Elia Targaryen, formerly Elia Martell, is a minor character in Game of Thrones that does not have any screen time. Elia Targaryen is the sister of Oberyn Martell and the wife of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. While the prosperous marriage between the two is a rarity on Game of Thrones, the two were happy and had two children together until later in their relationship. Tywin Lannister, however, disliked Elia after his proposal of Cersei marrying Rhaegar was rejected for Elia.
Once married, Elia Targaryen inherited the Targaryen side of the family. This makes Daenerys Targaryen her sister in law and Viserys Targaryen her brother in law. On the Martell side, Trystane Martell is her nephew and the Sand Snakes are Elia’s nieces.
Rhaegar Targaryen and Elia Targaryen were married successfully, but were not in love. Rhaegar left Elia for Lyanna Stark later in life as Elia was often sick. Lyanna and Rhaegar ran off together, although some would say that she was abducted. Elia, although she got along with Rhaegar, she was not fond of Lyanna Stark. Even after her husband ran off with another, however, she still cared for her children with devotion.
Elia Targaryen was known to have loved her two children, Rhaeneys and Aegon, more than anything. She was a devoted mother and wife. Elia Targaryen even chose to nurse the children herself and raise them in favor of a wet nurse. This devotion to her children may be due to the fact that both of the pregnancies were difficult for Elia, each nearly killing her. This may be a nod to the fact that her Targaryen children would both have dragon blood within them, and are stronger than Elia could ever be. Throughout the series her brother, Oberyn, tells Elia’s story with pride. She was dearly loved by her brother. He even attempts to avenge her brutal ending in the series, although poor Oberyn is slain instead.
We hear the rest of Elia’s story later. Her final hours were during the betrayal of Tywin Lannister to the king. Tywin’s army stormed King’s Landing and Ser Gregor Clegane burst into Elia Targaryen’s room during the upheaval. He proceeded to rape her brutally until he finally killed poor Elia. He confessed later that at the end he smashed her head in with something, contrary to the rumors of him slicing the woman in half.
We, the viewers, are given no reason to dislike Elia Targaryen. She is kind, caring, a doting mother, and a wonderfully devoted wife. While we never physically see her, we are struck by her story and the bloodshed that resulted. Here was a strong woman of much loyalty. She was loyal to the House of Martell by birth and the House of Targaryen by love and marriage, but unfortunately her Houses’ enemies killed Elia Targaryen and her daughter.