‘House of the Dragon’: A Song of Ice and Fire Prophecy, Explained

House of the Dragon, HBO’s new Game of Thrones prequel series, tells a pivotal story of the first woman to sit on the Iron Throne. After the death of Queen Aemma Arryn (Sian Brooke) and her newborn son, King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) decides to name his daughter, Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock), the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. Viserys knows that Rhaenyra will offer a more level-headed direction than his rightful successor. His brother and Rhaenyra’s uncle, Daemon (Matt Smith), already threatens to thrust King’s Landing into chaos with his violent leadership of the City Watch. However, this new role comes with responsibility. In the end of the pilot episode, “The Heirs of the Dragon,” Viserys tells his daughter about a prophecy that Game of Thrones fans already know by heart.

A Song of Ice and Fire isn’t just the name of George R.R. Martin’s book series; it’s the central argument in House Targaryen’s stake for the Iron Throne. As Viserys explains to Rhaenyra, every Targaryen ruler since Aegon the Conqueror has had to learn about the conflict that lies in the future of their family. Aegon had a prophetic vision that generations later, a terrible winter would begin and thrust the Seven Kingdoms into darkness. The only way for Westeros to survive is to unite under a Targaryen ruler that sits on the Iron Throne.

Aegon is the renowned ruler who helped pave the way for House Targaryen to lead the seven realms. His legacy is well-known within the Game of Thrones universe; Viserys delivers his words of warning to Rhaenyra underneath the skeleton of Aegon’s dragon, Balerion the Black Dread. Both Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and her brother, Viserys (Harry Lloyd), refer to their ancestor’s adventures with his dragons during Game of Thrones. The House of the Dragon pilot offers only a brief glimpse of the dragons themselves, but it’s safe to assume that there is much more dragon content in the immediate future.

The prophecy saddles Rhaenyra with the role of protecting the kingdom from an impending threat. It’s unclear if we will see any signs of the undead in House of the Dragon, but Game of Thrones reveals that this “terrible winter” is a reference to the rise of the Night King and the White Walkers in the area of the North that lies beyond the Wall. White Walkers haven’t been seen in Westeros since a thousand years before the events of House of the Dragon, but rumors persist that this mysterious army of the dead still exists.

Interestingly enough, HBO had previously commissioned another spinoff, Bloodmoon, that focused on the first war with the White Walkers in the “Age of Heroes.” So far, House of the Dragon seems to be focused on the line of the prophecy that refers to a Targaryen leader. However, it’s not quite clear which Targaryen will win the “Game of Thrones.” Will Rhaenyra ascend to her father’s throne, or will Daemon take the role for himself? What about Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best), who was denied the throne when King Jaehaerys named Viserys as his heir? There’s also the Hand of the King, Ser Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans), who wants to wed his daughter, Alicent (Emily Carey), to the King. If Alicent bears a male child, his claim could be seen as more viable. Viserys broke from tradition when he named a female successor.

The “A Song of Ice and Fire” prophecy becomes central within Jon Snow’s (Kit Harington) story arc in Game of Thrones. Jon is sent to join the Night’s Watch to protect the North from exterior threats in the Game of Thrones pilot, aptly titled “Winter is Coming.” However, it is later revealed that Jon will have to fulfill both parts of the prophecy. Although Ned Stark (Sean Bean) has claimed Jon as his bastard son, this was a lie to cover up Jon’s Targaryen heritage. Jon is actually the son of Ned’s sister, Lyanna (Aisling Franciosi), and Rhaegar Targaryen (Wilf Scolding), the son of the “Mad King” killed during Robert Baratheon’s (Mark Addy) rebellion, leaving Jon to inherit the Iron Throne. However, Jon’s existence has been shrouded in secrecy. With Rhaegar leaving no apparent heir, his younger brother Viserys sees himself as the rightful ruler. Viserys perishes early on in Game of Thrones, but Daenerys continues his quest.

One of the chief criticisms that Game of Thrones fans had with Season 8 is that Jon never gets to fulfill the prophecy that is so central to his lineage, passed over as the heir to the Iron Throne. Apparently, no one has “a better story” than Jon’s cousin, Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright), and “Bran the Broken” is named as the new King. While Jon may be venturing off into the North, it doesn’t sound like Game of Thrones fans have seen his last adventure. Currently, a sequel series following Jon’s exploits after the end of Season 8 is in development, with Harington set to reprise his Emmy-nominated role.

House of the Dragon premieres new episodes every Sunday on HBO and HBO Max.


Leave a Comment