Meet Rhaenyra, Daemon and Alicent’s Kids

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“What are children but a weakness? A folly? A futility?”

It’s a chilling statement from Larys Strong, one of the villains in HBO’s “House of the Dragon.” And despite all the fuss over the dragons (though they are spectacular), the “Game of Thrones” prequel is, at its heart, an epic story about family — and a house divided. The sides — nicknamed the Greens and the Blacks — dominate the latter half of the season.

Daemon, Rhaenyra and Alicent now have 11 kids among them by the eighth episode, which is set about six years after the “Driftmark” episode. This includes Daemon and Rhaenyra’s two trueborn kids — who have the silvery-white hair to prove it — as well as Joffrey Velaryon, the only child with a name that defies Valyrian tradition, and one unnamed and unmentioned child.

The 10 episodes of the show’s first season cover 28 years of Westerosi history, according to George R.R. Martin, creator of the fantasy series on which the shows are based, in an interview aired on the official “Game of Thrones” podcast. It will plant “the seeds of what will eventually be a war,” he said, referring to the Dance of the Dragons, the Targaryen civil war over who will sit on the Iron Throne. 

That’s a whole generation of intrigue — enough time for children to be born, grow up or die, and for characters to forge alliances and rivalries, fall in love or lust, harbor grievances or perhaps even go mad, a trait of the Targaryen bloodline (see the Mad King, Daenerys Targaryen’s father).

Indeed, as Princess Rhaenyra and Queen Alicent grow from childhood confidants to sparring foes in the sixth episode, which features a time jump set 10 years later, we see their feud poisoning the next generation.

Who are these children? (Excuse us while we try to forget young Aegon’s window scene — similar to Homelander’s “I can do whatever I want” speech in the dark superhero show “The Boys.”) 

Read the breakdown below.

(And while we’re no King Joffrey, we aim to follow the show’s air dates and update this article as new information and characters emerge. But if you wish to remain totally surprised, stop here.)

Aegon II Targaryen

“I did not ask for this,” says Aegon, one of the few who does not appear to want the Iron Throne.HBO Max

Parents: Alicent Hightower, King Viserys I Targaryen 

Spouse: Helaena Targaryen, his sister

Dragon: Sunfyre

Actors: Tom Glynn-Carney, Ty Tennant (young Aegon)

The eldest surviving son of King Viserys I, Aegon is seen by many in the male-dominated Westerosi society as the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. And yet the showrunners have done an ace job of portraying the would-be king in an unflattering light — whether it’s him as a towheaded toddler looking fussy in his royal finery or as a petulant, leering teen. Adding to Aegon’s deficiencies are his drinking habit and penchant for bedding serving maids.

By the eighth episode, Aegon’s path toward depravity reaches new lows as we learn he has forced himself on one of the serving girls, sending his mother flying into a rage. It’s clearly not a first-time offense.

“Think of the shame on your wife, on me,” Alicent implores, before slapping him. “You are no son of mine,” she says. It’s worth noting that Alicent has embraced the religion known as the Faith of the Seven since the last episode, and her austere style can be felt throughout the Red Keep.

“I did not ask for this,” Aegon says. “I’ve done everything you’ve asked me to. I try so hard but it will never be enough for you or Father.”

We also learn that Aegon has not only married his sister, Helaena, in the sister-wiving tradition of the Targaryens, but they also have children of their own.

Fun fact: Ty Tennant, the actor who portrays young Aegon, comes from a bit of royalty himself — ”Doctor Who” royalty, that is. His grandfather Peter Davison played the Fifth Doctor in the ‘80s. His mother, Georgia Tennant, also acted in the series. She ended up marrying the actor who portrayed the Tenth Doctor, David Tennant, who told Absolute Radio back in 2012 that he adopted Ty, his wife’s firstborn son.

Helaena Targaryen

House of Dragon
“Beware the beast beneath the boards,” Helaena, who has dragon dreams, warns.HBO Max

Parents: Alicent Hightower, King Viserys I Targaryen 

Spouse: Aegon II Targaryen

Dragon: Dreamfyre

Actors: Phia Saban, Evie Allen (young Helaena)

Princess Helaena is the sister-wife of Aegon II and the mother of their children by the eighth episode. She has lost her dreamy childhood innocence and now speaks plainly of her reality.

“It isn’t so bad,” she says in a toast to Baela and Rhaena on the subject of marriage. “Mostly he just ignores you, except sometimes when he’s drunk.”

The show implies that Helaena has dragon dreams — the ability to see visions of the future; it’s a trait that runs in the Targaryen line. The family was the only major dragonlord clan to have survived a cataclysmic event called the Doom of Valyria (some others survived but were killed soon after) by relocating to Dragonstone thanks to an ancestor’s dragon dream.

In a quiet scene in the sixth episode, Helaena predicts that Aemond will have his own dragon but that “he’ll have to close an eye.” That’s paid off in the next episode, when Aemond claims the dragon Vhagar but then loses his left eye in a fight.

It’s worth listening to Helaena’s words closely, as they are quietly illuminating. “It has eyes, though I don’t believe it can see,” she says of a millipede in her insect collection. This statement can be applied to many members of her kin — those blinded by familial loyalties, moral rigidity or the quest for power or revenge. 

“The last ring has no legs at all,” she says — again, supposedly about the millipede. But those familiar with the plotline know that this hints at the future.

In the seventh episode, she speaks in riddles: “Hand turns loom; spool of green, spool of black.” This refers to the greens and the blacks, the two factions forming as war brews. The greens, the color of the Hightowers, support Aegon’s bid for the throne; the blacks support Rhaenyra’s claim.

The eighth episode brings about her most cryptic prophecy yet, if it is one at all: “Beware the beast beneath the boards.” This could hint at a number of things, as shadowy figures abound. This includes creepy Larys, of course, and Mysaria, aka the White Worm, who precedes Varys, from “Game of Thrones,” in her mastery of whispers.

But the biggest clue might rest with the prevalence of rats, which pervade King’s Landing and even the king’s bed chamber. Rats in this show signal a bad omen, appearing in bleak scenes, like the one feasting on spilled blood after Ser Criston Cole beats Jeffrey Lonmouth to death, or the one scurrying across a mantel in front of Viserys late at night, as the ailing king is literally decaying.

Prophecy or not, beware the rats.

Aemond Targaryen

House of Dragon
A toast to the “strong” boys, mayhaps?HBO Max

Parents: Alicent Hightower, King Viserys I Targaryen 

Dragon: Vhagar

Actors: Ewan Mitchell, Leo Ashton (young)

The defiant and fearless boy has turned into a bloodthirsty young man who delights in violence and chaos. Aemond One-Eye — despite his lack of depth perception — has somehow transformed into a skilled swordsman capable of besting Ser Criston, who tells him he’ll be winning tournaments soon.

“I don’t give a s— about tourneys,” Aemond says and he stares at his true targets. “Nephews, have you come to train?” While Jacaerys and Lucerys still have a bit of innocence about them, it’s clear that Aemond’s been calculating his revenge — particularly against Luke — from the moment he lost his eye years ago.

His bloodlust is ever apparent when Daemon beheads Ser Vaemond Velaryon in the throne room. Almost everyone expresses shock and horror. Not Aemond One-Eye, who shows a hint of a smile. Daemon, another volatile and chaotic character, is very much a prototype for Aemond. The eighth episode juxtaposes the pair in a couple of sequences, suggesting a connection or face off could be in their future.

We previously saw young Aemond claim the dragon Vhagar — a big score for the greens — as Daenerys Targaryen’s theme music plays, providing a preview of what the Dance of the Dragons action scenes might look like. (And whether this music simply marks his triumph against great odds or also recalls Dany’s breathtaking rise and ultimate downfall is yet to be seen.)

Daeron Targaryen

Parents: Alicent Hightower, King Viserys I Targaryen 

Dragon: TBD

Perhaps you’re wondering: How did I miss seeing Viserys and Alicent’s fourth child? You didn’t. “House of the Dragon,” with its complex plotlines, myriad characters and 10-episode season limits, just didn’t have time to include the couple’s youngest child. But he exists and he’s “down in Oldtown,” George R.R. Martin, the fantasy mastermind behind both series, confirmed this week on his “Not A Blog.”

Jacaerys ‘Jace’ Velaryon

House of Dragon
Jace studies High Valyrian.HBO Max

Parents: Rhaenyra Targaryen, Laenor Velaryon (officially), Harwin Strong (rumored)

Betrothed to: Baela Targaryen

Dragon: Vermax

Actors: Harry Collett, Leo Hart (young)

Jacaerys, Rhaenyra’s eldest son, and his two younger brothers have spent their short lives surrounded by whispers that their real father was Ser Harwin Strong (R.I.P.). It’s an open secret that these “strong” boys aren’t the sons of Laenor Velaryon. They all have dark hair and are “plain-featured,” as Alicent dismissively describes them; they look nothing like Laenor. (Still, one has to wonder about Martin’s interpretation of genetics. Alicent and Otto Hightower both have dark features, yet Aegon II, Helaena and Aemond appear to have inherited the Targaryen silvery-gold strands.)

Jace seems level-headed compared to Alicent’s sons. He takes the task of learning High Valyrian seriously, and during Viserys’ dinner, which the showrunners dubbed the Last Supper, Jace is egged on by Aeg. But he takes the higher ground and delivers a speech to his uncles, in which he expresses hope that they may become friends and allies. (Note the look of disappointment on Aemond’s face.)

There’s a bit of comedic genius in Jace’s punches to Aegon’s shoulder as he strains to do the right thing and keep his composure, particularly when the camera focuses on Aegon, looking sullen, and an arm — slightly hesitating — awkwardly enters the frame.

As the battle lines are drawn, Rhaenys agrees to Rhaenyra’s plea and announces that her granddaughters Baela and Rhaena will wed Jace and his brother Lucerys, respectively. It’s an important alliance for Rhaenyra given Driftmark’s sea power.

Lucerys ‘Luke’ Velaryon

Princess Rhaenys, right, declares her support of Prince Lucerys, second from the right, to become the next Lord of the Tides as Laenor's "trueborn son."
Princess Rhaenys, right, declares her support of Prince Lucerys, second from the right, to become the next Lord of the Tides as Laenor’s “trueborn son.”HBO

Parents: Rhaenyra Targaryen, Laenor Velaryon (officially), Harwin Strong (rumored)

Betrothed to: Rhaena Targaryen

Dragon: Arrax

Actors: Elliot Grihault, Harvey Sadler (young)

By tradition, Lucerys is set to succeed Corlys Velaryon, who has suffered a grave wound in the Stepstones, as Lord of the Tides on the Driftwood Throne. This sets up the eighth episode’s smaller succession battle, a preview of the coming Dance of the Dragons.

Young Lucerys mainly lives in his older brother’s shadow up until the seventh episode, when he displays a surprising ferocity during the kids’ big fight. When Aemond calls Jace and Luke bastards, we see the younger brother scramble to grab a knife and use it to brutally slash Aemond’s left eye.

It’s a move any sane person might come to regret, since Aemond is much bigger, scarier and ready to spill blood with a laser-like focus in the next episode.

But at the Last Supper, carefree Luke snickers as a roasted pig is placed before Aemond, recalling a childhood prank involving the “Pink Dread” — a pig presented to his uncle, who was dragonless at the time.

Who will have the last laugh?

Joffrey “Joff” Velaryon

Emma D'arcy and John MacMillian
Princess Rhaenyra and Laenor, the prince consort, take their newborn baby to see Queen Alicent.HBO

Parents: Rhaenyra Targaryen, Laenor Velaryon (officially), Harwin Strong (rumored)

Dragon: Tyraxes

Rhaenyra’s third son is a newborn when we meet him. By the eighth episode, Joff is a young boy, but he’s still big enough to earn a mention from his uncle Aemond in his fiery toast at the Last Supper.

He has the early misfortune to be named Joffrey, after Laenor’s deceased lover, Joffrey Lonmouth, who was brutally beaten to death by Criston Cole at the end of the fifth episode.

Let’s just call it an inauspicious start.

Baela Targaryen

House of Dragon
Baela serves as her grandmother’s ward at Driftmark (and also as her parents eyes and ears).HBO Max

Parents: Laena Velaryon, Daemon Targaryen

Betrothed to: Jacaerys Velaryon

Dragon: Moondancer

Actors: Bethany Antonia, Shani Smethurst (young)

Baela is the older twin sister to Rhaena Targaryen. We learn in the eighth episode that Baela has been sent to live with Rhaenys as her grandmother’s ward. This proves to be a strategic move by Rhaenyra and Daemon, as it gives them eyes and ears in the halls of Driftmark. It is indeed Baela who sends a raven to her parents informing them of her uncle Vaemond’s move to take the Driftwood Throne for himself.

Both Baela and Rhaena appear to have affectionate relationships with their cousins Jacaerys and Lucerys, and that’s a good thing, since they’re set to wed them. When Baela hears the news that she will marry Jace, she smiles.

So far, Baela has proved to be tough — she punched Aemond squarely in the face during the kids’ fight scene — and aware of how to play the game of thrones by alerting her parents of her uncle’s treachery. You may not hear her voice very often, but she’s listening and planning ahead.

Rhaena Targaryen

House of Dragon
From left: Lucerys, Jacaerys, Rhaenyra, Daemon, Joffrey and RhaenaHBO Max

Parents: Laena Velaryon, Daemon Targaryen

Betrothed to: Lucerys Velaryon

Dragon: TBD

Actors:  Phoebe Campbell, Eva Ossei-Gerning (young)

Rhaena, the younger twin, is quiet and introspective. She is betrothed to Lucerys, who is expected to succeed Corlys Velaryon as the Lord of the Tides.

Since she was a child, Rhaena has yearned for a dragon of her own; we learn through her conversation with her mother that Rhaena’s dragon egg, which was placed in her cradle at birth, hasn’t hatched. Half of them never do, according to Laena Velaryon, who urges her to claim one. “There is more than one way to bind yourself to a dragon,” she says.

In the sixth episode, we learned that young Rhaena isn’t close to Daemon compared to Baela. “Father ignores me,” she says. Is that still true now that her twin has been living in Driftmark all these years?

Aegon III Targaryen (or Aegon the Younger)

Parents: Rhaenyra Targaryen, Daemon Targaryen

Dragon: TBD

Do we need another Aegon? In a slap to the queen’s face, Rhaenyra and Daemon bestow the same name as Alicent’s firstborn on their first child together. Aegon III is just a little boy in the eighth episode.

In the Targaryen tradition — save for poor little Joff — names seem to get recycled or remixed (see Rhaenys, Raenyra, Rhaena, Rhaegar, etc.). Here’s a look at the Aegons of consequence for the series:

  • Aegon I, aka Aegon the Conqueror: He’s the big kahuna in the Targaryen dynasty, having conquered six of the Seven Kingdoms in Westeros, uniting (most of) the realm. He was also a dragon dreamer, referenced by Viserys and his prophecy of “the prince that was promised” and “a song of ice and fire” that unfurled in the “Game of Thrones” series.
  • Aegon II, aka Aegon the Elder: Viserys and Alicent’s firstborn son.
  • Aegon III, aka Aegon the Younger: Rhaenyra and Daemon’s first child together.
  • Aegon Targaryen, aka Jon Snow: Yes, he comes much later, when a song of ice and fire plays out. But he could be the prince that was promised, though that’s still up for debate.

The danger of having too many Aegons becomes apparent in the last moments of the eighth episode, when Alicent talks to Viserys, who appears to be close to death. In his milk-of-the-poppy confusion, he thinks he’s continuing a conversation with Rhaenyra, saying, “You are the one.”

Then he mentions Aegon’s dream and the importance of uniting the realm. Alicent, confused and perhaps hearing what she wants to hear, walks away thinking that her Prince Aegon is the prince that was promised.

Cue the ensuing hijinks — or in this case, bloodshed and tears.

Viserys II Targaryen

Parents: Rhaenyra Targaryen, Daemon Targaryen

Dragon: TBD

Named after his grandfather, Viserys II appears to be a toddler in the eighth episode. He and his brother both cry when they see their grandfather, who resembles the Cryptkeeper from the TV series “Tales From the Crypt.”

And it looks like one more baby is on the way, with Rhaenyra clutching her belly throughout the episode.

As with all the relationships between parents and children in the “Thrones” universe, only time will tell how these loving bonds or hurtful slights — and the gray area in between — play out.

As for Larys, he has his own take on the matter: “Love is a downfall. Best to make your way through life unencumbered, if you ask me.”

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