Readers Say

The best and worst characters on ‘House of the Dragon,’ according to readers

Our readers made a surprising pick for their favorite, and had some interesting predictions for next season.

Matt Smith and Paddy Considine on "House of the Dragon." The Associated Press

Earlier this week, we asked readers to weigh in on Season 1 of “House of the Dragon” ahead of Sunday’s season finale of the HBO fantasy epic. More than 200 respondents weighed in on the most burning topics in Westeros, including their favorite and least favorite characters; who will be sitting on the Iron Throne at the end of next season; and how “House of the Dragon” compares to “Game of Thrones” overall.

While some picks are rather straightforward, many readers valiantly made cases for some unexpected characters as unsung heroes (or villains). Read on to see what our audience thought of the “Game of Thrones” spinoff below. And be sure to check first thing on Monday morning for staff reactions to the season finale.

By the end of Season 2, who will sit on the Iron Throne?

As of this moment, Aegon Targaryen sits on the Iron Throne. But only about 12% of readers think he will still be there at the end of “House of the Dragon” Season 2. The overwhelming favorite to rule the Seven Kingdoms is Viserys’ intended heir, Rhaenyra Targaryen, with around 55% of the vote. Given the sheer number of dragons Team Black possesses, that’s probably not a bad bet.


“More dragons, of course,” wrote Janice S. when explaining her pick of Rhaenyra. “And Rhaenys is on her side, for now anyway.”

“She’s the rightful heir, and a badass,” wrote Bethany of Lynn, who also picked Rhaenyra.

Interestingly, Aemond Targaryen, Aegon’s younger but shrewder brother, finished second (13%), above his lecherous, hard-drinking kin. Does that mean Aemond will commit regicide against his own big bro? Time will tell.

“Aegon will probably drink himself into a stupor and die from sliding onto a sharp part of the throne,” wrote reader Terence S.

In terms of total left-field favorite characters, Anshul from Jamaica Plain picked Larys Strong, the podophilic adviser who clandestinely ordered the murder of his father and brother to please Alicent Hightower.

“In a world overflowing with petty, obnoxious, narcissistic sociopaths, no one expects much out of the guy who is quiet, educated, and partially disabled — but there he is, ALWAYS LURKING just around the corner!” Anshul wrote. “No one sees this guy coming, but he’s perhaps the most deviant freakshow of them all.”

Who are your favorite and least favorite characters on “House of the Dragon”?

In a show where even the most sympathetic characters either harbor dark secrets or flaunt their dirty laundry for the world to see, it can be tough to pick someone to root for in Westeros. But maybe not that tough, as readers easily selected Daemon Targaryen as their favorite, with 42.2% of the vote.


Reader Rain A. explained her Daemon pick, writing that she admires the prince’s cunning and his ability to produce “efficient strategy on a dime.”

“Daemon Targaryen is strong willed,” she wrote. “He fights for what he believes in, with skill, laying his life on the line if he has to.”

When it comes to least favorite character, the conniving Hand of the King, Otto Hightower, ruled the day at 23.8%. Not far behind was Ser Criston Cole (21.1%), who — in what seems like a terminal case of being Down Bad — has devoted his entire life to destroying Rhaenyra after the princess ended their clandestine affair.

“Otto Hightower has a chronic issue of playing his daughter like a chess piece,” Rain wrote. “He handed over his daughter to become an heir producer, and eventually a queen desperately trying to keep her family in order. Otto is hungry to be as close to the Iron Throne as he can get.”

“Cole is just irritating,” Janice wrote. “I wish Westerling had taken him out in the Green Council.”

With yet another take that’s hotter than dragonflame, Anshul picked decrepit King Viserys (2.7% of the vote) as his least favorite character, likening the late ruler to Fredo Corleone from “The Godfather.”


“Years and years of horrific, protracted violence were directly caused by the second marriage of Viserys, who has the strength and intelligence of Fredo Corleone,” Anshul wrote. “He inherited power, wealth, and stability — and then blew it all like a trust fund burnout unimpressively oozing his way out of Harvard with a 2.1 GPA.”

How has “House of the Dragon” compared to “Game of Thrones”?

It’s still early in the run of “House of the Dragon,” but as of now, readers seem split on whether the series favorably or unfavorably compares to “Game of Thrones.” Almost 40% of readers said “HotD” was “about the same” as “GoT,” closely followed by 33% of readers who said “HotD” is “a little worse.” That’s probably about as good as HBO executives could hope for, though the 10% of readers who said “HotD” is “much worse” could be some cause for concern.

“It is early in series, and the acting has not become dry like at the end of ‘GoT,'” wrote Terence S., who said “Dragon” is a little better at the moment.

Janice S. graded “Dragon” as a little worse, calling the show’s time jumps “jarring.”

“The characters are not really as well-developed,” Janice wrote. “I really liked the actress playing young Rhaenyra better than older Rhaenyra.”

Hot take maestro Anshul, meanwhile, was measured in his response to this question, saying the two shows are about the same in quality at the moment.

“It’s terrific to see dragons regularly scorching and stomping their way around as the super-weapons of the day,” he wrote. “What’s missing is some wielding of creepy magic/necromancy/hexes, etc.”