Hightower, Strong, Velarion – who are the Great Houses of “House of the Dragon”

WARNING: The text contains spoilers for the first episode of Home of the Dragon, as well as slight hints of what may lie ahead.

Welcome back to George Martin’s Westeros, nearly two centuries before the events of Game of Thrones!

HBO’s new series Home of the Dragon is here, and reviews from the first episode give us hope that we’ll be seeing a show that reminds us why the world fell in love with this fantasy world of dragons, political intrigue, cruelty and brutal murder. It will be interesting to see how the showrunners adapt Martin’s epic of the devastating Targaryen civil war that became known as the Dance of Dragons (or Death of Dragons) this time around.

And here, as in Game of Thrones, the center of the story revolves around the opposition of several great Houses.

Unlike the original show, however, the focus in “House of the Dragon” will not fall on the familiar northerners the Starks and the wealthy Lannisters (at least not so much on them, although they are involved again), but on several other great houses. The main divide in the new series is between the Greens and the Blacks, the two camps during the Targaryen war for the throne, and different Houses will side with one camp or the other (and sometimes both).

To avoid confusion like there was at the beginning of Game of Thrones, here we’ve rounded up the main Houses that the show will focus on for at least its first season.

They are the players most deeply involved in the machinations surrounding the two warring factions, and they are worth dwelling on:

House Targaryen

Photo: HBO Max

The Royal House – the heirs of Aegon the Conqueror, who with his two sisters/wives conquered a large part of Westeros (the entire continent without Dorne). By the time of House of the Dragon – 105 AD, the kingdom was ruled by Viserys I, a lazy, kind-hearted king who, however, chronically avoided conflict and tried to enforce peace by superficially suppressing disputes. .

It is important to mention that although Viserys is a mild character and cannot be compared to his predecessor – the old King Jaerys, who ruled for 55 years, it was during his time that the Targaryens reached the peak of their power.

During Jaerys’ reign, the last resistance to the rule of the House of the Dragon was crushed, and the old king managed to impose the idea of ​​Westeros as one kingdom, and not just six separate countries gathered under one ruler. He builds roads, enforces general laws, and lays the foundations of a true state.

The problem with him is the succession to the throne. Almost all of the king’s children die before him, bringing the country into danger of civil war. To deal with this problem, the old king calls a general assembly of all the great lords in the kingdom to elect the new ruler.

The main contenders are Viserys and his cousin Rhaenys, the daughter of Jaerys’ eldest son, Aemon, and Lady Jocelyn Baratheon. Support goes massively to Viserys, who, although he is the son of Aemon’s younger brother Baelon, is a man unlike Rhaenys. In the eyes of most lords, the more important factor turns out to be the gender of the ruler.

Thus, when Viserys I takes the throne of Westeros in 105 CE, the main problems in the kingdom are solved and he must rule in a time of peace and prosperity, most of the time the real power is exercised by his Hand – Sir Otto Hightower , while the king enjoys tournaments, musicians, and balls.

Meanwhile, the clan’s dragons increase to unprecedented numbers, and the king’s power is unchallenged.

The only serious problem facing Viserys I is succession to the throne. He has one daughter by his first wife, Emma, ​​a thin woman who has had several concussions. Princess Rhaenyra has been declared her father’s heir, but there are other contenders for the throne – the king’s brother, Prince Daemon (who is also one of the most dangerous men in the kingdom), as well as subsequently Viserys’ sons from his second wife – the daughter on hand.

It is this succession dispute that provides the basis for the story we will see in House of the Dragon, turning the ensuing events into the most brutal and bloody war Westeros has known to date.

Dom Hightower

Sir Otto and his daughter Lady Alison of Hightower House
Photo: HBO Max

Sir Otto and his daughter Lady Alison of Hightower House

One of the oldest and most powerful Houses in all of Westeros, the Hightowers ruled Old Town, an important trading center in the kingdom, which at the time continued to be an even larger city than King’s Hall, as well as a very important port.

Before the coming of Aegon the Conqueror, the Hightowers were kings of Old Town and one of the most powerful families on the continent. They then became the rulers of the region and retained much of their power. The House is known for often preferring to solve its problems through diplomacy and trade rather than war.

Another distinguishing feature of the Hightowers is their penchant for nepotism and arranging for brothers, sons, daughters, nieces, etc. with posts and convenient marriages.

Under Viserys I, the position of House Hightower is very reminiscent of that of House Lannister under King Robert I Baratheon – they are extremely wealthy, have enormous influence over the king, and are not afraid to use it for their own benefit.

Sir Otto Hightower, younger brother of the Lord of Old Town, has been Hand of the King since the days of old King Jeerys, his son competes in the jousting tournaments, and his daughter Alison is chosen to care for old Jeerys in his last days, after which she becomes one of the close friends of the young princess Rhaenyra.

After the death of Queen Emma, ​​Sir Otto managed to impose his daughter as the second wife of Viserys, hoping that she would endow him with the much-anticipated male heirs.

Sir Otto himself is described as a man who is guided by what he thinks is right for the development of the country, but often beneath these understandings his own personal interests shine through. His main opponent is the Demon King’s brother.

House Velarion

Lord Corliss of House Velarion
Photo: HBO Max

Lord Corliss of House Velarion

Like the Targaryens, the Velarions also originate from Old Valyria, where they are a much smaller and insignificant house. They moved to Westeros even before the Targaryens, and subsequently became one of the strongest and most stable defenders of the crown.

Unlike the Targaryens, however, House Velarion are not dragon riders. On the other hand, they are skilled sailors and traders, which brings home a solid fortune.

In House of the Dragon, Velarion’s leading figure is Lord Corlys, an ambitious man who is respected by his allies and adversaries alike. Corliss is also perhaps the greatest seafarer in the history of Westeros, embarking on seven great voyages in his lifetime that brought him great wealth.

He is married to the king’s cousin, Rhaenys, and all the while Corlys supports her claim to the throne without inciting rebellion.

However, Lord Velarion is part of the King’s Small Council in his capacity as Lord of the Ships – the lord responsible for the kingdom’s navy and the defense of Westeros’ coasts. In this role, Corliss is often in opposition to Sir Otto Hightower’s intentions, although he does not particularly sympathize with the king’s brother Daemon either.

House Baratheon

Lord Borremund of House Baratheon
Photo: HBO Max

Lord Borremund of House Baratheon

A familiar dynasty from Game of Thrones, the Baratheons have been inextricably involved in Westeros politics since the time of Aegon the Conqueror. The first Baratheon, Orys, is believed to be Aegon’s half-brother, the bastard son of his father Erion. Orys marries the only daughter of Argylac Durandon, the last king of the Stormlands.

Over the years, the Baratheons often mixed their blood with the Targaryens, entering into various marriages with representatives of the dynasty. It was from such a marriage that Lady Rhaenys – the Unfulfilled Queen – was born.

Representatives of House Baratheon are often strong, good warriors, but with a proud and turbulent nature, and all this can be said of Lord Borremund – uncle of Rhaenys and one of the few people who supported her royal claim during the election of Jaerys’s heir I.

It is he who we will see in the first season of the series, and further on we will certainly face his successor – Sir Boros, who also has his role in Dance of Dragons.

House Lannister

Sir Tilland of House Lannister
Photo: HBO Max

Sir Tilland of House Lannister

We cannot do without the “golden” House of the Lannisters – cunning, rich and proud. Although during Viserys’ time they didn’t have as much influence as they later have in Game of Thrones.

The House has its strong positions, and even at one point Sir Tyland Lannister – younger twin brother of the Lord of Casterly Rock – Jason Lannister, is called to serve on the King’s Small Council.

In the story itself, we are yet to see more of the Lannisters and Sir Tilland.

Dom Strong

Lord Lionel Strong of House Strong
Photo: HBO Max

Lord Lionel Strong of House Strong

One of the great and important houses during the time of King Viserys, which we never come across in Game of Thrones. Dom Strong traces its roots back to the First Men, although it is not located in the North but is part of the Riverlands. However, the House managed to distinguish itself in influence and power from the very time of the Conquest, with Sir Osmund the Strong elevated to Hand of Aegon I the Conqueror.

Jaerys subsequently awarded Strong the lordship of Harrenhall, the largest castle in Westeros and some of the richest lands in the kingdom (which is believed to be cursed). During the time of the Old King, and then of his successor Viserys, Lord Lynel Strong was part of the Small Council and was responsible for the laws in the kingdom, bringing his two daughters and two sons with him to King’s Hall.

These two sons would later play a very important role on both sides of the Targaryen civil war.

House Stark

Lord Rickon Stark
Photo: HBO Max

Lord Rickon Stark

Yes, we saw Sir Rickon Stark, Lord of the North, in the first episode of Home of the Dragon, but unfortunately for many, the Starks here won’t feature much in the show.

The reason for this is simple – “Winter is coming”, and Northerners do not like to interfere in the politics of the South, as they are busy preparing for the real cold. However, they will appear from time to time, just enough to bring us warm memories of the good times of “Game of Thrones”.


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