How Old Are the House of the Dragon Characters Supposed to Be?

Minor spoilers ahead.

Watching a series as complex as House of the Dragon may understandably raise a plethora of questions, such as, why is there a Rhaenys and a Rhaenyra in the same family? or, where is The Vale again? or, who are these other dudes on the Small Council? And after the series’ second and third episodes, you might’ve especially found yourself wondering, How old is everyone here?

It’s a fair query, considering episode 2 finds the adult King Viserys Targaryen announcing his plans to marry Alicent Hightower, who doesn’t appear to be much older than his teenage daughter. Before that, Viserys’ court was even pressuring him to wed 12-year-old Laena Velaryon for political purposes (yikes!), which he ultimately refused. By episode 3, Alicent is pregnant with her and Viserys’ second child, while his daughter is attracting older suitors of her own. Yes, this is a fantasy series loosely based on the Middle Ages, when the life expectancy was about 30 years and most people were getting betrothed in their early teens; but still, such an odd pairing in 2022 could raise eyebrows.

Not all the ages of the House of the Dragon characters are revealed outright in the show (so far). To add to the confusion, the actors aren’t necessarily the same age as their onscreen counterparts, and there are multiple time jumps in the first few episodes alone. How does one keep track?

Luckily, we can look to George R. R. Martin’s book Fire & Blood, the basis for the series, for a bit of guidance. Keep in mind, though, that some details might’ve been changed for the screen adaptation, which is currently airing weekly on HBO. What we do know is that Dragon begins in the year 101, when King Jaehaerys announces his grandson Viserys as his heir. Then the timeline jumps to the ninth year of King Viserys’ reign, and then forward half a year after Queen Aemma’s death, and then three years later to baby Aegon II’s second birthday name day. Here, we try to make sense of how the characters are aging through it all.

Alicent Hightower: According to Fire & Blood, Alicent, born around 88 years after Aegon’s Conquest (AC), arrives to King’s Landing when she is 13 years old to accompany her father, Otto, the Hand of the King. She is 17 when Queen Aemma dies and 18 when she becomes Viserys’ second wife. She’s nine years older than Princess Rhaenyra in the book, but seems closer to her in age in the TV series. Emily Carey, the actress who plays young Alicent, is 19 years old.

Rhaenyra Targaryen: In episode 2, Viserys says his daughter Rhaenyra is 15 years old. Then, following a time jump in episode 3, he mentions she is now 17 (and “of age” to marry). This marks a significant change from the book, which states that Rhaenyra was born in 97 AC, and would be only nine years old when her father marries Alicent. Milly Alcock, who plays young Rhaenyra, is 22.

Viserys Targaryen: In the book, Viserys, born 77 AC, marries 18-year-old Alicent shortly before he turns 30. They are 11 years apart in age. He seems to have been aged up in the screen adaptation, as Paddy Considine, who stars as Viserys in the series, is 49. But Viserys’ exact age hasn’t been confirmed onscreen yet.

Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey) and Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine).

HBO

Otto Hightower: In the books, Alicent’s father, born roughly around 76 AC, should be a year older than Viserys. That means he’s about 25 years old by the time Viserys is named heir, and is 30 when Alicent and Viserys marry. Otto’s age is also unconfirmed onscreen, but Rhys Ifans, the Notting Hill and Amazing Spider-Man star who plays him, is 55 years old.

Daemon Targaryen: Born in 81 AC, Daemon is supposed to be four years younger than Viserys, according to the chronology in Fire & Blood. Matt Smith, who portrays Daemon, is 39 years old.

Laena Velaryon: Her latest appearance in Dragon is in episode 2, where she is 12 years old (played by Nova Fouellis-Mosé). Laena doesn’t appear in episode 3, but is expected to return as a teenager and then as an adult later in the series, portrayed by actresses Savannah Steyn and Nanna Blondell, respectively.

Laenor Velaryon: The older son of Corlys and Rhaenys, and Laena’s older brother, may end up being Rhaenyra’s groom. (They do marry in Fire & Blood.) In the book, he’s only three years older than the princess. If that’s the same in the show, he’d be about 20 years old when we see him fighting in the Stepstones in episode 3.

Corlys Velaryon: Born in 53 AC in the book, the famed Sea Snake is supposed to be 48 when Jaehaerys names an heir. Actor Steve Toussaint somehow looks younger at age 57.

Rhaenys Targaryen: Born 74 AC in Fire & Blood, Princess Rhaenys was 27 when Jaehaerys passed her over as heir and named Viserys next in line for the throne instead. Eve Best, who plays “The Queen Who Never Was,” is regal at 51.

Ser Criston Cole: According to Martin’s The World of Ice and Fire, Ser Criston was born in 81 AC, making him 16 years Rhaenyra’s senior. Fabien Frankel, who portrays the knight onscreen, is 28 years old.

house of the dragon

Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) and Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel).

HBO

Jason Lannister: Jason is believed to have been born between 89 and 97 AC, which means he’d be anywhere from eight years older to the same age as Rhaenyra. Jefferson Hall, who plays Jason, is 44.

Aegon II Targaryen: The son of Viserys and Alicent is two years old when he’s first introduced in episode 3. We have a feeling he’ll grow up quickly before our eyes throughout the season.

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