The image of the “House of the Dragon” reveals the tragic “Game of Thrones” Stark Retcon


A new image for House of the Dragon shows a weirwood tree in King’s Landing, revealing a tragic retcon for Game of Thrones’ Starks. The image depicts young Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) and young Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey) walking through the godswood with the latter pointing out a page in a mysterious book. While the image is also significant in showing the amicability of the pair before their civil war-inciting Targaryen “greens” and “blacks” feud, the most curious aspect of the House of the Dragon image is that the two are walking in front of a weirwood tree.

With Game of Thrones prioritizing the history of House Stark, the significance of weirwood trees and their connection to the Old Gods of the North were used as an important way to contextualize the family within Westeros. Game of Thrones explained that while the godswoods were preserved, nearly every weirwood tree in the south had been cut down 6,000 years ago during the Andal Invasion, so as to favor the new Faith of the Seven. Weirwoods could be found in the godswoods in the North, though only a few survived in the southern godswoods that were turned into secular gardens. The books explained that King’s Landing still had a heart tree in its godswood, but it was made of oak, not weirwood. Even then, the Red Keep had no bleeding heart tree during Game of Thrones’ series.

Related: Every House Of The Dragon Change From The Book So Far

Considering the south in Westeros was deprived of weirwood trees in the godswood, the reveal that young Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower are walking next to one is a curious retcon for House of the Dragon. While this change would suggest that the image doesn’t take place in King’s Landing, the background truly reflects the godswood of the Red Keep, with Alicent also having rarely left the castle in her youth. According to Westerosi history, the weirwood trees in King’s Landing should have been cut down thousands of years before House of the Dragon, begging the questions of why it’s there in the first place and what happened to it before Game of Thrones’ timeline.

Why House Of The Dragon Has A Weirwood Tree In King’s Landing

While the timeline of the image is from 200 years before Game of Thrones, there shouldn’t be a weirwood tree in the Red Keep during House of the Dragon. The fact that there were no weirwoods left when Sansa Stark was stuck in the Red Keep was originally understood, due to the Andals cutting down the sacred trees centuries beforehand. House of the Dragon’s image offers a new backstory to its godswood.

House of the Dragon’s weirwood tree retcon suggests that one of the Targaryen rulers may have replanted one in the godswood after the Andals cut them down. However, since the Targaryen kings and queens adopted the Faith of the Seven, there would be very little reason for them to appease the Northerners – who rarely made the trek down south – by planting a tree sacred to Game of Thrones’ Old Gods. The only other explanation would be that the Andals somehow preserved this weirwood tree in King’s Landing, but that seems contrary to Game of Thrones’ established Westerosi history.

HOTD’s Weirwood Tree Makes A GOT Sansa Scene More Heartbreaking

The fact that there actually was a weirwood tree in King’s Landing only 200 years before Game of Thrones makes the Starks’ chaotic time at the Red Keep more tragic. While House Stark was never able to worship the sacred tree of the Old Gods in King’s Landing, the Targaryens in House of the Dragon who wouldn’t appreciate its true significance were able to pass by it on casual walks. Considering the heart tree was likely only used in King’s Landing for vanity purposes, it makes the Starks’ mistreatment there in Game of Thrones even worse.

Related: House Of The Dragon Will Change The Way You See The Starks

The Red Keep’s weirwood tree standing in its full glory during House of the Dragon’s timeline also connects to a notable Sansa Stark scene in Game of Thrones season 3. After being turned against her family and held captive in the Red Keep, Sansa would escape to the bare godswood not truly to pray, but to seek solace in a place that reminded her of home and where nobody would bother her. In Game of Thrones season 3, episode 4, Sansa is heartbreakingly seen praying on the stump of a weirwood tree, with House of the Dragon’s retcon suggesting that this cut-down tree was once the one that Rhaenyra and Alicent are walking by.

What Happened To King’s Landing’s Weirwood Tree?

Since House of the Dragon’s retcon reveals that the Andals weren’t the ones who cut down the tree that Sansa prays on, it was likely removed by a king from House Targaryen sometime before Game of Thrones begins. Westeros would see far more turmoil and religious warfare after House of the Dragon, with King Baelor the Blessed being particularly notable for his devotion to the Faith of the Seven. Considering the Red Keep’s full weirwood tree is certain to be a plot point in House of the Dragon due to its retcon of Game of Thrones’ history, it’s possible that the prequel could feature the sacred tree being cut down amidst the chaos of the Targaryen civil war.