With many people (including myself) very disappointed with the final season of Game of Thrones, you can be forgiven for not caring all that much about the upcoming House of the Dragon from HBO. It will be set in the same world as Game of Thrones, 300 years before the main series.
I am extremely excited about this show as I absolutely love the Game of Thrones history. One of the key reasons why season seven and eight were such a disaster was, I believe, due to the fact that they had overtaken the books. The show’s story writers were finishing the series with barely any of the intricate, considered care that George R. R. Martin puts into crafting his story, and strayed too far from his vision. This (hopefully) will not be the case with House of the Dragon as all of the Targaryen backstory is fully fleshed out and crafted by Mr Martin in the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, A World of Ice and Fire and Fire and Blood. All the writers have to do is adapt what is already written, which is what seasons one to five/six did so fantastically.
So what are we to expect from this new series I hear you cry? Well, we have very little information to go off of at the moment as the release is earmarked for 2022. We do have the title: House of the Dragon. Then there’s the poster with a big, red, three-headed dragon and the strapline “fire will reign”. It also mentions that it is based on the novel Fire and Blood. Now, I don’t need to be an expert in A Song of Ice and Fire to figure out that this show is gonna be all about the Targaryens. I know, pointing out the obvious right? But what exactly in the Targaryen history is the show going to cover?
What follows is a brief outline of key events in the history of Westeros that I believe could be touched upon, starting with the most obvious and likely. I will try to be as spoiler-free as possible, however, I will be referencing key moments that happen throughout, all the way to just before Game of Thrones starts.
The only description of this show that we have is that it is going to be set 300 years before Game of Thrones. This puts the series roughly around the time of Aegon’s conquest. To me, this is a good decision and the most sensible place to start from. They have already covered Aegon’s conquest in the short animated film Conquest and Rebellion, narrated by some of the Game of Thrones actors, so it is a safe choice for them.
Aegon’s conquest itself is the story of the first king of a (sort of) unified Westeros, the invading Aegon Targaryen and his sisters Visenya and Rhaenys, all astride their own fearsome dragons. One by one, they battle each independent kingdom until (mostly) all swear fealty to King Aegon. There are enough fierce battles, sheer dragon destruction, political negotiation and kneeling to Targaryens to satisfy anyone.
The Dance of the Dragons
I cannot express how much I personally would like them to cover the Dance of the Dragons. This is by far my favourite aspect of A Song of Ice and Fire. If you like dragons, you are in for a treat when you see this. Essentially a civil war between two Targaryen factions who both believe they are the rightful rulers, calling themselves the blacks and the greens (on account of the colour of a couple of dresses if you can believe it). There are a plethora of dragons and their riders on both sides that fight one another. I can only imagine how insane dragon on dragon fights could look with the CGI and budget HBO has for this show, so fingers and toes crossed for the Dance of the Dragons making an appearance (especially the Vhagar and Caraxes fight).
The Blackfyre Rebellions
When Aegon IV Targaryen gave Blackfyre, one of House Targaryen’s valyrian steel swords (and perceived by many as the sign of the monarchy, as it had been passed from king to king since Aegon the first) to his bastard son, Daemon Waters (who afterwards called himself Daemon Blackfyre), he sowed the seed of another civil war. When, on his deathbed, he legitimized all of his many bastard children, that civil war grew until there was a bloody conflict lasting five generations and five separate Blackfyre rebellions. There are no dragons alive at this point in the timeline, but Daemon Blackfyre is known to be an outstanding fighter and is often brought up in GOAT conversations. With five rebellions, there is plenty of blood and politics to play with.
War of the Ninepenny Kings
This is technically considered as the fifth Blackfyre rebellion, but I think it is worth mentioning on its own because it was not solely a Blackfyre invasion and there is one notable participant that I think everyone would love to see.
When nine merchants, mercenaries and pirates decide to invade Westeros in order to split the kingdom between themselves, King Jaehaerys II swiftly acts and battle ensues. One of the nine was Maelys I Blackfyre (better known as Maelys the Monstrous; it was his involvement that gave this war its other title of fifth Blackfyre rebellion). We meet a young Brynden Tully, Tywin and Kevan Lannister, as well as a very, very important showing from the absolutely awesome Barristan Selmy.
Along with Aegon’s conquest, this is probably the best-known area of Game of Thrones lore. I think it’s fair to say that if you’ve watched GOT all the way through you will be very familiar with the story but to give a brief overview; I’ll detail some of the key factors in the starting of the rebellion.
It all began when Prince Rhaegar Targaryen won a tournament at Harrenhal and named Lyanna Stark the Queen of Love and Beauty (Lyanna was Eddard and Brandon Stark’s sister and betrothed to Robert Baratheon) instead of his own wife, Elia Martell. The Starks thought this was an insult to Lyanna’s honour and Robert brooded inwardly on the slight.
Prince Rhaegar then, astonishingly, abducted Lyanna. Brandon rode to the gates of King’s Landing and demanded that the prince (who was not there) should come out and die. Brandon was captured by Rhaegar’s father, King Aerys the Mad, and shortly after Brandon’s own father, Lord Rickard, arrived. He demanded a trial by combat, which was accepted. Only Aerys’s champion was fire… Lord Rickard was burnt alive whilst his son watched, strangling himself to death on the trap that they had ensnared him in. King Aerys then ordered Jon Arryn to send him the heads of his wards, Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon. Jon, whose son and heir had been killed at King’s Landing in Brandon’s company, refused and called the banners in rebellion. Thus, began Robert’s Rebellion. We all know how that ended…
I believe it very unlikely they will cover the entirety of the Targaryen history in a TV show. A series like that could run to be equally as long, if not longer, than Game of Thrones, which I think is a lot for a “spin-off”. Aegon’s Conquest is a definite I’d say, and I will pray that the Dance of the Dragons is covered as well. George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire is so rich in history and background that there is enough content to explore for many years or decades to come. I feel like it could become the fantasy equivalent to Star Wars in that regard. It would be very interesting to see them approach films and animated TV series. They could even explore different genres, for example, horror, romance or even comedy. The Game of Thrones TV series was only really the tip of the iceberg.
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