Only fans of George R.R. Martin’s popular book series knew the identities and acts of the many individuals that made up the series’ epic ensemble before Game of Thrones debuted on HBO. However, the personalities and their names have become so well-known around the world that it won’t be long before “Arya Smith” graduates from college and “Daenerys Johansson” says, “Let’s just go with Greg,” while expecting her first kid.
However, in 2022, HBO will release House of the Dragon, a film version of Martin’s work that takes place centuries well before events of the main series and chronicles the demise of House Targaryen. Going back that far in Westeros’ history means meeting a new cast of characters, some charming, some cruel, and others plain dodgy. While there’s nothing wrong with going into a game blind and learning about a character from the ground up, I’m here to provide some context for the names and faces we’ve seen so far in official photographs, in case you’re trying to figure out who’s behind all the political intrigue. You can watch the all series at 123Movies site.
Here, I’ll go over a few of the characters who will make up the core cast of House of the Dragon, detailing (without giving too much away, of course) their backstories, how they interact with other characters (both literally and metaphorically), and what might motivate their goals throughout the series. When it comes to information regarding the series, the early days are still here, and showrunners Miguel Sapochnik and Ryan J. Condal may have shifted things up, but here are details straight from Martin’s works, who has constructed a dense lore to flesh out the vast continent of Westeros.
The First King of Viserys (Paddy Considine)
Viserys I received the throne from his grandfather King Jaehaerys I, who is portrayed in Martin’s writing as the man who transformed the Seven Kingdoms into what they are. That’s a lot of pressure, but Viserys has spent many years living up to his grandfather’s reputation after seizing the helm of a peaceful, affluent nation at the age of 26 (then known as “the Young King”). There are more Targaryen forebears and flying dragons across Westeros than ever before, as he reigns over the “apex of Targaryen supremacy.” He is not seen as a particularly brave king, preferring the luxuries of the throne (parties, tourneys, napping, etc. ), placing great trust in his many advisors to assist him administer the kingdom, and preferring peace to most combat. Given people in positions of power’s inherent sneakiness, and knowing Martin’s work, it’s safe to predict Viserys turning a blind eye to some people and their desires won’t be good for Westeros.
Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) and Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy)
As King Viserys’ only surviving child, Rhaenyra Targaryen is his pride and delight, and (albeit it remains to be seen how this will play out in the show), she is ultimately named his heir and Princess of Dragonstone. She has earned the nickname “the Realm’s Delight” from the court of King’s Landing and the citizenry of the Seven Kingdoms, and she frequently takes to the sky on her dragon, Syrax. She spends as much time as possible with her father, sitting by his side as he sits on the Iron Throne and attending him to council meetings, all in preparation for her future reign. Her ascent, however, is opposed not just by people who believe a woman is unsuitable to rule, but also by her own family, as Alicent Hightower, her mother-in-law, wishes Aegon, her own son from Viserys, to be placed ahead of her in line for the throne. All of this is on top of her uncle, Daemon, having a supposed love affair with her, which could cause extra friction between him and her father.
Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) and Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke)
Alicent was brought in to be Viserys I’s new bride after his wife, Aemma, died in childbirth. She was the daughter of Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King (Rhys Ifans). Alicent’s role in the chronicle of the Seven Kingdoms is especially crucial in relation to her son with Viserys, Aegon, as she was a close companion of King Jaehaerys as he approached death (and was present when he died). Despite the fact that the king has already named his daughter Rhaenyra as the heir, Alicent naturally wishes to see the handsome prince on the Iron Throne after Viserys dies. Given that the show is supposed to depict the beginnings of House Targaryen’s demise, culminating in the fabled Dance of the Dragons, it’s easy to see how her actions inside the show will influence the Game of Throne series and characters to come.