On Tuesday night, HBO surprised fans by announce that the first Game of Thrones spinoff has gotten a full series order. The network is producing a prequel called House of the Dragon, exploring the early years of Targaryen rule in Westeros. With a new setting on the horizon, fans have their fingers crossed that their favorite character will show up.
House of the Dragon is set around 300 years before the events of the main series Game of Thrones. Author George R. R. Martin has confirmed that it will be based on material in his most recent book, Fire & Blood. However, he was the first to admit that that does not narrow it down much.
"[For what it's worth], those who have read FIRE & BLOOD will realize it contains enough material for a dozen shows," he wrote on his blog last month.
Unlike the normal, linear structure of a novel, Fire & Blood is a fictional history book, written from the perspective of a Westerosi maester. It covers about 150 years worth of history in the land, from Aegon I's conquest of the continent to Aegon III's ascension to the throne.
This leaves a lot of room for interpretation about House of the Dragon. Fans are debating which part of Fire & Blood is should focus in on, from the various wars to the dramatic family politics in the various eras it explores. Other have speculated that it may look more like an anthology series, with each season tracing a different section of the Targaryen legacy.
Either way, there are some historical characters that fans are dying to see on screen, and now they finally have their chance. Despite its unconventional format, Fire & Blood produced some fan-favorite characters, from noble kings to bold knights, and from fearsome dragon-riders to powerful magicians. Given the scope of the book, chances are slim that we will see every single character in the show, regardless of its format. Still, in the wake of the announcement, it pays to take a look at some frontrunners among fans.
Here are some of the characters fans are most excited to see on the Game of Thrones spinoff House of the Dragon.
Arguably the most logical places for House of the Dragon to start is with Aegon's Conquest, when Aegon I Targaryen took over all of Westeros. He turned the Seven Kingdoms into one, in a legendary war that Martin recounted in tactical, but not emotional detail.
The first king is referred to most often as Aegon the Conquerer. He flew Balerion the Black Dread, the last dragon left who was born in Valyria before the doom. He had two wives, both his sisters -- Visenya and Rhaenys, both of whom rode dragons.
Aegon is practically a mythical figure in the main series, so it would be exciting to see him rendered human in House of the Dragon. It could also answer a lot of questions for fans, who believe that he may have understood prophecies that effect the main series time line.
The few announcements we have gotten for House of the Dragon state that it takes place "300 years before" Game of Thrones. Strictly speaking, that makes Aegon's Conquest the most likely subject for the show, since the other storylines take place generations later. However, we cannot expect all of HBO's advertising experts to get so specific with Martin's fictional timeline, so we do not know for sure yet.prevnext
Aegon's elder sister, Visenya Targaryen, was a fierce warrior in her own right. At times she even put he brother in his place when it came to swordplay and combat, and she carried the ancestral Valyrian steel blade Dark Sister, which features heavily in the later books.
Visenya is a fascinating character that would be even better on screen, in real time. She is a calculating politician and a ruthless fighter, with a keen eye for using dragons strategically. However, it is also rumored that she dabbles in dark magic, and perhaps even used some sorcery to birth her son, Maegor I.
Finally Visenya might be the most interesting perspective for exploring the three-way marriage between herself and her two siblings. it is understood that King Aegon married Rhaenys for love and Visenya for duty, and the feeling was mutual. This could make for some heightened drama if it is done right on TV.prevnext
Meria Martell & Rhaenys Targaryen (The First Dornish War) by Magali Villeneuve from r/ImaginaryWesteros
Queen Rhaenys was the youngest and the gentlest of the three Targaryen siblings that conquered Westeros. She was not a fighter like her older siblings, but she was a dragon-rider, and she loved to fly on Meraxes more than anything. She was also fond of singers, fools and parties, and as such she was at the center of a lot of rumors in her time.
Rhaenys is exactly the kind of character that would be at home in a Game of Thrones spinoff, as she is the classic innocent who gets embroiled in bloodshed. She flies her dragon into her brother's war despite her peaceful disposition, and she later spends some mysterious time in Dorne, which many fans think we do not fully understand in Fire & Blood. Hopefully, House of the Dragon can shed some light on that for us.prevnext
Aegon and Visenya had no sons together at first, so he was succeeded on the throne by his son Aenys, from his marriage to Rhaenys. However, when Aenys died mysteriously, Maegor seized control, and his bloody reign was full of unnecessary violence. He was regarded in history as Maegor the Cruel.
A TV depiction of Maegor would clear up a lot for Game of Thrones fans, as it might explore the details behind his scandalous ascension. It might also answer questions fans have about his birth, since it is rumored that Visenya used dark magic to facilitate a successful birth after so many miscarriages.
Maegor is also responsible for building the castle where the main series is later set, and for murdering all the craftsmen who worked on it so that no one knows the secrets of its hidden passages but him.
Admittedly, Maegor's reign itself may not be as rich of a subject for House of the Dragon as the king that came before or after him, but if the show takes an anthology approach, hopefully it will at least stop off in Maegor's time for a bit.prevnext
King Jaehaerys I, Good Queen Alysanne and Prince Aemon, by Magali Villeneuve from r/ImaginaryWesteros
After Aegon's Conquest, the next most popular setting for a series would be the reign of King Jaehaerys I, called The Conciliator. Jaehaerys is the kind of king who is too good to be real, and author George R. R. Martin even admitted he is his favorite in Fire & Blood. Jaehaerys is Aegon the Conquerer's grandson, and he cemented Targaryen reign during his long, 55-year reign.
There is a lot of interesting material in all those years on the throne. Jaehaerys had to assert his dominance during his ascension, but then he had to play the peaceful ruler once he was on the throne, to assure the countryside there would be no more war. He also undertook the most civic projects, including road-building, sewage systems and clean water.
All the while, Jaehaerys had a huge family running around the capital, providing an ensemble cast for a running show. His siblings, children and grandchildren were all interesting in their own right, and Jaehaeryis had to be a master of diplomacy to keep them all in line.
This era also presents some of the most interesting non-war conflicts available for the new series. For example, Jaehaerys and his sister-wife, Alysanne, created the religious law known as "Targaryen Exceptionalism" in Westeros. Essentially, this meant that they were allowed to break the commandments of the faith by having an incestuous marriage because, they argued, Targaryens are biologically different from other men. This creates some confusing racial undertones to explore that could be compelling on TV.prevnext
At Jaehaerys' side was Good Queen Alysanne, one of the most deeply-explored female characters in Fire and Blood. Alysanne would present a great character for the new TV series, thanks to her strong convictions but easy-going nature.
Among the many TV-worthy chapters in Alysanne's life, there is the time when she single-handedly lobbied to end the "Right of the First Night" throughout Westeros. She insisted that Jaehaerys stop the lords of the Seven Kingdoms from claiming this "barbaric" custom, where they were allowed to sleep with any woman who was married in their domain.
Alysanne would also provide a strong link to the other beloved section of Westeros -- the north. She was the first dragon-rider to fly all the way to the Wall, where her dragon Silverwing had some interesting reactions to the ancient magic at work there. She also gave a huge gift to the Night's Watch, allowing them to build a new castle and grow more crops to feed more men.prevnext
you, an idiot: OH BOY DRAGONS AND CASTLES AND FIELDS OF FIRE OH BOY
me, a brilliant legal scholar: SEPTON MFING BARTH YALL https://t.co/BVNvzKXAvs— Laws of Ice and Fire (@WesterosLaw) October 30, 2019
Outside of House Targaryen, one of the characters fans are most hoping to see on screen is King Jaehaerys' most trusted advisor, Septon Barth. Barth is considered one of the most brilliant men ever to have lived in Westeros, pioneering technology and medicine and law. He gets a somewhat contradictory representation in the fictional histories, so fans are hoping to see who he is for themselves once and for all.
Barth is also notable for writing a legendary book called Dragons, Wyrms, and Wyverns: Their Unnatural History. In the main series, Tyrion is always searching for scraps of this book, which is considered the most accurate document on dragons that exists after the Doom of Valyria. His dragon expertise ties right into another story fans are hoping to see on screen, mentioned in the next section.prevnext
If you haven't had the chance, there's a story about Aerea Targaryen in FIRE AND BLOOD which might hint at what's going on with Victarion's arm. Please enjoy this family-friendly image of Aerea in the meantime. pic.twitter.com/SBXCOxitHK— BryndenBFish (@BryndenBFish) July 3, 2019
Of all the strange anecdotes in Fire & Blood, one of the most enigmatic stand-alone chapters is that of Jaehaerys and Alysanne's neice, Aerea. A willful young girl, Aerea ran away from home at the age of 12, with the assitance of a dragon. Aerea mounted Aegon the Conquerer's old dragon, Balerion, and they flew away without a trace.
Aerea was missing for over a year, and the king was surprised that no one in the world saw Balerion's massive wings anywhere. This led him to believe that the dragon had returned to the ruins of Valyria, which were supposedly cursed and inhospitable to humans. Even in the main series, this is true, so it must have been even more so at the time.
When Aerea and Balerion finally returned to King's Landing, they were both weak and battle-scarred. Septon Barth rushed the young girl to his laboratory, where he did his best to heal her. However, this account reads more like a horror story than a fantasy one in the book, as Barth describes parasites lurking under Aerea's skin. The girl died with burning hot skin, and it is believed that she picked up some mysterious, magical ailment in the volcanic ruins of Valyria.
Obviously, this story stands out to fans, who have a lot of questions about what Aerea saw and what happened to her. However, it does not seem like enough to fuel a whole show called House of the Dragon. Depending on how the series is structured, maybe we can hope Aerea's story will play a part.prevnext
Moving on to the next generation, House of the Dragon may focus on the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons, fought between Jaehaerys' offspring. If so, one of the most coveted roles will be that of Lord Corlys Velaryon. Known also as the Lord of the Tides, the Master of Driftmark and the Sea Snake, Corlys is one of the most well-traveled characters in the whole series. He is also a fearless sailor, a shrewd leader and a participant in some of the most epic stories in Westerosi history.
Corlys comes from House Velaryon, which is rarely mentioned in the show. It is the only other family of Valyrian descent in Westeros, though unlike the Targaryens, they are not dragon-riders. Still, the Velaryons have Valyrion genes, so the Targaryens often inter-marry with them in the hopes of keeping their dragon-taming traits alive. No matter what House of the Dragon focuses in on, the show must include more of this house than its predecessor.
Corlys sailed to the ends of the known world in his time, becoming one of the wealthiest men in Westeros. He then served as Hand of the Queen and even Lord Regent, guiding the country through some of its most tumultuous times. He died at his post, and was buried at sea.prevnext
Daemon Targaryen, the Prince of the City, with his gold cloaks by Marc Simonetti from r/ImaginaryWesteros
Many fans are eager to see if House of the Dragon can make Prince Daemon Targaryen into either a hero or a villain. In writing, he falls somewhere in between, though he certainly leaves the world worse than he found it. Daemon is at the center of Martin's novella The Rogue Prince, which was later included in Fire & Blood.
Called the Prince of the City and Lord Flea Bottom, Daemon was known for revelling in the underbelly of King's Landing as a young man. He commanded the city watch as a deeply corrupt cop, taking bribes and seeking power wherever he could find it.
Daemon was a dragon-rider, who flew on Caraxes, the Blood Wyrm, and carried the ancestral Valyrian steel sword Dark Sister. He hungered for war, manufacturing it when he couldn't find it. He declared himself King of the Stepstones and the Narrow Sea after seizing control of those bleak islands, but later ceded them back to Westeros in his efforts to get a foothold there.
There is a lot to say about Daemon, who comes up again in the next slide. Perhaps the most interesting chapter, however, is his death, where he was one of two combatants in the most exciting action sequences in all of Martin's writing -- a dragon versus dragon battle.
Daemon fought his nephew, Aemond, in the Battle Above the God's Eye. He flew Caraxes against Vhagar, and all four died. However, Daemon definitely won, jumping from his dragon to his nephews and plunging his sword into Aemond's empty eye socket as they all tumbled into the great lake below. The bodies of Aemond, Vhagar and Caraxes were all found eventually, but Daemon's never was.
For better or for worse, Daemon's offspring are the only Targaryens to survive the Dance of the Dragons, so he is the progenitor of House Targaryen as we know it in the main series. He will certainly be a fascinating character if he ever appears on screen.prevnext
In the Dance of the Dragons, dragon-riders were the key to military victory. At the time, there were plenty of dragons without riders, and the Greens tried to change that. They invited any smallfolk from their lands to come and claim a dragon, hoping some would have bastard Targaryen blood. Some of them did, but one seemed to succeed on sheer force of will -- Nettles.
Nettles was a 16-year-old brown-skinned girl, almost guaranteeing she had no Targaryen blood in her veins. However, she longed to escape her life of poverty by claiming a dragon, so she set her sights on the meanest wild beast on Dragonstone, a dragon called Sheepstealer. She spent weeks bringing a freshly slaughtered sheep to its lair every morning until she earned its trust, arguably making her the most qualified dragon rider in the whole series.
Nettles fought beside Prince Daemon throughout the war, and the two apparently became very close. Some even suspected they were lovers, and after Daemon's death, it was rumored that he sought out Nettles to live out the rest of his days by her side.
Nettles disappeared when the war was over too, since she knew she would not be welcome back at the capital. However, years later, she was linked to rumors of a "fire-witch" living in the Mountains of the Moon. The clansmen there supposedly worshipped an old witch and her dragon, who lived in isolation up in the vale. Fans even speculate that the clan known as the Burned Men who later fought for Tyrion were the descendants of these worshippers.
Nettles would be an excellent character for house of the Dragon, not least of all because the show will be severely lacking in people of color. The all blond, purple-eyed cast could use someone like Nettles to mix things up.prevnext
[Spoiler Extended] So, u like to imagine actors like the characters of asoiaf. Meet Cregan Stark from r/asoiaf
Finally, let's end with one more non-Targaryen character fans are dying to see on House of the Dragon. Given the popularity of House Stark in Game of Thrones, it would make sense for the spinoff to spend plenty of time with Stark ancestors. During the conquest, there was Torrhen Stark, also known as The King Who Knelt. He might make an interesting TV character, and fans would certainly like to know more about him, but the stronger contender is Cregan Stark.
In the aftermath of the Dance of the Dragons came a brief period known as the Hour of the Wolf. Essentially, Cregan Stark had called his banners in support of the Black, however, by the time he marched his army south, they had already won the war. He still wielded the only intact army in the Seven Kingdoms, however, so he was able to seize control of King's Landing easily.0comments
Cregan Stark was named the King's Hand when he arrived, as the new king was 11-years-old. He used his power to arrest his enemies in the capital, dolling out justice the Stark way, and giving many men the option of joining the Night's Watch. He spent six days at King's Landing, and only one as Hand before resigning and marching back north. Many of his northmen remained in the south, however, spreading their culture and religion to other parts of Westeros.
Check PopCulture.com for updates on House of the Dragon as they become available.prev