Why did rhaegar targaryen marry Elia?

Answered by Jarrod Smith

Rhaegar Targaryen’s decision to marry Elia Martell can be attributed to several factors, primarily rooted in political and strategic considerations. It is important to understand the historical context of Westeros during that period to comprehend the rationale behind his choice.

1. Strengthening Targaryen alliances: At the time of Rhaegar’s marriage, House Targaryen sought to solidify alliances with other noble houses to ensure their political stability and support. Elia Martell belonged to House Martell of Dorne, one of the influential Great Houses of Westeros. By marrying Elia, Rhaegar aimed to forge a strong alliance between House Targaryen and House Martell, thereby securing Dorne’s loyalty.

2. Dornish support during Robert’s Rebellion: Rhaegar was aware of growing discontent within the realm, particularly among the great houses, which eventually led to Robert’s Rebellion. By marrying Elia, Rhaegar sought to gain the support of House Martell and the Dornish army in case a conflict arose. This marriage was an attempt to secure an influential ally in the event of any potential rebellion or external threat.

3. Maintaining Targaryen bloodline: Another crucial factor behind Rhaegar’s marriage to Elia was the need to ensure the continuation of the Targaryen bloodline. Following the death of his mother, Queen Rhaella, and the dwindling number of Targaryens, Rhaegar recognized the importance of producing heirs to safeguard the dynasty. Elia, as a Martell, possessed Valyrian blood, making her an ideal candidate to bear Targaryen children.

4. Prophecy and the Prince That Was Promised: Rhaegar’s actions were also influenced by his belief in ancient prophecies. He believed that his offspring would fulfill the prophecy of the Prince That Was Promised, a figure destined to save the world from darkness. Rhaegar believed that his firstborn son, Aegon, would be the prophesied prince. Marrying Elia and fathering children with her was a means to fulfill this prophecy.

It is worth noting that Daenerys Targaryen, Rhaegar’s younger sister, was not yet born when Rhaegar married Elia. Therefore, her existence and potential marriage alliances were not factors to be considered at the time of Rhaegar’s decision.

Rhaegar Targaryen married Elia Martell primarily to strengthen alliances, secure Dornish support, maintain the Targaryen bloodline, and potentially fulfill ancient prophecies. His choice was driven by political, strategic, and personal reasons, all aimed at preserving the Targaryen dynasty and securing their future in a tumultuous realm.