Is ‘House of the Dragon’ Trying To Fix One of ‘Game of Thrones’ Biggest Mistakes?
At the end of HBO’s House of the Dragon episode 1, King Viserys tells his new heir, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, of the A Song of Ice and Fire prophecy. I am among the many who snorted at this, but not simply because it is an awkward title drop of the overarching book series Game of Thrones was based on. I snorted because no such thing exists, but it feels like a way to connect the original.
Viserys says that Aegon the Conqueror dreamed of a threat to Westeros that came from the North, alluding, of course, to Night King and his army. The only way the end of mankind can be prevented is if a Targaryen sits on the Iron Throne.
House Targaryen’s history in Westeros started when Lord Aenar Targaryen had moved his family to Dragonstone, twelve years before the Doom destroyed Valyria, which was seen in a dream by his daughter, Daenys Targaryen. Eventually, Aegon looked to Westeros and wanted to conquer it after putting down conflict in Essos. The reason he did it was unclear, but there was nothing to indicate that he had dreams that told the future, although it would be a trait some Targaryens had.
The personality changes to Viserys and this tone have been fairly dower, but this prophecy conversation is one of the most meta. What it seems to be, for me, is to drive a connection between Rhaenyra and her two descendants, Daenerys and Jon Snow—Jon’s conflict with the Night King and Dany’s desire to be a good queen who chooses to fight the Winter rather than take Westeros first. Now, prophecy in the show has always been mixed, and not all come true, but this choice can hint at a few things, both textually and non-textually.
Arya Stark killing the Night King is one of those things that seemed … fine, at first, but the more time has passed, it just comes across as more ridiculous—not because of anything about Arya, but because it serves as an unsatisfying end to the conflict established since the start of the series. We know George R.R. Martin was involved in the construction of House of the Dragon and has also been evolving his own ending to the book series the shows are based on. This could be him indicating that his ending will involve Jon and/or Dany being responsible for the defeat of the Night King, with a possibility that Dany does sit on the throne but then goes North to help Jon Snow, and that leads to some other reason for her downfall.
Finally, it also adds an element of noble tragedy to House Targaryen. In many ways, they just came across as another noble family that happens to have dragons. This magical element paints them as the true fantasy element within Westeros. We can also see that this prophecy was lost sometime after the Targaryen Civil War, likely the tragedy of Summerhall, which saw the death of King Aegon V Targaryen, and his eldest son and heir, Duncan—and that Aegon V, a.k.a. Egg, might have done it to ensure that the Targaryen family had the power to fight the winter.
So what might seem like a silly continuity link might have some interesting consequences—most importantly, trying to fix the damage done to Dany and Jon’s storylines in later seasons of the original series. What did you all think?
(featured image: HBO)
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]