In just two short weeks, Game of Thrones fans will get the thrill of returning to Westeros with the long-awaited premiere of House of the Dragon. While this series deserves to take flight on its own, those familiar with the universe created by author George R. R. Martin can appreciate the ties to its HBO predecessor.
While we await the series premiere on Sunday, Aug. 21, let's brush up on what we know about House Targaryen. Shall we begin?
The Targaryens are descended from Old Valyria, an extinct city whose inhabitants once called themselves "the blood of the dragon." Why? They tamed and rode dragons, naturally.
According to Martin's lore, many Valyrians also boasted strikingly silver hair. Fans of Game of Thrones will recall that this physical trait is most associated with House Targaryen, one of the only major surviving families with Valyrian blood.
Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire books detail the fall of Valyria, referred to as The Doom. The Targaryens migrated to Dragonstone before the Doom, and were settled on the island of Dragonstone when it went down. It is why their family survived the cataclysmic event. Dragonstone is the fortress we see Dany travel to when she finally arrives in Westeros in Season 7 of Game of Thrones.
The remaining dragons, that weren't killed in The Doom, traveled with House Targaryen, which allowed the family to rise to power. They moved to King's Landing and began their 300-year reign over the Seven Kingdoms.
Enter House of the Dragon. The new series will chronicle a moment in the dynasty's history called 'the dance of the dragons', set centuries before the events in Game of Thrones. It's a civil war that takes place between members of the household and is mentioned fleetingly in GoT when Shireen Baratheon is reading a book about it in Season 5.
In order to keep their bloodline "pure," the Targaryens were known for inter-marrying with siblings and other relatives. We are certain to see some weird arrangements in House of the Dragon.
This family has a reputation for being a little unhinged. Turns out Daenerys' father (known as the Mad King) was not the only member of the family to live up to his name. Throughout Game of Thrones, we are reminded that "every time a Targaryen is born, the gods toss a coin and the world holds its breath."
As the family line begins to dwindle, their dragons begin to die out as well. In Game of Thrones, Dany attributes this to keeping them locked up in the dragon pits of King's Landing. She says that without dragons, her family was no longer extraordinary.
By the time we reach the events of Game of Thrones, there are only a few Targs left in the world. After the death of her brother, Viserys, Daenerys believes that she is the final surviving member of her household, but we briefly meet Aemon from the Night's Watch and, of course, learn that Jon Snow's father is Rhaegar Targaryen.
Prepare yourself for plenty of epic fantasy, a whole slew of new Targaryens, and dragons, dragons, dragons. House of the Dragon premieres Sunday, August 21 on HBO.
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