8 Scenes from ‘House of the Dragon’ That You’ll Want to Pay Attention to for Next Season (NO SPOILERS)
HBO’s “House of the Dragon” (HotD) is a spin-off from the wildly popular “Game of Thrones” (GOT) aka “A Song
HBO’s “House of the Dragon” (HotD) is a spin-off from the wildly popular “Game of Thrones” (GOT) aka “A Song of Ice and Fire” (ASOIAF) series which concluded on the platform in 2019.
After the final season of GoT left fans feeling deflated and let down, many were hesitant to jump on board with HotD, which is a prequel that occurs around 200 years before the ASOIAF events.
But despite early hesitation, people quickly fell in love with the salacious, juicy, and dramatic prequel for a variety of reasons.
Luckily, season 2 is already well underway for filming – unhindered by the writer’s strike in Hollywood because the scripts were already completed before they began.
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And showrunners have hinted at a shorter season 2 – but for the best reason possible: they’re already eyeing a season 3 contract.
HotD encompasses the drama surrounding several generations of Targaryens as they vie for power in the capital city of King’s Landing, but the series is based off a single book (so far) so it’s unclear exactly how in depth the next few seasons are or if they’ll extend beyond the book (“Fire & Blood”) that gave the series wing.
However, as we prepare for season 2 – expected to arrive in 2024 – we’re looking back at the 8 scenes from season 1 that you’ll want to keep in mind to prepare for the return of all your favorites.
There are no spoilers for season 2 – but if you haven’t watched season 1 yet, you’ll want to go back and make sure to watch everything before reading on.
- Rhaenyra and Daemon: Let’s talk about the relationship between Rhaenyra and Daemon. While it’s uncomfortable to watch from the outside – yes, they’re really uncle and niece – there’s sort of a romantic poetry to how it plays out in the books. But there are a few key scenes in HotD season 1 that give us a hint of what’s to come for the two of them. In particular, pay attention to how restless Daemon is when he and Lady Laena Velaryon are self-exiled across the narrow sea so King Viserys’s younger brother can wallow in self-pity. While it’s hard to say how close the series will stay to the book, Daemon’s personality is pretty spot-on. And he’s dropping hints as to the kind of person he is, even as he appears – and acts accordingly – to live with utter devotion to his third wife, Rhaenyra. The scene by the fireplace where he puts his hands on Rhaenyra’s neck aren’t canon in the books – but it may offer insight as to how the show will differ from the book.
- Viserys’s Last Words: When Viserys dies, Queen Alicent (Hightower) seems to intentionally misinterpret the moment. As he dies, Viserys seems to think he’s speaking to Rhaenyra, and he reminds her of a prophecy that has been passed down since Aegon the Conquerer, one that foreshadows what later happens in ASOIAF. But Alicent, not having the backstory of the prophecy, believes that Viserys is referring to her eldest son – also an Aegon – and determines that she’s going to follow her husband’s last wishes to ensure that he retains the throne. Or at least, that’s what she wants audiences to think. Alicent often seems self-serving, so it’s unclear how much motivation she has to honor Viserys’s last wishes versus installing her son on the throne, which has long been her goal.
- Rhaenys Makes a Choice: When Rhaenys bursts through the dragon pit and throws her lot in with Rhaenyra, it’s another important moment in the series. Without the Velaryons, Rhaenyra has a poor claim on the throne and a far weaker military position with which to defend it. Rhaenys’s choice to support Rhaenyra rather than let yet another generation of Targaryen women go uncrowned is a pivotal moment in what’s to come.
- Counting Dragons: As Rhaenyra and her court-in-exile begin planning their resistance to the King’s Landing Targaryens, there comes a moment when they start counting up dragons. Not only do Rhaenyra’s supporters have more dragons, but an interesting proposal is put forth: pair the wild dragons on Dragonstone with new riders. This is another momentous decision that has huge ramifications down the line for Rhaenyra and Daemon – if the series sticks as closely to the book as it has thus far.
- Aemond’s Lack of Control: Historians in Westeros call this period in time the “Dance of the Dragons.” It’s a poetic description of one of the bloodiest periods in Westeros history – although certainly not the bloodiest. That honor likely either goes to the time of Aegon the Conquerer, or ASOIAF. But nonetheless the Dance of the Dragons is a bloody period of time in which Targaryens in King’s Landing and Dragonstone battle each other for control of the kingdoms, and the number of sizable dragons is cut down to near-extinction. And it all starts in earnest when Prince Aemond (brother to usurper King Aegon II and son of Alicent and Viserys – half-brother to Rhaenyra) kills Rhaenyra’s son Lucerys and his dragon Arrax during a diplomatic effort after losing control of his great beast Vhagar. The book diverges slightly here from the series, but the end result is the same: the first major blood is shed, and things kick into high gear.
- Aemond versus Aegon: There’s one thing that the series makes abundantly clear very early on: then-princes Aegon and his younger brother Aemond are as different as two brothers can be. Aegon is self-obsessed, capricious, cruel, lustful and gluttonous. Aemond is measured, disciplined, bitter, and focused. Between the two, Aemond would certainly make the better king – but Aegon’s birth order guarantees him the throne, according to those looking to leverage his likely-insanity to grasp power. In ASOIAF, we are introduced to the idea that the Targaryens have a bit of the madness gene, and the phrase, “Every time a new Targaryen is born, he said, the gods toss the coin in the air and the world holds its breath to see how it will land.” The coin seems to have landed madness-up for Aegon, and on its edge for Aemond. But the decisions Aemond makes and the lengths he goes to in order to prove himself to his family are a huge deciding factor in the way the battles to come will turn out.
- Aegon’s Council: Keep an eye on the people that Aegon chooses to surround himself with. Because Aegon is truly a mad, pleasure-seeking tyrant, much of the governing of the realm falls to his Queen Mother and the council she surrounds herself with. As a result, the realm itself feels the pinch of Alicent’s lack of experience – and this will again come back around as the series progresses.
- How Many Seeds are Planted? Perhaps one of the more interesting moments in season 1 comes as twin Kingsguards Sers Arryk and Erryk go looking for Aegon, and they can’t find him in the pleasure houses. But what they do find seems to be a surfeit of white-haired seeds planted by Aegon through his years of visiting prostitutes in King’s Landing. While there are hints of what happens to those unofficial Targaryens, there are interesting implications for what it could mean in other series. Namely, any epilogue shows that follow ASOIAF. In ASOIAF it is suggested that Daenerys is the last Targaryen, which of course we find out later isn’t true – but could there be more out there? That’s a question that hasn’t yet been answered in the book, and it’s unclear if the series will ever address it fully. But that’s something to keep an eye on.
There are, of course, many more explosive moments in the show so far that – if you’ve read the books – you’re probably yelling at the TV over. But without proffering spoilers, that’s about as far as we can get.
Remember that, like how GoT unveiled the twist about Jon Snow’s parentage, there are usually clues and crumbs dropped along the way – if you just know what to look for.
So pay attention to big episodes, watch for exchanged looks and whispered moments that seem inconsequential, but may have huge effects down the line.
All of the episodes from season one of “House of the Dragon” are now streaming on HBO Max.
(Bonus “Pay attention” scene: listen to what Helaena Targaryen – Queen and sister-wife to Aegon II – says in her mutterings.)