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Who Is Lady Laena Velaryon in ‘House of the Dragon’?

Who's that other girl with the white hair?

laena velaryon being child bride-in-training

The first half of HBO’s House of the Dragon has set up the background of what’s to come. Unlike Game of Thrones, where it felt like we slogged through daily life with the characters, Dragon is about to make a 10-year time jump. While some characters may fall away, other characters that have seemed inconsequential will become a lot more important to the plot.

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Lady Laena Velaryon, for example, has been in the show since the first episode but has only been seen sparingly. Three different actresses portray her in the series for her time as a child (Nova Foueillis-Mosé), a teenager (Savannah Steyn), and an adult (Nanna Blondell). But who is Laena Velaryon?

Silver hair, don’t care

Laena Velaryon and Daemon Targaryen House of the Dragon

Laena’s father is Corlys Velaryon, the Sea Snake and Lord of the Tides. The Velaryon family is the only other bloodline (other than the Targaryens) to descend from old Valyria. I guess people only had white hair in the old country. Laena’s mother is Rhaenys Targaryen, making Laena a cousin of the ruling Targaryen clan. If the council at Harrenhal had picked Rhaenys to sit on the Iron Throne over Viserys (the current king), Laena would be in his daughter Rhaenyra’s place to inherit the Seven Kingdoms.

After King Viserys’s wife died, his council pushed him to remarry. Many of the old men who advise him thought Laena would make the perfect match, ignoring the fact that she was about 12 years old. Even at that age, Laena was a spitfire when talking to the much older king, who thankfully did not marry her (although marrying his daughter’s BFF Alicent Hightower was still an odd choice). In episode five, Laena’s brother Laenor wed Rhaenyra. At the preliminary wedding feast, an older Laena danced (and flirted) with Daemon Targaryen. (His type is “women who are related to him.”) Again we saw she was no wilting flower. She is smart and beautiful, a dangerous combination in Westeros.

In George R. R. Martin’s books that serve as the source material, Laena is a dragon rider. Like her Targaryen relatives, she rides a dragon that is completely devoted to her. Her dragon Vhagar is one of the largest and deadliest beasts in history. The fact that she can control Vhagar means Laena is a special person with a lot of power. I really hope we get to see that in the show, because you can never have enough dragons.

(feature image: HBO)

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D.R. Medlen
D.R. Medlen (she/her) is a pop culture staff writer at The Mary Sue. After finishing her BA in History, she finally pursued her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer in 2019. She expertly fangirls over Marvel, Star Wars, and historical fantasy novels (the spicier the better). When she's not writing or reading, she lives that hobbit-core life in California with her spouse, offspring, and animal familiars.

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