When King Viserys I Targaryen dies, his widow Queen Alicent has their eldest son Prince Aegon crowned king before Viserys' daughter Rhaenyra, the only surviving child of his first marriage, can claim the Iron Throne herself. Though Rhaenyra is the king's oldest child and had been named his successor years before, Alicent and her supporters declare Rhaenyra unfit to rule and argue that, as a woman, Rhaenyra should be placed after Alicent's own male children in the line of succession. Aegon and Rhaenyra assemble their respective supporters, including the various dragonriders within their extended families. After Rhaenyra declares herself Queen at the Targaryen ancestral seat of Dragonstone, both her middle son Lucerys Velaryon and King Aegon's younger brother Aemond take their dragons to seek the support of Lord Borros Baratheon of Storm's End. The princes clash and Lucerys and his dragon are killed. Rhaenyra's husband Prince Daemon has Aegon's young son and heir Jaehaerys murdered in revenge. Soon both branches of the Targaryen royal line are at war, with dragons on both sides.
Entertainment Weekly called the 35,000-word novella "a great demonstration of Martin's ability to dramatize the slippery complexities of power: how evil begets heroism, how heroes become villains."The Princess and the Queen was nominated for a 2014 Locus Award.