House of the Dragon: Is Ulf Related to Targaryens? Is He a Dragonseed?

The second season of HBO’s ‘House of the Dragon’ focuses on the first phase of the fight between the Greens and the Blacks for the Iron Throne. Each side is ready to do whatever it takes to win, but as Aegon and Rhaenyra fight over the succession, the question of claim gets dicier with each step. In its third episode, with one scene, the story sets the stage for the claims of rightful heirs becoming a greater problem in the future. The scene in reference takes place in a brothel where a man named Ulf declares himself the bastard son of Baelon Targaryen. Those who have read ‘Fire and Blood’ know where this is going, but for those unfamiliar with the Targaryen history written by George R. R. Martin, quite a few bumps are in store. But first, one must address the legitimacy of Ulf’s claims. Is he really a Dragonseed? SPOILERS AHEAD

Ulf’s Claims of Being a Dragonseed are Not Unfounded

Played by Tom Bennett, Ulf first appears in ‘House of the Dragon’ in the second episode as a random man who comments on the brutal fate of the ratcatchers. In the third episode, however, more is discovered about his character, especially after he boasts that Jaehaerys is his grandsire and Baelon Targaryen is his father, which means that Viserys and Daemon are his half-brothers and the ones fighting over the throne are his nephew and niece. As boldly as he makes these claims, they are easily struck down as no one believes him. To begin with, he looks nothing like Viserys or Daemon, and he does not have the signature Targaryen hair. But then, Ulf counters, neither do Rhaenyra’s sons. While we know the parentage of Rhaenyra’s parents, what does the lack of white hair say about Ulf?

It isn’t confirmed whether Ulf really is Baelon’s son, but he is definitely Dragonseed or at least one of his ancestors was. This theory is confirmed by the fact that the Targaryen kings were known to father many bastards, and it was all common knowledge. In the early days of the Targaryen rule, there was a custom on the first night that the kings and even the lords had the right to bed a common-folk bride on her wedding night. For obvious reasons, this custom was not well-liked, but while it disappeared fairly quickly for other houses, the Targaryens enjoyed it for a longer time, especially in Dragonstone. What made the custom a bit more popular among the masses was that whenever a bastard child of a Targaryen king was born, he/she was taken care of as the king would bestow all sorts of riches on the mother and child.

Eventually, King Jaehaerys put a stop to the custom once and for all, but it is no secret that Targaryen kings and princes indulged in dalliances outside of their palace walls. Aegon himself is shown to have fathered quite a few bastards in ‘House of the Dragon’ Season 1. But that still doesn’t explain Ulf’s lack of white hair and lack of resemblance to anyone in the Targaryen family. The lack of white hair is unique to the show because in ‘Fire and Blood,’ he is called Ulf the White for his white hair, which gives more legitimacy to his claim. The show, however, takes a different route.

A Future Plot Point Will Legitimise Ulf’s Claims

Ulf might not have the looks of the Targaryens, but he is bound to do something that will prove his claims, or at least half-truths, beyond any doubt. BOOK SPOILERS AHEAD

The case of the many unclaimed dragons in Dragonstone has been raised in ‘House of the Dragon’ Season 1, and we will soon see most of those dragons being claimed. Interestingly, Ulf will be one of the people making the claim. Somewhere down the line, he will lay claim to Silverwing, who belonged to Queen Alysanne and refused to be claimed by another ride since her death. This means that the dragon has been flying wild for decades, and it isn’t until Ulf comes around that the dragon eventually finds a new rider.

In the ‘Game of Thrones’ universe, it’s a clear fact that only those of the Targaryen bloodline can ride dragons. There were several other Valyrian houses that were dragon riders, but all of them perished in the Doom of Valyria, leaving Targaryens with the monopoly on dragons. According to this rule, a person without a touch of Dragonblood cannot ride a dragon. This means that those who do ride it must have Targaryen blood in their veins. Because Ulf is one of the people who achieved this seemingly impossible feat, it is confirmed that he does, in fact, belong to the bastard line of the Targaryens and is a dragon seed.

Read More: What Will Happen to Rhaenyra and Alicent’s Kids in House of the Dragon?