At the tournament, Viserys's only living child, Princess Rhaenyra, and her companion, Lady Alicent Hightower, Ser Otto's daughter, are intrigued by Ser Criston Cole, a handsome, common-born knight who defeats the popular Daemon in both jousting and melee. Meanwhile, Aemma suffers a breech birth that drastically risks both her life and her baby's. Viserys allows Grand Maester Mellos to perform a cesarean section, hoping to save the child, though knowing the procedure will kill Aemma. The infant, named Baelon, dies hours after his mother. Rhaenyra's dragon Syrax cremates their remains during the funeral.
Viserys tells Rhaenyra a secret passed down through the generations: their ancestor Aegon the Conqueror dreamt of a threat from the North that Westeros can only defeat if a Targaryen sits on the Iron Throne. The lords of Westeros swear fealty to Rhaenyra as crown princess, while Daemon and his lover, Mysaria, depart atop his dragon, Caraxes.
It is now the year 112 AC, nine years into Viserys's reign. High above King's Landing, his only daughter, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, flies across the city atop her dragon Syrax, landing her outside the gates of the Dragonpit. As the Dragonkeepers escort Syrax away, Rhaenyra is greeted by her sworn shield, Ser Harrold Westerling of the Kingsguard, and her friend, Lady Alicent Hightower. The two girls exchange comments on Syrax's growth before Rhaenyra invites Alicent to take a ride with her on Syrax, though Alicent politely declines. Ser Harrold and several men-at-arms escort Rhaenyra and Alicent in a covered wagon back to the Red Keep. Rhaenyra then pays a visit, with Alicent in attendance, to her heavily pregnant mother, Queen Aemma Arryn. Rhaenyra is dismissive of the idea of being a mother, but Aemma insists that as royal women, birthing royal children is how they serve the realm.
Later that evening, Viserys summons Rhaenyra to Balerion's shrine within the bowels of the Red Keep. Rhaenyra is confused by the summons, given her father has barely spoken to her since her mother's funeral, and even more so when he asks her what she sees when she looks at the dragons. Staring at Balerion's skull, Rhaenyra admits that she sees their family; the people say that the Targaryens are closer to gods than to men, but it is only because of their control of the dragons. Viserys warns Rhaenyra that the dragons are a dangerous power, a power that caused the Doom of Valyria and might well destroy their family if they are not careful. Viserys asserts that a Targaryen must always understand that truth if they aspire to be king or queen.
Before a gathering of the realm's nobility, including houses Velaryon, Hightower, Stark, and Baratheon, Viserys bears witness as the nobles declare oaths of fealty to him and to Rhaenyra as his named heir. At the Dragonpit, Daemon, absent from the ceremony, presents Mysaria to his own dragon Caraxes, before they both take flight on Caraxes's back.
Rhaenyra Targaryen: (opening narration) As the first century of the Targaryen dynasty came to a close, the health of the Old King, Jaehaerys, was failing. In those days, House Targaryen stood at the height of its strength, with ten adult dragons under its yoke. No power in the world could stand against it. King Jaehaerys reigned over nearly sixty years of peace and prosperity, but tragedy had claimed both his sons, leaving his succession in doubt. So, in the year 101, the Old King called a Great Council to choose an heir. Over a thousand lords made the journey to Harrenhal. Fourteen succession claims were heard, but only two were truly considered. Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, the king's eldest descendant, and her younger cousin, Prince Viserys Targaryen, the king's eldest male descendant.
Viserys I Targaryen: Daemon was not made to wear the crown, but I believe that you are. This is no trivial gesture, Rhaenyra. A dragon's saddle is one thing, but the Iron Throne is the most dangerous seat in the realm.
In an interview with Den of Geek, Miguel Sapochnik explained that this was also a great way to add back in the magical or spiritual element of the main A Song of Ice and Fire novels to this prequel era, which other than the dragons has very little magic in it:
This may retroactively explain several other points about the early Targaryen kings, such as why Aegon I eventually withdrew from the First Dornish War after a decade of fighting. Facing heavy attrition from guerrilla resistance, as he got older Aegon may have realized the White Walkers probably weren't returning in his own lifetime, so he didn't need to keep exhausting his armies to force the last of the Seven Kingdoms into his realm while he still lived. Indeed, the First Dornish War ended when the new Prince of Dorne sent him a mysterious letter whose contents are unknown to history. This may also explain why his son Aenys Targaryen was indecisive against rebellions early in his reign and hesitated to crush the Faith Militant with dragons: if he thought the return of the White Walkers was relatively imminent, he wouldn't want to waste manpower on civil wars.
After the credits, House of the Dragon reacquaints us with King's Landing. We see a silver-haired woman gliding along on a dragon, introducing us to Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, the daughter of King Viserys. After dismounting from her dragon, Rhaenyra links arms with Alicent Hightower, the daughter of Hand of the King Otto Hightower. She then takes us on a nostalgic walk through the Red Keep.
Episode 1 of House of the Dragon begins with House Targaryen at the height of its power. Ten adult dragons lay under their banner and the year is 101AC. King Jaehaerys called a great council to choose an heir. Over a 1000 lords make the journey, with 14 different succession claims heard. Bur only 2 are truly considered.
With anticipation at an all-time high, HBO has finally debuted House of the Dragon. The Game of Thrones prequel is stunning visually, featuring gorgeous cinematography alongside its CGI dragons. With brilliant performances and a return to the kind of propulsive storytelling that made Game of Thrones appointment television for years, House of the Dragon seems poised to improve on the legacy of the iconic series.
Alicent: Did you read it Rhaenyra: Of course, I read it. Alicent: When Princess Nymeria arrived in Dorne, who did she take to husband Rhaenyra: A man. Alicent: What was his nameRhaenyra: Lord Something. Alicent: If you answer with \"Lord Something,\" Septa Marlow will be furious. Rhaenyra: She's funny when she's furious. Alicent: You're always like this when you're worried. Rhaenyra: Like what Alicent: Disagreeable. You're worried your father is about to overshadow you with a son.Rhaenyra: I only worry for my mother. I hope for my father that he gets a son. As long as I can recall, it's all he's wanted. Alicent: You want him to have a son Rhaenyra: I want to fly with you on dragon back see the great wonders across the Narrow Sea And eat only cake.Alicent: I'm being serious. Rhaenyra: I never jest about cake. Alicent: You aren't worried about your position Rhaenyra: I like this position. It's quite comfortable. [Alicent gets up to leave.]Rhaenyra: Where are you going Alicent: Home. The hour has grown late. Rhaenyra: Princess Nymeria led her Rhoynar across the Narrow Sea on 10,000 ships to flee their Valyrian pursuers. She took Lord Mors Martell of Dorne to husband and burned her own fleet off Sun spear to show her people that they were finished running. Alicent: So you remember. [Rhaenyra rips a page from the book.]Alicent: If the Septa sees this book then... Rhaenyra: Fuck the Septa. Alicent: Rhaenyra!
As the first century of the Targaryen dynasty came to a close The health of the Old King, Jaehaerys, was failing. In those days, House Targaryen stood at the height of its strength with ten adult dragons under its yoke. No power in the world could stand against it. King Jaehaerys reigned over nearly 60 years of peace and prosperity but tragedy had claimed both his sons Leaving his succession in doubt. So, in the year 101 The Old King called a Great Council to choose an heir. Over a thousand lords made the journey to Harrenhal. Fourteen succession claims were heard But only two were truly considered. Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, the King's eldest descendant and her younger cousin, Prince Viserys Targaryen The King's eldest male descendant. It is declared by all lords paramount and lords vassal of the Seven Kingdoms That Prince Viserys Targaryen be made Prince of Dragons tone! Rhaenys, a woman, would not inherit the Iron Throne. The lords instead chose Viserys my father. Jaehaerys called the Great Council To prevent a war being fought over his succession. For he knew the cold truth. The only thing that could tear down the House of the Dragon was itself.
Aemma: You know I don't like you to go flying while I'm in this condition. Rhaenyra: You don't like me to go flying while you're in any condition. Alicent: Your Grace.Aemma: Good morrow, Alicent. Rhaenyra: Did you sleep Aemma: I slept.Rhaenyra: How long Aemma: I don't need mothering, Rhaenyra. Rhaenyra: Well, here you are, surrounded by attendants all focused on the baby. Aemma: Someone has to attend to you. You will lie in this bed soon enough, Rhaenyra. This discomfort is how we serve the realm.Rhaenyra: I'd rather serve as a knight and ride to battle and glory. Aemma: We have royal wombs, you and I. The child bed is our battlefield. We must learn to face it with a stiff lip. Now take a bath. You stink of dragon. 59ce067264