While we continue to wait for the publication of The Winds of Winter, HBO is wasting no time bringing us a new entry into the Game of Thrones universe with The House of the Dragon. Set 200 years before the events of the Song of Ice and Fire adaptation, the show is based on Martin’s novel Fire & Blood and will depict the civil war between members of the Targaryen family. Naturally, the focus of the show and its main characters are on the Targaryens, but there are many other important Westerosi families who get caught in the bloodshed. We’ll be showcasing ten of the most important characters for you to follow and explain their importance as well as who plays them.
King Viserys I
Played by Paddy Constantine, Viserys I has been enjoying a long period of peace and prosperity of his reign at the beginning of the series. However, present Westerosi law requires a male child to be named as heir, and Viserys opts to designate his daughter as heir over his first-born son. Viserys succeeded his grandfather, King Jaehaerys I, who was considered one of the most successful Targaryen kings in Westeros’s history.
Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen
Played by Emma D’Arcy, Princess Rhaenyra was the only child of King Viserys I, and being a woman stands to inherit nothing after her father dies. Naturally, this means she is set to be one of the major players when factions begin to form over the succession question. What ignites the plot is her father naming her as his heir over his first-born son with Queen Alicent.
Prince Daemon Targaryen
Played by Matt Smith, Prince Daemon is the younger brother of King Viserys and is the heir presumptive due to his brother having no male children. In the books, Daemon is a peerless warrior who is considered a hero to some and a villain to others. After Rhaenyra is named as Viserys’s heir, he becomes one of her strongest supporters.
Prince Aegon Targaryen
But wait, a new challenger has entered the game! Played as a young man by Tom Glynn-Carney, Aegon is the only son born to King Viserys and his second wife, Alicent Hightower. Another faction develops around Aegon and his mother after Viserys names Rhaenyra as his heir over his son.
Portrayed by Rhys Ifans, Otto Hightower is the long-serving Hand of the King. After Viserys’s first wife (and Rhaenyra’s mother) passed away, Otto convinced the king to marry his daughter Alicent over the daughter of Corlys and Rhaenys Valeryon. Otto considers Daemon as a major political rival, and though he has no equal when it comes to intelligence, Otto will be set to learn that it takes more than learning to be a great Hand.
Played by Olivia Cooke, she is the second wife of Viserys and with him has two male children, including Prince Aegon. Her husband’s naming Rhaenyra as his heir over her eldest son creates a rift, and factions begin to form around the princess and the queen. While described in the book as a “comely” woman, she has developed a keen political acumen.
Lord Corlys Velaryon
Corlys Velaryon, played by Steve Toussaint, is the head of House Velaryon, which has long been a vassal house to the Targaryens since both families came to Westeros from Valeria. After Viserys’s first wife died, Corlys had hoped to marry his daughter Laena to the king, but was spurned and had to settle for marrying his son Laenor to Rhaenyra. The Velaryons have been scheming to get the throne since Laenor was passed over for the throne in favor of Viserys.
Eve Best plays Rhaenys Velaryon, the wife of Lord Corlys and a cousin of King Viserys. Her father was a son to King Jaehaerys, and her family line was passed over when Jaehaerys named Viserys as his heir. Because of this, Rhaenys firmly believes her son Laenor should have been king under primogeniture, and she schemes to get the Iron Throne back into her family’s hands.
Ser Criston Cole
Fabien Frankel is set to portray Ser Criston Cole, a member of the Kingsguard for Viserys. Prior to Jaime Lannister killing King Aerys Targaryen, Cole was the most infamous Kingsguard knight in history. He is also said to be one of the only warriors capable of going toe-to-toe with Prince Daemon.
Played by Sonoya Mizuno, Mysaria was a former prostitute who managed to work her way up the underworld of Kings Landing until she became a trusted ally of Prince Daemon. A lover of Prince Daemon in the books, it remains to be seen what role she will play in the series.