Game of Thrones fans will once again be transported to the world of Westeros when HBO’s House of the Dragon comes to Sky Atlantic on August 22 in the UK.
Steaming on HBO in the US and on Sky Atlantic and NOW for UK audiences, the 10-parter House of the Dragon The series follows the powerful Targaryen dynasty and is set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones.
House of the Dragon is based on George RR Martin’s 2018 novel Fire and blood which takes a deep dive into Targaryen history and the slow demise of a once great house through a bloody civil war.
While the show will primarily focus on the Targaryens, Hightowers and Velaryons, several of the main houses that we know from Game of Thrones will also be discussed.
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As House of the Dragon is a prequel set hundreds of years before Game of Throneswe can trace the history and lineage of the various dynasties to see how the characters relate to their Thrones counterparts and gain insight into how past events shaped house loyalties and feuds.
Watch a trailer for House of the Dragon
If the prequel series is anything like that Game of Thronesit’s going to be a full-time job keeping up with all the characters and their intertwining plots, as George RR Martin loves a complex narrative, combined with a gigantic cast.
The author recently talked about how House of the Dragon is a character-driven drama, rather than an action series, writing in his live journal, not a blog: “Those of you who like complex, conflicted, gray characters (like I do) will like this series, I think.
There will be plenty of dragons and battles, to be sure, but the backbone of the story is the human conflicts, the love and hate, character drama rather than action/adventure.”
Here’s our guide to some of the houses in the series and how they relate to Game of Thrones characters.
While House of the Dragon begins with the Targaryen’s on the coveted Iron Throne, fans will know the house descends into chaos with ‘Dance of the Dragon’ civil war and tragic descent into madness.
Viserys (Paddy Considine) is the fifth king of the Targaryen dynasty who wreaks havoc on the realm by abandoning the male heir tradition when he names his daughter Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy) as his successor.
There are quite surprisingly many of the lords of Westeros who do not support Rhaenyra’s claim to the throne, with Princess Rhaenys Velaryon stating that ‘a woman would not inherit the Iron Throne. Because that’s the order of things, as it says in the latest trailer.
Prince Daemon – played by Matt Smith – also believes he has a claim to the throne as the younger brother of King Viserys. He is an incomparable warrior and dragon rider, who “owns the true blood of the dragon”.
The battle for the throne between family members and half-siblings triggers a generational war known as the ‘Dance of the Dragons’, which ultimately leads to the fall of House Targaryen.
So how does any of this relate to the mother of dragons herself, Daenerys Targaryen, i Game of Thrones series? Vague is probably the fairest assessment, with multiple counts of incest, madness and marriage, it can be difficult to connect the apples on the Targaryen family tree.
Viserys appears to be an extremely distant uncle of Daenerys, but is never mentioned in the HBO series.
We only hear about Daenerys’ father Aerys II, better known as The Mad King, who slipped into madness during his chaotic reign.
One of the dynasties that appear in House of the Dragon will be House Hightower, one of the most ancient and vested houses in the Seven Kingdoms, which can trace its ancestry back to the days of the first men.
In the source novel Fire and blood, House Hightower is best known for being instrumental in causing the Civil War. Traditionally, the family was not interested in playing the “Game of Thrones”, but that all changed during the era of the Dance of the Dragons, as they become involved in the planning and politics of the Seven Kingdoms.
One member who will be a prominent character is Otto Hightower, (Rhys Ifans), Hand of the King to three Targaryen rulers including Viserys I. His daughter Alicent (Olivia Cooke) becomes King Viserys Targaryen’s second wife and supports the claim that her son, Aegon , to the throne.
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House Hightower can still be found in Game of Thrones timeline and features of the source novel, A song of ice and fire novels as an influential family with strong ties to the Tyrells.
Fans of the HBO series will know that the family’s legacy in the show lies in their stronghold of Oldtown. It is an important place in the Seven Kingdoms, as it is the home of the Citadel, which is where the Master Order resides.
The ancient house of Velaryon will loom large House of the Dragon featuring the legendary seafarer Lord Corlys Velaryon, “The Sea Snake” has a central role in the prequel series.
Lord Corlys (Steve Toussaint) is a renowned nautical adventurer in Westeros and built House Velaryon into a powerful and wealthy seat that rivals the wealthy Lannisters. The family hails from Driftmark, west of the Targaryens’ island home of Dragonstone and are believed to be early settlers of Westeros.
Some fans only want to learn about the Velaryon dynasty, as they are not a part of Game of Thrones TV series, even if they have a big role in some of them Throne’s short stories.
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Like many of the dynasties, the Velaryons help shape the overall narrative Game of Thrones the universe and their influence ripples through the timelines. Their close relationship with the Targaryens proved to be their weakness during Robert’s Rebellion, and the family was subsequently iced out.
IN A Clash of KingsThe Velaryons still have a powerful navy which is used when Lord Monford Velaryon answers Stannis Baratheon when he calls on his bannermen in the War of the Five Kings.
Early House of the Dragon trailer, we hear Lord of Winterfell Rickard Stark pledging allegiance to King Viserys.
Fans of House Stark have wondered who Rickard is and how he fits into the overall timeline, given that he is not in the current cast.
It is not entirely clear how Rickard relates to the later Starks, (other than via typically convoluted house lineage), who were the main characters in Game of Thrones series and source novels.
With Rickard bending the knee alongside Corlys Velaryon and Boremund Baratheon in the teaser trailer, it looks like the Starks are taking on their classic role as guardians of the north and will only head south when necessary.
If House of the Dragon closely follows its source material novel, we can also assume that the Starks will not play a large role in early episodes, and will come in later, with the signing of the Pact of Ice and Fire.
House of the Dragon airs on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW from 22 August.