Lucerys in childhood, by Douglas Wheatley, as depicted in The World of Ice & Fire
|Born||In 115 AC|
|Died||In 129 AC, Shipbreaker Bay|
Harvey Sadler (young)
|TV series||House of the Dragon: Season 1|
Appearance and Character
Luke was a strong strapping lad, skilled in arms. Like his brothers Jacaerys and Joffrey, he had brown eyes and hair, and a pug nose. This made many at court suspect that Ser Harwin Strong was their true father.
King Viserys I Targaryen was delighted with Luke when he was presented at court. In 118 AC Rhaenyra Targaryen announced the betrothal of her eldest sons, Jacaerys and Lucerys, to Rhaena and Baela Targaryen, the daughters of Prince Daemon Targaryen and Laena Velaryon.
Laenor Velaryon died in 120 AC, and his son Lucerys and the rest of his family came to Driftmark for his funeral. There, Luke's uncle Prince Aemond Targaryen, aged ten, secretly attempted to claim Vhagar, the dragon of the recently deceased Laena Velaryon, Luke's aunt. Aemond was caught by his three-year-old nephew, Prince Joffrey; in an attempt to keep him quiet, Aemond slapped and threatened the younger boy, before shoving him into a pile of dragon droppings and mounting Vhagar. On his return from his first flight, he found that Joffrey had woken his older brothers, five-year-old Lucerys and six-year-old Jacaerys, who attacked him with wooden training swords. Despite the fight being three-on-one, Aemond fought back against his younger nephews, breaking Luke's nose and taking one of the training swords and cracking it over Jace's head. But when Aemond called his nephews "Strongs", Jace, old enough to understand the insult, attacked Aemond again. When Aemond gained the upper hand and began to beat Jace savagely, Luke drew his dagger and slashed at Aemond's face, taking out his right eye. After the incident, Aemond's mother Queen Alicent called for Lucerys to lose an eye as penance, which King Viserys refused, while Luke's mother Princess Rhaenyra demanded that Aemond should be questioned "sharply", until he revealed where he heard her sons being described as "Strongs" — as naming them such was suggesting they were bastards, and therefore that Rhaenyra was guilty of high treason by sleeping with Ser Harwin Strong. Pressured by his father, Aemond eventually admitted hearing the name from his brother, Prince Aegon. King Viserys decreed afterward that anyone who mocked his grandsons as "Strongs" again would have their tongues pulled out with hot pincers. Further, Rhaenyra and her sons were to stay at Dragonstone, while Alicent and her sons returned to King's Landing.
Later in that year, Lucerys's widowed mother, Rhaenyra Targaryen, married her uncle, Prince Daemon Targaryen. Luke's half-brother Aegon was born at the end of the year, followed by Viserys in 122 AC. Unlike their Velaryon half-brothers, Rhaenyra's younger sons looked entirely Targaryen.
In 126 AC, Luke's grandfather, Lord Corlys Velaryon, became ill. The question of who would succeed him as Lord of the Tides and Master of Driftmark became a debate, as his children Laenor and Laena were dead, and Laenor's eldest son Jacaerys would eventually succeed his other grandfather and mother to the Iron Throne. Rhaenyra urged Corlys to name her second son, Lucerys, as his heir, but Corlys's eldest nephew, Ser Vaemond Velaryon, protested on the grounds that Rhaenyra's Velaryon sons were not Laenor's, but the bastards of Harwin Strong. Rhaenyra had her husband seize Vaemond and strike off his head, and fed the body to her dragon, Syrax. Vaemond's five cousins fled to King's Landing with Vaemond's wife and sons, Daemion and Daeron Velaryon, to seek justice before the king. Viserys heard them out, but ordered each of the cousins' tongues to be removed when they called Rhaenyra's sons bastards.
Viserys's hand became infected after cutting it on the throne, and it was feared that he might die. On the first day of 127 AC, the king held a feast to celebrate the return of his health, and Rhaenyra and Alicent made a show of amity and love. However, after the king left the feast, Aemond toasted his three Velaryon nephews, speaking in mock admiration of their brown hair, brown eyes, and strength, calling them "three strong boys".
The Dance of the Dragons
In 129 AC, King Viserys I Targaryen died in his sleep, and a war of succession, called the Dance of the Dragons, broke out between the blacks of Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen, Viserys's choice of heir, and the greens of her younger half-brother, King Aegon II Targaryen, Viserys's eldest son. Aegon II offered Rhaenyra "generous terms", saying that if she would submit to him, among other things he would allow that Lucerys would be recognized as the rightful heir to Driftmark, and the lands and holdings of House Velaryon, but she rejected the offer.
Lucerys was thirteen years old at the start of the civil war, and had long served as a squire. His dragon, Arrax, was thriving, and growing every year. At Rhaenyra's first black council on Dragonstone, Lucerys and his brother Jacaerys volunteered to serve as her envoys to the lords of Westeros to raise support for her claim, and to show their legitimacy as Targaryens by riding on dragons. Rhaenyra allowed this, but she first made her young sons swear on The Seven-Pointed Star that they would not take part in any fighting.
Lucerys, as the younger son, was sent on a mission that was considered shorter and safer than his brother Jacaerys's, flying on Arrax as a messenger to Storm's End, where it was expected that Lord Borros Baratheon would give him a warm welcome. However, Prince Aemond Targaryen had already arrived at the castle on Vhagar, to acquire Borros's allegiance to his brother King Aegon II by agreeing to marry one of Borros's four daughters. In the Round Hall, Aemond loudly greeted Lucerys as "Little Luke Strong, the bastard", and asked if he was wet from the rain or if he had pissed himself. Luke ignored Aemond's insults, and delivered his letter to Borros. Lord Baratheon asked him that if he allied with Rhaenyra, which of his daughters would Luke wed, and told him to pick one. Luke admitted he could not do so, as he was betrothed to his cousin, Rhaena Targaryen. Borros replied that he thought as much, and told him to go home, to tell his mother not to have expected the Lord of Storm's End to obey like a dog.
Before Luke could leave, Aemond drew his sword and told him he owed him a debt he now had to pay. Aemond revealed the sapphire he wore in the place of his missing eye, and told Luke to put out his own eye, and he would let him go. Lucerys refused to fight him, telling him he came as an envoy, not a knight, but Aemond demanded Luke's eye or his life. At this, Lord Borros intervened, not wanting the blood of envoys to be shed under his roof, and his guards escorted Lucerys back to the castle yard where Arrax waited amidst a terrible storm. When Borros's daughter Maris taunted Aemond, asking him if Lucerys had removed his balls as well as his eye, Aemond became enraged. When he asked Borros's leave to go, Borros told Aemond that he had no say about what he did while not underneath Borros's roof, and allowed him to depart.
Arrax was struggling to stay aloft in the storm as Aemond mounted Vhagar and went after Luke. Arrax was younger and swifter, and on a calm day might have been able to outfly his pursuer, but the weather impeded him, and Vhagar was five times the size of her foe and the hardened survivor of a hundred battles. The two dragons met above Shipbreaker Bay. According to Archmaester Gyldayn, if there was a fight it could not have lasted long. Arrax fell, broken, to be swallowed by the storm-lashed waters of the bay. His head and neck washed up beneath the cliffs below Storm's End three days later. Prince Lucerys's body was never found.
Mushroom's scurrilous Testimony claims Aemond located Luke's corpse, also washed up on the shore, and removed both of his eyes to present them to Lady Maris on a bed of seaweed, but Archmaester Gyldayn's history considers that unlikely. Gyldayn also notes that some claim that Vhagar snatched Lucerys off Arrax's back and swallowed him whole. Some have even claimed that Luke survived his fall and swam to safety, but lost all memory of who he was, spending the rest of his days as a simpleminded fisherman. But more legitimate historians such as Munkun disregard such tales, and state that Lucerys died with his dragon.
With Luke's death, the Dance of the Dragons was no longer a matter of diplomacy, but began a war of fire and blood. Aemond Targaryen, now known as Aemond the Kinslayer, did not receive a hero's welcome in King's Landing. Dowager Queen Alicent Hightower paled and cried out for the Mother's mercy. His grandfather and the Hand of the King, Ser Otto Hightower, was also displeased, telling Aemond, "You only lost one eye, how could you be so blind?" However, Aemond's brother King Aegon II welcomed him home with a great feast, and announced that he had made "a good beginning." On Dragonstone, Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen collapsed when told of her son Luke's death, and his younger brother Joffrey swore an oath of vengeance against Aemond and Borros. Luke's stepfather, Prince Daemon Targaryen, avenged his death by sending "Blood and Cheese" to assassinate one of Aegon II's sons.
—Lucerys, to the black council
—Aemond Targaryen to Lucerys
Aemond: Hold, Strong. First pay the debt you owe me. You have a knife, just as you did then. Put out your eye, and I will let you leave. One will serve. I would not blind you.
Lucerys: I will not fight you. I came here as an envoy, not a knight.Aemond: You came here as a craven and a traitor. I will have your eye or your life, Strong.—Aemond Targaryen and Lucerys
—writings of Gyldayn
- Fire & Blood, Heirs of the Dragon - A Question of Succession.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - A Son for a Son.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Blacks and the Greens.
- WarnerMedia Pressroom: House of the Dragon | Character Descriptions
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Viserys I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon II.