Before release first episode On House of the Dragon, we distinctly remember that one of the cast members said that the series is a standalone person, not a complete adaptation of the book. At that moment, we were completely stunned by the audacity of the creators who tried to make something like this, especially after the epic disaster that was the finale of Game of Thrones. In building the world of George R.R. Martin, there is no room for mediocre writing by mere mortals. And that’s why we’re cautious about our expectations of the show. However, we have to admit that the first two episodes put us at ease somewhat. Even though there were variations from the book, they were clever ones that only upped the stakes for the characters and increased the audience’s investment in the show. We’re especially excited to see how Corlis Velaryon’s character develops. He is arguably the richest man in the Seven Kingdoms, and with great wealth comes big politics and spicy one-liners that will be part of pop culture for years to come. After all, House of the Dragon will play Game of Thrones and they either win or die, no middle ground.
Regarding the “Fire and Blood” portion on which the show is based, George R. R. Martin said it was a sketchy record of Targaryen history, as the people who recorded it were Septon Eustace and Mushroom, the court jester. Their stories have been partly corroborated by others, and that is enough to understand that they are not completely false, despite being based on hearsay and hearsay. But Corlis Velaryon’s storyline is more based on economics, politics, and a dismissive attitude towards pride due to family ties.
Let’s start with Corlis Velaryon. At one point, his family was the wealthiest in all of Westeros, his wealth surpassing that of the Lannisters of Casterly Rock and the Tyrells of Highgarden. He is still considered one of the richest men in Westeros. Although the Velaryons are the family of old Valyria, like the Targaryens, they were never dragon riders, and therefore did not sit on the Iron Throne. However, the Velaryons are a family of sailors, and it is said that no one in this family has traveled the sea in the way Corlis Velaryon did. He had a zest for life and all it had to offer, which also meant that he was an ambitious man, so he naturally yearned for the highest seat of power in all of Westeros. A man like him hates to be responsible to anyone but himself. But this is not possible when you have a king whose policies and decisions are directly related to your trade and your position in life.
Corlis Velarion was something of a master of the seas. He increased the wealth of his household by leaps and bounds through his travels around the world. And the Three Sisters, named Sweet Sister, Long Sister, and Little Sister, played a crucial role in Corlis’ trade in Westeros. To learn a bit of history about them, the Isles owe their loyalty to House Arryn of the Vale, although as Davos Seaworth said in Game of Thrones, they are loyal to no one but themselves. Geographically, the Sisters are located south of White Harbor and north of the Mountains of the Moon. People there are called “sister people”, and some of them have membranes on their hands and feet, which they call “The Mark”. Ships constantly ply between the Sisters and White Harbor. They sell crabs, fish and goat cheese in exchange for wood, wool and hides. Beacons are lit along the shore to warn passing ships of danger. Currently, Kragas Dahar, better known as Kragas the Crab Eater., wreaked havoc, thereby luring the ships into the wreckage for their cargo. Some of these ships are under the banner of Bealrion, inflicting heavy losses on the house. It was not just the ruin of ports; it is also an indirect loss of reputation for Corlis. Kragas Dahar is the leader of the Triarchy, comprising the three cities of Lys, Mir, and Tyrosh. He had taken over the Steps ten years prior to the events of House of the Dragon, and the Crown had largely turned a blind eye to his actions. In the first episode, we see that Corlis Velaryon is concerned about the power of the Triarchy over the Three Sisters. We know why: at the beginning of “House of the Dragon” Episode 2.
Corlis has always been known to be both adventurous and ambitious. He sailed to Volantis and the Summer Isles, Braavos, and even went over the wall, though he could not find a route around Westeros in the Shivering Sea. He was named “Sea Serpent” after the ship he personally designed and built. For a man like him, even the sky is not the limit. And he found a worthy wife in Rhaenys Targaryen, a woman who shared his zeal and taste for life and matched his ambitions with hers.
Rhaenys herself was called “The queen that never wasby the aforementioned Mushroom. She was passed over as queen, and her son was given over to Balon’s son Viserys to succeed to the Iron Throne after Jaheris I. This set the ironclad precedent in Westeros that neither a female heir nor the sons and daughters of a female heiress could inherit the throne. Fungus knows that there was no difference between Viserys and Rhaenys other than their gender, and it’s safe to assume that Rainy never suffered from the bouts of indecision that Viserys was often prone to, which would have made her a much better ruler. But this was not destined to happen, because, despite all the Knowledge that the Targaryens are closer to the gods, they were just people who fell into the trap of the customs and traditions of man. Twice the House of Velaryon was considered unworthy of the Crown. And once again when Viserys refused to marry their daughter Laena and chose Alicent Hightower as his queen.
We know that Westeros is a fictional world with a morality different from ours. But encouraging pedophilia for the sake of power is something we refuse to accept. Laena Velaryon was 12 years old, and it would have been a greater crime to marry her than to reject her. We doubt that Korlis or even Rhaenys ever cared for their children, or that they were just another way to achieve what they thought they were denied time and time again. The obvious discomfort that Viserys experienced at the thought of marrying a 12-year-old girl was sorely missed by her parents. We think for a moment that if Alicente Hightower weren’t in the picture, would it have mattered to Viserys that he had to marry a child? Probably not, because the audacity of Corlis Velaryon and Rhaenys Targaryen’s proposal had to be backed by common or acceptable practice. We never heard anyone but Viserys object to Laena’s age. Naturally, this is the third time Corlis has felt offended by the king. This was simply an insult added to the trauma of the King’s inaction on the Triarch’s actions in the Stairs, which were causing permanent damage to House Velaryon’s trade.
So he took matters into his own hands, for what he could control. He decided that if the King did not stop the losses for his business, he would do it himself, with the help of Damon Targaryen. We know from the book that Miseria loses her baby in her womb when she is sent back to Lys by order of the king. After the death of his wife, Damon marries Laena Velaryon. But in the series, Mizeria apparently cannot have children. She says she “made sure she wasn’t bothered by childbirth” long ago, which we understand means she did something to make sure she didn’t have children. It is possible that the story will continue and she will be sent back to Lys. However, in the book, Damon’s heart hardened against Viserys when his child was lost at sea. Here it can happen when Damon and Lord Corlis join forces to fight the Crab Eater. We know that Corlis and Damon have been in a long-term relationship, and this is the start of it. For the time being, it remains that Damon must protect his falling station. So he can just turn the tide in his favor by setting the stage for a future alliance with House Velaryon right now. However, we have to say that Damon in the book wasn’t someone who could think that far ahead. But the character of Corlis Velaryon may be the most interesting, and we can’t wait to see his story on screen.
We can say that the history of this fictional world is written by Septon Eustace, Mushroom, Martin and Ryan Condal. Very small deviations from the book that could lead to a completely different story arc. As stated earlier, we are very cautiously optimistic about the House of the Dragon. And we can’t wait to see what it offers. Our only prayer is that if he doesn’t create TV history like Game of Thrones did, at least he won’t be the disaster that his parent show’s finale was.