Fire & Blood

House of the Dragon is Still Missing One Major Character

A prominent dragonrider is absent from the Game of Thrones spin-off.

Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D'arcy) speaks with Rhaena Targaryen (Phoebe Campbell) and Baela T...
HBO
House of the Dragon

With House of the Dragon finally diving into the Dance of Dragons, the battle for the Iron Throne is kicking off in earnest. The board is more or less set, with key members of Team Black and Team Green well-known to audiences. But House of the Dragon has also been introducing “dragonseeds,” illegitimate children of Targaryens and Velaryons who can potentially claim and ride dragons of their own. Ulf White (Tom Bennett), Hugh Hammer (Kieran Bew), and Addam of Hull (Clinton Liberty) have already made an appearance, but fans are still holding out for one last character to appear. Who is Nettles, and what part will she play in House of the Dragon Season 2? Spoilers ahead.

Who is Nettles, and what are dragonriders?

Team Black has an abundance of dragons in Season 2, which means they’ll be looking for new riders.

HBO

In George R. R. Martin’s prequel text, Fire and Blood, Nettles is a dragonseed of unknown Valyrian descent. She grows up a peasant but eventually tames a wild dragon. After the events of Rook’s Rest, Princess Rhaenyra (Emma D’arcy) issues a call for dragonriders; she has more dragons than people to ride them, and to get the edge over King Aegon II (Tom Glynn-Carney), she needs all the help she can get. Rhaenyra recruits four dragonriders:

  • Nettles, who rides her dragon Sheepstealer
  • Addam of Hull, who claims Seasmoke (formerly the dragon of Laenor Velaryon)
  • Hugh Hammer, who claims the bronze dragon Vermithor
  • Ulf White, who takes Silverwing

Why is Nettles important to House of the Dragon?

Nettles is the only female dragonseed in Fire & Blood, and she’s the source material’s only canon Black character. That was a crucial element of her characterization, as she lacked the physical features shared by House Targaryen and Velaryon, and therefore defied the unspoken requirements of becoming a dragonrider. Nettles also creates a major rift in Rhaenyra’s already complex marriage to Daemon (Matt Smith). The pair grow surprisingly close; some accounts in Fire & Blood compare their bond to father and daughter, while others suggest they were lovers. Either way, her unique skillset and rags-to-riches storyline made her a fan favorite, which makes her absence in House of the Dragon disappointing.

Will Nettles appear in House of the Dragon Season 2?

Rhaenyra sits with her son Jace, stepdaughter Baela, Hugh Hammer, Ulf White, and Addam of Hull. Where’s Nettles?

HBO

With the Dance of Dragons in full swing and the call for dragonriders all but inevitable, Fire & Blood fans are wondering when (or if) Nettles will appear in House of the Dragon. Showrunner Ryan Condal has been noncommittal about the character, telling Black Girl Nerds he wouldn’t comment on characters that haven’t appeared yet. “I would just say, ‘Stay tuned,’” Condal said, which kind of leaves the door open for a Nettles appearance.

There are four episodes left in Season 2, so there’s time to introduce Nettles before it’s too late. That said, a few theories suggest Nettles has been cut from the adaptation, with previously established characters taking her role in the Dance. Daemon’s daughter Baela (Bethany Antonia) was rumored to take Nettles’ place this season; an early trailer showed Baela conferring with Rhaenyra and her three future dragonriders (see above), with Nettles notably absent.

There’s also a theory that Baela’s sister Rhaena (Phoebe Campbell) will eventually claim Sheepstealer while visiting the Vale. That could resolve one of the character’s biggest issues — her failure to claim a dragon — while giving her a more active role in the series. But that would remove Nettles from the series; while there are already a lot of characters to keep track of, erasing Fire & Blood’s only Black character and splitting her story between two other Black characters isn’t the best look. Let’s hope House of the Dragon can find a place for Nettles, even if it takes until Season 3.

House of the Dragon is streaming on Max.

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