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"House Velaryon's origins reach back to Old Valyria. More ancient even than House Targaryen according to some texts. But unlike the Targaryens, we were no dragonlords. For centuries, my house had to scratch out an existence from the sea with grit and luck."
Corlys Velaryon to Daemon Targaryen[src]

House Velaryon[3][b][c] of Driftmark is a noble house of Valyrians in the Crownlands, and one of the few houses of the Seven Kingdoms besides the Targaryens that originated in Essos. They rule Driftmark, an island in Blackwater Bay located west of Dragonstone. Their seat, High Tide, is located on a small island off the coast of Driftmark. Their words are "The Old, the True, the Brave."[a][2]

History[]

Background[]

BtD AIH Velaryon Ships 1

The Velaryons are famed seafarers and traders.

House Velaryon is a noble house of Valyrian origin with a bloodline as old as that of House Targaryen,[4] possibly older.[5] Although they were not dragonlords, and thus not among the top ruling families, they were important to the trade and commerce of the Valyrian Freehold. They settled on the island of Driftmark before the Targaryens settled on the neighboring island Dragonstone, as a trade outpost between Valyria and the petty kingdoms of Westeros. The Velaryons developed a strong maritime tradition, gradually expanding their fishing and merchant fleets until they controlled much of the sea traffic in Blackwater Bay. They were staunch allies of the Targaryens during Aegon's Conquest and afterwards a Velaryon frequently served as Master of Ships - as the Velaryon fleet on its own comprises almost half of the warships in all of Westeros.[6]

While the Velaryons were important vassals to the Targaryens and members of their inner circle in the early decades after the Conquest, it was Corlys Velaryon who single-handedly elevated their wealth and power to match that of any of the eight Great Houses in the Seven Kingdoms. Lord Corlys personally sailed on nine great voyages of exploration and trade to the far corners of the known world, and returned with such treasures that within a generation House Velaryon became the richest family in the entire realm - even moreso than ancient families such as House Lannister and House Hightower.[4] With his new wealth, Corlys commissioned the construction of High Tide, a grand island-castle off the coast of Driftmark, leaving behind his ancestral seat at Castle Driftmark.[7]

Corlys's influence and reputation were so great that he even married Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, the first grandchild of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen. After both of the old king's sons died, he held the Great Council at Harrenhal in order to avoid a succession conflict between his grandchildren. Corlys supported his wife's claim, but she lost by an overwhelming vote to her cousin Viserys I Targaryen - son of her father's younger brother, and thus an unbroken male line. The Velaryons grudgingly accepted the clear result of the council, but even years later there were still lords in Westeros who felt that Rhaenys - and by extension her children with Corlys - still held the rightful claim to the throne.[3]

House of the Dragon: Season 1[]

Under Corlys's leadership, House Velaryon wages the War for the Stepstones against the Triarchy, though without the crown's sanction.[8] After Princess Rhaenys persuades him to support Rhaenyra, Corlys declares his house and navy for Rhaenyra and Blacks at the start of the Dance of the Dragons. Having driven back the Triarchy from the Stepstones, the Velaryons gain a monopoly on the Narrow Sea, allowing them to blockade the Gullet and cut off shipping to King's Landing.[9]

Game of Thrones: Season 2[]

House Velaryon supports Stannis Baratheon in his struggle for the Iron Throne.[10]

Relationships[]

Members[]

Corlys

Lord Corlys Velaryon wearing the crest of his House.

Household and retainers[]

  • Maester Kelvyn, counselor, healer, and tutor.
  • Lady Baela Targaryen, the granddaughter and ward of Lord Corlys and Princess Rhaenys.

Historical members[]

Military strength[]

By the reign of King Viserys I Targaryen, House Velaryon maintained the Velaryon fleet, which had become one of the crown's most important assets, having a claim to nearly half of the entire realm's ships.[5] After three years of the War for the Stepstones, House Velaryon had sixty knights, 700 men-at-arms, and at least sixteen to eighteen seaworthy ships for the final assault in the siege of Bloodstone, though more ships could be sent from Driftmark. House Velaryon also possessed the dragon Seasmoke, ridden by Corlys's son Laenor.[8]

Family tree[]

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
House-Velaryon-Square
Daemon
Velaryon

Deceased
 
House-Velaryon-Square
Lady
Velaryon
Deceased
 
Famtree-AenysTargaryen
Aenys I
Targaryen
House Targaryen
Deceased
 
House-Velaryon-Square
Alyssa
Velaryon

Deceased
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
House-Velaryon-Square
Corwyn
Velaryon

Deceased
 
House-Velaryon-Square
Wife

Deceased
 
House-Targaryen-Square
House
Targaryen


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Famtree-CorlysVelaryon
Corlys
Velaryon


 
Famtree-RhaenysVelaryon
Rhaenys
Targaryen
House Targaryen/House of the Dragon
Deceased
 
Famtree-VaemondVelaryon
Vaemond
Velaryon

Deceased
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Famtree-LaenorVelaryon
Laenor
Velaryon
1

 
Famtree-RhaenyraTargaryen
Rhaenyra
Targaryen
House Targaryen/House of the Dragon

 
Famtree-DaemonTargaryen
Daemon
Targaryen
Daemon Targaryen

 
Famtree-LaenaVelaryon
Laena
Velaryon

Deceased
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Famtree-Jacaerys Velaryon
Jacaerys
Velaryon


 
Famtree-Lucerys Velaryon
Lucerys
Velaryon

Deceased
 
Famtree-JoffreyVelaryon
Joffrey
Velaryon


 
Famtree-Baela Targaryen
Baela
Targaryen
House Targaryen/House of the Dragon

 
Famtree-Rhaena Targaryen
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.

In the books[]

House Velaryon ASOIAF

The Velaryon coat of arms in the A Song of Ice and Fire novels.

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, House Velaryon's heraldry depicts a silver seahorse on sea green (though there is some fandom debate on what exactly Martin's meant by "sea green" as this can refer to several shades). In an interview about heraldry given in 1999, before the third novel was published, Martin confirmed that the specific design is a real life seahorse, not one of several "heraldic" seahorse designs which were used in the real middle ages, depicting a creature half-horse on top and half-fish on the bottom. The House of the Dragon TV series changed this, to depict a heraldic fantasy-seahorse. House Velaryon's motto does not appear in the books, but according to semi-canon sources their words are "The Old, the True, the Brave".

House Velaryon is a vassal family of the Targaryens that followed them from Valyria before its destruction. According to some accounts, they settled Driftmark island as a trading outpost to mainland Westeros long before the Targaryens settled on nearby Dragonstone. The Velaryons were lower-ranking nobles and never dragonlords themselves, instead seeking their fortunes as merchant seafarers. Over time they came to command the Targaryens' fleets, and after the Targaryen Conquest, a Velaryon served as Master of Ships for the Targaryen kings so frequently that it was practically a hereditary office.

As a fellow Valyrian House, the Targaryens often intermarried with the Velaryons (if no Targaryen sibling or cousin was available to marry in the current generation). Aegon I Targaryen's own mother was Valaena Velaryon, and it is stated that Valaena's mother was herself an as-yet-unnamed Targaryen. Later, Aegon I's son and heir Aenys Targaryen married his cousin Alyssa Velaryon, who was mother of all of his children including Jaehaerys I Targaryen (it isn't clear what degree of cousin Alyssa was, but even first cousin marriage isn't considered incest in Westeros). The Velaryons may not have been as strict about blood purity as the Targaryens at the time (to the point of incest), as Alyssa's own mother was Alarra Massey - an Andal woman from the Stormlands. Through her, Alyssa's daughter Alysanne Targaryen (Jaehaerys I's sister-wife and queen) didn't have classic Valyrian features of silver-white blonde hair and purple eyes, but Andal features of honey-blonde hair and blue eyes.

As a wealthy and ancient family, there are many minor branches of House Velaryon and numerous "minor Velaryon cousins" who pop up during the course of Fire & Blood as the need arises. A full official family tree was not provided, so even book fandom had some difficulty sorting out the complicated family tree between the Conquest and the Dance of the Dragons - yet in brief, major figures include:

  • Daemon Velaryon was commander of Aegon I's fleet during the Conquest, but was killed fighting the Arryn fleet. His eldest son Aethan succeeded him, while his second son Corlys became the first Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. Daemon had several younger sons, however, from whom several minor Velaryon cousins descend.
  • Aethan married Alarra Massey, and named his eldest son "Daemon" after his own father. His daughter Alyssa married Aenys Targaryen - and after his death, later remarried to Rogar Baratheon, giving birth to Boremund Baratheon and Jocelyn Baratheon, mother of Rhaenys Targaryen. Aethan also had younger sons, who are also the source of minor Velaryon cousins.
    • Rhaenys Targaryen later married Corlys Velaryon, the Sea Snake: through Jocelyn, Alyssa Velaryon was her maternal grandmother. Corlys's own paternal grandfather Daemon Velaryon was Alyssa's brother. Thus Rhaenys and Corlys are second cousins, though even first cousin marriage isn't considered incest in Westeros.
  • Daemon Velaryon, grandson of Aegon I's Daemon Velaryon, succeeded his father at some point during the reign of Maegor the Cruel. He served the tyrant grudgingly but was the first major lord to turn against him during Maegor's final downfall. Daemon continued to serve as Master of Ships into Jaehaerys I's reign, only leaving that office in 50 AC when he was promoted to Hand of the King. Following Alyssa's death in childbirth in 54 AC, he resigned from the small council to spend more time with his family - yet he lived for over three more decades, dying when he was 88 years old. Daemon caught the Shivers plague when it gutted Westeros in 59 AC, but was one of the few who survived it.
  • Through as-yet unclear circumstances, Daemon Velaryon was directly succeeded by his grandson Corlys Velaryon as lord of Driftmark. Like Daemon, Corlys was also named after a famous ancestor (his great-grandfather's brother on the Kingsguard). Daemon Velaryon had three sons - Corwyn, Jorgen, and Victor - and at least four daughters. His second son and three of these daughters died from the Shivers, though they may have had children of their own before that. Corwyn was apparently Corlys's father. From his father's younger brother and sisters, however, numerous minor Velaryon cousins descend.
  • Corlys Velaryon himself (a legendary seafarer known as "the Sea Snake") had two unnamed brothers, from whom yet more minor Velaryon cousins descend - though not so minor, as this close to the main branch several of them play roles in the narrative. Corlys's first brother had one known son, producing his nephew Vaemond Velaryon, who himself had two sons. Corlys's second brother produced three other nephews. Several had children of their own. Vaemond's sons and the three other nephews would later be known as the "Silent Five".
    • The House of the Dragon TV series condensed the many "minor Velaryon cousins" and lesser branches of the family, so that "Vaemond Velaryon" is now simply Corlys's younger brother instead of his nephew.

In contrast to other houses, who were politically active at the Targaryen era (House Strong, House Cole, etc.) House Velaryon still exists by the time of the War of the Five Kings: the Game of Thrones TV series simply cut them out entirely, much as they cut out House Hightower (even though Margaery and Loras's mother Alerie Hightower is still alive and appears in the books). In spite of their close associations with the Targaryens, the Velaryons were allowed to keep their lands and titles following Robert's Rebellion, though they no longer served on Robert's small council: instead, Robert installed his brother Stannis the new Master of Ships, lord of Dragonstone, and overlord of the other maritime Houses from the isles in Blackwater Bay.

In sharp contrast to the prominence of House Velaryon during the Targaryen era, in the Baratheon era its role is very minor and insignificant.

At the time of A Clash of Kings, the head of House Velaryon is Lord Monford, who seems to be a loyal, if tedious, vassal of Stannis: he supports Stannis's claim to the Iron Throne,[12] and is killed in the Battle of the Blackwater.[13] His son and heir Monterys is only a young boy. Yet Monford left behind a much older, bastard son named Aurane Waters. He bends the knee after the Battle of the Blackwater,[14] and Cersei foolishly names him as the new Master of Ships (mainly because he reminds her of Rhaegar),[15] only for him to later abscond with her new and expensive fleet after she is arrested by the Faith Militant - apparently to set himself up as a pirate lord in the Stepstones.[16]

Race[]

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.[17]

Gallery[]

References[]

Notes[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 High Valyrian: Uēpyr, Drējor, Nēdȳr
  2. High Valyrian: Velario Lentrot
  3. [vɛlˈɑriɒn] Vel-ARE-ee-on
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Prince Jacaerys, Prince Lucerys, and Prince Joffrey are claimed to be the trueborn children of Princess Rhaenyra and Laenor Velaryon, though are in fact the bastard children of Rhaenyra and Ser Harwin Strong. The rumor of their true birth has been spread by the Greens and others across the realm, though they are acknowledged by King Viserys I Targaryen as his trueborn grandchildren.

External links[]


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