The premiere date for HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon is rapidly approaching (it will debut on August 21st, for those who have yet to mark their calendars). And although the basics of the world of Westeros will be familiar to even the most casual of Game of Thrones fans, the political and personal landscape of the story will undoubtedly be drastically different.
Many of the major players in House of the Dragon will already be familiar to viewers, or at least their Houses will. However, there are some individuals and some families who many Game of Thrones fans might have never even heard of that will be at the forefront of the story. These are all of the big-name Houses that will be massively influential in House of the Dragon, but didn’t even warrant a mention in Game of Thrones.
Steffon Darklyn is the only character from the family thus far who has been cast in a role for House of The Dragon (and he’ll be played by actor Anthony Flanagan), but he’s undoubtedly going to be a power player in the series given his position within House Targaryen.
Steffon will almost certainly start off the story as a member of Viserys I’s Kingsguard, and once battle breaks out between the two factions of House Targaryen, he will become Lord Commander of Rhaenyra Targaryen’s Queensguard. Although Steffon will be the most prominent Darklyn in the series, House Darklyn is a noble house from the crownlands, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to see more of them in King’s Landing either.
House Beesbury may have never been relevant to Game of Thrones, but fans who are familiar with the entire Song of Ice and Fire universe will likely have heard the name before. The Beesburys call Honeyholt in the Reach their home, and they are sworn to House Hightower.
Lyman Beesbury, played by Bill Paterson, is the only Beesbury who has been cast so far, but it comes as no surprise to see his name on the cast list given that he was master of coin for decades, including during the reign of Viserys Targaryen. Given that House Hightower are his overlords, it seems logical that he would take their side in the oncoming conflict, but given his close relationship with the Targaryens, his allegiances might not be so clear.
Again, House Westerling may be a name that some Game of Thrones viewers have never heard, but fans of the book series will undoubtedly take notice of their mention in House of the Dragon, as Robb Stark’s wife in A Song of Ice and Fire was not Talisa Maegyr, but in fact Jeyne Westerling.
However, Harrold is the Westerling who is meant to take the stage on House of the Dragon. Played by Outlander’s Graham McTavish, Harrold Westerling was Lord Commander of the Kingsguard while Viserys was king, however, he was succeeded by Criston Cole.
Fabien Frankel is set to play Criston Cole on the upcoming Game of Thrones spinoff, and while House Cole isn’t particularly legendary in its own right, Criston definitely won some glory for his relatively minor house throughout the Dance of the Dragons.
Originally from the Stormlands (which is also home to recognizable GoT houses like House Baratheon and House Tarth), Criston made the move to King’s Landing and throughout his journey actually earned the nickname Criston the Kingmaker. Based on that alone, it should be obvious what kind of an impact Ser Cole will have on the story.
A house that ironically didn’t live up to their surname (as they were extinct by the time of Game of Thrones), House Strong actually was a major player in Westeros for quite a while. Their seat was at Harrenhal in the Riverlands, making them both a very powerful and wealthy house and another family who fell victim to the supposed curse of Harrenhal.
There are already multiple Strongs on the cast list for House of the Dragon, so it’s obvious that they’re going to be one of the most significant houses in the story going forward, and their alleged connections to the Targaryens might be the source of great political intrigue.
The Velaryons were one of the most powerful houses in Westeros when the Targaryens reigned, which should come as no surprise, because they were one of the few Valyrian noble houses in the Seven Kingdoms outside of the Targaryens.
As a result of their noble Valyrian blood, the Targaryens were fairly keen to marriages with the Velaryons (that is, when they weren’t busy marrying each other), which also puts them front and center for House of the Dragon. Outside of the Targaryens, the Velaryons make up the bulk of House of the Dragon‘s cast of characters thus far.
Game of Thrones gave the slightest nod to House Hightower when they showed a landscape shot of Oldtown when Sam first arrived, which also included the unfathomably tall and impressive home to the Hightowers. The Hightowers are from the Reach and they are an ancient, extremely powerful, and potentially magical family who has been in Westeros far longer than nearly every other noble family still in existence.
Although they spent most of their time building power in subtler ways, House of the Dragon features the Hightowers at their most prominent. Otto and Alicent Hightower will absolutely be two of the biggest power players in the series, and the major conflict of the story, at least at the start, will be about Rhaenyra’s status as Viserys’ heir, a position that Alicent believes should belong to her son with Viserys.