House of the Dragon Theory Points to the Arrival of a Missing Targaryen

Where is Maelor the Missing? House of the Dragon season 2 might have an ingenious solution for introducing a new Targaryen.

Alicent (Olivia Cooke) and Helaena (Phia Saban) on House of the Dragon.
Photo: Theo Whitman | HBO

This article contains spoilers for House of the Dragon season 2 episode 4 and Fire & Blood.

Things are seriously heating up in House of the Dragon season 2, with the Dance of the Dragons finally getting underway. While we started out with a sprawling Targaryen family tree at the start of the series, the fantasy epic is pruning branches at an alarming rate. Most of the movers and shakers are already in place, but like we’re waiting for the arrival of Daeron “The Daring” Targaryen, there’s another MIA character fans are looking out for.

The complicated and incestuous Targaryen lineage is confusing for even the most avid readers of George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood book, but it doesn’t help with multiple Rhaenyses, Aegons, and Jaehaeryses. When it comes to the offspring of brother and sister partners Aegon II and Helaena Targaryen (played by Tom Glynn-Carney and Phia Saban in the series), viewers are rightly asking what happened to Maelor.

In the source material, Maelor is the third of Aegon II and Helaena’s children and the younger brother to Jaehaerys and sister Jaehaera. The latter two have been featured as minor characters in House of the Dragon, with Jaehaerys being beheaded in the brutal Blood and Cheese incident. Fire & Blood has Maelor play a larger part, and Helaena selects him to be killed by Blood and Cheese. In the end, the assassins still slay Jaehaerys anyway. 

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Over on Reddit, fans have a theory that Maelor will be the bastard son of Helaena and Aemond (Ewan Mitchell). Following the events of Rook’s Rest, Aegon II is horribly burned and remains in bed for the remainder of the year. He’s not exactly in a fit state to sire more children, but aside from this, the show has already shown that the king has snubbed his sister-wife. Aemond’s actions in episode 4 prove there’s no love lost between him and his brother, and if he has a son with Helaena that’s thought to be Aegon II’s, it would put the child in line to sit on the Iron Throne.

Others have noted a clip from the upcoming trailer for episode 5, where we hear someone say, “The king does not lack for heirs.” Although this likely refers to Aemond and Daeron as next in line for the throne. Helaena falls into a great depression following Jaehaerys’ death in the book, so there’s a question over her mental state and a major upcoming plot point on whether she would even have another child. Some thought Queen Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke) could use her unwanted pregnancy from Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) to introduce Maelor as the faux child of Aegon II and Helaena, but with her downing Moon Tea in episode 4, it looks like she’s aborted the pregnancy. A different Reddit thread noted we still haven’t seen the scene from the trailer where Helaena is seemingly in the throes of passion. They theorized this is Aemond, but others have noted it looks like Daemon’s ring, suggesting that Alys Rivers (Gayle Rankin) is messing with his mind. 

It’s been a long-held theory from the books that Aemond is the father of one (or all) of Aegon II and Helaena’s children. This has only been strengthened by the show, like Aegon II mocking his wife’s love of insects in season 1 and Aemond saying he would “do his duty” to strengthen the family line if he was married to her. Aemond also asked Helaena to dance at the infamous “Strong Boys” meal and she was seen with her hand on his arm during Aegon II’s coronation. The biggest clue that there’s more to the pair is Aemond coming to Helaena’s chambers following Viserys’ (Paddy Considine) death. Of course, Mitchell and Saban are well aware of the Helaenond theories, telling Decider how they’ve played into them in season 2. 

The final piece of the puzzle is what happens to Helaena and Aemond during the Dance of the Dragons, with someone noting (warning for spoilers) they’re linked by a very specific date. For now, the question of Maelor’s existence remains a frustrating one. Martin himself wrote on his Not a Blog site about his issues with Blood and Cheese, as well as referring to Maelor the Missing. Still, showrunner Ryan Condal has hinted that he could be on the way, telling Entertainment Weekly, “Maelor does not yet exist on this timeline because 30 years is compressed into 20 years.” This fits with the evolving credits of the series, as back in season 1, episode 9 hinted at Maelor’s eventual existence.

Even if we’re shipping Helaemond and Maelor the Missing, we aren’t quite there with either just yet. 

New episodes of House of the Dragon season 2 premiere Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.

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