Who’s who in House of the Dragon Season 2

By Gen Terblanche4 June 2024

Who’s who in House of the Dragon Season 2

As House of the Dragon Season 2 begins, the old King, Viserys, is dead. King Aegon Targaryen II wears the conqueror’s crown and sits on the Iron Throne at King’s Landing after being crowned king – despite Viserys declaring his eldest daughter, Rhaenyra Targaryen, to be his heir. Meanwhile at Dragonstone, traditional home of the Targaryens, Queen Rhaenyra now wears Viserys’s golden crown. 

This fight is just getting started. And any chance of peaceful negotiation got snuffed out in the clouds when Aegon’s brother Prince Aemond Targaryen and his dragon Vhagar chased Rhaenyra’s son Prince Lucerys and his dragon Arrax, and Vhagar chomped Lucerys and Arrax to death in the Season 1 finale. 

What started as a family feud inside House Targaryen is already spreading like dragonfire, and every noble house in Westeros must choose who to back as this new Game of Thrones erupts. For us peasants, here is a who’s who of those about to play the game, or die trying. 

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Catch up on the action with our House of the Dragon Season 1 recap.

Untangle the roots of this civil war in Season 1

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The Green Council at King’s Landing

Claim to the crown: King Aegon Targaryen II is the eldest son of the late King Viserys and his second wife, Queen Alicent Hightower. Alicent thrust Aegon onto the throne when she claimed that it was King Viserys’s dying wish … even though Viserys had, just days before, yet again publicly reaffirmed his eldest child, Rhaenyra, to be his heir. In doing so, she believed that she was not only giving Viserys his wish, but avoiding a civil war that might spark at the prospect of a woman on the highest throne in Westeros, particularly as it’s an open secret that Rhaenyra’s sons and heirs were born out of her infidelities. In the eyes of the public, Aegon is the king, having been crowned in front of the people of King’s Landing, by ancient ceremony. 

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King Aegon Targaryen II (Tom Glynn-Carney): Aegon is the firstborn child of Alicent and Viserys I Targaryen. Throughout his youth he was told that his big sister would rule, not him, which led to him feeling that Viserys rejected him. He grew up to be a self-indulgent bully, dodging his duties to rape nursery maids, and sneak off to enjoy every perverted amusement that King’s Landing could offer. Aegon is (reluctantly) married to his sister, Helaena. They have three children together: Jaehaerys, Jaehaera, and Maelor. 

Dragon: Aegon rides the dragon Sunfyre.

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Aemond Targaryen (Ewan Mitchell): Aegon’s resentful and jealous younger brother believes himself far fitter to rule than his sibling. Unlike Aegon he has applied himself mentally and physically to training as a prince, and is a formidable swordsman. Aemond has a cruel tongue and never lets go of a grudge. He wears an eye patch after losing his eye during a childhood fight with Rhaenyra’s son Lucerys, who challenged him for stealing a dragon from little Rhaena Targaryen.

Dragon: Vhagar, a bronze she-dragon, is huge, ancient and cunning. She was one of the three dragons that helped the original Prince Aegon and his sisters to conquer Westeros. Before Aemond rode her, she was bonded with Laena Velaryon, Daemon’s wife. Aemon snuck in and took his chance to bond with Vhagar during Laena’s funeral. In the Season 1 finale, Vhagar refused to obey Aemond and killed Prince Lucerys and his dragon Arrax while Aemond was bullying them.

Helaena Targaryen (Phia Saban): Aegon and Aemon’s sister, Helaena, seems a bit touched in the head, but she has a gift of prophecy. She warned (vaguely) that Aemond would lose his eye to gain a dragon, and that Aegon needed to “beware the beast beneath the boards” during his coronation. She also seems to have foretold the war between The Greens and The Blacks. 

Dragon: Dreamfyre, a 100-year-old dragon. But peaceful Helaena seldom rides as she has had to dedicate herself to her nursery.

Olivia Cooke in House of the Dragon S2

Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke): Rhaenyra’s childhood best friend was raised in the heart of intrigue around the throne at King’s Landing, in the Red Keep. She has no desire for war and believed she was doing the best thing to avoid it when she made Aegon king. She’s aware that her father, Otto Hightower, manipulated her throughout her life to suit his own ambitions. But while men have used Alicent as a pawn and a womb for breeding heirs, she has also spent a lifetime learning to navigate and manipulate the political undercurrents between the noble houses of Westeros, using everything from good manners and graces, to her pretty little feet, to get her way … for the good of the kingdom.

Rhys Ifans and Olivia Cooke as  Otto Hightower and Alicent Hightower in House of the Dragon S2
Rhys Ifans and Olivia Cooke as Otto Hightower and Alicent Hightower

Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans): As Hand of the King to Viserys (his chief advisor), Otto originally persuaded Viserys to name his (then) only child Rhaenyra as his heir to cut Viserys’ violent and problematic brother Daemon out of the succession. He then manoeuvred his daughter Alicent into becoming Viserys’ second wife, and worked behind both Viserys and Alicent’s backs to manoeuvre the King’s advisors and key noble houses into secretly backing Visery and Alicent’s oldest child, Aegon, as heir. Otto is a shrewd manipulator who spotted a way to get his bloodline onto the throne of Westeros… for the good of the kingdom, of course. 

Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel): Now the head of the Kingsguard, formidable knight Ser Criston used to be Rhaenyra’s guard, but broke his vow of chastity when she, as a teenager, seduced him, a grown man. When she refused to run away with him, though, he disgraced himself at her wedding to Laenor Valeryon and was about to commit suicide when he was saved by Queen Alicent. He has been loyal to Alicent ever since, but harbours a bitter grudge against Rhaenyra that led to him encouraging Alicent’s sons to bully Rhaenyra’s children. 

Larys Strong (Matthew Needham): Alicent’s closest advisor Larys might look like a meek and greasy weasel, but he had his own brother and father murdered to remove obstacles in her path. His dad had to go because he’d been made Hand of the King after Otto was (briefly) banished, and his brother was the father of Rhaenyra’s illegitimate children. Larys has an ear to the ground. All he asks in exchange for his services advising Alicent is a glimpse of her dainty feet. He could very well be the most unscrupulous and dangerous man in King’s Landing. 

Allies: The Greens have control of the Kingsguard and City Watch (both of which were trained by Daemon Targaryen). The king’s closest circle of advisors, the Small Council, have all been made to pledge their loyalty, along with the royal household’s staff. Of the noble houses, they can count the Lannisters, Hightowers, Strongs, and Baratheons as declared allies. 

The Black Council at Dragonstone

Claim to the crown: Throughout her life Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen has been the declared heir of the late King Viserys. While Westeros has, historically, actively avoided crowning a female ruler, all the noble houses of Westeros swore loyalty to Rhaenyra as Viserys’s heir during his lifetime. She was not at King’s Landing at the time of Viserys’ death, though, allowing Queen Alicent and her allies to place Aegon on the throne. Believing Aegon to be unfit to rule, Arryk Cargyll of the Kingsguard smuggled Viesrys’s golden crown to Rhaenyra, allowing Viserys’ younger brother Daemon to crown her Queen at Dragonstone. 

Helaena Targaryen in House of the Dragon S2 on Showmax

Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy): The eldest child and the declared heir of late king Viserys, she grew up scornful of court manners and women’s place as little more than a breeding machine. But her impatience and arrogance left her with very few allies at King’s Landing who were willing to push back against Alicent and Otto. Rhaenyra married Laenor Velaryon knowing he was gay, and had three sons with her guard, Harwin Strong – Jacaerys, Lucerys and Joffrey. After Laenor faked his death, Rhaenyra married her first love, her uncle Daemon, and they had three children together – Aegon III, Viserys II and Visenya. Unlike Alicent, Rhaenyra has been an attentive and affectionate mother. Rhaenyra is a born warrior with a fiery, courageous spirit, but she lacks the subtlety, patience, diplomacy and shrewdness needed to win and hold allies. She might be the only person capable of controlling or understanding Daemon. 

Dragon: Rhaenyra’s beloved and protective yellow dragon is Syrax, who laid three eggs in Season 1

Daemon Targaryen in House of the Dragon S2

Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith): Viserys’ younger brother is power-mad, bloodthirsty,  rebellious, and seems to consider common morality to be beneath him. He took Rhaenyra to a brothel to seduce her when she was in her teens! While he’s the most dangerous warrior in Westeros, his impulsive acts of violence have also placed Rhaenyra on a shaky footing with their closest allies, the Velaryons. Daemon beheaded Corlys Velaryon’s younger brother Vaemond for publicly insulting Rhaenyra and disputing her sons’ eligibility to reign since they aren’t actually Velaryons by blood. And he married Corlys and Rhaenys’ daughter Laena, who died in childbirth while pregnant by him. But he’s an indulgent father and a faithful husband, and aside from the Dragonkeepers, could be the person whose nature and understanding best aligns with the dragons themselves. 

Dragon: Daemon’s long-necked red dragon is Caraxes, nicknamed the Blood Wyrm, who originally belonged to his ancestor, Prince Aemon Targaryen (aka The Dragonknight, also the original owner of Daemon’s sword, Dark Sister). 

Jacerys Targaryen (Harry Collett): Rhaenyra’s eldest son Jacerys is noble, cool-headed, kind, courageous, a good scholar and a dutiful son, so pretty much the opposite of his uncle, King Aegon. He has paid close attention to the business of running a kingdom since he expected to wear his mother’s crown one day. He is aware of his parentage and prone to responding all too readily to Aemond’s taunts about it. 

Dragon: Jacerys’ dragon Vermax is a young green dragon who hatched in his crib. Vermax hates ice and cold. 

Corlys Velaryon in House of the Dragon S2

Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint): Corlys is known as The Sea Snake and he’s the most formidable sailor, adventurer and sea captain in the realm. His fleets control the seas around Westeros. As a true Velaryon, Corlys had ambitions of seeing his bloodline ascend to the Iron Throne, and is now starting to deeply regret getting embroiled with the Targaryens, despite Daemon being his closest ally in the war against piracy, and the key to Corlys regaining control of the waters around the Stepstones. He is convinced that Daemon and Rhaenyra had his son Laenor murdered. He certainly knows that Daemon murdered his brother! But to protect his granddaughters Rhaena and Baela, and keep his peace with his wife Rhaenys, he has agreed to back Rhaenyra as queen. For now. 

Rhaenys Velaryon (Eve Best): In her time, Princess Rhaenys was first in line for the Iron Throne, but she was passed over in favour of her cousin Viserys because of the lords of Westeros’s ingrained misogyny. Rhaenys places the peace of the kingdom and the rights of its people over her, or anyone else’s, desire for the throne. So it was Rhaenyra’s outspoken reluctance to plunge the kingdom into war to pursue her own claim that convinced Rhaenys to back her. Rhaenys has lost both of her own children because of Targaryens but she has raised Daemon and Laena’s daughters as her own, and bonded tightly with them. 

Dragon: Rhaenys’ pink dragon Meleys is nicknamed the Red Queen because of the “crown of thorns” on her head. Meleys, known to be the fastest dragon in Westeros, broke through the floor of the dragonpit during the coronation of King Aegon Targaryen II to help Rhaenys to escape King’s Landing, giving her the nickname the “Beast Beneath the Boards.” Rhaenys is Meley’s second rider. Her first was Princess Alyssa Targaryen, who died in childbirth. 

Baela Targaryen (Bethany Antonia): The elder of Daemon and Laena’s two daughters.

Dragon: She rides the young dragon Moondancer.

Rhaena Targaryen (Phoebe Campbell): The younger of Daemon and Laena’s two daughters. The egg placed in Rhaena’s cradle when she was a baby never hatched, and Aemond took her mother’s dragon Vhagar before Rhaena could claim her. 

Allies: The houses of Velaryon, Celtigar, and Darklyn. Through the Velaryons, Rhaenyra has control of waterways around Westeros, allowing her otherwise miniscule forces to control trade and supplies to The Greens’ major allies, as well as to King’s Landing itself. Rhaenyra’s forces also have access to more dragons, with Daemon already actively seeking contact with some riderless dragons near the end of Season 2. They could potentially add Vermithor (the dragon Daemon was singing to in the caverns at Dragonmont), Tyraxes (bonded with Daemon and Rhaenyra’s young son Joffrey), and Seasmoke (iffy, since Seaskoke’s rider Laenor is faking his own death).

House of the Dragon writer George R.R Martin explains why the Velaryons are key allies, using a map of Westeros.

The who’s who of who’s that?

The Greens

Ser Tyland Lannister (Jefferson Hall): a crafty and calculating politician, serving as Master of Ships on Aegon II’s Small Council (position previously held by Lord Corlys Velaryon). He might not be Master of Coin, but the Lanisters hold the kingdom’s purse strings.

Lord Jason Lannister (Jefferson Hall): the haughty Lord of Casterly Rock and twin to Ser Tyland Lannister. Rhaenyra publicly rejected his suit and shamed him in Season 1.

Grand Maester Orwyle (Kurt Egyiawan): a scholar and healer for the realm, providing counsel to King Aegon II.

Lord Jasper “Ironrod” Wylde (Paul Kennedy): the Master of Laws on King Aegon II’s Small Council (position previously held by Daemon Targaryen and Larys’s father, Lord Lyonel Strong).

Ser Gwayne Hightower (Freddie Fox): an arrogant knight from Oldtown who is the son of Otto Hightower and Queen Alicent’s brother. Daemon defeated him during a jousting tournament in Season 1.

Ser Simon Strong (Sir Simon Russell Beale): the great uncle to Lord Larys and castellan of Harrenhal.

Alys Rivers (Gayle Rankin): a healer working in the service of House Strong.

Ser Arryk Cargyll (Luke Tittensor): a member of the Kingsguard and loyal supporter of King Aegon II – despite his twin brother’s loyalty to Queen Rhaenyra.

Ser Martyn Reyne (Barney Fishwick): a knight, friend and flatterer of King Aegon II.

Ser Leon Estermont (Ralph Davis): a knight, friend and flatterer of King Aegon II.

Eddard “Red Ned” Waters (Tok Stephen): a bastard hedge knight serving King Aegon II.

Ser Rickard Thorne (Vincent Regan): a member of Aegon II’s Kingsguard.

The Blacks

Alyn of Hull (Abubakar Salim): a young sailor who saved the Sea Snake’s life in battle at the Stepstones.

Addam of Hull (Clinton Liberty): a shipwright for the Velaryon fleet and Alyn’s brother.

Lord Bartimos Celtigar (Nicholas Jones): a traditionalist member of Queen Rhaenyra’s Black Council.

Ser Alfred Broome (Jamie Kenna): a gruff knight on Queen Rhaenyra’s Black Council.

Lord Simon Staunton (Michael Elywn): a loyal member of Queen Rhaenyra’s Black Council.

Lord Gormon Massey (James Dreyfus): a member of Queen Rhaenyra’s Black Council and father to her lady in waiting, Elinda Massey.

Elinda Massey (Jordon Stevens): a trusted handmaiden to Queen Rhaenyra.

Maester Gerardys (Phil Daniels): a healer and advisor for Queen Rhaenyra at Dragonstone.

Ser Steffon Darklyn (Anthony Flanagan): a knight on the Black Council and commander of Rhaenyra’s Queensguard.

Ser Erryk Cargyll (Elliott Tittensor): a former member of Viserys’ Kingsguard who left King’s Landing – and his twin brother – to swear fealty to Queen Rhaenyra and join her Queensguard.

Ser Lorent Marbrand (Max Wrottesley): a knight on the Black Council and member of Rhaenyra’s Queensguard.

Unallied

Ser Oscar Tully (Archie Barnes): the young grandson of Grover Tully, heir to Riverrun and future Lord Paramount of the Riverlands.

Lady Jeyne Arryn (Amanda Collin): the cunning Maiden of the Vale, Lady of the Eyrie, and head of House Arryn.

Lord Cregan Stark (Tom Taylor): the Lord of Winterfell who, like the Starks that came before him, does not forget an oath.

Mysaria or The White Worm (Sonoya Mizuno): this shrewd sex trafficking victim has risen through the underworld at King’s Landing, creating a spy network that reaches inside the castle itself. She was briefly engaged to Prince Daemon Targaryen, and used her knowledge of Prince Aegon II’s whereabouts to bargain for an end to child sex-trafficking and abuse in the city’s “pleasure” clubs in Season 1. Being aware of (now) King Aegon II’s proclivities, she might side with the Blacks. But her loyalty is to the city itself.

Madam Sylvi (Michelle Bonnard): the proprietor of an upscale brothel.

Hugh (Kieran Bew): a blacksmith from King’s Landing trying to make ends meet for his sick daughter.

Kat (Ellora Torchia): Hugh’s wife and a devoted mother to their sick daughter.

Ulf (Tom Bennett): a denizen of Kings Landing known as a drunkard and roguish storyteller among the smallfolk.

Sharako Lohar (Abigail Thorn): an eccentric Lysene commander of the Triarchy fleet. Daemon and Corlys have been at war against the Triarchy for years, which could see them allying with the Greens.

Undecided houses going into Season 2

Arryn, Stark, Tully, Tyrell, Greyjoy, Martell

Unallied dragons going into Season 2

Dreamfyre (in the dragonpit at King’s Landing), Silverwing (living in the Dragonmont), Cannibal, Grey Ghost, and Sheepstealer (all three wild dragons nesting on Dragonstone). Dragons can only be ridden by people from the Targaryen bloodline. 

Binge House of the Dragon Season 1 on Showmax now. Catch up on the action with our House of the Dragon Season 1 recap. See the lore differently! Re-watch Game of Thrones Season 1-8 on Showmax now. 

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