House of the Dragon: Who is Laenor Velaryon?

Laenor and Rhaenyra in House of the DragonHBO

House of the Dragon Episode 3 features the notable inclusion of Laenor Velaryon – but who is he, and why is he important when it comes to the Targaryens?

House Velaryon played a minor role in Game of Thrones. In Season 1, they supported Stannis Baratheon as he campaigned for the Iron Throne, but their members were otherwise unheard from throughout the saga.

From the first episode of House of the Dragon, it quickly became evident that they’ll play a major role in the Dance of the Dragons, particularly since Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint), also known as “The Sea Snake”, has a seat on King Viserys’ (Paddy Considine) council.

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In Episode 2, following Aemma’s death, he tried to convince Viserys to marry his 12-year-old daughter, Laena. He chose Allicent Hightower (Emily Carey) instead, but another union between the two houses is on the horizon.

House of the Dragon spoilers to follow…

Who is Laenor Velaryon in House of the Dragon?

Laenor Velaryon is the only son of Corlys and Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best), and their second child after Lady Laena (Savannah Steyn).

He’s only ever mentioned in the first two episodes of House of the Dragon, but we see him for the first time in Episode 3, with the character played by Theo Nate… at this point in the series.

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So far, we’ve seen him fight alongside Corlys and Daemon (Matt Smith) against the Crabfeeder’s army in the Stepstones, and he even flew his own dragon, Seasmoke, in battle.

House Velaryon doesn’t have any dragonlords, but its bloodline dates back as far as the Targaryens, and they were particularly important to the former Valyrian Freehold – so Laenor shouldn’t be afraid of dragons.

Will Laenor Velaryon marry Rhaenyra in House of the Dragon?

In Episode 3, Viserys takes several suggestions for who should marry Rhaenyra now that she’s of age. He only appears to take one seriously: Laenor. He’s a pureblood Velaryon, and their union would strengthen the bond between the two strongest houses in Westeros.

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In George R.R. Martin’s Fire and Blood, Viserys and his council decide Laenor is a suitable husband for Rhaenyra, with the slightest concern brushed to the side: rumors say he’s gay.

Archmaester Gyldayn wrote: “One objection was raised: Laenor Velaryon was now 19 years of age yet had never shown any interest in women. Instead he surrounded himself with handsome squires of his own age and was said to prefer their company.

“But Grand Maester Mellos dismissed this concern out of hand. ‘What of it?’ he is supposed to have said. ‘I am not fond of fish, but when fish is served, I eat it.’ Thus was the match decided.”

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Nevertheless, their match was approved, though not without Rhaenyra’s resistance. However, she agreed when Viserys threatened to name Aegon – his infant child with Allicent – as his heir instead of her.

It’s likely the show will follow this trajectory somewhat, considering they’ve been seen together in past trailers for the season, although it’s unclear if it’ll follow the source material with regards to his sexuality.

In the imminent time jump coming to House of the Dragon, Laenor will be played by John Macmillan, while Rhaenyra will be played by Emma D’Arcy.

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House of the Dragon Episode 4 will be available to watch on September 11 in the US and September 12 in the UK.