House of the Dragon: Targaryen family tree explained - is Princess Rhaenyra related to Daenerys?
House of the Dragon, the Game of Thrones prequel returning fans to a fiery Westeros, is here. So let’s brush up on our Targaryen family tree.
House of the Dragon is out now, exploring the messy history of Daenerys Targaryen’s dragon-riding ancestors as they tear themselves apart over the Iron Throne.
Set around 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, the Targaryen house is at the height of its power. It seems there is nothing that can destroy the House of the Dragon – but itself.
Inspired by George R.R. Martin’s book Fire & Blood, House of the Dragon will explore the civil war known as the Dance of Dragons, where dragon rider turns on dragon rider.
If you haven't read it – and, even if you have – you might need a guide to who’s who in the Targaryen royal family.
There’s a huge host of new characters to get to know, and everyone seems to have similar names, and then there’s the incest...
Here’s everything you need to know about the main members of the Targaryen family tree in the House of the Dragon, and how they relate to their Game of Thrones descendent, Daenerys Targaryen.
House of the Dragon Targaryen family tree explained
The main patriarch at the start of House of the Dragon is King Viserys (Paddy Considine), the fifth Targaryen monarch of the Seven Kingdoms. He is the great, great, great grandson of Aegon the Conqueror, and is considered a peaceful but weak ruler.
In contrast is his younger brother Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith), the Rogue Prince, who is ambitious, reckless, and volatile. He is a fierce warrior and rides the formidable dragon Caraxes. At the start of House of the Dragon, Daemon is the closest male in line to the throne, and has a strong claim to be heir.
King Viserys’ firstborn child is Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy and Milly Alcock) with his first wife Aemma Arryn. She grows up without thinking she will rule – until her father King Viserys decides to name her as his chosen heir, and calls on the lords of the Seven Kingdoms to bend the knee to her.
Rhaenyra’s childhood friend Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke and Emily Carey)is part of an ancient and powerful Westerosi house based in Old Town. At the start of the series, her father Otto Hightower is Hand of the King.
After Aemma’s death, Alicent marries King Viserys and they have four children together: Aegon, Helaena, Aemond, and Daeron (though some believe Daeron has been cut from the show). It is their son Aegon Targaryen who many believe should be the heir to the throne instead of Rhaenyra.
Westeros has never had a queen at this point in history. Which brings us to Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best). She is King Viserys' cousin, who is known as the queen who never was.
This is because a Great Council decided to skip her on the path of succession in favour of a male heir – Viserys. This sets a precedent, the effects of which have major ramifications in House of the Dragon.
Rhaenys Targaryen is married to Corlys Velaryon (Steve Touissant), who is known as the Sea Snake. He is a legendary sailor, the Lord of Tides and Master of Driftmark.
The Velaryon House is an ancient and powerful one which dates back to Old Valyria – where the Targaryens came from. But, instead of being lords of dragons, this family became masters of the tides.
At the time of House of the Dragon, Corlys Velaryon commands the mightiest fleet in Westeros, and is the richest man in the Seven Kingdoms. Rhaenys and Corlys have two children together, Laena Velaryon (Savannah Steyn) and Laenor Velaryon (John Macmillan).
Laena rides the largest and most powerful dragon, the legendary Vhagar, while Laenor rides Seasmoke.
Who are Rhaenyra’s children? Who is the father? Strong boys explained
Warning, there are mild spoilers for the already-aired episodes of House of the Dragon ahead.
Rhaeynra Targaryen marries Laenor Targaryen, the son of Corlys Velaryon and Rhaenys Targaryen, and has three children with him. They are called Jacaerys, Lucerys, and Joffrey Velaryon.
However, many believe the children are actually the illegitimate sons of Harwin Strong (Ryan Corr) and Rhaenyra.
They have brown hair, instead of the white hair of both their parents, and it is well known in court Corlys Velaryon is gay.
This rumour leads to tensions in the realm as Jacaerys is technically second in line to the throne and could be a bastard. Rhaenyra’s already disputed claim to the throne is further weakened.
But, as King Viserys threatens to remove the tongue of anyone who mentions the rumour, it can only be hinted at. This is where the nickname ‘Strong boys’ comes from, when alluding to Rhaenyra’s three brown-haired sons.
Is Daenerys Targaryen related to Rhaenyra?
Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones is a distant descendent of Rhaenyra Targaryen, who she has been compared to in House of the Dragon.
As the new show takes place almost two centuries before Game of Thrones, there are more than a dozen Targaryen rulers between King Viserys I and Aerys II, Daenerys’ father (AKA the Mad King).
The Targaryen family tree gets a bit complicated due to the incestuous practice of marrying sister and brother, but Rhaenyra is something like Daenerys’ great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandmother.
Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) is the Mad King’s daughter with his sister-wife Rhaella. She is the youngest of their three children, after Rhaegar – Jon Snow’s father – and Viserys.
Who is Aegon the Conqueror? Aegon I Targaryen history explained
Aegon I was the first ruler of Westeros, conquering the realm hundreds of years before House of the Dragon takes place.
Before him, the Targaryens had been dragon lords in ancient Valyria, a city in the continent of Essos to the east of Westeros. However, the family fled Valyria when a woman named Daenys foresaw its destruction.
The Targaryens lived on Dragonstone, an island to the east of Westeros, until Aegon chose to conquer it with his sister-wives Visenya and Rhaenys. The three brought the realm to its knees with their dragons Balerion, Vhagar and Meraxes.
Aegon made King’s Landing the Capital and moulded the Iron Throne from the swords of his defeated enemies. The Targaryen dynasty we see in House of the Dragon are his descendants.
Full list of kings and queens of Westeros since Aegon’s conquest
Below is a list of all 23 rulers of Westeros since Aegon the Conqueror. It includes characters which appear in House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones.
However, be aware there are some spoilers for the events of Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon in the list.
- Aegon I Targaryen
- Aenys I Targaryen
- Maegor I Targaryen
- Jaehaerys I Targaryen
- Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine, House of the Dragon)
- Rhaenyra I Targaryen (Milly Alcock/ Emma D’Arcy, House of the Dragon)
- Aegon II Targaryen (Tom Glynn-Carney, House of the Dragon)
- Aegon III Targaryen
- Daeron I Targaryen
- Baelor I Targaryen
- Viserys II Targaryen
- Aegon IV Targaryen
- Daeron II Targaryen
- Aerys I Targaryen
- Maekar I Targaryen
- Aegon V Targaryen
- Jaehaerys II Targaryen
- Aerys II Targaryen (The Mad King, father of Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones)
- Robert I Baratheon (The Usurper, Mark Addy in Game of Thrones)
- Joffrey I Baratheon (Jack Gleeson, Game of Thrones)
- Tommen I Baratheon (Dean-Charles Chapman, Game of Thrones)
- Cersei I Lannister (Lena Headey, Game of Thrones)
- Daenerys I Targaryen (Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones)
House of the Dragon will be available to watch in the UK on Sky and NOWTV from August 22