Rhaena Targaryen and the “gardening” as a writer of George R. R. Martin

Rhaena Targaryen and Elissa Farman, by Polar_Biscuit

The section of Fire and Blood that is most liked among the fans was referred to Jaehaerys I, full of new material. And it is interesting precisely because it was the last material that had been written by George R. R. Martin, in the months prior to the publication of the book, in front of the rest that were texts not published in The world of ice and fire years before. Today we will explore the “gardening” of George R. R. Martin as a writer through a key figure of that era, Rhaena Targaryen, from a text of zionus in r/asoiaf.

GRRM wrote about 350.000 words for The world of ice and fire, which was released in 2014. But the greater part of this material did not appear in that book for reasons of space. In 2017, decided to publish part of the material in the short novel The Sons of the Dragon an anthology Book of Swords edited by Gardner Dazois. But a year later, in 2018, Martin released even more material in Fire and Blood.

The section of The Sons of the Dragon of Fire and Blood, has 2700 words more compared to the version of the short novel published in The Book of Swords. And almost half of the new content is about Rhaena Targaryen, scattered everywhere in that section, from their birth to their reaction to the death of Aegon the Incoronado

What eliminated Gardner Dazois or George R. R. Martin references to Rhaena to match TI Sons of the Dragon in Book of Swords? It seems unlikely that the publishers deliberately removed almost every line about Rhaena. So I think the opposite: GRRM didn’t have the greater part of the history of Rhaena in the head in 2014. It is in 2017-18, when you enter the section of Jaehaerys to Fire and Blood, when George was interested in Rhaena, and went to the section of The Sons of the Dragon to add details about his youth.

George R. R. Martin at Worldcon 2012 with Garden Dazois

I’ve found three pieces that would serve as proof of how Martin invented later history of Rhaena Targaryen. Are the following:

In the first place, Lord Piper dies fighting against Maegor in the short novel while in Fire and Blood is Melony Piper, a childhood friend of Rhaena. It seems absurd to just change your name to a story. So this change was probably done after the publication of the novel. For this reason, throughout the history of Melony seems to be a subsequent creation.

In the second place, in The world of ice and fire Rhaena is not mentioned in the section of Harrenhal and in fact says that Lyonel Strong is the first Strong who took Harrenhal, which was changed to Bywin Strong in Fire and Blood. Lyonel Strong was born about 75 A.D. (his son Harwin was a gentleman in the 105), so it seems that the original plan was that Lyonel Strong received Harrenhal of Jaehaerys between 90 and 103 DC.

However, after GRRM decided to add Harrenhal to the history of Rhaena, it seems clear that there would be about 20 years old in white in Harrenhal, since the death of Rhaena in 73 A.D. until Lyonel Strong was adult in around 90 AD. So Bywin Strong was created to fill that period vacuum.

In the third place, Androw Farman did not appear in the family tree Targaryen in The world of ice and fire. But in the version of The Sons of the Dragons of TI Book of Swords suggested that Rhaena had come to love. Perhaps the original plan had an affair instead of getting married.

For all this I think that Rhaena Targaryen is another example of “gardening” as a writer of George R. R. Martin. And while his character grew to become each time more alive and interesting, GRRM even got to do retrocontinuidad of several things, that perfectly fit his mantra: the human heart in conflict with itself is the only thing worth writing, and the rest is just decoration.

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