House of the Dragon will be depicting another fight for the Iron Throne, but its Targaryen heir story has one major advantage over Game of Thrones. In both House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones, the prominent characters are fighting for power on the Iron Throne, with each noble house taking a side for which king or queen deserves the crown. While Game of Thrones had several characters from different houses trying to stake a claim for their place on the Iron Throne, House of the Dragon will be a massive battle between two heirs, both of whom belong to House Targaryen’s family tree.
One of House of the Dragon’s greatest strengths will be its Targaryen Civil War premise, as the entire realm will be split between their loyalties to one of two heirs to King Viserys I. Unlike Game of Thrones, which began with five kings vying for the Iron Throne, audiences will only have to decide whether Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen or Prince Aegon II Targaryen has the best claim to the crown. House of the Dragon has also revealed that its timeline will begin long before the Dance of the Dragons in 129 AC, as the childhoods of both Rhaenyra and Aegon II in King’s Landing will be depicted while their father reigns as King of Westeros. The character development of the two characters vying for the Iron Throne will thus also be particularly strong, with House of the Dragon establishing the future trajectories of Rhaenyra and Aegon II Targaryen very early on.
One of the most significant differences between House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones is that viewers who read George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood book already know who ends up on the Iron Throne. HBO’s Game of Thrones had surpassed the books’ releases very early on, leaving the outcome of who ascended the Iron Throne a complete mystery until the finale. Game of Thrones saw many kings and queens ascend the Iron Throne or crown themselves during its eight seasons, with such characters only ruling for a short time or never having been prepared for such a title. House of the Dragon, however, has an advantage over Game of Thrones in terms of who to root for on the Iron Throne, as the prequel series will finally show children being raised their entire lives in anticipation of ascending the Westerosi Iron Throne.
House Of The Dragon Will Show Rhaenyra’s Lifelong Iron Throne Training
Unlike Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon will be able to show the true process of the heir to the Iron Throne being trained for their reign from a very young age. House of the Dragon’s Rhaenyra Targaryen will be depicted from the time she’s a child to the time that she battles her younger half-brother for the Iron Throne. Rhaenyra’s father, Viserys, ascended the Iron Throne when she was only six years old, where, at the time, she was his only child. Rhaenyra had therefore long been established as Viserys I Targaryen’s official heir to the Iron Throne, with the king even calling noble lords and ladies to swear fealty to Rhaenyra as his rightful successor. Rhaenyra is thus a rare case in that she was Viserys I’s first and only decreed heir throughout her entire life, with her training for the Iron Throne beginning shortly after the time that her father became King of Westeros.
Sitting on the Iron Throne can be the most terrifying or exciting outlook for a child that’s first in the line of succession, which comes with significantly more preparation, responsibilities, and training than being the heir to a lord/ladyship. For the first time, audiences will be able to follow Rhaenyra’s journey of being raised specifically in preparation for the Iron Throne, which will give a much better understanding of the highest royalty in Game of Thrones’ Westeros. By depicting Rhaenyra’s lifelong development as the true heir to the Iron Throne, House of the Dragon will be increasing audience investment in the importance of wearing the crown in King’s Landing.
GOT Never Showed A Child Being Raised For The Iron Throne
While Game of Thrones depicted a few characters immediately preparing to ascend the Iron Throne, it never prominently depicted a child being raised in anticipation of the role. When audiences met Joffrey, he was already 16 years old, and the series didn’t focus on his training to succeed Robert Baratheon, even though Joffrey would become king before the end of Game of Thrones season 1. Similarly, although Tommen was Joffrey’s heir when his brother ascended the Iron Throne, Cersei’s youngest child was solely a background character until the moment King Joffrey Baratheon died, with the character barely learning how to be king.
The only time that Game of Thrones showed a young child preparing to take over a noble role as the first heir was when Bran Stark served as Lord of Winterfell while Robb was the King in the North. Bran was hardly prepared to take over as king if Robb died, as the little lord was still learning what it would mean to become the Warden of the North, which had previously been designated for Robb when he was growing up. Even Daenerys wasn’t under the impression that she would land on the Iron Throne when she was a child due to her older brother Viserys Targaryen being the next heir.
HOTD’s Civil War Is More Devastating After Rhaenerya’s Upbringing
While there are certain characters in House Targaryen’s history who were raised as the heir to the Iron Throne and ended up renouncing their rights, Rhaenyra Targaryen wanted to become the Queen of Westeros. Not to mention, her claim to the throne was never officially undermined until King Viserys I died, as her father had always maintained that she was his rightful heir, even when Queen Alicent bore him sons. As such, House of the Dragon’s Aegon II had never been seen as the heir to the Iron Throne growing up, with the job always being intended for Rhaenyra. Once she turned eight years old, King Viserys I was hardly ever seen without Rhaenyra by his side, which perhaps gave her the best training to become queen.
By watching Rhaenyra’s growth into a queen and preparation for the Iron Throne, audiences will likely see her as the protagonist during House of the Dragon season 1. This, of course, means that Queen Alicent will become more of an antagonistic figure, where she may be perceived as another Cersei Lannister in terms of making sure her own child, Aegon II, ends up on the Iron Throne at all costs. As such, the Targaryen Civil War will be devastating for Rhaenyra, with the throne that was promised to her all her life being stolen in a matter of seconds when Alicent and Otto Hightower conspire to crown Aegon II instead. While Daenerys was largely seen as a hero in Game of Thrones due to her desire to win back her birthright as the heir to the Iron Throne after her brother died, Rhaenyra is apt to be seen similarly due to her upbringing and long preparation for the crown. However, Rhaenyra’s birthright will be robbed by her own stepmother and half-brother, which makes House of the Dragon’s Iron Throne battle all the more personally upsetting.