants to sit somewhere quiet and read a book while listening to a sad song just to feel something, is the most relatable thing in the world of Westeros.

That Rhaenyra only stops listening to her song when her friend-turned-stepmother-turned-queen commands the musician to leave does more to fortify Rhaenyra's claim to the Iron Throne than killing some stag, because it shows she is in tune with her populace, it shows that she is meant to be Westeros' first true emo queen.

Between Rhaenyra and Batman earlier this year, it seems 2022 is the year of pop culture characters embracing their emo selves, and we're all better for it.

"House of the Dragon" airs new episodes Sundays on HBO and HBO Max.