Emma D'Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen, Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen, and Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower in 'House of the Dragon'
(HBO)

The Best ‘House of the Dragon’ Characters, Ranked by Watchability

These characters are the best at being the absolute worst, but that's just how the game is played.

What makes a good character in the Song of Ice and Fire universe? Their morality? Power? Intellect?Something more? Perhaps it’s how much emotion, good or bad, they elicit from the viewer? Here are the best House of the Dragon characters, ranked according to how entertaining they are to watch.

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10. Aegon II Targaryen

Aegon II in a crown gives bombastic side eye in "House of the Dragon"
(HBO)

Aegon II fills the Joffrey-sized hole that little Game of Thrones monster left in our hearts. He’s just so hateable! He’s weak. He’s cowardly. He’s indolent. He’s cruel. He’s undisciplined. He’s none too bright. He’s everything that represents the absolute worst of what the Targaryen lineage has to offer. He’s a tyrant in the making, and anyone who knows the history of Westeros knows that’s exactly what he turned out to be. He’s a perfect villain in the making. A good character is despicable or lovable, but never boring.

9. Larys Strong

Larys Strong looking inquisitive in "House of the Dragon"
(HBO)

Our love for Larys started off strong as his last name, but soon spiraled into utter contempt. Larys is totally gross. Listen, there’s nothing wrong with having a foot fetish, but to make Alicent Hightower show off her steppers in order to retain his loyalty? Gross. He’s also the man who orchestrated the death of Himbo of Westeros Harwin Strong—his own brother! In a FIRE. His clever, conniving pursuit of power makes him all the more watchable. All the sweeter to watch him fall.

8. Ser Criston Cole

Ser Criston Cole stands in his armor in "House of the Dragon"
(HBO)

Ser Criston Cole started out as a hero. A literal knight in shining armor in whom the young Rhaenyra Targaryen could place her confidence, trust, and even love. And then she got married to someone else, and Cole showed his true colors. His childish jealousy and pettiness make him all the scarier by the ways in which he acts it out: by fatally slamming people’s heads into tables. Cole is another character we love to hate. Far from a good person, but a good character nonetheless.

7. Harwin Strong

Harwin Strong kneels in a suit of armor in "House of the Dragon"
(HBO)

Harwin Strong. He was too good for this world. Too sweet. Too gentle. Too loving. The himbo that Westeros frankly doesn’t deserve, but the one it needs right now nonetheless. Harwin Strong was doting above all things. He loved Rhaenyra, he loved his two children. He loved them so much that he was willing to deny his parentage of them in order to protect them. He was always there keeping his family safe, and earned no glory or respect because of it. And then his asshole brother murdered him in a fire. It’s a tragedy. Harwin was of the best characters on the show because he really and truly was a good person.

6. Aemond Targaryen

Aemond Targaryen sits in a chair in a fire lit room in "House of the Dragon"
(HBO)

Aemond Targaryen is everything that his older brother should be. Strong. Daring. Charismatic as hell. A total sociopath, but at least he gets shit DONE. He tamed Vhagar, the most powerful of Targaryen dragons, when he was but a young lad! If Vhagar respects his authority, so should we. He’s well on his way to becoming one of the most compelling and competent antagonists in the series, and a foil to Daemon Targaryen. Those who know the history of the Dance of the Dragons understand that Aemond is perhaps one of the only fighters in the world capable of standing up to Daemon himself. THAT is a character we wanna see more of.

5. Alicent Hightower

Queen Alicent Hightower, played by Olivia Cooke, on the way to her son Aegon's coronation in season 1 of House of the Dragon
(HBO)

Alicent. Sweet, sweet Alicent. Not so sweet anymore, are you? After being used as a political pawn by her father, Alicent found herself to be merely a chess piece in of the Game of Thrones. Like Sansa Stark, she soon gained a knowledge of the Game and became a player herself. Allied with Criston Cole against Rhaenyra, Alicent’s cruelty is certain only to grow. She’ll become a major figure in the Dance of the Dragons, and watching such a formerly milquetoast character break bad is a treat.

4. Corlys Velaryon

Lord Corlys Velaryon looking surprised in House of the Dragon season 1
(HBO)

Corlys Velaryon is HIM. The patriarch of House Velaryon is easily one of the most badass characters in the entire show. Known as the Sea Snake during his adventuring days, Corlys attained great worldly wealth from his many seafaring exploits. The man has seen sights the likes of which lesser men cannot even conceive. He also earns points for his staunch support of his wife Rhaenys, whom he often gazes upon admiringly. She never got her chance to be queen, but Corlys still treats her like one.

3. Rhaenys Targaryen

Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Targaryen in the ninth episode of the first season of House of the Dragon
(HBO)

The Queen Who Never Was has had a rough go of things. She was robbed of the Iron Throne despite her birthright simply because she was not born a man, and she has been shunted to the political shadows ever since. An accomplished dragon rider, she is able to command  Meleys, but even that wasn’t enough to bring her queenly dreams into reality. Out of all the currently living Targaryens, she is easily the person who would rule most competently. She’s strong. She’s wise. She’s just. She’s everything a good ruler, and a good character, must be.

2. Daemon Targaryen

HBO's House of the Dragon: Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen looking sad
(HBO)

The bad boy of House Targaryen is not a moral character by any means, but he’s just a joy to watch. Daemon Targaryen is one of the finest swordsman that the Targaryen line has ever produced, and is perhaps one of the greatest fighters in history alongside Barristan “The Bold” Selmy, Ser Arthur Dayne, and Jaime Lannister in his prime. After all, he single handedly defeated the Crabfeeder in combat and stabilized the realm. His best quality? His loyalty to his niece. Yeah, the incest is gross, but his undying love and support for Rhaenyra isn’t. It makes us love the incorrigible bastard all the more.

1. Rhaenyra Targaryen

Emma D'Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen in HBO's House of the Dragon
(HBO)

Rhaenyra Targaryen. The One True Queen of Westeros, despite what The Greens loyal to Aegon II would have you believe. Aside from Rhaenys, she is perhaps the only other character capable of ruling the Seven Kingdoms with any shred of competency. She was trained to become Queen since birth, with her father allowing her to sit in on Small Council meetings when she was still a child. She is a strong leader. A wise tactician. A capable warrior. A fiercely loving mother. A total badass. She is not a moral character. You don’t become Queen of Westeros without cracking a few eggs. But she is a capable, root-for-able character, and a total joy to behold.


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Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.