One of the greatest joys and struggles of the first few seasons of Game of Thrones was trying to figure out the story’s dozens of characters and how to keep them all straight. But if you thought eight seasons in Westeros were enough to teach you everything you need to know, House of the Dragon’s new trailer brings some bad news.
The prequel series’ latest trailer, released on Thursday, already throws a few names at viewers and gives them a whole lot of pale, blond people to keep track of. To help you get a sense of where the show’s going, and what’s even happening in the trailer, here are the characters we’ve seen so far and where they’re at in the beginning of the story.
Of course, the final series will have a lot more characters than this, but for now, this is a pretty good starting point.
[Ed. note: This post contains very light spoilers for House of the Dragon and Fire & Blood.]
Before we get into the characters themselves, it’s worth remembering what the Dance of Dragons, the long and bloody Targaryen civil war that House of the Dragon chronicles, was actually about.
The war was over succession of the throne, and the seeds were planted during the reign of King Viserys I Targaryen. Viserys named his eldest surviving child, Rhaenyra Targaryen, as his successor. However, shortly after his death, a council gave the throne to Aegon II Targaryen, the first child of Viserys’ current wife, Alicent Hightower, and the king’s eldest male heir. This sparked a civil war between the family that eventually threatened all of Westeros.
Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy)
Rhaenyra Targaryen is the oldest child of King Viserys and was born of his first wife, Aemma Arryn, and is his heir. Rhaenyra is supported by her uncle and later husband, Daemon Targaryen, as well as her former mother-in-law, Rhaenys Velaryon. Though she is supposed to be next in line for the throne, not everyone will support her claim.
With her rightful claim ignored, you can probably think of her a bit like the Daenerys Targaryen of this series — at least for Dany’s first few seasons — though the two bear few other similarities. Rhaenyra is also a dragonrider who rides Syrax.
- Father — King Viserys I Targaryen
- First husband — Laenor Velaryon
- Uncle/second husband — Daemon Targaryen
- Former mother-in-law — Rhaenys Velaryon
- Children with Laenor — Jacaerys Velaryon, Lucerys Velaryon, Joffrey Velaryon
- Children with Daemon — Aegon “The Younger” Targaryen, Viserys Targaryen, Viserys I Targaryen
Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke)
Queen Alicent is something like a Cersei figure in this story. She’s the second wife of King Viserys Targaryen. When the Dance of Dragons arrives she’ll support the claim of her son Aegon Targaryen, and both before and during she works behind the scenes in an attempt to help him win the throne. Especially early on, she is supported by her father, Otto Hightower.
- Husband — King Viserys Targaryen
- Children — Aegon II, Helaena, Aemond, Daeron
- Father — Otto Hightower
King Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine)
Viserys is an ailing king whose nearly 30 years of rule end in complete disaster thanks to his controversial choice of successor. Despite the fact that he is the grandson of one of Westeros’ great kings (Jaehaerys I Targaryen, also known as The Conciliator), Viserys’ hatred of conflict and refusal to abide the male-heir succession precedent of his grandfather eventually helped sow the seeds of his family’s civil war.
- First wife — Aemma Arryn
- Second wife — Alicent Hightower
- Children by Aemma Arryn — Rhaenyra (oldest child), Baelon
- Children by Alicent Hightower — Aegon “The Elder” (oldest son), Helaena, Aemond, Daeron
- Brothers — Daemon Targaryen, Aegon Targaryen (this Aegon died as an infant and is not important to this series or its many other Aegons)
Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith)
Though he is the brother of King Viserys, Daemon resents the throne because Viserys refused to allow him to gift a dragon egg to his lover, Mysaria. Daemon is one of the greatest warriors in Westeros at this time and rides the dragon Caraxes. Daemon is also the uncle of Rhaenyra and will later become her husband, just one of his many marriages — though Mysaria stays by his side the whole time. He’ll likely be something of a Jamie Lannister-type in this series, though with a whole lot more ambition.
Family (condensed for clarity and importance):
- Brother — King Viserys I Targaryen
- Lover — Mysaria
- Third wife — Rhaenyra Targaryen
- Children with Rhaenyra — Aegon “The Younger” Targaryen, Viserys Targaryen, Viserys I Targaryen
Princess Rhaenys Velaryon (Eve Best)
Also known as The Queen Who Never Was, Princess Rhaenys Velaryon was once called Rhaenys Targaryen before her marriage to Corlys Velaryon. Rhaenys was once thought to be heir to the Iron Throne, but after the death of her father, her grandfather Jaehaerys I Targaryen chose Rhaenys’ uncle Baelon as the heir instead, thus instituting the first precedent of male-heir succession in Westeros — one that would eventually help lead to the Dance of Dragons.
Later in her life, Rhaenys had two children, one of which was named Laenor Velaryon, who would eventually become Rhaenyra Targaryen’s first husband before he was murdered — though it’s unclear if House of the Dragon will touch on this or not. Rhaenys also rode a dragon called Meleys.
- Husband — Corlys Velaryon
- Children — Leana Velaryon, Laenor Velaryon
- Former daughter-in-law — Rhaenyra Targaryen
Ser Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans)
Plotting family members hungry for power are a mainstay of Westeros and everywhere in Game of Thrones, and Otto ranks somewhere in the middle of them. He’s certainly no Tywin Lannister or Olenna Tyrell, but he’s better fit to help maneuver his daughter Alicent and her son Aegon toward the Iron Throne than most. Like many of Westeros’ best schemers, Otto also served as Hand of the King during the rule of Viserys.
- Children — Alicent Hightower, Gwayne Hightower
- Grandchildren — Aegon II, Helaena, Aemond, Daeron
Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel)
Ser Criston Cole has a very complicated journey that’s sure to be an exciting part of the show with many twisting allegiances, but for now, we’ll just say that he’s a member of Viserys’ King’s Guard.
Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint)
Head of house Velaryon at this time, husband to Rhaenys, and a fierce pirate who will eventually ally himself with Rhaenyra.
- Wife — Rhaenys Velaryon
- Children — Leana Velaryon, Laenor Velaryon
Mysaria (Sonoya Mizuno)
Mysaria is the extramarital paramour of Daemon Targaryen. She is known around Westeros as having a talent for secrets, not entirely unlike Varys the Spider in Game of Thrones.
Caraxes (a dragon)
This is probably Caraxes, Daemon Targaryen’s dragon. Then again, there are a lot of dragons on this show, so who really knows?