House of the Dragon premiered on HBO on August 21st, 2022. Over 20 million people watched the first episode in the U.S. across HBO, on-demand and HBO Max. Now that Game of Thrones fans are back to the good old days in Westeros we are leading up to the main event of season 1 and likely the plot line for the next several season – Blacks vs Greens. Or Rhaenyra Targaryen vs Alicent Hightower. Episode 6, which airs on September 25th, 2022 is titled “The Princess and the Queen“. This was the title of the novella telling the story leading up to the Dance with the Dragons which was the first Targaryen Civil War in which many Targaryens and dragons were killed.
Did Rhaenyra and Alicent Have a Romantic Relationship?
In the book Fire & Blood, George RR Martin did not create any type of relationship between Rhaenyra and Alicent prior to young Alicent Hightower marrying Rhaenyra’s father, King Viserys I Targaryen. In fact, in Fire & Blood, there was no discussion about Alicent’s age (she married Viserys at 18 years of age) nor the strategy of Otto Hightower attempting to win over the throne through his lineage as opposed to Lord Corlys Velaryon. In the HBO TV series House of the Dragon, Lord Corlys Velaryon attempts to marry his 12 year old daughter, Lady Laena Velaryon, to King Viserys I Targaryen after the death of his first wife Aemma Arryn.
Aemma Arryn died during a very brutal C-section childbirth scene in the HBO TV series. She died in an attempt to give King Viserys I Targaryen his first born son and heir to the Iron Throne. Due to the fact that Aemma Arryn could not give King Viserys I Targaryen a son he named his daughter Rhaenyra the heir to the Iron Throne. King Viserys I Targaryen did get his first born son with his second wife, none other than Alicent Hightower. She gave birth to Aegon II Targeryen who will later be known as Aegon the Elder. An interesting note is that in the original edition of A Game of Thrones Aegon II Targaryen was only one (1) year younger than his older sister Rhaenyra. That was scrapped in later editions of the book A Game of Thrones and was changed before the second book, A Clash of Kings, was published.
There are many theories that Rhaenyra and Alicent had a romantic, and potentially even physical relationship, prior to King Viserys I Targaryen naming Alicent his wife. In the first two episodes of House of the Dragon on HBO, Rhaenyra and Alicent were best friends as Alicent’s father, Otto Hightower, was hand of the king. This game her and the princess countless hours to spend together. There was a scene in which Rhaenyra was lying her head in Alicent’s lap and made the statement that she much preferred that position to others of fighting and being the heir to the Iron Throne.
Rhaenyra Targaryen vs Alicent Hightower’s Age
At the beginning of the first season of House of the Dragon we are lead to believe that Rhaenyra and Alicent are very close in age.
- Rhaenyra Targeryen was born in 97 AC
- Alicent Hightower was born in 88 AC
Alicent Hightower is 9 year older than Rhaenyra Targeryen. If we are correct in assuming the HBO TV series starts in 105 AC with the death of Aemma Arryn Targaryen that means Rhaenyra is 8 and Alicent is 17 during the first episode of House of the Dragon. Basically Alicent should be going to the dermatologist for acne and Rhaenyra is just starting to grow into her primary teeth.
Due to the confusion, we thought it would be a good idea to guess the ages of the Rhaenyra and Alicent during each episode.
Episode 1 – “The Heirs of the Dragon”
This episode takes place around 105 AC with the death of Aemma Arryn Targaryen. In the book Rhaenyra would have been 8 and Alicent would have been 17. In the TV series they were both in their very early teens, likely 13 or 14.
Episode 2 – “The Rogue Prince”
This episode is six (6) months after this first episode which is proven when King Viserys I Targaryen names Alicent Hightower his bride when she is 17. This means Rhaenyra is still 8. In the TV series we are lead to believe that both Rhaenyra and Alicent are now in their later teens, likely 17 or 18.
Episode 3 – “Second of His Name”
We start this episode with Aegon II Targaryen having his second name day celebrated. This means it is around 109 AC or three (3) years after episode 2. This puts Alicent at 21 and Rhaenyra at 12. In the TV Series we see the original actresses for Young Rhaenyra and Young Alicent so we are led to believe they are still under 21.
Episode 4 – “King of the Narrow Sea”
This is where things get really, really weird. In 109 Otto Hightower was removed as the hand of the king. This means Rhaenyra is still 12 and Alicent is 21 during this episode. We see Alicent with her second child, Helaena. In the HBO TV Show it is very clear that both Rhaenyra and Alicent are in their early 20s and possible late teens at the youngest. This is the episode where Daemon takes Rhaenyra to the brothel and makes out with her before she goes back and gets deflowered by Sir Criston Cole.
Rhaenyra and Sir Criston Cole
In the first episode of House of the Dragon on HBO Rhaenyra sees Sir Criston Cole defeat her uncle Daemon Targeryen in a jousting competition. Later in the episode she chooses Sir. Criston Cole to guard her father because of his experience in war times. By episode 3, many fans of the HBO TV series can sense a budding relationship between Sir Criston Cole and Rhaenyra Targaryen. There is a hunting scene in which Rhaenyra rides off on a horse and Sir Criston Cole has to chase after her. By this point in the TV series, Sir Criston Cole’s only job is to be protector of the princess.
While the source material of Fire & Blood never confirms nor denies the romantic relationship of Rhaenyra and Sir Criston Cole, there are many rumors that Sir Criston Cole deflowered Rhaenyra while protecting her.
In episode 4 Rhaenyra is rejected by her uncle Daemon while in the brothel due to his impotence at the time so she ends up finding the next best option which is Sir Criston Cole who is standing guard when she gets back from her wild night out. Even though Sir Criston Cole swore an oath of chastity he and Rhaenyra have a physical relationship that night. Some might think that Rhaenyra had sex with two different people in one night to remove her virginity but in the TV show it was only Sir Criston Cole.
Rhaenyra and Laenor Velaryon
In 113 AC, King Viserys I Targaryen arranged for his reluctant daughter Rhaenyra, Princess of Dragonstone, to wed Ser Laenor Velaryon. This came many years after his father, Lord Corlys Velaryon, tried to convince King Viserys I Targaryen to marry Laenor’s twin sister Laena. Shortly after hearing of this potential marriage, it is believed Sir Criston Cole went into Rhaenyra’s and professed his love for her. Rhaenyra refused his hand in marriage saying a Targaryen was meant to be more than the wife of a sellsword. Other accounts state that Sir Criston Cole denied Rhaenyra’s romantic advances. Rhaenyra confided in Ser Harwin Strong, called Breakbones. After that, Criston went from being her staunchest defender to her bitterest foe.
Laenor and Rhaenyra were married in 114 AC. In the source material, it is abundantly clear that Laenor has no interest in females and only males. He has a physical relationship with both Ser Joffrey Lonmouth and Ser Qarl Correy. While married, Rhaenyra has three sons that look nothing like the Velaryon line. They look much more like the Strong lineage of that of Ser Harwin Strong. Readers are left to surmise that all three sons of Laenor and Rhaenyra are actually the sons of Ser Harwin Strong and Rhaenyra.
The three sons are:
- Jacaerys Velaryon (Jace)
- Lucerys Velaryon (Luke)
- Joffrey Velaryon (Joff)
Laenor was slain by his friend, and potential/likely lover, Ser Qarl Correy in 120 AC. Also in 120 AC his twin sister Lady Laena Velaryon died in childbirth attempting to give her husband, Daemon Targeryan his first born son. That same year, Ser Harwin Strong was killed in a fire at Harrenhal alongside his father.
In the HBO TV show, we know that Laenor Velaryon has the ability to ride dragons (his mother is a Targaryen) as he assists Daemon in the war versus the Crabfeeder at the end of episode 3. It will be interesting to see how the relationship of Laenor and Rhaenyra is depicted on screen. There are a few very good lines in the book Fire & Blood in which characters make fun of Laenor’s attempt to hide his homosexuality and the fact that his children look nothing like him and exactly like Ser Harwin Strong.
In episode 4 of the HBO TV series Rhaenyra agrees to marry Laenor Velaryon but only if Otto Hightower is removed as hand of the king. We will see the marriage of Laenor Velaryon and Rhaenyra Targaryen during episode 5. It will still be the actress that plays young Rhaenyra for the wedding.
Rhaenyra and Daemon Targaryen
After the death of Laenor Velaryon, Rhaenyra Targaryen was again a single woman. She secretly married her uncle Daemon Targaryen who had also lost a partner in marriage with the last name Velaryon. When they were married Daemon was 39 and Rhaenyra was 23. Some state that Daemon had already impregnated her before the marriage. Rhaenyra’s two other sons Princes Aegon and Viserys Targaryen, were fathered by Daemon.
Rhaenyra’s younger brother Aegon II Targeryen is known as Aegon the Elder and her son Prince Aegon III Targaryen is known as Aegon the Younger. Both served time as King and sat on the Iron Throne.
Aegon the Younger and Viscerys II Targaryen carried on the family name. Viscerys II Targaryen is Daenerys Targaryen’s great, great, great grandfather as can be seen in the Targaryen Family Tree below.
WARNING GRAPHIC: In the source material Fire & Blood by George RR Martin, it was stated that Daemon Targaryen basically taught young princess Rhaenyra how to treat an older man physically. In more words or less, Daemon taught Rhaenyra the skills of her mouth and her body. Some believe that during her youth, her uncle Daemon deflowered her.
In episode 4 the shit hits the fan. This is about as close to the source material as you are going to get with the scene in which Daemon takes Rhaenyra to the brothel and ends up making out with her and attempting to seduce her. Unfortunately, Daemon is impotent in the moment and he pulls away from Rhaenyra. This will not be the last time we see Rhaenyra and Daemon in a sexual setting.
Daemon asks King Viserys I Targaryen for his daughter’s hand in marriage. This is not received well and Daemon is asked to leave King’s Landing.
The Death of King Viserys I Targaryen
As with all George RR Martin stories in Westeros there is death. King Viserys I Targaryen does not age well as it is mentioned he gets fat and lazy in his years after having having four children with Alicent. In 129 AC, at age 52 King Viserys I Targaryen died in his sleep after ruling the Seven Kingdoms since 103 AC. At the time of his death, King Viserys I Targaryen remained steadfast in his heir to the Iron Throne being his first born Rhaenyra Targaryen.
There were rumors that Alicent Hightower Targaryen poisoned Viserys’ hippocras. Former love interest of Rhaenyra, Sir Criston Cole was Lord Commander of the Kingsguard at the time of Viserys’ death. Alicent called a council where plans were made to crown Alicent’s son Prince Aegon, instead of Princess Rhaenyra, who had been Viserys’s heir. This was known as the Green Council which is the title to episode 9 of the first season of House of the Dragon. This likely means we will see the king’s death in episode 8 or early in episode 9. Episode 8 is titled The Lord of the Tides which is a reference to Lord Corlys Velaryon.
Blacks (Party of the Princess)
The Royal Targaryen member’s of the Blacks were as follows:
- House Targaryen (Rhaenyra) Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen, rode Syrax
- House Targaryen Prince Daemon Targaryen, rode Caraxes
- House Velaryon Prince Jacaerys Velaryon, rode Vermax
- House Velaryon Prince Lucerys Velaryon, rode Arrax
- House Velaryon Prince Joffrey Velaryon, rode Tyraxes
- House Targaryen Prince Aegon Targaryen, rode Stormcloud
- House Targaryen Prince Viserys Targaryen, possessed one dragon egg
- House Targaryen Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, rode Meleys
- House Targaryen Lady Baela Targaryen, rode Moondancer
- House Targaryen Lady Rhaena Targaryen, possessed one dragon egg and later three more.
The Black Council is as follows:
- Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lady of the Seven Kingdoms
- House Targaryen Prince Daemon Targaryen, Protector of the Realm
- House Velaryon Lord Corlys Velaryon, Lord of the Tides, Master of Driftmark and Hand of the Queen (defected to the greens)
- House Targaryen Princess Rhaenys Targaryen
- House Velaryon Prince Jacaerys Velaryon
- House Velaryon Prince Lucerys Velaryon
- House Velaryon Prince Joffrey Velaryon
- House Celtigar Lord Bartimos Celtigar, Lord of Claw Isle
- House Staunton Lord Staunton of Rook’s Rest
- House Massey Lord Gormon Massey, Lord of Stonedance
- House Bar Emmon Lord Bar Emmon of Sharp Point
- House Darklyn Lord Gunthor Darklyn of Duskendale
- Maester Grand Maester Gerardys, formerly Maester at Dragonstone
- Kingsguard Ser Steffon Darklyn, Lord Commander of the Queensguard (1st)
- Kingsguard Ser Lorent Marbrand, Lord Commander of the Queensguard (2nd)
- Kingsguard Ser Glendon Goode, Lord Commander of the Queensguard (3rd)
- Kingsguard Ser Erryk Cargyll
- Kingsguard Ser Lyonel Bentley
- Kingsguard Ser Harrold Darke
- Kingsguard Ser Adrian Redfort
- Kingsguard Ser Loreth Lansdale
Greens (Queen’s Party)
The Royal Targaryen members of the Greens were as follows:
- King Aegon II Targaryen, King of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, Protector of the Realm, rode Sunfyre.
- House Targaryen Queen Helaena Targaryen, rode Dreamfyre.
- House Targaryen Prince Aemond Targaryen, Prince Regent and Protector of the Realm, rode Vhagar.
- House Targaryen Prince Daeron Targaryen, rode Tessarion.
- House Targaryen Prince Jaehaerys Targaryen, bonded with Shrykos.
- House Targaryen Princess Jaehaera Targaryen, bonded with Morghul.
- House Targaryen Prince Maelor Targaryen, possessed a dragon egg.
The Green Council is as follows:
- House Hightower Queen Dowager Alicent Hightower.
- House Hightower Ser Otto Hightower, former Hand of the King, stripped of office.
- House Cole Ser Criston Cole, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard and Hand of the King.
- House Lannister Ser Tyland Lannister, master of ships, then master of coin.
- House Wylde Lord Jasper Wylde, master of laws.
- House Strong Lord Larys Strong, master of whisperers.
- Grand Maester Orwyle.
Note: Lord Corlys Velaryon and Lord Borros Baratheon were added to the green council after the Moon of the Three Kings.
Aegon II’s Kingsguard
- Kingsguard Ser Arryk Cargyll
- Kingsguard Ser Rickard Thorne
- Kingsguard Ser Willis Fell
- Kingsguard Ser Marston Waters
- Kingsguard Ser Gyles Belgrave
What Years is the House of the Dragon Content?
We do not know for certain what event will culminate the first season finale of House of the Dragon. We do know the title of the final episode of season 1 is “The Black Queen”. This is a reference to either Queen Alicent Hightower or Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen after the Green Council meets and creates a plan to install Aegon II Targaryen as king instead of the named heir to the Iron Throne – Rhaenyra. This is what leads to the Dance of the Dragons. It can be assumed that the end of season 1 will be the start of the Dance of the Dragons.
This means the show starts around 105 AC with the death of Aemma Arryn Targeryan and ends with the beginning of the Dance of the Dragons around 129 AC.
What Years Will Season 2 of House of the Dragon Be?
Season 2 of House of the Dragon is sure to be an in depth recount of the Dance of the Dragons. This can be very confusing to non diehard fans as the fifth book of A Song of Ice and Fire is titled A Dance with Dragons while the content of House of the Dragon focuses on the story of the Dance of the Dragons which is Rhaenyra Targaryen (Blacks) vs Alicent Hightower (Greens).
Depending on the success of the HBO series, there could be several seasons focusing on the battles and political leverage that takes place from 129-131 AC. There are many Targaryens and dragons that are lost in the Dance of the Dragons meaning there could be several episodes of Targaryens or Velaryon’s riding dragons and fighting over the Westeros sky.
When Does the Older Rhaenyra Targaryen Actress Show Up?
We know that Emma D’Arcy plays the older version of Rhaenyra Targaryen. Interestingly, the young Laenor and Laena Velaryon actor and actress were swapped out for the older actor and actress in episode 3. We still see the younger Rhaenyra played by Milly Alcock in episode 3. Milly Alcock was 22 years old in real life during the airing of season 1 of House of the Dragon. Emma D’Arcy was 30 years old in real life during the airing of season 1 of House of the Dragon.
We have learned that adult Rhaenyra Targaryen begins her “reign” in episode 6.
When Does the Older Alicent Hightower Actress Show Up?
Fans were abuzz when it was announced that Olivia Cooke was going to play Alicent Hightower. Olivia Cooke stared in Ready Player One and Bates Motel. Young Alicent Hightower is played by Emily Carey. In episode 3, young Alicent Hightower is still played by Emily Carey even though the Velaryon twins, Laenor and Laena, are the older actors. Emily Carey was 19 years old in real life during the airing of season 1 of House of the Dragon. Olivia Cooke was 28 years old in real life during the airing of season 1 of House of the Dragon.
We have learned that adult Alicent Hightower begins her “reign” in episode 6.
Rhaenyra Targaryen Family Tree
If you know the history of Westeros and are a huge Game of Thrones or House of the Dragon fan, this family tree will blow your mind. The importance of the time in which House of the Dragon takes place is because there are only three (3) Targeryan’s that are direct bloodlines to Aegon the Conqueror – Viscerys I, Daemon and Rhaenyra. That all changes with Alicent Hightower’s children [see below].
For a quick reference, the section of the Targaryen family tree in which the House of the Dragon is depicting is during The Dance of Dragons.
Alicent Hightower Family Tree
The importance of the Targaryen family bloodline is the entire reason for A Song of Ice and Fire. An interesting note, Margaery Tyrell’s mother is a Hightower. The Hightower family bloodline intersects the Targaryen several times as can be seen in the Hightower Family Tree below.
The Importance of Dragons in House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones
What any on the surface Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon viewer has to realize is that only the Targaryen and Velaryon family bloodlines have the ability to ride dragons. This is how the Targaryen family bloodline has remained sitting on the Iron Throne for almost 300 years. This is basically like owning an airplane or fighter jet while no one else has the ability to get off the ground. The reason Dany was so very important in all of Game of Thrones is she was the last known living Targaryen descended from Aegon the Conqueror.
We will see the true importance of the dragons in the second half of season 1 of House of the Dragon and basically all of season 2 with the Dance of the Dragons.