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.
Appearance and Character Edit
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.
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 late 129AC, 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.
After Rhaenyra's death on Dragonstone at the hands of her half-brother, Aegon II returned to King's Landing once the city was recaptured by the forces of Boros Baratheon. The Sea Snake was released from captivity by the king, pardoned and appointed to join his Small Council, serving as Master of Ships. When Lord Boros's army was defeated by the riverlords known as the Lads on the Kingsroad and King's Landing was threatened by the approaching army of Lord Cregan Stark from the North, the Sea Snake advised King Aegon to abdicate and surrender the throne to his nephew before taking the black and leaving for the Wall. Aegon refused and ordered that one of his nephew's ears be sent to Lord Stark as a warning. After this meeting, Aegon was carried by litter back to his chambers and given a cup of wine to ease his pain. He was found dead in the litter upon arriving to his chambers. A few days later, Lord Stark arrived in King's Landing. By that time, the Sea Snake had taken charge and had already sent emissaries to Casterly Rock, Storm's End and Oldtown, suing for peace.
However, Lord Stark was not satisfied. He had wanted to depose Aegon II but poisoning an unjust king was dishonourable. With his army giving him sway at court during this time, Lord Stark gave orders that all those suspected of killing the king be arrested. The Sea Snake was among these culprits. the young King Aegon III was made to appoint Lord Stark as Hand of the King. For the whole day in which he ruled as Hand, Lord Stark oversaw the trials of the culprits, sending most of them to the Wall and executing two, including Larys Strong, the Master of Whisperers. The Sea Snake was spared only because his granddaughters, Baela and Rhaena Targaryen, convinced their half-brother, the king, to issue an edict pardoning him for any fault. Lord Stark accepted to respect the edict after Black Alys Blackwood told him she would marry him in exchange. After the trials, Lord Stark resigned as Hand and returned North. These events came to be known as the Judgment of the Wolf.
With Lord Stark gone, the Sea Snake held sway at court and was appointed to be one of the seven regents to rule in Aegon III's name. He was widely seen as being the most powerful of the regents and ruled the Seven Kingdoms well during a whole year. The Sea Snake's age eventually caught up with him and he died a year after being appointed as a regent. His death was mourned throughout Westeros and his body was left to lie in state before the Iron Throne for seven days. He was succeeded as Lord of the Tides by his legitimized heir, Alyn Velaryon, and his position as regent was taken by Lord Unwin Peake.