Who are the best House of the Dragon characters? HBO’s Game of Thrones spin-off, House of the Dragon, has taken us back to a time before the War of the Five Kings and the coming of the Night King, but that doesn’t mean life in Westeros is any easier.
Yes, life’s never easy in the world of Game of Thrones, and this new series focuses on House Targaryen and the civil war that ultimately helped to chop down the Targaryen family tree. Still, as tough as things are, one thing hasn’t changed. We still love the various lords and ladies of Westeros, so we’ve put together a list of our favorite House of the Dragon characters for your reading pleasure. Warning, spoilers ahead for the best TV series of 2023.
20. Prince Jacaerys “Jace” Velaryon
As Princess Rhaenyra and Ser Laenor Velaryon’s first son, Prince Jacaerys was expected to inherit the Iron Throne and was basically everything an heir should be. Handsome, respectful, and politically savvy (his dance with Helaena proves he was willing to put aside old enmities for the sake of peace), Jace had the potential to be as wise a ruler as the Goof King he’s named for.
Unfortunately, when Aegon and the Greens usurped the throne, any chance of Jace becoming king was stolen from him. Last we saw Jace, he was flying to Winterfell to petition the Starks for help in the Dance of Dragons, and only the Seven (and book readers) know if he’ll be successful.
19. Queen Helaena Targaryen
The nicest of Viserys and Alicent’s children (although we haven’t met Daeron yet), when we first meet the seer Helaena, she seems such a fragile creature and totally unsuitable for the brutal world of Westeros. As the first season went on, though, it was implied that Helaena was made of sterner stuff than we thought.
Helaena consoled one of the victims of her husband’s lecherous assaults, stood face-to-face with the dragon Meleys, and actually married the beastly Aegon. If that’s not proof of her vigor and strength, we don’t know what is. While we wish Helaena’s story had a happy ending, they’re not very common in Westeros.
Spymasters like Littlefinger and Varys were the secret sauce that made Game of Thrones work, and Mysaria in House of the Dragon more than lives up to her predecessors.
Ambitious and cunning Mysaria is one of the most powerful figures in King’s Landing, but unlike the other spies we’ve met, she seems to be working for the good of the common folk, not out of personal ambition, which makes her far more likable than her predecessors.
17. Ser Erryk Cargyll
We’ve made no secret of the fact we’re team Black in the Dance of the Dragons, so we were always going to put the man who crowned our queen, Ser Erryk Cargyll, on this list. Personal biases aside, though, the reason we like Erryk so much is because he’s a man with principles, and principles are a hard thing to come by in the Seven Kingdoms.
It would have been easy for Erryk to bend the knee to Aegon II Targaryen, but instead, he forsook his oaths as a member of the Kingsguard after witnessing Aegon’s many transgressions because they didn’t align with his own morality and he did what he knew to be right.
16. Ser Laenor Velaryon
Brave, bold, and with a claim to the Iron Throne in another world, Ser Laenor Velaryon would have been the hero of House of the Dragon. Unfortunately, for Laenor, he’s not technically a Targaryen, so he gets pretty short shrift for the most part. Still, he got a happy ending of sorts, escaping his marriage to Rhaenyra and making off across the sea with his (possible lover) Ser Qarl.
15. Ser Harrold Westerling
If there’s one thing we love at The Digital Fix, it’s an honorable man (That’s why Ned Stark’s on the best Game of Thrones characters list), and few men are as honorable as Harrold Westerling.
The Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, Harrold, served Viserys loyally for a number of years, but unlike some of his brothers, he refused to take part in the Green coup, giving up his white cloak rather than assassinate the true heir to the Iron throne.
14. Prince Lucerys Velaryon
Lucerys, or Luke, was another character who had little screen time but had a big impact. It was Luke’s ill-fated trip to Storm’s End (and Aemond’s inexperience as a dragonrider) that kick-started the Dance of the Dragons, an event that would ultimately break House Targaryen’s grip on the Iron Throne. Also, we included him on the list because, let’s be honest, we feel a bit sorry for the poor guy. No one should go out like that.
13. Queen Aemma Arryn
Queen Aemma was clearly too good for this world, and while she may have died after just one episode, she left a huge mark on the series. After all, it was Aemma’s death that Viserys named Rhaenyra his heir, kicking off the events of the series.
Not only that, according to Paddy Considine, who plays Viserys, she’s the reason he never seriously sought treatment for his leprosy because he believed it was divine punishment for the way he’d treated Aemma in life. Whatever way you slice it, the reign of Viserys Targaryen would have been very different if Aemma had survived.
12. King Aegon II Targaryen
Let’s be frank, King Aegon II Targaryen is not a likable character. In fact, he might be one of the most despicable characters in all of the House of the Dragon, and he’s entirely unworthy of the responsibility that comes with sitting your arse on the Iron Throne. Still, like Joffrey Baratheon before him, it’s fun to hate him, and boy, oh boy, do we loathe Aegon.
He’s gluttonous and cruel, lacking any noble Targaryen traits at all (Daemon and Aemond may be bad, but at least they’re brave in an arrogant sort of way), and only ended up King by fluke. Still, Aegon’s got a taste for power now, and his refusal to share that power with his sister will tear Westeros apart and undo House Targaryen.
11. Otto Hightower
Otto Hightower is both incredibly self-serving and incredibly loyal to the realm. Honestly, it’s almost contradictory, but that’s why we like him so much. Otto’s a realistic character who shows how people can be more than one thing at the same time… also he has a great beard.
10. Larys Strong
OK, Larys Strong might be slimier than a particularly sweaty slug on a scorching day, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a great character. Like Littlefinger before him, Larys is proof that you don’t need skill with a sword to succeed in the Seven Kingdoms.
All it takes is a brain, ambition, and a mile-long ruthless streak. Larys hasn’t had a lot of screen time, but he’s done a lot with the little he’s had, including mutilation, fratricide, and patricide (on the same night, no less), as well as whatever was going on with Alicent’s feet.
9. Mysaria, The White Worm
Knowledge is power in Westeros, and few characters exemplify this better than Mysaria, The White Worm. When we were introduced to her, she was just Daemon’s lover, but the show played a trick on us.
Mysaria is easily one of the series’ smartest characters, a chess master for whom kings, princes, lords, and ladies are just game pieces. Like Larys, she only had a handful of scenes, but her sense of justice and intelligence left a massive impression on the audience.
8. Ser Criston Cole
Christ alive, Ser Criston Cole is an annoying character, but that’s the point of him. He’s the Westerosi equivalent of that annoying dweeb you know who thinks the ‘friend zone’ is a real thing, and he’s a literal incarnation of the patriarchy in The Seven Kingdoms.
Criston believes he was wronged by Rhaeynra, taking no responsibility for his actions and putting his wants and needs above the woman he swore to serve. We’re pretty sure Cole exists to be disliked, and he’s damn good at getting us to hate him.
7. Corlys Velaryon
Anyone who’s earned the nickname the Sea Snake deserves to be on this list, and Corlys Velaryon has made his place several times over. Corlys is basically the pirate king of the Seven Kingdoms, a swashbuckling warrior who rules over the Narrow Sea, and he wants nothing more than to make his wife Rhaenys queen.
As cool as he is on paper, though – we really love Corlys for all his good qualities – he’s a deeply flawed person. Corlys loves his family, but he can’t put aside that personal ambition, which will ultimately lead to his ruin.
6. Aemond Targaryen
Of all Alicent and Viserys’ children, Aemond’s our favorite. True, he’s basically a Daemon tribute act (with worse hair), but there’s something quite fragile about this wanna-be tough guy that makes him an intriguing character.
We’ve seen him talk a big game about wanting to fight in wars and cut out his nephew’s eye, but when it comes to the crunch, he’s just a child putting on a front. We saw the warrior façade fall when Vhagar swallowed Arrax, killing Lucerys in the process, and what was left? A scared young man. Only time will tell if Aemond will become the soldier he so desperately wants to be, but we have our doubts.
5. Daemon Targaryen
The rogue Prince Daemon Targaryen is a bit of a bad boy, but who doesn’t love a bad boy? True, his crimes include murder, treason, and incest, but we can’t judge him by modern-day standards; he’s a Targaryen. Those things are baked into him like flour in bread.
In all seriousness, in a lesser actor’s hands, Daemon would be truly despicable, but Doctor Who actor Matt Smith manages to make the prince someone you love to hate. He’s arrogant, ambitious, and bloodthirsty. Basically, all the Targaryen’s worst qualities wrapped up in one handsome package. You’d hate him if you met him in real life, but watching him cause chaos is too delicious not to enjoy.
4. Rhaenys Targaryen
Rhaenys may never have become the queen of Westeros, but she’s the queen of our hearts. Tenacious, brave, and clever Rhaenys is everything a good ruler should be, and the Seven Kingdoms clearly made a huge mistake when they chose Viserys as king over her.
We love the way Eve Best plays her as well. It’s gentle but imperious, like an austere grandmother who always knows she’s right. Also, let’s not forget her dragon Meleys is the coolest in the series, Vhagar may be bigger, but the Red Queen is better.
3. Alicent Hightower
It’s easy to dislike Alicent Hightower when House of the Dragon begins. She comes across as conservative, obedient, and slightly bitter. Yet there’s so much more to Alicent than that. She’s a coy and intelligent politician who plays the Game of Thrones better than most of the men in her court.
Her problem, if you want to call it that, is she loves so deeply it blinds her. That’s why she’s so desperate for Viserys to disinherit Rhaenyra; she genuinely believes it will keep Aegon and her other children safe. We see in the penultimate episode the scales briefly lift from her eyes, but her manipulative father, Otto Hightower, turns her against her best friend by threatening her kids.
Alicent’s story, like Rhaenyra’s, is a tragedy. There’s a feeling that all the coming bloodshed could have been avoided if only cooler heads had prevailed and people had ignored Otto and Daemon.
2. Rhaenyra Targaryen
By the Seven, we love Rhaenyra Targaryen, the Black Queen and the true protector of the Seven Kingdoms. Rhaenyra possesses all of her father’s best qualities: mercy, patience, and love, but without weakness or timidity (plus her dragon Syrax is cool). She’s strong, powerful, and wise. She’d be the perfect queen if only the damn lords of the Seven Kingdoms weren’t a raging bunch of sexists.
Both Milly Alcock and Emma D’Arcy deserve equal credit for bringing the character to life. We fell in love with Rhaenyra thanks to Alcock’s cheeky, slightly rebellious take on the character. Then D’Arcy cemented the character as a legend by giving Rhaenyra a quiet fury; she’s cool on the outside, but you get the feeling there’s an inferno burning within. We’d love to see Rhaenyra take back her birthright, but we don’t think the Dance of Dragons will go smoothly for anyone.
1. Viserys Targaryen
Listen, if this were a list of the best Targaryen kings, Viserys wouldn’t even be an afterthought, but it’s not. It’s an article about the best House of the Dragon characters, and we adore Viserys. Why? Well, he might be as useful as a chocolate teapot, but he’s damn well relatable.
You see, unlike the rest of the characters, who are squabbling over the throne, and despite the fact he lives in a world where dragons are real, what King Viserys Targaryen wants is quite realistic. He wants his family to get on and stop being awful to each other, and it’s really hard not to empathize with that.
A lot of it comes down to Considine’s nuanced performance. It would have been easy to make Viserys into a pantomime buffoon, but Considine doesn’t play the good king as a fool. There are too many little tics, glances, and scowls that flit across his king’s face for that to be true. No, Considine plays Viserys as being acutely aware of the problems plaguing his family; he’s just choosing to turn a blind eye to them.
Let’s also not forget his final big moment, where he walked into the throne room and put the Velaryons in their place, saving his beloved daughter in the process. Viserys may have been flawed, but he was a good man, and we love him for that.
Finally, you should check out our guide on the possibility of a Game of Thrones season 9. We’ve also written detailed histories on some of our favorite Game of Thrones characters, including Daenerys Targaryen and the Night King (Yes, we like the Night King, OK).