If a Game of Thrones taught us anything, it’s never underestimate anyone close to the throne. Per Dragon Houseviewers should pay close attention to Corlis Velaryon (played by Steve Toussaint) – aka the “Sea Serpent” – a wealthy navigator, councilor of King Viserys I and husband of Princess Rhaenys Targaryen.
In a brief flashback from Episode 1, Rhaenys relinquishes his seat to the throne, and Viserys is instead elected head of Westeros. Though she seems to take it gracefully, Fire and bloodon which the series is based, shows that Rhaenys and her husband Corlis are not yet done with their fight for the throne.
Korlis is the lord of House Velaryon. The family runs Driftmark, the largest island in Blackwater Bay. They are also known for their impressive naval armies. Throughout history, they have been close allies of the Targaryens. AT Game of ThronesThe Velaryons are mostly in the background and serve as fierce supporters of Stannis Baratheon, whose brother, King Robert Baratheon, bequeathed Dragonstone, a castle in Blackwater Bay, to Stannis.
Korlis commands the largest fleet in Westeros.
Before taking his seat on the council of Viserys I, Corlis sailed all over Westeros. His exploits were vast, and he earned the nickname Sea Serpent when he built his own ship, aptly named the Sea Serpent. He eventually became a knight as well and married Rhaenys. Around the same time that Rhaenys became pregnant with their first child, King Jaehaerys I announced that Balon (Viserys’ father) would be his new heir, beating Rhaenys to the throne for the first time. Corlis was furious at this snub, leaving the royal council in particular. Although Corlis did not succeed in placing him on the throne (only consanguineous Targaryens would be a possible option), he still yearned for an opportunity to improve the status of his family.
The second time Rhaenys is not called queen can be seen in the first episode. Dragon House, after Bailon’s death. By that time, Korlis and Rhaenys already have two children – a girl named Laena and a boy named Laenor. This succession is decided by a vote among the various lords of Westeros. Though he uses his money and influence, Corlis is unable to make Laenor heir, and the title passes to Viserys instead.
Without spoiling too much about what’s to come, it’s important to know that Corlis wields impressive influence over the Lords of Westeros due to his martial prowess, wealth, and how close he is to the crown. With two children he can marry to powerful allies, and an army at his disposal, he will be an enticing supporter in Dragon House for Daemon or Rayneris, the two people most likely to be named the next rulers of Westeros.
His daughter Laena also plays an important role in Dragon House.
Laena is another member of the Corlis family who plays an integral role in the conflict over who will be Viserys’ heir. After Emma, Viserys’ wife, dies in childbirth, Corlis sees an opportunity for Laena to marry Viserys. However, Alycent Hightower, Rayneris’ best friend, quickly gains Viserys’ trust and eventually becomes the one he marries.
However, this is not the end of Corlis’s goal of marrying her off to a powerful man. Laena will reappear in Dragon Houseand win the favor of another major player in the fight for the crown.
Milan Polk is an Associate Editor for Men’s Health, specializing in entertainment and lifestyle reporting, and has worked for the Vulture and Chicago Tribune at New York Magazine.
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