George R.R. Martin Shares History of the Families in Latest House of the Dragon Featurette

Game of Thrones featured several houses, or families, which included massive amounts of characters for audiences to follow and keep track of. At certain points, the ensemble cast can be a little confusing, especially regarding the history that is only discussed throughout the show. House of the Dragon will boast a cast of similar size, even if the series is mainly contained to three primary houses.

The official Game of Thrones YouTube channel has released a video titled Before the Dance: An Illustrated History with George R.R. Martin to help alleviate some of the trouble with the vast history of Westeros and the lands beyond. The three families who will be the series’ focus include the Targaryens, whom we’ve seen a lot of with Daenerys in Game of Thrones, the Valaryons, and the Hightowers. Martin begins with the Hightowers, saying they’re the oldest family in Westeros.


“In terms of history in Westeros, the Hightowers are the oldest. They’ve been there for thousands of years. Their seat of power is Old Town, which was for many hundreds of thousand of years, the biggest city in Westeros. They’re a very rich house. Old Town is wealthy from trade mostly, and in the center of it is the High Tower from which the Hightowers take their name. Lord Hightower is in Old Town, ruling over his domains in the city, but his younger brother, Otto Hightower is the Hand of the King when the story opens.”

Rhys Ifans plays Otto Hightower in House of the Dragon, and it will be interesting to see his role as Hand of the King. The position saw plenty of screen time throughout Game of Thrones, whether Ned Stark (Sean Bean) was the Hand or Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage).

House Velaryon Will be a Major Player, According to George R.R. Martin


The Velaryons will play a significant role in House of the Dragon, with Steve Toussaint leading the family as Lord Corlys Velaryon, aka The Sea Snake. Martin says the Velaryons and Targaryens have a close relationship and will be prominently featured in the upcoming series.

“The Velaryons were also a house from the Freehold of Valyria, the mightiest empire in at least the west, in my world, and they actually arrived in Westeros before the Targaryens. They were not dragon lords, however, they were seafarers. At that time, the Freehold of Valyria depended on a lot of trade and it was a good position to dominate trade from all the kingdoms in Westeros and from other places even further north. So they moved for reasons of trade and wealth.”

Very few projects can rival the detailed history that George R.R. Martin has created. Through multiple novels and outlets, the author has constructed a world with just as many complexities as our current reality. Keeping track of the alliances and players involved in Westeros is difficult, and luckily the Before the Dance featurette was created to guide audiences through the intricacies of Martin’s world. The full featurette can be found below.