Warning: SPOILERS ahead for House of the Dragon season 1, episode 10 and George R.R. Martin’s book Fire & Blood.Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin would have liked to see the prequel series House of the Dragon start telling its story 40 years prior to where the show began. Based on Martin’s 2018 book Fire & Blood, House of the Dragon chronicles the fall of House Targaryen. Season 1 documents a 30-year timeframe leading up to the Dance of the Dragons, a civil war within House Targaryen that plunged Westeros into chaos. The end of season 1 saw Aemond Targaryen accidentally kill Lucerys Velaryon, an event that is destined to spark the civil war between Queen Alicent Hightower in King’s Landing and Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen in Dragonstone.
While House of the Dragon shows 30 years of events that lead up to the beginning of the Dance of the Dragons, the first scene of episode 1 happened at the earliest point in the timeline. The beginning of House of the Dragon sees King Jaehaerys Targaryen forced to name an heir after the deaths of his sons, Aemon and Baelon. While Jaehaerys had a daughter, Princess Rhaenys, who could have become heir, Westerosi lords instead chose his grandson, Viserys. Entrusting Viserys with knowledge of Aegon’s Dream, Jaehaerys unknowingly sealed the fate of House Targaryen, with Viserys naming his daughter Rhaenyra heir acting as the first major event before the civil war.
Speaking with Penguin Random House, Martin said he would have started House of the Dragon 40 years earlier than when it began. He discusses how interesting it would be to explore the backstory of Aemon and Baelon Targaryen, as well as how Jaehaerys would have to wrestle with the decision of who should be heir to the Seven Kingdoms. Check out what Martin had to say below:
I would have began it like 40 years earlier with the episode I would have called ‘The Heir and the Spare,’ in which Jaehaerys’s two sons, Aemon and Baelon, are alive. And we see the friendship, but also the rivalry, between the two sides of the great house. You know, Aemon dies accidentally when a Myrish crossbowman shoots him by accident on Tarth and then Jaehaerys has to decide who becomes the new heir. Is it the daughter of the older son who’s just died or is it the second son, who has sons of his own and is a man and she’s just a teenage girl?
How Starting The Story Earlier Would Have Changed House Of The Dragon
Martin’s vision as to when House of the Dragon should have started is atypical of most TV shows, as the eventuality of the Dance of the Dragons would have rendered a good majority of the cast changed later down the road. House of the Dragon recasts characters frequently due to time jumps, but starting the show by following Aemon and Baelon would mean beginning long before major players in the Targaryen civil war – like Rhaenyra and Alicent – were even alive. Starting so early would also mean showcasing a full adaptation of “Heirs of the Dragon,” a novella within Fire & Blood depicting Aemon and Baelon’s deaths and the subsequent crisis of succession. If that were to happen, then the show could have spent a full season exploring the tale.
It would have been interesting to learn more about the backstory of characters like Aemon, Baelon, and Jaehaerys, as their presences would have been felt as the Dance of the Dragons approached. At the same time, though, House of the Dragon‘s time jumps are already vast in season 1, and adding 40 years’ worth may have kept viewers less engaged due to the shift in character focus over time. While it would be compelling to learn more about Jaehaerys Targaryen’s sons, their deaths, and the subsequent need to resolve the Throne’s succession, doing so would have made House of the Dragon feel like a very different show than it is now.
Source: Penguin Random House/YouTube
Read the full article here