The House of the Dragon trailer debunks one fan theory about the presence of House Stark in the Game of Thrones spinoff. The House of the Dragon trailer gives the best look yet at the show, which takes place around 200 years before Game of Thrones, meaning a very different Westeros. That includes its political power and, in terms of what will be shown, the characters it follows. Whereas Game of Thrones focused heavily on the Starks, House of the Dragon is built around House Targaryen, whose civil war – known as the Dance of the Dragons – is what will be at the very center of its storytelling.
That means House of the Dragon will take a rather different approach to Game of Thrones. That show featured main characters from across Westeros’ most powerful houses – Stark, Baratheon, and Lannister in particular alongside Daenerys Targaryen – but, while House of the Dragon will have Lannisters et al, they aren’t of equal prominence or importance in the same way. House Stark is particularly removed because it’s in the North at Winterfell, with so much of the action happening around King’s Landing and Dragonstone.
The Starks being so distant, not having a major role in things until the Dance of the Dragons is ready to truly begin, had led to the suggestion there wouldn’t be any Starks until House of the Dragon season 2, but the trailer quite clearly debunks that with the presence of Lord Rickard Stark, who pledges his allegiance to King Viserys I Targaryen alongside Corlys Velaryon and Boremund Baratheon. It’s not confirmed just how big a role House Stark will play in House of the Dragon, but it’s at least clear they’re going to be involved from the very beginning, which makes sense in further connecting the show to Game of Thrones.
House Stark’s biggest role in House of the Dragon won’t come until later, with the signing of the Pact of Ice and Fire, an agreement with the Targaryens that sees Lord Cregan Stark support Rhaenyra Targaryen in the early stages of the Dance of the Dragons. There’s a long time between that event, which comes at the outset of the civil war (around 129 AC), and the scene of Rickard Stark in the House of the Dragon trailer, since Viserys was crowned in 103 AC. That leaves a lot of wiggle room in the timeline, and probably means the Starks will appear early on in the show, helping to offer a familiar grounding for Game of Thrones viewers, before fading into the background until the action really kicks off.
What’s also interesting with House of the Dragon’s Starks is that it appears to have changed the Lord of Winterfell’s name. During this period there is no known Rickard Stark, but instead the Lords of Winterfell during Viserys’ reign included Benjen Stark, Rickon Stark, and then Cregan. Given Game of Thrones included both a Benjen and a Rickon Stark, then it’s possible this is simply a changed name for the latter to avoid any potential confusion; another possibility is the subtitles, which name him as “Rickard,” got it wrong, as the pronunciation does sound like it could be Rickon. That potential confusion is something that will factor into House of the Dragon with Viserys and a Joffrey in play too, though this is a more minor character and so easier to switch. Either way, it confirms the Starks are indeed coming.