Fire & Blood

Who is Ulf the White? House of the Dragon’s New Targaryen Bastard Explained

“A dragonseed must watch his own neck.”

Tom Bennett as Ulf the White in House of the Dragon

House of the Dragon is a story of lineage and succession, and as with its predecessor, Game of Thrones, you can’t tell that story without introducing a few complications. For the Targaryens and the Velaryons, those wrinkles often come in the form of illegitimate children. House of the Dragon Season 1 explored this thoroughly within the immediate royal family, as soon-to-be-queen Rhaenyra (Emma D’arcy) claimed that her eldest children were full-blooded Targaryen heirs. Though that debacle is more or less resolved in Season 2, the series has expanded its scope to introduce a handful of other bastards. Some will play a major role in the coming conflict, the Dance of Dragons, while others feel like a distracting addition to the series.

While Rhaenyra fights tooth and nail to prevent an all-out dragon warfare against King Aegon II (Tom Glynn-Carney), House of the Dragon’s latest episode zooms out to focus on the “small folk” of King’s Landing. One in particular has been getting a lot of screen time this season. Remember the guy who inquired about all the dead ratcatchers in Episode 2? He’s back for another brief scene in Episode 3 — this time in a much more interesting role.

House of the Dragon officially introduces us to Ulf the White (Tom Bennett), a self-proclaimed “dragonseed” who’s the alleged bastard son of Baelon the Brave. That would make him the half-brother of King Viserys (Paddy Considine) and an uncle to both Rhaenyra and Aegon. It’d also make him an immediate threat to his niece and nephew’s claim to the Iron Throne. But what exactly is a dragonseed, and why is that important to the future of House of the Dragon?

Potential spoilers for House of the Dragon ahead.

House of the Dragon Season 2 has steadily been introducing dragonseeds. Ulf the White is just one of many.


Dragonseeds, explained

A dragonseed is an illegitimate child sired by a Valyrian bloodline. In most cases they’re either of Targaryen of Velaryon descent, and are typically identified either by the bloodline’s trademark silver hair or their ability to claim a dragon. That particular tidbit will come into play in House of the Dragon, as Team Black will soon be searching for dragonriders to fill out their ranks.

At present, Rhaenyra and her kin at Dragonstone have several dragons at their disposal, but not all of them have been claimed. Episode 3 features Seasmoke, the dragon that once belonged to Laenor Velaryon (John MacMillan), flying restlessly along the coast. That may not be the case for much longer. As Team Black gears up for battle, they’ll issue a call for potential dragonriders. We’ll likely see Ulf answer that call, along with other potential dragonseeds like Alyn (Abubakar Salim) and Addam (Clinton Liberty) of Hull, and put his claim to the test.

Is Ulf the White really a Targaryen?

George R. R. Martin’s prequel text, Fire & Blood, doesn’t outright confirm Ulf’s true parentage. Notably, he is able to claim a dragon, Silverwing, which is answer enough for some. Addam of Hull will also go on to claim Seasmoke (hence the heavy foreshadowing in House of the Dragon) and play an important role in the Dance of Dragons. That said, their shared blood doesn’t automatically make them loyal to House Black — all that talk of treason wasn’t for nothing. Ulf especially will prove to be a big thorn in Rhaenyra’s side, making this complicated conflict even moreso.

House of the Dragon streams weekly on HBO and Max.

Related Tags