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

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 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 a lot for even a maester to keep track of.

But don’t worry! With the help of the show’s source material, Martin’s faux-historical novel Fire & Blood, we’ve got your quick-and-easy guide to all of Dragon’s major players. Sit back, relax, and keep up with the Targaryens.

This article contains spoilers up through and including episode ten, “The Black Queen.

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Queen Rhaenyra I 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. Viserys entrusts her with 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 Daemon 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, she can’t account for her lover, Ser Criston, who beats Laenor’s boyfriend, Ser Joffrey Lonmouth, to death.

While married to Laenor, Rhaenyra 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. But when they reunite with the family to attend the funeral of Daemon’s wife, Laena Velaryon, all hell breaks loose. In a late-night fight among the children over Aemond Targaryen claiming Laena’s dragon Vhagar, Aemond loses an eye and the legitimacy of Rhaenyra’s children is questioned in front of the family and courtiers assembled. Rhaenyra herself is wounded when Alicent tries to stab Lucerys out of vengeance.

Amid all this, Rhaenyra and Daemon become sexually and romantically involved. Rhaenyra proposes to Daemon, and together they remove Laenor from the picture by faking his death.

Six years later, Rhaenyra returns to King’s Landing to defend her son Lucerys’s claim to the Driftwood Throne of House Velaryon. To garner support, Rhaenyra promises Rhaenys Targaryen, her cousin and the mistress of Driftmark, that she’ll betroth her sons Jacaerys and Lucerys to Rhaenys’s grandchildren Baela and Rhaena.

After Viserys and Daemon settle the matter — by proclaiming Lucerys the heir and killing his rival claimant, Vaemond Velaryon — Rhaenyra attends a dinner for the royal family. Despite the conflict between the younger generation that breaks out, Rhaenyra reconciles with Alicent and escorts her children home to Dragonstone, with plans to return to King’s Landing as soon as she can.

But Rhaenyra’s plan is thwarted when Alicent and her father crown Viserys’s son Aegon II as ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. The news causes Rhaenyra to miscarry her third child with Daemon.

Reluctant to start a civil war, both because of her knowledge of the Song of Ice and Fire and her lingering affection for Alicent, Rhaenyra dispatches her sons Jacaerys and Lucerys to visit various powerful lords to ensure their support. Luke is accidentally killed by Alicent’s son Prince Aemond and his dragon, Vhagar, triggering the conflict Rhaenyra had sought to avoid.

Once an enthusiastic dragon rider, Rhaenyra is bonded with a creature called Syrax.

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. 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.

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, 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.

At Laena’s funeral, Daemon and Rhaenyra rekindle their abortive romance from years earlier. The pair concoct a plot to get Rhaenyra’s husband Laenor out of the picture by faking his death. (Daemon facilitates this by personally murdering the man whose corpse they use in Laenor’s place.) He and Rhaenyra marry in a traditional Valyrian ceremony with their nervous children looking on.

In the six years that follow, Daemon and Rhaenyra have two sons, Aegon (known as Aegon the Younger, in reference to his uncle, Alicent’s son Aegon) and Viserys (named after his grandfather the king). Daemon kills Vaemond Velaryon for questioning the legitimacy of Rhaenyra’s children Jacaerys, Lucerys, and Joffrey.

When news of Aegon II’s coronation reaches him, Daemon leads the charge in rallying support for Rhaenyra; when she proves to be more cautious than him, he assaults her. Having already distanced himself from Rhaenyra during the stillbirth of their third child, Daemon abandons the Black Council to seek more dragons to aid in the war effort. It is he who tells Rhaenyra that her son Lucerys has been killed by Prince Aemond.

Daemon’s dragon is a sinuous red beast called Caraxes.

Princess 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 Laenor, a son. Rhaenys is an enthusiastic backer of Laenor’s marriage to Rhaenyra, though she warns her daughter-in-law that the men of the realm would sooner burn the Iron Throne than seat a woman upon it.

When it becomes clear that Rhaenyra’s children are not Laenor’s at all, Rhaenys asks her husband to declare Baela, the elder daughter of the late Laena Velaryon, heir to the throne of Driftmark, the family stronghold. Corlys argues that this will only reinforce the damaging rumors about Rhaenyra’s sons, whom he still considers the best shot at preserving the Velaryon legacy despite their true paternity. Rhaenys is also no fan of Daemon Targaryen, whom she blames for Laena’s death; she claims the medical experts in the couple’s adopted home of Pentos failed where her own maester, Kelvyn, would have succeeded.

When Corlys is gravely wounded during the new war for control of the Stepstones, his brother Vaemond tries to persuade Rhaenys to support his claim to House Velaryon’s Driftwood Throne. Despite believing that Rhaenyra and Daemon conspired to kill her son Laenor, she instead backs the claim of Lucerys Targaryen, whom Rhaenyra has offered as husband to Rhaenys’s granddaughter Rhaena.

Following the death of King Viserys, Rhaenys’s support is courted by Queen Alicent, who acknowledges that Rhaenys would have made a better monarch than Viserys. Spirited out of the Red Keep by Ser Erryk Cargyll, Rhaenys breaks up the coronation of Alicent’s son Aegon II by escaping on the back of Meleys and flying away.

Rhaenys flies to Dragonstone and relates the news of Viserys’s death and Aegon II’s coronation to Rhaenyra. Impressed with the younger woman’s restraint over launching a civil war, Rhaenys successfully urges Corlys to back the Blacks against the Greens.

Ser Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans)

Photo: HBO Max

Viserys’s Hand and his 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 Princess Rhaenyra’s best friend; after the death of Viserys’s wife, Otto encouraged Alicent to comfort the grieving king, eventually resulting in their betrothal.

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 public dalliance to King Viserys, he is stripped of his office and ordered to return to Oldtown. On his way, he warns Alicent that a future Queen Rhaenyra will put Alicent’s children to death in order to secure her hold on the throne.

After Larys Strong kills his own father, Lyonel Strong (who replaced Otto as Hand), to curry favor with Alicent, Otto returns to his old job. Following the debacle at Laena’s funeral, he tells Alicent he’s proud of her for showing some moxie by attacking Rhaenyra on Aemond’s behalf.

Otto is prepared to back Ser Vaemond Velaryon’s claim to House Velaryon’s Driftwood Throne until Vaemond’s sharp tongue and Daemon’s sharper sword put an end to the matter.

After the death of Viserys, Otto’s long-laid plans to crown his grandson Aegon king in place of Rhaenyra take effect. Though he is unable to persuade Alicent and Aegon to order the execution of Rhaenyra and her children, he does see Aegon ascend the throne. The escape of Rhaenys, however, puts something of a damper on the proceedings.

Otto leads a diplomatic mission to Rhaenyra at Dragonstone, offering terms of clemency that would retain Aegon II as monarch. She does not acquiesce, but she also avoids making any immediate moves against the Greens. Otto also presents Rhaenyra with a torn-out page from a history book she and Alicent studied together as children — a token of Alicent’s love for her old friend.

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.

King Viserys refuses to aid the Sea Snake in his battles with an alliance of major Essosi cities called the Triarchy — led by Craghas “The Crabfeeder” Drahar — for control of the Stepstones; he also rejects Corlys’s offer of marriage to his daughter Laena. Corlys quits the Council entirely and seeks 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.

Some six years after his daughter’s funeral, he is gravely wounded in the latest war for control of the Stepstones. This leads to a succession crisis for control of House Velaryon, the Driftwood Throne, and the stronghold of Driftmark. Corlys’s brother, Ser Vaemond, ultimately loses the contest — and his head — in favor of Corlys’s nominal grandchild, Prince Lucerys Velaryon.

After recovering from his wounds, Corlys joins Rhaenyra’s cause at the urging of his wife, Princess Rhaenys. He announces that he has won the war for the Stepstones, controls the Narrow Sea, and is prepared to blockade King’s Landing on Rhaenyra’s behalf.

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

Photo: HBO

A.k.a. Jace. The eldest of Rhaenyra and Laenor’s three children. He is the first of the kids to realize his biological father is Harwin Strong.

In an attempt to reconcile with Queen Alicent’s side of the family, Princess Rhaenyra proposes marrying Jace to Alicent’s daughter Helaena; Helaena’s parents instead engage her to her brother Aegon. Jace participates in the vicious fight against Aemond after Aemond “steals” the dragon Vhagar.

Six years later, he is betrothed to Baela Targaryen in a last-ditch but successful effort by Rhaenyra to retain control of Driftmark on her family’s behalf.F

Following the news of Aegon II’s coronation, Jace’s mother entrusts him to relay her commands to Prince Daemon and the rest of her council when she goes into labor. It’s Jace’s idea to use dragons to rally the realm’s major houses to the Black’s cause; he is tasked with flying to the Eyrie and Winterfell on his dragon, Vermax, to recruit House Arryn and House Stark.

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

A.k.a. Luke. Rhaenyra and Laenor’s middle child. Luke participates in the hazing of Aemond with his older brother Jace and Aemond’s elder brother, Aegon. It is he who puts out Aemond’s eye during the children’s fight at Laena’s funeral, leading Queen Alicent to call for one of his eyes to be put out as well. Both Ser Criston Cole and Alicent herself attempt to carry out this act before they are thwarted.

Six years later, Luke is betrothed to Rhaena Targaryen in a successful effort to unite House Velaryon and Rhaenyra’s branch of House Targaryen. It’s Luke’s prank on Prince Aemond that precipitates one last tussle among the younger generation.

While Luke’s brother Jace is ordered to broker agreements with the Great Houses to Dragonstone’s north, Luke is dispatched on a shorter and ostensibly safer route to Storm’s End to ask for the aid of House Baratheon. He arrives to find Aemond already there, having successfully wooed Lord Borros Baratheon to the side of the Greens.

When he takes off on his small dragon, Arrax, he is pursued by Aemond aboard the massive beast Vhagar. The dragons fight and Vhagar kills Luke and Arrax with a snap of its jaws.

Prince Joffrey Velaryon

Photo: HBO

The youngest child of Rhaenyra Targaryen and, officially, Laenor Velaryon. Joffrey’s birth father, like that of his older brothers Jace and Luke, is actually Ser Harwyn Strong.

He is named after Laenor’s slain lover, Ser Joffrey Lonmouth.

Joffrey is bonded with a dragon named Tyraxes.

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

Photo: 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, Aemond is relentlessly teased for his failure to bond with a dragon.

He rectifies this in spectacular fashion by seizing the oldest, biggest dragon alive, Vhagar, at Laena Velaryon’s funeral. The resulting physical altercation between him and his cousins costs him an eye — but since he gained a dragon, he calls this “a fair exchange.”

Six years later, an eye patch–wearing Aemond is taller, stronger, and a more formidable warrior than his older brother, Aegon. Taunted by his young nephews with a roast pig, a reference to the pig they once dressed as a dragon and dubbed “the Pink Dread” to mock him, he provokes a fight by not so subtly referencing the Velaryon boys’ “Strong” heritage. Only a face-off with Daemon backs him down.

Following the death of his father Viserys, Aemond aid Ser Criston Cole in the search for his brother Aegon.

Following Viserys’s death and Aegon II’s coronation, Aemond beats Lucerys Targaryen to Storm’s End, seat of House Baratheon. Aemond’s offer of a marriage pact between the two houses leads Lord Borros Baratheon to favor the Greens over the Blacks. He dismisses Luke, and Aemond follows the younger aboard his massive dragon, chasing Luke and his smaller steed through the storm clouds. A fight between the dragons that seems beyond Aemond’s control ensues, and Luke and his dragon are both killed by Vhagar.

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

Photo: HBO

The older of Daemon Targaryen and Laena Velaryon’s twin daughters. Her grandmother Rhaenys wants her named heir to Driftmark, the Velaryon castle, because she’s of true Velaryon blood — unlike her cousin Jacaerys,.

Baela participates in the bloody fight against Prince Aemond over the dragon Vhagar, siding with her sister Rhaena and her cousins Jacaerys and Lucerys in the tussle.

Six years after her mother’s funeral, she is betrothed to Jacaerys Targaryen, future heir to the Iron Throne, in a ploy to unite Rhaenyra’s branch of House Targaryen with House Velaryon.

Following Viserys’s death and Aegon II’s coronation, Queen Rhaenyra includes both Baela and her sister Rhaena in her strategy meetings. This seems to help earn the queen the respect of the influential Princess Rhaenys, Baela and Rhaena’s grandmother.

She is bonded with a dragon called Moondancer.

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

Photo: 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.

After her mother’s funeral, Rhaena is dismayed to discover Aemond making off with Vhagar, Laena’s enormous dragon. The fight among the children that follows costs Aemond an eye and causes a possibly irreparable rift between Alicent, Rhaenyra, and their respective allies.

Six years later, Rhaena is betrothed to Rhaenyra’s son Lucerys, heir to Driftmark and future Lord of the Tides, as part of the plan to unite Rhaenyra’s branch of House Targaryen with House Velaryon.

Queen Rhaenyra encourages Baela, like her sister Rhaena, to be a part of her war council after the coronation of Aegon II. The dragonless Baela seems particularly intrigued by Daemon’s description of all the dragons currently without riders.

Maester Gerardys (Phil Daniels)

Photo: HBO

A maester in service to Princess Rhaenyra. He helps instruct Prince Jacaerys in the High Valyrian language.

Gerardys seems a likely candidate for Grand Maester should the Blacks succeed. He is a crucial and vocal component of Rhaenyra’s war council.

Ser Arryk Cargyll (Luke Tittensor)

Photo: HBO

One-half of a pair of twin brothers sworn to service in the Kingsguard, he is virtually indistinguishable from his twin brother, Ser Erryk. Arryk remains loyal to the Greens during the hunt for Aegon II.

Arryk is part of the Green contingent that travels to Dragonstone to offer Rhaenyra terms of surrender.

Ser Erryk Cargyll (Elliot Tittensor)

Photo: HBO

The other half of a pair of twin brothers sworn to service in the Kingsguard, he is virtually indistinguishable from his brother, Ser Arryk.

As Aegon II’s sworn protector, he is aware of the prince’s sinister proclivities and has no wish to see him crowned. He argues with his brother as they attempt to retrieve Aegon on Ser Otto’s behalf, then helps Princess Rhaenys with her escape from the Red Keep.

Though he is separated from Rhaenys as the people of King’s Landing are shepherded to the Dragonpit to witness Aegon II’s coronation, both manage to escape and make their way to Rhaenyra’s headquarters on Dragonstone. Ser Erryk brings her the golden crown of her father, King Viserys, and swears his fealty to her as part of her Queensguard.

Lord Borros Baratheon (Roger Evans)

Photo: HBO

Lord of Storm’s End and head of House Baratheon following the death of his father, Lord Boremund. Despite Boremond’s allegiance to Rhaenyra, the proud and illiterate Borros is more than willing to entertain the marriage offer presented to him by the Greens. While he will not permit the visiting Prince Aemond to stab out the eye of Prince Lucerys when both arrive to court his support, he does not stop Aemond from pursuing the younger boy on dragonback once Luke departs.

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 was not able to prevent the king’s declining health.

Orwyle appears to have been a part of Ser Otto’s conspiracy to crown Aegon II in Rhaenyra’s stead; he joins Ser Otto and Ser Erryk in their mission to Dragonstone to broker a peace with Rhaenyra.

Lord Bartimos Celtigar (Nicholas Jones)

Photo: HBO

Ruler of Claw Isle and close ally of House Targaryen.

Lord Bartimos stays loyal to Queen Rhaenyra in the split between the Blacks and Greens and becomes a vocal part of her council.

Lord Simon Staunton (Michael Elwyn)

Another of Queen Rhaenyra’s loyal bannermen.

Staunton rules from a castle called Rook’s Rest in the Crownlands, the area surrounding King’s Landing. It is under direct control of the ruling monarch.

Ser Steffon Darklyn (Anthony Flanagan)

One of the Kingsguard knights assigned to protect Rhaenyra as princess.

With some encouragement from Prince Daemon and his dragon Caraxes, Ser Steffon declares his loyalty to Rhaenyra and becomes part of her Queensguard.

Ser Lorent Marbrand (Maxim Wrottesley)

Photo: HBO

Like Ser Steffon, Ser Lorent is a Kingsguard knight assigned to Rhaenyra. He chooses to take her side in the conflict with the Greens.

Previously on House of the Dragon

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.

Acting on Ser Otto’s orders, Alicent comforts King Viserys after the deaths of his wife and newborn. Under pressure to remarry, Viserys passes over a more politically advantageous union in favor of Alicent, a woman he actually 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. 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, recruiting Cole to her side and rolling 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.

At the funeral for Laena Velaryon, Alicent seizes Viserys’s legendary dagger and tries to stab out the eye of Rhaenyra’s son Lucerys after he stabs out the eye of her own son Aemond. Instead, she wounds Rhaenyra and disgraces herself before the assembled aristocracy. Her father the Hand, however, is proud of the fire she showed — and prouder still of Aemond for winning over the massive dragon Vhagar to their side.

Alicent is prepared to back Ser Vaemond Velaryon’s claim to the Driftwood Throne until Daemon Targaryen’s sword put an end to the matter. At the royal gathering that follows, Alicent reconciles with her old friend Rhaenyra. But Alicent misinterprets the dying words of the senile Viserys to mean that her son Aegon is meant to unite the realm as king.

In the immediate aftermath of Viserys’s death, Alicent reluctantly joins the preexisting conspiracy, led by Otto, to crown Aegon II. She attempts to do so on terms that will be acceptable to Rhaenyra; she tasks Ser Criston Cole and her younger son, Aemond, with tracking down the missing Aegon before her father persuades him to order Rhaenyra’s execution. Successful, she sees Aegon crowned but also witnesses the escape on dragonback of Rhaenys Velaryon, whose support she’d hoped to gain.

In a last-ditch effort to keep the peace, Alicent extends generous terms of clemency to Rhaenyra, and has her father, Ser Otto, present her old friend with a torn-out page from a history book they’d studied together. She hopes this reminds Rhaenyra of their former closeness and continued love.

Alicent appears to suffer from severe anxiety that causes her to pick at her cuticles until she draws blood.

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 turns 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 the fiercest ally of Queen Alicent and her contingent, known as “the Greens,” and Rhaenyra’s most implacable enemy.

Cole’s devotion to Alicent and hatred for Rhaenyra is so total that he nearly stabs out the eye of Rhaenyra’s son Lucerys on Alicent’s orders. He is thwarted by the king and Ser Harrold Westerling, the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard.

When the death of King Viserys is revealed to the Small Council, Cole bashes in the head of Lord Beesbury, who objects to the Council’s plan to crown Aegon II instead of Rhaenyra, drawing first blood in the conflict. Cole subsequently hunts down Aegon, who had gone missing, and personally sets the crown on the new king’s head.

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

Photo: 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.

At Laena’s funeral, we learn that Aegon and his sister Helaena are betrothed and that Aegon is something of a drinker. By the time we see him again six years later, it’s clear he’s a habitual sex criminal.

On the night of the death of his father King Viserys, Aegon is MIA, out drinking and participating in lethal fight clubs involving literal children. He is captured and secured by Mysaria, the White Worm, and retrieved by Erryk and Arryk Cargyll, Kingsguard knights in service of his grandfather Otto Hightower. He is kidnapped once again by Ser Criston Cole and brought to his mother, who browbeats the reluctant prince into accepting his new role as king, granting him the iron crown of Aegon the Conqueror as well as the ancestral Valyrian steel blade Blackfyre. Just as he’s warming up to the idea, Rhaenys Targaryen rains on his parade by busting up the coronation ceremony with her dragon.

His dragon is Sunfyre the Golden.

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

Photo: HBO

King Viserys and Queen Alicent’s middle child. She seems more interested in hobbies like studying insects than matters of the royal court.

Though Princess Rhaenyra had proposed to Queen Alicent that Helaena marry her eldest child, Prince Jacaerys, the king and queen instead betroth Helaena to her elder brother, Aegon. When we meet her again six years later, she appears more lucid and counsels her cousin Baela that her fiancé, Jacaerys, won’t demand too much of her sexually unless he’s drunk.

Helaena is prone to mysterious, prophetic utterances; she appears to have inadvertently predicted the loss of her brother Aemond’s eye and the escape of Rhaenys from beneath the floor of the Dragonpit. She witnesses the latter at the coronation of her brother-husband Aegon II.

Her dragon is named Dreamfyre.

Lord 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. This makes him the new Lord of Harrenhal.

After returning to King’s Landing following Laena’s funeral, Larys once again offers his services to Alicent. He’s prepared to cut out the eye of Lucerys on her behalf, but Alicent tells him this kind of action isn’t necessary … yet.

After King Viserys’s death, we learn how and why Larys relates his intel to Alicent: He exchanges information for glimpses of the queen’s feet, to which he masturbates. During one such exchange, he reveals the role of Daemon’s former lover Mysaria, the White Worm, in relaying information to Ser Otto. His minions set fire to Mysaria’s compound in hopes of killing her on Alicent’s behalf.

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

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.” In the 16 years that follow, she remains a formidable spymaster in King’s Landing, counting even Queen Alicent’s own handmaidens among her informants.

Thanks to her network of informants, Mysaria is well aware of the death of King Viserys, which his close circle had hoped to keep secret. She kidnaps and transports Aegon II to a safe location and relays this information to Otto Hightower’s minions Ser Erryk and Arryk Cargyll for a price. When her role is found out, Lord Larys Strong attempts to murder her via arson on behalf of Queen Alicent. Her fate is currently unknown.

Talya (Alexis Raben)

Photo: HBO

Queen Alicent’s handmaiden and an informant in Mysaria’s spy network.

She is imprisoned along with many of the Red Keep’s other servants in order to keep Viserys’s death a secret until Aegon can be crowned.

Larys Strong, Alicent’s advisor and Mysaria’s rival, outs Talya as a spy to a Alicent. Her current fate is unknown.

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.

At the disastrous funeral for Laena Targaryen, it falls to Ser Harrold to stand between Ser Criston Cole and Princess Rhaenyra’s children.

Westerling quits the Kingsguard after being ordered to kill Rhaenyra and her children. He vows to return to service only when a new ruler is crowned.

Ser Tyland Lannister (Jefferson Hall)

Photo: HBO Max

Tyland is the first member of the Small Council to admit that plans to crown Aegon II in Rhaenyra’s place have long been in effect.

In Prince Daemon’s eyes, Tyland’s long service with Ser Otto on the Small Council ensures House Lannister’s loyalty to the Greens.

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.

Prince Daemon assumes that, due to Jason’s brother Tyland’s close ties to Ser Otto Hightower, the Lannisters will back the Greens against the Blacks.

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.

Wylde returned to Master of Laws after King Viserys re-appointed Otto as hand, and the two men have become allies on the Council.

It falls to Wylde to explain to Queen Alicent that her father’s plan to name Aegon II heir in place of Rhaenyra was best maintained without her knowledge.

Prince Aegon Targaryen the Younger

Photo: HBO

The first of Rhaenyra’s children with her uncle Daemon.

He is named after the dynasty’s founder, Aegon the Conqueror, despite the fact that Alicent and Viserys had already named their own first son Aegon.

Prince Viserys Targaryen

Photo: HBO

Rhaenyra and Daemon’s second son.

He is named after Rhaenyra’s father, the king.

Maester Kelvyn (Haqi Ali)

Photo: HBO

House Velaryon’s maester.

He attends to the wound incurred by Aemond Targaryen during the fight with Lucerys Velaryon and the other children. He’s the person who informs Alicent that her son permanently lost his left eye.

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.

Devastated by his sister Laena’s death, Laenor seeks comfort in Qarl’s arms and is thus absent from the fracas after the funeral. Feeling guilty that he wasn’t there to support his wife and sons, he rededicates himself to his marriage — just as Rhaenyra plots a new wedding to her uncle Daemon.

But instead of killing Laenor, Daemon murders a Velaryon servant and burns his face off, making it look like Laenor was killed and set ablaze by a jealous Qarl. In truth, Laenor shaves off his unmistakable white locks and escapes to Essos with Qarl, the man he loves, in hopes of living a freer life.

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.

After the funeral for Laena Velaryon, Rhaenyra and her new lover, her uncle Daemon, engineer Qarl and Laenor’s escape from Westeros. Using Qarl to publicly pick a fight with Laenor, they kill a Velaryon servant and use his burned corpse to fake Laenor’s death. Laenor and Qarl sail off for a new life together in Essos.

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.

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.

Valar Morghulis

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 faced a similar crisis even as the Targaryen dynasty reached the height of its power. After losing his wife and newborn son and falling out with his younger brother, Daemon, Viserys named his sole surviving child, his teenage daughter Rhaenyra, the future queen of Westeros. His decision flew 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 spurned 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. 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; he is also tormented by a potentially prophetic dream about his son 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, though the identity of their real father, Ser Harwin Strong, 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.

Those fractures widen before Viserys’s eyes at the funeral for Daemon’s wife, Laena Velaryon. Daemon and Laena’s daughters team up with Rhaenyra’s sons to fight Alicent’s son Aemond after he seizes Vhagar, the massive dragon that belonged to Laena, for himself. The fight costs Aemond an eye after he calls Rhaenyra’s sons “bastards” and prompts a physical altercation between Rhaenyra and Alicent themselves. As a result, Viserys declares that anyone who questions the boys’ parentage will have their tongue cut out.

Six years after the funeral, Viserys is a shell of his former self. The infectious wounds he incurred from the Iron Throne have cost him an arm, an eye, and any hope of living free of pain. Nevertheless, he adjudicates a dispute over which of his relatives should inherit the throne of House Velaryon — ultimately resolved when Daemon Targaryen slices half of Ser Vaemond Velaryon’s head off — and presides over a forced family dinner with all sides. The tension gives way to celebration until a fight between his children and grandchildren resume the hostilities.

That night, the ailing king confuses his wife, Alicent, for his daughter Rhaenyra. His garbled words about “Aegon’s dream,” referring to the prophecy foretold by Aegon the Conqueror, convince Alicent that their son Aegon is meant to rule the Seven Kingdoms, not Rhaenyra.

Sometime that night, he dies.

Lord Boremund Baratheon (Julian Jones)

Photo: HBO

The head of an important house of partial Valyrian descent. He accompanied Rhaenyra on part of her tour of the Seven Kingdoms in search of a suitable king consort.

Lord Boremund dies at some point prior to Viserys’s death and Aegon II’s coronation, leaving his proud and illiterate son Lord Borros in charge of House Baratheon.

Lord Allun Caswell (Paul Hickey)

Photo: HBO

The Lord of Bitterbridge in the Reach.

Lord Caswell welcomes Princess Rhaenyra and her family — including her husband/uncle Prince Daemon, her three children with Laenor Valeryon, and her two children with Daemon — home to King’s Landing.

After Viserys’s death is revealed and the conspiracy to crown Aegon II takes effect, Caswell is caught attempting to escape the Red Keep in order to warn her. He is hanged in the courtyard as a warning to others of dubious loyalty.

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.

Not included in Ser Otto’s long-held scheme to crown Aegon II in Rhaenyra’s place, Beesbury is outraged to hear the idea put forth and announces plans to alert the princess. In response, Ser Criston Cole bashes in his head, killing him.

Ser Vaemond Velaryon (Wil Johnson)

Photo: HBO

The younger brother and close ally of Lord Corlys Velaryon. Vaemond participates in the war for the Stepstones, though he is dubious of the tactics embraced by the Velaryons’ ally in the conflict, Daemon Targaryen.

Vaemond’s distaste for Daemon deepens following the death of his niece Laena, for which he appears to blame the Prince.

When his brother Lord Corlys is gravely wounded during the most recent war in the Stepstones, Vaemond advances his claim as heir to the Driftwood Throne, arguing — first implicitly, then explicitly — that Rhaenyra’s children with his nephew Laenor are, in fact, bastards. For this, King Viserys demands his tongue; Viserys’s brother Daemon sort of obliges by cutting off most of his head.

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.

Her funeral, as evidenced in many of the above entries, is a shitshow, with massive ramifications for the future of the realm.

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.

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.

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