What you need to know about 'House of the Dragon' before watching the 'Game of Thrones' prequel

Game of Thrones’ first spinoff series, The house of the dragon, it’s finally here. But don’t expect to see any familiar faces. The action takes place 172 years ago the birth of Daenerys Targaryen and the events of Game of Thrones, the adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series A Song of Fire and Ice. Still, audiences will get to meet many of Daenerys’ ancestors.

The house of the dragon draws from Martin’s companion novel to the main series, Fire and blood, which outlines the history of the Targaryen family. The show begins when a Targaryen king, Viserys, names an unexpected heir, a choice that ultimately leads to civil war within the powerful family. Targaryen versus Targaryen. Dragon vs Dragon.

But to understand exactly why the Targaryens are so willing to tear each other apart for a chance at the Iron Throne — and how the lords of Westeros are reacting to this conflict — you need to recall a little Westerosi history. Some of these lessons and legends were shared in conversations between them Game of Thrones heroes as they discussed their ancestors.

Read more: Your ultimate guide to binge watching anyone Game of Thrones Episode

Here’s everything you need to remember before you watch The house of the dragon.

When does House of the Dragon take place?

Enter Matt Smith and Emma D’Arcy The house of the dragon

Ollie Upton – HBO

The house of the dragon takes place 172 years before the birth of Daenerys Targaryen and tells the story of her ancestors, the dragon-riding Clan Targaryen.

How did the Targaryens become so powerful?

To understand how the Targaryens first took the Iron Throne, we have to rewind a few hundred years before the events of Game of Thrones.

Recall that the world of Game of Thrones is divided into two lands: Westeros to the west and Essos to the east. At the time, the Valyrians were the most powerful people in Essos because they were able to tame fire-breathing dragons, the most powerful weapon a ruler could have.

A woman named Denys Targaryen has a terrible dream about a cataclysmic event that destroys Valrya. Her father, Aenar Targaryen, tells his fellow nobles about this apocalyptic vision. As is often the case with figures like Cassandra, the Valyrians ignore Denys’s warnings.

Read more: The definitive guide to Game of Thrones Family tree

But Ennar heeds his daughter’s vision, gathers his family and their dragons, and leaves Valyria. They sail across the sea to an island where they build the castle that becomes known as Dragonstone. in Game of Thrones, The Dragonstone guards the entrance to Blackwater Bay. Stannis Baratheon takes refuge there after the Battle of Blackwater until he heads to the Wall to help in the Battle of Castle Black. Dragonstone is also Daenerys’ first stop in Westeros when she finally crosses the waters after living in exile in Essos.

Twelve years after Aenar moved his family, Denis’ dream came true. Volcanoes erupt; the earth opens up; Valyria is destroyed; and all his dragons are slain. The event became known as the Fall of Valyria. The Targaryens, safe on Dragonstone, become the only Valyrians left—and the only people who can control dragons. Daenys became known as Daenys the Dreamer.

How did the Targaryens take over Westeros?

A century passes. The Targaryen family is keeping a low profile and working on building their castle in Dragonstone. Then Aegon I decided he wanted to explore Westeros. He and his sister-wives (yes, really), Rhaenys and Visenya, mount their dragons and scout out all the kingdoms. Aegon decides he wants to unite the warring factions of Westeros and rule everything because he can. He builds the large table with a map of Westeros that we see Daenerys use in Dragonstone Game of Thrones.

Read more: The meaning behind Jon Snow’s real name in Game of Thrones

And so begins Aegon’s conquest. With three dragons, Aegon, Rhaenys and Visenia handily defeat the houses of Westeros – except for Dorne – and Aegon becomes king. Aegon takes all the weapons of his enemies and constructs the incredibly awkward looking Iron Throne. He places him in a fortress that becomes King’s Landing, the place where he first lands in Westeros.

How to get from Aegon I to the heroes The house of the dragon?

Paddy Considine, Cian Brooke, Michael Carter, Steve Toussaint and Eve Best in The house of the dragon

Ollie Upton – HBO

The Targaryens are big on keeping their lines “pure,” which means they engage in inbreeding. Unfortunately, as a result, about half of the Targaryen descendants turn out to be relatively normal, while the other half turn out to be insane and bloodthirsty. (See: Daenerys and her crazy brother Viserys at the beginning of thrones –although Daenerys could also be said to be going at the end of the show.)

Read more: How Daenerys finally became the Mad Queen of Game of Thrones

Aegon has a son with each of his sister-wives. The oldest, Aenis, is pretty. The younger one, Maegor, isn’t so cute: Maegor kills his half-brother and takes the Iron Throne for himself. Maegor rules for six years, is terrible, and is eventually found impaled on his own Iron Throne (ouch!). His nephew Jaehearys, son of Aenys, succeeded him.

Jaehaerys is the best king ever. He builds roads (including King’s Road), sewage system and infrastructure – which is boring but important. He and his wife have 13 children, all sleeping with dragon eggs in their cribs. Jaeherys’ eldest sons, Aemon and Baelon, are both good men and would make great rulers. But both died before Jaehris, forcing the king to choose a successor from among his grandchildren. Succession politics are complicated, but it basically boils down to whether he chooses a granddaughter or a grandson.

Finally, we are ready to meet some The house of the dragon heroes. Aemon’s eldest child is Princess Rhaenys (played by Eve Best in the series). As Aemon was Jaehairis’ eldest son, Rhaenys should have been the obvious choice for heir. Unfortunately, all the lords in Westeros are super sexist and don’t like the idea of ​​taking orders from a queen. So instead of giving her the Iron Throne, Jaeherys held a meeting with a group of lords called the Great Council of 101 AC. They decide that Baelon’s son Jaeherys (Paddy Considine) should inherit the Iron Throne instead.

Princess Rhaenys marries Lord Corlys Valarion (Steve Toussaint), a powerful ship captain who goes by the name of the Sea Serpent. He comes from a family that is also Valyrian, but left Valyria long before the Targaryens for trade. Most importantly, the Valaryons cannot ride dragons, but they have become key allies of the Targaryens since Aegon’s conquest.

So who are the players The house of the dragon?

Viserys Targaryen

Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen c The house of the dragon

Ollie Upton – HBO

Decades pass and Viserys turns out to be a pretty good king. But when it comes time for him to name a successor, all hell breaks loose. Eventually, a civil war broke out that became known as the Dance of Dragons.

Rhaenyra Targaryen

Enter Millie Alcock and Paddy Considine The house of the dragon

Ollie Upton – HBO

Viserys decided that his daughter from his first marriage, Rhaenyra, would inherit the throne. (The young version of Rhaenyra is played by Millie Alcock on the show, the older version by Emma D’Arcy.) This declaration disagrees with the aforementioned misogynistic Lords of Westeros, who point out that Jaerys passes over Rhaenys as a precedent for male inheritance. The state of inheritance law in Westeros is fuzzy on this issue and the situation is becoming contentious. Still, Rhaenyra grows up expecting to inherit the throne.

Demon Targaryen

Matt Smith as Prince Damon Targaryen in The house of the dragon

Ollie Upton – HBO

Meanwhile, Viserys’ brother Damon (Matt Smith), a great warrior, wants the Iron Throne for himself. He will ally with whoever he can for power.

Rhaenys Targaryen

Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Velarion c The house of the dragon

Ollie Upton – HBO

At the time, Rhaenys became known as “The Queen That Never Was”. The house of the dragon begins. She may or may not still have a chip on her shoulder that she was overlooked for the throne — and advice to pass on to another potential female heir.

Corlis Valairon

Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velarion in The house of the dragon

Ollie Upton – HBO

Reynes married Lord Corlys Valaryon, who was known as the Sea Serpent, and left Valyria earlier than the Targaryens. He’s a ship captain and can’t ride dragons. He has stuck with the Targaryens since Aegon’s conquest.

Otto Hightower

Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower in The house of the dragon

Ollie Upton – HBO

The Hightower family is a wealthy house whose seat of power is in Old Town, and at the start of the series, Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) is the Hand of the King. (This is the same position that Ned Stark had for King Robert Baratheon at the beginning of Game of Thrones).

Alicent Hightower

Olivia Cooke as Alison Hightower in Game of Thrones

Ollie Upton – HBO

His daughter Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey and Olivia Cooke, in the two different timelines) becomes Viserys’ second wife. When she bears him children, the line of succession becomes complicated.

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Write to Eliana Docterman c [email protected].

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