The Golden Dragon
Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett as Vhaerys Targaryen
Name: Vhaerys Targaryen
Aliases: Her Grace; Vhaerys Goldenfyre; The Golden Dragon
Faction: The Crownlands
Organization: House Targaryen
Occupation: Princess
Rank: Princess
Age: Mar 6 77 (45)


Good luck spotting a hair out of place amongst the long white-golden war braids of this Targaryen princess appealing still in her fifth decade, with faint lines about her violet eyes and her broad red mouth.

Her cheekbones are high but full, her eyebrows low but long, and her gaze seems often to twitch away to something or someone unseen… She is at 5'10" tall for a woman, long-limbed and broad-shouldered and girlishly lean, the weight of past pregnancies long since shed and her style of life more abstemious than otherwise. She possesses strength, muscle, and grace, all in decorous proportion, and her skin carries a fresh, tart, altogether expensive fragrance the chief notes in which are perhaps citrus and cypress and bergamot. Its bitterness turns slowly by custom to something sweeter.


The custom of House Targaryen has long been to wed sister to brother, to keep power secure within the family and its bloodlines pure. What more natural match could there be, than a twin sister and the twin brother from whom she was separated for scant moments before he followed her into the world — and hardly at all thereafter? Vhaerys and Vhaeron were raised together on Dragonstone in the last century. When they began to crawl it was to find one another. When they began to speak it was in their own language, a pastiche of High Valyrian and sounds which meant nothing to anyone else: speech directed outwards, to nursemaids and siblings and parents, came whole and complete and multilingual and yet as an afterthought, when they were four years old. Till then they had no interest in it. They had long hair or short, but always the same. When Vhaeron began his training for knighthood, Vhaerys was with him in every lesson; when Vhaerys went through a botanical phase, Vhaeron became as adept as she at identifying, collecting, and cataloguing rare plants. Far from having other romantic interests, they rarely deigned to acknowledge other friends: and those they always had in common. Any unwary soul who attempted to get in between found them closing ranks against the common threat, with sometimes violent results.

They hadn't much to do with their parents (also, Targaryens being Targaryens, their uncle and aunt), Prince Calidaeron and Princess Calidaerys, whose lifelong passion for one another absorbed them far more than the offspring which were its incidental result. Their children were in fact named after the said dragon, who was widely considered the most important person in the family. Upon Calidaeron's death in 94 AC, his widow Calidaerys who had always ridden pillion behind him supposed herself to be Vhaelyx's next rightful rider, each a consolation for the other — and yet she survived her beloved by less than two days, her "dying of grief" a plot masterminded by Vhaerys and carried through by the twins in concert, to remove her from the running and secure Vhaelyx for themselves. They were of the same blood, the same scent, a similar touch. Surely one of them would succeed in winning her… But which? They were united in this pact as in all else: the matter would be decided with scrupulous justice, by the dragon herself, and whichever won would support the other thereafter in efforts to acquire a second.

Vhaelyx's choice fell upon Vhaerys. The new generation succeeded the old — not immediately, and not without a struggle — and the triumphs and failings of Calidaeron and Calidaerys were by the same deeds revenged, and reflected in a distorted mirror. Two beautiful young Targaryens, a matched pair, resplendent on dragonback and fierce in their family's interests — they were the pride of House Targaryen in those years and they began to be spoken of as greater even than their parents. They lived a life of wealth, privilege, regal grandeur, and self-assured conquest of all they saw, beyond the dreams of anyone not blessed to share their lineage. Nothing was too good for them. Nothing was too much for them. The moods of each were a law unto the other.

Twins, the children of brother and sister, the grand-children of sister and brother, they appeared outwardly flawless and yet each had certain peculiarities. Vhaeron's moods swung this way and that like a deranged pendulum, and he could only be understood and managed and kept whole by his sister-wife; Vhaerys was sensitive to detail, to small discrepancies in the routine of her life and the way she preferred things to be done, and apt to take unreasoning, inexplicable dislikes (for instance, to butterflies), and had a profound interest in the inner workings of the human body, which in her company occasionally became the outer workings: as well as studying with healers, she was fascinated by the Silent Sisters and learned as much of them as possible without joining their number. Even in those days they spent ample time in Oldtown as well as King's Landing, availing themselves of the Targaryen privilege of treating the Citadel as their own lending library and the maesters therein as a font of knowledge to be tapped at their whim. Learning was a luxury they took for granted as much as wealth.

Together they were balanced, but extreme. They loved (within their circle) or they hated (without it). They had always to be the first, the best, or the only. They'd fall into one another's arms in public, even before they were wed, and leave the room with one intention in mind. They'd declare a vendetta and not rest till their enemy was ruined. They'd build pleasure pavilions to burn them down. And if a few smallfolk had to die, well, does that matter—? Such creatures aren't really people, after all, are they.

In Depth


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