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Fanfic / Lyssophobia

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Lyssophobia is an A Song of Ice and Fire fanfic. Told in four parts, in Anachronic Order, it recounts the life of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, from his grandfather Jaehaerys' illness and death when he was three years old, to his own death at the Battle of the Trident. The fic explores Rhaegar's feelings toward his family and the prince who was promised prophecy, his relationships with his wife Elia Martell and Lyanna Stark, his struggle with the Targaryen tendency toward madness, and with his father, the mad king.


It is available here on Archive of Our Own, and here on Fan Fiction Dot Net.

This fanfic provides examples of the following tropes

  • Above the Influence: Jon Connington, who despite having been in love with Rhaegar for years, refuses when Rhaegar propositions him, since Rhaegar is in a state of deep depression at the time.
  • Abusive Parents: Aerys is horrifically emotionally abusive to Rhaegar, and often physically abusive as well.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: When Aerys wants to have a poacher burnt alive in front of Rhaenys, Rhaegar completely breaks down and begs him not to.
  • The Alcoholic: Rhaella is always seen with a glass of wine in hand. Hard to blame her, really.
  • Always Someone Better: Aerys has this view of Rhaegar due to Jaehaerys proclaiming him the Prince That was Promised and begins resenting him for it. Rhaegar is only three years old at the time.
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  • All for Nothing: Rhaegar is horrified when he learns Rhaella is pregnant again, meaning he and his siblings could be the three heads of the dragon after all, and his elopement with Lyanna (and the resulting deaths of her family members and civil war) could have been this.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Rhaegar is strongly implied to suffer from Bipolar Disorder, but given he lives in an medieval fantasy world, he clearly never gets a diagnosis.
  • Ambiguously Bi:
    • Elia says if Rhaegar made her sleep with two septas in her bed to be sure she was faithful (as Aerys did to Rhaella), she'd simply fuck the septas. It's unclear if she's Bi the Way, a believer in Situational Sexuality, or just kidding.
    • Rhaegar himself is primarily attracted to women, but propositions Jon Connington at one point. However this appears to be an act of spite towards his father more than anything based on attraction.
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  • Ambiguous Situation: It's unclear what the legal status of Rhaegar and Lyanna's relationship is – they 'wed' by laying together in front of the Heart Tree in Winterfell's godswood, but Lyanna points out, no-one's really followed that custom in a while. Rhaegar is also already married, and while the Targaryens do have a precedent for polygamy, it's not been invoked in centuries. Rhaegar considers them married, but he's not the sanest guy around.
  • Anachronic Order: The story jumps around different points of Rhaegar's life, ending with his death at the Trident.
  • Archnemesis Dad: Aerys and Rhaegar, natch.
  • Arranged Marriage: Aerys and Rhaella, whose marriage is so awful Rhaegar considers it a form of Rape by Proxy on the part of their father, Jaehaerys. Rhaegar and Elia's borders on a Perfectly Arranged Marriage, prior to Rhaegar's elopement with Lyanna.
  • Bad Dreams: Rhaegar has a nightmare at the end of the third chapter, where he imagines being pursued across Dorne by Queen Nymeria and her army. He manages to fend them off by breathing fire, only to set himself alight instead. Nymeria then turns into Elia, who smirks when she sees him burning alive.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Rhaegar is very dedicated to fulfilling the Prince Who was Promised prophecy. Subverted when he reveals his motivation is less 'destiny' and more that he thinks fulfilling the prophecy is the only justification for his Royally Screwed Up family to exist.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Rhaegar really hates it when people call him mad. Subverted when Lyanna says it after he refuses to let her return north after Rickard and Brandon's deaths, at which point he thinks she's probably right.
    • He also believes Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil, as shown by the incident he recounts of beheading a man in a rage, in an inn, because he'd beaten and raped a prostitute. This terrified both Rhaegar himself, and the innkeep.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Ten year old Cersei is about as charming you'd expect, even throwing a tantrum when her father orders her to leave court.
  • Break the Cutie:
    • Use of Anachronic Order means we can directly contrast Rhaegar at various stages of cutie breakage.
    • Lyanna as well, which Rhaegar lampshades: “he has broken her, as much as he has ruined her.”
  • Broken Ace: Rhaegar, who is adored as the Wise Prince throughout the Seven Kingdoms, but inside is extremely mentally unstable and horribly traumatised by his father's abuse.
  • But We Used a Condom: Medieval variant. Rhaegar refuses to use the withdrawal method when Elia suggests it, remembering a number of his father's mistresses who said they did that but fell pregnant anyway, who Aerys then had killed.
  • Bystander Syndrome: Enforced. Aerys is the king, so no-one really can intervene against his cruelties without being killed themselves. Nonetheless, Rhaegar feels some serious guilt for failing to stop him, especially as being Aerys' son and heir, he's one of the few people Aerys can't kill.
  • Call-Forward: Quite a few.
    • Jaime preventing Rhaenys from seeing the poacher's execution is quite reminiscent of Yoren preventing Arya from seeing Ned's.
    • The conversation Jaime and Rhaegar have right afterwards, where Rhaegar says that any man can kill the king if he can face what comes afterwards, foreshadowing Jaime becoming the Kingslayer.
    • Rhaegar's assessments of Varys and Tywin, see Horrible Judge of Character.
  • The Chosen One: Rhaegar initially believes he's this, as does his grandfather Jaehaerys. Aerys is extremely bitter about it. Later Rhaegar changes his mind and believes his son Aegon is the Chosen One. He tells Lyanna that he believes he has to fulfill the prophecy, as it's the only way he can justify the existence of the Targaryens, and himself.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Rhaegar has one when thinking about the various Targaryens throughout history he blames for his current situation.
  • Continuity Nod: Rhaegar is a history nerd who's obsessed with his family heritage, so his thoughts are full of references to past Targaryens.
  • Daddy's Girl/Doting Parent: Rhaegar and Nyssie are extremely close.
  • Daddy Issues: Rhaegar. But given who his daddy is, what do you expect? Rhaegar does some terrible things, but it all stems from the way he's been treated by his father all his life, and the toll that's taken on his mind.
  • The Dead Have Names: The mistress Aerys had killed after Prince Jaehaerys' death, who Rhaegar calls Hanna, and says she was sweet and polite and only seventeen.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Rhaella gets in a few sarcastic lines towards Aerys.
    Aerys: You drink too much.
    Rhaella: No more than usual, dear.
    • Lyanna has her moments of snark too.
    Rhaegar: You're the bravest woman I've ever met.
    Lyanna: What, don't they have women in King's Landing?
  • Death by Childbirth: Defied. After Rhaegar is told Elia won't be able to bear any more children without dying, she is willing to try again, as she views it as her duty to give him heirs, but Rhaegar refuses. This is what motivates him to run off with Lyanna.
  • Destructive Romance: Tragically, Rhaegar and Lyanna's relationship descends into this. While they do actually love each other, the unfortunate circumstances that arise from their relationship start tearing them apart; although he's well aware of what he's doing and despises himself for it, Rhaegar starts to become quite verbally abusive towards Lyanna and effectively keeps her prisoner (though his intention is to protect her and their unborn child). She grows to resent him for this and for what his father did to her father and brother. They do make up though, right before Rhaegar goes to fight Robert at the Trident.
  • Domestic Abuse: Aerys towards Rhaella, as in canon.
  • Doomed by Canon/Foregone Conclusion: Rhaegar is killed by Robert at the Battle of the Trident.
  • Doting Grandparent: Jaehaerys and Shaera are very affectionate towards Rhaegar; unlike Aerys, Jaehaerys tells Rhaegar he's proud of him for being clever enough to read all the histories at the age of just three.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Rhaegar and Lyanna both think their unborn child will be a girl, whom he plans to name Visenya (he already has Rhaenys and Aegon). It's all but stated that their child is actually Jon Snow.
    • One of the reasons Rhaegar married and had a child with Lyanna is because he believes he needs three children to fulfill the prophecy, but he doesn't want Elia to die bearing another child. Given that this fic all but states that it supports the fan theory of R+L=J, note  Lyanna ended up dying giving birth to his child. And running off with Lyanna eventually leads to Elia (and their children) being killed.
  • Exotic Extended Marriage: Rhaegar marries Lyanna in a traditional Northern ceremony used generations ago by the First Men, while still married to Elia Martell. He justifies it as needing a third child to fulfil the prophecy (which Elia cannot provide him without likely dying in the process) and that Aegon the Conqueror also had two wives and at least neither of Rhaegar's are his sisters. The exact legality of the marriage is never made clear and very few people know of it.
  • Evil Is Petty: Aerys, who along with being The Caligula, mocks Rhaegar for his love of books, insinuates he's gay, and laughs at him for being scared of a little girl (Cersei, who Rhaegar is seemingly scared of because she reminds him of Aerys.)
  • Fille Fatale: Cersei, who attempts to seduce Rhaegar at only ten years old. Rhaegar notably regards it as very Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour and blames her father for it.
  • Happily Married: Jaehaerys and Shaera genuinely love one another. They're pretty much the only consistently happy couple in the story.
  • Harmful to Minors:
    • Rhaegar's sanity has not only been worn away by his father's active abuse, but also from being exposed to his Domestic Abuse of Rhaella, and his actions as The Caligula.
    • Invoked when Aerys tries to have a poacher burned alive in front of Rhaenys, purely to spite Rhaegar. Luckily, Jaime Lannister prevents her from actually seeing it.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Overlapping with Call-Forward and Dramatic Irony. Twice, Rhaegar makes judgements about people that are deeply ironic given what we, the readers, know about them.
    • Particularly cringeworthy is Rhaegar's statement he's always liked Tywin Lannister, when we know that Tywin will have Rhaegar's wife and children brutally murdered.
    • Rhaegar hates Varys, who is going to save his son from certain death and plan to have him restored to the throne. Well, if you believe him anyway.
    • Readers are also unlikely to agree with his assessment that Aegon V was as mad as the rest of the Targaryens.
  • Hypocrite: Lyanna, who uses the fact Robert has cheated on her and fathered a bastard to justify running away with a married man. She later changes her mind however, and claims that she has no right to judge Robert.
  • I Am Not My Father: Rhaegar really, really doesn't want to be anything like his father.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each chapter is named after an nickname or epithet attached to a former Targaryen monarch.
    • Odd Name Out: The first three chapters are named after recognised Targaryen kings, and they're nicknames gained for their actions as king. The last chapter is named after Queen Rhaenyra, now considered a pretender, and it's a name she had long before taking the throne.
  • Innocent Inaccurate: As a child, Rhaegar wants to squire for Bonnifer Hasty because he was friends with his mother, not realising they were actually Star-Crossed Lovers. It doesn't go very well.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Rhaegar is unnecessarily harsh about it, but he does have a point that Lyanna can't go travelling to the other side of the continent alone and pregnant while a war is going on.
  • Marital Rape License
    • Aerys towards Rhaella.
    • Defied by Rhaegar towards Lyanna once she turns against him after her family's deaths. Despite the fact he's keeping her imprisoned, needs her to have his children, and he does consider her his wife, he's terrified by the thought he might have to force himself on her, because that would make him just like Aerys.
  • Marry for Love: Jaehaerys married his sister Shaera from love and they're still in love years later. Although he had other motives too, it's also revealed that Rhaegar married Lyanna from love (or at the very least infatuation and admiration).
  • Maternal Death? Blame the Child: Discussed. After Aegon is born, Rhaegar thinks that if Elia dies he will never be able to forgive the boy for it, though he knows Aegon doesn't deserve that.
  • Momma's Boy: Rhaegar is a lot closer to his mother than his father and attempts to defend her from Aerys on a few occasions, which Aerys berates and mocks him for.
  • My Own Private "I Do": Rhaegar and Lyanna have a private wedding ceremony by having sex beneath a weirwood tree. The exact legality of the situation isn't clear, and the couple never gets around to telling anyone before all hell breaks loose.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Rhaegar has this reaction after he slaps Viserys during an argument, because Viserys said he'll never be half the king Aerys is.
    • He has this to a much greater extent after Aerys executes Brandon and Rickard Stark as a result of his eloping with Lyanna, although this doubles as an Ignored Epiphany - see Necessarily Evil below.
  • Necessarily Evil: How Rhaegar views his relationship with Lyanna, especially imprisoning her when she asks to go back home after her father and brother's deaths, until she gives birth to his child.
  • Not What It Looks Like: It turns out that Rhaegar didn't kidnap and rape Lyanna; they consensually eloped together.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Rhaegar almost exclusively calls his daughter Rhaenys "Nyssie", excising the Targaryen prefix she shares with him from her name.
  • Parental Favouritism:
    • Aerys, who despises Rhaegar and dotes on his second son Viserys.
    • Also Rhaegar, who adores his firstborn Rhaenys (typically referred to as “Nyssie”) but is distinctly cool to his son Aegon when he's born, and is never seen interacting with him after that (granted, he's just a baby). Seemingly, this is because Rhaenys inherited her mother's Dornish colouring, whereas Aegon looks like a Targaryen, and Rhaegar really doesn't like the Targaryens.
  • Parents as People: Rhaella, who clearly loves her sons and does what she can to protect Rhaegar from Aerys (which admittedly, isn't much), and encourages them to form a brotherly relationship behind their father's back. However, she views it as her duty as Queen of the Seven Kingdoms to stay by Aerys' side regardless of what he does to her, tells Rhaegar she wouldn't leave him if she could, and implies it's Rhaegar's duty to do the same.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Played with regarding Elia and Rhaegar. They're extremely happy together, up until Elia tells Rhaegar they should have another child regardless of whether she'd die in childbirth, at which point Rhaegar decides he could never love her. However protecting Elia from this fate is one of his main motivations for running away with Lyanna.
  • Pet the Dog: Almost literally – Aerys pets and is sweet to Rhaenys' kitten Balerion, when Rhaegar was fully expecting him to hurt or kill it out of spite. Rhaegar finds this very stressful.
  • Prone to Tears: Rhaegar is rare male example. He often cries when he's feeling emotionally overwhelmed (which is a frequent occurrence). Considering his family and upbringing, it's not surprising.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil:
    • Rhaegar strongly believes this, no doubt influenced by his father's invocation of the Marital Rape License against his mother.
    • Lyanna later deconstructs it some, giving Rhaegar a What the Hell, Hero? for using this to maintain his moral superiority while still keeping her captive and refusing to let her return to what's left of her family.
  • Reluctant Psycho: Rhaegar clearly has some significant mental health issues, but is absolutely terrified of going mad, given what mad Targaryens tend to be like.
  • Royal Brat: Viserys, though it's not entirely his fault; Aerys' overindulgence of him and other negative behaviors instil a sense of childish entitlement in him at a young age.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: Rhaegar reveals to Jon Connington he's known for years that Jon was attracted to him, but said nothing.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Aerys' paranoia that Rhaegar is plotting against him leads him to abuse Rhaegar so thoroughly Rhaegar wants to plot against him, although he never really accomplishes much.
  • Sexless Marriage: Rhaegar is very reluctant to have sex with Elia after Aegon's birth out of fear she will get pregnant and die in childbirth (though at one point he ends up performing oral sex on her as it won't lead to pregnancy).
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Jaehaerys, who only appears in the first scene, but whose actions in wedding Aerys to Rhaella and claiming Rhaegar is the prince who was promised motivate just about everything else that follows.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Lyanna is revealed to be the Knight of the Laughing Tree in this story, which is how she and Rhaegar first met.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: Rhaegar's crowning Lyanna Queen of Love and Beauty, and later eloping with her, are very impulsive decisions, with extremely tragic consequences. Given he's implied to have Bipolar Disorder and have made those decisions in a manic state, this is probably justified.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy:
    • Averted. Rhaegar is really not interested in earning Aerys' approval, he just wants to escape the abuse.
    • Although it's implied this might be part of Aerys' reason for abusing Rhaegar in the first place, being very bitter over Jaehaerys thinking he was the prince who was promised.
  • Your Cheating Heart:
  • Youth Is Wasted on the Dumb: Lyanna, who is around sixteen, recklessly elopes with Rhaegar and runs off to Dorne with him, even though he's already married and she betrothed to Robert Baratheon. She starts to realize this was probably not the best idea when people start to believe she's been kidnapped, but the damage is done by this point.


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