House of the Dragon's first big revelation has already sent the Game of Thrones fandom into hysterics, but combined with a new quote from author George R.R. Martin, it may be the biggest news the franchise has had in years. Fair warning: there are mild spoilers for House of the Dragon Episode 1 below.
As many fans surmised ahead of time, House of the Dragon Episode 1 revealed that the Targaryen kings had secret knowledge of a prophecy about the Long Night. King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) explains to his daughter that some members of their family have been gifted with prescient dreams for centuries and that King Aegon "The Conquerer" Targaryen was one of them. He explains that the reason they conquered the Seven Kingdoms in the first place was to unite the realm against the coming White Walkers, and to secure power for dragonriders so that they would be well-positioned to combat this threat when it came. He even reveals that this prophecy is known amongst the Targaryen rulers as "The Song of Ice and Fire."
This has been discussed in fan theories, heavily hinted at in the text and virtually confirmed by the author before, so in some ways it wasn't a revelation so much as the first depiction of a subtle story feature. The fact that this prophecy was a real consideration for Targaryen kings comes with all kinds of potential implications for the story – which, again, have been discussed on fan forums ad nauseam. The real "revelation" actually comes from an interview Martin gave with Vanity Fair last week.
Asked about the prophecy in House of the Dragon, Martin said: "I don't want to give too much away, because some of this is going to be in the later books." That sentence is enough to get a hardcore fan's heart racing. Martin has confirmed that not only in this old fan theory true, but that it will have a direct impact on The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring – that we may see characters learn about it and that it may help turn the tide of battle. That may make this the biggest ASoIaF revelation since the confirmation that Jon Snow's true parents are Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark (R+L=J).
With that in mind, we can look at the rest of Martin's quote to see what he does not consider to be a spoiler for his two upcoming books. He said: "There was no sell-by date on that prophecy. That's the issue. The Targaryens that know about it are all thinking, 'Okay, this is going to happen in my lifetime, I have to be prepared!' Or, 'It's going to happen in my son's lifetime.' Nobody said 'it's going to happen 200 years from now.' If the Dance of the Dragons had not happened, what would've happened to the next generation? What would've happened in the generation after that? Yeah, there's a lot to be unwound there."
This tells us a lot about how Targaryen prophecy works and what information it leaves out. It also casts new light on the actions of all Targaryen rulers, from the Conquest to Daenerys' father, "The Mad King."
Meanwhile, the show revealed to us that only the rulers themselves knew about this prophecy for the most part. Some fans had speculated that many members of House Targaryen might have been privy to this information, largely because of Maester Aemon's conversations with Sam in A Feast for Crows. However, in House of the Dragon, Viserys tells Rhaenyra that the prophecy is jealously guarded, and is passed only from monarch to monarch. This confirms that characters like Dany's older brother and the novellas' Daeron "The Drunken" Targaryen were not aware of the impending apocalypse.
Perhaps most importantly, the prophecy and Martin's interview together give us an idea of how HBO's expanding Westeros media franchise will attempt to enhance the story told in the main series of novels. These spinoffs do not all need to be connected and do not need to relate to the battle against the Others, by any means. However, the fact that they can be tangled up with the books so many have come to love makes these shows feel more enticing and alleviates concerns that they are just some kind of cash grab.
House of the Dragon airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max. It is based on Martin's latest book, Fire & Blood. All of Martin's books are available now in print, digital and audiobook format. The author continues his work on the final two volumes in A Song of Ice and Fire, but there is no release date in place just yet.0comments