House of the Dragon houses and character guide

By the end of Game of Thrones, most fans had developed an encyclopedic knowledge of the various noble houses, who ruled them, where their seat lay, and who they were allied with. But with House of the Dragon taking place 200 years prior to Game of Thronesthose of us who decided to skip reading George RR Martin’s Fire & Blood are pretty much starting from scratch. There are a few familiar houses in the mix — most obviously House Targaryen, with a few others to come — but for the most part, House of the Dragon is populated by houses that we didn’t get to see in Game of Thrones.

To help you keep track of the various houses — and how they fit into the ongoing political schemes and upcoming war — we’ll be updating this guide throughout the season.

[Ed. note: The following contains spoilers for House of the Dragon episode 2.]

House Targaryen

Photo: Ollie Upton/HBO

“Fire and Blood”
The royal house of Westeros. Their ancestral seat is Dragonstone, although they rule out of King’s Landing. Their sigil is a red three-headed dragon over a black field.

The entire show is about House Targaryen, so this is probably the one house you don’t need help keeping straight (or at least we’d hope). We’ll still go over the bullet points here, though, just in case.

When House of the Dragon begins, Viserys I Targaryen is King of Westeros after a Great Council had voted for him to succeed his grandfather Jaehaerys. Following the death of his wife Aemma Arryn and their newborn son, Baelon, Viserys named his daughter Rhaenyra as his heir, displacing his brother, Daemon Targaryen, from the line of succession. Viserys later chooses to marry Alicent Hightower, creating a crisis of succession that sets off the first Targaryen civil war, known as the Dance of the Dragons.

House Hightower

Alicent Hightower stands with her hands in front of her looking ahead in the House of the Dragon.

Photo: Ollie Upton/HBO

“We Light the Way”
The rulers of Oldtown, where the Citadel is located. They hold fealty to House Tyrell of Highgarden. Their sigil is a white tower topped by flames on a gray field.

Of all the newly prominent houses in House of the Dragon, Hightower is one of the most important to keep your eye on. The house is headed up by Lord Hobert Hightower, whose younger brother Ser Otto is Hand to King Viserys I Targaryen. It’s Otto who encourages his daughter Alicent to get close to the king after the death of his wife Aemma, leading to Alicent’s upcoming marriage to Viserys. Otto also has a son, Sir Gwayne Hightower, who participated in the Heir’s Tournament in the series premiere.

Hightower holds fealty to House Tyrell, but they also have several vassals of their own: Bulwer, Costayne, Cuy, and Beesbury, whose lord, Lyman, serves as Viserys’ Master of Coin.

House Velaryon

Rhaenys Targaryen stands next to her husband Corlys Velaryon among a crowd of people at court in the House of the Dragon.

Photo: Ollie Upton/HBO

“The Old, the True, the Brave”
The rulers of Driftmark, an island in Blackwater Bay. Their seat is High Tide, an island-castle off Driftmark’s coast. Their sigil is a silver seahorse over an aquamarine field.

House Velaryon is one of the oldest (and wealthiest) houses in Westeros, with a bloodline as ancient as House Targaryen — as its current lord, Corlys “the Sea Snake,” loves to remind Viserys. The Velaryons may not be dragon riders, but they are a Valyrian house, originating from Essos’ Valyrian Peninsula. Corlys is married to Viserys’ cousin, Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, dubbed the Queen Who Never Was after she was passed over as Jaehaerys’ heir. Together, Corlys and Rhaenys have two children, Laena and Laenor.

Corlys, also known as Lord of the Tides, serves as Viserys’ Master of Ships and commands the Royal Fleet. However, after Viserys rejects marrying the 12-year-old Laena in favor of Alicent Hightower, Corlys aligns himself with Daemon Targaryen.

House Strong

Lord Lyonel Strong sits at a table facing Viserys, whose right arm is visible at the left of the image, in House of the Dragon episode 2.

Image: HBO

A noble house of the Riverlands that holds fealty to House Tully. Their seat is the Harrenhal. Their sigil is a tripartite of blue, red, and green converging around a fist on a white field.

House Strong is ruled over by Lord Lyonel Strong, who acts as Viserys’ Master of Laws. His youngest son is Larys Strong and the oldest is Sir Harwin Strong, who is often called Breakbones and known as the strongest man in the Seven Kingdoms.

House Strong’s seat is Harrenhal, which hosted Jaehaerys I Targaryen’s assembly to choose an heir. But between Harrenhal’s alleged curse and the fact that the seat was held by House Whent Game of Thrones began, things already aren’t looking great for House Strong’s future House of the Dragon.

House Cole

Sir Criston Cole stands at the entrance of a room wearing his knight armor and holding his helmet in the House of the Dragon.

Photo: Ollie Upton

Stewards to House Dondarrion at Blackhaven, a castle in the Dornish Marches. Their sigil is ten black circles on a red field.

We met the hunky Sir Criston Cole in the series premiere when he defeated Daemon Targaryen in the Heir’s Tournament — a loss made more spicy by the fact that Cole is common-born. Criston’s father is the steward to the Lord of Blackhaven, but despite technically being called a noble house, House Cole is largely looked down upon in noble society for their “low-born” status. Cole’s Dornish ancestry probably doesn’t help matters either.

House Westerling

Sir Harold Westerling, wearing his armor, sits atop his white horse in front of a rocky hill in the House of the Dragon.

Photo: Ollie Upton/HBO

A noble house of the Westerlands that holds fealty to House Lannister. Their seat is the Crag.

Sir Harold Westerling is a long-standing member of the Kingsguard, having begun his service under Jaehaerys’ rule. He currently serves as the sworn shield to Rhaenyra Targaryen. In Game of Thrones, the only time House Westerling popped up was when they surrendered their seat to Robb Stark. However, in the Song of Ice and Fire books, this house played a much more prominent role, with Robb marrying Jane Westerling rather than Talisa Maegyr, as he did in the series.

House Lannister

“Hear Me Roar!”
The rulers of the Westerlands. Their seat is Casterly Rock. Their sigil is a golden lion on a crimson field.

House of the Dragon will be giving us at least two Lannisters this season: twins Tyland and Jason, the current Lord of Casterly Rock. With Lannister being one of the Great Houses of Westeros — and one of the most beloved houses from Game of Thrones — we’re curious to see what kind of impact this new set of Lannister twins has on the political proceedings.

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