‘House Of The Dragon’ Leaderboard: Come Get Your Sons

In the Game of Thrones there are winners and then there are those sans dragons. With Targaryens on both sides, spewing fire and sowing chaos in Westeros, keeping track of which House of the Dragon character is outmaneuvering their way to absolute power is almost as hard as remembering the difference between a Jaecaerys, a Jaehaerys, and a Jaehaera.

So, to keep track of the players and their place on the board, we’ll be ranking which would-be genocidal maniacs have the best showing each episode. Maybe they’re closer to the throne, exacting vengeance on their enemies, or just enjoying injecting a bit of mayhem into this Dance of Dragons. Whatever the case, this is the HotD Leaderboard and these are the standings.

1. Aemond Targaryen

Ewan Mitchell HOTD

The internet’s favorite one-eyed Becky with the good hair is firmly in his villain phase this season and we couldn’t be happier for him. While some House of the Dragon characters would rather wrestle with questions of morality and royal responsibility, that kind of quiet introspection just isn’t for this aspiring war criminal. He’s here for a good time, not a long time you see, which means he’s preoccupied with plotting battles behind his brother-king’s back and trash-talking his own mother to her secret lover and hopping aboard his aging pet dragon to instill fear in the smallfolk whenever the dopamine gets too low. Guilt? Aemond Targaryen’s never heard of her – that’s what makes him so dangerous.

2. Larys Strong

Larys Strong HOTD

Larys Strong is just looking for someone to match his (foot) freak this season but, alas, the Red Keep is short on familicidal sociopaths who live for mess. So instead, Larys is entertaining his own damn self, sowing seeds of doubt in Aegon’s ear, caving in on himself to appear weak and pathetic to a boy king who actually is both of those things one minute before towering over a former queen the next. He’s hiring new staff willing to give him all the castle goss and (probably) engaging in a both-sides sort of deal with Daemon Targaryen. When people say war is profitable, those people are Larys Strong.

3. Daemon Targaryen

Matt Smith

Daemon Targaryen is having a midlife crisis except, instead of abandoning his family and buying a sports car, he’s ordering the decapitation of children and kickstarting a civil war. Again, some kind of telehealth therapy service would work wonders in Westeros right now. Despite his rash decision making and desire to just burn everything to the ground, Daemon isn’t exactly wrong in how he’s handling the fallout of Lucerys’ death. Sure, he should let his wife grieve for a minute, but he’s also smart enough to realize that blockades won’t last forever and every moment of inaction is seen as weakness by their enemies. Does he want Rhaenyra’s throne? Vengeance for his brother and stepson? Or just another chance at glory? Who knows and really, who cares? He’s back in his “time to commit crime” hoodie and for that, we’re thankful.

4. Alicent Hightower

Olivia Cooke Alicent Hightower

Alicent Hightower is in her hot girl summer phase so this whole war business is really cramping her style at the moment. She should be sitting on Criston Cole’s face breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Instead, she’s wrangling the violent impulses of her two sons, shirking her motherly duties to her daughter, clawing for a modicum of power at a table full of men, and delusionally imagining that her former bestie might still bend the knee. Your son’s dragon ate her son, Alicent! Have all those orgasms addled your brain?

5. Criston Cole

Fabien Frankel Criston Cole HOTD

It’s a real shame that this bottom feeder is ranked anywhere but dead last on any kind of power scale but the truth is, Criston Cole is playing a good game in the grand scheme of things. He’s got no title, no wealth, and no dragons to speak of and yet, he’s got the ear of both princes and he’s sharing the Queen’s bed. He’s still a self-righteous, self-important prick obsessed with the teenage girl who rejected him all those years ago, but as long as he doesn’t gaze too hard into the mirror, he’ll be fine.

6. Rhaenyra Targaryen

Emma D'Arcy Rhaenyra HOTD

Why can’t everyone just leave Rhaenyra Targaryen alone? Her son is dead, as is his dragon. Her father’s kingdom has been stolen from her. Her baby died in childbirth as her husband was plotting to steal her throne. She’s had a rough couple of days, okay? And instead of letting her practice some self-care by flying her dragon around Storm’s End searching for her boy’s corpse and refusing to bathe, you want her to give marching orders and plan a war? Yes, women can do it all. But must they?

7. Lord Corlys Velaryon

Steve Touissant Corlys Velaryon

The good news: Corlys Velaryon is not dead. It took him a few episodes to recover from a battle at sea, episodes in which his absence was used to threaten Rhaenyra’s reign and start a war between two powerful houses but hey, everybody heals differently. The bad news? Corlys is without an heir and a certain sailor shares a few too many of his attributes to not arouse suspicion in his wife.

8. Otto Hightower

Otto Hightower HOTD

Otto Hightower hasn’t learned any lessons from last season. He’s still trying to make a worthy leader out of his disappointing grandson and he refuses to moisturize that beard. There’s specific sense of joy in watching him work so hard to become king-by-proxy, betraying his best friend and lighting a match to his legacy, only to then play babysitter to an incompetent man-child with mommy issues.

9. Aegon Targaryen


In a just world, Aegon Targaryen would be whoring his way through Flea Bottom, drinking himself to an early grave and remaining unconcerned with the definition of the word “magnanimous.” But this is George R.R. Martin’s universe, so we’re giving him the codes to the metaphorical nukes and just letting him wing it. Sounds about right.

New ‘House of the Dragon’ episodes air on HBO (and stream on Max) on Sunday nights.