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House Of The Dragon Season 2: Dragonseeds Are Way More Important Than You Think

Contains spoilers for "House of the Dragon" Season 2 Episode 1 — "A Son for a Son"

Anyone even slightly familiar with the "Game of Thrones" franchise knows that children born out of wedlock — casually referred to in-universe as "bastards" — play major roles when it comes to lines of succession. Despite not being "legitimate," bastard children are a huge factor, and in "House of the Dragon," there are a handful of extremely important bastards referred to as the "Dragonseeds." In the very first episode, we meet two: Alyn of Hull (Abubakar Salim) and Hugh Hammer (Kieran Bew).

So wait, what exactly is a dragonseed in the first place? This refers to a specific kind of illegitimate child born near Dragonstone, largely because the ancient royals of that area would frequently take advantage of a custom where kings get to take anyone's bride to bed after their wedding. As a result, there are many bastards from the region with Valyrian blood, and four of them prove extremely important during the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons (around which "House of the Dragon" centers), particularly because they have the ability to bond with dragons.

Though we only see Hugh and Alyn very briefly in the Season 2 premiere of "House of the Dragon," titled "A Son for a Son," keep an eye on these two, as they'll end up playing big roles in the conflict to come. Hugh, the bastard of a blacksmith with Valyrian blood, hails from Dragonstone, as does Alyn, believed to be a bastard with Velaryon blood.

There are more Dragonseeds yet to come in Season 2 on House of the Dragon

Hugh and Alyn's overall role in the Dance of the Dragons is yet to come, but there are two more dragonseeds with royal Valyrian blood who will likely present themselves as "House of the Dragon" continues. Based on "Fire & Blood," the novella by George R.R. Martin that serves as the source material for "House of the Dragon," Hugh and Alyn will join the battle of Team Green and Team Black as Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D'Arcy) and Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke) battle it out for the Iron Throne (though only Hugh will successfully bond with a dragon named Vermithor; Alyn is rejected by one named Sheepstealer). So who else could show up in Season 2?

Ulf White, a soldier born in Dragonstone, ultimately joins the party and bonds with Silverwing, and Alyn's brother Addam of Hull also shows up to ride Seasmoke, the dragon that once belonged to Laenor Velaryon (John MacMillan). (The Hull brothers' mother, Marilda, claims to anyone who will listen that her sons are Laenor's, but based on the well-established fact that Laenor is queer and never had sons with Rhaenyra, it's considered more likely that they were fathered by Laenor's dad Corlys Velaryon, played onscreen by Steve Touissant.) There's also Nettles, who gets involved with Rhaenyra's husband and uncle Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) as the war endures and eventually bonds with Sheepstealer. Keep an eye out for those names as Season 2 continues; these dragonseeds may well make their on-screen debuts.

Bastard children have always been a huge part of the Game of Thrones universe

Bastard children were a huge factor in "Game of Thrones" as well; throughout the show's eight seasons, we watched as several illegitimate royal children rose to power (or were targeted for their bloodlines). Like dragonseeds, these bastards usually got a commonplace last name to indicate their place of birth; Sand refers to Dornish bastards, Snow to Northern bastards, Pyke to the Iron Islands, Rivers to the Riverlands, and so on.

In Season 2, Prince Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson), himself a secret bastard borne of incest between his mother Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) and her twin brother Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), orders all the bastard children of his late "father" King Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) to be killed. One, known only as Gendry (Joe Dempsie), escapes, and is eventually given the title of Lord and Storm's End and the name Baratheon for good. The evil Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) begins his time on the series as Ramsay Snow but is legitimized by his father Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton). Perhaps the most famous "Game of Thrones" bastard, though, is Jon Snow (Kit Harington), said to be the bastard of Ned Stark (Sean Bean) and a random woman ... though it eventually turns out that Jon isn't a bastard at all. In fact, he's the legitimate product of a secret marriage between Prince Rhaegar Targaryen and Ned's sister Lyanna; because Robert would have had Jon killed after defeating the Targaryens, Ned lied about Jon's real lineage.

"House of the Dragon" airs on Sunday nights at 9 P.M. EST on HBO, so see if you spot any dragonseeds as Season 2 continues.