House of the Dragon Children': Meet Rhaenyra, Daemon and Alicent's Kids

“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, and any potential future seasons.

Daemon, Rhaenyra and Alicent 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. There are also three grandchildren in the picture, as the family's poison continues to trickle down the generations.

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.

Note: While we’re no King Joffrey when it comes to spoilers, this article discusses plotlines and characters through the first season of “House of the Dragon.”

Aegon II Targaryen

House of Dragon (HBO Max)
House of Dragon (HBO Max)

Parents: Alicent Hightower, King Viserys I Targaryen

Spouse: Helaena Targaryen, his sister

Dragon: Sunfyre

Children: Twins Jaehaerys and Jaehaera (seen briefly in the ninth episode), Maelor

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

Alicent and Viserys' eldest son is clearly unfit and unwilling to rule. That doesn't stop the Green Council, the group within the small council plotting a coup d'etat behind the queen's back, from moving forward with their plan to crown Aegon II as the new king. Tyland Lannister, master of ships, doesn’t even pretend to hide their plot. “Then we may proceed now with the full assurance of his blessing on our long-laid plans,” he says.

But even Aegon, as depraved as he has become, speaks the uncomfortable truth to his mother on the way to his rushed coronation. “He had 20 years to name me heir and never did. Steadfastly, he upheld Rhaenyra’s claim," he says. When Alicent tries to convince him otherwise, he says: “He could have, but he never did. Because he didn’t like me.”

Aegon has many deficiencies, including his drinking habit, penchant for bedding serving maids, and a twisted taste for underground children's fight clubs. He has also fathered multiple bastards.

Alicent has slapped Aegon multiple times on the show. "You are no son of mine," she tells him after she learns that he's forced himself on one of the serving girls. As she tries to influence him to spare Rhaenyra once he is king, Aegon asks her if she loves him. "You imbecile," she says. It's a dangerous game to play with someone who is about to inherit tremendous power.

Indeed, once Aegon hears the crowds cheering at his coronation and sees everyone bow to him, including Otto Hightower, we see his look change from one of doubt to triumph. I immediately got a whiff of King Joffrey from "Game of Thrones," someone who is high on their new powers. His mother and grandfather mistakenly believe they can influence or even control him from the sidelines. That didn't work so well for Cersei.

Fabien Frankle Tom Glynn Carney (Ollie Upton / HBO)
Fabien Frankle Tom Glynn Carney (Ollie Upton / HBO)

In the ninth episode, we see Aegon and his sister-wife, Helaena, have three children — two of whom are shown, twins Jaehaerys and Jaehaera, a brother and sister. A younger son, Maelor, isn't shown, but the opening credits, which change slightly in every episode, now show three bloodlines stemming from Aegon and Helaena.

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 (HBO Max)
House of Dragon (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 three children. The new queen 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 her words closely, as they are quietly illuminating.

Here's an in-depth explanation of all of Helaena Targaryen's prophecies on the show so far.

Aemond Targaryen

House of Dragon (HBO Max)
House of Dragon (HBO Max)

Parents: Alicent Hightower, King Viserys I Targaryen

Dragon: Vhagar

Actors: Ewan Mitchell, Leo Ashton (young)

Aemond One-Eye, who delights in violence and chaos, irreversibly plunges the realm into war by causing the death of his nephew Lucerys Velaryon — intentional or not. This act of kinslaying, a major taboo in the "Thrones" universe, might be considered the true start of the Dance of the Dragons, as it's the first time we see the beasts battle each other.

The dragon battle over Storm's End illustrates one important aspect: Dragons don't bend to the will of their riders. They are wild animals who might do whatever they want to do. In this case, the smaller Arrax, feeling threatened and no doubt feeling Luke's fear, lashes out at the behemoth Vhagar by breathing fire into her face. Vhagar, in turn, disobeys Aemond's orders and decides to snack on Arrax (and Luke).

Ryan J. Condal, showrunner and series co-creator, describes the moment after Luke's and Arrax's deaths as "the last vestiges of the little boy that's left in Aemond" in HBO's "Inside the Episode."

"Maybe he was trying to scare Luke, but I don't think ultimately he intended to kill him," he says.

The finale also shows off Aemond's sapphire "eye," which was teased earlier in the opening credits where each character's sigil is revealed. The show has foreshadowed Aemond's lust for revenge against Lucerys ever since he lost his eye all those years back.

Aemond is also ambitious and volatile, with a desire for the throne — very similar to Daemon, who is very much a prototype for the younger character (their names are almost the same, with the “d” in different spots).

The show has juxtaposed the pair, and with this new blood on Aemond's hands, we can expect a possible face-off in their future.

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 (HBO Max)
House of Dragon (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. 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.)

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.

In the finale, Jace is sent off to Winterfell and the northern regions to meet with the lords there and affirm alliances.

Lucerys 'Luke' Velaryon

HBO
HBO

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

Betrothed to: Rhaena Targaryen

Dragon: Arrax

Actors: Elliot Grihault, Harvey Sadler (young)

Requiescat in pace, Lucerys. The earnest Driftmark heir has shown time and time again that he doesn't want to be the next Lord of the Tides nor does he want to fight.

So it is heartbreaking when Rhaenyra sends her younger son off to Storm's End to deliver her message to Lord Borros Baratheon, who, unlike his father who swore an oath to Rhaenyra, appears to be uncouth and unlearned (he doesn't appear able to read the note Luke gives him). The trip to Storm's End is considered to be the easier of the two and it's part of the reason Rhaenyra agrees to it.

Luke's smaller and nimbler dragon, Arrax, might normally be able to outmaneuver and outpace a dragon of Vhagar's size, but the storm added an element of confusion. The horror of seeing pieces of poor Arrax's body fall through the sky is something that even impacts Aemond.

The finale ends with a close-up of Rhaenyra's face — filled with rage, grief and raw emotion. It's a powerful setup for Season Two.

Joffrey 'Joff' Velaryon

Emma D'arcy and John MacMillian (HBO)
Emma D'arcy and John MacMillian (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 (HBO Max)
House of Dragon (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 (HBO Max)
House of Dragon (HBO 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."

Visenya Targaryen

Parents: Rhaenyra Targaryen, Daemon Targaryen

In what perhaps should've been accompanied by a warning for viewers, Rhaenyra has a stillborn daughter upon learning the news of her father's death and the subsequent coronation of Aegon II. The daughter was to be named Visenya, after one of Aegon the Conqueror's sister-wives.

It's the first of several painful losses the Black Queen faces in the finale, setting up an inevitable war of destruction in the coming seasons.

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.”

This article was originally published on TODAY.com