How ‘House of the Dragon’ Tweaked Rhaenys and Corlys’ Controversial Age Difference

A Blossoming Love in Westeros

While ‘House of the Dragon’ portrays many relationships laden with turmoil, the bond between Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) and Princess Rhaenys (Eve Best) emerges as a refreshing exception. Amid the political marriages and questionable pairings, their love stands out as genuine, endearing, and, most importantly, wholesome. This portrayal contrasts with George R.R. Martin’s ‘Fire & Blood’, wherein their relationship was significantly different.

A Beacon of Hope among Troubled Pairings

The marital dynamics of Westeros, a realm notorious for using unions as political maneuvering tools, are often rife with complications. Whether it’s the sham of Rhaenyra and Laenor or the obvious distaste between Aegon and Helaena, ‘House of the Dragon’ doesn’t lack for problematic pairings. Yet, against this backdrop of tension and complexity, the bond between Corlys and Rhaenys shines brightly.

Their union shares similarities with that of Ned and Catelyn Stark from ‘Game of Thrones’. Both relationships began as political necessities but evolved into genuine companionships over time. In Corlys and Rhaenys’s case, their mutual Valyrian bloodline and history of intermarrying within their families strengthened their bond and respective claims to the throne. Despite the politics, their relationship stands out as an oasis of love and mutual respect.

The Stark Contrast with the Original Narrative

However, fans familiar with Martin’s ‘Fire & Blood’ will notice a divergence in their portrayal. The book presents a sizable age gap between Corlys and Rhaenys, with Corlys being 37 when he marries the 16-year-old Rhaenys. Such a significant age difference places their bond in the same bracket as other problematic relationships within the series.

But the TV series adaptation takes a different route. By presenting Corlys and Rhaenys closer in age, ‘House of the Dragon’ offers viewers a relationship that feels more appropriate and balanced. Such changes, while deviating from the source material, offer a refreshing perspective on their relationship, making it more palatable for modern audiences.

Delving into the Series’ Interpretation

Despite the age adjustments, ‘House of the Dragon’ does not shy away from other controversial relationship dynamics. From Daemon’s marriage to the much younger Laena to the vast age gap between Alicent and Viserys, the show remains committed to its portrayal of complex relationships. This begs the question: Why change Corlys and Rhaenys’ relationship?

One potential reason lies in the need to redefine the series’ narrative. By altering Rhaenyra and Viserys’s ages, the show crafts a narrative where Rhaenyra and Alicent grew up as friends. This change inadvertently adjusts Rhaenys’s age, aligning it more closely with her husband’s, offering a silver lining of a more relatable relationship amidst the other problematic unions.


In ‘House of the Dragon’, relationships serve as more than mere plot points. They are reflections of the socio-political dynamics of Westeros, laying bare the complexities and struggles of its denizens. By altering the nature of Corlys and Rhaenys’s relationship, the series provides viewers with a bond to root for, a glimpse of genuine affection in a world dominated by power plays and political maneuverings.