In this article:
- House Baratheon is among the oldest families in Westeros and is descended from the much older House Durrandon through its matrilineal line.
- The family is rumored to be related to House Targaryen, a point that becomes relevant following Robert’s Rebellion.
- As one of House Targaryen’s oldest allies, House Baratheon is expected to play a pivotal role in House of the Dragon, likely second only to House Velaryon and House Hightower’s expected relevance.
House Baratheon is one of the key noble houses involved in the struggle for power in A Song of Ice and Fire and its HBO series adaptation, Game of Thrones. We meet them pretty early into the series when the royal branch of House Baratheon, formally styled as House Baratheon of King’s Landing, arrives at Winterfell to visit the Starks.
Unlike the Starks, though, we don’t really get to know House Baratheon well since the show doesn’t introduce us to the family’s rich history, their ancestral seat of Storm’s End, nor the rumors about how this noble family is related to the Targaryens — a detail that’s likely to be important in the coming House of the Dragon series which centers on the Targaryen civil war.
A History of House Baratheon’s Family Tree
House Baratheon is a major noble family that once served the Targaryen royal family. While other major houses, like the Greyjoys and Lannisters, were already in power before Aegon’s Conquest, House Baratheon gained theirs during the war.
The family was founded by Orys Baratheon, one of Aegon the Conqueror’s generals.
Lore books such as A World of Ice and Fire imply a level of closeness between the two that puts Orys just a step below Visenya and Rhaenys, Aegon’s sister-wives. This may have been why Aegon trusted him to lead a significant number of their forces to Storm’s End where he fought against Argilac Durrandon, the last of the Storm Kings.
The Storm Kings of House Durandon got their name from Durran Godsgrief, House Durrandon’s equivalent of House Stark’s Bran the Builder.
This legendary hero provides the mythic origin for both House Durrandon and House Baratheon. Legends say Durran married the daughter of a sea god and a wind goddess, inciting both of their fury.
To keep his divine in-laws at bay, Durrandon built the castle of Storm’s End, which is rumored to have been built with the help of Bran the Builder, and named himself The First Storm King as a reference to his symbolic conquering of storms through the building of Storm’s End and marrying a divine bride that symbolizes storms.
This is later paralleled by Orys Baratheon’s marriage to Argella Durandon.
Argella Durandon, Argilac’s only heir, named herself Storm Queen shortly after her father’s death but her own forces betrayed her and surrendered her to Orys, fearing that they would be killed by the Targaryens.
Orys, much to his credit, seemed more impressed than pissed off. The two were later married and to honor Argella’s lineage, Orys keeps the words and sigil of the Durrandons.
House Baratheon’s sigil of a stag on a yellow field and the words “Ours is the Fury” are among the Durrandom Storm Kings’ remaining legacies in Westeros by the events of Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon.
House Durrandon is technically only extinct on paper since, by all accounts, their sigil, castle, words, and bloodline survive in House Baratheon.
This binds House Baratheon to Westeros and gives them legendary origins similar to most other great houses. But while conquest gave Durrandon Godsgrief sovereignty over what is now Baratheon lands, it’s not just conquest that made Robert Baratheon the king of Westeros centuries later.
Because what they don’t tell you in Game of Thrones or the trailer for House of the Dragon is that the Baratheons are related to House Targaryen.
Why Robert’s Rebellion Worked: House Baratheon’s Targaryen and Valyrian Ties Explained
House Baratheon is secretly a cadet branch of House Targaryen. Or maybe not because all the companion books really tell us is that Orys Baratheon is the bastard brother of Aegon the Conqueror.
While it’s a rumor, it was certainly believable enough that it led to House Durrandon’s demise. See, Argilac originally offered to marry Argella to Aegon which, if you know how to game your thrones, is a pretty sweet deal because it meant that Aegon would become the legitimate and uncontested heir to Argilac’s lands, castle, and title.
Argilac was likely thinking that exact same thing since, let’s be real here, no one was excited to get roasted by dragons during the Conquest.
But Aegon said no and instead offered to have Orys Baratheon marry Argella. While Orys was a general, let’s pause and think about what Aegon was giving Argilac here because it isn’t as good of a deal as Nymeria got with her whole House Nymerios-Martell thing.
What Aegon was doing is offering to marry a known bastard to a princess so, naturally, Argilac decided he’ll just keep the war effort going.
Ultimately, though, we know Orys and Argella ended up marrying, thereby connecting House Baratheon to both House Targaryen and House Durrandon. The bastard conspiracy, while not given much info, explains a lot about why Aegon trusted Orys so much.
What little we know of Aegon tells us that he was a no non-sense ruler who didn’t trust just anyone so it makes sense that he chose to conquer a continent with his siblings by his side.
It also explains why he wanted Orys to marry Argella. Aside from securing Storm’s End for him, it could have been a favor to Orys since it effectively made him a legitimate lord of his own house. Besides, it’s implied that Dragonstone was with Targaryen bastards when the family was still around.
In Fire and Blood, Archmaester Gyldalyn is so convinced that the rumor is true that he says Rogar Baratheon, Orys’ grandson, publicly claimed to be the blood of the dragon.
Fast forward to Robert’s Rebellion and we get varying accounts of how and why Robert Baratheon became king of Westeros. Robert tells us he did it for love because Prince Rhaegar took away his fiance, Lyanna Stark.
But that doesn’t answer why the other lords, aside from the Starks, followed him. For them, it was likely a desire to curry favor with whoever won the war and general discontent with Aerys the Mad King‘s rule.
When Robert does get on the Iron Throne, it’s implied that he leverages the Baratheon-Targaryen connection to claim that, technically, he rules by virtue of conquest and blood.
Fire and Blood strengthened his claim for us when it outright stated that: “Orys Baratheon himself was a dragonseed, a bastard brother to our grandsire.” in a section spoken by Jaeherys and Alysanne.
Unfortunately, we haven’t seen a Baratheon ride a dragon just yet.
What to Expect From House Baratheon in House of the Dragon
Before you get your hopes up, you won’t see a Baratheon riding a dragon in House of the Dragon but you will see them get very involved in the Targaryen civil war. The family plays a pivotal role in the struggle between the Blacks (led by Queen Rhaenyra) and the Greens (led by Aegon II).
Not only is House Baratheon an old ally of House Targaryen, but their high position and vast lands make them one of the noble houses with the most soldiers. You know, the people you need for fighting and winning wars.
Fans can expect to meet Borros Baratheon and the Four Storms in House of the Dragon. Think of them as the Baratheon version of Oberyn Martell and his Sand Snakes.
Unlike Oberryn, Borros was not a man of style or culture. He was said to be hot-headed, even more so than Baratheons tend to be, and illiterate but was an experienced warrior who could be calculating when he needed to be.
His daughters, the Four Storms, were known for their closeness to each other as much as their tendency to fight with each other.
Cassandra Baratheon, the eldest, becomes part of a string of alliances between House Baratheon and the Targaryens. The second eldest, Maris Baratheon, was said to have a sharp temper and provocative sense of humor (in the controversial sense).
Next to nothing is known about Ellyn Baratheon, the third sister, while Floris Baratheon, the youngest is only known for being pretty and dying young.
Given the limited screen time a show can dedicate to characters, we’re likeliest to see Borros Baratheon and his eldest daughter, Cassandra Baratheon in House of the Dragon. But news that the producers have casted the role of Ellyn Baratheon hint that we might learn more about this mysterious middle sister, too.