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All You Need To Know About House Velaryon In House Of The Dragon

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House Velaryon will be one of the most influential families in House of the Dragon, with their impressive history and relationship with the Targaryens having a massive impact on the story. House of the Dragon begins about 200 years before Game of Thrones, depicting an era at the height of House Targaryen’s family dynasty and control over Westeros. However, House of the Dragon sees the Targaryen family crack as the realm is split in half when brother and sister vie against one another for their claim to the Iron Throne, with these events being known as the Dance of the Dragons.

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House of the Dragon’s timeline won’t just be a chance to highlight the Targaryen dynasty that was fabled during Game of Thrones but will also offer the opportunity to showcase different families that weren’t depicted in the original series. Two of these families are House Velaryon and House Hightower, both of which will play the most significant roles in House of the Dragon apart from the Targaryens. Even before the Dance of the Dragons begins, House of the Dragon’s characters will be split between loyalties to the Targaryen “greens” or “blacks,” of which House Velaryon and House Hightower find themselves on opposite sides.


Related: Where Every Game Of Thrones Family Is During House Of The Dragon

While House Velaryon’s role in the Seven Kingdoms was almost entirely cut from Game of Thrones, the family has found a renewed importance in House of the Dragon’s civil war. Led by Corlys Velaryon, a.k.a. the Sea Snake, the historic family will start the series with incredible influence and a compelling bid for the Iron Throne, but only one Velaryon will last from the beginning until the end with power still in hand. House Velaryon’s allegiance to Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon will culminate in most of the family dying, but it in no way plays down how important each of their relatives is to the narrative. Here’s a breakdown of House Velaryon’s history, their family tree, what role they’ll play in House of the Dragon’s Targaryen-centric story, the controversies over their book adaptation, and why they aren’t in Game of Thrones.


House Velaryon History Explained

Like the Targaryens, House Velaryon hails from Valyria, hence their silver hair. House Velaryon originated in Old Valyria as an ancient ally with the Targaryens, though the Velaryons are believed to have come to Westeros long before House of the Dragon’s title family. Before the Doom of Valyria, the Velaryons settled in the isle of Driftmark near Dragonstone, where the family would become fabled for its members’ prowess at sea. While both the Velaryons and Targaryens hailed from old Valyria, the Velaryons were never dragonlords, as they excelled at sea while the Targaryens excelled in the sky. When Aegon the Conqueror took over Westeros, Velaryon ships were their greatest assets on the waters, being a significant help in getting his soldiers across the notable Blackwater Bay. House Velaryon’s close allyship with the Targaryens lasted for nearly two centuries thereafter, with the Lords of the Tides almost exclusively serving on the small council as master of ships.


Overview Of House Velaryon’s Family Tree

House Velaryon’s historical figures described by George R.R. Martin date back to before Aegon’s Conquest, when Valaena Velaryon — the daughter born of a Targaryen and Velaryon marriage —  wed Aerion Targaryen and had three children: Visenya, Aegon (Aegon the Conqueror), and Rhaenys, with Aegon later marrying both of his sisters. Around Aegon’s Conquest, an important character was Lord Daemon Velaryon, who was made the king’s master of ships before dying in battle. Daemon had two sons, Aethen and Corlys Velaryon, the elder of whom would become the Master of Driftmark while the younger became the very first Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. Aethon’s daughter Alyssa would marry the future King Aenys I and have six children, including Westeros’s greatest ruler, King Jaehaerys I Targaryen. Aethon’s son Daemon succeeded him as Master of Driftmark and eventually served as Hand of the King to his nephew, Jaehaerys I Targaryen.


Daemon had three sons, Corwyn, Jorgen, and Victor, all of whom he outlived. Consequently, Daemon was succeeded as Lord of the Tides by his grandson, House of the Dragon’s Corlys Velaryon, the Sea Snake. As a talented sailor who came into vast wealth on his famous Nine Voyages to lands previously unexplored or rarely traveled to by Westerosi, Corlys was an incredibly influential figure in the realm. Before House of the Dragon’s timeline, Corlys married Rhaenys Targaryen, the daughter of King Jaehaerys I’s eldest son. Corlys and Rhaenys have two children: Laena and Laenor Velaryon, both of whom would marry Targaryens. Laena had two daughters with Daemon Targaryen: Baela and Rhaena. Laenor had three sons with Rhaenyra Targaryen, Jacaerys, Lucerys, and Joffrey, but it was heavily implied that they were actually fathered by her sword shield, Harwin Strong. After Laenor, Laena, and Rhaenyra’s sons died, Corlys’s heirs were found in Addam and Alyn of Hull (later legitimized as Velaryons), two bastards who were officially declared to be Laenor’s sons but were suggested to actually be Corlys’s children. Alyn later married Baela, serving as the Master of Driftmark during the reign of Aegon III Targaryen, a.k.a. the Broken King.


Related: Who Is Rhaenyra Targaryen? House Of The Dragon Character Explained

Corlys Velaryon Controversy Explained

Ever since the first casting announcements for House of the Dragon were released, the series has been met with backlash from some fans over House Velaryon’s physical adaptation. While House Velaryon was never specified as Black in George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood book, Corlys Velaryon, his brother, children, and grandchildren are all portrayed by Black or biracial actors in the show. Fans who find a problem with this portrayal cite the fact that House Velaryon is described as having Valyrian features, but it should be made clear that Martin’s books state that Valyrians are “often” pale, not always. As such, House Velaryon being historically Black doesn’t actually contradict anything in Martin’s books.

The Targaryens were described as having silver hair, purple eyes, and pale skin, but the Velaryons weren’t specified as having pale skin. Supporting the notion that the backlash is rooted in a racist sentiment, there wasn’t nearly as much outrage at the fact that Game of Thrones’ Targaryens never had Valyrian purple eyes, even though this physical description was made clear numerous times in the books. Since his skin color was never explicitly mentioned in the books, there’s no evidence that Corlys Velaryon being Black in House of the Dragon is disloyal to the source material. In fact, with the Velaryons hailing from Valyria, it actually makes perfect sense that the noble house would be Black, as Essos was home to many different races and ethnicities.


House Velaryon’s Story In House Of The Dragon

House Velaryon’s story in House of the Dragon will be closely tied to the succession of the Iron Throne. House of the Dragon begins with the Great Council of 101 AC, which sees over a thousand lords from around the realm decide on the successor to King Jaehearys I Targaryen. After Rhaenys was passed over as heir in favor of her uncle when her father died, she was overlooked yet again at the Great Council at Harrenhal alongside her daughter, though she and Corlys used their power and influence to gain significant support for the claim of their son Laenor. Ultimately, Rhaenys’s cousin Viserys is chosen as heir, though Laenor marries Viserys’s daughter — and heir — Rhaenyra, and their daughter Laena marries Viserys’s brother Daemon. When King Viserys I Targaryen dies, House Velaryon will side with Rhaenyra Targaryen as the rightful ruler of Westeros over her younger half-brother, Aegon II Targaryen, in the Dance of the Dragons.

Can House Velaryon Ride Dragons (& Why)?

While House Velaryon is historically not considered to be dragonriders, there will be several Velaryons who can in fact ride dragons in House of the Dragon. Both Laenor and Laena Velaryon were dragonriders who tamed the creatures on account of their mother, Rhaenys Targaryen, also being a dragonrider. Laenor’s three sons and Laena’s two daughters would also ride their own dragons, which stems from them having two dragonrider parents.

Related: House Of The Dragon Will Change The Way You See The Starks

It isn’t just Velaryons with Targaryen parents who ride the creatures in House of the Dragon. Addam Velaryon, who is more than likely the son of Corlys, becomes a skilled dragonrider once he proves himself a “dragonseed.” It’s unclear why exactly Addam was able to ride and tame a dragon, but it could reasonably have something to do with his Valyrian blood considering he isn’t suggested to have any recent Targaryen ancestors. Had Addam survived to have children rather than Alyn, who never successfully rode a dragon, it’s possible House Velaryon would have continued to ride the creatures. However, the dragons would all die out soon during Aegon the Broken King’s reign anyway.

Velaryon vs Targaryen

The Targaryens are the masters of the skies while the Velaryons are the master of the seas, making them incredibly strong allies throughout Westerosi history. Aside from their shared Valyrian blood, the Velaryons and Targaryens don’t have all too much in common, as one of the main reasons why the Targaryens agreed to marry the Velaryons so often was to keep their Valyrian bloodline “pure.” Most Velaryons in House of the Dragon won’t be as bloodthirsty or brutal as the Targaryens, but this may be due to the fact that the Velaryons aren’t necessarily vying for their direct claim to the Iron Throne, as their power in regard to the crown is dependent on the Targaryens.


Why House Velaryon Isn’t In Game Of Thrones

When all the dragons die out in Westeros, and thus a major Targaryen and Velaryon asset is lost, so does the latter family. The Velaryons’ significance in Westeros, outside of Corlys’s voyages and influence, was mainly tied in with the Targaryens, so when their house fell, so did the other. While the Velaryons would continue to be notable for their skill at sea throughout Westerosi history, they never had as much power as they did during the Dance of the Dragons, but this was largely due to Corlys’s authority.

House Velaryon is still around in Game of Thrones’ timeline, but they have nowhere near the same impact they had during House of the Dragon. Considering House Targaryen had dwindled down to only two — or three, including Jon Snow/Aegon Targaryen — in Game of Thrones, the Velaryons’ influence likely had a significant decline around the same time that the Targaryens lost their own power. Aurane Waters, a Velaryon bastard, even served as master of ships for Cersei during part of Game of Thrones, but the character was cut from the TV show. Just as House of the Dragon will cut many families whose impact doesn’t necessarily contribute to the progression of the story, Game of Thrones left out House Velaryon and several others for the same reason.


Next: House Of The Dragon Battles That Could Be Bigger Than Game Of Thrones



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