House of the Dragon will introduce fans to characters that they have only heard about secondhand in George R.R. Martin's books, and that presents a lot of opportunities for new mysteries to explore. Series star Paddy Considine jumpstarted this process at San Diego Comic-Con last month when discussing his character, King Viserys Targaryen I. Now, the Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire fandoms are rife with fresh theories and speculation.
Considine spoke at SDCC's House of the Dragon panel, revealing an aspect of Viserys' characterization that never made it into Martin's books. He said Viserys "is a kind man. He inherited the crown because he's a kind man and a scholar. He's a man who cares about things, and there's a great tragedy in that. He's carrying something out which is a great secret and the potential fall of man." This new information makes sense in the context of what we know, and it could have far-reaching implications for theories about the main series.
For those unaware, House of the Dragon is based on George R.R. Martin's book Fire & Blood, which is an "imaginary history book" written from the perspective of a Westerosi maester. This in-universe author used in-universe secondary sources to write his book, and naturally, those come with gaps in knowledge and uncertainty. This makes the show a unique creative challenge, as it will take a more traditional TV approach to the story. Along the way we can expect it to flesh out the details and answer some questions so that even hardcore fans who have read the book again and again will have new information to keep them engaged.
There are also bound to be some new elements to the story that simply weren't hinted at in Martin's book at all, which is different from the way many producers change a story when adapting it for the screen — although some viewers will undoubtedly have trouble distinguishing the difference. In this case, fans who create elaborate predictions and fan theories about Martin's books will need to decide whether new material introduced in House of the Dragon can be reliably applied to the same canonical universe as the books.
This is huge news for fans, who had little to no inkling that Viserys was dealing with any such threat in the books. Many fans related this to Viserys' surprising voice-over in the House of the Dragon trailer, where he referred to having the infamous "dragon dreams" of House Targaryen — prophetic dreams seemingly connected to the Targaryen's mystical link to dragons. Prominent YouTuber David Lightbringer has already released a new video exploring how this revelation might play into existing fan theories, including his own.
The popular consensus at the time of this writing seems to be that the show will use Viserys' dreams to reveal that he has some knowledge of the White Walkers and the impending Long Night. They speculate that Viserys will be interested in maintaining the strength of House Targaryen not for the sake of conquest or vanity, but so that they will have dragon-riders ready to fight the wights when they swarm The Wall 200 years later. He may even be trying to manipulate the family tree to ensure that a prophecied savior like "Azor Ahai" is eventually born.
This reveal could have huge implications for the main story depending on how it is explained. If Viserys is simply following his own intuition and dreams, that's one thing, but many fans believe that House Targaryen has its own secrets that have never been revealed in the books or the TV show. This is extremely possible since we never see two Targaryens from before the fall of the dynasty talking to each other in private. Some fans believe that the Targaryens have jealously-guarded secrets from old Valyria as well as prophecies from generations of "dreamers" preserved over time.
Still, there are other, more practical secrets Considine could have been referring to. For example, some fans believe that Viserys may be involved in the theoretical "Grand Maester Conspiracy," and may be working with House Hightower to bring about the extinction of the dragons. It could also be some kind of political maneuver that Viserys is pursuing behind closed doors, such as the empowerment of some ally or the undermining of some enemy. If so, it wouldn't be clear unless those plans factored into the war that eventually followed.
Fans are hard at work trying to unravel this mystery on Reddit, forums and YouTube. We'll be able to see it for ourselves when House of the Dragon premieres on Sunday, Aug. 21 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max. Until then, Fire & Blood is available in print, digital and audiobook formats.