The Dad-Focused Discussion of House of the Dragon Cast Photos

Posted: April 2, 2022 by patricksponaugle in Game of Thrones, TV
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Woohoo! HBO saw fit to announce the date of House of the Dragon‘s first episode (it’ll be August 21st, 2022.) Right now is the time where Game of Thrones seasons would typically air (right around the end of March, beginning of April) so getting more Westeros content at this time, even if it was just photos, was still welcome.

Back when the first (and at the moment, only) trailer came out for House of the Dragon, I wrote up an explainer breakdown for my dad, who has read the main series books but is not too familiar with the setting of the Targaryen Civil War. I wrote it up to be more or less spoiler-free, but to give some context for him. (I’m very pleased that my dad watches the shows and has read the main books, it makes for fun conversation.)

So I decided to take the photos of the main cast, and cover some ground on who they are, but in some places discuss where these historical figures had been mentioned in the published A Song of Ice and Fire books that dad has read.

KING VISERYS

We saw a little bit of Viserys in the trailer, from the nose down and prominently sitting on the Iron Throne and holding a fancy-hilted sword. (Probably Blackfyre, the sword of Aegon the Conqueror.)

Viserys I isn’t talked about much in the books (remember, this is for my dad and he’s read A Song of Ice and Fire, so those are the books I’m referring to…) but if one would look at the appendix in book one, A Game of Thrones, we’ll see that Viserys was the grandson of the previous king, Jaehaerys, who ruled for 55 years.

It isn’t much of a spoiler to say that House of the Dragon is a telling of the Targaryen Civil War, so we can presume that there will be Targaryens on either side of the upcoming conflict. One might have heard it bandied about that the show will feature a succession crisis. Hopefully, you can infer how that might relate to Viserys. (You can also look at the appendix in A Game of Thrones and find out who ends up winning the war, BUT I’ll just say that it’s somewhat complicated, and the difference between winners and losers can be argued.)

I like to pay attention to the fashion of the costumes, and this shot gives a better look at Viserys’ outfit than from the trailer. From the trailer – other than telling that Viserys was wearing something dark, we can see a spiky bit on his chest:

And that is easier to see on the new photo:

I’ll return to that spiky bit in a moment.

PRINCE DAEMON TARGARYEN

Viserys has a younger brother, and as Stannis Baratheon and Cersei Lannister might tell you, younger brothers are the worst. I won’t say much about this guy, but there are people who’ve read these books who hate him, and people who love him. That makes for an interesting character.

Hey, cool sword.

Looks a lot like this sword, seen in the trailer.

PRINCESS RHAENYRA

This is probably the first real good look we’ve gotten of the Realm’s Delight, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, the daughter of King Viserys I. I don’t want to give too much away, so I won’t say too much about her and her impact on the politics of the story. She was referred to by Stannis Baratheon in the books (I’m pretty sure in A Clash of Kings) in the context of one sibling trying to usurp the throne of another sibling. I’ll just leave it at that.

I like this photo, since she has a certain no-nonsense look about her.

(Part of the reason I am making these explainer posts, Dad, is to get you used to the Targaryen names. Rhaenyra here is important, and there’s a Rhaenys in the story who is also important, and it’s best not to confuse the two. Also, the show’s Rhaenys is different than the Rhaenys who was Aegon I’s sister. I’ll get to the show’s Rhaenys in a moment.)

QUEEN ALICENT

Here’s a photo of the lovely Alicent Hightower, the second wife of Viserys, step-mother to Rhaenyra. She’s the daughter of Otto Hightower, who’ll be Hand of the King to Viserys. Again, I like to keep an eye on costuming, because I think we’ve seen this outfit before, from the trailer.

Here’s Alicent from the trailer, wielding a dagger (everyone is pretty sure it’s the dagger used in the assassination attempt on Bran – the one that Arya used to stab the Night King.) I think we’ve seen the dagger on Viserys. Remember that spiky bit I pointed out on his photo? I’m pretty sure that’s the handle of this (or a similar) dagger.

PRINCESS RHAENYRA AND ALICENT HIGHTOWER

This photo is of the two actresses playing the younger versions of Princess Rhaenyra and (not yet queen) Alicent Hightower. This appears to be them sharing a nice moment. Will this friendship last? Will it? (Spoiler – it won’t.)

The story of the Targaryen War was first detailed in a novella, the Blacks and the Greens (or the Princess and the Queen) which establishes two political factions. The Blacks were centered on supporting Princess Rhaenyra as the heir to King Viserys, the Greens were focused on influencing King Viserys to name his son Aegon as heir (Aegon being his first son from his second wife, Alicent.) I just bring that up because if you need to remember who the Blacks are, or who the Greens are when referenced on the show (if they do that) remember that Green rhymes with Queen.

Here’s a fun thing I noticed, going back to look at the trailer. It looks like we see the younger versions of Rhaenyra and Alicent at a jousting tournament. At the time the trailer came out, we didn’t know it was the younger versions. The dresses match up (at least to my eyes.)

This makes me feel like we might see more of the earlier story, the build up of tensions between Rhaenyra and her stepmother, than I had previously assumed. (If production is going to be engaged on a joust, you may as well commit to some solid storylines involving Viserys, young Rhaenyra, and younger Alicent.)

OTTO HIGHTOWER

We had only seen Lord Otto’s chest (to show off the Hand of the King badge) in the previous trailer. Otto Hightower has a lot of clout, not just because the Hightowers are an old and important family in the wealthy kingdom of the Reach, but his daughter is The Queen.

THE VELARYONS

Speaking of old families and queens, here’s a shot of Corlys Velaryon, super-rich maritime explorer. He’s married to Rhaenys (not Rhaenyra) sometimes called the Queen Who Never Was (but not Rhaena, the Queen in the West (and East) – that’s a different Rhaen* and not appearing in this story.) This Rhaenys is Viserys’ cousin, the daughter of King Jaehaerys’ first son and who arguably wrongly had her claim to the throne ignored on behalf of Viserys, who was further down the line.

Viserys: But I’m a dude! That makes it right.

The trailer included a nice sequence of the Velaryon contingent showing up for a feast in King’s Landing. They are not talked about much in the main books (Velaryon fortunes must have fallen between Fire and Blood and A Game of Thrones) but Cersei promotes a Velaryon bastard, Aurane Waters, to her small council as Master of Ships, mostly because he’s good looking (he resembles Rhaegar Targaryen, according to Cersei) and he ends up stealing her new fleet of ships and might be on his way to becoming a Pirate King. (That whacky Cersei and her blunders…)

LADY MISERY

There’s one shot of Mysaria from the trailer, and at that time I gave no info about her, so I’m not inclined to do so here. But she looks great. And she’s wearing a different outfit here than in the trailer. (So many people in Game of Thrones seemed to own only one set of clothes – not everyone, Cersei had a great wardrobe. So it’s good to see Mysaria has at least two sets of clothes.)

SER CRISTON COLE

Dad, there’s almost nothing I can say about kingsguard Ser Criston Cole that wouldn’t end up being spoilery, so I’ll avoid talking much about him. I’ll just say that he was mentioned at least in A Feast for Crows, where kingsguard Arys Oakheart, involved in a forbidden relationship with Princess Arianne Martell of Dorne, thinks A LOT about the story of Ser Criston Cole. That’s all I’m going to say.

Alright, those are all of the images that HBO recently shared, regarding their announcement that House of the Dragon will be airing August 21st, 2022. I’m hoping that we’ll be getting a longer trailer soon and when that drops, Dad, I’ll let you know 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.

You can even find some of my work, writing pieces for Watchers on the Wall which covered Game of Thrones and will be covering House of the Dragon. All the articles on Watchers (especially the ones not written by me) are informative and entertaining.

© Patrick Sponaugle 2022 Some Rights Reserved

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