More Targaryen lore that House of the Dragon could explore
It might be too early to think ahead to what HBO’s House of the Dragon could potentially do beyond the story at hand and the event that it’s building up to, but the rich history of House Targaryen is undoubtedly tempting countless longtime fans of George R. R. Martin’s fantasy work to speculate about the exciting possibilities ahead. Some of that speculation is even more warranted, as co-showrunner Miguel Sapochnik told Entertainment Weekly in July that House of the Dragon could play around across the timeline of Targaryen lore.
The buildup of the war of succession the show is currently building to is known as the Dance of the Dragons, but the series’ name is certainly convenient enough to go further forwards or backward while staying under the same umbrella. So, between the Targaryen histories documented and referenced in Martin’s Fire & Blood — its soon-to-be direct sequel — and beyond, there certainly isn’t a lack of source material to make House of the Dragon a unique long-running anthology series.
It’s been referenced in both Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon, as Aegon I Targaryen’s conquest of Westeros is what paved the way for this legacy family’s dynasty. Known as the Conqueror, Aegon I is the world of A Song of Ice and Fire‘s mythical god-like figure to indirectly set up much of this dark fantasy epic’s events, Targaryen or not.
In a surprise twist, House of the Dragon added a new layer of intrigue that — at least not yet — hasn’t been made clear in the source material. Episode 1 sees King Viserys tell his daughter Rhaenyra that the glory of conquest wasn’t the sole motivator behind Aegon’s Conquest, but a Dragon Dream — visions that certain Targaryens can have — of the Long Night that would eventually threaten the world in Game of Thrones. This secret, known as Aegon’s Song of Ice and Fire, would only be passed down from monarch to monarch.
For such a storied and important figure in Martin’s source material when it came to world-building, it would be hard not to be excited at the prospect of seeing House of the Dragon adapt his story should it be turned into an anthology series. It arguably might have been better if the show was planned as an anthology from the start and had Aegon I serve as the focal point of the first season.
Keeping the nature of Aegon’s Dragon Dream secret until Viserys tells his daughter would’ve made a great season 2 revelation. Nonetheless, since a lot of the most fantastical portions of Targaryen lore are in the past, it would arguably still make for great television in a future season.
Beyond Aegon himself, though, is even more potential to transition into the lives of him, Visenya, and Rhaenys I’s children. Maegor the Cruel — as referenced in House of the Dragon — would make for another compelling villain.
Certainly, on the fantasy front, this would also be an excellent way to give glimpses of Old Valyria’s splendor and give excuses to see more of the dragons that make the Targaryens so special in the first place. Specifically, it would be quite the sight to finally get to see a CG-animated Balerion the Black Dread on screen after both Thrones shows teased the magical beast’s imposing skull in the Red Keep.
The only possible detriment to this, though, would arguably be revealing too much of Aegon and spoiling some of the inherent mysticism around his character by being shown off too much. But, like with most things, tastefulness in adapting elements of the source material and deft creative hands could do his story justice.
Where it all began — the rise and fall of Old Valyria
Another option would be to go further back still, even before the days of Aegon the Conqueror. Like with so many enticing pieces of Game of Thrones lore, the days of royal decadence in Old Valyria have also been teased but have never been realized on screen.
And as King Viserys himself said in House of the Dragon, the days of Valyria when it was at its peak will never be replicated again. Even so, going back to it for at least one generation of House Targaryen lineage would be a thrilling way to inject as much fantasy into this fantasy series as possible.
This age in Targaryen history could also justify more than one season in a similar vein as the current buildup to the Dance, only in this case, it would culminate in the fated Doom of Valyria and how Daenys Targaryen envisioned it herself. The Doom is what saw Valyria become engulfed in fire that even dragons couldn’t survive, and Daenys’ vision is what saved House Targaryen from going extinct with the other Dragonlord houses of their homeland.
It would be even more of an “origin story” than what House of the Dragon is being presented as, as before Aegon built a dynasty when colonizing Westeros, the Targaryens were just one of many similar families — and not even the strongest of them.
Going forward after the Dance also has more than enough material to potentially pull from and adapt, from the eventual war against Dorne, the corruptive rule of Aegon IV, and more. Perhaps even more poetically, House of the Dragon could conclude with Robert’s Rebellion just 17 years before the events of Game of Thrones begins. Regardless of where showrunner Ryan Condal chooses to take the series, pivoting it into an anthology series poses a tantalizing prospect of being more grandiose and creative than it is already.
The first six episodes of HBO’s House of the Dragon are available on both HBO and HBO Max, with new episodes premiering on Sundays.
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October 1, 2022 at 04:01PM