In episode 4 of House of the Dragon, we saw dozens of suitors lined up to ask for Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen’s hand in marriage. But, only one came out on top, even though it was a political move. Rhaenyra is set to be betrothed to Laenor Velaryon in an attempt for their houses to have cordial relations once again. Laenor Velaryon is the only son of Princess Rhaenys Targaryen and Corlys Velaryon. This makes Rhaenyra and Laenor cousins, but it’s nothing out of the ordinary for Targaryens.
Laenor Velaryon’s Claim to the Iron Throne
House of the Dragon is adapted from George R.R. Martin’s book Fire & Blood. In the book, he is described as having purple eyes, pale skin, and pale silver hair, very typical of Valyrians having old blood. He was Rhaenys and Corlys’ youngest child and heir to the throne of Driftmark. He was born in 94 AC, making him around seven years old at the time of the Great Council. Princess Rhaenys was the eldest child of Prince Aemon Targaryen, the heir to the throne after King Jaehaerys I. But, after Prince Aemon’s untimely death, his brother, Baelon Targaryen, was appointed King, seeing as Rhaenys and her firstborn were both females. After Baelon’s death, the Great Council had to be convened because he was a second son.
Out of the 14 claims to the Iron Throne, the Great Council only found two of them worth pondering over. The two claims were of Baelon’s eldest son, Prince Viserys Targaryen, and Laenor Velaryon’s. Laenor Velaryon was the first son to the eldest child of King Jaehaerys I’s first heir. The Velaryons bribed many people on the Great Council to ensure Laenor’s succession. But Laenor was only seven years old and the great-grandchild of King Jaehaerys, whereas Viserys was already 24 years old and was the grandson of the King. Thus in a landslide vote, Viserys became the new heir and now King.
His Marriage To Rhaenyra
Although officially, Rhaenyra had three children in her marriage to Laenor, it was widely believed that he was not the father. It was no secret that Laenor had no interest in women; this was simply a political marriage. Laenor preferred to surround himself with young and handsome squires. He and Rhaenyra spent very little time together. Instead, he spent most of his time in Driftmark, with his squires to give him company. Laenor was also a dragon rider. He considered his dragon, Seasmoke, his pride.
It was widely believed that all of his children with Rhaenyra were fathered by Ser Harwin Strong, her sworn shield at the time. Laenor himself was primarily unbothered by these claims.
What can we expect from him in the series
This marriage alliance between Rhaenyra and Laenor’s houses is further strengthened by Laena Velaryon’s marriage to Daemon Targaryen. With these two houses closely intertwined, the House Velaryon stands with Princess Rhaenyra’s claim to the throne. Laenor Velaryon dies in 120 AC before the Dance of the Dragons begins. But this marriage ensures that the black faction (Rhaenyra’s side) has the power and wealth of House Velaryon on its side.
As Rhaenyra’s husband, he fulfilled his obligations by appearing at the court for important events. Since he is also a Knight, we can expect him to show up to any battles involving Targaryens before his death. After his death, his dragon is claimed by one of Laenor’s bastards. Together, they play a vital role in the ultimate war, Dance of the Dragons.