House of the Dragon – Houses explained: Who are House Targaryen, House Hightower and House Velaryron

House Targaryen, House Hightower and House Velaryron rule in House of the Dragon – but who are they and how do they fit into the Game of Thrones universe?

By Alex Fletcher Published: 19 August 2022 - 10.53pm
Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen in House of the Dragon
Stream House of the Dragon weekly on Sky Atlantic with NOW from Monday 22 August

The battles, backstabbing and bloodshed between Houses Stark, Lannister and the rest, was at the heart of the Game of Thrones story.

Simmering rivalries, old wounds and dirty deals were half the fun as the battle for the Iron Throne ripped through the Seven Kingdoms.

At the start of House of the Dragon, House Targaryen are the most powerful force in Westeros with their dragons and King Viserys reigning supreme.

However, they aren’t the only powerful House in Westeros when the House of the Dragon story begins…

House of the Dragon cast and characters guide

House Targaryen

Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon

“Every time a new Targaryen is born, the gods toss the coin in the air and the world holds its breath to see how it will land"

This famous Game of Thrones quote is worth remembering as watch the House Targaryen story in House of the Dragon.

The first royal house of the Seven Kingdoms, the Targaryen’s took control after Aegon’s conquest and his reign launched the King’s Guard, Small Council and Iron Throne – which would go to be features way beyond his lifetime.

After Aegon, Targaryen rulers included Maegor the Cruel, Jaehaerys and then House of the Dragon picks up with King Viserys.

The appointment of Viserys, the grandson of King Jaehaerys, established the rule that power can’t be passed down to a woman – which is a significant stumbling block for Viserys at the start of House of the Dragon as he looks for a heir.

House of the Dragon will potentially follow the story of House Targaryen from the height of its powers under Viserys to the embers and ruins that we saw Daenerys rise from at the start of Game of Thrones. That means we can expect a lot of fire and blood!

House Hightower

Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower

House Hightower weren’t a prominent force in the original Game of Thrones series, but are at the height of their powers at the beginning of House of the Dragon.

Based in Oldtown, the powerful and noble house have the motto, ‘We Light the Way’. They are known to dabble in black magic and alchemy, and are among the oldest of the Houses in Westeros.

At the start of House of the Dragon, Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) is the longstanding Hand of the King. And his daughter Alicent (Emily Carey /Olivia Cooke) is close friends with King Viserys daughter, Princess Rhaenyra.

The Hightowers are very close to those who wield the power, but they are also have simmering tensions with figures such as Prince Daemon Targaryen.

House Velaryron

Steve Toussaint in House of the Dragon as Corlys Velaryon

The rulers of Driftmark are close and old allies to House Targaryen and sworn to Dragonstone.

They came to Westeros before the Targaryens and helped in Aegon’s conquest of the Seven Kingdoms, ruling the seas and Blackwater Bay while the dragon riding Targaryens dominated the skies.

At the start of House of the Dragon, Corlys Velaryon rules the House. Known as the Sea Snake, Corlys is a self-made man for fortune, who earned great riches at sea.

He is married to The Queen Who Never Was, Rhaenys Targaryen, who was overlooked as ruler of Westeros for King Viserys.

House Lannister and House Baratheon

Game of Thrones fans will recognise these Houses when they pop up in House of the Dragon.

The Baratheons are mentioned in episode 1 and it has been revealed that twins Ser Tyland Lannister and Lord Jason Lannister will also appear. Jefferson Hall will play the crafty and calculating Lannister twins, who rule Casterly Rock.

Stream House of the Dragon weekly on Sky Atlantic with NOW from Monday 22 August

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