This article contains references to sexual violence and murder
Although season 1 of the Game of Thrones prequel show, House of the Dragon, has reached a dramatic conclusion, fans cannot stop talking about how season 2 will tackle the war between the Blacks and the Greens. Similarly to its parent show, while House of the Dragon showed how political tensions increased between those in Westeros, no one ever expected that they would be thrown into the midst of the war so quickly. However, after that shocking season 1 finale, it seems there’s no going back now.
Given that the show is going to have around four seasons (via Digital Spy), it’s safe to say that the writers will be slowing down the pace and increasing the political conversations. While some fans might not be too thrilled with that, there may also be a few who are since this means there is a chance that the writers will add in more humor and comedy than before. After all, Viserys’ I love for Rhaenyra, Daemon’s shady remarks, and all the misinterpretations allowed for several iconic memes to be born.
The Complicated Family Dynamics
House of the Dragon mainly focuses on the Targaryen family, who are first introduced in Game of Thrones. In the original show, fans learn that the Targaryens often marry within their own family in order to strengthen their lineage. In the prequel show, the bizarre and interconnected nature of the house becomes apparent early on when it’s suggested that Viserys marries his cousin’s young daughter.
Rhaenyra marries twice over the course of the first season, both to members of her own family, with her second husband being her Uncle Daemon. Fans have watched in astonishment as the family becomes more and more interconnected and many have struggled to keep track on how everyone is actually related (as this meme implies).
Viserys’ Relationship With His Children
At the beginning of the show, King Viserys is desperate for a son and overlooks his daughter Rhaenyra as a result. That being said, when he does go on to have sons, he surprisingly sidelines them in favor of his daughter (as this meme jokes). The show features very few scenes between Viserys and his other children, and he remains firm on his choice to make Rhaenyra his heir after Aegon’s birth.
Even before his demise (which many House of the Dragon fans agree is one of the saddest deaths they have ever seen), he remained loyal to his daughter and shared many heartwarming scenes with her. It’s not really surprising, however, given how her other siblings turned out.
Some of the most shocking power grabs in season 1 of House of the Dragon come from Lord Larys Strong. Much like Littlefinger from Game of Thrones, Larys is in the background scheming and plotting, specifically through his manipulation of Queen Alicent. He has his own father and brother killed and blackmails Alicent in order to keep her on side, making him one of the most powerful players in the show so far.
Like most players in the game, Larys is scheming for power but, disturbingly, he quietly revels in causing chaos. The first season shows that Larys is devious and twisted and will be someone to watch as the story continues.
One of the most complex characters introduced in the first season is Viserys’ brother, Daemon. In the early episodes of the season, it seems that Daemon is being set up as a major antagonist going forward. He undermines his brother, seduces and manipulates his young niece, and also mistreats his wife before killing her.
While there have been glimpses that Daemon has a softer side (such as when he is horrified by her death and helps Viserys to the throne), Daemon’s darker side does manage to find a way to resurface again (as seen when he lashes out at Rhanerya and grabs her by the throat – which could become a cause for concern within the relationship in future seasons).
The Targaryens’ Reuse Of Names
Game of Thrones fans will notice several familiar names being used in House Of The Dragon (such as Viserys and Joffrey). The Targaryen family are particularly keen on reusing names, with both Rhaenyra and Alicent naming one of their sons after Aegon The Conquerer.
The reuse of the name Aegon actually leads to a huge misunderstanding in the later half of the season and sparks a huge conflict between The Blacks and The Greens. On his deathbed, Viserys mistakes Alicent for Rhaenyra and talks to her about the original Aegon The Conquerer and his dream of Ice and Fire. The Green Queen takes this to mean that her son, Aegon II, should actually be king; the family’s reuse of names is what leads to this huge misunderstanding and ultimately triggers a war between the two sides.
Rhaenyra And Alicent’s Complex Relationship
At the beginning of the show, young Rhaenyra and Alicent are best friends and share a close bond. However, Alicent marrying her friend’s father and Rhaenyra lying about her dalliance with Daemon sparks a rift between the pair.
When they reunite years later, there is clearly an atmosphere between the former friends. That being said, Rhaenyra refuses to believe Alicent could be capable of the Strongs murders and Alicent demands that Rhaenyra is unharmed after Aegon II becomes King. Despite their many grievances and being on opposite sides, the two women still have a respect and admiration for each other, which makes their relationship all the more complex.
One major element of House of the Dragon which sets it apart from Game of Thrones is the time jumps. These time jumps skip over several major plots, including Aegon’s birth and Viserys and Alicent’s wedding.
As the show jumps ahead several times, many of the younger characters are also recast (some more than once), which can sometimes make it difficult for the audience to connect with these characters. Luckily, this wasn’t the case with House Of The Dragon, as Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke have done a great job maintaining the legacy that Milly Alcock and Emily Carey set-up.
Criston Cole’s Violent Nature
When the show begins, Criston is an honorable knight of the Kingsguard. However, he develops an intimate relationship with Rhaenyra and is incensed when she refuses to run away with him. Following the time jumps, it’s clear that Criston holds a grudge and has grown to despise the princess.
Despite being one of the strongest fighters in House of the Dragon, Criston’s honor crumbles completely as time goes on and he lashes out before even receiving orders on a number of occasions. His brutal and unjust murder of Joffrey is particularly shocking and, despite how public the attack is, it strangely goes unpunished.
Viserys’ Loyalty To Rhaenyra
While Viserys is clearly longing for a son when the show begins, he remains loyal to Rhaenyra and refuses to go back on his decision to make her his heir. Many of Viserys’ advisors attempt to change his mind regarding Rhaenyra, but he refuses to back down.
Later on in the season, Rhaenyra has three children whose paternity is often brought into question, particularly by Viserys’ sons. Many are fully aware that her children are illegitimate and are actually Harwin Strong’s. Even though her children’s illegitimacy is obvious, Viserys is enraged whenever it is questioned and refuses to see any truth in it, partly to save face but mainly out of loyalty to his eldest daughter.
NEXT: 10 Most Shocking Reveals And Plot Twists In Season 1 Of House Of The Dragon