9 Best ‘House of the Dragon’ Characters, Ranked
Since House of the Dragon premiered back in late August, it took over my Sunday evenings. Now that the show has ended, I feel lost and adrift. Especially since we shouldn’t expect season two until 2024 (I know, it is terrible). Of course, there are other things I could watch, but I will miss all of that white hair, drama, and abundance of dragons.
House of the Dragon was set in the familiar world of Westeros with a lot of new faces and names. Much of HotD focused on the drama related to the Targaryen family. They remained our core focus while other characters faded in and out in single episodes. But there were some characters that stood out through the many time jumps and actor changes. Let’s discuss the best characters from season one.
9. Erryk Cargyll
Although he isn’t in the show very much, Ser Erryk Cargyll (Elliot Tittensor) made some big moves. After he and his twin brother Ser Arryk Cargyll (their parents should be lashed for picking these names), looked for Prince Aegon, he had misgivings about making such a man king. So while everyone else worked to usurp the throne, Erryk escaped King’s Landing. When he arrived on Dragonstone, he kneeled before Rhaenyra and presented her with her father’s crown. It was the first step in making Rhaenyra queen. He broke rank with his twin brother, but he did what he thought was right.
8. Jacaerys Velaryon
Jacaerys “Jace” Velaryon (Harry Collett) is born of Rhaenyra Targaryen’s children. He is the biological son of Harwin Strong, but claimed/raised by Laenor Velaryon. After Rhaenyra, he is next in line for the Iron Throne. Unlike his terrible uncles Aegon and Aemond, Jace is everything Rhaenyra would want him to be. The dinner scene with the entire family proved that. While his uncles were crass and provoking, Jace took the high road and got one up on them when he danced with Helaena.
7. Helaena Targaryen
Out of all Viserys and Alicent’s children, Helaena (Phia Saban) is obviously the best. She is sweet, into bugs, and might have the gift of prophecy (known as a “dreamer” in the series). Several times she spoke in riddles that predicted the future. Sadly, she is married to her icky brother Aegon. But she gets her low-key burns in on him when least expected. The rest of her family may not understand Helaena, but the fans love her. She seems like the only good member of the Greens.
6. Laena Velaryon
Although we didn’t get to see much of her in the show, Laena Velaryon (Nanna Blondell) was a great character. As a child when they tried to marry her off to King Viserys (gross), she saw it as her duty but didn’t demur like she was expected to. She also claimed Vhagar as her dragon, the largest of its kind since the old days of Valyria. Not to mention she kept Daemon in check for years until her death. Like a BAMF, she went out on her own terms under dragon fire when she knew she wouldn’t survive the birth of her baby. I just wished we saw her more through the season.
5. Laenor Velaryon
Like his sister Laena, Laenor Velaryon (John MacMillan) was not used very much but still made a big impact. Laenor is one of the few LGBTQ+ characters we get to meet in all the Seven Kingdoms. Even though he and Rhaenyra knew their marriage wouldn’t be perfect, they still formed a loving relationship. He raised Rhaenyra’s children as his own and was one of the few decent men in Westeros. Lucky for him, faking his death made sure he and his boyfriend would be living their best lives in secret while all the other royals fight in the Dance of Dragons war.
4. Viserys Targaryen
Throughout the season I went back and forth about how much I actually liked Viserys (Paddy Considine). Much of the time he was too laid back and went with the flow rather than having any strong opinions himself. I guess it showed why he never wanted to be king in the first place. But he broke with tradition and named Rhaenyra his heir. Even after having sons, he stood by her. Before he died, he dragged himself out of his sickbed to defend her claim and her children’s legitimacy. Then he made all of his family play nice during their last dinner together. I have nothing but respect for him.
3. Rhaenys Targaryen
In a lot of ways, Rhaenys (Eve Best) walked so Rhaenyra could run. Before Rhaenyra, Rhaenys was in the running as a female heir to the Iron Throne. She lost the claim to Viserys, but she still ruled with her husband on Driftmark. Although I may not have always agreed with her take on things, she is a strong woman who will not be trifled with. When she interrupted the Greens usurping the crown by bursting out of the dragon pit on her dragon Meleys, Rhaenys became a legend.
2. Daemon Targaryen
Yes, I know he is truly awful. But Daemon (Matt Smith) is so much fun to watch. He is trash and we can always expect him to do something he shouldn’t. Even if you don’t like Daemon, you have to admit that he keeps things interesting. After years of losing ground at the Stepstones, he single-handedly took out the Crab Feeder. His relationship with his niece/wife Rhaenyra is creepy and gross, but in the context of fictional Westeros, they are great together. They care deeply for each other and he will defend Rhaenyra and her children to the ninth degree. Like decapitating a man for calling them names. Now that the Greens have attacked his family, his dream of destroying them will finally come true.
1. Rhaenyra Targaryen
It was Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) all along. From the first episode (when she was played by Milly Alcock), Rhaenyra had my heart. Throughout the series, she proved to be one of the best characters ever. She thumbs her nose at the patriarchy by questioning the roles of women and how they are held to different standards than men. All while remaining poised and unflappable. As an adult, she finally found a home with her husband and children, a place where she could be herself without pressure from the eyes of King’s Landing, and she somehow got even better. When she found out her father died and her kingdom had been usurped, she was the only one to think of the realm and what war would mean. She is flawless and amazing. We could not ask for a better queen.
(featured image: HBO)
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