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House Of The Dragon Characters That Mean More Than You Think

With every episode, "House Of The Dragon" ramps up the political scandals and dragon drama that has become synonymous with the "Game of Thrones" universe. The HBO prequel series, set nearly 200 years before the original show starring Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke, chronicles the civil war that destroyed House Targaryen midway through their reign from the Iron Throne: the Dance of the Dragons.

On one side, there is Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock/Emma D'Arcy), the named heir of King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine), as well as the rogue Prince Daemon (Matt Smith). On the other side is Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey/Olivia Cooke), Rhaenyra's former best friend and current stepmother, who spearheads the campaign for her son, Prince Aegon (Ty Tennant/Tom Glynn-Carney).

Each week new characters are introduced to the game of thrones — some win, and some die. The Targaryen family tree begins to unravel in Season 1 of "House Of The Dragon," as the last dragon lords of Old Valyria turn on each other, influenced by the likes of Larys Strong (Matthew Needham) and Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans). But it isn't just the main players who move the pieces in this political game. Here are the "House of the Dragon" characters that are more important than you might have guessed.

Aemond 'One-Eye' Targaryen

Aemond Targaryen makes a big impact in Episode 7, "Driftmark." The second son of Viserys and Alicent claims Vhagar, the oldest, largest and fiercest Targaryen dragon, at Laena Velaryon's (Nana Blondell) funeral. Claiming Vhagar comes with a price: Laena's daughters, Rhaena and Baelas attack Aemond for "stealing" their mother's mount, and Aemond loses an eye in the skirmish involving Jacaerys and Lucerys Velaryon. Alicent demands Lucerys' eye in recompense. But Aemond is nonplussed -– as he tells his mother, an eye for a dragon is "a fair exchange."

Vhagar isn't just any dragon. She's the only survivor from Aegon the Conqueror's original trio, and was ridden by Visenya Targaryen during the Conquest. Episode 6, "The Princess and the Queen," highlights Aemond's struggle to claim a dragon. Then Vhagar changes everything. The she-dragon dwarfs Aegon's mount, Sunfyre, as well as the Velaryons' dragons, Vermax and Arrax. This doesn't go unnoticed by Otto Hightower -– the Hand of the King tells Alicent that Aemond winning Vhagar turns the tide for their faction.

Aemond One-Eye grows up to be a rogue prince with a dark reputation. On Vhagar, he ambushes Lucerys and Arrax above Storm's End, killing them both in vengeance for his lost eye. Later in the Dance of the Dragons, Aemond unleashes Vhagar on the riverlands, before facing Daemon and Caraxes in an epic battle above the God's Eye where Daemon leaps from dragonback to stab Aemond in his remaining eye with Dark Sister, his Valyrian steel sword. Neither prince nor dragon survive the fight.

Helaena Targaryen

Helaena is a dreamer -– appropriate for someone who rides a dragon called Dreamfyre. Like her father Viserys, Helaena demonstrates an affinity for prophetic dreams that foreshadow future events. During Episode 6, Helaena quietly remarks that Aemond must "close an eye" to ride a dragon; the following episode sees Aemond lose an eye to Lucerys Velaryon after Aemond claims Vhagar. In the same episode, Helaena speaks to herself of "dragons of flesh weaving dragons of threads," symbolizing the opposing banners created by Rhaenyra and Aegon during the Dance of the Dragons.

Both a dragon rider and a dreamer, Helaena is overlooked by many due to her quirky nature and fascination with bugs. But the Targaryen princess plays an important role in "Fire and Blood." Helaena marries her brother Aegon, becoming his queen. Together they have three children: the twins Jaehaerys and Jaehaera, and Maelor. Jaehaerys is murdered by Blood and Cheese, assassins sent by Daemon to avenge Lucerys' death. Not only is Helaena forced to watch, but the queen is also forced to choose which child dies. Helaena chooses Maelor, but Blood and Cheese have other ideas.

"Fire and Blood” chronicles Helaena's depression following her son's death. The queen shuns Dreamfyre, her beloved dragon, and eventually becomes Rhaenyra's hostage when she take King's Landing from Aegon. Helaena eventually commits suicide by throwing herself from the Red Keep. Her death ignites the people of King's Landing who, after suffering Rhaenyra's tax hikes, storm the Dragonpit in protest of the Targaryens' rule.

Jacaerys Velaryon

Jacaerys (Leo Hart/Harry Collett) is Rhaenyra Targaryen's son and heir. Currently, Jacaerys stands to inherit the Iron Throne after Rhaenyra becomes queen (though viewers know that the greens aren't prepared to let that happen). Life isn't all roses for the young prince, however: His mother's marriage to his supposed father, Ser Laenor Velaryon (John MacMillan), is a lie — Jacaerys and his brothers, Lucerys and Joffrey, are really the bastard sons of Ser Harwin Strong (Ryan Corr).

Jacaerys' true parentage is a touchy subject in the Red Keep. In the aftermath of Aemond's assault, Viserys issues a brutal edict: anyone who questions the Velaryon boys' legitimacy will lose their tongues. Jacaerys himself isn't blind to the obvious. During Episode 6, the prince questions Rhaenyra about the truth. Episode 7 features Jacaerys and Lucerys (Harvey Sadler) mourning their real father, after Harwin is murdered by his brother, Larys.

Throughout the Dance, Jacaerys rides the dragon Vermax, who viewers first meet in Episode 6. After Rhaenyra marries Daemon, Jacaerys is betrothed to his cousin, Baela. Like his descendant Jon Snow, Jacaerys steps up to prove himself from a young age. While Lucerys is ambushed by Aemond, Jacaerys negotiates with Lady Jeyne Arryn at the Eyrie and Lord Cregan Stark at Winterfell, winning them both to his mother's side. The prince spearheads Rhaenyra's cause until he and Vermax are killed in the Battle of the Gullet, where the princes are ambushed by the greens' new allies: the Triarchy.

Baela Targaryen

"House of the Dragon" introduces Baela Targaryen (Shani Smethurst/Bethany Antonia) as the eldest daughter of Daemon Targaryen and Laena Velaryon (a minor deviation from the books — in "Fire and Blood," Baela and Rhaena are twins). Baela is the Arya to Rhaena's Sansa, the spirited rebel to her sister's dutiful lady. Baela bonds with her dragon, Moondancer, from birth, after sharing a cradle with her dragon's egg. The princess is betrothed to Jacaerys Velaryon, though, sadly, the prince is killed in battle before the two marry.

Although Baela is forbidden from fighting during the Dance in the books, the princess insists on accompanying Jacaerys on Moondancer, despite the dragon being too small to ride. Moondancer and Baela play a vital role when Aegon and the greens attack Dragonstone: Baela flees the castle, saddles her dragon and meets Aegon in the air on his dragon, Sunfyre, both of them still recovering from a battle against Rhaenys, Baela's grandmother, and Rhaenys' dragon, Meleys.

Compared to Sunfyre, Moondancer is minuscule. But Baela is undeterred. The four fight, and the dragons plummet to the ground: Moondancer dies, as does Sunfyre nine days later. An enraged Aegon plans to kill Baela in recompense, before changing his mind, opting to use her as leverage to win Corlys Velaryon's fealty instead. After the war, Baela eventually marries Lord Alyn Velaryon, a legitimized bastard son of Corlys. Alyn and Baela later have a daughter, who Baela names Laena in honor of her mother.

Lucerys Velaryon

Rhaenyra's second son, Lucerys, debuts in "House of the Dragon" during Episode 6 alongside his brothers, Jacaerys and Joffrey. Like the rest of his family, Lucerys (Elliot Grihault) is a dragon rider who rides Arrax during the Dance — for a brief while, anyway. The prince's life is tragically cut short early in the Targaryen civil war, when he is ambushed by Aemond and Vhagar at Storm's End while attempting to win House Baratheon to his mother's cause.

Bad blood exists between Lucerys and Aemond from a young age. Lucerys is responsible for Aemond losing an eye, as the young prince defends his brother with a knife during the kids' fight in Episode 7. Prior to that, Lucerys joined in with Aegon and Jacaerys in Episode 6 when the boys mocked Aemond for his lack of dragon. Aemond turns the tables on Lucerys when the Dance commences, however; the colossal Vhagar makes quick work of the much smaller Arrax, and Lucerys perishes with his dragon.

What's worse? Lucerys' death by dragon fire mirrors his father Harwin's death by fire, echoing Aemond's threat to Lucerys in Episode 7. Worse still? The death of Lucerys leads to more heart-wrenching brutality, as Daemon Targaryen sends the assassins Blood and Cheese to murder one of Aegon and Helaena's sons in revenge.

Rhaena Targaryen

Rhaena Targaryen (Eva Ossei-Gerning/Phoebe Campbell), the second daughter of Daemon and Laena Velaryon, is first introduced in Episode 6. Like Aemond, she's the only member of her family without a dragon: Daemon has Caraxes, Laena has Vhagar, and Baela has young Moondancer. Because of this, Rhaena's relationship with her father suffers. While Daemon spends time teaching Rhaena's sister Baela to speak Valyrian commands to her dragon, Rhaena goes ignored.

This explains Rhaena's reaction when Aemond claims Vhagar — not only has he 'stolen' her mother's dragon, but he has also deprived Rhaena of her chance to bond with her father. When Aemond returns from his midnight flight on Vhagar (with a new bad attitude to boot), the Targaryen princess attacks him, provoking the fight that eventually claims Aemond's eye and further divides House Targaryen. After Daemon marries Rhaenyra, Rhaena is betrothed to Lucerys Velaryon, who perishes early in the war. After the Dance, Rhaena marries twice: first to Ser Corwyn Corbray, who she befriends while fostering at the Eyrie, and then Garmund Hightower, with whom she has six daughters.

Rhaena does eventually claim a dragon when an egg hatches at the Eyre. Morning, the princess' hatchling, troubles the greens — without any dragons left, they fear the blacks now retain more legitimacy in the eyes of the realm. When Rhaenyra and Daemon's son, Aegon III, ascends the throne, Rhaena and Baela return to King's Landing to assist their half-brother. Unfortunately, a traumatized Aegon isn't thrilled to see Rhaena's dragon.

Corlys Velaryon

Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussant) is present from "House of the Dragon's" premiere episode: In Episode 1, "The Heirs of the Dragon," Corlys serves on Viserys' small council as the Master of Ships, as well as ruling the castle Driftmark. Corlys' prowess at sea is legendary. The Lord of the Tides tells Daemon Targaryen as such during Episode 2, where he recounts House Velaryon's flight from Old Valyria, long before the Targaryens fled to Dragonstone.

House Targaryen had dragon power, but the Velaryons forged their power from the sea. Corlys himself is an extraordinary seafarer, having sailed across the known world and become richer than the Lannisters with his expeditions. Corlys (aka the Sea Snake) continues to elevate House Velaryon's status by marrying Rhaenys Targaryen. Corlys and Rhaenys have two children — Laenor and Laena — and their marriage appears heathier and more loving than their Westerosi counterparts.

Corlys is a valuable ally for Queen Rhaenyra. After her coronation, Rhaenyra appoints the Sea Snake to her small council, and Corlys and Rhaenys spearhead Rhaenyra's faction until Rhaenys is killed during battle. The loss of his wife devastates Corlys. To win back his allegiance, Jacaerys names him Hand of the Queen. Addam and Alyn of Hull, claiming to be Corlys' bastards, are legitimized by Rhaenyra after Adam successfully claims Laenor's former dragon, Seasmoke, but the queen later turns on them, leading to a rift with Corlys. The Sea Snake outlives both Rhaenyra and Aegon, after some political maneuvering that makes Tywin Lannister look like an amateur.

Rhaenys Targaryen

Rhaenys Targaryen — less favorably known as the Queen Who Never Was — is a needed voice of reason in the royal family. "House of the Dragon" opens with the Great Council of 101 AC: King Jaehaerys convenes the lords of Westeros at Harrenhal to choose his successor for the Iron Throne. Of the names put forward, only Rhaenys (Eve Best) and her younger cousin Viserys are considered. Rhaenys is passed over thanks to Westerosi patriarchy, a slight that Corlys, her husband, takes offense to for years to come.

Judging by Rhaenys' mature approach to the snub that cost her a crown, she should, arguably, be titled the Queen Who Should Have Been. When Corlys brings the issue up in Episode 5 "We Light The Way," Rhaenys rebuffs him — she has made peace with the decision, and so should he. Episode 7 sees the couple rehashing the argument in the wake of Laena's death, with Rhaenys arguing that Driftmark should pass to Laena's daughter Baela, instead of the bastard-born Lucerys.

Throughout her life, Rhaenys is a bold, daring character that loves to fly on her dragon, Meleys the Red Queen (nicknamed for her red scales). Rhaenys and Meleys both meet their end during the Dance, after they are ambushed at Rook's Rest while attacking Ser Criston Cole's forces by Aemond and Vhagar, and Aegon and Sunfyre. Rhaenys doesn't go down without a fight, however. Meleys badly wounds Sunfyre, forcing the dragon to remain at Rook Rest's, and badly wounds Aegon.

Vaemond Velaryon

Corlys Velaryon's brother plays a small but significant role in Season 1 of "House of the Dragon." Vaemond (Wil Johnson) assists his brother during the War for the Stepstones. When faced with defeat in Episode 3, Vaemond loudly denounces Corlys' alliance with Daemon, making his distaste for the Targaryen prince well-known. Vaemond and Daemon manage to play nice long enough to defeat Craghas the Crabfeeder (Daniel Scott-Smith) and win the war. But their rivalry doesn't end there.

Vaemond delivers an impassioned eulogy at Laena's funeral in Episode 7, which Daemon interrupts with a badly-timed laugh. When Corlys Velaryon falls ill, discussion of his succession breaks out, with Vaemond declaring that Driftmark should pass to him instead of Lucerys, the bastard son of Harwin Strong. To say Rhaenyra is unhappy is an understatement; the queen dispatches Daemon to capture Vaemond, has his head cut off, then feeds the corpse to her dragon, Syrax.

In the books, Vaemond's cousins petition Viserys after Vaemond's death about the succession of Driftmark, and put forward a passionate plea of their own to inherit House Velaryon's ancestral seat. Viserys listens to them patiently, before having their tongues removed for treason.

Criston Cole

Another character that features in "House of the Dragon” from its premiere episode, Ser Criston Cole (Fabian Frankel) unhorses Daemon Targaryen during the tourney for Prince Baelon's birth, and later defeats the prince in combat. Criston is a likeable guy — at first. In Episode 2, "The Rogue Prince," Rhaenyra appoints Criston to the Kingsguard, a considerable elevation in status for the Dornish knight. Ser Criston accompanies Rhaenyra during the princess' impromptu trip through the Kingswood in Episode 3, and the two give in to passion during Episode 4, after Daemon lures Rhaenyra to a brothel — then abandons her.

Criston's tryst with Rhaenyra continues to haunt him, however. After Rhaenyra rejects his offer to elope, the knight blames her for tarnishing his honor (breaking their vow of celibacy is a big no-no for the Kingsguard). That blame festers into resentment. In Episode 7 — ten years after Rhaenyra rejects him — Criston is firmly aligned with Alicent Hightower, sworn to her as her personal shield, and has some pretty despicable things to say about his former lover.

Criston is instrumental for the greens throughout the Dance. The knight crowns Aegon after Viserys; death, earning him the nickname Criston the Kingmaker. Aegon names Criston his Hand, and the two lead an attack on several castles that declare for Rhaenyra, as well as luring Rhaenys and Meleys into a trap that kills them both. Criston eventually meets his end during a fight with rivermen and Northerners sworn to Rhaenyra in a battle known as the Butcher's Ball, after unsuccessfully challenging the opposition to single combat ... and getting hit with arrows instead.

Rickon Stark

The Lord of Winterfell has a fleeting role in Season 1 of "House of the Dragon." Nevertheless, his presence symbolizes big things for the Targaryens — Rhaenyra's faction in particular — throughout the story. In Episode 1, Rickon Stark (David Hounslow) is one of the many lords called to King's Landing to swear fealty to Princess Rhaenyra. Fans of "Game of Thrones" likely rejoiced to see the Stark patriarch, nearly two centuries before fan-favorite characters like Ned, Robb, and Arya Stark rise to power. The Warden of the North even shares a name with the youngest Stark sibling in "Game of Thrones," who is killed by Ramsay Bolton during Season 6's Battle of the Bastards.

Rickon passes away in 121 AC, and is succeeded by his teenage son Cregan, who plays a big role in the Dance: When Jacaerys flies to Winterfell on Vermax, he and the Lord of Winterfell come to an arrangement known as the Pact of Ice and Fire, which includes a betrothal between Jacaerys' future firstborn daughter and Cregan's heir, Rickon.

Cregan continues to fight for his queen even after Rhaenyra's death. In an era dubbed by maesters as "The Hour of the Wolf," Cregan marches to King's Landing from Winterfell, where he helps establish Rhaenyra's son, Aegon III, as the new king. Cregan serves briefly as Aegon's Hand before returning to the North.

Lyman Beesbury

Lord Lyman Beesbury (Bill Paterson) serves on Viserys' small council throughout Season 1, alongside Corlys Velaryon, Lyonel Strong (Gavin Spokes), and Otto Hightower. As Viserys' Master of Coin, Lyman is in charge of the realm's expenditures, a job that falls to Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) in Season 3 of "Game of Thrones." As well as his small council position, Lyman maintains a wealthy status as the Lord of Honeyholt, a castle in the Reach near Oldtown and the Honeywine river.

Lyman is loyal to Viserys, as he was to Viserys' predecessor, King Jaehaerys (Michael Carter). After Viserys dies, Lyman's loyalty extends to Rhaenyra, the named heir to the Iron Throne. This doesn't go over too well with the greens. When Lyman accuses Aegon of stealing Rhaenyra's crown, Criston Cole executes the long-standing Master of Coin. Lyman's death sends a chilling warning to the rest of Rhaenyra's supporters in King's Landing.


Mysaria (Sonoya Mizuno) is first seen in Episode 1 mid-coitus with Daemon Targaryen. A former dancer from Lys, Mysaria moves to King's Landing and establishes her own network of spies in the city. She plays a role in the rift between Daemon and his brother Viserys during Episode 2, after the rogue prince lies to the king in a letter claiming Mysaria — his alleged bride — is pregnant. Daemon goes so far as to steal the dragon egg intended for Prince Baelon, leading to a tense confrontation with Otto Hightower's forces at Dragonstone.

Nicknamed Lady Misery by her detractors, Mysaria becomes Rhaenyra's unofficial Mistress of Whispers during the Dance of the Dragons. The books speculate that it was Mysaria who arranged for Blood and Cheese to sneak into the Red Keep and kill Helaena and Aegon's son following Lucerys' death. The Lyensi lady continues to advise Rhaenyra — including telling the queen about Daemon's affair with the dragon rider Nettles — until the riot of King's Landing and Rhaenyra's subsequent flight to Dragonstone. Mysaria is eventually apprehended by Ser Perkin the Flea after the castle falls, and brutally executed by Perkin and his gutter knights.