One of the things that we’ve always known about the world of Game of Thrones and its spin-off, House of the Dragon, is that the second-born sons aren’t afforded the same luxuries and responsibilities as the first-born sons. Of course, being a second son was referenced both in Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon. Corlys Velaryon, in fact, talked about the second son concept in episode 2. So, who are the Second Sons in House of the Dragon?
Corlys Velaryon was referencing himself and Daemon Targaryen as the “second sons” that were often overlooked and needed to fight for their place in the realm. Meanwhile, this was also a reference to the Second Sons, which is a mercenary group that went on to serve Daenerys in Game of Thrones.
Considering that House of the Dragon takes place in the same universe, albeit nearly a century before, as Game of Thrones, it is unavoidable that there will be parallelisms between them. In that regard, the concept of the second son is something that has always been a topic of discussion in a world where first sons are given everything. Now, let’s talk about the second sons in House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones.
Who Are The Second Sons In House Of The Dragon?
The second episode of House of the Dragon allowed us to see Corlys Velaryon wanting to take matters into his own hands so that he could advance his own agenda regarding the Stepstones. When King Viserys wasn’t willing to send an army to the Stepstones to chase the Crabfeeder out and conquer those islands, Corlys tried to win the king’s favor by attempting to unite their houses through his daughter, Laena. Then again, Viserys chose love over the best possible decision by marrying Alicent Hightower instead of Laena Velaryon.
In that regard, the end of the episode allowed us to see Corlys once again plotting. This time, he was talking about how he always had to crawl, scratch, and fight for his place in the world because he was a second son. He felt slighted by King Viserys’s choice of marrying Alicent instead of Laena, as he felt that he was being disrespected by the king despite the apparent power and wealth that his house possessed.
After that, it was revealed that the person that Corlys was talking to was Daemon Targaryen, the younger brother of King Viserys. In that conversation, Corlys told Daemon, “We are the realm’s second sons, Daemon. Our worth is not given. It must be made.”
Corlys was referring to the fact that Daemon, being the younger brother, was never going to inherit the Iron Throne ahead of Viserys. On top of that, Daemon thought that he was going to become the heir to the realm because Viserys couldn’t produce a male heir. Nevertheless, after his actions in episode 1, Daemon was disinherited by Viserys, who decided to make his only child, Rhaenyra, the heir to the Iron Throne.
That was when Daemon began acting on his own during the six-month gap between episodes 1 and 2. He took Dragonstone as his own, even though he didn’t have a right to the ancestral seat of the Targaryens. On top of that, he took a dragon egg in an attempt to provoke his brother to come after him.
In that regard, both Corlys and Daemon were the second sons of House of the Dragon, as this was a direct reference to the Second Sons sellsword group that we met during the events of Game of Thrones, a series that takes place nearly 200 years later.
Corlys himself was a second son that needed to work his way up the ladder to become wealthy and powerful enough to become the Lord of Driftmark. Meanwhile, we all know that Daemon has been working hard enough to earn his own glory because nothing (except for this Gold Cloaks) was ever given to him by right of birth.
Of course, another parallelism to take note of here is that Daemon Targaryen seems to be the equal of Stannis Baratheon of Game of Thrones. Both of them are stern and can be quite cruel, depending on what needs to be done. They were also tossed into the background by their own older brothers when they weren’t named Hand of the King and when they weren’t given their rightful place as heir to the Iron Throne.
As the series progresses, the parallelisms between the realm’s second sons in House of the Dragon and the different characters of Game of Thrones will become even clearer than before. This is where the saying, “history repeats itself,” comes into play because there are a lot of similarities between the second sons of House of the Dragon and the people like Stannis, who had to work his way up to earn what was rightfully his.
Who Are The Second Sons In Game Of Thrones?
While we did say that the “second sons” concept that Corlys talked about in House of the Dragon was a parallelism between Daemon and Stannis, let’s not forget about the fact that a mercenary group called the Second Sons was also quite prominent in Game of Thrones.
This was a group that Daenerys Targaryen came across during her travels in Essos when she wanted to invade Yunkai and abolish slavery there. The Second Sons worked for the lords of Yunkai and were unwilling to work for her instead of the slavers. However, that was when Daario Naharis, one of their leaders, decided to kill the captains of the Second Sons so that he could pledge the group’s loyalty to Daenerys, who he fell for at first sight.
Throughout the group’s history in Essos, the Second Sons were known for being able to earn a few victories here and there. We are not sure why they are called the Second Sons, but it might be a reference to the fact that they are often regarded as not as accomplished as the Golden Company, which is the greatest mercenary group in Essos. As such, their name must be a reference to the fact that they are merely the “second sons” when compared to the stronger and more accomplished Golden Company.
The banner of the Second Sons displays a broken sword. We don’t know the history behind this banner and why it was chosen. But it might be a reference to the fact that the Second Sons are mercenaries that don’t have true masters that they pledge their swords to for life. Hence, the broken sword might be a symbol of the fact that they can always break their swords whenever they need to pledge their loyalty to a new master that was willing to pay them more.
The leader of the Second Sons is their captain/s, who are the only ones that the Second Sons will listen to. There are instances when there are multiple captains, but there are also times when there is only one captain. Whatever the case may be, whoever is the captain of the Second Sons has supreme command over the mercenary group.
There have been plenty of members of the Second Sons throughout its long history. However, during the events of Game of Thrones, the most notable members were Mero and Prendahl na Ghezn. Meanwhile, they had a lieutenant name Daario Naharis. However, Daario rose to the rank of sole captain when he murdered the captains of the Second Sons and pledged the loyalty of the sellsword company to Daenerys Targaryen.