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A Brief Guide to the Targaryens, Velaryons, and Hightowers in


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House of the Dragonis almost done with its first season, and we’re still trying to keep up with the expansive cast of characters and their very similar yet difficult-to-spell names.

The series is based on Fire & Blood, the first of George R.R. Martin’s two volumes that cover the history of the Targaryens and their wild dragonriding ways. These books take place hundreds of years before what happens on Game of Thrones, according to HBO. As the curtains lift on HotD, Westeros is a relatively peaceful place, but civil war in the Targaryen family is brewing. Later called “The Dance of the Dragons,” the war concerns who will be ascending the Iron Throne and, once again, gender is at the heart of the issue.

Below are all the main Targaryens, Hightowers, and Velaryons in the series who are key players in the conflict. (Think of them as Daenerys’ distant aunts and uncles if you’re confused about the connection.) Some details are based on what is known to happen during the books, so there could be some deviation in the series, but it’s pretty close.

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Viserys succeeded King Jaehaerys Targaryen, his grandfather, when he was chosen by the Lords of Westeros for the Iron Throne. When he ascended the throne, he followed a long and prosperous rule by Jaehaerys and basically just tried to hold things down. While he is a decent dude, he is not necessarily an exciting or charismatic leader—though he tried his best to keep the peace. When his daughter Rhaenyra turned eight years old, he named her heir, causing issues within his own reign. Viserys came about nine generations before the famous Daenerys Targaryen. He died after suffering from a severe form of leprocy.

Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen

Rhaenyra is the first-born child of Viserys and his first wife Aemma Arryn. As such, she has a legitimate claim to the throne, but the age-old issue of her being a woman raises its ugly head. Her uncle and the younger brother to King Viserys, Daemon, is the presumed heir. But Rhaenyra is a dragonrider and this is a world where dragons have definitely not gone extinct.

Daemon is the younger brother to King Viserys. While he is well-known for being a great dragonrider and warrior, he has a little bit of that alarming Targaryen tendency to walk the edge of madness. While he initially vied for the throne against his niece Rhaenyra, he eventually married her to strengthen their house. She is his third wife while he is her second husband.

He is Daenerys’ distant uncle and that might explain why her brother Viserys Targaryen ended up the way he did.

Laenor is a skilled warrior and the heir to House Velaryon, and he is also a dragon-rider. His dragon Seasmoke is pretty important back-up in Daemon’s various wars. Laenor’s father is Corlys Velaryon and his mother is Rhaenys, who came very close to sitting on the Iron Throne. He’s also Rhaenyra’s first husband (and first cousin), before he fakes his death and leaves Westeros with his lover Qarl.

Jacaerys “Jace” Velaryon

Jacaerys is the firstborn son of Princess Rhaenyra and her first husband Laenor Velaryon and therefore follows her in line for the throne. Despite his given name, his real father is Ser Harwin Strong.

Lucerys “Luke” Velaryon

Luke is the second son of Rhaenyra and Laenor, and younger brother of Jace. He, too, was born out of wedlock as his real father is also Ser Harwin Strong.

He is the thirdborn son of Rhaenyra and Laenor Velaryon and younger brother of Jace and Luke. Like his older siblings, he is also the true son of Ser Harwin Strong.

Rhaenys was also once in line for the throne as well as a dragonrider, but she was ultimately passed over by the Great Council for her cousin, Viserys. Yes, it’s because she was a woman. (There’s a theme here.) She went on to marry Lord Corlys Velaryon. She does have a cool nickname, though: “The Queen Who Never Was.” Really rubs it in.

Corlys is the head of house Velaryon, and the husband of Rhaenys Targaryen. He had two children with Rhaenys, Laena and Laenor. The Velaryons are not big players in GoT, but in House of the Dragon, it’s clear that Corlys, also known as the Sea Snake, is not someone to be messed with. His island, Driftmark, is known for its naval army. The Velaryons are also a family with dragon-riders and appropriate partners for the Targaryens.

First introduced as a as a 12-year-old sent to marry Viserys I Targaryen, she eventually becomes the wife of Prince Daemon Targaryen. They share two children, Baela and Rhaena. She is also a dragon-rider of the dragon Vhagar. Laena does not last long in the series; Vhagar ends Laena’s life at her request as she’s struggling with childbirth. It’s a brutal end.

Baela is the daughter of Laena Velaryon and Daemon Targaryen. She, like her mother, is a dragon-rider, bonding with the dragon Moondancer. She is betrothed to her cousin Jacaerys Targaryen, who is supposed to be next in line for the throne after his mother, Rhaenyra.

Rhaena Targaryen is the second daughter of Daemon Targaryen and Laena Velaryon, and Baela’s little sister. Following their mother’s death, both Baela and Rhaena are in much more vulnerable positions. She was engaged to her cousin Lucerys Velaryon in an attempt to secure Driftmark, of which Lucerys is the heir.

Alicent is the daughter of Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King, and the second wife to Viserys. She is known for being one of the most attractive women in the Seven Kingdoms. That’s a big deal because there’s a lot of competition. Alicent was raised in the Red Keep, and she has an incredible political mind. That’s always been something people close to the Iron Throne need to survive. She’s also not in either Daemon or Rhaenyra’s corner when it comes to who she thinks should take the throne next (even though she and Rhaenyra grew up as childhood best friends).

The incredibly loyal Otto Hightower is the Hand of the King. As we’ve previously seen, loyal people have a rough time in the Seven Kingdoms, and Otto’s main opponent in the series is likely to be Daemon. Daemon is not only a threat to Rhaenyra, he’s also a threat to his own brother and Otto will do anything to protect Viserys.

Aegon, second of his name, is the firstborn son of King Viserys and Queen Alicent Hightower. It is argued that he should be king over his half-sister Rhaenyra, given he is the king’s oldest male heir. He marries his younger sister, Helaena Targaryen.

Helaena is Aegon’s younger sister (and wife) and daughter of King Viserys and Queen Alicent. She rides the dragon Dreamfyre. While at first she seems to have an odd and eccentric personality, it appears she has the gift of foresight and prophecy.

He is the third child of King Viserys and Alicent Hightower, and younger brother of Aegon and Halaena. He rides the formidable dragon Vhagar following Lady Laena Velaryon’s death.

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