Watching a series as complex as House of the Dragon might understandably raise a few questions, namely, Why is there a Rhaenys, a Rhaena, and a Rhaenyra in the same family? or, Where is The Vale again? or perhaps, Shouldn’t all this incest bother me more? And after the series’ numerous unprompted time jumps, you might’ve especially found yourself wondering, Sorry, wait, this dude is how old again?
It’s a fair query, considering episode 2 finds the adult King Viserys Targaryen announcing his plans to marry Alicent Hightower, who doesn’t appear to be much older than his teenage daughter. (Before that, Viserys’ court was pressuring him to wed 12-year-old Laena Velaryon for political purposes, so lesson learned: Child marriage acceptable!). By episode 3, Alicent is pregnant with her and Viserys’ second child, and in episode 4, his daughter is attracting, uh…some older suitors of her own. By episode 6, a mid-season time jump hurdles us forward 10 years. But that’s not all! Episode 8 features yet another flash-forward, this time by a mere six years. These folks are aging so fast we barely have time to squeeze in a bathroom break.
To add to the chaos, not all the ages of the House of the Dragon characters are revealed outright on the show, and the actors aren’t necessarily the same age as their onscreen counterparts. Suffice to say, we could all use someone keeping tabs on this unanticipated math.
Luckily, we can look to George R. R. Martin’s book Fire & Blood, the basis for the series, for a bit of guidance. Keep in mind, though, that some details have been changed for the screen adaptation, which is currently airing weekly on HBO. What we do know is that episode 1 of Dragon begins in the year 101, when King Jaehaerys announces his grandson Viserys as his heir. Then the timeline jumps to the ninth year of King Viserys’ reign, and the following episodes make minor (and, eventually, major) leaps forward as they move along. Here, we try to make sense of how the characters are aging through it all.
Alicent Hightower: According to Fire & Blood, Alicent, born around 88 years after Aegon’s Conquest (AC), arrives to King’s Landing when she is 13 years old to accompany her father, Otto Hightower. She is 17 when Queen Aemma dies and 18 when she becomes Viserys’ second wife. In the book, she’s nine years older than Princess Rhaenyra, but in Dragon they’re meant to be around the same age: 15 years old as of episode 1, then roughly 17 or 18 during episodes 3-5. Emily Carey, the actress who plays young Alicent, is 19 years old.
As of Dragon’s mid-season time jump in episode 6, Alicent is aged up by a decade to somewhere around 28. Episode 8 takes place another six years later, when Alicent is in her mid-30s. Olivia Cooke, who plays the older Alicent, is 28.
Rhaenyra Targaryen: In episode 2, Viserys mentions his daughter, Rhaenyra, is 15 years old. Then, following a time jump in episode 3, he mentions she is now 17 (and “of age” to marry). This marks a significant change from the book, which states that Rhaenyra was born in 97 AC, and would be only 9 years old when her father marries Alicent. Milly Alcock, who plays young Rhaenyra, is 22.
As of the mid-season time jump, Rhaenyra is aged up to 27, then—as of episode 8—to 33. Emma D’Arcy, who plays the older Rhaenyra, is 30.
Viserys Targaryen: In the book, Viserys—born 77 AC—marries 18-year-old Alicent shortly before he turns 30. They are meant to be 11 years apart in age. But in Dragon, Viserys is significantly older, as Paddy Considine (who stars as Viserys in the series) is 49. Viserys’ exact age hasn’t been confirmed onscreen, but we can assume he’s meant to be somewhere around 70 by the time episode 8 rolls around.
Otto Hightower: In the book, Alicent’s father, born roughly around 76 AC, should be a year older than Viserys. That means he’s about 25 by the time Viserys is named heir, and 30 when Alicent and Viserys marry. As played by Rhys Ifans in Dragon, he’s likelier to be in his 50s in episodes 1-5, then in his 60s and 70s in episodes 6-8. Although Otto’s exact age remains unconfirmed onscreen, the Notting Hill and Amazing Spider-Man star who plays him is 55 years old.
Daemon Targaryen: Born in 81 AC, Daemon is supposed to be four years younger than his brother, Viserys, according to the chronology in Fire & Blood. Matt Smith, who portrays Daemon, is 39 years old. Given that Smith’s Daemon doesn’t appear to age much during the 10-year time jump from episodes 5 to 6, it’s possible Dragon has aged Daemon down a few years from his original inception in Fire & Blood.
Mysaria: The exact age of Mysaria, a.k.a. Lady Misery, is unclear in both the book and the show. But as Daemon’s paramour and ally, she appears to be around his age in Dragon. Sonoya Mizuno, who plays Mysaria, is 36.
Laena Velaryon: Laena’s first appearance in Dragon is in episode 2, where she is meant to be 12 years old (played by Nova Fouellis-Mosé). The character isn’t in episodes 3 or 4, but she returns as a teenager in episode 5 and then as an adult in episode 6, portrayed by actresses Savannah Steyn and Nanna Blondell, respectively. When Laena dies in episode 6, she is likely around 25 years old.
Laenor Velaryon: The older son of Corlys and Rhaenys, Laena’s older brother and Rhaenyra’s first husband, Laenor is only three years older than the princess in Fire & Blood. If that’s also true of the show, he’d be about 20 years old when we see him fighting in the Stepstones in episode 3, and in his early 30s as of episodes 6 and 7.
Corlys Velaryon: Born in 53 AC in the book, the famed Sea Snake is supposed to be 48 when Jaehaerys names an heir, which would make him in his early 80s as of episode 8 of Dragon. But because actor Steve Toussaint is 57, it’s likely Corlys has been aged down a bit in the show.
Rhaenys Targaryen: Born 74 AC in Fire & Blood, Princess Rhaenys was 27 when Jaehaerys passed her over as heir and named Viserys next in line for the throne instead. That would place her in her early 60s as of episode 8. Eve Best, who plays “The Queen Who Never Was,” is regal at 51.
Ser Criston Cole: According to Martin’s The World of Ice and Fire, Ser Criston was born in 81 AC, making him 16 years Rhaenyra’s senior. But Dragon’s Ser Criston is likely much younger: Fabien Frankel, who portrays the knight onscreen, is 28 years old, only 8 years older than Alcock’s young Rhaenyra. That would place Criston somewhere in his late 30s or early 40s as of episode 8.
Aegon II Targaryen: Born in 106 AC in the book, the first son of Viserys and Alicent is 2 years old when he’s first introduced in episode 3. In episode 6, we see him for the first time as a young adolescent; in episode 9, he confirms he is 20 years old. The actor who plays him in episode 8, Tom Glynn-Carney, is 27.
Helaena Targaryen: Viserys and Alicent’s daughter—born in 109 AC in Fire & Blood—is an infant when we meet her in episode 3. By the final season time jump in episode 8, she’s likely around 17. Phia Saban, who plays Helaena, is 24.
Aemond Targaryen: The third and final child of Viserys and Alicent, Aemond is a child in episode 6, though older than Rhaenyra’s children. In Fire & Blood, he’s born in 110 AC, making him only a year younger than his sister, Helaena. That would place him somewhere around 16 years old by episode 8. Ewan Mitchell, who places the latest version of Aemond, is 20.
Jacaerys “Jace” Velaryon: Born in 114 AC, Rhaenyra’s first son by Laenor Velaryon (but, really, by Ser Harwin Strong) is meant to be four years younger than his half-uncle Aemond. That means he’d be around 12 in episode 8, but it’s likely that Dragon aged his character up a bit: The actor who plays him, Harry Collett, is 18.
Lucerys “Luke” Velaryon: Rhaenyra and Laenor’s second son was born in 115 AC, a year after Jace. That would make Luke around 11 in episode 8, though it seems Dragon has made Jace older and widened the age gap between the brothers.
Joffrey Velaryon: Given that we witness Joffrey’s birth in episode 6 and he’s still an infant in episode 7, the Joffrey we meet in episode 8 is likely around 6 or 7 years old.
Rhaena Targaryen: One of two twin daughters born to Laena Velaryon and Daemon Targaryen in 116 AC, according to Martin’s books, Rhaena and her sister, Baela, would be around 9 or 10 in episode 8. But it would appear Dragon has aged them up from Fire & Blood, making them the same age or slightly older than Rhaenyra’s children. Phoebe Campbell, who plays the older Rhaena, is 25.
Baela Targaryen: The second twin daughter of Laena and Daemon, Baela is the same age as Rhaena, meaning she’s likely in her early-to-mid teens in episode 8. Bethany Antonia, who plays the older Baela, is 24.
Erica Gonzales is the Senior Culture Editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage on TV, movies, music, books, and more. She was previously an editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com. There is a 75 percent chance she’s listening to Lorde right now.
Lauren Puckett-Pope is an associate editor at ELLE, where she covers film, TV, books and fashion.