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What is House of the Dragon about? The Targaryen Civil War explained

House of the Dragon Viserys Rhaenyrs Daemon Targaryen

Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon will premiere on Sunday, Aug 21. This series will answer questions about the history of Westeros. It will also explain how the events of Game of Thrones happened. The show recounts the Targaryen Civil War that occurred 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones. The new series will focus on the conflict within House Targaryen at the height of their power. Author George R.R. Martin helped in the production of this show.


His book Fire and Blood is the basis for this series. The series has a budget that is even higher than the original show. It is likely to contain stunning visuals and breathtaking battles. This series happens at a time when House Targaryen still rode dragons. A total of 17 dragons are confirmed for this series and are sure to make it an entertaining viewing experience. This article contains SPOILERS from the book Fire and Blood, on which the show House of the Dragon is based.

House of the Dragon’s connections to Game of Thrones

daenerys, viserys and daemon

A large part of Game of Thrones focused on Daenerys Targaryen and her claim to the Iron Throne. She and her brother Viserys were the last of the ancient and magical Targaryen family. The first king of Westeros was Aegon the Conqueror, who constructed the Iron Throne. By the time Daenerys was born, much time had passed, and all the dragons had been dead for over 300 years. When Daenerys hatched her three dragons, it was the fulfillment of her destiny as the heir to House Targaryen.

Jon Snow was also revealed to be the son of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. By the time Daenerys made her way to King’s Landing, she had made the turn from hero to villain. She succumbed to the madness that ran in her family. The Targaryen tradition of marrying within the family was most likely the cause of this. House of the Dragon will give insights into this family and the complex politics involved in Kings’ Landing.

The event that the series focuses on is the Targaryen Civil War, referred to as The Dance of the Dragons. Game of Thrones mentions it several times. One such example is when Princess Shireen recounts the events to Stannis from a book that she is reading. The Starks and Tyrells of the time will also have appearances within the show. The degree of their involvement is unknown. There has also been a possible Game of Thrones Easter Egg spotted in the trailer. Alicent Hightower possesses a Valyrian Steel dagger that looks very much like the one that Arya Stark used to slay the Night King.

Read Next: 10 Game of Thrones episodes to watch to prepare for House of the Dragon

Fire and Blood: 300 Years Before A Game of Thrones (A Targaryen History)

Fire and Blood 300 Years Before A Game of Thrones

House of the Dragon in the Game of Thrones Timeline

targaryen family

House of the Dragon takes place in the year 129 AC, which is 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones. Daenerys was born about 10 generations after the reigning monarch of this time. The king who sat on the Iron throne during this period was King Viserys I. Under him, the realm experienced a time of peace. The show will briefly explore the period when things were still peaceful. But the majority of the show will explore the period after his death. This was a time when there was a division of the realm as different factions tried to seize control of the Iron Throne.

Read Next: How House of The Dragon (appears to be) a better and more faithful adaptation than Game of Thrones

Main Characters In House Of The Dragon

House of the Dragon involves multiple characters from the Houses of Westeros. Each of them has a large part to play in the story. Certain characters, however, are more central to the plot than others. These are the ones responsible for the events that take place. It can be said that the motivations of these characters are the reason for the way the story plays out. Similar to Game of Thrones, these characters are all flawed in one way or another. It is easy to be confused about which of them truly have noble intentions. Listed below are some of the characters that are crucial to understanding the conflict in the story.

Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen


The story of the show revolves around Princess Rhaenyra, the protagonist of the series. Two different actresses play her. Milly Alcock plays the younger version of her and Emma D’arcy plays the older version. Princess Rhaenyra was the only living child of King Viserys, who had no male children from his first wife. The people of the kingdom loved her and named her ‘The Realms’ Delight’. She became a dragon rider at the age of seven, bonding with the dragon Syrax.

Read NextWho is Emma D’Arcy, the actor who plays Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon?

King Viserys I Targaryen


King Viserys I was a fair ruler, and the majority of his reign was peaceful. Paddy Considine plays him in the series. His wife Aemma died many years after the birth of their daughter Rhaenyra. As he was still quite young at the time, he married once more to Alicent Hightower. King Viserys was the last rider of the dragon Balerion the Black Dread who died of old age. Viserys never bonded with another dragon.

Read Next: Paddy Considine explains how Viserys Targaryen is a good man but a bad king

Funkoverse: Game of Thrones Board Game

Funkoverse: Game of Thrones Board Game

Queen Alicent Hightower


Alicent was the daughter of Ser Otto Hightower, who was the Hand of the King. She is the second most prominent character around whom the story revolves. Emily Carey plays her as a young girl, while Olivia Cooke plays her older counterpart. When she was younger, she was good friends with Princess Rhaenyra. She married King Viserys during this time.

Read Next: Olivia Cooke and Rhys Ifans discuss the kind of relationship between Alicent and Otto Hightower

Prince Daemon Targaryen


Daemon Targaryen was the brother of King Viserys, which made him the uncle of Princess Rhaenyra. Former Dr Who actor Matt Smith plays him. As Viserys had no sons, Daemon was next in line to be the king. Daemon was a skilled warrior and served as the Commander of the City Watch, also known as the Gold Cloaks. He bonded with the dragon Caraxys, nicknamed the Blood Wyrm.

Read Next: Matt Smith and Emma D’Arcy discuss Daemon and Rhaenyra Targaryen’s complex relationship in House of the Dragon

Corlys Velaryon


Corlys Velaryon, known as the Sea Snake, was the head of house Velaryon. Steve Toussaint plays him in the show. Corlys was the greatest seafarer in the Seven Kingdoms. He amassed a great amount of wealth through his voyages, making him richer than the Lannisters. He commanded the largest and most powerful fleet of ships in Westeros.

Read Next: Steve Toussaint says Corlys Velaryon knows he’s very rich and “likes to show” it

The Story of House of the Dragon: The Targaryen Civil War Explained

alicent and rhaenyra

The Targaryen Civil War centred around the matter of who was to succeed King Viserys to the Iron Throne. As Viserys had no male heirs, his brother Daemon would succeed him. But the king surprised everyone by appointing his daughter Rhaenyra as the heir. Daemon was not happy about this, but Viserys sent him away from the city of Kings’ Landing.

Many years after this event, King Viserys married Alicent Hightower, who bore him three sons — the roots of the conflict that caused the civil war can be traced to this point in time. Alicent wanted her eldest son Aegon to become king instead of the princess. The reason for this was that up until then, it was not a custom for women to rule the Seven kingdoms.

While many people in the kingdom sided with Princess Rhenyra, many others took the side of Queen Alicent. The greatest evidence of this division was during a great tournament held at King’s Landing. Rhaenyra dressed in black and Alicent in green. After this event, it became custom to refer to the followers of these separate camps as “blacks” and “greens”.

Read Next: Emma D’Arcy explains the difference between Alicent Hightower and Rhaenyra Targaryen

Blacks vs Greens

blacks and greens

These events occurred while king Viserys was still alive. Viserys remained staunch in his decision to have his daughter Rhaenyra succeed him to the throne. But he passed away in his sleep. Princess Rhaenyra was not informed of his death. Queen Alicent seized this moment to crown her eldest son Aegon as King. She did this after holding a secret meeting with the small council.

Princess Rhaenyra soon found out about her father’s death and the dismissal of her claim to the throne. She swore revenge and amassed her followers. Among them was Daemon Targaryen, with whose help Rhaenyra declared herself the true queen of Westeros. In response to this, Queen Alicent declared Rhaenyra and Daemon to be traitors to the realm.

From this point onwards, the Seven Kingdoms split apart for the first time in years, after a long period of peace. The Lords of Westeros all pledged their loyalties to one of the two sides. This was the beginning of the Targaryen Civil War, in which many battles were fought all across Westeros. The struggle for power and the claim to the Iron Throne began.

Who are you most excited to see in House of the Dragon? Tell us in the comments below!

Read Next: House of the Dragon is much more like a Shakespearean tragedy than Game of Thrones, says George R. R. Martin

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