Within the closing episodes of HBO’s “Recreation of Thrones,” the mad queen Daenerys Targaryen incinerated a lot of the capital metropolis of King’s Touchdown. However what was it like when it was all nonetheless standing, and the Targaryen dynasty dominated with an iron fist — er, throne?
That’s the query explored by “Home of the Dragon,” the brand new collection set in creator George R.R. Martin’s revisionist epic-fantasy world. Created by Martin together with Ryan Condal, who serves as showrunner with the veteran “Thrones” director Miguel Sapochnik, “Dragon” takes place far again into the ancestral line of the “Thrones” protagonists Daenerys and Jon Snow, whose personal Targaryen identification was revealed late within the unique present’s run.
As their forebears battle for management of Westeros’s Iron Throne, what do you should know in regards to the new collection, and its connection to what has gone earlier than — or, extra precisely, after? Our cheat sheet has you lined. Learn on and put together to bop with dragons.
A pregame of thrones
Although it’s the successor collection to “Recreation of Thrones,” “Home of the Dragon” is definitely a prequel. Set 172 years earlier than the beginning of Daenerys Targaryen, it chronicles the historical past of her royal household throughout a tumultuous time, a calamitous internecine struggle often called “The Dance of the Dragons.” Throughout this battle, a slew of Targaryens and their dragon steeds — these fire-breathing beasts had been extra plentiful at this level in Westerosi historical past — did battle for the Iron Throne.
That stated, “Dragon” shares a number of key components with its predecessor collection. These embrace Martin, who wrote the books that type the idea of each exhibits — the “A Track of Ice and Hearth” novels for the unique collection and the prequel guide “Hearth & Blood” for the brand new one.
Condal is new to the franchise, as is all the solid. However Sapochnik, the opposite showrunner, directed a number of of essentially the most memorable “Thrones” episodes, together with “Hardhome,” “Battle of the Bastards” and “The Bells.” The composer Ramin Djawadi returns, as do unmistakable components of his “Thrones” theme music.
As well as, the setting of King’s Touchdown and its royal seat, the Pink Maintain, are just about equivalent to the variations we’ve seen beforehand, as are the assorted noble homes’ symbols or “sigils” and even their hairstyles. The Iron Throne itself might have been enhanced by a whole lot extra melted-down blades, however that is very a lot the identical Westeros we’ve already occupied for eight seasons.
A household affair
“Recreation of Thrones” famously depicted strife between a number of noble homes, most notably the Starks and the Lannisters, who rose to energy after the demise of the final Targaryen monarch, the Mad King Aegon IV. However most of those homes — Stark, Lannister, Greyjoy, Tyrell, Martell — recede into the background in “Home of the Dragon.” The brand new present is concentrated virtually solely on the Targaryen household, the dynasty that conquered Westeros over a century earlier than the occasions that kick off “Dragon.”
When the collection begins, a terrific council of the aristocracy is convened to pick Previous King Jaehaerys Targaryen’s son Viserys (Paddy Considine) over his older feminine cousin, Rhaenys (Eve Finest), as inheritor to the throne, on explicitly patriarchal grounds. The council, a relatively democratic physique throughout these feudal occasions, is meant to place such questions of succession to relaxation.
In Westeros, as in our world, momentous choices usually reverberate in surprising instructions and result in unanticipated battle. The primary gamers in “Home of the Dragon” embrace the well-meaning however ineffectual King Viserys and his youthful brother, the roguish Prince Daemon (Matt Smith), who would inherit the throne if his brother dies. Viserys’s closest adviser is Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans), the Hand of the King — a place of nice affect, because it was in “Thrones.” Hightower is a rival of the kingdoms’ richest man, the veteran seafarer Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint), who’s married to Rhaenys and who, just like the Targaryens, is a descendant of the traditional empire of Valyria.
In an echo of the sooner succession dispute, one other pure claimant to the throne is Viserys’s daughter, Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock as a youth, Emma D’Arcy as an grownup), his solely surviving youngster. Additionally central to issues is Rhaenyra’s childhood pal Alicent Hightower (performed by Emily Carey and Olivia Cooke), the daughter of the formidable and calculating Otto.
Hassle, clearly, ensues.
“Recreation of Thrones” was primarily based on Martin’s “A Track of Ice and Hearth” novels: “A Recreation of Thrones,” “A Conflict of Kings,” “A Storm of Swords,” “A Feast for Crows” and “A Dance With Dragons.” (Nonetheless to return: “The Winds of Winter,” which Martin has been engaged on for years, and “A Dream of Spring.”) However “Hearth & Blood,” the “Dragon” supply materials, is written as a faux-historical tome slightly than as a correct novel. Martin wrote the guide within the voice of 1 Archmaester Gyldayn, a historian from inside the world of Westeros itself. As such, a lot of its essential characters’ motives, actions and dialogue stay issues of conjecture.
Complicating issues additional, Gyldayn’s major and secondary sources have their very own conflicting writing kinds, political loyalties and factors of view. (Among the many fandom, the most well-liked of those is “The Testimony of Mushroom,” a salacious account of occasions written by the Targaryen courtroom jester, who doesn’t appear to seem in “Dragon” in any respect, not less than not but.) These shifting viewpoints go away a number of essential issues, from trysts to betrayals, in a did-they-or-didn’t-they limbo.
On condition that a number of of those query marks drive the battles for supremacy that can possible drive “Dragon” in flip, the present should come down on one aspect or the opposite. For longtime followers and newcomers alike, these are more likely to be the juiciest and most thrilling sections of the story, which is able to unfold over a number of seasons, if the gods be good.
Mild your candles to the Seven, and we’ll study collectively who comes out on high.