Episode 8 of House of the Dragon has the title ‘Lord of the Tides’ This title refers to the head of House Velaryon, who rules at Driftmark. The current lord of Driftmark is Corlys Velaryon, nicknamed The Sea Snake. Among the members of his household is Vaemond Velaryon, whose first appearance was in Episode 3. From the trailer preview of Episode 8, it is evident that Vaemond will play a large role moving forward. This article explains everything we know about Vaemond Velaryon so far, and what his role may be in upcoming episodes.
SPOILER ALERT: The article contains spoilers for House of the Dragon. Consider yourself warned.
Who is Vaemond Velaryon?
Ser Vaemond Velarton is the younger brother of Lord Corlys Velaryon. Actor Wil Johnson plays him in House of the Dragon.
We first saw Vaemond in Episode 3, ‘The Second of his Name’ during the War for the Stepstones. House Velaryon allied with Prince Daemon to fight the war against the Crabfeeder, Cragas Drahar, against whom they were losing. The son of Corlys, Laenor Velaryon, suggested ambushing Drahar. Vaemond asked his nephew who would be willing to undertake such a dangerous task. Laenor said that Daemon would do it, to which Vaemond angrily responded that Daemon was the reason they were losing the war.
Laenor said that Daemon was, at least, fighting the war, whereas Vaemond was only complaining. Vaemond then loudly asked why anyone should support daemon when even King’s Landing did not. He made sure that the army of soldiers assembled there could hear him. At this point, Corlys sternly told Vaemond that despite him being his blood, he would not allow him to start a mutiny. This established a feeling of dislike between Vaemond and his brother and nephew. It also displayed Vaemond’s ambition to rise above his brother.
His next appearance was in Episode 7, where he read the eulogy for Laena Velaryon’s funeral. The last line of his eulogy spoke of how Velaryon blood is of salt, and should never thin. At this, Daemon burst out laughing. The reason for this is most likely that the heirs to Driftmark, Laenor’s sons Jacaerys and Lucerys are not his true-born sons. They are the bastard sons of Rhaenyra and Harwin Strong. Though Daemon found this amusing, it no doubt angered Vaemond and strengthened his dislike towards Daemon.
Vaemond’s potential role in upcoming episodes
Based on all these cues, there is heavy speculation that Vaemond will betray his brother in the coming episodes. There is a basis for this in the text of the books as well. In the previous episode, Rhaenys tried to convince Corlys to name their granddaughter Baela the heir to Driftmark. This is because she is the true-born daughter of Laena, whereas Lucerys and Jacaerys are bastards and not of Laenor’s blood. With Laenor now presumed dead, Lucerys is next in line to being the heir of Driftmark. In the trailer, we hear that Corlys is ill due to a wound he took during a battle in the Stepstones.
We also see Vaemond questioning Rhaenys, who is sitting on the Driftwood Throne, about who will be heir after Corlys. We also see Jacaerys and Lucerys turning as they see someone walking through the castle doors. The trailer reveals it to be Vaemond, flanked by Hightower soldiers rather than the city guard. It is most likely that he is there to question the legitimacy of the two Strong boys as heirs to the Driftwood Throne. Also in the previous episode, at Laena’s funeral, we saw Corlys telling Luke that he would inherit the Driftwood Throne.
It is very likely by this point that Vaemond will betray House Velaryon, who aligned with Rhaenyra and the Blacks. He will instead join Alicent and the Greens. The reason for his claim will be that the heirs to Driftmark are not of Velaryon blood, as their real father is Harwin Strong. As Corlys has stated, he does not care about this as he believes that history remembers names, not blood. Thus, Vaemond will join the Greens as they will support his claim of deposing the sons of Rhaenyra from inheriting Driftmark and the Iron Throne.
Vaemond in the books
In the books, Vaemond Velaryon was not the brother of Corlys, but rather his nephew, being the son of Corlys’s brother. It is most likely that the show changed this to avoid confusion. Corlys fell seriously ill due to a fever, six years after his children Laena and Laenor had died. Vaemond claimed that Rhaenyra had committed adultery and that Laenor’s sons were not of Velaryon blood. Due to this, he believed that the Driftwood Throne should pass to him instead.
In doing so, he completely ignored the existence of Laena’s true-born daughters Baela and Rhaena. This is most likely due to the tradition in the seven kingdoms that a woman could not be the head of a house. A similar occurrence happened with Baela and Rhaena’s grandmother, Rhaenys Targaryen. She was passed over in the line of succession for her cousin Viserys, earning her the title of The Queen that Never Was. This tradition carried on well until Game of Thrones when Balon Greyjoy’s daughter Yara staked her claim to become Queen of the Iron Islands. She eventually lost in the Kingsmoot to her brother Euron.
In the books, after Vaemond claimed that Rhaenyra’s sons were illegitimate, she took steps to stop him from causing further trouble. Rhaenyra sent her husband Daemon to capture Vaemond and bring him back alive. She then beheaded Vaemond and fed him to Syrax, her dragon. Later, her father King Viserys removed the tongues of Vaemond’s younger cousins for spreading the rumours about his grandsons.