One of the great houses that we got to know more about in House of the Dragon is House Velaryon, of which Corlys Velaryon was a member. We know for a fact that Corlys and his house play a big role in House of the Dragon because of all of the political maneuverings regarding the different members of the different great houses in Westeros. But how is House Velaryon related to House Targaryen, and what happened to them?
Like House Targaryen, House Velaryon is one of the few remaining houses that has a lineage that can be traced back to Old Valyria. However, unlike the Targaryens, they were never dragonlords. The Velaryons continued to exist until during the Baratheon reign but were no longer powerful.
Despite the Valyrian lineage that comes with the Velaryon bloodline, this family didn’t have the same power to command dragons. In that regard, during the good part of the first century of the Targaryen dynasty, the Velaryons tried to stay as close to the Targaryens as possible. In that regard, let’s look at what we know about House Velaryon.
What Is House Velaryon?
When it comes to the history of Westeros and the great houses that rule this continent, we could never forget about the fact that House Targaryen, one of the newest houses in Westeros, actually conquered the entire continent and placed the Seven Kingdoms under the rule of the Targaryen dynasty for almost three centuries. Of course, the fact that the Targaryens were of Valyrian descent was what allowed them to become so powerful, especially with the dragons on their side.
But while much of Old Valyria and the houses that once resided in the greatest empire in the known world were destroyed during the Doom of Valyria, there were still houses and families that were able to survive. House Targaryen is often regarded as the last house of Valyrian dragonlords to survive the Doom of Valyria, but some families were able to establish themselves in Westeros as well. One such family is House Velaryon.
Even though the Targaryens occupied Dragonstone, which was just off the eastern coast of Westeros, 100 years before Aegon’s Conquest, the Velaryons had already called Westeros home longer than the Targaryens did. The Velaryons established their foothold on an island called Driftmark, which is aptly called because of all of the driftwood that tends to get washed up on its shores.
Of course, the Velaryons were able to establish their seat of power in the right location because Driftmark provided them the best opportunity to produce ships and hone their talents as masters of the sea. In that regard, while the Targaryens were dragonlords that mastered the art of taming dragons and commanding the sky, the Velaryons were never dragonriders but were the best when it came to producing ships and sailors. As such, House Velaryon always found a place in the rule of the Targaryens as the members are often named Master of Ships.
How Is House Velaryon Related To House Targaryen?
Both House Velaryon and House Targaryen have roots that can be traced all the way back to Old Valyria. As such, both of these houses are quite ancient as they have a long history way back in Valyria when the greatest empire in the world still existed. Nevertheless, the Velaryons and the Targaryens were never truly related in terms of their bloodline history.
Still, for many centuries, the Velaryons were the closest allies of the Targaryens, as they were the ones who helped the Targaryens during the early part of their rule in Dragonstone and even before Aegon conquered Westeros. In fact, during Aegon’s Conquest, House Velaryon was the one that provided the ships that the Targaryens needed to cross the Blackwater Bay to reach the mainland. In that regard, the Targaryens and Velaryons conquered Westeros as allies.
Due to the close ties between the Velaryons and the Targaryens, it was only a matter of time until the two most powerful houses in Westeros were given several chances to unite. The Targaryens often married the Velaryons during the early part of the Targaryen rule on Westeros because it was important for both families to make sure that they remained the most powerful in the land. On top of that, they were the only families in Westeros with Valyrian blood, and it was important for them to keep their bloodline pure.
In fact, Jaehaerys, the Old King that had the longest rule in the history of Westeros, was the son of Alyssa Velaryon. That was how the Velaryons were able to establish themselves as the most influential family in Westeros next to the Targaryens.
Meanwhile, in the decades before the Dance of the Dragons, Princess Rhaenys Targaryen married Corlys Velaryon. In the books, their son Laenor had a claim to the Iron Throne because he was related to Aemon Targaryen, who was the heir to King Jaehaerys before he passed away. However, in the series, it was Princess Rhaenys who had a claim to the throne, only to lose it to Viserys, who became the new king of Westeros after Jaehaerys passed away.
Despite losing the chance to sit on the Iron Throne, the Velaryons were quite powerful during the time when Rhaenys and Corlys were ruling the family because of the fact that they commanded half of the royal navy. On top of that, they also commanded half of the dragons that the Targaryens had, considering that Rhaenys also had a claim to the dragons. As such, they were arguably more powerful than even King Viserys before the Dance of the Dragons.
What Happened To House Velaryon?
During the Dance of the Dragons, Laenor Velaryon was married off to Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, who was proclaimed heir to the Iron Throne by King Viserys. The marriage produced three sons, namely Jacaerys, Lucerys, and Joffrey. However, the rumor was that these were the children of Ser Harwin Strong, a knight quite close to Princess Rhaenyra. These rumors were bolstered by the fact that Laenor preferred the company of men.
Meanwhile, Laena, the youngest daughter of Rhaenys and Corlys, was married off to Daemon Targaryen. After giving birth to two girls, Laena died in childbirth. Leanor was killed shortly after by Ser Qarl Correy, as all of the children of Rhaenys and Corlys had perished.
When Aegon II was proclaimed king after Viserys’s death, the Dance of the Dragons commenced as the different Targaryens fought for the Iron Throne. The Velaryons, because of the union between Rhaenyra and Leanor, supported the one chosen by Viserys to become the new ruler. As such, she was proclaimed queen of the Seven Kingdoms. Meanwhile, Corlys petitioned Rhaenyra to remove the bastard names of his rumored bastards (Addam and Alyn) so that the y could increase the number of dragonriders they had in their roster.
While the Rhaenyra and the Velarions proved to be quite valiant against Aegon II and his allies, all of the Velaryons boys born to Rhaenyra perished during the Dance of the Dragons, as they probably were never Velaryons at all. It wasn’t too long later that Rhaenyra was killed as well, as the Dance of the Dragons came to an end, with Aegon II as the ruling king.
Nevertheless, Corlys survived the Dance of the Dragons and was still given a chance to sit at the small council of Aegon II because of his wealth and power. However, the bloodline weakened because the remaining Velaryon males were bastards that were legitimized. Alyn may have married a Targaryen but House Velaryon never truly reached the heights it reached during the decades before the Dance of the Dragons.
House Velaryon continued to exist until after Robert Baratheon’s rule. However, the family was never as influential as it was before. During the Lannister rule of Westeros, Aurane Waters, a Velaryon bastard, became Master of Ships.