Corlys Velaryon

Corlys Velaryon actor Game of Thrones

Published 2023-01-02, by ,

Corlys Velaryon Tven Serie

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Character history

Corlys Velaryon has been called the greatest navigator of the Seven Kingdoms. He has been to the ends of the earth, raised his own house to unprecedented levels of wealth and power, built cities and fleets and generally lived a life well worth living.

The story of the character's creation

Corlis' biography is revealed in Flame and Blood, another of George R. R. Martin's epic fantasy books. R. R. Martin. The character is related to the Targaryen family, which was torn apart by the infighting for power in Westeros in its early days.

Corlys Velaryon's biography

Born in 53 CE to a family estate on the island of Driftmark, Corlys subsequently became the head of House Velaryon. At the age of 6 the boy first became a member of a ship's crew and sailed across the Narrow Sea. According to eyewitness accounts, it was already clear then that Corlis was a born sailor. Ten years later Velaryon became a captain, later taking a knighthood.

After designing and building his own ship, the Sea Serpent, Corlys made nine voyages to the eastern lands. After the first voyage, the captain returned with silks, spices and jade, doubling the wealth of the house of Velaryon. During his last voyage Corlys filled his holds with gold and bought 20 more ships, which he loaded with spices, elephants and silk.

Completing his expeditions, Corlys became richer than the Lannisters and Hightowers and took the nickname Sea Serpent after the famous ship. Thanks to the treasure, the fishing villages of Driftmark, Hull and Spystown became major trading hubs, surpassing King's Landing.

In 90AD, 37-year-old Lord Valarion took 16-year-old Rhaenys Targaryen as his wife. The girl was the only daughter of Crown Prince Aemon of Westeros, but when her father died the Iron Throne sailed from her hands at the decision of her grandfather, old King Jaheyris I Targaryen. Rhaenys soon gave birth to a daughter, Leyna Velaryon, and two years later to a son, Leinor Velaryon.

The problem of succession arose again after the death of another potential successor, Baelon. Jaehaerys convened a Great Council whose members were to choose who to place on the throne after his death. Corlys used his wealth and influence to support his wife and children and sway the lords to their side. However, the women's nominees were rejected immediately because of their gender, and Leinor lost by the number of votes to the king's grandson Viserys I Targaryen.

When the ruler's wife Aymma Arryn died, Viserys was offered 12-year-old Leinor as his wife, but he chose Alicente Hightower. Furious that his family had been rejected a third time, Corlys severed contact with the court and even refused to attend the royal wedding. Instead, Velaryon formed an alliance with the ruler's younger brother Damon Targaryen, who was not happy about the marriage either.

The Sea Serpent did not rebuild his relationship with Viserys until eight years later, when the King married Leinor to his eldest daughter and heir to Westeros, Rhaenyra Targaryen. To their marriage three sons were born: Jekairys, Lucerys and Joffrey. However, none of the children resembled their father, who was also notorious for his male sympathies, so it was rumoured that the real parent was Rhaenyra's bodyguard Harwin Strong. Meanwhile Layne married Damon, and a year later they had twins Baela and Rayna Targaryen.

Great sorrow befell House Velaryon in 120 W.A. First Leyna died after giving birth to her third child, the baby did not survive either. Then Leinor was slaughtered at the fair in Spystown. Six years later, Corlis caught a fever, so the question arose as to who would lead House Velaryon in the event of Sea Serpent's death.

Rhaenyra's first-born son Jakeiris was to become king after his mother, so the former daughter-in-law persuaded her father-in-law to choose Lucerys' middle son. And Corlys' nephew Weymond offered himself, hinting at rumours of Harwyn Strong's paternity, for which he lost his head. By 129 CE the illustrious navigator had recovered from his illness.

Viserys' death ushered in the civil war in Westeros, chronicled as the Dance of the Dragons. Bypassing rightful heiress Rhaenyra, Aegon II Targaryen, the king's eldest son by his second marriage to Alicente, ascended the throne. Corlys supported the deceived princess by providing an army and a fleet.

The Dance of the Dragons took the lives of Rhaenys and three of Leynor's sons. When Rhaenyra took King's Landing, Lord Valarion became Hand. The ruler lasted only six months on the Iron Throne, and Aegon, who regained power, was soon poisoned. The throne passed to Aegon III Targaryen, eldest son of Rhaenyra and Damon, and Corlis was appointed regent. The lord died of old age in 132 CE.

The appearance and image of Corlys Velaryon

In the novel, Corlis, like the other members of House Velaryon, had a typical Valyrian appearance: silver-white hair and violet-coloured eyes. The Sea Serpent was restless, enterprising, ambitious, and proud to the point of arrogance. Though the lord had achieved much in life, he was seldom content, and was notorious for his intransigence. In times of peace he was known as a wise ruler and in battle as a valiant warrior.

Corlys Velaryon in the House of the Dragon series

The House of the Dragon series adapted from the original storyline of Flame and Blood. The debut season is scheduled to premiere in the last month of summer 2022.

The role of the head of House Velaryon was played by Steve Toussaint. This has caused much dissatisfaction among fans of Martin's work, because the black-skinned actor bears little resemblance to the white-skinned Corlis described in the novel. A similar reaction was evoked by Savannah Stein and John MacMillan, who played the roles of Leyna and Lanor.

Interesting Facts

  • The illustrious sailor was named after his great-grandfather who was the first Lord Commander of the Kingsguard under Aegon I Targaryen.
  • Soon after Leynor's passing, Harwyn Strong died in a fire. It was rumoured that this was Corlys' revenge on the Ser who had cuckolded his son.
  • After his death, Marilda arrived, claiming that her sons, Addam and Alyn, had been born of a relationship with Leinor. Corlys acknowledged the grandchildren and asked Queen Rhaenyra to legitimize them as heirs of House Velaryon. However, many who doubted Leynor's orientation did not believe this fact, suggesting that the bastards' father was the Sea Serpent himself, who kept the children away while his wife was alive.
  • The new heir Alyn Velaryon hastily married Baela Targaryen after Corlys' death, lest the king choose a husband without her consent. When the girl became pregnant, the couple decided to name the firstborn after her grandfather, but a girl was born, named after Leyna who died in childbirth.