House of the Dragon
- Release Date:
- Jefferson Hall, Paddy Considine, Fabien Frankel, Ryan Corr, Eve Best, Gavin Spokes, Graham McTavish, Steve Toussaint, Olivia Cooke, Sonoya Mizuno, Bill Paterson, Matthew Needham, Emma D’Arcy, Matt Smith, Rhys Ifans, David Horovitch
- Drama, Action, Adventure
- Story By:
- George R.R. Martin
- George R.R. Martin, Ryan Condal
- HBO Max
- Streaming Service(s):
- HBO Max
- Game of Thrones
- Miguel Sapochnik, Clare Kilner, Alan Taylor, Greg Yaitanes, Geeta Vasant Patel, Andrij Parekh
- George R.R. Martin
Warning: This article contains massive SPOILERS for the Fire & Blood book.
This article contains descriptions of graphic violence and suicide.
House of the Dragon
, based on George R. R. Martin’s book
Fire & Blood
, explores the destruction of House Targaryen and the personal cost of a bloody civil war.
- Season 1 features brutal deaths of main characters, such as Lucerys Velaryon, showcasing the violent nature of the story.
- The Dance of the Dragons results in the deaths of multiple characters, some of whom die in the most horrific ways.
House of the Dragon, based on the book Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin, recounts how House Targaryen is nearly wiped out at the height of its power. House of the Dragon is about how the hubris and pride of House Targaryen would lead to its destruction and the mounting personal cost of a bloody civil war. Unlike Game of Thrones, which was based on the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, House of the Dragon is based on the in-universe “historical treatise” that offers an overview of the Targaryens’ history and reveals the fate of dozens of characters that predate the links of Rhaegar and Daenerys.
Game of Thrones is known for brutal deaths, and the Targaryen prequel is no different. House of the Dragon season 1 included the deaths of several main characters, most notably that of Lucerys Velaryon, the second son of Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen. While most go into a Game of Thrones show expecting graphic violence, some viewers may benefit from knowing how all the House of the Dragon cast members will meet their ends before watching it.
14 Jacaerys Velaryon
Shot down by crossbows in battle
The pride of the senior members of House Targaryen results in the deaths of most of their children. After losing Lucerys (Luke) in the season 1 finale, Rhaenyra’s eldest son Jacaerys (Jace) also dies in battle in the book. At the Battle of the Gullet, when his dragon Vermax is wounded by crossbows, Jace leaps from the dragon’s back, only to be shot down himself. Before his death, Jace secures a key alliance for the blacks by recruiting Lord Cregan Stark of Winterfell.
13 Criston Cole
Shot by archers in battle
Ser Criston Cole is one of the most divisive characters in House of the Dragon, and his desire to spite Rhaenyra never wanes. He serves King Aegon II loyally until his death, becoming Hand of the King when Aegon grows tired of his grandfather Otto Hightower’s conservative strategies. That said, a satisfying death for Cole does happen; he dies at the battle known as the Butcher’s Ball, where he is shot by Robb Rivers and two other archers. Rivers, whose surname suggests that he is a bastard of House Blackwood, is regarded as the most skilled archer in Westeros during his time.
12 Aegon Targaryen
Poisoned by an unknown assassin
After “winning” the civil war, King Aegon II does nothing about the approaching armies, spending his time contemplating his future marriage to Cassandra Baratheon and commissioning statues of his late brothers. With the green armies depleted and more enemies coming, the small council realizes too late that Aegon is a terrible king. Aegon is then found dead with blood on his lips. His killer is never confirmed, although Larys Strong and Corlys Velaryon are among the suspects.
11 Larys Strong
Executed by Cregan Stark
Larys is one of the main suspects in Aegon’s murder. When Cregan Stark arrives at King’s Landing, various conspirators are convicted. Many chose to join the Night’s Watch to avoid execution, but Larys chooses death instead. He is beheaded by Cregan, using his blade Ice. His last request is that Cregan remove his bad foot from his corpse, which is granted. The sword Ice is passed down to Eddard Stark and later reforged into two blades: Widow’s Wail, possessed by Joffrey Baratheon, and Oathkeeper, by Brienne of Tarth.
Killed in the streets of King’s Landing
Mysaria appears to die in season 1, episode 9, “The Green Council” in a fire. However, she likely survived since she was supposed to play an important role in the war. During the Dance of Dragons, she serves as Rhaenyra’s unofficial Mistress of Whisperers (the equivalent of Lord Varys, the Master of Whisperers). When Rhaenyra flees King’s Landing Mysaria remains, and is taken prisoner when the greens’ forces return. She is told if she can walk through the streets of the city naked while being whipped, she will be allowed to live. Mysaria dies before completing the journey.
9 Corlys Velaryon
Dies of natural causes
Corlys survives the Dance of Dragons and acts as a regent for Rhaenyra’s son, King Aegon III when he inherits the throne at a young age. Corlys dies of old age and is buried at sea. In House of the Dragon season 1, he expresses his regret to his wife Rhaenys for spending so long trying to put a member of his family on the Iron Throne. His granddaughters Baela and Rhaena are the only members of Corlys’ immediate family to live through the war, and he feels survivor’s guilt, dedicating the rest of his life to protecting the family’s legacy.
8 Joffrey Velaryon
Falls from dragonback riding into battle
Rhaenyra’s son Joffrey dies during a riot in King’s Landing. He is afraid for the safety of his dragon and tries to help turn the tide by riding his mother’s dragon Syrax, but falls 200 hundred feet. His dragon Tyraxes and several other dragons are killed by rioters. Since Joffrey’s older brothers both died before him, he is briefly heir to the Iron Throne. Joffrey and his brothers’ deaths emphasize the tragedies brought by the war.
7 Aemond Targaryen
Dies in combat on dragonback
Those hoping for a showdown between Aemond and Daemon are getting their wish. With Aemond riding Vhagar and Daemon riding Caraxes, they battle each other above the God’s Eye, the largest lake in Westeros. Both dragons are heavily wounded before Daemon leaps from Caraxes and stabs Aemond through his remaining eye, sending both riders and dragons plunging into the water. Aemond and Vhagar’s bodies are found years later. Aemond is as morally culpable as the rest of his family, but he sees himself as dedicated to them and rides into battle multiple times to protect his brother’s claim to the throne.
6 Helaena Targaryen
Dies by suicide
Daemon Targaryen sends assassins to murder one of Aegon and Helaena’s sons, hoping to avenge Luke’s death. Their other son is later killed after escaping King’s Landing with his father and sister. After her sons’ deaths, Helaena becomes depressed and eventually throws herself from one of the castle’s towers. Helaena is depicted as a sweet, introverted young woman, who was beloved by the people of King’s Landing, and her children were mere toddlers when they died. Their deaths are among the most horrific events in the ASOIAF universe.
5 Otto Hightower
Beheaded on Rhaenyra’s orders
Otto is executed as a traitor when Rhaenyra’s forces take King’s Landing, while his daughter Alicent and grandaughter Helaena are kept alive as prisoners. Otto was determined to have someone of his blood on the Iron Throne and manipulated his daughter to accomplish this. Some believe that Otto is the real villain of House of the Dragon, and many important players consider his death as a victory. Rhaenyra is fighting a war to be the first reigning queen of Westeros, while Otto’s actions are all in service of upholding a patriarchal society in which his family wins the throne.
4 Rhaenys Targaryen
Dies in combat on dragonback
Rhaenys rides into battle on her dragon Meleys and engages in a fight against both Aemond and Aegon on their dragons. Outnumbered, Rhaenys and Meleys are both killed, but Aegon is severely injured, and Aemond rules Westeros in his place while he recovers. Rhaenys knew that she would not survive the battle but forged ahead anyway. There is an interesting parallel between the deaths of Rhaneys and her daughter, Laena. Laena wanted to die “a dragon rider’s death” and ordered Vhagar (then her dragon) to burn her to ash rather than die in childbirth.
3 Alicent Hightower
Dies of a fever
Alicent survives the war and spends her remaining days in a tower mourning the deaths of her children, and towards the end of her life, comes to hate the color green. Alicent is a complex character because she supports her malevolent son’s claim to the throne but has also endured years of mistreatment. Alicent makes these decisions because she is trying to grasp some power for herself. Her death frames her as a tragic figure because no matter what she did to make her own life better, it only led to more heartbreak. She dies at a relatively young age from an outbreak of the Winter Fever.
2 Daemon Targaryen
Dies in combat on dragonback and is never found
Daemon dies in an epic battle with Aemond, Daemon stabbing his opponent in the eye with his blade Dark Sister. After both sides are plunged into the waters of the God’s Eye, Daemon’s dragon Caraxes manages to crawl to the shore before dying, but Daemon’s body is never found. Daemon is also a morally gray character but is dedicated to his brother’s legacy and is willing to do anything for Rhaenyra to claim the throne, no matter how unethical. He may have succeeded in preserving Rhaenyra’s legacy, though, as their two sons, Aegon and Viserys, survive the war and inherit the throne.
1 Rhaenyra Targaryen
Eaten alive by a dragon
After being driven out of King’s Landing by rioters, Rhaenyra wanders Westeros, trying to raise enough money to escape the country. She is captured at Dragonstone by Aegon’s forces, where her half-brother feeds her to his dragon Sunfyre. Rhaenyra fights relentlessly to become the first reigning queen of the Seven Kingdoms, but it only leads to her doom. Her fate reflects the House of the Dragon’s central theme of the conflict’s futility. Rhaenyra’s death is spoiled in Game of Thrones season 3, episode 4, “Now His Watch Is Ended,” when Joffrey Baratheon tells Margaery Tyrell about these events, which are now the stuff of Westerosi history.