Corlys Velaryon

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Corlys Velaryon
House Velaryon.PNG

Alias The Sea Snake
Title Lord of the Tides
Master of Driftmark
Hand of the Queen
Allegiance House Velaryon
The blacks
Race Valyrian
Culture Valyrian
Spouse Princess Rhaenys Targaryen
Issue Laena Velaryon
Laenor Velaryon
Book(s) The Princess and the Queen (Appears)

Corlys Velaryon, known as the Sea Snake, was a Lord of House Velaryon and the Master of Driftmark. He was the husband of Princess Rhaenys Targaryen. During the Dance of the Dragons, he became Hand to Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen.[1]

Appearance and Character

Though he had grown old, Corlys liked to say that he was clinging to life "like a drowning sailor clinging to the wreckage of a sunken ship."


At some point in time the Sea Snake traveled to Essos and brought back eastern treasures, which he kept at High Tide. Corlys was the first Westerosi to visit Nefer in N'Ghai and to navigate the Thousand Islands.[2]

Lord Corlys Velaryon sat on the black council during the civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons; he was the greatest lord to pledge his strength to the cause of Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen, who was opposed by her half-brother, King Aegon II Targaryen. More than half of Rhaenyra's army was made up of men sworn to House Velaryon. His fleets also gave the blacks superiority at sea.

When Lord Bartimos Celtigar urged the princess to fly from Dragonstone to King’s Landing at once and reduce the city to ash and bone, Corlys demanded to know how that would serve them, telling him "we want to rule the city, not burn it to the ground."

The Sea Snake commanded the Velaryon fleet when it closed off the Gullet and sailed back and forth from Dragonstone and Driftmark, blocking all shipping entering or leaving Blackwater Bay and thereby choking off trade to and from King's Landing. Eventually, the Velaryon blockade was broken by the Battle in the Gullet.

On Dragonstone, after receiving the news that his wife, Princess Rhaenys, had fallen at Rook's Rest trying to come to the aid of Lord Staunton, angry words were exchanged between the queen and Lord Velaryon. Corlys blamed Rhaenyra for his wife Rhaenys's death. He told Rhaenyra that it should have been her who died, that "Staunton sent to you, yet you left it to my wife to answer, and forbade your sons to join her!" All the castle knew that Princes Jacaerys and Joffrey Velaryon had been eager to fly with her to Rook's Rest with their own dragons.

In 126 AC Corlys was struck with a sudden fever; the issue arose of who would succeed him as Lord of the Tides should he die. With his trueborn children dead by law the title would go to Jacaerys his grandson. However, Jacaerys would presumably ascend the Iron Throne after his mother and so Rhaenyra urged him to name Lucerys as his heir. The Sea Snake also had six nephews, the eldest, Ser Vaemond Velaryon protested that the lordship should pass to him on the grounds that Rhaenyra's sons were bastards sired by Harwin Strong. The Velaryon protesters were dealt with by the Targaryens and Lord Corlys presumably got better.

In late 129 AC, Prince Jacaerys brought the Lord of the Tides back into the fold by naming him Hand of the Queen. Together the Hand and Jacaerys planned an assault upon King’s Landing. Not long after, one of the riderless dragons, Seasmoke, took onto his back a fifteen-year-old boy known as Addam of Hull. Lord Corlys went so far as to petition Queen Rhaenyra to remove the taint of bastardy from Addam and his brother, Alyn. The queen complied and Addam Velaryon became Corlys's heir to Driftmark.

After the queen took King's Landing, as Lord Ormund Hightower's host advanced slowly on King's Landing, with Prince Daeron scouting ahead on the Blue Queen, Lord Corlys suggested to Rhaenyra that the time had come to talk. He urged the queen to offer pardons. He proposed to let the Faith of the Seven take charge of Queen Alicent Hightower and Queen Helaena Targaryen, so that they might spend the rest of their lives in prayer and contemplation. Corlys suggested that Princess Jaehaera Targaryen, the daughter of Rhaenyra's rival, King Aegon II, be made his own ward, and in due time married to Rhaenyra's son, Prince Aegon the Younger, binding the two halves of House Targaryen together once again.

Rhaenyra demanded to know what of her half brothers, Aegon II, Aemond, and Daeron. Lord Corlys suggested they be spared and sent to the Wall. When Corlys mentioned the sacred vows of the Night's Watch, Rhaenyra questioned the vows of oathbreakers, stating that "Their vows did not trouble them when they took my throne." Her husband, Prince Daemon, echoed the queen's misgiving and suggested a hard line, but the queen decided to steer a middle course.

After the Two Betrayers switched sides, Lord Corlys was the only person on the black council to speak in defense of the dragonseed. He remarked that Ser Addam and his brother Alyn were "true heirs" and worthy of Driftmark and that Netty had fought valiantly in the Battle in the Gullet. The Hand's impassioned protests were in vain as by this time the queen had been betrayed so often, by so many, that she was quick to believe the worst of any man. Queen Rhaenyra commanded Ser Luthor Largent to arrest Addam in the Dragonpit. Addam, who had been forewarned, managed to make his escape by flying away with Seasmoke. When the balked and angry Luthor returned from the Dragonpit he accused Corlys of treachery. Corlys did not deny it. Bound and beaten, but still silent, he was taken down into the Red Keep's dungeons and thrown into a black cell to await trial and execution. This action lost Rhaenyra her fleet.

When it became known that Lord Corlys was languishing in a dungeon under the Red Keep, the army that had sailed from Dragonstone to seize the Iron Throne began to abandon Rhaenyra’s cause by the hundreds. The ones that remained could not be trusted. Corlys's fate is not mentioned in The Princess and The Queen by Archmaester Gyldayn.


Mayhaps the Seven have preserved me for this fight.[1]

- Lord Corlys Velaryon

References and Notes