Last night, House of the Dragon took us back to the world of Game of Thrones, and the impending royal feud amongst the messiest family in all of Westeros—the House of the Dragon and its platinum-blonde Targaryens. With the inability of King Viserys (Paddy Considine) to produce a male heir and his refusal to let his chaotic brother Prince Daemon (Matt Smith) lay claim to the throne, he names his eldest daughter Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) as his sole heir—and tells the one secret all Targaryen rulers must know.
It’s the prophetic dream of Aegon the Conquerer, or, as the first rule of all Seven Kingdoms called it, the Song of Ice and Fire—or as we know it, the events shown in Game of Thrones. Showrunner Ryan Condal wanted to use it to connect the new show with the original, but it turns out the dream wasn’t Condal’s idea. “He [George R.R. Martin] told us very early on in the room—just as he casually mentions the fact that Aegon the Conqueror was a dreamer. He saw a vision of the White Walkers coming across the wall and sweeping over the land with cold and darkness. And but it never made the history book because [Aegon] never told anyone, or at least the people they told didn’t tell the history to the history writers. So it’s in George’s head.”
It’s nice of the author to just casually let it slip this was a legit thing that merely just existed in his head as how things went down in the Dragon House, as the Targaryen secret passed from leader to leader. “And at some point, it will come out, as Martin told us,” Condal continued. “So, you know, with his permission, of course, we infused that into the story because it was such a great way to create resonance with the original show. One of the things we struggled with is that there are 170 years of gap between our show and the birth of Daenerys Targaryan as you’re told in the opening titles.” he said, “How do you create that resonance? You don’t have any characters that survive but these ideas and these concepts of this existential threat to Westeros that we know as fans and watchers of the original show are coming. ”
Obviously, this might fill each leader in the Targaryen line with an extra ounce of anxiety (perhaps even fueling their genetic madness) that they’ll be the one to have to lead Westeros through this winter storm. “If we see that enter into this world and make them aware of it and give them this higher purpose to ascend as sovereigns, as rulers, then the Iron Throne isn’t just a seat of power. It’s a seat of responsibility and a burden to carry forward this idea that sounds crazy if you talk about it.” Condal explained. “What happens if Rhaenyra just tells somebody, ‘Hey, there’s this prophecy that’s the reason that I can’t actually go in and intervene in this problem that’s happening elsewhere in the realm.’ And then what? You sound nuts or you sound like you’re trying to avoid a problem. It gave a lot of it gave us a lot of interesting, dramatic stuff to play with. And it gave us a real sense of spirituality, I think, which definitely existed in the original show, this idea that their magic was coming back into the world, the only real magic in this world is the Dragons. So we were looking for that other thing that we could connect to ourselves across that space and time and make Game of Thrones feel like it was all happening in one cohesive universe.”
While we as viewers know that the White Walkers are out there and that winter does indeed eventually come, it does lend more intrigue to why the rise of a Queen, as the one her father believes would be the right person to handle it over his own brother, would create division in the realm that can’t know about the dream…at least, for now. It’ll be interesting to see how this motivation plays out as the Targaryen family feud gets started.
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