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Watch Trailer + Everything You Need to Know About “House of the Dragon” 

HBO’s “Game of Thrones” prequel, “House of the Dragon,” is finally arriving this summer, giving viewers a look into the twisted past of House Targaryen. While long-time fans of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy novels might know Westeros’s complete history, newcomers to the series or “Game of Thrones” veterans may need a little more context about this upcoming spin-off show. From when “The House of the Dragon” takes place, to which George R.R. Martin book the upcoming television series is based on, here’s a helpful primer on everything you need to know before tuning in to the first episode.

When Does “House of the Dragon” Take Place?

“House of the Dragon” is a prequel to “Game of Thrones,” exploring the history of Westeros long before the original series. The show takes place during the reign of the Targaryen dynasty, about 130 years after the Targaryen conquest of Westeros. This places the events of the prequel almost 200 years before “Game of Thrones.”

What George R.R. Martin Book is “House of the Dragon” Based On?

While “Game of Thrones” drew on several books in the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series from George R.R. Martin, “House of the Dragon” is based on “Fire and Blood,” a spin-off book series. This book provides a narrative history of the Targaryen dynasty in the centuries before the main ASOIAF storylines. While “Fire and Blood” is intended to be a two-volume tale, the first volume — the only one currently out — covers the Targaryen conquest up through the Dance of the Dragons and a little bit beyond. 

What Is the “Dance of the Dragons”?

In “Fire and Blood,” the “Dance of the Dragons” is the name given to a brutal and devastating civil war that turns the Targaryen dynasty against itself. The war is sparked by a succession crisis following the death of King Viserys I. His intention is for his daughter Rhaenyra, the only surviving child of his first marriage, to succeed him on the throne. When he dies, however, his second wife, Alicent, and their eldest son, Aegon, claim the throne for their line, without even notifying Rhaenyra of her father’s death. 

Upon learning of their betrayal, Rhaenyra sets out to take the throne she believes is rightfully hers, forcing the entire Targaryen family and all of Westeros to take sides in a bloody conflict. The war rages for several years, leading to the deaths of many Targaryens and the near extinction of dragons. However, neither Rhaenyra or Aegon won the “Dance of the Dragons.” In the end, the marriage between Rhaenyra’s son, Aegon III, and Aegon II’s daughter, Jaehaera Targaryen, ended the conflict. Although peace was reached, the Targaryen dynasty was permanently weakened due to all the heavy losses.

Is “House of the Dragon” About the “Dance of the Dragons”?

Although “Fire and Blood” covers a couple of centuries of Targaryen history, “House of the Dragon” is specifically set during the era of the “Dance of the Dragons.” While we may get some background info on the events prior to this conflict, the prequel television series is likely going to focus on the “Dance of the Dragons,” onwards.

Where to Watch “House of the Dragon”

“House of the Dragon” will make its debut on HBO and HBO Max on August 21. 10 episodes are scheduled to be released weekly on Sundays, just like “Game of Thrones.”

By Amanda Prahl

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