fire and blood

Who’s Who in Westeros: A House of the Dragon Character Guide

Most of these people are related by blood and marriage. Photo: HBO Max

Seven kingdoms, one Iron Throne, and a whole lot of people with odd names to keep track of: That was the formula for Game of Thrones. Now House of the Dragon, HBO’s would-be blockbuster prequel to its most successful series of all time, is following suit.

The good news for fans of the world created by novelist George R.R. Martin is that Dragon features way fewer houses to keep track of; it tells the tale of a budding conflict and eventual civil war within the ruling family of House Targaryen itself. The bad news is that everyone is someone else’s aunt or uncle or brother or cousin or spouse — often more than one at once — and most of them share the same surname.

It’s only gotten more complicated now that we’ve passed the halfway point of the show’s first season; episode six, “The Princess and the Queen,” brings a ten-year time jump, a slew of different actors playing older versions of the same characters, and an entire generation of brand-new Targaryen heirs (among many other new additions). It’s a lot for even a maester to keep track of.

But don’t worry! After each new episode — with the help of the show’s source material, Martin’s faux-historical novel Fire & Blood — we’re updating this quick and easy guide to all of Dragon’s major players. Sit back, relax, and keep up with the Targaryens.

This article will be updated as the show progresses. It contains spoilers up through and including episode six.

In This Week’s Episode

King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine)

Photo: HBO Max

The First of His Name, King of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm — the ruler of the continent of Westeros.

Selected as heir to the throne over his older female cousin, Rhaenys, after a dispute over the line of succession, this kind but weak monarch is now facing a similar crisis, even as the Targaryen dynasty has reached the height of its power. After losing his wife and newborn son and falling out with his younger brother, Daemon, Viserys opts to name his sole surviving child, his teenage daughter Rhaenyra, the future queen of Westeros. This flies in the face of centuries of patrilineal tradition within House Targaryen and across the majority of the Seven Kingdoms, including the dispute that led to Viserys becoming king in the first place.

Encouraged by his advisers to remarry in order to strengthen his line, Viserys spurns 12-year-old Laena Velaryon, daughter of proud and powerful naval commander Lord Corlys Velaryon, in favor of his teenage confidante Alicent Hightower — the daughter of the Hand of the King, Ser Otto Hightower, and friend of his own daughter, Rhaenyra. This drives a wedge between the monarch and both Rhaenyra and Corlys. Alicent gives birth to Viserys’s first surviving son (and potential male heir), Prince Aegon, as well as a baby girl, Princess Helaena, and a second son, Prince Aemond.

Aegon’s birth complicates Viserys’s plans for Rhaenyra to succeed him, as many in the realm (including Ser Otto) want Aegon to be crowned in her stead. Otto initially suggests the two royal children be married in order to further this plot; meanwhile, Viserys is tormented by a potentially prophetic dream about a son of his wearing the crown of Aegon the Conqueror, founder of the Targaryen dynasty.

Beset by pressures on all sides — complicated when Otto reports to him that Rhaenyra and Daemon have been seen fornicating, a report for which Viserys fires Otto — Viserys banishes Daemon a second time and orders Rhaenyra to marry Laenor Velaryon, heir to Lord Corlys Velaryon and the Driftwood Throne. The increasingly ailing king presides over a rushed wedding between Rhaenyra and Laenor after their lovers, Ser Criston Cole and Ser Joffrey Lonmouth, interrupt the celebrations with a lethal fight.

Ten years pass, during which time the royal family grows ever larger. Rhaenyra bears three sons to Laenor (although their true parentage is a matter of court gossip). Viserys refuses to hear any challenges to his grandsons’ legitimacy and insists the two sides of the family and their supporters remain close despite obvious fractures.

Viserys’s health is now obviously failing him. The unhealed wounds he incurred from the Iron Throne have cost him his entire left arm.

Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith)

Photo: HBO Max

Viserys’s younger brother, a rogue prince who doesn’t much care what anyone thinks of him. His brother and his niece, Rhaenyra, appear to be exceptions to that rule.

As lord commander of the City Watch of King’s Landing, Daemon whipped the proto-police force into brutal military shape; it took the name “the Gold Cloaks” from the new uniforms he issued. When he was banished from the capital for making light of the death of Viserys’s son, Daemon fled to the ancestral Targaryen fortress of Dragonstone with his paramour, the sex worker Mysaria. After a series of moves designed to provoke his brother failed to produce any political gains, Daemon forged an alliance with Lord Corlys Velaryon to wage war against the eastern alliance called the Triarchy and its admiral, the vicious Crabfeeder. The war dragged on for years until Daemon, spurning a long-delayed offer of aid from his brother, ended it by picking a fight with the Crabfeeder directly and chopping him in half with his Valyrian steel longsword, Dark Sister.

Returning to King’s Landing, Daemon reconciled with his brother, offering him the crown he won by conquering the Stepstones; but a risqué night out with his niece Rhaenyra caused Viserys to banish him once again. Daemon returned for her wedding celebrations after killing his wife, Lady Rhea Royce of the Vale, and flirted heavily with Lady Laena Velaryon, whom he subsequently married.

Living abroad in the Free City of Pentos, Daemon and Laena have twin daughters, Rhaena (a dragon-rider bonded with a young beast called Moondancer) and Baela. Laena commits suicide-by-dragon while suffering from lethal complications during her third childbirth; unlike his brother Viserys, Daemon refused to order a fatal Cesarean section, allowing his wife to choose her own fate.

Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock as a youth, Emma D’Arcy as an adult)

Photo: Courtesy of HBO

King Viserys’s sole surviving child at the time the series starts. Known as “the Realm’s Delight,” Princess Rhaenyra is a popular figure among both the nobility and the smallfolk … or was, until Viserys and his new wife, Rhaenyra’s former friend Alicent Hightower, had a son, Prince Aegon.

Viserys named Rhaenyra heir to the throne over his unpredictable brother, Prince Daemon, despite the fact that she’s a woman. Though he now has a son, the king insists he’ll keep his promise, but the lords of the realm — led by Alicent’s father, Ser Otto Hightower — have begun to push for Aegon to inherit the Iron Throne in her place. As heir, Rhaenyra is entrusted by Viserys with the secret of “The Song of Ice and Fire,” a prophetic dream in which the Targaryen dynasty’s founder, Aegon the Conqueror, foretold the conflict with the White Walkers that drove Game of Thrones.

After a wild night out on the town with her estranged uncle that nearly ends with the two having sex in a brothel, Rhaenyra seeks the sexual companionship of Ser Criston Cole, her sworn Kingsguard shield. Confronted about her deeds by the king, who received word of her adventures from his Hand, Ser Otto Hightower, she denies the charges and agrees to marry Laenor Velaryon in order to unite the Seven Kingdoms’ two major Valyrian houses. Despite working out an arrangement with her semi-closeted husband, Laenor, she can’t account for her lover, Ser Criston, who beats Laenor’s boyfriend to death.

While married to Laenor, Rhaena gives birth to three sons: Jacaerys, Lucerys, and Joffrey. Their real father, fairly obviously, is Ser Harwin Strong, Prince Daemon’s successor as Lord Commander of the City Watch. When rumors of the children’s true parentage, spread in part by Queen Alicent and Ser Criston, make life in King’s Landing unbearable, the family retreats to the ancestral Targaryen fortress of Dragonstone.

An enthusiastic dragon rider, Rhaenyra is bonded with the beast called Syrax.

Queen Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey as a youth, Olivia Cooke as an adult)

Photo: Courtesy of HBO

Daughter of Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King. Having lived in the Red Keep most of her life, she is a fixture at court, making her a natural companion for Princess Rhaenyra, her former best friend. Beneath the surface, Alicent appears to suffer from severe anxiety which causes her to pick at her cuticles until she draws blood.

Acting on Ser Otto’s orders, Alicent comforts King Viserys after the deaths of his wife and newborn, and the two develop a close relationship. Under pressure to remarry, Viserys passes over a more politically advantageous union in favor of Alicent, a woman he actually knows, trusts, and cares about. Together the couple have two sons, Aegon and Aemond, and a daughter, Helaena. Their union alienates both Corlys Velaryon and Princess Rhaenyra while furthering the political ambitions of Ser Otto. It’s Alicent who successfully convinces Viserys to send aid to his brother Daemon and former ally Corlys to help them win their war against the Crabfeeder and the Triarchy. She also convinces her husband Rhaenyra would not lie about sleeping with her uncle, Daemon — which, ironically, leads to the firing of her father, Ser Otto Hightower, as Hand of the King.

After learning from Ser Criston Cole that Rhaenyra lied about her “virtue,” Alicent turns on Rhaenyra. She recruits Criston to her side and rolls up to Rhaenyra’s wedding welcome feast in the green color of her own family, House Hightower, rather than the black and red of House Targaryen.

As the years pass, Alicent remains a steadfast foe of her former friend, constantly arguing that Rhaenyra’s children are bastards, that her father Ser Otto should be restored to his position as Hand of the King, and that her son Aegon should be named heir to the Iron Throne.

Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel)

Photo: HBO Max

One of the most formidable young knights in the Seven Kingdoms. Of Dornish descent (though he seems to have fought against the Dornish on behalf of the lord he serves), he is of common birth and has little power beyond the fast-rising fame he acquires via his prowess as a swordsman. He emerges as a major figure — and heartthrob — in the king’s tourney when he defeats Prince Daemon in hand-to-hand combat.

When a slot in the elite royal bodyguard unit called the Kingsguard opens up, Cole is hand-selected by Princess Rhaenyra to join the order as her sworn shield. Of all the candidates, he is the only one with true combat experience. The two become friends, and he helps Rhaenyra defend herself when a wild boar attacks her during a hunt held in honor of her little brother.

When Rhaenyra is spurned by her uncle Daemon at a local pleasure house, she seduces Ser Criston in her own bedchambers. Cole is so smitten with the princess that he proposes they run away together. When she rejects this offer, he seems to turn on her and beats the lover of her fiancé Laenor Velaryon to death. He also confesses his affair with Rhaenyra to Queen Alicent, who keeps his secret and thus spares his life. As time passes, he becomes Alicent’s fiercest ally and Rhaenyra’s most implacable enemy.

Ser Laenor Velaryon (Theo Nate as a youth, John Macmillan as an adult)

Photo: Courtesy of HBO

Son of Lord Corlys Velaryon and Princess Rhaenys Targaryen. Of Valyrian descent on both sides of his family, he’s a prime candidate to become Rhaenyra Targryen’s husband and, eventually, her king. Laenor is a firm supporter of Daemon Targaryen during the war for the Stepstones and helps win the final battle atop his dragon, Seasmoke.

After her wild night out with Daemon, Rhaenyra marries Laenor to please her father. The two nobles agree to maintain their extracurricular relationships, but Ser Criston Cole explodes at this arrangement and beats Laenor’s lover, Ser Joffrey Lonmouth, to death.

As the years pass, Laenor “fathers” Rhaenyra’s three princely sons, Jacaerys, Lucerys, and Joffrey, the last of whom is named after Laenor’s slain lover. But he is quite obviously not the boys’ biological father, a fact he’s well aware of. And though he’s supportive of his wife, he seems to prefer the life of a sailor and soldier, as well as the company of Ser Qarl Correy, his most recent boyfriend.

Lady Laena Velaryon (Nova Foueillis-Mosé as a child, Savannah Steyn as a teen, and Nanna Blondell as an adult)

Photo: Courtesy of HBO

Daughter of Lord Corlys Velaryon and Princess Rhaenys Targaryen. Her full-blooded Valyrian heritage and connection to her powerful parents led many on King Viserys’s Small Council to urge the monarch to marry her despite her young age. He rejected the proposal in favor of Alicent Hightower, infuriating Laena’s father.

During Rhaenyra and Laenor’s wedding celebration, Prince Daemon flirted heavily with Laena. The pair marry, move abroad, and have twin daughters, Rhaena and Baela. Laena dies while giving birth to their third child, opting to order her massive and ancient dragon Vhagar to burn her to death rather than succumb to complications.

Lord Lyonel Strong (Gavin Spokes)

Photo: HBO

A member of King Viserys’s Small Council. Serving as Master of Laws, he is a forceful opponent of Rhaenyra’s claim to the throne, noting that it would break years of precedent and potentially destabilize the realm. He also scoffs at Lord Corlys’s suggestion of wife Rhaenys as a potential alternative.

Later, however, he advises Viserys to marry Corlys’s young daughter, Laena, in order to bridge the gap between the two powerful Valyrian houses, advice Viserys ignores. He goes on to urge the king to marry Rhaenyra to Laena’s brother Laenor, once again hoping to end the strife. In doing so, he deliberately rejects her possible marriage to his own son, a powerful knight named Ser Harwin Breakbones, which King Viserys had cynically assumed was Strong’s goal. Lyonel’s other son, Larys, has a deformity that earned him the nickname the Clubfoot.

Lyonel seems to be the only member of the Small Council whose advice does not directly benefit himself or his family. This earns him the position of Hand of the King after Ser Otto Hightower’s dismissal, but it does not save him from scandal as his son Harwin not-so-secretly fathers Princess Rhaenyra’s three sons. After King Viserys refuses his resignation, Lyonel asks permission to escort Harwin back to their home, the infamous castle of Harrenhal; there, they are killed by assassins deployed by Lyonel’s other son, Larys.

Larys Strong (Matthew Needham)

Photo: HBO Max

Nicknamed “the Clubfoot” after the deformity that’s left him with a limp, Larys is the son of influential Lord Lyonel Strong. He informs Alicent that Princess Rhaenyra received a dose of moon tea the night she was accused of fornicating with Prince Daemon, eventually leading to Ser Criston Cole’s confession of inappropriate relations with the princess.

Having ingratiated himself with the queen, Larys acts on her desire that his father, Lord Lyonel, be replaced by her own father Ser Otto as Hand of the King. He has Lyonel and his own brother Harwin assassinated by arsonists.

Larys is an enthusiastic torturer who personally cuts the tongues out of criminals’ mouths.

Ser Harwin Strong (Ryan Corr)

Photo: HBO Max

Son of Lord Lyonel and brother of Larys, Harwin is nicknamed “Breakbones” due to his incredible strength. He personally rescues Princess Rhaenyra from the chaos that breaks out when Ser Criston Cole and Ser Joffrey Lonmouth fight during the welcome feast for Rhaenyra and Laenor’s wedding. He subsequently becomes her enthusiastic guardian and, uh, companion.

Harwin is the biological father of Rhaenyra’s children Jacaerys, Lucerys, and Joffrey, an inescapable fact that all at court except King Viserys seem to acknowledge. After trying and failing to resign his post as Hand of the King over the scandal, Harwin’s father Lord Lyonel personally escorts Harwin back to their sprawling castle, Harrenhal. There, they are killed by assassins sent by Larys Strong, Harwin’s own brother.

Prince Aegon Targaryen (Ty Tennant as a youth, Tom Glynn-Carney as an adult)

Photo: Courtesy of HBO

King Viserys and Queen Alicent’s eldest child.

When we meet him as a teenager, he’s into teenage-boy things, like pranking his younger siblings and jerking off. He seems reluctant to follow his mother’s advice and prepare for a life on the Iron Throne in place of his half-sister Rhaenyra.

Princess Helaena Targaryen (Evie Allen as a youth, Phia Saban as an adult)

Photo: Courtesy of HBO

King Viserys and Queen Alicent’s middle child.

An easy-going kid, she seems more interested in hobbies like studying insects than matters of the royal court. Princess Rhaenyra has proposed to Queen Alicent that Helaena marry her eldest child, Prince Jacaerys.

Prince Aemond Targaryen (Leo Ashton as a youth, Ewan Mitchell as an adult)

Photo: Courtesy of HBO

King Viserys and Queen Alicent’s younger son.

A target of bullying not only by Princess Rhaenyra’s children Jacaerys and Lucerys but also his own older brother, Aegon. Aemond is relentlessly teased for his failure to bond with a dragon.

Prince Jacaerys Velaryon (Leo Hart as a child, Harry Collet as a teen)

Photo: Courtesy of HBO

AKA Jace. The eldest of Rhaenyra and Laenor’s three children. He is the first of the kids to wise up to the fact that Harwin Strong is his biological father. He’s also part of a growing rivalry with the eldest of Viserys and Alicent’s kids, Aegon.

In an attempt to reconcile with Queen Alicent’s side of the family, Princess Rhaenyra proposes marrying Jace to Alicent’s daughter Helaena.

He is learning to bond with a dragon called Vermax.

Prince Lucerys Velaryon (Harvey Sadler as a child, Elliot Grihault as a teen)

Photo: Courtesy of HBO

AKA Luke. Rhaenyra and Laenor’s middle child.

Luke participates in the hazing of Aemond with his older brother Jace and Aemond’s older brother, Aegon.

Lady Baela Targaryen (Shani Smethurst as a child, Bethany Antonia as a teen)

Photo: Courtesy of HBO

The older of Daemon Targaryen and Laena Velaryon’s twin daughters.

She is bonded with a dragon called Moondancer.

Lady Rhaena Targaryen (Eva Ossei-Gerning as a child, Phoebe Campbell as a teen)

Photo: Courtesy of HBO

The younger of Daemon and Laena’s twin daughters.

Rhaena’s dragon egg failed to hatch at her birth and she is presently dragonless. She feels neglected by her father.

Ser Qarl Correy (Arty Froushan)

Photo: HBO

Laenor Velaryon’s sparring partner, friend, and lover.

Ser Correy accompanies Rhaenyra and Laenor’s family, at Rhaenyra’s own invitation, when they travel to Dragonstone to avoid the drama at King’s Landing.

Ser Tyland Lannister (Jefferson Hall)

Photo: HBO Max

Lord Jason’s younger twin brother. Tyland takes over Corlys Velaryon’s position as Master of Ships on the king’s Small Council after the Sea Snake quits. He pushes for the king to send aid to Corlys and Daemon in order to stop the Crabfeeder from controlling the Narrow Sea, but the king doesn’t concede until the queen, Alicent, encourages him herself.

Lord Lyman Beesbury (Bill Paterson)

Photo: HBO

The aging Master of Coin on King Viserys’s Small Council.

Lord Beesbury has grown so old he can barely keep track of the Council’s discussions.

Grand Maester Orwyle (Kurt Egiyawan)

Photo: HBO

Chosen to be the successor of the late Grand Maester Mellos on Viserys’s Small Council.

Orwyle’s medical methods are significantly more modern than his predecessor’s, though he has not been able to prevent the king’s declining health.

Lord Jasper Wylde (Paul Kennedy)

Photo: HBO

The successor to Lord Lyonel Strong as Master of Laws on the Small Council. Strong was promoted to Hand of the King after King Viserys banished Otto Hightower from court in the wake of allegations of fornication between Princess Rhaenyra and Prince Daemon.

Prince Reggio Haratis (Dean Nolan)

The largely ceremonial ruler of the Free City of Pentos on the western shore of the continent of Essos. Prince Reggio is the benefactor of Daemon and Laena during their stay in the city; he entreats Daemon to go to war on Pentos’s behalf against the rival alliance called the Triarchy.

Previously on House of the Dragon

Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint)

Photo: HBO Max

Lord of the Tides, former adviser to King Viserys, and commander of the realm’s largest navy. Corlys Velaryon is the head of a great and noble house which, like the Targaryens, traces its ancestry directly to Valyria. The most skilled seafarer in the history of the Seven Kingdoms, he embarked on a series of famous journeys to distant lands dubbed the Nine Voyages. These earned him the nickname “the Sea Snake” (also the name of his flagship vessel) and made the Velaryons the richest house in Westeros. (Yes, even richer than the Lannisters.) He is married to Viserys’s older cousin Rhaenys, who was outvoted for heir to the Iron Throne by the Great Council that selected Viserys in her place.

For some time, Lord Corlys’s naval forces have been embroiled in a war with the fleet of an alliance of major Essosi cities called the Triarchy and its vicious commander, Craghas “The Crabfeeder” Drahar. When King Viserys refuses to aid the Sea Snake in his battles with the Crabfeeder’s fleet and rejects his offer of marriage to his daughter Laena, Corlys quits the Council entirely, seeking out a new alliance with Prince Daemon. Together, the two men defy the odds and defeat the Crabfeeder’s forces.

Corlys brokers a union between House Velaryon and House Targaryen by agreeing to the betrothal of his son, Laenor, to Princess Rhaenyra. He is in denial about his son’s homosexuality.

Ser Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans)

Photo: HBO Max

The Hand of the King and Viserys’s most powerful — and ambitious — adviser. Otto is a scion of House Hightower, one of the Seven Kingdoms’ richest and most influential families. Historically, the Hightowers have close ties with both the scholarly order of maesters and the religious institution called the Faith, as all three entities are based in the same city, Oldtown.

Otto’s daughter, Alicent, was Rhaenyra’s best friend. After the death of Viserys’s wife, Queen Aemma, Otto encouraged Alicent to comfort the grieving king, eventually resulting in their surprise betrothal. Now that Alicent and Viserys have a son, Prince Aegon, Otto is secretly maneuvering to have the boy replace Rhaenyra as heir to the throne, and advises Viserys that he should marry his two children together to unite the line.

Despite his influence at court, Otto is still under pressure from his even more powerful older brother, Lord Hobert Hightower. When he reports tales of Rhaenyra and Daemon’s tryst to King Viserys, he is stripped of his office and ordered to return to Oldtown. On his way out of town, he warns Alicent that a future Queen Rhaenyra will put Alicent’s children to death in order to secure her hold on the throne. As the years pass, Alicent agitates to have Otto restored to his old position as Hand of the King.

Lady Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best)

Photo: HBO Max

Cousin to King Viserys and wife to Lord Corlys. Rhaenys was one of the two leading candidates for heir to the Old King Jahaerys at the Great Council, but she was passed over in favor of her younger, male relative Viserys in order to maintain Westeros’s patriarchal tradition. This earned her the nickname “the Queen Who Never Was.”

An astute political observer, she is loyal to her legendary husband — who pushes for her to be named heir when the new succession crisis emerges — and rides a dragon called Meleys. She and Corlys have two children, a daughter named Laena, whom Corlys advances as a potential queen for King Viserys, and son named Laenor.

A skeptic of Rhaenyra’s claim to the throne based on her own bitter experience, she warns the younger princess that the men of the realm would sooner burn it down than seat a woman upon it. Still, she is an enthusiastic backer of Rhaenyra’s marriage to her son, Laenor.

Lord Jason Lannister (Jefferson Hall)

Photo: HBO Max

The young, rich, and obnoxious head of House Lannister and Lord of Casterly Rock.

Jason desperately wants to marry Rhaenyra, even though he believes her half-brother, Aegon, should be crowned in her place. His open ambition alienates both Rhaenyra and Viserys.

Mysaria (Sonoya Mizuno)

Photo: HBO Max

A relative newcomer to the Seven Kingdoms who has lived the difficult life of a sex worker. One of the few characters on the show not directly descended from either Westeros or Valyria, Mysaria rises to become one of the star attractions at a chief King’s Landing “pleasure house.” She counts Prince Daemon Targaryen not just as a client but a confidante and becomes arguably his most trusted adviser. When he is banished by Viserys, she joins him in exile on Dragonstone. After learning that Daemon has (falsely) announced their marriage and pregnancy as a ploy to provoke his brother, King Viserys, she reprimands him for putting her at risk.

After returning to King’s Landing, Mysaria becomes a source of intelligence for the Hand of the King, Ser Otto Hightower, using the nickname “the White Worm.” We do not know what has become of her since Daemon’s marriage to Laena Velaryon.

Lord Hobert Hightower (Stefan Rhodri)

Photo: HBO Max

Head of one of the oldest, richest, and most influential families in Westeros. As lord of the city of Oldtown, he exerts influence on both the maesters and the Faith, both of which are headquartered in the city (at the Citadel and the Starry Sept, respectively). He is also the power behind his younger brother, Ser Otto, and by extension Otto’s daughter, Queen Alicent.

Ser Harrold Westerling (Graham McTavish)

Photo: HBO Max

A member of the Kingsguard. This small, elite order of knights is sworn to protect the King and the royal family; in Ser Harrold’s case, this means serving as sworn shield and friend to Princess Rhaenyra, which he does in stalwart, loyal, and good-natured fashion. Ser Harrold takes over as the Kingsguard’s lord commander after the death of the order’s previous leader, Ser Ryam Redwyne.

Lord Boremund Baratheon (Julian Jones)

Photo: HBO

The head of an important house of partial Valyrian descent.

Lord Boremund accompanied Rhaenyra on her tour of the Seven Kingdoms in search of a suitable king consort.

Valar Morghulis

Lady Rhea Royce (Rachel Redford)

Photo: Courtesy of HBO

Heir to one of the oldest and most powerful houses in the region called the Vale. Rhea was married to Daemon Targaryen, but the arranged marriage pleased neither party and was never consummated. After murdering Rhea to free himself from the marriage, Daemon claims he is the new heir to the Royce stronghold, Runestone, and its riches, though the fact that his marriage was unconsummated makes this legally dubious; Rhea’s cousin Gerold (Owen Oakeshott) angrily accuses Daemon of murder, though the prince brushes off the accusation.

Ser Joffrey Lonmouth (Solly McLeod)

Photo: HBO Max

A handsome young knight nicknamed “the Knight of Kisses” and romantically linked to Laenor Velaryon.

After trying to forge a pact with Princess Rhaenyra’s lover, Ser Criston Cole, he is beaten to death by the Kingsguard knight, leaving Laenor bereft.

Grand Maester Mellos (David Horovitch)

Photo: Ollie Upton/HBO

Scholar, healer, and member of King Viserys’s advisory Small Council. Mellos frequently finds himself refereeing the power struggles between the other members of the Council, and offers the king harsh advice when he finds it necessary to do so. It’s Mellos who suggests the C-section that costs Queen Aemma her life. After the baby’s death, he firmly opposes the prospect of Daemon as heir.

Mellos is one of the voices in favor of a marriage between Viserys and Laena Velaryon. He also oversees the gruesome treatments for Viserys’s nonhealing wounds and offers Rhaenyra “moon tea,” a sort of Plan B pill, after her liaison with Daemon (alleged) and Ser Criston (factual). Mellos dies at some point during the show’s ten-year time jump.

Craghas “the Crabfeeder” Drahar (Daniel Scott-Smith)

Photo: HBO

The masked, heavily scarred admiral of a massive fleet assembled by the Triarchy, an alliance of three of the continent of Essos’s powerful Free Cities. Earning his nickname from his penchant for feeding his wounded enemies to swarms of crabs, he commands the string of islands called the Stepstones and has dealt severe damage to the fleet and fortune of Lord Corlys Velaryon. An alliance between Corlys and Prince Daemon Targaryen puts an end to the vicious naval commander, who is killed by Daemon in single combat.

Queen Aemma Arryn (Sian Brooke)

Viserys’s wife and Rhaenyra’s mother. A descendent of both House Arryn — the Lords of the Vale — and House Targaryen, she married her cousin Viserys in keeping with the Targaryen tradition of incestuous intermarriage to keep the royal bloodline pure.

After enduring several difficult pregnancies that ended in tragedy, she dies during a c-section ordered by Viserys and the royal physician Grand Maester Mellos in order to save the life of their unborn son. The child does not long survive his mother, and the events leave Viserys devastated and the realm without a queen — until Alicent comes along.

King Jaehaerys I Targaryen (Michael Carter)

Photo: HBO Max

Grandfather and predecessor to King Viserys. Known as both the Good King for his many works in improving the realm and the Old King for his eventual advanced age, he is considered the greatest monarch in the Targaryen dynasty, with the possible exception of Aegon the Conqueror himself. No king ruled longer or had more of an effect on the lives and laws of the Seven Kingdoms. Faced with a difficult question of succession after the deaths of his sons, he convened the Great Council of Westeros lords to settle the matter in a vote held at the massive castle of Harrenhal. It was there that his grandson Viserys was selected over his granddaughter Rhaenys.

Though he appears in the premiere’s opening sequence, he is long dead by the time the core events of the series begin.

Who’s Who in Westeros: A House of the Dragon Character Guide