Alys Rivers

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Alys Rivers
AlysRivers by Hylora.jpg
Alys Rivers, by Hylora

Alias(es) Witch queen[1]
Witch queen of Harrenhal[1]
Allegiance House Strong
House Targaryen
Predecessor Larys Strong (Lord of Harrenhal)
Culture(s) Rivermen
Born In or before 89 AC[2]
Father Lyonel Strong (disputed)
Spouse(s) Prince Aemond Targaryen (allegedly)
Issue Stillborn children[3]
Son[1] (allegedly)
Book(s) Fire & Blood (mentioned)
The Rise of the Dragon (mentioned)
The Princess and the Queen (mentioned)

Alys Rivers was a bastard servant of House Strong and a bedmate of Prince Aemond Targaryen.[3] She allegedly saw visions in fires, similar to an ability exhibited by some red priests of R'hllor.[4]


Alys had long black hair.[4] She is said to have looked younger than her years.[3]



Alys's origins are shrouded in mystery, and it is unclear if she was ever a formally acknowledged bastard or simply claimed to be one. According to Grand Maester Munkun and Septon Eustace, Alys was a bastard sired by Lord Lyonel Strong on an unknown woman when he was young. Munkun claims Alys was a serving wench with an interest in potions, while Eustace states she was a woods witch. Court fool Mushroom instead claims Alys was from an older generation and she had served as a wet nurse to Lyonel's sons, Harwin and Larys, and possibly even to Lyonel. Mushroom wrote that Alys was an enchantress who bathed in maidens' blood to remain youthful. Her own children were stillborn. Both Eustace and Munkun considered Mushroom's claims fantastical, but even they agreed that Alys looked unusually young for her age, as she had to be at least forty by the outbreak of the Dance of the Dragons.[3]

The Dance of the Dragons

Alys was at least forty years of age during the Dance of the Dragons, although she appeared younger. She survived the assault on Harrenhal by Prince Daemon Targaryen and the blacks.[3]

After the greens retook Harrenhal, Prince Aemond Targaryen ordered the deaths of the remaining members of House Strong at the castle. The dragonrider spared Alys's life, however, and took the older woman as his bedmate.[5] When informed of the greens' defeat in the Battle by the Lakeshore, Alys prevented an enraged Aemond from strangling the squire who brought the message to Harrenhal. Eustace disagrees with Mushroom's claim that Alys used potions to entice Ser Criston Cole, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard and the King's Hand, in addition to Aemond.[5]

Criston marched south along the Gods Eye and Aemond began burning the riverlands with Vhagar. When Lady Sabitha Frey seized the undefended Harrenhal, she found only Alys within. The wet nurse claimed to be pregnant with Aemond's child. Alys eventually escaped with Aemond when the prince returned to Harrenhal and chased away Sabitha.[5]

When Prince Aemond flew back to Harrenhal to do battle with Prince Daemon and Caraxes, he took the pregnant Alys with him. Aemond told Daemon that it was Alys who told him where to find him, as she saw a vision in a fire.[4] Aemond left Alys on the ground, kissing her one last time, before Vhagar and Caraxes leapt as one into the sky above the Gods Eye with their dragonriders. The pregnant Alys watched the ensuing Battle Above the Gods Eye atop Kingspyre Tower in Harrenhal below. Aemond and Daemon were both slain in their duel in 130 AC.[5]

Witch Queen

Alys Rivers, by Fkaluis.

In 132 AC during the regency of Aegon III, a number of broken men and predatory outlaws began to gather at Harrenhal under the rule of a sorcerous witch queen. Tasked by Ser Tyland Lannister, the Hand of the King, with reclaiming the castle, Ser Regis Groves of the Kingsguard and Ser Damon Darry marched to Harrenhal with a hundred men. The alleged witch queen was revealed to be Alys, who claimed to be the widow of Prince Aemond Targaryen. She presented a young boy as their trueborn son and the rightful king instead of Aegon III Targaryen. Regis abruptly died after insulting Alys. Some claim she used magic to burst his skull, while others state he was killed by crossbowmen or slingers. Alys's rabble then rode from Harrenhal and overwhelmed the loyalist men, with Damon leading thirty-two men back to Castle Darry.[1]

Alys sent a captured loyalist to Darry as a messenger the following day. The survivor claimed that he had been cursed by Alys so that he would die if anyone laughed at his story. He said Alys had instructed him that any man who approached Harrenhal without submitting to its occupants would die. The man also insisted that he had seen a dragon inside. Despite Damon's assurance that no one would laugh at the messenger's story, an onlooker did so. The messenger then choked to death in moments, with some saying they had seen the imprints of a woman's fingers on his throat. Lord Unwin Peake disbelieved Damon when he spoke of dragons and magic, and the regents concluded they would need to gather a larger force to recapture Harrenhal. Their plans were interrupted by Winter Fever in 133 AC, however.[1]

Quotes by Alys

I have the dragon's bastard in me. I can feel his fires licking at my womb.[5]

—Alys to Sabitha Frey

Alys: Kneel before your king.
Regis: I do not kneel to bastards, much less the baseborn whelp of a kinslayer and a milk cow.[1]

—Alys and Regis Groves

Quotes about Alys

Was she in truth a witch who lay with demons, bringing forth dead children as payment for the knowledge they gave her? Was she a simpleminded slattern, as Eustace believes? A wanton who used her poisons and potions to bind men to her, body and soul?[3]

—writings of Gyldayn

Daemon: Who told you where to find me?
Aemond: My lady. She saw you in a storm cloud, in a mountain pool at dusk, in the fire we lit to cook our suppers. She sees much and more, my Alys.[5]


3 Wives
Alys Rivers
[Note 1][Note 2]
2 Daughters
  1. Both Grand Maester Munkun and Septon Eustace believed Alys Rivers to have been the bastard daughter of Lord Lyonel Strong.
  2. In 132 AC, Alys claimed to have wed Prince Aemond before his death.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Hooded Hand.
  2. See the Alys Rivers calculation.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - A Son for a Son.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 The Princess and the Queen.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Triumphant.