Leo Hart, Harvey Sadler, and Emma D'Arcy in House of the Dragon.

‘House of The Dragon’: Who Fathered Rhaenyra’s Children? Explained

House of The Dragon season 2 is so close now, you can feel the dragon breath on your neck.

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As tensions escalate between the two warring besties, Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke) and Princess Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy), there’s plenty controversy casting doubts on both the Greens’ and Blacks’ claims to the Iron throne. For Rhaenyra, it’s the question of who the father of her three sons is.

How many children does Rhaenyra Targaryen have?

Rhaenyra and Lucerys House of the Dragon

Rhaenyra Targaryen has six children from two marriages. Her first marriage was with Laenor Velaryon (John Macmillan), the son of Princess Rhaenys (Eve Best) and Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint), the Sea Snake and Lord of the Driftmark. Of this marriage came three children, all boys: Jacaerys Velaryon (Harry Collett), Lucerys Velaryon (Elliot Grihault), and Joffrey Velaryon.

According to Fire & Blood, from her second marriage with her uncle, Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith), Rhaenyra has three children. Again, two sons and a daughter: Aegon III, Viserys II, and Visenya. 

Rhaenrya, through her marriage to Daemon, also became step-mother to his two daughers with Laena Velaryon (Nanna Blondell): Baela (Bethany Antonia) and Rhaena Targaryen (Phoebe Campbell).

Why the questions about Rhaenyra’s children then?

In House of The Dragon season 1, questions are raised as to who the father of Rhaenyra’s three elder sons is, with Alicent and others in her Green camp suspecting that they were not fathered by Laenor. 

Laenor Velaryon’s sexuality is made clear when he and Rhaenyra talk before their marriage, and Rhaenyra tells him they can continue to have their own lovers after being wed. When the show leaps in time to the birth of Rhaenyra’s third son, Joffrey, it is implied that he and her two older sons, Jacaerys and Lucerys, were all fathered by Ser Harwin Strong (Ryan Corr). 

A picture of Ser Harwin Strong holding the youngest of his three children with Princess Rhaenyra in Episode 6 of House of the Dragon

This is further emphasised with Ser Harwin holding the newborn and smiling fondly at Rhaenyra, and getting provoked by Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) when the latter claims Strong pays special attention to Rhaenyra’s kids over King Viserys’s (Paddy Considine) sons, Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) and Aemond (Ewan Mitchell), during arms training.

The difference between the book and the series

In House of The Dragon, the Velaryons are Black, a change from the source material, and the fact that none of Rhaenyra’s three sons appear to be of mixed race adds more fuel to the suspicion that Laenor is not their father.

In one scene, Alicent even taunts Laenor while he’s holding his newborn son, that if he tried enough times, maybe he could get one of the kids to finally look like him. This alludes to the knowledge that the children’s brown hair and fair features have not been missed, and that Alicent and her Green allies, and even Princess Rhaenys and Lord Corlys, are pretty sure Ser Harwin Strong is the father of Rhaenyra’s three sons.


In season 1, this suspicion further sows seeds of discord. For starters, Jacaerys (Jace), Lucerys (Luke), and Joffrey know about their father, Ser Harwin, who we find out eventually dies in a fire at Harrenhal, orchestrated by Larys Strong (Matthew Needham). Jace and Luke are mercilessly teased by their cousins Aegon and Aemond about it. Furthermore, when Laenor Velaryon dies (in the book, Fire & Blood, Laenor Velaryon is murdered, but in the show, his death is faked in a ploy to allow Rhaenyra to marry Daemon), and his second son, Lucerys, is to be named Lord of Driftmark, the suspicions are raised in the King’s court, until King Viserys himself has to dismiss them and declare Luke the Lord of Driftmark. 

Irrespective of who their biological father is, the sons of Rhaenyra are legitimate heirs to the Iron Throne since their mother would be the queen. As Lord Corlys had said, history doesn’t care for blood; it remembers names. But it will be interesting to see if questions about their blood causes more bloodshed in season 2.

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Jinal Bhatt
Jinal Bhatt (She/Her) is a staff writer for The Mary Sue. An editor, writer, film and culture critic with 7+ years of experience, she writes primarily about entertainment, pop culture trends, and women in film, but she’s got range. Jinal is the former Associate Editor for Hauterrfly, and Senior Features Writer for Mashable India. When not working, she’s fangirling over her favourite films and shows, gushing over fictional men, cruising through her neverending watchlist, trying to finish that book on her bedside, and fighting relentless urges to rewatch Supernatural.