In less than two weeks, “House of the Dragon” will appear on HBO with the first new content set in the world of Westeros after the end of “Game of Thrones” in 2019. Although the action takes place almost 200 years before the events of this show, the prequel is also based on the works of George R. R. Martin, so there will definitely be some parallels. As it turned out, Martin had requests for some details from his book “Flame and Blood” for showrunners Miguel Sapochnik and Ryan Kondal.
It’s no secret that “Game of Thrones” has made some changes and taken some liberties with the saga of novels “A Song of Ice and Fire”, which inspired the series, to the point that Martin said he would like to stay ahead of the show with books. (At the time of writing, fans were still waiting for the release of the sixth book, and “Game of Thrones” surpassed the point of the fifth book a few seasons before the end.) He even shared that showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss considered cutting one of the Starks back in the early days. So, what details did he want to include in the “House of the Dragon” from “Flame and Blood”?
According to Insider, George R. R. Martin had three requests: bright heraldry, colorful dragons and King Jaehaerys Targaryen II. Miguel Sapochnik explained why the author was determined to have Jayheiris included in the show, saying:
David and Dan both missed Jayheiris for reasons of clarity that he didn’t really understand. He had a bee in his hat about it. He wanted us to fix this mistake.
Obviously, Game of Thrones had to cut out a lot of details from the books to fit into the TV show, but obviously George R.R. Martin was not a fan of the fact that King Jaehaerys II was cut out of the Targaryen family for the series. It’s understandable why Martin expected Benioff and Weiss to include this particular Targaryen; in the books, Jaehaerys II was the father of Aerys II, also known as the Mad King, who was the father of Rhaegar, Viserys and Daenerys. He’s not that far from Dani in line.
My big question is how exactly Miguel Sapochnik and Ryan Condal could have added Jaehaerys II back to the Targaryen bloodline. He was king long before the time line of the House of the Dragon, that is, just a few generations after the beginning of the dynasty. Jaehaerys I was king before Viserys I (played by Paddy Considine in the series), so Jaehaerys will be… but many generations before Jaehaerys II.
Will the opening credits include a timeline of the Targaryen dynasty, such as how the Game of Thrones titles followed George R.R. Martin’s world map? I could see this as a subtle way to introduce Jaehaerys II, although it would also spoil the whole point of the line of succession that seems central to the House of the Dragon. We can only wait and see at this moment. Fortunately, Martin’s other two requests are a little easier to imagine.
Although Drogon, Viserion and Reigal Dani had quite different colors when they were younger, in later seasons they were a little difficult to distinguish from each other. In fact, I remember not being 100% sure at first that Viserion was the dragon killed by the King of the Night, or Reigal was the dragon killed by Euron Greyjoy. (You can now watch all eight seasons streaming with an HBO Max subscription.)
Obviously, this will not be the case with creatures from the “House of Dragons” of different sizes, shapes and colors, which also applies to “Fire and Blood”, where colors are mentioned separately. As for heraldry, Ryan Condol explained why Martin had some ideas about it:
This is such a time of high decline and peace, wealth and prosperity for the kingdom. Everyone would really decorate themselves with the flowers of their home and be proud of them while they went to the tournament.
Well, “House of the Dragon” may begin at a time of “decline, peace, wealth and prosperity” in Westeros, but I think based on the trailer, it’s safe to say that peace won’t last long. The line of succession for King Viserys will cause some problems when he is faced with a choice between his firstborn and his younger brother as heir. Since his firstborn was a princess and not a prince, the situation for him during this period is much more difficult than if his firstborn was a boy.
Fortunately, the wait for the Dragon House has almost come to an end. (The same cannot be said about the long-awaited sixth book by George R. R. Martin called “The Winds of Winter.”) The premiere of the new show will take place on Sunday, August 21, at 9 p.m. ET on HBO in the 2022 TV premiere schedule.