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House of the Dragon recap: Ahead of Season 2 premiere, know all about Targaryen turmoil and rise of two thrones

Inside House of the Dragon Season 1, witness dragons, queens, and the unfolding Dance of the Dragons.

House of the Dragon recap: Ahead of Season 2 premiere, know all about Targaryen turmoil and rise of two thrones
House of the Dragon Season 1

Last Updated: 05.35 PM, Jun 15, 2024


There is once again blood and fire in Westeros. The second season of House of the Dragon's saga, set to debut on JioCinema in India on June 17, presents an opportunity to revisit all the events thus far. George R.R. Martin and Ryan Condal's prequel re-engaged fans with the realm of ice and fire after the disappointing Season 8 finale of Game of Thrones. It introduced the show's devoted viewers to new characters, political plots, and intrigue within the Red Keep, as well as new political schemes. It's time to review the pivotal moments in the first season of the prequel series in light of the impending return of war and treachery to the Seven Kingdoms. 

House of the Dragon setting and characters

House of the Dragon, based on Martin's prequel novel Fire and Blood, takes place two hundred years before the original series and highlights the Targaryen Dynasty during a significant period in their family history. The first episode takes place in a stable and heroic Westeros, a world away from Daenerys' exile in the Dothraki Sea. King Viserys (Paddy Considine) effectively reigned over Westeros for many years after King Jaehaerys I the Conciliator, and the realm enjoyed a lengthy period of peace during his reign. The Targaryens' rule has never seemed more solid than it does now, given the prevalence of dragon mythology in the Seven Kingdoms and the fact that the Targaryens had several adult dragons to back them up. But the gods are harsh, and the agony of giving birth is far worse.


Even the royal family is not immune to the terrible maternal mortality rate in the Seven Kingdoms, which is a result of the dearth of medicine in Westeros that would make pregnancies safer. Queen Aemma (Siân Brooke), Viserys' wife, and his firstborn son Baelon both passed away within a day of her difficult birth. With no further male heirs to the throne, the future of the kingdom is unknown, and Viserys isn't the only one whose death has been emotionally painful. Predicting who will take the Iron Throne from their present king is an inevitable next step for the powerful lords and ladies of Westeros.

Complex relationships and dynamics

Viserys tries to appease them by officially designating his daughter Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D'arcy/Milly Alcock) as her successor, but this choice further drives a wedge between the realms. While the majority of lords, including those from House Lannister and Hightower, accept the king's choice, those once hailed as the joy of the realm now refuse to budge. A further blow to Rhaenyra's status comes when her father remarries Alicent Hightower, her childhood best friend (Olivia Cooke/Emily Carey). The birth of three sons with Alicent puts Rhaenyra's succession at risk, but the shock of Viserys' choice of marriage leaves her feeling betrayed even more.

House of the Dragon, like its sibling series Game of Thrones, features complex relationships and chaotic dynamics on par with the best of the former. Rhaenyra was acquainted with the young Hightower before her father married Alicent, so the future queen feels betrayed by her new stepmother and her father's betrayal. The show even suggests that Rhaenyra and Alicent may have a sexual connection. Rhaenyra already has a tense connection with Viserys' brother, her uncle Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith), which only makes things worse. The outcome is a tangled web of longing and horror, centred on the family drama of discord.

House Velaryon and political alliances

The Velaryon family, who are distant cousins of the Targaryens and the second most powerful house in the kingdom, is another source of contention. Dragonriders can descend from either house due to intermarrying branches that originate in Old Valyria. Aiming to resolve his political issues, Viserys marries Rhaenyra to the eldest Velaryon son, Laenor (John MacMillan), after first rejecting Laenor's sister in favour of marrying Alicent. Despite Laenor's fondness for men, the marriage has remained steady for many years. However, upon their reunion, the future queen discovers strength in her uncle.

Rhaenyra and Daemon assist Laenor in staging a fake death so that they can marry, and Laenor can flee Westeros with Ser Qarl (Arty Froushan), legitimising their relationship. Rhaenyra and Daemon secretly wed as Valyrians and had two children, Viserys and Aegon, to further cement their lineage. Although Rhaenyra is now more prepared than ever to assert her right to inherit the throne, many fans are aware that Westeros has historically been unresponsive to female heads of state.

The paternity of Rhaenyra and Laenor's three children—Jacaerys (Harry Collett), Lucerys (Elliot Grihault), and Joffrey—was a major point of contention during their marriage. Ser Harwin Strong (Ryan Corr), captain of the King's Landing City Watch and the genetic father of the boys—whose notably un-Targaryen black hair—emerges as the real father of the boys, despite the princess's insistence that Laenor was the father. Upon revealing this difference at court, Rhaenyra's claim to the throne and the legitimacy of her heirs come under scrutiny. Prince Aegon, Viserys's first son with Queen Alicent, and his supporters call themselves the Greens, while the Blacks rally behind the princess's claim; this creates a direct contest for the throne.

Controversies and conflicts

The conflict between Viserys's two families continues after his death, despite his best efforts to mediate. As the family eats their last dinner together, Alicent's children keep making fun of Rhaenyra's boys, pointing out their paternity. When Alicent overhears Viserys' last remarks to her the night before he passes away, everything becomes much worse. When Viserys repeats the Song of Ice and Fire, he thinks he's speaking to Rhaenyra, but Alicent takes it as a sign that he's reconsidering his choice of successor. The Greens take advantage of Alicent's misunderstanding the following morning when they find Viserys' corpse; they then install Aegon as king. But when the Greens oppose her reign over King's Landing, Rhaenyra, trying to grow up and live up to her father's legacy, refrains from attacking them right away. Rhaenyra, who crowned herself queen atop the Targaryens' traditional seat, Dragonstone, works to steer the world towards peace with the help of her husband and the magnificent Velaryon fleet.

But in the last episode of the first season, all of this lofty ambition falls apart. When Aemond, the second son of Alicent (played by Ewan Mitchell), kills Lucerys, the second son of Rhaenyra, while attempting to recruit Storm's End's allies, the march to war becomes inevitable. Rhaenyra reacts to the news of Lucerys' death in the season finale, glaring at the camera with the ferocity of a queen enraged. Season 2's official beginning of the civil war, the Dance of the Dragons, takes place in the same episode where Daemon sings to Vermithor about the possession of lethal dragons by both the Blacks and the Greens and the gathering of allies by both sides.

You can watch the first season of House of the Dragon on JioCinema in India.

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