Princess Rhaenyra Had Three Sons (with Ser Harwin Strong)
Jacaerys (known as ‘Jace’), Lucerys (known as ‘Luke’) and baby Joffrey – the latter named after Laenor Velaryon’s male lover, who was beaten to death by Criston Cole a decade earlier at Rhaenyra and Laenor’s wedding celebrations. It’s an increasingly open secret that Ser Laenor is not the biological father of any of his and Rhaenyra’s sons – that honour went to Ser Harwin Strong, Commander of the City Watch.
Rhaenyra and Laenor’s marriage was a political union designed to unite two powerful Valyrian houses and quell a simmering rebellion against the crown by Laenor’s father Lord Corlys. Rhaenyra and Laenor are second cousins who grew up together and, knowing that he was a closeted gay man, Rhaenyra proposed that each would be free to pursue whatever sexual relationships they wished in private after marriage. After her brief teenage affair with Ser Criston Cole ended in abrupt violence at her wedding, Rhaenyra found comfort in the arms of Ser Harwin Strong and gave him three biological sons, all of whom bear their legal father’s name of Velaryon (until such time as they inherit the throne, when they’ll be named Targaryen, as per King Viserys’ deal with their grandpa.)
Queen Alicent and King Viserys Had a Second Son, Aemond
Before the time jump, Alicent had two children with her husband King Viserys: Prince Aegon II and infant daughter Helaena. Ten years on, they now have three children including youngest son Aemond, who is bullied by his older brother and nephews. Aegon II is played by Ty Tennant (War of the Worlds), incidentally the son of actor-writer Georgia Tennant and former Doctor Who star David Tennant. Helaena is currently played by Evie Allen but after the show’s next time jump will be replaced by Phia Saban, who was Lady Aelfwynn in Season 5 of Netflix’s The Last Kingdom. (Coincidentally, the grown-up version of Helaena’s younger brother Aemond will be played by The Last Kingdom’s Osferth aka Ewan Mitchell.)
The Queen and the Princess’ Rivalry Deepened
After growing up as firm friends in the Red Keep – one the daughter of the king, the other the daughter to the hand of the king – the first wedge between Rhaenyra and Alicent came when Viserys chose Alicent as his second wife (after no small amount of deft manoeuvring by her father Otto Hightower) after the death of Rhaenyra’s mother in childbirth. The second wedge came in the form of Alicent and Viserys’ first son Aegon, who, as a boy, was thought by many to be Viserys’ rightful royal heir instead of his daughter. The next wedge came when Alicent discovered that Rhaenrya had lied to her about having cavorted with her uncle in a Flea Bottom brothel and didn’t confide in her about having seduced her bodyguard Ser Criston Cole.
Ser Criston Became Alicent’s Personal Bodyguard…
Before the time-jump, we last saw Ser Criston savagely beat Joffrey Lonmouth to death at Princess Rhaenyra and Ser Laenor Velaryon’s wedding feast, and then go to the Godswood to atone for his sins by taking his own life. That’s where Queen Alicent stopped him and recruited him as her ally, having been impressed by his honesty with her about his sexual relationship with Princess Rhaenyra, despite the admission putting his life in mortal danger. In the intervening years, their alliance has clearly grown, as has Ser Criston’s extreme prejudice towards the Princess and her illegitimate sons.
…And Alicent Started Having Cosy Suppers with Larys Strong
You can’t very well blame Alicent, lonely as she is, but Larys Strong is clearly a dangerous man to know. In the 10 years since he first alluded to her isolation by drawing a comparison between Alicent and the transplanted red flower growing in the Red Keep gardens – both of them “an outsider among natives” – the Alicent/Larys alliance has developed greatly, to the point that Alicent now keeps that same red flower in her floral bouquets and has regular cosy suppers with the scheming, murderous villain.