Aerea Targaryen: What Happened?

Here’s what happened to Aerea Targaryen:

Aerea Targaryen died from a mysterious illness that might have involved some kind of weird fire monsters.

After disappearing for over a year, she showed up at King’s Landing with a massive fever and creatures moving around inside of her.

She was given an ice bath as treatment, but she died in the process.

So if you want to learn all about Aerea Targaryen’s fascinating story, then this article is for you.

Keep reading!

Aerea Targaryen: What Happened? (Everything to Know)

Who Is Aerea Targaryen?

This is a bit of an interesting question.

On the surface, Aerea is a character from the greater Game of Thrones universe.

More specifically she’s in the Song of Ice and Fire universe.

That’s because this character is primarily referenced in peripheral materials that are attached to the book series.

Even that much is kind of throwing a lot at you, so let me break it all down.

Not to worry, I’ll get fully into the character and what happened to her a little later.

You’ve probably heard of Game of Thrones.

It is a television series produced by HBO.

It spanned eight seasons over as many years and was something of a cultural phenomenon.

It’s safe to call it one of the most popular TV shows of all time.

The thing is, the entire TV series was based on a series of books written by George R. R. Martin.

The first book in that series is called “A Game of Thrones.”

HBO repurposed that title when they launched the TV show.

Overall, Martin’s book series is called “A Song of Ice and Fire.”

It’s a bit wordy, but here we are.

The books are also massively popular, and in addition to the core novels, there are peripheral books that expand the greater universe.

These include books with maps, short stories, and other things that are mostly there to give fans more content to enjoy.

By and large, Aerea Targaryen’s story takes place in those peripheral materials.

A Description of Aerea

With the background information covered, we can actually talk about the character for a bit.

Aerea is the oldest daughter of Prince Aegon and Princess Rhaena.

They are both Targaryens too, and they are from the early reign of the Targaryens over Westeros.

Goodness. This series really does throw a lot of names at people.

If you’re not up to speed with Game of Thrones, Westeros is the continent where most of the story takes place.

There are seven kingdoms that are more or less united under the rule of the Targaryens, a family of people who are all pale, blond, and ride dragons.

Most of the TV show and the books revolve around political maneuvers to rule over Westeros.

But, long before the first book (and the first episode of the show) begins, the Targayrens conquer the seven kingdoms of Westeros and rule over them.

The peripheral books that describe Aerea are covering a span of time related to the first handful of kings in the Targaryen dynasty.

All of that said, Aerea is a part of this dynasty, and she is born the oldest of two twin sisters.

Her younger twin is named Rhaella, and all of this will matter as I go through Aerea’s story.

According to the books, when Aerea was young, she was always extremely shy and scared of everything, including horses.

One day, she came out of her shell and was never the same again.

She became bold, gathered a following of other kids her age, and more or less terrorized her maesters and the court.

You could say she was a bit of a hellion as a child.

Physically, she very much looked like a Targaryen.

She was fair-skinned and had long blond hair to go with her purple eyes.

What Happened to Aerea Targaryen? (4 Things)

That’s probably enough of a description of Aerea.

It’s important to make sure we can keep track of her immediate family members.

They’re a big part of her story.

At this point, we can really start to get into what happened to her.

For a side character in peripheral stories, she sure went through a lot.

Some of what happened to her happened more to her family, so I’m going to make sure to cover it all.

If you’re a fan of the series, you won’t be surprised by any of this.

But, if you’re new to this fantasy world, let me give you a bit of a spoiler.

It’s not good to be born into a family of power in Westeros.

That much is for sure.

#1 Setting the Stage

Ok. Aerea’s story really begins with her immediate family.

She and her sister were born in 24 AC to their parents Aegon and Rhaena, prince and princess of the kingdom.

That same year, the current king, Aenys Targaryen died.

That left a power vacuum as Aenys had two sons.

Aegon was one of the sons and claimed the throne, but his brother, Maegor, also made a claim.

It came down to war, and the two fought each other in battle.

Aegon died in that battle, and that left Maegor as the uncontested ruler of the kingdoms.

Maegor decided that he wanted Rhaena to be his queen.

She realized that trouble was coming, so she disguised her daughters and sent them away.

Even she didn’t know where they were going.

Despite those precautions, bad luck brought the two girls right into the hands of one of Maegor’s wives.

So, he had control of the daughters, and he used them as leverage to control Rhaena.

She did become the queen, and Maegor selected Aerea to be his heir until he had children of his own.

Well, it’s Westeros, so things hardly settled down from there.

Rhaena bided her time until she was able to sneak away from King’s Landing (the capital city), taking both of her daughters with her.

While she was in hiding, Maegor died. 

You see. It’s not good to be royal in this world.

Anyway, the loss of another king left things in turmoil yet again.

Technically, Aerea was the heir to the throne, but she was in hiding.

She was also (if you recall) a very meek child.

No one really wanted her to be the queen—including her own mother.

So, Rhaena’s brother assumed the throne.

Named Jaehaerys, he wasn’t much older than his cousin, but he wasn’t nearly as meek, so it seemed like a better choice at the time.

Those events set the stage for the first major moment in Aerea’s life.

#2 The Possible Switch

This is where things really get interesting.

During Jaehaerys’ coronation, Aerea and her sister were both in Oldtown.

Up to that point, Aerea was a meek, timid girl.

She was afraid of everything, including horses.

That specific detail is worth repeating.

Something happened because, after the coronation, Aerea really came out of her shell.

She was bold, outgoing, boisterous, and all of the things that were really more like her sister before then.

Meanwhile, Rhaella also seemed to change quite a bit.

From that day on, she was less of a rebel and became a quiet, diligent girl who studied hard and prayed often.

You can see where this is going.

Many speculated that the two girls were switched.

The idea being that the more self-assured daughter would make for a better heir.

And, Aerea was once again chosen to be the heir until the king had kids of his own.

It’s worth repeating that Jaehaerys was still a kid.

Offspring would have to wait a bit.

The thing is, no one ever proved that a switch took place, and no one really wanted to either.

So, people kept their assumptions to themselves, and according to the history of Westeros, the daughters were not switched.

Instead, they both underwent noticeable personality changes.

You can think what you want, but the switch was never resolved as a plot point in the books.

So going forward, I’m going to refer to Aerea as though her personality was changed and not that she switched places with her sister.

That’s what the books did, and it makes retelling this story a lot easier.

We have fewer names to keep track of.

#3 After the Coronation

Ok. Aerea is the heir to the throne once again, and she’s no longer shy and meek.

After about two years, some nobles decided that Aerea would make a better ruler than Jaehaerys.

At this point, he was still too young to have any offspring, so it’s a battle of people in power trying to pick a child to be a puppet ruler.

A coup was more or less staged, and the Baratheons tried to kidnap Aerea to instill her as queen.

They were thwarted, and Aerea was whisked away before the plot unfolded.

She was disguised and put in hiding at Storm’s End where she worked in a stable near the King’s Gate.

Later on, she would describe that as the happiest time in her life.

Jaehaerys stayed on the throne, and he grew up.

He ended up having kids, and Aerea was no longer the heir.

Since that forced things to settle down a bit, she was allowed out of hiding, and she was ultimately relocated to live with her mother away from the capital.

At this point, Aerea had spent little time with her mother.

They were basically strangers, and their time together was miserable.

Aerea missed the stables and the lively atmosphere around the capital.

She swore to leave her mother’s place (called Dragonstone) as soon as she could.

Eventually, she came of age, and she was given a dragon to ride.

She promptly rode the dragon away from Dragonstone and was not seen again for more than a year.

#4 Getting Sick

That’s when she suddenly showed up at King’s Landing.

She was very ill and in desperate need of help.

The best maesters attended to her and tried to quell her fever.

They noted that she was so hot it was like she was burning up from the inside.

They could feel the heat of her fever through their armor.

I’ll skip some of the more graphic descriptions.

The maesters also noted that there seemed to be something living inside of her body.

They could see it moving around under her flesh.

Disturbed and desperate, they tried putting Aerea in an ice bath to tame her fever.

When she entered the icy water, the creatures within her reacted.

They tried to escape, but being creatures of fire, they found the ice water to be fatal.

The creatures died.

Unfortunately for Aereas, the entire process was violent and traumatic.

She did not survive the ice bath.

She was quickly cremated, and her mother spread her ashes in the sky.

That is the tale of Aerea Targaryen.