Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) in House of the Dragon, the Game of Thrones prequel

House of the Dragon is coming to HBO Max not a moment too soon: Fans have clamored for more Westeros misadventures since Game of Thrones went off the air three years ago, and after some false starts, the platform is taking us 172 years before the age of Thrones with a story of Targaryen Civil War.

Of course, you may have noticed that some of the new (aka old) characters look a lot like the Game of Thrones characters we grew to know and love (or despise). George R.R. Martin’s fictional world has many marvelous attributes, but simplicity is not one of them.  So whether you’re an old Hand at this House of the Dragon thing, or you haven’t thought much about the Game of Thrones universe since that very divisive final season, here’s our quick guide to the new show’s most prominent players.

King Viserys I Targaryen (Played by Paddy Considine)

King Viserys I Targaryen (Played by Paddy Considine) on House of the Dragon, the Game of Thrones Prequel

Given that the main plot of House of the Dragon concerns the successor to his throne, this character might not be a part of House of the Dragon for very long. But his actions set the stage for the entire show. House of the Dragon opens at the tail end of King Viserys Targaryen’s almost 30-year reign of lasting peace and prosperity. When Viserys breaks tradition by promising the throne to his eldest daughter Rhaenyra instead of to his closest male relative, however, the harmony is suddenly upended. Whatever Viserys’ fate, his shadow is one that was legendary even in the original series, and will doubtless loom over the entirety of its prequel.

Our Guide to the House of the Dragon characters continues…

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