As one of the only houses left from the Valyrian Freehold, House Velaryon is proud of its heritage. As it came to Westeros before the Targaryens, it has a history entwined with other houses that make up the Seven Kingdoms. According to its members, the Driftwood Throne in Driftmark became their seat of power after it got handed to them by the Merling King. The head of House Velaryon possesses the title of Lord of the Tides and Master of Driftmark. After the Targaryens arrived, the Velaryons swore loyalty to them, and a long deep relationship got established between the houses.
Though its members claim to be descendants of Valyria, the Velaryons were never dragonlords like the Targaryens. It maintains its seat of power on the island of Driftmark, the largest island of Blackwater Bay. As descendants of Valyria, the Velaryons possess the same features as the members of House Targaryen; silver hair, purple eyes, and pale skin. Their loyalty lay with the Targaryens until Robert’s Rebellion, which usurped the Iron Throne from them.
Primary Details About House Velaryon
- House Name: House Velaryon of Driftmark.
- Sigil: A shiny silver seahorse on sea green.
- Year Founded: Before 114 BC.
- Most Prominent Members: Lord Corlys Velaryon.
- Highest Position: Lord of the Tides, Master of Driftmark.
- Culture: Valyrian.
- Religion: Faith of the Seven.
- Allegiances: House Targaryen, House Baratheon, Dragonstone.
- Distinctive Traits of Members: Purple eyes, Pale skin, Silver hair.
- Current Overlord: House Baratheon.
- Words: The Old, The True, The Brave.
- Region of Power: Blackwater Bay.
- Specific Powers: Dragon riding.
History and Culture
House Velaryon is a proud house with the blood of old Valyria in its veins. Its presence in Westeros dates back to the time before the arrival of the Targaryens. After leaving Essos, its members settled in the Gullet on Driftmark and made the island their seat of power. They honed their skills in the seas and became the most powerful naval force in Westeros. Their fleet force made them get close to House Targaryen as they helped Aegon the Conqueror carry his soldiers during his conquest of Westeros.
After House Targaryen became the ruling power on the continent, House Velaryon got put in charge of the royal fleet, and many of their members served on Aegon’s small council. Aegon’s conquest strengthened the bond between both houses, and because they were from the Valaryian Freehold, they began marrying each other. The most prominent marriage to first happen between House Velaryon and Targaryen was the wedding of Aerion Targaryen and Valaenor Velaryon.
After Aegon’s Conquest, House Velaryon maintained a cordial relationship with the new ruling power of the Seven Kingdoms for more than 200 years. The intermarriage between both houses continued for years. Lord Daemon Velaryon was made the Master of Ships and became the first lord commander of the Kingsguard. After he died, his son, Corlys Velaryon, succeeded him as Lord of the Tides and head of House Velaryon.
During the era of Lord Corlys Velaryon, House Velaryon became the richest in the Seven Kingdoms beating House Lannister. Corlys was also called the Sea Snake, as he had mastered the seas and traveled far and wide. He married Princess Rhaenys Targaryen. As Corlys had traveled to YiTi and returned with treasures, he increased the wealth of the Velaryons, hence boosting their power in Westeros. Corlys changed the seat of House Velaryon from Driftmark to High Tide as its ancestral home became too crowded and damp.
Though Corlys propelled the House Velaryon, his relationship with the Targaryens waned as his son, Laenor, got overlooked when he laid his claim to the throne and Viserys Targaryen became king during the Great Council of 101 AC. After the death of King Viserys’s wife during childbirth, Corlys proposed that he marry his young daughter Laena Velaryon to strengthen the bond between both houses. However, Viserys ignored his request in favor of marrying Alicent Hightower.
Angry at the king’s decisions, Corlys became friends with Prince Daemon Targaryen, Viserys’s brother. Together, Corlys and Daemon invaded the Stepstones and agreed to marry his young daughter to him. Later, Corlys’s son Laenor Velaryon, married Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, the heir to the Iron Throne.
After Rhaenyra’s wedding to Laenor, her half-brother, Aegon II Targaryen, claimed the Iron Throne; this led to a civil war called The Dance of the Dragons. During the Civil War, Prince Jacaerys Velaryon flew to Winterfell and negotiated the Pact of Ice and Fire for his mother, Rhaenyra. The Civil War led to Rhaenyra getting overthrown and killed. However, Aegon II also died from poisoned wine.
After the Civil War, House Velaryon was still in charge of the royal fleet and served the Targaryens. However, Robert I Baratheon incited a rebellion during the reign of Aerys II Targaryen. It led to Rhaegar Targaryen’s death and the dethronement of the House Targaryen from the Iron Throne. Though the House Targaryen was gone, House Velaryon remained and allied with House Baratheon as Robert made his brother, Stannis Baratheon, the Lord of Dragonstone.
Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire
A Clash of Kings
After the War of the Five Kings starts, Stannis Baratheon calls Lord Monford Velaryon to arms. House Velaryon heeds Stannis’s cause and gives their ships to his royal fleet. When Stannis besieges Storme’s End, Monford advises him to storm the castle’s walls to prevent more resistance. The largest vessel given by the House Velaryon eventually sinks. During the battle with King’s Landing, Tyrion gets surrounded by members of House Velaryon. However, after the conflict ends in Tyrion’s favor, they get imprisoned, including Aurane Waters, Monford’s half-brother.
A Storm of Swords
Though House Velaryon gets heavy casualties from the fight at Blackwater Bay, they continue supporting Stannis. After Monford’s death, his son, Monterys, becomes the new head of House Velaryon. When Stannis Marches to the North, House Velaryon follows him and fights the wildlings.
A Feast for Crows
In King’s Landing, Aurane Waters wins Cersei Lannister’s favor because of his Valyrian features. He gets named the new master of ships. Once in charge of the royal fleet, Aurane suggests to Cersei that they rebuild the naval fleet to its former glory. Against the advice of everyone, Cersei decides to begin rebuilding the royal fleet and incurs massive debt from the Iron Bank of Essos.
When Margaery Tyrell gets imprisoned for adultery, Aurane advises Cersei to place some naval fleets on Blackwater Rush to send a message to Margaery’s father. However, he learns that Cersei got imprisoned by the High Sparrow and flees from King’s Landing.
Appearance in Adaptation
Though the Velaryons are not prominent in Game of Thrones, their appearance in House of the Dragon is a primary part of the show. Matt Smith plays Prince Daemon Targaryen; Milly Alcock and Emma D’Arcy play Princess Rhynaera Targaryen. Steve Toussaint plays Ser Corlys Velaryon, Paddy Considine plays King Viserys Targaryen, and Emily Carey plays Alicent Hightower.
Was House Velaryon mentioned in A Song of Ice and Fire?
Yes, the Velaryons helped Stannis with the ships for his fleet before the siege of Storme’s end. They also joined in the attack of King’s Landing, and the half-brother of Monford Velaryon, Aurane, got captured and made master of ships by Cersei.
Who is Jaehaerys?
Jaehaerys is the child of Prince Aenys Targaryen and Alyssa, the daughter of Lord Aethan Velaryon. She got imprisoned by Maegor I Targaryen after her husband’s death as he wanted to take the crown for himself. Maegor was later defeated, and Jaeherys became king.
Who is Alyn Oakenfist?
Alyn Oakenfist is originally Alyn Velaryon. He became the Lord of Driftmark after Corlys’s death and helped in the return of Viserys, Aegon III’s brother.
Are the Velaryons the only standing house from Valyria left in A Song of Ice and Fire?
No, they are not. Though House Targaryen is almost extinct, two primary contenders remain, Daenerys Targaryen and her nephew, Aegon VI Targaryen.