House of the Dragon: Who is Laenor Velaryon’s Dragon Seasmoke?

Laenor Velaryon's dragon Seasmoke comes out of left field in House of the Dragon episode 3 but this moment was coming all along.

Laenor Velaryon (Theo Nate) on House of the Dragon
Photo: Ollie Upton | HBO

This article contains spoilers for House of the Dragon episode 3.

Near the end of House of the Dragon episode 3, everything seems to be going Craghas Drahar a.k.a. The Crabfeeder’s way.

The mute, greyscale-stricken leader of the Triarchy military alliance has the Seven Kingdoms’ fighting force right where he wants them. The allied soldiers of House Velaryon and House Targaryen are exhausted – three years of fighting in the Stepstones appears to have made nary a difference one way or another. Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) even approaches the Crabfeeder’s cave, waving a literal white flag of surrender. Then, just as the Triarchy prepares to apprehend Daemon and celebrate their improbably victory…DRAGON OUT OF EFFING NOWHERE.

Laenor Velaryon (Theo Nate) emerges from the grey ash-filled sky on the back of his dragon Seasmoke and lays fiery waste to countless Triarchy men. The destructive distraction proves enough to allow Daemon to hew Crabfeeder in half with his Valyrian blade Dark Sister, ending the war once and for all.

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The fog of war is always confusing for both audiences and fictional soldiers alike. But the sudden emergence of Laenor Velaryon as a dragonrider is particularly unmooring, given the fact that we haven’t properly met Laenor nor his dragon Seasmoke before this climactic moment. With that in mind, let’s take a minute to get to better know both as the boy and his dragon are sure to be players in the wars to come.

Who is Laenor Velaryon?

Laenor Velaryon has been a part of House of the Dragon since the very beginning, though he’s largely operated in the background before the events of episode 3 “Second of His Name.” Laenor belongs to House Velaryon and is the son of Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Touissant) and Lady Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best). He is the younger brother of Laena (Nova Foueillis-Mosé), who was last seen being offered up to King Viserys I (Paddy Considine) as a child bride.

Aside from that one extremely notable exception, Laenor and Laena have been a bit too young to factor into House of the Dragon‘s story until now. It’s only during the events of episode 3 that a teenaged Laenor is revealed to be a capable warrior and major boon for his house. Actor Theo Nate is set to continue to portray Laenor for the time being before the role is eventually ceded to older actor John Mcmillan, similar to how both Rhaenyra and Alicent will be aged up at some point in House of the Dragon‘s run.

Laenor getting the “aged up” treatment reveals how important he will eventually be to the story of the Dance of the Dragons. Even before that, however, Laenor has always been a major chesspiece in this game of thrones. The very first scene of the series takes place during the Great Council of Harrenhal in which Westeros’s major lords decide between Viserys and Laenor’s mom Rhaenys as heir to King Jaeherys I. In “real” Westerosi history, as depicted in George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, it was actually a seven-year-old Laenor’s claim that was considered for the throne rather than Rhaenys’s. It bears to reason that even in the show’s version, were Rhaenys to hypothetically ascended the throne, Laenor would have become the Prince of Dragonstone and the king-in-waiting.

Suffice it to say, Laenor Velaryon is a big deal: blessed with a royal mother, an uber-rich father, and apparent dragonriding abilities. Now about that dragon…

Who is Seasmoke?

House of the Dragon plays things a little sneakily with its viewers (particularly those who have not read Fire & Blood) and does not reveal the existence of Laenor’s dragon until the closing moments of episode 3. In reality though, Laenor has been raising his dragon, named Seasmoke, this whole time.

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In the A Song of Ice and Fire continuity, Laenor was born in 94 AC (After Conquest) and eventually claimed the young dragon Seasmoke in 101 AC when he was roughly seven years old. Seasmoke is a pale, silvery-grey beast, which is partially where his name comes from. The “sea” portion of the name likely comes from House Velaryon’s seafaring history and sea-horse sigil. Seasmoke is somewhat small compared to his fellow dragonkin (of which House of the Dragon has now introduced three, with 14 more to go) but he is still nimble and useful in a fight.

How exactly was Laenor able to “claim” Seasmoke though? One might notice that his last name is “Velaryon” and not “Targaryen” and can’t only the latter be dragon riders? Well, that’s not necessarily the case. House Targaryen wasn’t the only dragon-riding clan in Old Valyria before the Doom befell it. Though not traditionally dragonriders themselves, House Velaryon is of Valyrian descent and somewhere in the family’s distant bloodline is surely a dragon jockey or two.

Also let’s not forget that Laenor is of House Targaryen himself. His mother was the Old King Jaehaerys’s granddaughter so half of his blood hails from the Targaryens. Hell, if Rhaenys was ultimately selected as Jaehaerys’s heir, Laenor might be expected to go by the Targaryen surname anyway to maintain the dynasty.

It’s because of his Targaryen heritage that Laenor was even allowed access to the young dragons on Dragonstone and that’s presumably where he made his connection with Seasmoke. And what a connection it is! Laenor Velaryon and Seasmoke clearly operate in close concert, an excellent quality for any two Dance partners to have.

New episodes of House of the Dragon premiere Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max in the U.S. and Sky Atlantic in the U.K.