“Home of the Dragon”: Every little thing to Know from ‘Hearth & Blood’ E book

Dragons are coming. HBO’s “Recreation of Thrones” prequel, “Home of the Dragon” attracts nearer and nearer, just like the Night time King north of the wall as he marched for Westeros.

However this isn’t about him.

“Home of the Dragon” takes place practically 200 years earlier than “Recreation of Thrones,” with a wholly new solid of characters, totally different battles (private and bodily), and an unfamiliar Westeros that viewers will quickly get to know. The collection recounts occasions specified by George R.R. Martin’s “Hearth & Blood,” however for these unable to atone for centuries of fantasy folklore forward of the August 21 HBO premiere, right here’s what it is advisable to know.

Supply Materials (and a Grain of Salt)

“Home of the Dragon” has what later seasons of “Recreation of Thrones” didn’t: Supply materials. Martin outlines the fundamental occasions of Targaryen historical past in “Hearth & Blood” — however this isn’t your common adaptation.

Not like the novels behind “Recreation of Thrones,” “Hearth & Blood” has an omniscient narrator: Martin himself. He paperwork the histories based mostly on numerous accounts from maesters, septons, different literature, and a man actually known as Mushroom. In the course of the years lined in “Home of the Dragon,” a number of these histories battle (Mushroom’s is especially colourful). Showrunners Miguel Sapochnik and Ryan J. Condal have a number of variations to select from, and the choice create a brand new one totally — utilizing Martin’s work, as “Thrones” finally did, as a template however not an actual blueprint.

The Targaryen Lineage

An old king surrounded by relatives with silvery-white hair in medieval outfits; still from

A complete mess of Targaryens in “Home of the Dragon.”

Ollie Upton/HBO

“Hearth & Blood” and “Home of the Dragon” are chock-full of dragon-blooded Targaryens, however to not the purpose the place viewers will get misplaced. The premiere introduces King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine), spouse Aemma (Sian Brooke), daughter Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock), brother Daemon (Matt Smith), and cousin Rhaenys (Eve Greatest). They’re straightforward sufficient to maintain straight, however early episodes additionally drop the names of some earlier Targaryen heavy hitters that present additional context.

The Targaryen rule of Westeros began with Aegon I, who conquered the seven kingdoms along with his dragons and his sister-wives. “Home of the Dragon” name-drops Aegon, crediting him for uniting the kingdoms and bringing his household to energy. It additionally mentions Aegon’s spouse Visenya, who outlived each her siblings and was identified for her prowess on dragonback and in battle. Her sword, Darkish Sister, is the Valyrian metal blade wielded by Daemon Targaryen, and Viserys wields Blackfyre, Aegon’s personal blade.

It’s value noting that Visenya’s son Maegor, who didn’t have the strongest declare to the throne, finally compelled his approach onto it and was so bloodthirsty as a ruler that he turned referred to as Maegor the Merciless. “Home of the Dragon” mentions Maegor strategically, in a comparability that chills the characters who hear it and will warn the viewers as properly, for Maegor set the bar for Targaryen-on-Targaryen warfare.

Howdy Incest My Previous Good friend

“Recreation of Thrones” followers will recall the incest, however throughout one in all its early acknowledgements in Season 1, Cersei tells Ned Stark that the Targaryens wed brother to sister for generations with a view to maintain their bloodlines pure. That is true and really a lot thriving within the period of “Home of the Dragon” with every kind of kin both married or giving off disconcertingly flirty vibes.

After they first took the throne, the Targaryens confronted resistance to this observe from the Religion, the faith sect of most Westerosi. Quite a few Septons and their followers have declared Targaryen marriages invalid and abominable, resulting in escalating conflicts, wars, and unstable regimes — however that was earlier than Exceptionalism, an precise doctrine that mainly simply declares Targaryens exempt from the identical norms as different people as a result of they’re allegedly nearer to the gods. They’ll experience dragons! Allow them to have somewhat incest, as a deal with.

A Household Affair

A man in medieval robes sits at a table; he has long silvery-white hair in dreadlocks; still from

Steve Toussaint in “Home of the Dragon.”

Outstanding “Recreation of Thrones” households like homes Baratheon, Stark, Lannister, and others are very a lot alive and properly within the age of “Home of the Dragon,” however don’t count on to see a lot of them. As a substitute, the Targaryens maintain shut firm with homes like Velaryon and Hightower, bloodlines which have been much less concerned in rule and court docket by the point Robert Baratheon turned king forward of “Recreation of Thrones” (for causes which will or might not be revealed).

The Velaryon household, just like the Targaryens, are descended from Previous Valyria, an Japanese metropolis destroyed by a volcano lengthy earlier than this collection takes place. Key gamers embody Lord Corlys (Steve Toussaint), Rhaenys’s husband and commander of highly effective ships and fleets. The Velaryons are tied carefully to the Targaryens — not least by this marriage — however they’re deeply bitter about being so near the Throne and nonetheless denied rule. Rhaenys’s father was older than Viserys’ father, however a Excessive Council decided that proper of rule wouldn’t cross via the feminine bloodline. It will come again to hang-out everybody concerned when Viserys names Rhaenyra as his inheritor.

One other main household in “Home of the Dragon” is the Hightowers, beginning with Girl Alicent (Emily Carey; Olivia Cooke) and her father Otto (Rhys Ifans), Hand of the King. Otto Hightower has been Hand since earlier than Viserys took the throne, and he makes his grander plans all however specific in Episode 1. And because the trailers present, Alicent is about to search out herself going toe-to-toe with Viserys’ daughter Rhaenyra, inheritor to the Throne.

The Dance of Dragons

Viserys’ rule in the end units up the Dance of Dragons, a serious Targaryen civil warfare, and tensions are simmering from the outset. Home Targaryen is a ticking time bomb (dragon egg?), and this collection will ignite it eventually.

“The Dance was a warfare not like every other ever fought within the lengthy historical past of the Seven Kingdoms,” Martin writes. “Although armies marched and met in savage battle, a lot of the slaughter passed off on water, and…particularly…within the air, as dragon fought dragon with tooth and claw and flame. It was a warfare marked by stealth, homicide, and betrayal as properly, a warfare fought in shadows and stairwells, council chambers and chateau yards with knives and lies and poison.”

“Home of the Dragon” premieres August 21 on HBO.

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