Tom Glynn-Carney as Aegon II Targaryen in House of the Dragon

There’s a Tragic Parallel in Aegon Destroying Viserys’ Valyria Model

One Aegon to Conquer it all. One Aegon to break it!

There’s a reason the opening credits of House of the Dragon season 2 look to the history of House Targaryen. When the future is so dark and doused in dragon fire, it would do well to take some lessons from the past for survival.

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Most of us have picked sides in this war between the Greens and the Blacks, but the greater message is anti-war. Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon are nothing without their poetic parallels, which, if its characters possessed the third-person hindsight we do, would ensure history doesn’t repeat itself. Alas, that’s not the case, and these characters are doomed.

And the scene of Aegon II Targaryen wrecking his father Viserys’ stone model of Valyria is the perfect example of tragic subtext that draws parallels with history and gives out warnings for the future, if only someone were to pay heed.

But first …

Some House Targaryen history to understand what’s happening

If you know the story of The Doom of Valyria, you know that the Targaryens only survived it because 12 years before the catastrophe, Daenys Targaryen (Daenys The Dreamer) had a vision about it. Her father, Aenar I Targaryen, fled with his people to Dragonstone, the westernmost holding of the Valyrian Freehold and the first Targaryen land in Westeros.

It was Aegon I Targaryen who, along with his sisters Visenya and Rhaenys, led the Conquest of Westeros, brought several other regions under their rule, built King’s Landing as his seat, and became the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm.

With Valyria gone, the Targaryens lost their former glory. But Aegon, together with his sisters, re-established the glory of his house in Westeros, thereby rebuilding the lost standing of House Targaryen. Surely, he hoped that his heirs would continue his legacy.

There was a shaky period for some time there, when Maegor The Cruel sat the Iron Throne. But lore (and that tapestry in the opening credits) tells us that with the reign of King Jaehaerys I and Queen Alysanne, there was peace, prosperity, and faith in the kingdom. When Jaehaerys chose Viserys to be his heir, passing over Rhaenys, he ensured it would persist because no one would accept a woman as a ruler. Rhaenys, backed by her husband Lord Corlys of House Velaryon, could’ve sought a war, but she too chose to keep the peace.

The Dance of the Dragons 

Alicent Hightower giving Viserys Targaryen a stone dragon piece from his model of Valyria in House of The Dragon season 1

King Viserys’ reign was mostly peaceful, as we know. While he made Rhaenyra his heir to keep the peace in his kingdom once again (and pass over Daemon), we saw in background scenes that he was building a model of the city of Valyria in stone. He kept building it, patiently, through the death of his first wife and son, through his sickness, until the very end.

It was a nice parallel that symbolised how Viserys kept his cool and was intent on keeping up the restored pride and glory of House Targaryen, as well as leaving his mark in the history books. Remember, he asked his Hand if they’d ever write songs about him because he never won any war or earned any glory?

There’s a scene in which one of his stone dragons falls down and breaks, when a young Alicent has been visiting Viserys. He tells her that he is merely overseeing the stonemasons building it, which one could interpret as he’s simply letting others solve the problems festering in his kingdom. 

Alicent then gets the stonemasons to repair it so it is whole again. This is the part a queen must play as a mother to her kingdom’s subjects—to heal rather than to destroy. And to a certain extent, Alicent does that by keeping the peace between Viserys and Rhaenyra before she’s lied to by the latter. Even now, after all these years, Alicent is seen trying hard for things not to come to a full-blown war with dragons.

The symbolism behind Aegon II destroying Viserys’ Valyria model

Aegon II Targaryen after his coronation in the Dragonpit in Episode 9 of House of the Dragon

Enter King Aegon, Second of His Name, who wears the crown of Aegon the Conqueror and wields his Valyrian steel sword, Blackfyre. Unlike his ancestor and namesake who conquered the world with his two sisters by his side, Aegon II doesn’t like his sister-wife Helaena much, and is fighting with his other sister, Rhaenyra. 

Rhaenyra’s uncle/husband is Daemon, who you could symbolically call the Queen’s Justice, or even her sword, because he avenges her son’s death. Daemon wields the other Valyrian steel sword, Dark Sister, which was the sword of Aegon the Conqueror’s sister, Visenya.

In HOTD season 2, then, it is through the wielders of these two swords, Dark Sister and Blackfyre, Daemon and Aegon II, that the first strokes of war are administered. Daemon orchestrates Prince Jaehaerys’ murder, and now Aegon II seeks retribution. 

In his anger and grief, Aegon II smashes the model of Valyria, which stands for the city of his ancestors, the lost and rebuilt glory of House Targaryen—which his father worked so hard to build, and which his namesake Aegon I conquered with fire and blood. At the time, Aegon is screaming, “I am King! I declare war!”

In House of the Dragon season 2 episode 2, there are two distinct shots of Queen Helaena Targaryen and Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen looking at something in the air that resembles ashes and dust. Perhaps they can see the future of their great house in it. Perhaps the opening credits aren’t the weaving of a tapestry, but the weaving of a shroud. War is coming, and it brings a second doom for House Targaryen.

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Jinal Bhatt
Jinal Bhatt (She/Her) is a staff writer for The Mary Sue. An editor, writer, film and culture critic with 7+ years of experience, she writes primarily about entertainment, pop culture trends, and women in film, but she’s got range. Jinal is the former Associate Editor for Hauterrfly, and Senior Features Writer for Mashable India. When not working, she’s fangirling over her favourite films and shows, gushing over fictional men, cruising through her neverending watchlist, trying to finish that book on her bedside, and fighting relentless urges to rewatch Supernatural.