The Dad-Focused Breakdown of the May 2022 House of the Dragon Trailer

Posted: May 5, 2022 by patricksponaugle in Game of Thrones, TV
Tags: ,

Wow, the titles are getting long on these posts.

HBO once again released a trailer for their upcoming House of the Dragon show, a series that takes place roughly 150-170 years before the time period of Game of Thrones. (I’m giving myself a fudge on the dates because there are two different time periods that will be shown. AT LEAST two different time periods. Since we have two different actors playing younger and older versions of two of the characters.) I covered the previous trailer and the series of cast photos that was released a few months ago here on the blog, specifically designed for my dad.

My dad has read the main series books – A Song of Ice and Fire, but has not read the Targaryen history volume Fire and Blood (part 1 – there is no part 2 yet) that House of the Dragon is drawing on. So I’ve been wanting to provide him with some casual context. Mostly non-spoilery, I just want him to be familiar with the cast of characters, and some background info that will probably be appropriately communicated via the show, but one never knows about these things. Anyway, this is for you, Dad, but if anyone else is reading this, hey there.

Lets start talking about the trailer. I’m not super happy with the quality of some of my screenshots, so you are welcome to check out the trailer, which looks much better than my stills.

HBO

This is an HBO show, in case you forgot, Dad. That means, well, it’ll probably be spicy. (I don’t need to warn my dad about this, honestly. He knows. He knows. Oh oh oh.)

INTRODUCTION

We first see a woman, overlooking the water. She has pale elaborately-braided hair. Who could this be?

I won’t make you guess, it’s Rhaenyra Targaryen – one of the main characters in this story. I’ve mentioned her in my previous postings, you’ll remember her. She’s the daughter of King Viserys Targaryen, the first of his name. This trailer establishes some specific political importance to Rhaenyra. I’ll just come out and say it, Rhaenyra is King Viserys’ designated heir to succeed him.

We’re treated to a voiceover as the camera shows us a rocky coastline. In the distance is a structure. It’s not King’s Landing, and I don’t believe that it’s Dragonstone, which has a very specific look. (I could be wrong about this.)

Dragonstone is not just a formidable Targaryen fortress, it’s an island. But there’s an island not too far off called Driftmark, the isle ruled by House Velaryon, a powerful maritime family. Since I don’t recognize the silhouette of the buildings near the top of the above picture, I’m going to believe it’s High Tide, the castle of the Velaryons (until I’m proven otherwise.)

Oh yeah, that voice-over. YouTube close-captioning tells me that it’s the voice of Corlys Velaryon. (Not Valyrian, Dad, Velaryon.)

What is this brief, mortal life, if not the pursuit of legacy?

EGG DELIVERY

From the rocky coast of Driftmark (if I’m correct) we skip to Dragonstone, where Prince Daemon Targaryen is meeting up with Hand of the King Lord Otto Hightower (flanked by two kingsguard.) Daemon is King Viserys’ younger brother, he’s a bit of a scoundrel. It’s interesting to me that it looks like he’s bringing a dragon egg to Lord Hightower.

As we know, dragons are WMDs in Westeros, so it seems like a big deal that a (probably viable) dragon egg is being transferred about. (This is a time period where there are lots of dragons.)

HBO ORIGINAL SERIES

In case you forgot.

DRAGON

I did say that there were more dragons at this time. Here we see someone riding over King’s Landing. From the trailer, I had the impression that the dragon was going to land on the Red Keep there.

The trailer slides into the throne room featuring the Iron Throne (and a bunch of other sword accessories surrounding it.)

We don’t get a good look at what’s happening here, but in the trailer, various great lords announce their names and their intention to be faithful to the king and his named heir, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen.

We can assume that the pale-haired person before the throne is Rhaenyra.

Of the great lords, we hear a Rickard Stark giving his name and joining in on the promise. (This is not the same Rickard Stark whom King Aerys will burn alive over a century later. I think I’ve been told that the Stark of this time was really named Rickon, but these shows sometimes like to change names for whatever reasons.) We don’t get to see Rickard Stark in the trailer, but we do see two other great lords.

Corlys Velaryon, the Sea Snake. (I’ve mentioned him before.) He’s the head of the powerful Velaryon family from the island of Driftmark, and a legendary explorer.

Boremund Baratheon, the Lord of Storm’s End and the guy in charge of the Stormlands, also makes introductions. I’m sure you recognize the Baratheon last name, at least, even if this guy is new to you, Dad.

So, Viserys has designated his daughter to succeed him when he dies. The great lords agree. Sounds like that’s a settled deal.

THE ROYALS

Here’s King Viserys, holding the Targaryen ancestral sword Blackfyre (Aegon the Conqueror’s sword. I’m waiting for it to turn up in The Winds of Winter.)

I couldn’t resist featuring several shots of young Rhaenyra, because the costuming is great and let’s face it, the king’s heir’s hair is great here. She has this Byzantine fashion look which helps make the time period feel earlier than what we got in Game of Thrones.

The other royal on hand in the trailer is Prince Daemon, who seems kind of crabby. I mean, just a few moments before, with King Viserys not having a designated heir, his younger brother would be the de facto claimant should the unthinkable happen – should Viserys die without a clear successor. But, that’s not a situation to be worried about. Rhaenyra is the heir.

Rickard Stark: Yup!

The next two shots appear to have Daemon turn and stroll off, like he was leaving the ceremony in a huff.

Don’t get excited though, this is just some trailer trickery.

The above pics of Daemon and an assemnbly of men wearing cloaks of a golden color is happening outside in the city (at least, that’s what it looks like to me.) So it’s not part of Rhaenyra’s ceremony.

Some background that I’ve probably mentioned before – Prince Daemon Targaryen is credited for turning the city militia in King’s Landing into the Goldcloaks – giving them a uniform look (the titular cloaks) and forging them into an efficient policing force.

To remind us of them being a policing force, we get some scenes of the Goldcloaks protecting and serving.

Specifically, kicking down a door and beating some guy with a club. Look, I’m sure that the door and that guy’s ass had it coming, officer.

(Sorry the pics are so dark and blurry. Darn fast motion.)

During all that, another royal is speaking. It’s Rhaenys Targaryen, also called the Queen Who Never Was. I’ve talked about her before. She was passed over for ruling by the Old King Jaehaerys, who designated Viserys as his successor. Rhaenys is married to Corlys Velaryon, and has some things to share with young Rhaenyra about the patriarchy and the protection of power.

Men would sooner put the realm to the torch … than see a woman ascend the Iron Throne.

The shot cuts to Rhaenyra studying the painted table at Dragonstone, and I think it’s safe to say that it’s not just to pass a geography exam. That table famously will see the conception of a Renly-assassinating shadow baby in another century and a half.

Stannis Baratheon: I did my duty.
Melisandre: You were fine, Your Grace. Fine.

THIS AUGUST

A reminder to not make any plans on August 21st…

BIG HALLS

We see a shot of a large meeting space. It’s not King’s Landing’s throne room, that’s not the Iron Throne. Best guess is that this is Harrenhal, and some big, I don’t know, Great Council is happening.

A box is being carried – I can’t tell how long it is, but it doesn’t seem coffin-sized, so I have no idea what would be in it. The architecture in the distance is consistent with what we saw in the previous Harrenhal shot.

Someone is walking down the aisle towards some steps, and this doesn’t feel like the Harrenhal setting. The long tables are set up for something like a feast, and don’t seem to be configured the same way as the Harrenhal configuration looked. Who could this be?

If this is a continuation of the previous shot, the person we saw above is Alicent Hightower (shown here.) The younger version. Maybe this is her debut in court. She’s Otto Hightower’s daughter.

The windows behind her look like what we’ve seen from the same angle in the previous trailer – locking this in as the King’s Landing throne room.

Young Alicent gives King Viserys a sweet chaste kiss on his stubbled cheek. Very courtly.

TIME PASSES

It looks like an egg is being incubated – same one that Daemon was carrying to the meetup with Otto?

Speaking of Otto, he’s speaking.

We play an ugly game. You have the determination to win it.

Otto is speaking to his daughter, Queen Alicent, who ends up marrying Viserys. I’ve mentioned that before, I’m sure. Fun fact, Otto pretty much lobbied Viserys to name Rhaenyra his heir, because Otto did not want Daemon to end up king.

This shot of the Velaryons was in the original trailer. The background is consistent with the background behind young Alicent entering the hall. From the first trailer, the reverse of this shot shows the Iron Throne in the background, behind some tables set up for a feast. Hey, I’ll include that just for completeness.

We’ve seen that pale hair enough that I feel I can say that Rhaenyra is sitting to the left of the king. She’s wearing a white outfit.

See that dude to the king’s right?

That dude to the King’s right in the above picture looks to be similar to this guy, sitting to Prince Daemon’s left. So this shot must be all tied together with the Velaryons showing up at King’s Landing, Rhaenyra wearing white…

Here’s Rhaenyra in that white outfit, dancing back-to-back (okay) with one of the Velaryons. I’m pretty sure that it’s Laenor Velaryon – Corlys and Rhaenys’ son. Rhaenys was hoping that Laenor would be considered a candidate for the Throne, but of course him being descended from the Targaryens via the female line was considered a negative.

Everyone cheers! Hey, I know it’s hard to make out, but the decorations in the background look similar to the decorations over the royal feasting table a few shots above, where we see Viserys sitting with his daughter (who was all dressed in white.) This must have been a happy occasion.

A LESS HAPPY OCCASION

There’s a hard jump tonally, from cheers to what looks to be a funeral. A stone sarcophagus is being moved over a ramp into the water. In the left foreground, two banners are being held, and they have seahorses on them, the sigil of House Velaryon. So this is probably Driftmark, and a Velaryon is being given a watery grave (suitable for mariners.)

If the above shot of Rhaenyra is part of the funeral scene, the funeral must take place years later from the earlier-seen feast (since they’ve gone from the younger Rhaenyra to the older one.) She’s giving someone a look.

If we interpret the next shot as continuing the scene, Rhaenyra is glaring at Queen Alicent her stepmother. Or maybe she’s glaring at handsome Criston Cole, the kingsguard. I’m sure that handsome knights never give cause for people to glare at them. That would be unchivalrous.

KINGSGUARD AND CRISTON COLE

Speaking of the kingsguard in general and Criston Cole in particular, the trailer shows some kingsguard dumping an old guy on the hard floor. Probably totally normal operations. Or, maybe not. The kingsguard are not the police, they’re more like the secret service, focused on protecting the king. This guy is probably in some trouble.

FULL DISCLOSURE – one of my fellow Watchers on the Wall colleagues (the exemplary and brilliant Petra Halbur) let me know that the “old guy” was probably not an old guy. She shared a screenshot with me, and well, it looks like Daemon Targaryen. (I was fooled by the pale hair into thinking it was gray hair.) The above pic I screenshotted from a higher def version of the trailer (I replaced a previous blurry pic), big thanks to Petra for letting me know.

And then we see Criston Cole just wailing on some poor unfortunate. (We don’t see who is getting the beat down, but someone is…)

RED HANDED EXCHANGES

The scene then cuts to what appears to be a bleeding closed hand. It might just be me, but I think it’s two people with their hands clasped together and with a loose wrapping over the hands.

And then, some Targaryen-to-Targaryen, Uncle-to-Niece exchanged glances. I have no comment to make.

GETTING NEAR THE END

At this point, as the trailers often do, it picks up some speed, and loads in some random stuff.

We get Otto and his attendant kingsguard (were they part of the Daemon/Rhaenyra scene, or is this a call back to the egg delivery? That does seem to be the same Dragonstone scenery.)

Daemon looks like he’s ready to throw down.

He has his goldcloaks with him (You can kind of make out goldcloaks in the distance of the egg delivery shot, so this seems to be all the same scene.)

The next shots are very blurry, but it’s Alicent trying to stab Rhaenyra! Whoa.

This tracks with a much clearer shot from the first trailer, which I’ll include here, of Alicent and the dagger.

AGAIN DRAGONS

The trailer concludes with a final sequence of a torch-carrying Daemon Targaryen getting the attention of a dragon, which seems to be in some cave, but it’s not a completely natural cave, there’s carving and architecture to it, but it still looks rough and natural in places. I’m not going to make any guesses.

The dragon looks particularly dramatic, which is welcome news, because we expect to see a bunch of dragons. A bunch. At least for awhile.

We have another voiceover from Corlys Velaryon during the Daemon/dragon stuff.

History does not remember blood. It remembers names.

Is it relevant that the trailer included this line about a name being more important to history than blood? I mean, we’ve seen that as a plot point before, where someone was in power because of their name, but a tenuous situation that could have been short-circuited by a 23AndMe test…

Joffrey Baratheon: I don’t know what you mean.
Stannis Baratheon: I know what he means.
Cersei Lannister: I choose violence. And more wine.

Only three more months to go, Dad. I’ll be quizzing you on everyone’s names. You know I will.


(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 images, 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 2022 Some Rights Reserved

Comments
  1. fittentrim says:

    Any concern that we don’t see the dragon skulls lining the throne room?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good question, but I think at this moment in time, only Rhaenys the conqueror’s dragon has died, although Balerion might be dead or near to it (Viserys rode Balerion in his younger days, once.) it isn’t until after the dance that there will be a plethora of dragon skulls for decorating, I think. So this seems on track.

      Like

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