Members of the family of Rhaenyra and Daemon Targaryen stand together

Everything You Need to Know About ‘House of The Dragon’s Lore Is in Its Opening Credits

"Would you like to see the tapestries, Daemon?"

In House of the Dragon season 1, Alicent asks Daemon if he’d like to see the new tapestries, and King Viserys mocks her. Well, Viserys is now dead; Alicent is calling the shots. And looks like we’re all going to see some tapestries now, in the new opening credits for season 2.

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The first episode of HOTD season 2 has dropped, titled “A Son For A Son.” Instead of the streams of blood rushing down walls that made the opening credits in season 1, we’ve got something new. The credits now feature a tapestry being embroidered, depicting the history of House Targaryen, right from the Doom of Valyria up to the coronation of Aegon II and Rhaenyra.

The Targaryen tapestry in House of the Dragon season 2, explained

The opening credits for season 2 also start with a stream of blood, but this time it is stitched into a tapestry depicting Old Valyria, from whence the Targaryens and the Velaryons and their dragons originally came. We catch glimpses of the rule in the Valyrian Freehold, not a happy one (as indicated by the blood) since the houses that owned the dragons enslaved the common folk and ended up killing a lot of people. 

The Doom of Valyria

And finally, there’s a shot of the families escaping from Valyria after, as legend has it, Daenys the Dreamer had a dream about the Doom. The Doom of Valyria, believed to be a volcanic eruption that destroyed the Freehold, is also depicted in tapestry, destroying everything, and leaving the Targaryens and the Velaryons as the last two houses that rode dragons.

Ser Jorah Mormon sailing as he looks upon the ruins of Old Valyria in Game of Thrones

We then move on to Aegon and his two sister-wives Visenya and Rhaenys on their dragons Balerion, Vhagar, and Meraxes, going forth to conquer Westeros, a bloody event known as Aegon’s Conquest, earning him the title Aegon The Conqueror. Beneath them, at sea, are ships of House Velaryon, also joining the fray.

Aegon’s conquest

The next scene is so rich in details, it’s incredible!

We see a lord in all black, followed by a number of bodies on the floor stained with blood. It then zooms out to a larger picture of a fortress being burned to ash by two dragons breathing fire, and the black lord lying dead amongst the others. This lord is, in fact, King Harren Hoare the Black, the last King of the Isles and the Rivers, and the castle burning in the center is Harrenhal. When Harren refused to bend the knee to Aegon, he rode on Balerion and burned Harren and his sons alive in Harrenhal.

Harrenhal in game of thrones

But that’s not all. If you look closely at the shields lying on the ground in the scene, the Lannister sigil is visible on one of them. This is a nod to an event called the Field of Fire, the first and only time that all three dragons—Balerion, Meraxes, and Vhagar—were unleashed all at once. This happened because Loren I Lannister, King of the Rock teamed up with Mern IX Gardener, King of the Reach to try and fight back the Targaryens. There were many smaller houses, including House Florent (in HOTD season 2, Queen Alicent’s mother was revealed to be Alerie Florent), that joined forces with the Lannisters and Gardeners, but alas, they were defeated by Fire and Blood.

Another little detail to note in this scene is above Harrenhal, where you can see a silver dragon falling from the sky. This is the death of Queen Rhaenys during the first Dornish War, when a shot from a scorpion hits Meraxes, thereby causing both the dragon and its rider’s death. 

Bend the knee

There were those houses, like the Starks in the North, that didn’t fight the Targaryens but bent the knee. And the next scene in the tapestry depicts the King in the North Torrhen Stark, The Queen Regent of the Vale Sharra Arryn and her son and heir, Ronnel, and Lord Edmyn Tully of Riverrun bending the knee to Aegon.

House Targaryen in King’s Landing

The next stitch on the tapestry shows the Targaryen sigil over the Red Keep, indicating that the Aegon Targaryen was now the King on the Iron Throne, and building the city of King’s Landing, and there was peace for a while. He was succeeded by his son Aenys I (by Rhaenys), but the one we see on the tapestry, with a knife stabbed into his neck, is not Aenys but his brother, Maegor The Cruel, Aegon’s second son by his wife Visenya.

Maegor The Cruel, as his name indicates, was a bad ruler, and his death is quite the scandal, with some suspecting one of his six wives killed him, or that he was slain by one of his Kingsguard, or that even that one of the Iron Throne’s swords caused his death. He was succeeded by King Jaehaerys (son of Aenys), as is indicated by the two dragons at the foot of the Iron Throne belonging to Jaehaerys and his wife Queen Alysanne, Vermithor and Silverwing. (Vermithor makes a cameo on HOTD season 2 episode 1, he is the dragon that Daemon sings to.)

King Jaehaerys and Queen Alysanne were beloved rulers with a peaceful and prosperous reign, as is indicated in the next tapestry scene. The king, instead of wearing Aegon The Conqueror’s Valyrian steel and ruby crown, is wearing a gold crown. A bag of gold and the Seven-Pointed Star lie by their feet, indicating prosperity and the flourishing of the religion of Faith of the Seven.

House of the Dragon: King Jaehaerys I Targaryen sits on the Iron Throne flanked by his heir Viserys and his wife Aemma on the left, and Lord Corlys Velaryon and Princess Rhaenys Targaryen on the right

The House of the Dragon as we know it

The next panel on the tapestry is a familiar sight from the show. It’s the opening scene of House of The Dragon season 1, where King Jaehaerys and the Great Council decide that Viserys and not Princess Rhaenys will sit on the Iron Throne. You can see Viserys and his wife Aemma on the left of the King, and Princess Rhaenys Targaryen with her husband Lord Corlys Velaryon on the right.

The tapestry then goes to show crucial events that eventually lead to the Dance of the Dragons, such as Queen Alicent wearing that green dress at Rhaenyra’s engagement feast, indicating that she was calling House Hightower to support her in this war. The carpet that rolls from beneath her feet connects her to an older Rhaenyra, but turns red, depicting the scene where Rhaenyra walks to the Alicent’s chambers right after her son Joffrey’s birth, leaving a trail of blood behind.

alicent hightower in her green power dressalicent hightower in her green power dress

On either sides of the queens are people sitting at a dinner table, one side green and one side black, indicating the last family dinner that Viserys got to see everyone happy at before all hell broke loose.

Next, a circle of gold (referencing his golden dragon Sunfyre, perhaps?) morphs into the Targaryen sigil on  Aegon II’s chest, now king and wearing Aegon and Maegor’s black crown, sitting on the Iron Throne. This is followed by Rhaenyra declared queen, wearing Viserys’ golden crown and sitting on the throne at Dragonstone. 

The tapestry then zooms out to reveal a panel that shows the split in House Targaryen, Greens and Blacks, and their efforts to garner support. A Green hand sends out ravens, while a Black hand sends out two dragons—Jaecaerys and Lucerys on their dragons sent as envoys for their mother. This scene is bordered by sigils of the houses that support them.  You can spot the Lannister lion beside the Greens and the Stark wolf next to the Blacks, amongst others.

The Dance of the Dragons begins

The next and final scene is the ending of House of the Dragon season 1, when Aemond Targaryen and his dragon Vhagar chomp on Lucerys Velaryon and his dragon Arrax, effectively starting the war. The rest of the tapestry is blank as it leads to a shot of the Iron Throne, indicating that there’s more to come before we know who finally wins.

Aemond Targaryen, played by Ewan Mitchell, chases Lucerys Velaryon with his dragon Vhagar in the final episode of the first season of House of the Dragon

With season 2 officially kicking off the defining war of the Targaryen dynasty, known as the Dance of the Dragons, and raising of the banners to declare for the Greens and the Blacks, this seems like a fitting visual for the opening credits. Accompanied by Ramin Djawadi’s iconic theme, we have yet another unskippable opening credits sequence here.

It’ll be interesting to see if season 3 continues with this tapestry theme, which looks and feels a lot better than what we had before. It could take cues from Game of Thrones (which expanded the map in its opening credits to include newer regions or focus on the relevant ones for the episode) by adding depictions of season 2 to continue the tapestry.

Shall we say, stitch incoming?

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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.