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House of the Dragon is based on George R.R. Martin’s book Fire & Blood and takes place 200 years before Game of Thrones. After the death of his son, King Viserys defies the norm and names his daughter Rhaenyra, his heir. Rhaenyra later marries twice. Here’s who her husbands are in the books.

[Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for House of the Dragon.]

Emma D'Arcy as Rhaenyra in House of the Dragon. Rhaenyra has long blonde hair and wears a grey dress.
Emma D’Arcy as Rhaenyra in ‘House of the Dragon’ | Ollie Upton/HBO

Succession is an important matter in ‘House of the Dragon’

Succession is an extremely important matter in House of the Dragon. At the start of the series, King Viserys’ wife, Aemma, is pregnant. He hopes that she will bear him a male heir, but Aemma dies during childbirth, and their son Baelon lives for only a day. After this, Viserys names his daughter Rhaenyra his heir.

Later, King Viserys marries Alicent Hightower. She gives birth to a son named Aegon, who is a threat to Rhaenyra’s claim to the throne. The teaser for House of the Dragon Episode 3 shows Viserys telling his daughter, “You will be with your own child, sooner than late.” In another clip, Rhaenyra tells her father, “I do not wish to get married.”

Who does Rhaenyra marry in George R.R. Martin’s books?

Unfortunately, as Viserys points out, Rhaenyra is bound by tradition and duty. In George R.R. Martin’s books, she eventually marries Leanor Velaryonthe son of Corlys Velaryon, the “Sea Snake,” and Rhaenys Targaryen. Rhaenyra and Leanor have three sons together, Jacaerys, Lucerys, and Joffrey. However, these children were rumored to be fathered by Rhaenyra’s shield, Ser Harwin “Breakbones” Strong.

According to ScreenRant, Theo Nate plays a teenage version of Leanor in House of the Dragon. John MacMillan later takes over his role.

After Laenor’s death, Rhaenyra remarries, and her second husband is even more controversial. Rhaenyra marries her uncle, Daemon Targaryen, after losing their first spouses. According to Distractify, this causes a major scandal. However, Viserys eventually accepts their marriage and the pair have two sons together.


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The Targaryen’s have a history of incestuous marriages

Game of Thrones fans are probably already familiar with the Targaryen’s history of incestuous marriages. According to Popsugar, the practice came from a desire to keep bloodlines pure and retain the Targaryen’s powerful dragon-riding abilities.

However, the practice of incest in House Targaryen became less common over time. The outlet points out that it was thought to cause “madness” within the family, such as that of King Aerys II. Dubbed the “Mad King,” Aerys II’s parents Jaehaerys and Shaera, were siblings.

House of the Dragon also takes much of its inspiration from real European history. Royal families have previously intermarried thanks to the belief that royalty should marry someone with equally high status, Popsugar writes. However, this involved marriages among cousins much more often than closer relatives like siblings and uncles.

New episodes of House of the Dragon drop Sundays on HBO Max.