'House of the Dragon' Debuts New Targaryen Relic and Fans are Obsessed

The latest episode very casually reveals that House Targaryen owns a full suit of Valyrian steel armor - but why didn't it show up in the main series?

House of the Dragon just unveiled a never-before-seen asset of House Targaryen: a full suit of Valyrian steel armor. This armor has never been seen on this show or Game of Thrones, and it has never been mentioned in the books – even the companion books that delve deep into the history of Westeros. Still, fans are not surprised to hear about this armor, and many are extremely excited by the revelation.

A little more than halfway through House of the Dragon Season 2, Episode 3, Aegon II Targaryen (Tom Glynn-Carney) is getting into his armor with the help of a few servants and some of his new, underqualified Kingsguard knights. He is planning on flying his Dragon Sunfyre into battle against the advice of his small council, and he seems to be convincing himself as much as anyone when he says: "I'm as fearsome as any of them." When his Master of Whisperers Larys Strong (Matthew Needham) remarks on the armor, Aegon says: "I was given the conqueror's name and his crown, so I shall wear his armor to war."

Here, the armor highlights the fact that Aegon II is quite literally playing dress up to try and make himself look and feel like his ancestor, Aegon the Conqueror. However, for fans of this franchise, the very existence of this armor is a huge revelation with implications for a lot of fan theories. It may even play a part in the ending of George R.R. Martin's books A Song of Ice and Fire. There's no doubt that the team behind House of the Dragon knew this when they put this tidbit into the show.

(Photo: Ollie Upton/HBO)

What We Know About Valyrian Steel

Valyrian steel is a magical substance we've seen a lot in Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon and in Martin's books. It is unnaturally strong, light and sharp, holding an edge much longer than a common sword. As an audience, we also know that it has magical properties – the ability to kill wights and white walkers, as well as the ability to be lit on fire for extended combat without sustaining damage.

The TV shows haven't delved much into the creation of Valyrian steel, but the books put this mystery front and center. They imply that Valyrian steel is created using blood magic – likely some form of human sacrifice based on what we've heard so far. Some theories suggest that this magic allows Valyrian steel to retain a will of its own based on the will of the sacrifice or the will of past wielders, which would have even more complicated implications for a suit of armor than a for a simple sword.

The books also show us Valyrian steel being used in a wider range of applications, including some ornamental objects possessed by maesters to show that they have studied magic and one of House Targaryen's ancestral crowns. Most relevant here, however, is the huge Valyrian steel collection possessed by Euron Greyjoy, Theon's uncle who takes control of the Ironborn towards the end of the main series. The book version of Euron is very different from the show version, as Martin himself has emphasized, with a much greater interest in magic. In the fourth book, A Feast for Crows, Euron shows off a magical horn called Dragonbinder, which is banded with Valyrian steel and magical glyphs. He claims that the person who can blow it and survive will be able to command any dragon who hears it, though the one time we see a character blow it, he burns alive.

Euron also seems to have his own full suit of Valyrian steel armor, but we have only seen it in preview chapters from The Winds of Winter so far. Euron is seen in the chapter "The Forsaken" wearing scaled armor made of black steel inscribed with glyphs. However, this preview chapter has likely been revised since then and is not technically canon yet. If the armor is still included in the final published novel, it will technically be the second suit of Valyrian steel armor we've seen after Aegon's.

Aegon's Armor

Aegon the Conqueror possessing a full suit of Valyrian steel armor, is one of those revelations that is very exciting but not very surprising at the same time. Martin himself frustrated fan theorists by describing Aegon wearing "a shirt of black scales" without confirming whether it was made of Valyrian steel or not. Aegon and his two sister-wives, Rhaenys and Visenya, were only one generation removed from Old Valyria itself, and there are plenty of hints that they possessed secret magical knowledge from that civilization. Their family had plenty of time to move treasures from Valyria to Westeros before the entire country was destroyed in a magical volcanic cataclysm.

Of course, the main question raised by this revelation is: what happened to that armor, and why hasn't it shown up in the main story yet? Many fans will likely speculate that Aegon's armor somehow fell into the hands of Euron, though Euron himself claims he found the armor while visiting the remains of Valyria – something that is supposed to be impossible. It's also possible that the armor was sold by Targaryen rulers that came between House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones, most likely Aegon IV, a.k.a. "Aegon the Unworthy."

If so, the armor could become an important MacGuffin in the last two books of the series. It could be worn by Daenerys or Jon Snow, the last two survivors of House Targaryen, both as a practical defense and a symbol of their legitimacy. It could also be worn by a pretender trying to contrive false legitimacy for the same reason. We can expect fans to begin concocting different takes on these theories and more as soon as Episode 3 is over, but we won't know for sure until Martin finishes his books.

Are We Reading Into This Too Much?

It's worth keeping in mind that this isn't a shoe-horned addition to the lore, nor is it the first time Martin has used the TV shows to leave bread crumbs for the book fans. House of the Dragon itself confirmed that Aegon I had a prophetic dream about the white walkers which led him to conquer the Seven Kingdoms and unite them against the dead. Meanwhile, Martin's history book Fire & Blood featured a conspicuous story about three stolen dragon eggs, which many fans now believe are the very same eggs Daenerys hatched in the beginning of her story.

Mysteries like this build synergy between the different stories in Westeros, which will be important as more TV spinoffs air and more books are released. Even Martin's main series will likely leave some questions unanswered when he finally publishes those last two books. House of the Dragon Season 2 continues on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and Max. Martin's books are available now in print, digital and audiobook formats.