‘House of the Dragon’: Targaryen Rules of Succession, Explained


Editor’s word: The beneath comprises spoilers for Episodes 1-6 of House of the Dragon.Anyone that had by no means learn George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire collection might have felt severely overwhelmed originally of Game of Thrones. The pilot episode, “Winter is Coming,” introduces dozens of characters, a number of claims to the Iron Throne, and sufficient violence to sicken even probably the most steel-hearted viewer. If you didn’t know the historical past of Westeros just like the again of your hand, you in all probability needed to make investments some severe time into researching the ways in which the completely different homes are associated, and why the state of political succession is so unstable.


By comparability, House of the Dragon units up a relatively simple battle for the destiny of the Seven Kingdoms. It may very well be a greater place to begin for non-Game of Thrones followers, because the political battle is contained to the interior turmoil inside House Targaryen. That being mentioned, a number of claims to the throne are made inside simply the pilot episode, “The Heirs of the Dragon.” King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) suffers a private tragedy that forces him to contemplate what the Seven Kingdoms will appear to be upon his dying.

House of the Dragon takes place roughly 190 years earlier than the occasions of Game of Thrones. As defined in a short line of textual content and narration that performs earlier than the episode’s title playing cards, the occasions of the collection will result in the ascension of Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke). Prior to the occasions of House of the Dragon, the ruling King Aegon Targaryen (also called Aegon the Conqueror) united the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. The tales of Aegon and his dragons are referred to at a number of factors inside Game of Thrones and regarded a defining second in Westerosi historical past. Aegon’s domination locations House Targaryen in command of the realm.

RELATED: How ‘House of the Dragon’ Ties Into ‘Game of Thrones,’ Explained

When Given the Option, Men Will Always Be Chosen to Rule

King Viserys I succeeded to the Iron Throne following one of many longest-ruling Targaryen kings, King Jaehaerys I. Jaehaerys was effectively beloved by his folks and ruler who dominated over a really peaceable time in Westeros. We study in “The Heirs of the Dragon” that Viserys has been in energy for roughly a decade; he was chosen by a Great Council to take the throne. Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best) additionally had a declare to the throne, however the council opted to decide on a male ruler.

Viserys expects that he can have a male inheritor together with his spouse, Queen Aemma Arryn (Sian Brooke), however tragedy strikes. During a royal tourney made within the honor of his son’s delivery, Viserys receives phrase that his spouse is dying in childbirth, and he should make the choice to save lots of both mom or child — however not each. Although a harmful process is carried out to save lots of the kid, each Aemma and her son die. This leaves Viserys heartbroken. He isn’t in a state to consider politics, however he wants to find out whether or not he must make a change to the gender roles throughout the Seven Kingdoms. With no male inheritor, the royal title would fall to the King’s brother, Daemon (Matt Smith). However, Viserys and a few of his council resolve that Daemon will not be an appropriate inheritor to the Iron Throne. Daemon is the commander of the City Watch and leads the protectors of King’s Landing to brutally ransack town’s criminals. Daemon cultivates violence, and Viserys is offended by a merciless comment that he later makes concerning the dying of the Queen and her son.

Viserys’ Decision to Make Rhaenyra His Heir Will Become the Source of His Problems

Viserys considers the truth that he has a baby already: his daughter, Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock). No lady has ever sat on the Iron Throne, however Viserys decides to interrupt from customized and identify his daughter as his inheritor. This strikes up a number of points. Daemon is livid as he’s the following male inheritor in line for the throne and now he has been supplanted by Rhaenyra. And if the dominion is to have a feminine ruler, what concerning the Queen That Never Was? Rhaenys’ husband, Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint), sits on the King’s Council and suggests his spouse as a viable inheritor. And then there’s the problem of Alicent (Emily Carey) who turns into Viserys’ second spouse and instantly produces a male baby, Aegon II.

Under the traditions of Westeros, a male inheritor could be favored, however Viserys has insisted so far that Rhaenyra will likely be his successor. When Alicent and Rhaenyra develop aside, Alicent advocates for her personal son to exchange Rhaenyra as inheritor. We see that the small people of King’s Landing mock this royal disaster. In “King of the Narrow Sea,” Rhaenyra and Daemon disguise themselves as civilians in an effort to enterprise into the streets of King’s Landing. They watch a play that mocks Rhaenyra, calling her a feeble lady, and the way the delivery of Aegon II threatens her declare merely as a result of his intercourse.

Rhaenyra’s Marriage Changes the Rules of House Names

After her father hears rumors that Rhaenyra’s advantage might need been compromised by Daemon, he insists that she marry Laenor Velaryon (Theo Nate), the son of Lord Corlys. This will assist to merge the 2 strongest homes in Westeros. It additionally serves as an apology on Viserys’ behalf; he selected to marry Alicent relatively than making the politically advantageous match with Corlys’ daughter, Laena (Nova Foueillis-Mose).

When Viserys visits Lord Corlys and Princess Rhaenys in “We Light The Way,” they negotiate the phrases of Rhaenyra and Laenor’s marriage. Corlys is keen to have a King that bears his surname. But Viserys insists that his household dynasty can’t finish just because Rhaenyra is a girl. They kind a compromise; Rhaenyra and Laenor’s kids will bear the identify “Velaryon,” however when one assumes the throne, they may take the identify “Targaryen.” Corlys agrees to those phrases.

The Rules of Successors Does Not Change

So how does this lead into Game of Thrones? At the time of the unique collection, the “Mad King” Aerys II Targaryen (David Rintoul) has been deposed after the insurgent leaders Robert I Baratheon (Mark Addy) and Ned Stark (Sean Bean) rose as much as finish his reign of terror. Robert assumes the throne for himself, and Aerys II’s two kids, Viserys III (Harry Lloyd) and Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), are banished. Viserys’ dying throughout the first season paves the best way for Daenerys to put her declare to the throne.

However, Game of Thrones confirmed the long-held principle and proved that Aerys II does nonetheless have a residing male inheritor. During Robert’s Rebellion, Aerys II’s firstborn son, Rhaegar (Wilf Scolding) had an affair with Ned Stark’s sister, Lyanna (Aisling Franciosi). Before Lyanna dies in childbirth, she makes her brother promise to maintain her son’s parentage a secret, fearing for his life, and Ned decides to lift their baby, Jon Snow (Kit Harington), as his personal, saying that Jon is his bastard son. We study on the finish of the collection that his true identify is Aegon Targaryen, making him the seventh of his identify.

Even by the point of Game of Thrones, male primogeniture takes priority and choice. As we’ll see in future seasons of House of the Dragon, Rhaenyra’s declare to the throne, whereas given to her by her father, will likely be challenged till the bitter finish. We will see what sorts of energy struggles outcome over the course of the primary season.

Season 1 of House of the Dragon premiers with new episodes each Sunday on HBO and HBO Max.


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