What House Of The Dragon's Story Is About: Targaryen Civil War & GOT Links

HBO’s House of the Dragon story takes place at the height of the Targaryen reign at the time of a world-changing Civil War, and it includes plenty of Game of Thrones connections. Following Game of Thrones’ divisive series finale in 2019, HBO announced the possibility of several spinoffs based on the A Song of Ice and Fire works by George R.R. Martin. While a few prequels have already been canceled like The Long Night, House of the Dragon has quickly moved forward in an attempt to revamp audiences’ excitement and allegiance to the Game of Thrones world.

While the historic House Stark often prioritized Game of Thrones’ focus, the series still heavily attended to the powerful houses of Lannister and Targaryen. House Stark will more or less be put on the backburner for House of the Dragon, with the titular Targaryens taking up the primary focus of the prequel series. Game of Thrones detailed the aftermath of the destruction of the once-great reigning family, and House of the Dragon gives viewers the chance to see their sovereignty in full force. Plus, Daenerys’s three dragons in Game of Thrones will pale in comparison to House of the Dragon’s confirmed 17 dragons that helped keep Targaryens in power.

Related: House Of The Dragon Trailer Breakdown: 17 Story Reveals & Secrets

Game of Thrones was based on the original A Song of Ice and Fire book series, which hadn’t even been completed by the time HBO adapted it into a show. House of the Dragon already has the advantage in this sense, as it comes from the separate, heavily detailed (and complete) Fire and Blood book, which tells the entire history of House Targaryen. As HBO’s upcoming 2022 series takes the franchise into a new era, House of the Dragon will document the most explosive civil war in Westeros while giving centuries of family background on several Game of Thrones characters.

As revealed in the series' first trailer, HBO's House of the Dragon story begins 200 years before Game of Thrones. It was earlier surmised that the events would start approximately 170 years before Game of Thrones’ premiere when basing it off of the year that the Targaryen Civil War begins. House of the Dragon has now revealed that the series will follow some of the adult characters at the time of the Civil War, like Emma D’Arcy’s Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, while they’re still children. Since they’ll also be seen as adults, it’s likely the young versions of the characters will only be shown briefly, but it will give enough background on the fraught Targaryen relationships and budding alliances that will play integral roles during the Targaryen Civil War 20-odd years later. Once House of the Dragon catches up to the actual Dance of the Dragons between Rhaenrya and Aegon II Targaryen, the series timeline will be in 129 AC, which is 169 years before Game of Thrones’ timeline in 298 AC.

As previously mentioned, the Starks and Lannisters are minor players for House of the Dragon, so it’ll be focused on the Targaryen family members and allies leading up to the Civil War. The House of the Dragon character who will likely be placed as the main protagonist is Rhaenyra Targaryen, the eldest child of King Viserys I who was named his heir after the deaths of her older brothers. Rhaenyra grew up preparing for her ascendancy as queen, and even maintained her claim after Viserys remarried and had sons. Once Viserys died, Rhaenyra was named queen by Daemon and many others who support her, though her claim was disputed by her younger half-brother Aegon II. One character getting a lot of buzz is Matt Smith’s Daemon Targaryen, the younger brother of King Viserys I, and uncle to Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen. Like most Targaryens, he’s hot-tempered and has a complicated relationship with his brother and his claim to the throne. While not surprising considering the Targaryens’ long-incestuous history, Daemon eventually marries his niece Rhaenyra Targaryen, and plays an instrumental role in the civil war as he fully supports Rhaenrya’s claim to the throne.

Another key House of the Dragon character is Alicent Hightower, the second wife of Viserys with whom he had multiple sons. Alicent notably developed a significant rivalry with Viserys's daughter Rhaenyra, as both were intent on ruling Westeros. Her father, Otto Hightower, also plays an important House of the Dragon role as the Hand of the King to Viserys, who supports Alicent in advocating for her son Aegon II’s assumption of the Iron Throne. House of the Dragon will also feature Corlys Velaryon, also known as the Sea Snake, who heads House Velaryon as an accomplished sailor. Corlys married Rhaenys Targaryen, cousin to Viserys, where their son, Laenor, was notably passed over as becoming king in favor of Viserys. After several more slights by Viserys, Corlys joined forces with Daemon and later Rhaenyra when his son Laenor became her first husband, with whom (supposedly) she had multiple children.

Related: House of the Dragon's Character Names Will Make It Weird For GoT Fans

HBO's House of the Dragon story details the lead-up to - and events of - the Targaryen Civil War, also known as The Dance of the Dragons, which lasted from 129 to 131 AC. After King Viserys I dies, his daughter Rhaenyra, who the King long-named his rightful successor, and son Aegon II, his eldest male child, vie for the claim to the Iron Throne. The Dance of the Dragons split the Seven Kingdoms into two factions of loyalties: the “greens” (Alicent/Aegon II’s party) and the “blacks” (Rhaenyra’s party). After Viserys’s death, a small council meeting was set to determine the ascendancy of Rhaenyra or Aegon the Elder (Rhaenyra also had a young son by Daemon named Aegon), which left the major players in the kingdom split between allegiances. Viserys’s death was kept secret from Rhaenyra for the first week, leaving the green council enough time to hastily give Aegon II a coronation as king. When Rhaenyra discovered the betrayal of her siblings and supposed allies, she vowed revenge, leading to her own coronation and a momentous civil war that split Westeros for which Targaryen deserved the Iron Throne.

House of the Dragon will provide many details on the family history of Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow, who was revealed to be the legitimate son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. As the series takes place 200 years before Game of Thrones, no characters will overlap, but the house dynamics, betrayals, and alliances of the Dance of the Dragons will inform how the characters in Game of Thrones interact later on. House of the Dragon’s October 2021 trailer also included a possible Game of Thrones Easter egg which played in an important role in the latter series. Alicent Hightower is pictured with a Valyrian steel dagger that looks identical to the Catspaw Dagger used to try to kill a comatose Bran in Game of Thrones season 1 and eventually became the tool used by Arya to kill the Night King in season 8. The Starks and Tarlys have already been confirmed to be featured in House of the Dragon through quick shots of their sigils, though it’s not revealed how much of a role they’ll actually play in the show’s events.

Next: The One Thing House of the Dragon Can Do To Fix What Game Of Thrones Broke

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