The Dad-Focused Breakdown of the House of the Dragon Teaser Trailer

Posted: October 10, 2021 by patricksponaugle in Game of Thrones, TV
Tags: , , ,

HBO has released a teaser trailer for their upcoming fantasy show House of the Dragon, taking place in the same universe as their hit show Game of Thrones. It’s the first of several potential prequel series in the world of Westeros. Nearly everyone and their relations have already scrambled to put out trailer breakdowns via YouTube videos or podcasts or whatever. That’s cool. But I wanted to do one, specifically for my dad.

Sometime after Game of Thrones first aired, I got my dad a copy of the first book – A Game of Thrones – as a Father’s Day gift. My dad likes to read, and we’ve had good experiences talking about books we’ve read in common. (I got my dad to read science fiction books when I was a teen – he probably wanted to figure out some way to have a conversation with me – and that has carried on through my adult life.)

He read all of the books, enjoyed the show, complained to me about the impossibility of undead skeletons running about (he’s a medical doctor)

Dad: But they don’t have any muscles!
Me: DAD. MAGIC. OMG.

Anyway, I don’t think my dad has read Fire and Blood, the Targaryen history (so far, the only volume published covers half of the Targaryen family history as a ruling dynasty in Westeros) so House of the Dragon will be mostly new to him. So, I thought I would do a trailer breakdown just giving some light backstory on the characters shown, without going into spoiler territory.

This trailer breakdown is for you, dad. (The rest of you can still read it, if you like, but there’s probably better breakdowns. And also worse ones I AM SURE.)

HBO

The trailer starts off with HBO, and a pale-haired torch-carrying figure walking in the darkness. Dad, you may recall from seeing Daenerys and her brother Viserys on Game of Thrones, that the Targaryen family often has hair like that. (Dad, you also recall that this isn’t always the case – there have been Targaryens with dark hair… LIKE JON SNOW…)

Anyway, this is probably a Targaryen. House of the Dragon will be kicking off during the reign of Viserys I (not Dany’s brother, a different Viserys) — he’s the great-great grandson of the first Targaryen king, Aegon the Conqueror. (I think I have that right.) There are a bunch of Targaryens at this time.

Strolling on the beach

We see a couple overlooking the water at night. We’ll see this from another angle later on in the trailer, so I don’t mind predicting that these are the silhouettes of Daemon Targaryen (the king’s brother) and Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (the king’s daughter.) You remember that Dany and Jon had a thing going on, and they were nephew and aunt? That’s just a random fact I’m bringing up. Probably of no significance. Let’s move on.

Timeframe

Just a reminder that this is a prequel. Is it exactly 200 years before Dany nuked King’s Landing and Drogon melted the Iron Throne into slag? Probably not *exactly* 200 years, but close enough.

Dragon skull

This looks like the head/skull of a dead dragon. It’s likely to be the head of Balerion the Black Dread, the mount of King Aegon I. There are a lot of dragons during this time, but as evidence by Balerion here, they don’t live forever.

Hand of the King

Dad, you recall that the kings of Westeros were served by something like a Prime Minister, who were supposed to deal with a lot of mundane details. Here we have the introduction of House of the Dragon‘s Hand of the King, who is a man from the Reach, Otto Hightower. (The Hightowers are a super-old family in the Reach, although they’re not officially in charge of the place, that’s the Tyrells – you remember old Olenna Tyrell.) Anyway, Otto wields a lot of power and has much influence with King Viserys. Some of that influence is due to his beautiful daughter, Alicent Hightower.

Speaking of Kings…

Here’s Viserys, seated on the Iron Throne. You’ll notice the Targaryen-characteristic pale hair, the dragon signet ring. That sword is probably Valyrian steel, and probably Aegon I’s sword Blackfyre. Viserys has it there mostly as a prop, since Viserys is pretty chill and fun-loving, rather than blood-thirsty like other Targaryen kings (I’m looking at you, Maegor the Cruel.)

Princess Rhaenyra

We have a profile shot and full-on shot of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, the daughter of King Viserys and his first wife, Aemma. Did I say *first* wife? Look, there’s a lot of maternal death in Westeros, like a ridiculous amount, so it should not be a surprise when I tell you that Aemma is probably not in the show, and that Viserys has a new wife. Which probably causes no problems whatsoever. Rhaenyra is going to be played by two different people, since the show will cover an earlier time period, with a younger version of Rhaenyra (seen above) as well as a younger version of Alicent Hightower – two different people playing two different versions of Otto Hightower’s daughter.

Back to the Beach

This is the reverse of that night-time beach scene. In the background is Princess Rhaenyra, the older version, and in the foreground is her ambitious uncle, Daemon Targaryen. Get used to these names, dad. I haven’t even talked about Aemond Targaryen yet. YES. There’s a Daemon and an Aemond. Just be glad that there isn’t a Nomead Targaryen.

Fight fight fight!

I couldn’t resist multiple shots of a fight scene. Someone in cool dragon-styled armor, complete with Targaryen-sigil shield, is fighting some other knight. We can’t make out much details on who is getting the bad end of that business. From the trailer, the other knight is not holding a sword, but a morningstar (people argue about what a morningstar is – in this case, it’s a flail with a spiky ball end, as opposed to some flails that don’t have a spike ball. Sometimes, a morningstar is just a mace with a spiky end, no chain, but I don’t want to argue.)

This has a tournament look, with weapons off in the background and Targaryen shields.

The Sea Snake

Corlys Velaryon is introduced in this shot. Who? I hear you ask, dad. (You should read Fire and Blood.)

When the Targaryens fled Valyria 100 years before the Doom, they settled in Westeros on the isle of Dragonstone, with their dragons. They did not come alone though. Two minor Valyrian houses, the Celtigars and Velaryons also settled on Westeros. (A Targaryen history expert told me that the Velaryons preceded the Targaryens, and I believe them.) Those houses did not have dragons, but they were of Valyrian blood. The Velaryons had settled on a suitable island (not super far from Dragonstone) and over the centuries became a mercantile powerhouse, traveling all over the world. Corlys, known as the “Sea Snake” has seen some stuff, done some crazy things. And he’s super rich.

House Velaryon

Here we have Corlys and his household making a visit to King’s Landing (I say that based on the next shot.) Corlys is married to a Targaryen. At his side is Rhaenys Targaryen, a cousin to King Viserys. (In an earlier version of this post, I called her Rhaena, which is an entirely different Targaryen. Also, this Rhaenys is not the Rhaenys Targaryen who was queen with her sister, Visenya – both married to King Aegon.)

For some historical context: Viserys is the grandson of the previous king, Jaehaerys (and grandson of Good Queen Alysanne, don’t want to forget her) – Rhaenys is also a grandchild of Jaehaerys and Alysanne’s – but is the child of that royal couple’s first son. Viserys is the child of a younger son of J & A – so some might argue that Rhaenys has a better claim. The fact that Viserys got to be king instead of Rhaenys being the ruling queen – or her son Laenor (we have to get into some succession arguments here on claims) as next king is A BIG DEAL. They even had a Great Council about it. Will it come up in House of the Dragon? Who can say?

Anyway, behind and between Corlys and Rhaenys is their son Laenor, and just off to the side is their daughter Laena. Dad, there are way too many romantic complications that are in the book and might be touched on in the show for me to even begin to hint at here.

Anyway, the only thing you must remember is I try hard to get people to pronounce Velaryon differently than Valyrian. The Velaryons are Valryians, just like the Targaryens are, but I try to really say AAARRRRR in the middle of their name, because they’re sea-going folks so AARRRRR, pirates…

Oh, the sigil of House Velaryon is the Seahorse, you can see it on Corlys’ chest there.

The Seahorse

Hey, the seashorse is also on the wall behind the royals, alongside the Targaryen sigil. That’s probably relevant to this feast.

This scene looks like the reverse angle of Corlys and his family coming in. That looks like the King sitting at the table with the Iron Throne behind, a woman to his left (the princess? A queen? Can’t tell from here.) And probably Otto Hightower at the end of the table. Not cool enough to sit right next to the king, I guess.

Lady Misery

Dad, as you know there’s a million characters in these books. This is Mysaria, a character connected with Daemon Targaryen (the king’s brother, remember.) I won’t give you any details, but this is a character that I like. Understand, that doesn’t necessarily mean she’s a pleasant character or something like that. She’s just a great character. Like, Melisandre is a great character, but not someone I’d trust to babysit.

Alicent Hightower

Here’s a shot of Otto Hightower’s daughter, Alicent. She seems upset, and she’s running with a Valyrian steel dagger. How do I know it’s a Valyrian steel dagger? Just a guess, but as everyone on the Internet already knows, that dagger looks A LOT like the dagger used by the assassin who failed to kill Bran, cut Cat’s hands with – the dagger Baelish used to frame Tyrion for the Bran attack – the dagger that Baelish ended up giving to Bran, who gave it to Arya, who used that dagger to cut Baelish’s throat, and eventually stab the Night King with. Alicent, what are you doing? Those are probably two members of the Kingsguard behind her.

Speaking of Kingsguard, the armor those guys are wearing does not seem all that different than the armor of the knight fighting the Targaryen-armored knight a few shots before this. I can’t say that definitively. Just sayin’.

Come Joustin’

The trailer shows us some good shots of a tournament joust. I included a bunch of shots just because.

The first shot is horses running alongside the center lane, which has banners of different houses (presumably there to participate.) You’ll notice the Stark direwolf banner and the Bolton flayed man banner, although the Bolton colors seem off.

From the reviewing stand, we can see two people watching the show. One of them at least has classical Targaryen hair. On the wall is a bunch of banners of House Tarly (you know, Sam Tarly and his crappy dad Randyll Tarly… they’re not alive yet though.) So I’d guess one of the riders we’re about to see is a Tarly.

Now we see jousters. The knight on the right is not carrying a Tarly shield, that’s likely the shield of House Cole (I don’t think House Cole makes a significant appearance in the Game of Thrones books that you’ve read, dad, but there’s a famous/infamous knight of this era from House Cole.)

In the final overhead shot, we see the Cole knight unhorsing the guy from House Tarly. Yes. Take that, Randyll you knob. (Again, Randyll hasn’t been born yet.)

Swordplay

Alright, it’s hard to tell what’s happening here. I’ve read Fire and Blood, and I’m not 100% sure who is involved. I’ll just say that some people are fighting, one of them has pale hair that’s typical of Targaryens/Velaryons and one of them has dark hair. I’m pretty sure it’s not Robert Baratheon vs Rhaegar Targaryen. That’s all I’m sure about.

I will say that there is beef going on between House Targaryen, House Velaryon, and House Targaryen and House Targaryen. Folks have beef to address.

The Extra Iron Throne

The trailer ends up with a visit to the iconic Iron Throne, which has been supplemented with a bunch of swords that didn’t quite make it onto the uncomfortable chair. (We can assume that between the reign of Viserys I and Aerys the Mad King, that the excessive amount of swords were removed. (I say before Aerys the Mad King, because we’ve seen visions from Bran showing the Mad King’s time and Aerys was on the scaled down version featured throughout Game of Thrones.)

So Dad, I’ve tried to give you a breakdown of most of the people shown in the trailer, without too many spoilery bits. You just need to know (initially) that for House of the Dragon, here’s the characters from the trailer, with some of their relationships (not all) explained:

  • King Viserys – the King of Westeros
  • Princess Rhaenyra – Viserys’ daughter
  • Alicent Hightower – daughter of Otto Hightower, Hand of the King (weird that I’m putting her up so high on the list, hmmm)
  • Daemon Targaryen – Viserys’ brother, Rhaenyra’s uncle
  • Otto Hightower – Hand of the King, Alicent’s dad
  • Corlys Velaryon – the Sea Snake.
  • Rhaenys Targaryen-Velaryon – the King’s cousin, and wife to Corlys
  • Laenor Velaryon – Corlys and Rhaenys’ son.
  • Laena Velaryon – Corlys and Rhaenys’ daughter

There’s more people I can list off, but I think this will do the trick. I also desperately hope I have the familial relations correct. (I did not have the familial relations correct, no drid I have all the names correct. Thank you, Diego, for the corrections.) This is all from memory. (Still, not an excuse.)

I look forward to watching the show and talking to my dad about it.


(Comments are always welcome. Super welcome! But if you want to talk spoilery Game of Thrones talk with me (also welcome) I’d invite you to visit my Safe Spoilers page on my backup blog. That way my non-book-reading friends won’t be shocked with foreknowledge.)

Images from HBO’s HOUSE OF THE DRAGON. I make no claims to the artwork, but some claims to the text here. So there.

If you liked this article, thank you! I have all of my Game of Thrones related articles on my handy-dandy Game of Thrones page should you want to read more but don’t want to navigate around my site.

© Patrick Sponaugle 2021 Some Rights Reserved

Comments
  1. Nice breakdown Pat. Excited about the show!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ghostof82 says:

    My worry is, its too late, and the whole Game of Thrones thing has been too tarnished by how that series ended. People were so invested in the show and felt quite let down by how it concluded, myself included. I do intend to rewatch the whole series again someday (I have to, I bought all the bloody Blu-rays each year a season box came out) but worry it will be bittersweet throughout seeing how good it was in its prime and knowing how it failed to stick the landing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • There’s a few advantages that this show will have: there’s new show runners so they can escape some of the hate that Dave and Dan got, and they have the advantage of having not just a finished product (we know the history of the Dance of the Dragons, we know who is on the throne when the smoke clears) but because it’s a history and not a narrative, there are a ton of details that they’ll be free to put in. It’s a fun prospect. I do appreciate that some people didn’t like how Game of Thrones ended, and I won’t try to change your mind.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. 7mpm says:

    Thanks for the trailer breakdown – **much** appreciated as I haven’t read Fire and Blood either.
    I understand that Fire and Blood was to be in two halves, with the 2nd part as yet unwritten but incorporated into the HBO House of Dragon series. I wonder if it’ll be a bit like the GOT series where the last bit had no original material from which to draw & that will be apparent the way it was in the GOT series.
    Also, two quick questions (😁) – 1) is the Fire and Blood book basically a compilation of earlier novellas like the Tales of Dunk and Egg, & the Princess & the Queen, etc? I’m a little confused – there seems to be so much Martin has written about this world, not sure if the fiction is actually linear in a historical context or not (if that makes sense).
    2) Just briefly googling Fire and Blood, I see one publisher saying that “Martin’s evocative storytelling style and gift for gripping narrative are mostly absent from this dry history” (ouch!) – did you think that’s true?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, thanks for reading. House of the Dragon’s timeline is pretty much in the tail end of King Viserys I’s reign, and the Targaryen Civil War known as the Dance of the Dragons. It’s completely covered in Fire and Blood, which goes from the reign of Aegon I to Aegon III (which is post-Targaryen Civil War.) So the story for House of the Dragon is mostly there.
      Your questions:
      1) Fire and Blood doesn’t get to the Dunk and Egg era, but Fire and Blood volume 2 will cover the history of House Targaryen during that time, when GRRM writes it. But the novella the Princess and the Queen is solidly in Fire and Blood (expanded on.)
      2) That’s true and not true, sort of. Fire and Blood is a history book, more or less, so it doesn’t have GRRM’s narrative structure from A Song of Ice and Fire, but it is still compelling. There’s *crazy* stuff that happens in F&B, and it’s a worthwhile read. (But, I’m biased.) I do recognize that it is a different reading experience, sort of like how reading the Silmarillion is different than reading Lord of the Rings.

      Liked by 1 person

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