House of the Dragon

Game of Thrones Prequel House of The Dragon Every Character Explained

HBO’s upcoming show House of the Dragon, which is a prequel to the renowned Game of Thrones, is apparently bringing out a spectacular cast, who will play the role of some major characters in the show. As the show is essentially based on House Targaryen, the cast includes a number of members from the world of A Song of Ice and Fire created by the author George R.R. Martin.

We saw the series premiere its final season in 2019, and while the saga of Game of Thrones may have ended then, Westeros will continue to live on HBO, as the network apparently has huge plans to explore the universe. The first spin-off based on The Long Night was under development, but it has already been cancelled. However, the network is working on a number of other spin-off series set in a time before the Game of Thrones. 

Coming to amaze the viewers first is House of the Dragon. Martin himself will be developing the show along with Ryan Condal. In fact, Condal will be overseeing the entire production and writing and sharing the creative control with former Game of Thrones director Miguel Sapochnik. Other than these, the managerial team would also include composer Ramin Djawadi. The show is believed to have some trademark elements like familial politics, grand battle scenes, incest, and of course, dragons. However, the prequel has us most eager with its elaborate cast featuring intriguing new characters. 

As a prequel, House of the Dragon is set over hundreds of years before Game of Thrones. Times back then were drastically different in Westeros. While in Game of Thrones, we see Daenerys as the last remaining Targaryen in all of the world, House of the Dragon is solely based on the house and will present its time of glorious reign. Creating the basis for the Civil War popularly known as the Dance of the Dragons, the prequel will introduce many riveting characters. 

Paddy Considine as Viserys of House Targaryen

Paddy Considine as Viserys of House Targaryen

Game of Thrones fans are already familiar with all the Kings and Queens of Westeros. Which makes it apparent that House of the Dragon season 1 will feature King Viserys of House Targaryen as one of its key characters. Viserys is the grandson of Jaehaerys of House Targaryen, which is why he is expected not only to be a successor to the Old King but to also be true to his lineage in his deeds. Because Jaehaerys is honored for being one of the greatest Kings Westeros has ever seen, it is not a simple task for Viserys to live up to him. However, the new king manages to do it. It was the Great Council that chose Viserys as the new King. In Game of Thrones, we see the Great Council as a notion created to elect Bran as the new ruler. However, seeing it recreated back in 101AC would definitely be more epic. 

With Viserys comes his dragon, and we are obviously no strangers to the mystical creature. Known to be the last dragon rider of the great Balerion of the Dread whose skull was shown in the crypts of the Red Keep, Viserys was recognized highly for his peaceful composure. The nature contrasts the various Targaryen Kings referenced in Game of Thrones. While Viserys is someone who rules his kingdom with peace and prosperity and avoids conflicts at all costs, his actions hardly ever match his morals. This is what had led to Dance of the Dragons in the instance of his death. 

British actor Paddy Considine will be seen playing the great king Viserys. Fans know Considine from hits like Dead Man’s Shoes, Hot Fuzz, Journeyman, and The Outsider. House of the Dragon’s first teaser fails to give us a longer view of Viserys, but the tiny glimpse of him manning the Iron Throne with a sword in hand served us enough. The sword appeared to be Blackfyre, which is a Valyrian steel sword carrying a long story with it. 

Emma D’Arcy As Rhaenyra of House Targaryen

After Viserys’ second son Baelon died, the firstborn child of Viserys of House Targaryen, Rhaenyra was made the official heir to the throne. Since Viserys’ first son wasn’t mentioned because of having died as an infant, and his mother Aemma who also happened to pass away shortly after, the throne went to the princess. There were people who had made fun of Baelon’s death, and despite having done so with bitterness and seen it as a strange act then, Westeros did get its first ruling Queen in Rhaenyra.

Rhaenyra had spent a huge chunk of growing up preparing for this day and taking the throne to succeed her father, and she continued to be Queen while her father married Alicent Highwater and even had a number of sons with her. On taking the title of Princess of Dragonstone at the mere age of 16, Rhaenyra was married to Laenor Velaryon. While they had three sons together, the marriage was unsurprisingly less of love and more of a political and diplomatic act. And this wasn’t unusual in Westeros. 

After her husband Laenor was killed, Rhaenyra married her uncle, Daemon Targaryen, who after Viserys’ death was in full encouragement of the Princess’s claim to the Iron Throne, which was challenged by her younger half-brother, Aegon. This split following Viserys’ death is what led to the Dance of the Dragons. the Targaryen Civil War. The event of Dance of the Dragon brought in a great divide in the form of splitting Westeros into two factions – the greens, who stood for Aegon, and the blacks, who stood for Rhaenyra.

Although finally, it was Rhaenyra who was crowned as the Queen. Being mystifying but also quite persistent and fiery, it’s seen how Rhaenyra never loses weight from her pregnancy. This is something that bothers the late old King’s new wife, Alicent. In House of the Dragon, Rhaenyra will be played by Emma D’Arcy. Emma is popular for her role as Astrid in the comedy horror series Truth Seekers. The trailer shows Milly Alcock playing Rhaenyra’s younger self, which only means that the show is spread out over at least a decade. Which would make sense because a lot of characters’ storyline, like Alicent’s, in connection to Rhaenyra could then be explained. 

Olivia Cooke As Alicent Hightower

Daughter of Otto, Viserys’ Hand, Alicent Hightower is the second wife of King Viserys of House Targaryen. Alicent endured as a constant in King’s Landing, as she stood by King Jaehaerys before he died, and was a great companion throughout the reign of King Viserys. This is why when Viserys chose to remarry, he went against the small council’s wishes and it was Alicent that he chose as his new bride. Alicent’s inclusion to the family bore newfound strife between her and Rhaenyra, as both women had intentions of ruling Westeros. Alicent’s hatred towards her husband’s firstborn only grew deeper when Rhaenyra continued to claim the throne even after she gave the King several sons.   

Alicent Hightower was the one who steered the two factions – the greens and the blacks. As the leader of the greens, Alicent proudly donned the color at the tourney, while Princess Rhaenyra led her faction dressed in the traditional red and black color scheme of House Targaryen. Alicent was known to be quick-witted and having served her time in King’s Landing for generations, she was familiar with the politics of the kingdom. With Rhaenyra living her title as the Princess of Dragonstone at the time of Viserys’ death, Alicent acted with intelligence and made her own son, Aegon, the new King.

Olivia Cooke will take on the role of Alicent Hightower in House of the Dragon. Cooke gained massive recognition for her role as Emma in Bates Motel. The actress was also in blockbusters such as Ready Player One, where she played the female lead Art3mis, and the critically acclaimed movie Sound of Metal as Lou. The trailer of House of the Dragon shows Alicent running towards someone carrying the catspaw dagger. The weapon was previously used in an attempt to kill Bran and then by Arya when she killed the Night King in Game of Thrones season 8. And the dagger clearly depicts the correlation between the two shows.

Matt Smith As Daemon of House Targaryen

Prince Daemon Targaryen is the younger brother of Viserys. His character is a tricky one. While Daemon supports Viserys at the Great Council when he claims the Iron Throne, he does so in pretence. With this act, Daemon intends to be the successor to the throne in case Viserys fathers no sons. The two brothers share an unpleasant relationship, which only intensifies because of his rivalry with the Hand of the King, Otto Hightower. Despite being short-tempered and deceitful, Daemon is known to be one of the greatest warriors of his time. Daemon is also seen ruling as the self-appointed King of the Stepstones and the Narrow Sea, however, he eventually gives up the position to return to Viserys’ side and take a place on the small council. 

But even his place in the small council is taken as rumors of Daemon taking Princess Rhaenyra’s virginity before her 16th birthday made the King exile him. The story continues with Daemon working his way around winning his brother’s trust and coming back to the kingdom, following which he marries Rhaenyra, but without Viserys’ knowledge. When his brother died, Daemon pronounced Rhaenyra as the Queen. For House of the Dragon, Matt Smith will be seen playing Daemon Targaryen. The actor is popular for his role as Eleventh Doctor in Doctor Who, which in itself is a show that must have prepared him for something as huge in scale as House of the Dragon. It is true that Smith’s character as Eleven is nowhere close to that of Daemon, but the actor has shown his promising acting skills in Netflix’s show The Crown as Prince Philip. In the trailer for House of the Dragon, Daemon is shown interacting with Rhaenyra, as well as in a fight scene with someone who might be Criston Cole.

Rhys Ifans As Otto Hightower

Rhys Ifans As Otto Hightower

Father to Alicent Hightower, Otto Hightower was the Hand of the King. he served his time with Jaehaerys I and continued to fulfill his duties when Viserys took the crown. Otto was also the head of House Hightower of Oldtown. He was a brilliant man, intuitive but patronizing. He often tried to make more of his role as the King’s Hand by using the position to his gains and influencing the King’s decision, especially in matters concerning Prince Daemon.

However, his habit backfired when Viserys stripped him off his role as the Hand of the King and ordered him to return to Oldtown, because Otto went to far in pushing Viserys’ to make his daughter Alicent’s son the rightful heir to the throne instead of Rhaenyra. But when the stand-in Hand passed away, Otto came back to the kingdom. After the death of King Viserys, Otto supported Alicent in announcing Aegon as the new King. In the prequel, Otto will be played by Rhys Ifans. The actor has done many films like Notting Hill, The Amazing Spider-Man, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1. The trailer features Otto briefly in House of the Dragon. He is seen adjusting his robes, but there is a close shot on his brooch, which implies how dire his role as Hand of the King would be in the upcoming series.

Steve Toussaint As Corlys of House Velaryon

Corlys Velaryon in House of the Dragon

Corlys Velaryon gets his nickname from his ship called the Sea Snake. He is the head of House Velaryon, which like House Targaryen, was originally Valyrian. Coryls was a skilful sailor and was also extremely adventurous. He sailed throughout and beyond the waters of Westeros and earned himself a reputation, and with that came great welfare. Corlys’ adventures were a point of discussion in Westeros, and he wasn’t just a man of water.

The sailor also had greater desires on land, like marrying Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, the daughter of Aemon and granddaughter of King Jaehaerys. This purpose of him got Corlys often insulted and rebuffed. When Rhaenys was disregarded as Queen, their son, Laenor, was also dismissed as King in favor of Viserys taking the throne. And when King Viserys chose to remarry, it was Alicent Hightower he picked instead of their daughter, Laena. Corlys was left furious and this led to him scheming with Daemon Targaryen in assisting him claim the Stepstone crown.

Although, as luck would have it, Corlys’ offspring would, as time passed, marry a Targaryen. Afterwards, his son Laenor married Princess Rhaenyra and had several children with her before his death. But these children, however, were rumoured to have been fathered by Ser Harwin Strong. In the Dance of the Dragons, Corlys was loyal to the side of Queen Rhaenyra and he even took up the position of a fill-in Hand of the Queen. Corlys later betrayed Rhaenyra for Aegon II though. Steve Toussaint will be seen playing the Sea Snake in House of the Dragon. Steve is best known for his vast appearance across British TV shows including Doctor Who, Skins, and It’s A Sin, as well as movies such as 1995’s Judge Dredd. Corlys is spotted in between quick scenes in the House of the Dragon trailer. There is one particular scene where Corlys arrives at King’s Landing for a banquet thrown by the Targaryens.

Eve Best As Rhaenys of House Velaryon

Seen accompanying Corlys Velaryon in House of the Dragon is Princess Rhaenys Targaryen of House Velaryon. Rhaenys is also known as the Queen Who Never Was because she was never taken into consideration for sitting the Iron Throne after her father, Aemon, who was the son of Jaehaerys. Rhaenys inherited the purple eyes of a Targaryen and possessed with them the black hair of a Baratheon from her mother Jocelyn Baratheon. These features made Rhaenys astonishingly beautiful, aside from being highly intellectual.

However, Rhaenys was overlooked as a contender for the crown by King Jaehaerys. When time came to appoint a new heir after the death of Aemon, the King chose his second son, Baelon, instead. This had brought in raging feelings for Rhaenys and her husband, Corlys. But it was also something that the two of them got accustomed to as time passed away. When time came to pick sides during the Dance of the Dragons, Rhaenys, like Corlys, stood by the blacks and Queen Rhaenyra, serving on her council before her death. For the role of Rhaenys in House of the Dragon, Eve Best has been cast. Eve is popular for her role as Dr. Eleanor O’Hara in Nurse Jackie. The trailer for the most-awaited HBO prequel shows Rhaenys arriving alongside Corlys at a Targaryen banquet.

Sonoya Mizuno As Mysaria

This extensive ensemble will also include Lady Mysaria, who will serve as something akin to the Varys of House of the Dragon. She originates from Lys and stays under the surface as a mistress of whisperers to Daemon Targaryen. In that, she passes on secrets to the young prince from all around King’s Landing, helping Daemon with his wicked schemes. Aside from being a snitch, Mysaria was known to have had relations with Daemon for quite a long time. In fact, she was even bearing his child but she lost the baby after King Viserys got furious and ordered her to be sent back to Lys.

However, she continued serving in both of her previous roles even after his marriage to Rhaenyra and her ascension to Queen. And now the character was giving those same whispers to Westeros’ new ruler. Mysaria will be played by ever so talented Sonoya Mizuno in House of the Dragon. Mizuno has often worked with Alex Garland, and done amazing films likeEx Machina, Annihilation, and Devs. In the teaser of HBO’s House of the Dragon, Mysaria gets a proper long feature. This only means that the character will be a prominent one, even if it’s just for an episode or two.

 

Fabien Frankel As Criston Cole

The last but equally important cast member for the House of the Dragon is Fabian Frankel. He is believed to take on the character of Criston Cole. Fabien Frankel was previously renowned for his role as Fabien in Last Christmas and Dominique Renelleau in The Serpent. His character in House of the Dragon portrays Cole as one of the most gifted knights in Westeros. Criston is eventually seen rising higher in rank as he ascends to the position of Lord Commander of Viserys I’s Kingsguard. Criston even proves his strength by defeating Daemon Targaryen in the tournaments. With rumours being a huge part of Westeros, there was one of an affair between Criston and Rhaenyra.

But those rumors were disregarded like claims of a romance between the Princess and Harwin Strong, as there was nothing supporting the statements. However, the two apparently had something going on because following that, there was a crack between Criston and Rhaenyra. At the Princess’ wedding to Laenor Velaryon, Criston fought with Alicent Hightower’s favor, and after that, he continued to stand by her. His loyalty extended to the Dance of the Dragons, where Criston with others like Alicent and Otto, tried to persuade Aegon to claim the Iron Throne. While his face isn’t given a very clear shot in the trailer for House of the Dragon, Criston is supposedly the one locked in combat with Daemon at the tourney. 

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