Although based around the Targaryen Civil War, House of the Dragon season 1 likely won’t have too many dragons involved in its story, and the Game of Thrones spinoff is already hinting at such. The first of many in-development Game of Thrones spinoffs, House of the Dragon will tell the story of the Dance of the Dragons. With its main plot beginning almost 200 years before Game of Thrones, then it’s a chance to dive into a new area of Westeros history and focus on the house who, for most of that show’s run, only truly had one member as a main character (Jon Snow’s real parentage excluded).
The Dance of the Dragons that is central to the story of House of the Dragon is a war of succession, fought between two of King Viserys I Targaryen’s (Paddy Considine) children: Rhaenyra (who’ll be played by Emma D’Arcy, with Milly Alcock as a younger version) and Aegon (whose casting as not yet been announced). The Targaryen Civil War splits the family and the rest of the Seven Kingdoms in two, divided in support for the two claimants to the Iron Throne.
Unlike Game of Thrones, where Daenerys’ three dragons were the first born in over a century and ostensibly the last to ever live as well, House of the Dragon has many dragons alive and active during its timeline. This was an era when dragons were relatively more common, and the Dance itself was very much fought on dragonback, yet House of the Dragon’s poster, teaser trailer, and other marketing has largely avoided showing any. This feels purposeful, in particular the House of the Dragon release date poster of a hatching dragon’s egg with a shadowy dragon lurking in the background, which hints at this story just beginning and the plots of civil war beginning to be hatched, and with that there likely won’t be too much dragon action itself.
It’s understandable that House of the Dragon hasn’t shown a dragon in footage so far – save for a skull in the teaser trailer – since it requires some heavy post-production work and expensive CGI, but it would’ve been easy to more prominently use a dragon in the poster. This was iconography Game of Thrones’ later seasons increasingly used in posters, so having the cracking egg in focus, with the dragon only partially visible behind it, seems to be more than a cool design and instead a choice that at least thematically fits and potentially suits House of the Dragon’s story. Because the Dance of the Dragons doesn’t begin until after Viserys’ death, then it likely won’t fully kick into gear until House of the Dragon season 2, so it shows how this story is beginning with the dragons then waiting to fly into action.
It’s been confirmed that House of the Dragon has 17 dragons, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll all be in season 1. There should be some dragons flying still, but largely limited to transportation; it’s not until Rhaenyra’s son, Lucerys, is attacked by Aegon’s brother Aemond that dragons really collide in the war, which is some way into its story and there’s a lot of setup to get through before that. Viserys himself is setup as a main character in House of the Dragon season 1, and Considine’s casting suggests he’ll be around for most of the 10 episodes, which would further mean few major dragon scenes until season 2.