The entire world that George RR Martin created in his books, which were adapted into Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon, is full of different races and names. That’s because the people of this world seem to put a lot of importance on the race and name of a person, as most people don’t get to rise up in the world without the proper race or name. Two races and names that we’ve heard in the storylines are Valyrian and Velaryon. But are Valyrians and Velaryons the same, and what are the differences?
The Valyrians are a race of people that can trace their roots back to an ancient empire called the Valyrian Freehold, which is said to be the greatest civilization in history before the Doom of Valyria. Meanwhile, the Velaryons are an ancient Valyrian house that has roots in Old Valyria.
A lot of people tend to mistake the two as one and the same, but the terms “Valyrian” and “Velaryon” are entirely different from one another, even though they do sound the same. Of course, one is a race, and the other one is a family or house. So, with that said, let’s look at what we know about the Valyrians and the Velaryons.
Who Are The Valyrians?
One of the terms that are often thrown around in Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon is the word “Valyria” because most of the characters would often look back at this place whenever they are thinking about civilizations that existed hundreds of years in the past. And that’s because the Valyrian Freehold was once the greatest empire known in the history of the world.
Located in the Valyrian peninsula in Essos, the city of Valyria was once the most powerful and most glorious civilization in the entire world because they had the power of the dragons, which are gigantic fire-breathing creatures that could fly and easily trample and burn armies in an instant. Back in the days of Valyria, there were dragons that freely flew the skies, as only the dragonlords of the Valyrian Freehold were able to command them.
However, in 114 BC (before Aegon’s Conquest) and more than 200 years before the events of House of the Dragon, Daenys the Dreamer, who belonged to House Targaryen, one of the weaker families in Valyria, dreamed of the Doom of Valyria, and that’s why the entire Targaryen family left the city to go live on Dragonstone, an island just off the eastern coast of Westeros. Then, in 102 BC, a cataclysmic event destroyed Valyria, as the ruins are now called Old Valyria.
Despite the destruction of Valyria, there were a few dragonlord families that were able to survive. Among them, only the Targaryens were able to actually stay strong, as all of the other dragonlords died off in the next 100 years after the Doom of Valyria. But there were also other families that could trace their roots to Valyria, even though they weren’t dragonlords.
In that regard, the Valyrians are a race of people that could trace their roots to Old Valyria and have been able to live in other parts of the world even after the destruction of the city of Valyria and the deaths of the dragons that lived there. House Targaryen, the only family of dragonlords left, is Valyrian in terms of race and culture, even though the Targaryens have been in Westeros for hundreds of years already.
Who Are The Velaryons?
We met the Velaryons as a powerful house during the events of House of the Dragon, as these characters were actually powerful enough to put pressure on King Viserys Targaryen in his different decisions as king. On top of that, because of the power that the Velaryons held, the only logical choice for Viserys was to wed his daughter, Princess Rhaenyra, to Ser Laenor of House Velaryon.
The Velaryons were able to gain their power and wealth through the many different adventures of their lord, Corlys Velaryon, who sailed all over the world to obtain riches, open trade routes, and make connections with different people from different continents and cities. As such, during the events of House of the Dragon, the Velaryons were already so powerful. And the fact that Corlys married a Targaryen allowed his children to become dragonriders that had Targaryen blood.
For the longest time possible, the Velaryons were the most trusted allies of the Targaryens, as Driftmark and Dragonstone are just basically neighboring islands. On top of that, they were also the greatest family of shipbuilders and sailors in Westeros. That is why the Velaryons were always the ones who owned the Master of Ships post in the Small Council of the king.
Like their Targaryen allies, the Velaryons can trace their roots all the way to Old Valyria, as some might say that they are actually older than the Targaryens as a house. That means that the Velaryons are also Valyrians in terms of their race.
However, unlike the Targaryens, the Velaryons were never dragonriders. They were masters of the sea, but they were never masters of dragons. The only reason why Laenor and Laena are capable of riding dragons is due to their mother’s Targaryen bloodline.
Are The Valyrians And The Velaryons The Same?
As mentioned, the Valyrians are a race of people, and that means that the term “Valyrian” covers a large scope when it comes to describing the ethnic background of a group of people. On the other hand, the Velaryons are a family or a house, and that means that the “Velaryon” term covers a group of people that belong to the same family or house.
In a way, the Valyrians and the Velaryons are similar to one another but are not the same. They are similar in the sense that they all come from the same place, which is Old Valyria or the Valyrian Freehold. Valyrians and Velaryons are also the same in the sense that they have similar physical features, such as their white hair. On top of that, they are also the same in the sense that they speak High Valyrian and follow customs and traditions that the Valyrian people followed.
However, the Valyrians and the Velaryons are not the same because the Valyrians are a race while the Velaryons are a family. All Velaryons have a bloodline that can be traced back to the Valyrians because the roots of the Velaryons can be found in the ruined city of Old Valyria. However, Valyrians can be any people who could trace their heritage back to Old Valyria, regardless of whether they are Targaryens or Velaryons.
Some Velaryons may not even be Valyrian anymore due to their mixed bloodlines, as that was what happened during the events of Game of Thrones when the Velaryons no longer had the pure Valyrian bloodline that they had during the time of House of the Dragon. Nevertheless, even though the Velaryon bloodline has grown thin during the events of Game of Thrones, House Velaryon can still claim itself to be Valyrian in terms of its roots, even though the family may no longer have pure Valyrian blood.