As House of the Dragon second season continues production, it is clear that Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen’s children will increasingly become key players in the Dance of the Dragons. The first season already showed how much Rhaenya’s children play into the conflicts between her and her former friend Alicient Hightower. With casualties already claimed on each side as the war begins, the future of Rhaenyra’s family — especially her offspring — in House of the Dragon is threatened. However, tracking Rhaenyra’s progeny isn’t easy, given that she has multiple husbands and is a Targaryen, who are noted for their proclivity toward inbreeding (which Rhaenyra herself isn’t exempt from)
In George R.R. Martin’s Fire and Blood book, Princess Rhaenyra arguably has one of the most interesting storylines in Targaryen history. Despite being the eldest trueborn child of King Viserys, Rhaenyra was never really in line to become heir to the Iron Throne. Yet with no male heir, Viserys names Rhaenyra as Princess of Dragonstone. As seen in the show so far, Princess Rhaenyra marries twice in her lifetime: first to Ser Laenor Velaryon, and then to her own uncle, Daemon Targaryen. She gives birth to six children: three Velaryon sons (though Harwin Strong is the true father), two full-blooded Targaryen sons, and one Targaryen daughter, all of whom are involved in House Targaryen’s Blacks versus Greens succession war.
Born in 114 AC, Jacaerys Velaryon is the firstborn son of Princess Rhaenyra and Ser Laenor. Even early on, Jace quickly proves that he is a valuable asset to the war pursuit against his uncle Aegon II. Jace flies as an envoy on his dragon, Vermax, gaining the support of the Vale, the Three Sisters, and the North. When the frontline dwindled, he put forth the ingenious idea of offering ennoblement to any Targaryen bastard that can tame Dragonstone’s riderless dragons, historically called the Sowing of the Seeds, resulting in new dragonriders ready to fight for the cause (similar to Game of Thrones‘ Jon Snow with the dragon Rhaegal).
Jace dies in the Battle of the Gullet, after burning the Triarchy fleet that ambushed Aegon and Viserys’ transport to Pentos. An injured Vermax crashes into a galley, but not before Jace leaps onto another burning one. He eventually dies by crossbow and sinks to the sea. Given that this happens at about the midpoint of the war, it is possible that Jace’s death with cap off the second season of the show. Additionally, Jacaerys Verlayon is Queen Rhaenyra’s heir and Prince of Dragonstone. He is also betrothed to his cousin, Baela Targaryen (Daemon and Savannah Steyn’s Laena’s daughter).
Like his older brother Jace, Lucerys Velaryon (or Luke) is also a dragonrider who travels Westeros in search of supporters for Rhaenyra’s claim to the Iron Throne. As the second-born son of Princess Rhaenyra and Ser Laenor, Luke is also betrothed to his cousin: Rhaena Targaryen, Baela’s twin sister. Prior to the war, Aemond Targaryen got into a fight with his nephews which quickly turned bloody. In an attempt to save his brother from Aemond’s brutal beating, Luke attacks him resulting in Aemond losing his eye. This incident further deepened Aemond’s anger towards his nephews, specifically Lucerys.
Luke’s death in House of Dragon season 1 marks the first significant casualty of the war and promises plenty of blood will follow. Despite a terrible storm ensuing, Luke leaves Storm’s End (after delivering a message from Princess Rhaenyra) and flies Arrax back to Dragonstone. However, he is pursued by Aemond on his dragon, Vhagar. The two dragons engage in a fight with Aemond unable to control Vhgar as it kills Luke and Arrax.
The youngest of Rhaenyra’s Velaryon-fathered children is Joffrey, who is named after Ser Laenor’s favorite knight, Ser Joffrey of Lonmouth. After the death of Jacaerys, Joffrey became the Prince of Dragonstone. He is betrothed to Lord Desmond’s youngest daughter, an arrangement that Jace made for White Harbor’s support for the Blacks. Joffrey is characterized as eager to prove he’s a warrior, even at his mother’s incessant prohibition to join the fighting.
Despite Joffrey’s inexperience in riding a dragon (even his own mount, Tyraxes), the stubborn boy’s desperation to become a hero ended his life. As the Dragonpit was being stormed by the Shephard, Joffrey runs to fly Rhaenyra’s dragon, Syrax (without a saddle.) Syrax flings him off from a great height, unfamiliar with him as a rider. Joffrey dies from the impact, breaking everything in his body. Afterward, the small folk dismembers him to take his possessions. This happens late in the war, so shouldnt’ be expected to be taking place in House of the Dragon season 2.
Aegon Targaryen is Princess Rhaenyra and Prince Daemon’s firstborn son together. He was born the same year of their marriage in 120 AC. Distinctly referred to as Aegon the Younger, Aegon is characterized as a gloomy personality courtesy of the trauma he experienced during the height of the Targaryen War. On Aegon’s trip to Essos, Aegon the Younger loses his brother, Viserys (assumed death) when the Triarchy fleet attacked their ship. He escapes on Stormcloud, who later died in Dragonstone. During the riots in King’s Landing, Aegon the Younger witnesses Joffrey and Syrax’s death from the Red Keep’s roof.
Yet, the event that scarred Aegon the Younger for life was the death of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, who is burned alive and eaten by Aegon the Elder’s dragon, Sunfyre. After that, Aegon the Elder then holds Aegon the Younger captive for half a year before his men murder him. Lord Corlys Velaryon installs Aegon the Younger as the new Targaryen King becoming King Aegon III or Aegon the Dragonsbane. King Aegon III’s reign is maintained as peaceful with the Seven Kingdoms united after the Dance of the Dragons. He dies from an unnamed sickness and is succeeded by his son, Daeron I.
Contrary to what the Blacks believe, Viserys had survived the attack of the Triarchy, cleverly pretending to be a ship-boy. Viserys finds his way to Lys where he was taken in by the wealthy Rogare family, and marries their youngest daughter, Larra. Word soon reached King’s Landing that Viserys lived, Aegon III summons his brother and appoints him Hand of the King.
Viserys served in the last years of Aegon III’s reign, and his sons King Daeron I and Baelor I. His service was essential to the stability of the realm as his kings were often indisposed with personal matters. However, by the time both of Aegon III’s sons died, they failed to father heirs. Viserys ascends the Iron Throne in 171 AC, enjoying a short reign that lasts only a year. He dies from a sudden sickness assumed to be caused by poison.
One of the most mysterious of the Rhaenyra children, there is not much known about Visenya Targaryen other than that Princess Rhaenyra labored for three days to birth hern and Visenya arrived a month before she was due. According to the fool Mushroom, Visenya came out malformed with defects that resembled dragons more than men (although this is an unconfirmed account.) Princess Rhaenyra and Prince Daemon‘s only daughter was stillborn. House of the Dragon depicted this moment in the season 1 finale, adding to the heartbreak of Rhaenyra.