Why Did Rhaenyra Not Kill Alicent

Despite the vitriol between them, Rhaenyra Targaryen chose not to execute her rival, Alicent Hightower. Through a rare display of mercy, a woman scorned chose compassion over vengeance.

In the Game of Thrones series, Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower’s bitter rivalry is well known. But why did Rhaenyra not kill Alicent, when they finally faced each other in the legendary ‘Tourney of the Field of Fire’? It is a question that still fascinates fans of the show to this day — let us explore this topic in detail in this article!
why did rhaenyra not kill alicent

1. Searching for Answers: Exploring the Reasons Behind Rhaenyra’s Choice

The fortunes of House Targaryen are inseparable from the name of Rhaenyra, the first Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. With less than three years of reign, she made unprecedented decisions and embarked on ventures that radically altered the political landscape of Westeros. Her story has fascinated scholars and fans alike, all of whom hopes to uncover the motivations and reasoning behind her decisions.

  • Change in Bloodlines: Perhaps her most controversial decision was the challenge to her half-brother Aegon II in a battle for the Iron Throne. She sought to protect the legacy of her father, King Viserys I, by solidifying her own place in the Targaryen bloodline. She likely felt that the line would best remain intact as the sole ruler, rather than divided among co-rulers.
  • Lack of Sympathy: Another element to consider is the lack of sympathy that Rhaenyra received from her father. He made clear his dislike of his firstborn child, leading to the preferences for her half-brothers Aegon, Aemond, and Daeron. This could have fueled her determination to be recognized as the legitimate ruler and for House Targaryen to remain unbroken.
  • Attitudes of the Nobles: The attitudes of the Great Houses towards Rhaenyra at the time were also crucial elements for her to contend with. Some were loyal to the old king and his blood, while others favored Aegon II and sought to be rid of Rhaenyra’s rule. Faced with such uncertain loyalties and ever-shifting alliances, Rhaenyra had to make difficult decisions on how best to hold onto her power.
  • Political Exigency: Lastly, is the political exigency that Rhaenyra faced. After her father’s death, Westeros was in a dire situation that rendered action such as a duel for the Iron Throne the best course of action. While the results of her rule were not favorable, it is difficult to speculate if a calmer, more sober political environment would have left her with any better options.

Regardless of the why, Rhaenyra’s legacy remains an important part of the Targaryen house. Her choices, even with their severe consequences, helped shape the landscape of Westeros for generations to come.

By exploring each of the above reasons, we can better understand the complex set of motivations that ultimately led to Rhaenyra’s fateful and extraordinary decision.

2. A Closer Look at Rhaenyra Targaryen’s Character

The firstborn daughter of King Viserys I, Rhaenyra Targaryen, is remembered in the Seven Kingdoms as a strong-willed and ambitious woman. She was the first woman to make a legitimate claim to the Iron Throne and the only female heir to her father’s legacy. Those who knew her described her as strong-willed and confident, a shrewd negotiator, and a just ruler.

Rhaenyra was no stranger to adversity. Her brothers and others who opposed her power sought to undermine her as she rose to prominence. Her advisors often sought to keep her from acting out of revenge or emotion, but in her pursuit for power, she was not so easily swayed. When hunting for qualified and loyal advisors, she let her keen intuition guide her decisions. She was notoriously selective when it came to her allies, choosing only the most trustworthy and respected among them.

Despite these traits, Rhaenyra was also well-known for her intense loyalty to her family and her house. This loyalty was often tested during her tumultuous reign. Her main priority was to ensure that the future of House Targaryen and her children were protected. Despite the opposition she faced, she remained faithfully devoted to her cause, even in the face of near-certain defeat.

Rhaenyra Targaryen was a passionate and turbulent ruler. Her tenacity and loyalty made her an iconic figure in the history of Westeros. She was a determined leader who fought for what she believed in and refused to let any impediments stand in her way. She ultimately may not have achieved her dream of ruling Westeros from the Iron Throne, but she will be remembered for her brave and ambitious actions.

3. The Challenge of Making and Upholding Moral Decisions

Decisions making can be a difficult task, but making moral decisions can be especially challenging. Making a postive moral decision entails not only considering the immediate outcome but also the long-term consequences and impact of that decision. It can be very tough to evaluate each of our choices to make certain they are in line with our personal code of ethics. Here are 3 primary challenges for making and upholding moral decisions:

  • Staying Away From Short-Term Benefits – It’s easy to be taken in by short-term rewards, such as profit or convenience. However, responsible decision-makers always look at the bigger picture. Moral decisions require us to try to predict the consequences of our choices, so that honorable decisions are not undermined by selfish interests.
  • Going Against Social Norms – Making moral decisions can sometimes require us to go against what’s accepted by the community. To do what we feel is right may require us to selectively ignore pressure from our peers, co-workers, family, or friends. Developing a strong sense of character can help us stand up for our convictions, and be comfortable with the decisions made.
  • Handling Emotions and Stress – When faced with a moral dilemma, emotions such as fear, worry, and guilt can influence us — often before we even realize it. Being able to recognize and manage emotions in ourselves is a key component of decision-making. A high-pressure situation can lead to either short-term emotional gratification, or long-term personal satisfaction. Doing what is right is not always the simplest path.

Standing firm in the face of overwhelming circumstances is critical to making and upholding moral decisions. It’s important to remember that decisions should never be based solely upon the expectations of others, but also the principles that we hold dear. Taking a stand for what is right is not always easy, but it can lead to an improved sense of peace.

4. Understanding the Complex Relationship Between Rhaenyra and Alicent

The relationship between Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower is complex and ever-changing. Throughout Westeros each side of the ruling family held their own particular view of the pair, which all added to the muddiness of the situation.

The Arcane Nature of the Link
At the most basic level, Rhaenyra and Alicent were half-sisters. They shared the same father in King Viserys, yet their mothers were two different women – Rhaenys Targaryen and her father’s second wife, Alicent. The pair grew up separated by distance, but all of Westeros knew of their involvement in a strange, intricate web.

The Weight of Expectations
Viserys had two rival factions within his court, both of which wanted to push for different leaders following his death. There was Prince Aegon, who was Rhaenyra’s son, and Prince Daeron, who was Alicent’s son. This external pressure weighed heavily upon Rhaenyra and Alicent, knowing that one of them would eventually rise to the Iron Throne.

Unequal Ties
The animosity between Rhaenyra and Alicent was obvious. Rhaenyra viewed her half-sister with disgust, believing Alicent was illegitimised due to her mother’s lower status. Alicent was also considered as a more attractive option for the Iron Throne, leaving a feeling of intense rivalry that only further fuelled the strained relationship.

Multiple Reactions
Ultimately, when Viserys passed away the two sides of the family reacted differently. Rhaenyra dispatched her forces to secure her claim while Alicent sought help from her father’s former enemies – House Tyrell. As the events of Westeros unfolded, the relationship between Rhaenyra and Alicent shifted with the changing tides of fortune in a complex game of love, hate and ambition.

5. Analyzing the Possible Consequences of Killing Alicent

The consequences of killing Alicent will be far-reaching, yet harder to predict with any certainty. It is true that justice must be served, but there may be costs that could quickly become unbearable.

Unintended Consequences

  • The people of Westeros will be impacted: Since Alicent was beloved by many in the kingdom, killing her could create a rift between those who support her and those who disagree with her methods. To make matters worse, other enemies of the kingdom may take advantage of the shock to exploit a vulnerable Westerosi people and create further unrest.
  • The politics of Westeros could be overthrown: Killing Alicent could potentially lead to a shift in the political landscape of Westeros, leading to changes that no one can predict. Leaders could use her death as an excuse to seize power or punish those they don’t agree with.
  • The economy of Westeros could suffer: If the political situation shifts as a result of Alicent’s death, it could impact the Westerosi economy. This, in turn, could lead to an increase in poverty and crime.

Long-Term Impacts

  • The people of Westeros may never be the same: Killing Alicent could be enough to break the already fragile confidence of the Westerosi people. This, in turn, could lead to further unrest, which could prove difficult to contain.
  • The reputation of Westeros abroad could suffer: If the killing of Alicent sparks international controversy, it could lead to a decline in the reputation of Westeros abroad, making it difficult to attract foreign investments and trading partners.


In the end, it is hard to predict the true consequences of killing Alicent, as the outcome will depend on how the kingdom chooses to respond. But it is safe to say that these consequences will likely be far-reaching, impacting the people of Westeros, their politics, and the economy in unpredictable ways.

6. Revisiting Rhaenyra’s Decision in Light of Modern Ethical Perspectives

With the presence of zombie-like armies at hand, Rhaenyra Targaryen was stuck between a rock and a hard place. In the face of nightmarish decisions, she had to make a pros and cons list in the time it took to draw a breath. Was there a “right” decision available to her?

Through the lens of modern ethical perspectives, we can take a closer look at her decision. She was stuck in a way that about her ambition and her enemies. It’s hard to decipher what would have been the right call if we only go through the narrative, but if we apply philosophical theories, we may unravel a possible solution.

The first indicator is Utilitarianism, which would rate the action according to the resulting pleasure and suffering. This approach takes an individual’s experience into account, which can mean both physical and mental costs. If we take this perspective, Rhaenyra’s decision may have been the least damaging to the people involved. After all, she made her command knowing that forces were enough to take her enemies down, so it could be argued that suffering was minimized in her choice.

On the one hand, we could think of Deontology, which is based on a sense of duty or obligation. It looks at the intentions behind the action and disregards the possible results. Assuming that Rhaenyra’s decision was rooted in defending her kingdom, this theory would understand it as an act of selfless duty in the service of the collective.

  • Utilitarianism: focused on the resulting pleasure and suffering
  • Deontology: looks at intentions and disregards results

To be sure, Rhaenyra was faced with overwhelming responsibility and had to act swiftly. And looking at her decisions though modern ethical perspectives can be helpful to understand her motivations.

7. Breaking Down the Legacy of Rhaenyra’s Choice

The legacy of Rhaenyra Targaryen’s fateful choices still carries through today, with her legacy imprinted on Westeros’ history books. Here we breakdown the consequences of her decisions, in a bid to better understand what lies ahead.

The War of the Dance

When Rhaenyra rose to power, the Targaryens were already entrenched in a vicious conflict for the Iron Throne. Her success propelled the war to even greater heights of fury and destruction. In the end, the people of Westeros were caught in the midst of a brutal and war-torn landscape fueled by Rhaenyra’s ambition.

The Reign of the Dragons

The sudden death of King Viserys gave way to a period of dominance for Rhaenyra’s House Targaryen. During her brief and bloody reign, she created powerful ties to House Baratheon and expanded their influence. The dragons of old now flew across Westeros, diving deep into the civil conflicts, bringing an age of violence and war that had never before been seen.

The People

Though her legacy has been praised by some and vilified by others, few can deny the effects of Rhaenyra’s choices on the people of Westeros. Countless lives were lost in her wars, villages were burned down, and families were torn apart. The destruction was devastating and no corner of Westeros was left untouched.

The Legacy

Rhaenyra’s heavy hand has had its influence on the world for centuries. In modern times, her legacy is still felt in Westeros. With her rule, the continent’s economy changed drastically, with increased taxation and new laws. The major Targaryen Houses are reminders of her rule, as are the many castles, forts, and cities that still bear her name.

From her choices came powerful legacies, both good and bad. While her wars caused untold destruction, her legacy still holds important lessons for the generations who came after her. Rhaenyra’s overarching influence remains within Westeros to this day, and her legacy continues to shape the political landscape.

In conclusion, although it might not be surprising to many why Rhaenyra made the decision she did in the end, the complexity of her choices should not be overlooked. Indeed, there may have been more at play in this decision than just a difference in power between Rhaenyra and Alicent, and we can only imagine what her true feelings of justice and morality were. We all must certainly reflect on whether the punishment Rhaenyra chose was appropriate, and at the same time, commend her resolve to show mercy and practice the kind of justice she thought was right.

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