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"Sea Snake" redirects here. For other uses, see: Sea Snake (disambiguation)
House Velaryon
House Velaryon

"When I ascended the Driftwood Throne, I knew what I wanted. So I went out and seized it."
―Corlys Velaryon[src]

Lord Corlys Velaryon,[d] known as the Sea Snake, is the head of House Velaryon, widower of Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, and Hand of the Queen on the Black Council of Rhaenyra Targaryen.



WLTW Corlys Velaryon Still 1

Corlys on the Driftwood Throne.

Corlys is the Lord of the Tides, Master of Driftmark, and the head of House Velaryon.[1] He is married to Rhaenys Targaryen, the cousin of Viserys I Targaryen. He has two children with Rhaenys, named Laenor and Laena.[9]

Corlys is the head of the royal fleet and sits on the Small Council as lord admiral and Master of Ships.[3] His moniker derives from the Sea Snake, the most famous ship of the Velaryon fleet.[10]

As captain of the Sea Snake, Corlys went on nine great voyages across the known world, collecting strange artifacts as well as wealth in places such as Lorath, Saath, Ibben, Lys, Volantis, Ghaen, Qarth, Great Moraq, Zabhad, Yi Ti, Leng, and Asshai.[11][12]

House of the Dragon: Season 1[]

Corlys Council Promo

Corlys informs the Small Council about the Triarchy.

At a meeting of the Small Council, Corlys urges action against the Triarchy, an alliance formed by the Free Cities, which, according to his assessment, would gravely affect Westerosi ports, but his concerns are dismissed by King Viserys, and his Hand, Ser Otto Hightower. At another Small Council meeting, he speaks approvingly of the round-up and summary punishment of King's Landing's criminals by Prince Daemon Targaryen and the Gold Cloaks, agreeing that the city's criminal elements should fear the City Watch.[1]

Corlys is present at the Heir's Tournament with his wife Rhaenys, and their two children Laena and Laenor.[1]

Corlys attends the funeral of Queen Aemma and Prince Baelon.[1]

The day after the funeral, in the Small Council chamber, the matter of the succession to the Iron Throne is brought up by Otto Hightower, where Corlys supports Daemon Targaryen's claim to the Iron Throne, due to male-preference primogeniture. When Otto suggests Rhaenyra instead, Corlys offers an alternative: his wife, Rhaenys, stating that she has a valid claim to the throne as the only daughter of Jaehaerys's eldest son, and a male heir. Before the matter can be discussed further, Viserys furiously berates the Small Council for their squabbling while he is still in mourning, and abruptly ends the meeting.[1]

Corlys is amongst several lords of Westeros who were summoned to King's Landing to swear fealty to both Viserys, and his named heir, Rhaenyra Targaryen, who is named the Princess of Dragonstone.[1]

Roughly six months after Aemma Arryn's funeral, Corlys reiterates the problems with the Triarchy, who have now sunk four Westerosi ships including one from the Velaryon fleet, gaining more power in the Stepstones, and demands to take action against the Triarchy to clear out the Stepstones. Viserys explains that, as an alternative, he has sent envoys to Pentos and Volantis, with the prospect of an alliance against the Triarchy, but Corlys warns that further inaction will only strengthen the belief that Viserys (and by extension, Westeros) is weak, which began with Daemon's illegal occupation of Dragonstone not being answered.[6]

TRP Viserys, Rhaenys & Corlys

Corlys and Rhaenys propose a marriage between King Viserys and their daughter Laena.

Corlys and Rhaenys later try to forge a marriage alliance between House Targaryen and House Velaryon, by suggesting Viserys should marry their daughter, Laena Velaryon, uniting the Targaryen dragons and the Velaryon fleet, to prove the strength of his reign. Despite the Small Council (save Otto) supporting the idea of Viserys and Laena's union due to its several political advantages and that it would go a long way to healing the rift between Houses Targaryen and Velaryon left by the Great Council at Harrenhal, Viserys opts instead to marry Lady Alicent Hightower. Corlys, infuriated by yet another slight to his family by the Targaryens, leaves King's Landing[6] and resigns from his position as Master of Ships.[8]

Corlys returns to Driftmark, and later invites Daemon Targaryen to his castle High Tide. Corlys rages at Viserys's disregard and lack of respect for his family and loyal service, citing Daemon's own fall from Viserys's good graces as proof that they share a common cause, being men of action forced to make their own way in the world who have never received the due respect or appreciation for their efforts. Although Daemon chides Corlys for speaking disrespectfully of his brother, he is intrigued when Corlys proposes a joint expedition between them to eliminate Craghas Drahar, the Crabfeeder, clear out the Triarchy forces from the Stepstones, and simultaneously claim wealth and glory for themselves, while proving their value to the dissenters at Viserys's court.[6]

SOHN Velaryon Army Still

Corlys leads his army in the War for the Stepstones.

Three years later, Corlys and Daemon appear to be losing their war in a long and hard siege of Bloodstone, with several members of the army contemplating defecting, and Corlys's brother Vaemond suggesting mutiny against Daemon for his negligence. However, after Viserys offers to aid Daemon in his efforts with the Velaryons in the Stepstones, a counterattack is devised by Corlys's forces, led by Corlys and Daemon, and supported on dragonback by Seasmoke, ridden by Corlys's son, Ser Laenor. The Velaryon forces prevail after Daemon slays Drahar, preventing the ruin of House Velaryon.[8] Corlys and his army crown Daemon King of the Narrow Sea and return to Driftmark.[13]

Back at Driftmark, Corlys arranges a betrothal between Laena and the son of the Sealord of Braavos. The Small Council is worried about an alliance between the Velaryons and Braavos, but the issue is solved by another betrothal between Laenor Velaryon and Rhaenyra Targaryen.[13]

WLTW Viserys Corlys and Rhaenys Still

Corlys and Viserys arrange a marriage between Rhaenyra and Laenor.

Some time later, Viserys and Rhaenyra sail to Driftmark to discuss the prospective marriage alliance between Rhaenyra and Laenor, where Corlys and Rhaenys inquire about the matter of the succession to the Iron Throne. After Viserys affirms that Rhaenyra and Laenor's firstborn will inherit the Iron Throne from her, regardless of gender, Corlys asks whether their children shall take the "Velaryon" name, to which Viserys replies that they will, but upon the heir's ascension to the Iron Throne, the king or queen will take the name "Targaryen," so the dynasty of dragons may continue. Corlys and Rhaenys then accept the union. Rhaenys privately confesses to her husband that Laenor's secret preference for men, which Corlys tries to wave aside, may only put their son in danger, particularly if the lords of Westeros violently oppose Rhaenyra ascending to the Iron Throne, but Corlys embraces his wife and says that this is their chance to set things right for their House, but Rhaenys admits that she made peace long ago with the fact that she wasn't chosen as queen.[11]

WLTW House Velaryon Still 1

Corlys and his family at Rhaenyra and Laenor's wedding feast.

Corlys and his family head to King's Landing for Laenor and Rhaenyra's wedding, where Viserys makes an impassioned speech about the union of the two remaining powerful Valyrian houses becoming one, interrupted by the late entrance of Queen Alicent Hightower. Though the festivities start out well, the feast is interrupted by Ser Criston Cole's murder of one of House Velaryon's sworn swords, Ser Joffrey Lonmouth. Following the attack, Laenor and Rhaenyra are wed in a private, grim ceremony, of which their immediate family and their aides are in attendance.[11]

Roughly ten years later, Corlys and the Velaryon family learn that Corlys's daughter Laena has died in Pentos. Her remains are returned to High Tide, and a funeral is held there, with the extended Targaryen-Velaryon family all present. After Laena's burial, Corlys speaks to his grandson, Lucerys Velaryon, about his succession to Driftmark as Lord of the Tides, only to be surprised to learn that he does not wish to be the Lord of Driftmark if it means Corlys, and his father, Ser Laenor are dead. Corlys later witnesses a catatonic Laenor weeping in the water where Laena is buried, and angrily tells Ser Qarl Correy to retrieve him.[14]

DM Corlys and Rhaenys Still 2

Corlys and Rhaenys discuss Driftmark's succession.

Later in the night, Corlys and Rhaenys have a discussion surrounding Laena's death, in which Rhaenys places blame her death on both Daemon and the surgeons in Pentos, but Corlys tells her that she cannot place blame for an act of the gods. Rhaenys then contemplates whether this is punishment for their (namely Corlys's) relentless ambition for power. Though Corlys attempts to argue in favor of Rhaenys, she affirms that she no longer has any ambition for the Iron Throne, and that it is his ambition for power that is destroying his family piece by piece. Rhaenys then propositions Corlys to name Baela Targaryen, their eldest granddaughter by Laena, the heir to Driftmark, on the grounds that Baela is of true Velaryon blood, whereas Lucerys—Corlys's chosen heir—is not. Corlys, however, refuses on the grounds that this would only be admitting that Laenor's children are bastards, and disinheriting his line. Corlys is unconcerned with the truth of it, stating that history does not remember blood; it remembers names.[14]

Corlys and Rhaenys later enter the Hall of Nine at night, and demand answers following a fight between their grandchildren and Aemond Targaryen, which resulted in Lucerys slashing out Aemond's left eye. The next night, Laenor is apparently murdered in a duel with Ser Qarl in the Hall of Nine, and they grieve their son after finding his charred corpse (in actuality, Laenor is still alive and in exile in Essos, following a plot to fake his death orchestrated by Rhaenyra Targaryen, Daemon Targaryen, and Laenor himself).[14] Overcome with anger and grief from having lost both of his children due to his relentless ambitions, Corlys leaves Driftmark, and returns to the fighting in the Stepstones after the Triarchy becomes resurgent.[15]

After six years of fighting in the Stepstones, Corlys is severely injured in an ambush, reportedly having his throat slashed by a corsair and falling into the sea. Due to uncertainty surrounding his longevity, there is a dispute over the question of who should succeed him: his brother Vaemond, or Lucerys, his intended and chosen heir. Lucerys is confirmed as heir by King Viserys. Rhaenys, at Rhaenyra's proposal, betroths her and Corlys's grandchildren Lucerys and Rhaena Targaryen as well as Jacaerys Velaryon and Baela Targaryen with Viserys's blessing. Soon after, Corlys's brother, Vaemond, is executed by Daemon Targaryen for insulting his wife, Rhaenyra, and her family.[15]

Alicent attempts to gain Rhaenys's support for the Greens and Prince Aegon Targaryen to claim to the Iron Throne by claiming that even Corlys abandoned her, gone for six years to fight a desperate battle and returned badly injured, leaving Rhaenys to chart her course alone. The attempt is futile, as Rhaenys respects Corlys's wishes and affirms her allegiance to Princess Rhaenyra and the Blacks.[16]

The court at Dragonstone is informed that Corlys's blood fever has broken, and that he has departed Evenfall. Rhaenys informs the Black Council that he sails for Dragonstone, and Daemon assumes that he is coming to declare for Rhaenyra as his queen.[2]

In a bedchamber in Dragonstone, Corlys awakes to find his wife sitting beside his bed. Rhaenys accuses him of having abandoned her and their granddaughters to go adventuring in the Stepstones. Corlys admits his error, insisting that returning to the sea was his way of coping with the deaths of their children. Rhaenys also tells him of Vaemond's death. Saddened by what ambitious pursuits have cost his family, Corlys insists to Rhaenys that he will abandon his pursuit of the Iron Throne, abstain from choosing a side in the conflict, and retire to Driftmark to spend their remaining days with their grandchildren. Rhaenys argues against it, reminding him that Jace, Luke, and Joff are all claimants to the Iron Throne, and the boys will never be safe while Aegon II holds the Iron Throne. Corlys is dismissive of the idea of supporting Rhaenyra, reminding Rhaenys that she was complicit in Laenor's death, and that she is a cancer to the realm, but Rhaenys insists that Rhaenyra is the only one exercising restraint to prevent the realm from sliding into wholesale war.[2]

TBQ Corlys Velaryon Still

Corlys joins Rhaenyra's council.

The following morning, Corlys, accompanied by Rhaenys and his granddaughters, Baela and Rhaena, joins a meeting of the Black Council, where Rhaenyra quickly expresses her relief to see him healthy again, while Corlys offers his condolences for Viserys's death. Corlys bluntly declares that Rhaenyra's allies are too few to win a war for the Iron Throne, and also dismisses Rhaenyra's hopes that Houses Arryn, Stark, and Baratheon will support her. Rhaenyra asserts that, aside from her blood ties with the Arryns and Baratheons, all of the Great Houses swore to support her claim when Viserys named her heir; when Corlys points out that this includes House Hightower, who have now forsworn that oath, Rhaenyra reminds him that House Velaryon also swore to support her. After a brief look from his wife and his granddaughters (who have moved to stand with Jace and Luke) Corlys notes that Rhaenyra's house and his are bound by blood and a common cause, and insists that the Hightowers cannot be allowed to get away with their treason, and swears allegiance to Queen Rhaenyra. Corlys adds that, despite his near-death in the Stepstones, House Velaryon now controls the islands, having driven the Triarchy's forces out of the region and properly garrisoned the islands against their return. Corlys states that his men will institute a blockade of the shipping lanes that pass through the Stepstones, if they haven't already, and his fleet will place a second blockade across the Gullet, reinforced by Rhaenys atop Meleys at her own suggestion, to cut off all sea trade and travel to and from King's Landing. Lord Bartimos Celtigar insists that a sea blockade and a landward siege could starve the Greens into surrender, but Rhaenyra asserts that to have enough men to surround King's Landing, they will need the support of Arryn, Baratheon, and Stark. Jace speaks up, volunteering himself and Luke to carry Rhaenyra's demands for their support on dragonback, as the lords will find it more difficult to refuse dragonriders than ravens. Corlys agrees, and Rhaenyra decides that Jace will travel first to the Eyrie and then to Winterfell to win the allegiance of Lady Jeyne Arryn and Lord Cregan Stark, while Luke will go to Storm's End to ensure Borros Baratheon's supports.[2]

House of the Dragon: Season 2[]

Some time after Lucerys's death, Corlys, still injured and lame, visits the port of Spicetown, where his flagship, the Sea Snake, is being repaired after the campaign in the Stepstones. There Corlys meets one of his sailors, Alyn of Hull.[17]

Corlys comments on how surprising it is that his ship managed to return from the war, while Alyn fills him in on the current situation on the blockade of the Gullet. Corlys makes it known that he wants his ship ready to lead the naval campaign, to which Alyn responds that it will take weeks for the ship to be ready to sail again, although he promises to talk to his brother Addam to see if more shipwrights can be enlisted from Hull.[17]

Corlys receives from Alyn a dagger that he had commissioned for his heir, the deceased Lucerys. The Lord of the Tides receives condolences from Alyn, calling the murder of Lucerys "the blackest of treacheries." Just as Alyn is about to return to work, Corlys tells him that he knows he was the one who pulled him out of the water. Alyn replies that he was only doing his duty, although Corlys says that he owes him his life.[17]

In High Tide, Corlys and his wife, Rhaenys Targaryen, lie in bed together. Corlys comments that she worries that Daemon has flown from Dragonstone to Harrenhal alone, and a time when his help is most needed. Rhaenys comments that loyalty has never been his cousin's skill, to which Corlys replies that Daemon is the king consort and that if he captures Harrengal for his wife, all could be forgiven.[7]

At the Spicetown shipyard in Driftmark, Corlys is helping with the repairs to the Sea Snake.[18]

Corlys has been visited by his wife, Rhaenys, who warns him that Rhaenyra will soon need Corlys' help in the matter. Rhaenys also informs Corlys of granddaughter Rhaena's departure for the Vale of Arryn, to which Corlys commiserates that Rhaena has been sent into exile with only three children for company. Rhaenys reminds him that one of those niles is now his heir, to which Corlys scoffs at the idea that Joffrey, a six-year-old boy who knows nothing about ships or the sea, now be the heir of Driftmark. Rhaenys suggests that she name Rhaena in her place, but Corlys doesn't think it's a good idea to name her granddaughter Lord of the Tides either, since Rhaena doesn't know anything about House Velaryon or their lifestyle.[18]

Corlys insists that in due time, he will find a solution for his succession but Rhaenys, worried, warns him that there may not be time, since they are at war and Corlys could die without a successor, but Corlys assures his wife that it is a good sailor and says goodbye.[18]

Corlys is still working on the Sea Snake, alongside Alyn when his wife, Rhaenys appears at the port, and begins talking to Alyn. Corlys interrupts the discussion, and Alyn leaves, then he and his wife begin to argue about Alyn herself and Rhaenys reveals that he knows who Alyn really is, and that she is not responsible for his past; He advises Corlys to give him a position of honor instead of hiding him, to which Corlys remains in a defensive posture, asking his wife if she is coming to question him.[19]

Rhaenys reveals that she has come there to inform Corlys that her granddaughter, Baela, summons them both to Dragonstone to help try to keep the Council under control, as Baela fears that she and Jacaerys will not be strong enough to assume command in the absence of Rhaenyra.[19]


Corlys is a shrewd man. Despite his several disagreements with King Viserys, he remains loyal to the crown.[4] Although he highly values his legacy,[14] he places blood over power.[4]


Spoken by Corlys[]

"To elude a storm, you can either sail into it, or around it. But you must never await its coming."
―Corlys Velaryon[src]
"The crown was yours until those fools at the Great Council plucked it from your head. Is it such a terrible thing for your husband to wish to win it back?"
―Corlys Velaryon, to Rhaenys[src]
"What is this brief mortal life, if not the pursuit of legacy?"
―Corlys Velaryon[src]
"History does not remember blood. It remembers names."
―Corlys Velaryon[src]
"Hope is the fool's ally."
―Corlys Velaryon[src]

Spoken about Corlys[]

Viserys: "Ever since my name was read by the archmaesters at the Great Council, I have felt Corlys Velaryon's envious gaze staring at me from across the Blackwater."
Lyonel: "You sit upon the highest seat in the realm, Your Grace. Proud men don't like having to look up."
— Viserys I Targaryen and Lyonel Strong[src]
"I fear nothing short of a direct line to the Iron Throne would satisfy him."
―Lyonel Strong, on Corlys[src]
"The Sea Snake is an over-proud man, to be sure, Your Grace."
―Mellos, to Viserys, on Corlys[src]
"Legacy may be why you live your life, Corlys."
―Rhaenys, on Corlys and his ambition[src]



Aenys I
House Targaryen





House Targaryen/House of the Dragon


House Targaryen/House of the Dragon

Daemon Targaryen


Famtree-Jacaerys Velaryon

Famtree-Lucerys Velaryon


Famtree-Baela Targaryen
House Targaryen/House of the Dragon

Famtree-Rhaena Targaryen
House Targaryen/House of the Dragon


1 While Jacaerys, Lucerys, and Joffrey are officially Laenor's, he and Rhaenyra never had any biological issue. Their three sons were in fact fathered by Harwin Strong.

Behind the scenes[]

Corlys Velaryon was revealed to be a lead character in House of the Dragon on December 11, 2020. On February 11, 2021, HBO announced that Steve Toussaint had been cast in the role for the series. His character description for Season 1 reads as follows:

"Lord of House Velaryon, a Valyrian bloodline as old as House Targaryen. As “The Sea Snake,” the most famed nautical adventurer in the history of Westeros, Lord Corlys built his house into a powerful seat that is even richer than the Lannisters and that claims the largest navy in the world."[20]

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, showrunner Ryan Condal addressed the decision to reimagine House Velaryon as black, revealing that it had in fact been George R.R. Martin's idea, and had been how the characters were originally envisioned in earlier drafts of A Song of Ice and Fire.[21]

His character description for Season 2 reads as follows:

"The most famed nautical adventurer in the history of Westeros, Lord Corlys built his house into a powerful seat that is even richer than the Lannisters and that claims the largest navy in the world."[22]

In the books[]

In Fire & Blood, Corlys was the son of Corwyn Velaryon. He was named after Ser Corlys Velaryon, the first Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. Corlys once sailed his Ice Wolf beyond the Wall but was unsuccessful in finding a northerly route around Westeros. He then sailed aboard his Sea Snake on multiple voyages to Essos, accumulating wealth from visits to Qarth, Yi Ti, and Leng. Corlys was the first Westerosi to visit Nefer in N'Ghai and to navigate the Thousand Islands. During his last travel, Corlys filled the Sea Snake's hold with gold and bought twenty more ships at Qarth, loading them with spices, elephants, and silk. Corlys took his sobriquet from his famous ship, the expeditions of which are described in Maester Mathis's The Nine Voyages.

Corlys became head of House Velaryon after the death of his grandsire, Daemon. Richer than Lords Lannister or Hightower through his expeditions, Corlys used his great wealth to construct a new seat, High Tide, where he stored his eastern treasures.

Corlys vacated his seat on the Small Council following Viserys's coronation; a response to the perceived insult of Rhaenys being passed over for the throne. House Velaryon as a whole remains isolated from the royal court, preferring the solitude of Driftmark. The TV series has altered this somewhat, depicting the Velaryons as being a prominent fixture at court, while retaining Corlys's outspoken bitterness at the realm's rejection of his wife. He eventually left the royal court after Viserys chose to marry Alicent Hightower instead of Laena Velaryon.




  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 1: "The Heirs of the Dragon" (2022).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 10: "The Black Queen" (2022).
  3. 3.0 3.1 GameofThrones (August 5, 2022). Before the Dance: An Illustrated History with George R.R. Martin | House of the Dragon (HBO). YouTube. Retrieved April 7, 2023.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Corlys Velaryon. HBO. Retrieved March 15, 2023.
  5. House of the Dragon: Season 2, Episode 5: "Regent" (2024).
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 2: "The Rogue Prince" (2022).
  7. 7.0 7.1 House of the Dragon: Season 2, Episode 2: "Rhaenyra the Cruel" (2024).
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 3: "Second of His Name" (2022).
  9. Character Guide. HBO. Retrieved March 15, 2023.
  10. Game of Thrones: House of the Dragon: Inside the Creation of a Targaryen Dynasty - The Princess and the Queen
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 5: "We Light the Way" (2022).
  12. File:HotD Jade Gates Map.jpg
  13. 13.0 13.1 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 4: "King of the Narrow Sea" (2022).
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 7: "Driftmark" (2022).
  15. 15.0 15.1 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 8: "The Lord of the Tides" (2022).
  16. House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 9: "The Green Council" (2022).
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 House of the Dragon: Season 2, Episode 1: "A Son for a Son" (2024).
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 House of the Dragon: Season 2, Episode 3: "The Burning Mill" (2024).
  19. 19.0 19.1 House of the Dragon: Season 2, Episode 4: "The Red Dragon and the Gold" (2024).
  20. Unknown author (Unknown date). House of the Dragon S1 | Character Descriptions. Warner Bros. Discovery. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  22. Unknown author (Unknown date). House of the Dragon S2 | Character Descriptions. Warner Bros. Discovery. Retrieved June 5, 2024.
  23. House of the Dragon Season 2 | Episode 6 Preview | Max
  24. Wake the Dragon (November 6, 2023). 🚨🐉 HotD season 2 finale news!. X. Retrieved December 10, 2023.


  1. Corlys Velaryon is stated to be in his 50s in the script for "The Heirs of the Dragon;" therefore, he was born between 53 and 62 AC.
  2. In "A Son for a Son," Daemon Targaryen and Otto Hightower mention that days have passed since Viserys Targaryen and Lucerys Velaryon's deaths. Unlike the first season, no major time jumps are expected; therefore, House of the Dragon: Season 2 takes place in 132 AC.
  3. Conjecture based on information from Fire & Blood; may be subject to change.
  4. High Valyrian: Korlys Velarion

External links[]

Preceded by Lord of the Tides and Master of Driftmark Incumbent
Heir apparent:
Joffrey Velaryon
Preceded by
Master of Ships
? - 112 AC
Succeeded by