House of the Dragon: The Targaryen Family Tree

Season 2 Character Guide: Before you trek back to Westeros, you need a refresher on its feuding family.
Published: 19 June 2024

Lords and ladies of the court, it’s time to once again assemble in the throne room and bend the knee to the King of Television, Cutter of Cords, and First Commander of the Screen: House of the Dragon. The series returns for season 2, ushering in the much-anticipated next chapter of HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel. But before the first episode airs, there’s just one little issue to address: Who are all these people again?

For audiences preparing for more dragon fights and political backstabbings, nearly two long years have passed between seasons 1 and 2. But for the characters onscreen, it’s only been a few hours. When you hit play on House of the Dragon once again, the producers aren’t going to line everyone up to remind you of their names and who they’re related to! Even if they did, we would still have enough Rhaenyras, Rhaenys, Rhaenas, and Aegons to drive us all into the dragon pits. Luckily for you, dear reader, I’ve already done the work. If you ever feel lost during the season, check back here for a detailed guide to who’s who in Westeros.

Rhaenyra Targaryen

Theo Whiteman, HBO

Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) is arguably our main character. The daughter of the late King Viserys Targaryen, Rhaenyra was the rightful heir to the throne. However, when her father passed away in the middle of the night, his council conspired against her and plotted to give the crown to her young stepbrother, Aegon II. Now residing in Dragonstone, Rhaenyra assembles her allies to retake the Iron Throne. Her forces include her uncle-husband Daemon, her cousin Rhaenys and her husband Corlys Velaryon, and her five children: Jacaerys, Lucerys (who was recently murdered), Joffrey, Viserys, and Aegon III.

Alicent Hightower

Theo Whiteman, HBO

Alicent (Olivia Cooke) and Rhaenyra were childhood friends in King’s Landing. Everything changed between them when she wed Rhaenyra’s much-older father, King Viserys, and essentially became her best friend’s stepmother. Following Viserys’s death and Alicent’s son Aegon II ascending to the throne, the Queen Dowager now attempts to stop wanton violence from erupting between her side of the family and Rhaenyra’s.

Daemon Targaryen

Theo Whiteman, HBO

Rhaenyra’s husband and her uncle, Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) is a fierce warrior who resents his older brother Viserys for bypassing him to name Rhaenyra heir to the throne. For whatever reason, he remained drawn to the princess romantically. It’s gross to marry your niece, of course, but Game of Thrones fans are used to this sort of thing with the Targaryens. The couple had two children together, named Viserys II (after her father) and Aegon III (yes, yet another Aegon). He also had twin girls with his former wife, the late Laena Valeryon, named Rhaena and Baela Targaryen. He rides the dragon Caraxes and wields a powerful sword named “Dark Sister” that used to belong to the great Aegon the Conqueror’s sister-wife.

King Aegon II Targaryen

Theo Whiteman, HBO

Aegon II (Tom Glynn-Carney) is the current King on the Iron Throne. He is Alicent Hightower and Visyers Targaryen’s firstborn son, Rhaenyra’s younger stepbrother, and husband to his sister-wife Queen Helaena. Together, they have three young children of their own: Jaehaerys, Jaehaera, and Maelor. Aegon II rides the dragon Sunfyre.

Prince Aemond Targaryen

Theo Whiteman, HBO

Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) is King Aegon II’s young brother and the second-born son of Alicent Hightower and Viserys Targaryen. Back in season 1, he lost his left eye in a childhood fight with Lucerys Velaryon. In the season finale, he drew first blood in the war and sought revenge by murdering Lucerys at Storm’s End. Aemond rides Vhagar, the oldest and most fearsome dragon in Westeros.

Otto Hightower

Theo Whiteman, HBO

Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) is the Hand of the King, Queen Alicent’s father, and grandfather to King Aegon II, Halaena, and Prince Aemond. He was the primary driver in season 1 in marrying his daughter to King Viserys, and a central figure in the coup to place his grandson on the throne. Now he continues to mold politics and plan for war as the king’s right-hand man and trusted advisor.

Rhaenys Targaryen

Theo Whiteman, HBO

Known as the “Queen Who Never Was,” Rhaenys (Eve Best) was famously passed over in the line of succession when a council at Harrenhal voted her first cousin Viserys to become the king instead. She is married to Corlys Velaryon, with whom she had two children—the believed-to-be-dead Laenor (Rhaenyra’s former husband) and the late Laena (Daemon’s former wife). She currently serves on Rhaenyra’s Black Council at Dragonstone.

Corlys Velaryon

Theo Whiteman, HBO

The Lord of Driftmark and one of the wealthiest men in Westeros, Corlys Velaryon (Stege Toussaint)—aka “the Sea Snake”—is the head of House Velaryon and naval commander of the royal fleet. Before King Aegon II’s ascension, he served on King Viserys’s council as the Master of Ships. Toward the end of the first season, he was attacked by pirates in the Stepstones. Now he and his wife Rhaenys Targaryen serve by Rhaenyra’s side at Dragonstone.

Jacaerys “Jace” Velaryon

Theo Whiteman, HBO

Rhaenyra’s first-born son, Jacaerys (Harry Collett), was secretly fathered by Ser Harwin Strong (before the knight burned to death in Harrenhal). He believes that his father is Leonor Velaryon, though the whispering world knows largely of his mother’s tryst. After King Aegon II ascended the throne, Jacaerys flew north to Winterfell on his dragon Vermax in search of allies. He is betrothed to his cousin Rhaena. When he returns to Dragonstone, he’ll likely seek revenge against Aemond for the murder of his younger brother, Lucerys.

Originally published on Esquire US

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