Wondering which episodes of Game of Thrones to watch to refresh your memory before House of the Dragon comes out? This list marks 10 episodes that show some of Daenerys’ best moments in Game of Thrones, as well as recounting the history of the Targaryens and their legacy, giving an insight into the madness that runs in their blood. Also included are some of the most monumental battles to take place in Westeros that involved not just the military might of men but also the deadly and indomitable power of dragons.
Watch out: When does House of The Dragon come out?
S01E01 — Winter is Coming
The pilot episode of Game of Thrones occurs in the year 298 AC, giving an overview of the end of the Targaryen reign. It takes place more than a century after the events of House of the Dragon, which happened 170 years before, in 129 AC. Apart from introducing the world of Westeros and its prominent Houses, Lords, Kings and Queens, there is also much discussion that explained the Conquest of Westeros by the Targaryens, headed by Aegon the Conqueror.
Daenerys and Viserys are in exile in Essos, a land that lays beyond the shores of Westeros and expands upon the worldbuilding. We immediately see how cruel and twisted Targaryen relationships can be, through the streaks of cruelty that Viserys displays against his sister. Furthermore, we get a glimpse of the White Walkers, hinting at the magic that exists at the corners of the world.
S01E10 — Fire and Blood
The name of this episode is eponymous with the words of House Targaryen as well as being the title of the book written by George R.R. Martin that chronicles the history of this ancient family. Dragons, the symbol and source of Targaryen power are central to the story of this episode. We begin to understand how Aegon the Conqueror bested all odds and took control of Westeros. After sentencing Miri Maaz Duur to death and walking into her husband Khal Drogo’s funeral pyre, Daenerys emerges at dawn, unburnt.
Moreover, from within the petrified dragon eggs that she placed in the fire, her three dragons are born. It is a display of how powerful Targaryens are, being imbued with magic as the blood of Old Valyria, or as Viserys refers to it, the blood of the dragon. The birth of the first dragons in 200 years hail the return of magic to Westeros, and House of the Dragon may delve deeper into how dragons are born and why the Targaryens could not breed any for over 150 years.
S02E10 — Valar Morghulis
Daenerys sets forth to retrieve her dragons from Pyat Pree, the warlock from Qarth, who kidnaps them in an earlier episode. When he traps her, she utters the word ‘Dracarys’ causing her dragons to breathe fire and burn Pyat Pree to death. Even though her dragons are mere hatchlings at this point, they prove to be extremely dangerous.
This is the first instance that shows how dragons can be controlled by a Targaryen who has a deep bond with them. Additionally, there is a scene of Daenerys wandering through the House of the Undying where she sees visions of Drogo, her unborn son and the Iron throne. There is a deep connection between Targaryens and prophecies, as many of them have dreams that foretell the future. An instance of this is in the House of The Dragon trailer, where King Viserys speaks of the dream he has and how it is a prophecy of the future to come.
S03E04 — And Now His Watch is Ended
Daenerys pretends to exchange her dragons for an army of Unsullied to the slave trader Kraznys, who constantly mocks her in High Valyrian, unaware that Daenerys speaks the language as well. Thus unfolds the iconic scene wherein Daenerys responds in fluent Valyrian, informing Kraznys that it is her mother tongue. She then utters the command “Dracarys” to Drogon, who torches Kraznys with fire, burning and killing him.
Daenerys then orders the Unsullied to kill the Masters of Astopor and free the enslaved people, demonstrating the good she is able to do with the power she has. This episode also features a brief discussion of the history of House Targaryen and a mention of Rhaenyra Targaryen that recounts how she eventually meets her end.
S05E09 — Dance of the Dragons
This episode shares its title with the name given to the civil war which is the central conflict of House of the Dragon. Following a period where Daenerys’s dragons became violent and attacked the innocent, Rhaegal and Viserion were chained under the Great Pyramid of Meereen after Drogon disappeared. At the end of the episode when Daenerys has a confrontation with the Sons of the Harpy for opening the fighting pits, Drogon returns and fights off Daenerys’s enemies to protect her.
At this point, Daenerys climbs onto Drogon’s back and soars away, becoming the first dragon rider in over 300 years. Consequently, on Dragonstone, Princess Shireen talks to her father Stannis about the book she is reading, The Dance of The Dragons, A True Telling, a book written by Grand Maester Munkun. Shireen comments that it was the choosing of sides that led to all the disparity, sadly unaware that she is to meet her end at the end of the episode by being burned alive.
S06E09 — Battle of the Bastards
This episode was directed by Miguel Sapochnik, who is the co-showrunner of the House of the Dragon series. Though the titular battle takes place at the end of this episode, the beginning shows Daenerys’s three dragons fighting together for the first time to complete her conquest of Slaver’s Bay. Notably, Drogon is much larger in size than his two brothers, presumably due to the two of them being chained up, showing the effects of confinement on the growth rate of dragons.
Daenerys rides Drogon and rains fire down upon the fleet of attack ships, demonstrating the truly destructive force of her dragons as she manages to overpower an army much larger than hers. The battle at the end between Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton’s armies provides a thrilling look at what a large-scale battle in Westeros looks like, something that we may see much more of in House of the Dragon, given its larger budget.
S06E04 — The Book of the Stranger
This episode shows the conflict between Daenerys and the Khals of Vaes Dothrak. When the Khals try to enforce upon Daenerys the imposition to remain behind with the rest of the widows of the Khals, Daenerys hatches a plot to escape. She accuses the Khals of being unfit to rule and sets the temple ablaze, burning everyone inside it to death.
She, of course, emerges unharmed due to her Targaryen blood. At this point, the Dothraki accept her as their ruler, gaining Daenerys the allegiance of another large and powerful army. Whether owing to her Targaryen heritage or her sheer ferocity and will, this is another iconic moment where Daenerys plunges into a conflict where the odds seem hopelessly stacked against her and emerges both unscathed and victorious.
S07E04 — Spoils of War
At the beginning of this episode, Jon and Daenerys explore Dragonstone, the ancestral seat of the Targaryens, which is likely to be a much more frequent location in House of the Dragon. In this episode, Jon comments that the followers of Daenerys believe she can change the world, but if she destroyed a city, she would be just another tyrant.
The assault on the Lannister loot train where Daenerys rides Drogon aided by her Dothraki army against the forces of Jaime Lannister is one of the best examples of dragon warfare seen in Game of Thrones. The unstoppable onslaught that dragons are able to unleash makes Daenerys extremely powerful in terms of military might at this point, despite having lost her Greyjoy, Tyrell, and Dornish allies.
S07E06 — Beyond the Wall
In this episode, we see how dragons can be tactically innovative as dragon riders attack from the sky whereas every other army is limited to fighting from the ground. Jon leads a small group beyond the Wall to retrieve a wight and is besieged by the Night King and his army.
Daenerys flies forth to rescue him, but in a major twist, the Night King kills Viserion with his spear. This displays the weakness of the dragons and the fact that they are not as invincible as they seem. It also sets up how humans can fight dragons, leading to developments in the plot subsequently. It is quite possible that House of the Dragon may show more of this.
S08E05 — The Bells
This episode is extremely controversial, showing that a Targaryen is capable of acts of bravery as well as cruelty. As Daenerys prepares to take King’s Landing, Tyrion pleads with her to spare the innocent people of the kingdom. Though Daenerys appears to do so in the beginning, even as the bells of surrender ring loudly in the background, she appears to snap and sets the kingdom ablaze, most likely due to the amount of tragedy and loss she has suffered in getting to this point.
Though this action seems unexpected and uncharacteristic of her, in the greater context of the lore it fits into the idea of Targaryens tending towards madness, caused possibly by centuries of marrying within their own families to produce offspring. It documents the downfall of a potentially great Targaryen ruler and marks Daenerys’s turn from hero to villain.