10 Book Facts You Didn’t Know About Corlys Velaryon

From the very first episode of House of the Dragon, Corlys Velaryon has shown himself to be one of the great power players in Westeros. Not only is he married to a member of the royal family, Rhaenys Targaryen; he also has command of a truly enormous fleet.

Despite his importance to the plot, however, there is much about his biography that the series has only hinted at. In fact, readers of Fire & Blood and The World of Ice and Fire know that there is far more to the Sea Snake. There is, after all, a reason that he is one of the most influential people in Westeros.


Corlys Velaryon Became A Captain At Only Sixteen

In addition to taking to the sea at a very young age, Corlys also showed that he had what it took to be a formidable figure in his own right. In fact, he became a captain at the tender age of sixteen. Even in a place like Westeros, where people have to grow up early, this was an accomplishment.

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It’s easy to see why he would become so influential in the political affairs of the kingdom. Anyone who was able to accomplish what he did at such a young age was certainly destined for great things.

Corlys Velaryon Took To the Sea Very Early

By the time that House of the Dragon begins, Corlys has clearly moved well into middle age. In that time, he has achieved quite a lot of success on the seas. However, what viewers might not realize is just how long he had been a sailor.

Corlys began sailing when he was just six years old. This was very much in keeping with the other members of House Velaryon (one of the most powerful houses in Westeros) as they had historically seen the sea, rather than the air, as the ultimate source of their power and influence.

Corlys Velaryon Designed And Built His Own Ship

Even if Corlys had just been a captain at a young age, this would have been a notable accomplishment. Not content with that, however, he also designed and built his own ship, which he would name the Sea Snake (a name he would later bear himself).

What is particularly remarkable about this ship is that it was the one who would sail in as he undertook his various voyages across the seas. There were nine of these altogether, and the fact that his ship was able to stand up to such pressure is further evidence of his obvious genius.

Corlys Velaryon Once Tried To Bring Elephants To Westeros

One of the things that makes Game of Thrones such an immersive franchise is its ability to make the viewer feel as if they are truly experiencing another world. Book readers know that Corlys explored many parts of the world that Martin created and that, during his voyages, he also encountered many different types of animals.

Book readers also know that he attempted to bring some of these back to Westeros, including elephants. While the beats unfortunately didn’t survive the voyage back, the fact that Corlys attempted such an effort at all is a testament to his ambitions as a sailor and as a politician.

Corlys Vigorously Protested the First Bypassing of Rhaenys

Rhaenys is, of course, one of the most notable members of House Targaryen. However, this didn’t keep her from being passed over when it came time for King Jaehaerys to appoint an heir to the throne.

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Although this isn’t made explicitly clear in House of the Dragon, Corlys wasn’t the type of person to simply take this insult lying down. Along with Rhaenys herself, he strenuously objected to the idea that she should be denied the right to inherit the throne simply because of her gender. Given that theirs was a meeting of hearts and minds, his outrage is even more understandable.

Corlys Betrothed His Daughter, Laena, To The Son Of A Sealord

Corlys repeatedly shows that he is one of the most intelligent players of the game of thrones. Among other things, he is determined to ensure that his children are married advantageously.

This is even more true in the novels than it is in the series. Although it isn’t made clear in the series, Corlys actually betrothed his daughter Laena to a sealord of Braavos, though he procrastinated about actually seeing the marriage through (ultimately, the poor man would challenge Daemon to a duel, which he lost).

Corlys Became Rhaenyra’s Hand During The Dance Of The Dragons

As soon as the Dance of the Dragons began in earnest, Corlys became one of the key allies for Rhaenyra. This made sense, as his wife was herself a woman who had been passed over. What’s more, his fleet was invaluable to the blacks as they sought to beat the greens.

In an attempt to keep him on their side, Corlys for a time served as Rhaenyra’s Hand. He would ultimately become one of the most effective Hands in the Game of Thrones universe, precisely because he had a keen political mind (one of the few members of Rhaenyra’s team to have such, it’s worth pointing out).

Corlys Velaryon May Have Had Illegitimate Sons

As the Dance continues to escalate, it becomes increasingly important for Rhaenyra to have as many dragonriders among her ranks as possible. Two young men are subsequently brought forward by their mother, who claims that they were fathered by Laenor.

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However, as Fire and Blood points out, it is far more likely that the two lads were in fact a product of Corlys’ extramarital dalliances. The death of Rhaenys during the heightened conflict gave him the chance to make them distaff members of his own family.

Corlys Was As Cunning On Land As He Was On The Sea

There’s no doubt that Corlys is one of the most intelligent characters in House of the Dragon. This is true of his book counterpart as well, who repeatedly showed a particularly high amount of cunning as he navigated the fraught waters of court politics.

In fact, what makes Corlys so remarkable as a character is that he was skilled on land as he was on the seas. Although he was destined never to sit on a throne himself, it is still true that he was the type of person who would have made a very good king of Westeros.

Corlys Outlived Nearly Everyone Else Involved In The Dance Of The Dragons

The Dance of the Dragons was, as readers know, one of the most brutal and deadly conflicts to have ever shaken the Seven Kingdoms. It was particularly devastating for the smallfolk who, as always, found themselves pulled one way and then another as the greens and the blacks held power at varying points.

However, it was in some ways even more deadly for the ruling classes of Westeros. Unlike so many of his fellow nobles, however, Corlys actually managed to survive all of it. By all accounts he died a natural death of old age, a true rarity in Westeros.

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