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House Of The Dragon: Previewing The Return To Westeros

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Each week, Tarek @tarek_wm will be recapping the most recent episode(s) of Game of Thrones: House of the Dragon.

House of the Dragon is the hotly anticipated prequel to Game of Thrones and it is just days away! Set 200 years prior to the events of the original show, it’s centered around House Targaryen’s bloody civil war known as The Dance of Dragons. 

House of the Dragon is one of, if not my most anticipated property coming out in 2022. Game of Thrones holds a special place in my heart as it was the first HBO show I watched/binged. One of the reasons I’m so excited is the trailers. All of the marketing has been brilliant. The Comic-Con extended trailer in particular blew me away. It set up the political intrigue that Game of Thrones is known for, it captured the dark mood and atmosphere, and lastly the dragons!!! We all love dragons. The trailers also established a bit of the story without giving too much away. 

The Dance of Dragons is a war of succession between the Targaryens. which is a funny six degrees of HBO’s biggest hitters. At the head of the table is Logan Roy. I’m sorry I had to… enough with the shenanigans. In House of the Dragon, Rhaenyra is vying to become the first queen of Westeros as her father, King Viserys must name an heir. Prince Dameon is the people’s heir as he is a strong warrior and.. a man. Because Westeros can’t be ruled by a woman, right? The aforementioned war is set in motion by some of Westeros wanting Rhaenyra to claim her rightful position as Queen, and the rest of the Seven Kingdoms resisting at every turn. 

Here is a brief preview of the characters and their possible motivations. I’ll touch on how they’ll intertwine, their various family dynamics, and how they stack up in regards to the Iron Throne. We’ll start with the Targaryens. 

King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Constantine) is the fifth and current King of Westeros. He’s considered a warm and tender man. Viserys was chosen by a council of lords to succeed his grandfather Jaehaerys I Targaryen. Viserys was a very busy man, like most powerful men in the Seven Kingdoms, and had a few kids. One of his kids is Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, his firstborn daughter (Emma D’Arcy & Milly Alcock). Emma D’Arcy will play the current Rhaenyra and Milly Alcock will portray her in flashbacks. Being the firstborn means Rhanerya is the rightful heir to the throne. She’s vying to become the first Queen of Westeros, but that isn’t going to come easy. We know Dance of Dragons happens in part because the Seven Kingdoms don’t want a Queen to rule. Navigating politics is going to be fascinating. A potential antagonist this season is Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith). Daemon is Westeros’ heir apparent. Anyone who doesn’t want Rhanerya to become queen wants Daemon to be King. He’s King Viserys’s younger brother, the grandson of King Jaehaerys, and Rhanerya’s uncle. He’s also one of Westeros’ most battle-tested warriors and an expert dragon rider. A character like that screams antagonist to me. 

The Hightowers are one of the oldest and most powerful families in the Seven Kingdoms. Two Hightowers in particular, a father and daughter will play a huge role this season. Lady Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke and Emily Carey) is the daughter of the hand of the king Otto Hightower. Alicent is a key piece to the king’s inner circle. She was raised in the Red Keep. We see in the trailers that Alicent and Rhaenyra grew up close, almost friends. In the present timeline, she is everything but. Alicent is in the way of everything Rhaenyra is striving for. That dynamic is going to be very interesting. The juxtaposition between them as kids to political foes is going to be the heart of the narrative this season. Her father is also an important piece of the puzzle. We know Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) is the hand of the king, but there are other wrinkles to his character that could be interesting. Otto crossed paths with Daemon on the battlefield long before Dance of Dragons and they DO NOT like each other. Curious to see how their rivalry plays out this season. 

I’m also keeping my eye on Princess Rhaenys Velaryon (Eve Best). Verlaryon has a storied history, she was supposed to succeed her grandfather but was passed over for Viserys. Around Westeros, she’s known as “The queen that never was”. The wisdom that she can pass on to Rhaenys and the hurt feelings she has due to Viserys being chosen over her years ago makes her character so compelling.

House of the Dragon premieres Sunday, August 21st, 2022 on HBO Max.

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