After finishing off the latest season of Game of Thrones in early 2019 with Jon Snow getting rid of Daenerys, HBO left many fans somewhat disappointed as surely and certainly, Daenerys, Mother of Dragons, was a fan favorite.
So ending the show in such a way didn’t really sit well with the audiences, and some even demanded a remake. But what’s done was done and probably a remake of the last season was not possible.
However, what was possible, was a new spin-off of the series, one that showed what happened in history, and how the thirst for the famous Iron Throne came to exist.
Just released in August 2022, House of Dragon is already taking the world by storm. Based on George R.R. Martin’s “Fire & Blood,” House of the Dragon was set in nearly two hundred years ago before the current timeline of Game of Thrones.
Marking a strong, well-cast start, House of Dragon’s premier was enough to hook the audiences. The new series told the story of the Targaryen’s civil war with King Viserys I Targaryen’s children battling for control of the Iron Throne in the same tone and presenting similar content as its predecessor.
The first season of the series is still airing and fans were amazed from the very first episode. But what really intrigued the audience was a particular character- Laenor Velaryon. Why him you ask?
Well, before we move on to the rest of the article let us warn you that this article contains heavy spoilers.
So getting back to the question, he caught the attention of the audience because he rode a dragon! Well, Targaryens riding Dragons in the series was no big deal, but the fact that Leanor was not a Targaryen, and still managed to do so is what shocked many.
Ofcourse, it would come as a shocking and confusing part but worry not as we have managed to dig deep into the matter and found out the truth about it. So let’s get right into it.
Who was Laenor Velaryon?
Ser Laenor Velaryon was born in 94 AC to Lord Corlys Velaryon and Princess Rhaenys Targaryen. He had one elder sister, Laena Velaryon. He was the son of the eldest daughter of Aemon Targaryen, which directly put him in the line of succession to the Iron throne.
However, when Prince Aemon Targaryen, Rhaenys’s father and the eldest son of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen died, the throne was supposed to go to Rhaenys but because she was a woman, she and her unborn child were passed over in the favor of Jaehery’s second son, Baelon Targaryen.
Later when Rhaenys finally gave birth to a son, Leanor, during her second pregnancy, Baleon had already been installed as the heir to the iron throne.
Regardless, Rhaenys, who descended from both House Velaryon and House Baratheon, demanded that her newborn son, Leanor had the better claim to the throne.
After Baelon’s death in 101 AC, King Jaehaery’s heir was undefined. Although Baelon had two living sons at that moment, he was only the second son, which meant that Leanor and his mother could still have claimed their rights to the throne as Jaehaery’s firstborn.
Even Lord Corlys, Leanor’s father, had begun to gather ships and men on Driftmark, to defend Leanor’s rights. Along with the right to claim the Iron Throne, Leanor was also the heir to Driftmark.
Laenor Velaryon’s First Appearance
Laenor’s first appearance was in House of Dragons, episode 3, ” Second of His Name”. From the very first two episodes, it was clear that Craghas the Crabfeeder was nothing but trouble.
While episode three rang wedding bells here and there, on the other hand, Daemon Targareyan was still fighting against Craghas and the Myrish pirates. Even House Velaryon’s army was on the verge of defeat.
During such war, two new characters were introduced; one was Lord Coryls’s younger brother, Ser Vaemond and the other was none other than, Coryls’s own blood, his son-Laenor Velaryon.
Going up against Crabfeeder was not easy, as they were hiding in the caves. So, even though House Velaryon had the largest navy force in the whole of Westeros, it was of no use.
Daemon had assured the rest that he was capable to win the fight with the help of his dragons, but Sir Veamon didn’t believe him, and neither did Laenor. So, instead of blindly trusting Deamon, Laenor came up with the plan to use Daemon as bait to draw Crabfeeder’s men out.
Deamon faked his surrender to Crabfeeder but slayed nearly twenty of his men. While Craghas spent his time looking up for the dragons’ arrival Caraxes, Daemon’s dragon appeared just in time.
Along with Daemon, Laenor also arrived on the scene on the back of a mighty white dragon, Seasmoke. Together, they used the dragons to burn the whole host of the enemy’s army alive.
Getting the chance, Daemon defeated Craghas by literally splitting him in half and dragging his lifeless body back to the battlefield.
Episode three came to an end with the battle being won by the Daemon and his allies and also raising some eyebrows here and there because of Laenor’s ability to ride the dragon.
Why Can Laenor Velaryon Ride A Dragon?
Although Leanor Velaryon was not a Targaryen he was still able to ride a dragon. So, how did he ride a dragon if riding a dragon was a Targaryen thing?
To find the answers we have to go back to the times of Valryians and find out about the mighty dragons and their origins.
The dragons were massive, flying reptiles, who were capable of breathing fire. They were rumored to have a strong connection to magic, which was later proven to be true after magic began to return to the world after the birth of the first three dragons in over two hundred years.
The first known dragons were said to have their shelters in the Fourteen Fires, a chain of volcanoes across the neck of the Valyrian Peninsula. Dragons possessed a great amount of amazing and devastating powers, capable of burning an entire city down to ashes.
The Valyrian, who were peaceful shepherds, tamed the dragons with magic and even learned how to master and ride them as beasts of war. Those who were able to tame and ride the dragons were capable of using them, in battles and forging vast empires across the continents.
The greatest empire that was formed using dragons was the Valyrian Freehold, forged by the Valyrian Dragonlords.
The fall of the Valyrian Empire
The Valyrian Empire was the first to tame and use the powers of the dragon to extend their empires. However, nearly four hundred years before the War of the Five Kings, the entire Valryian empire was destroyed in a single day.
The reason behind such extreme destruction of the entire empire was because of the cataclysmic volcanic eruption, which was also known as the Doom of Valyria.
The volcanoes were the shelter to many dragons, so during the eruption, the dragons that were still lairing in the volcanoes were killed outright. Many noble families of the Valyrian empire were killed but few of them survived such as; House Targaryen and House Velaryon.
The last serving dragons in the world then were taken by the House Targaryen, making them the Dragonlords. They used the dragons to conquer and unify the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros three hundred years before the War of the Five Kings.
Most of the Dragons died in a civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons about a century and a half later. Soon after the civil war ended, the Targaryen dragons died and the species was considered to be extinct throughout the world.
Taking all the events and occurrences of history into account, it was clear as day that after the Doom of Valyria, the Targaryens were the only ones who could possess the dragon and ride them. So how Laenor was able to get his hands on one?
How was Laenor able to ride a dragon?
Not being a Targaryen, Laenor was surely questioned about his possession and his ability to ride a dragon. However, Targaryen or not, he had one dragon, Seasmoke and he was a master at riding it too.
So the reason why he was able to do so was because of the Targaryen blood running through his veins. Now, if you remember he was the son of Lord Corlys and Princess Rhaenys Targaryen.
That’s right, his mother was a Targaryen, who was in line to become the queen with her rights as the daughter of Aemon Targaryen, the eldest son of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen.
So, although Laenor’s mother was denied her claim to the throne, he was still the grandson of the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.
Because his mother was a Targaryen herself, it would have been very much possible that she must have taught her children the dragon riding talents, which came naturally to the Targaryens.
Also, even though the Targaryens were believed to be the Dragonlords, it was the Valyrians, who were the original dragonlords, meaning that everybody in the Valyrian empire was able to tame and use the dragons.
If the fact that all the Valyrians were able to tame the dragons was considered, then all the surviving families from the Doom, including the House Velaryon, would have been able to tame the dragons.
So taking this into consideration, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Laenor had pure Valryian blood, also called the “blood of Old Valyria“, on both sides of his family; his father was a Velaryon and his mother a Targaryen, which allowed him to tame Seasmoke and eventually ride him.
Having pure Valyrian blood in his veins, allowed Laenor to get knowledge of commands for the dragons. Even the show said many times that the Velaryons, like the Targaryens, had the blood of Old Valyria.
The Targaryens led the families on the island of Dragonstone and even controlled the last serving dragons whereas House Velaryon settles in Driftmark, still having that Valryian blood in them.
Was Laenor a Dragonrider?
Flaunting his light blonde hair and distinctive eyes, proving his Old Valryia blood, Leanor was indeed a Dragonrider as he was able to ride one because his mother Rhaenys was Targaryen before she married a Velaryon.
The half-blood of Targaryen and pure blood of the Old Valryia allowed him to be recognized as a Dragonrider.
The Dragonriders were the individuals, who had the ability to tame, bond with the dragon, and even ride them. This ability began with the ancient Valyrians, and with the Targaryens taking control of the last surviving dragons, eventually making them the last known Dragonriders in the kingdom.
Being a Dragonrider, one was responsible to tame the dragon and use its power to their advantage. However, taming them was no easy task as they themselves were mighty creatures, and even believed to be smarter than humans.
Regardless, the Dragons were never able to be tamed, but with the right magic, they were easily trained. Dragonriders were able to train their dragons to respond to basic voice commands but needed to be trained quickly.
Surely, because Laenor had the ancient Dragonrider’s blood in him, it wasn’t much of a task to train Seasmoke to be his ally. However, the Dragonriders had to train their dragon quickly because if not done so, the dragons would have destroyed everything that they came in contact with.
But once the dragons were trained, and a bond was formed with the riders, the dragon remained loyal to that rider till the death but upon the rider’s death, they did allow another human to take the former’s place.
The command “Dracarys” was used to summon the dragon to breathe immediate fire on whatever is before it – the term is old Valyrian for “Dragonfire”.
Are Dragonriders and Dragonseeds the same?
Now, there seems to be some confusion regarding Dragonriders and Dragonseeds. However, they are not the same. Also, If you were to look up if Laenor was a dragon seed, it would show him to be one.
In mythology, Dragonseeds was a name given to someone who had the potential of riding a dragon. The term was ultimately coined by Prince Jacaerys Velaryon when he found out that his mother’s section in the Targaryen civil war, also known as the Dance of the Dragons, had too many dragons, but no Dragonriders.
Jacaerys’ had the idea to search for dragonseeds across Dragonstone, which was the base of operations for Rhaenyra and her supporters, known as the Blacks.
Jacaerys’ referred to the Dragonriders as Dragonseeds but in the House Targaryen, Dragonseeds were the lowborn individuals or the bastards born of the Targaryens, often residing on the isle of Dragonstone.
King Jaehaerys did put a ban on this custom, but some Targaryens still defied the king’s words and did it anyway.
he fact that it was still in practice, Jacaerys was sure that there were bound to be many such “seeds” on Dragonstone and the nearby regions with at least a little bit of Targaryen ancestry in them.
So, he had planned to make these “seeds” into Dragonriders as they had some Targaryen blood in their systems, which would make them able to try and possibly tame and bond with a dragon.
Hence, it is very important to know that, Laenor Velaryon was indeed a Dragonseed but a Dragonrider as referred to by Jacaery, as he was no bastard born off a Targaryen lord but was born to a Targaryen Princess.
Which Dragon did Laenor ride?
Laenor Velaryon rode the dragon named, Seasmoke. When episode 3 was aired, people first thought it was Daemon’s dragon, Caraxes that Laenor used in the War for the Stepstones because Seasmoke was yet to be introduced in the series.
Seasmoke was a pale, silver-grey Dragon. Just like his rider, Seasmoke was a young dragon but nevertheless a nimble flyer in the sky.
During the battle at Stepstone despite not being fully grown made him more skillful in the air during battle, which was advantageous to both him and Laenor.
The war of Stepstone not only made Seasmoke and Laenor gain combat experience, despite their young age but also tightened their bond, which is very important for the dragons as well as the Dragonriders.
Believed to be born in or after the 101 AC, Seasmoke was a young dragon and had a similar size to that of Tessarion, who was roughly three times smaller than Vermithor.
While Tessarion and Vermithor both were considered less fearsome, Saesmoke’s other brother, Belarion the Black Dread was considered to be the largest dragon ever born, whose skull was kept at Red Keep.
Seasmoke, despite being young proved to be very useful as not only they were able to defeat the Crabfeeder but also save Daemon Targaryen after he was wounded and surrounded by Triarchy soldiers.
Laenor even rode Seasmoke to King’s Landing on the day of his wedding to Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen along with his mother Rhaenys, who rode her dragon, Meleys.
Seasmoke stayed at High Tide along with several other dragons during the funeral of Laena Velaryon. After Laenor faked his own death and went into exile, Seasmoke was left riderless.
Who else can ride a dragon in House of the Dragon?
If you had watched the Game of Thrones series, you must be familiar with the fact of just how long we had to wait for Daenerys to ride one of her dragons.
Finally, after the wait of five long seasons, Daenerys finally mounted Drogon to escape, making her the first Dragonrider in over a century.
However, the case with House of Dragons is different. As they promised to give us a show with many dragons, they didn’t disappoint and kept their promise well, giving us mighty dragons along with great Dragonriders.
So, by now you must know that it was not only the Targareyns that were able to ride the dragons but even the outsiders, with some blood mixed from their house, were equally capable of taming the mighty creatures.
Furthermore, the ones with Old Valyria blood, like the House Velaryon, were also capable of forming a bond with the dragons and riding them.
Along with Laenor Velaryon, his older sister, Laena Velaryon was also a dragonrider. She rode the oldest and biggest of the Targaryen dragons in Westeros, Vhagar.
She was once ridden by Visenya Targaryen when she along with her siblings united the seven kingdoms. After Laena’s death, she didn’t remain riderless for a long time as she was claimed by Aemond Targaryen.
Similarly, Jacaery’s Velaryon and Lucerys Velaryon, Rhaenyra’s sons, also had their own dragons. Jacaerys’s dragon was Vermax, who hatched from the egg that was given to Jacaerys when he was an infant in a stunt partially designed to show his status as a true-born Targaryen.
Likewise, Lucerys Velaryon’s dragon was Arrax, who just like his brother, Vermax, hatched from an egg that was given to Lucerys. Both the dragon were quite small but with time they were bound to grow.