House of the Dragon season 2: What you need to know before you see the show

The Dance of Dragons promises to be an epic battle

By Karishma Nandkeolyar

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Published: Sun 16 Jun 2024, 7:41 PM

The claim to the Iron Throne has always been bathed in blood and scorched in fire. It was the case when Daenerys Stormborn finally made her way to it in The Game of Thrones (GoT). And it was the same 200 years before that, when the world saw the Dance of the Dragons.

And it is to this epic battle of beasts and queens that we will travel to when the GoT prequel, House of the Dragon (HoD) Season two, premieres on OSN+ on June 17 in the UAE.

The saga, based on George R.R. Martin’s ‘history book’ Fire and Blood, takes us into the world of Westeros. The book is credited to an Archmaester of Westeros and holds within it accounts of what happened during the Targaryen reign.

Season Two will pick up where the first season left off two years ago – with an agitated Rhaenyra, who has just learned of the death of her son Lucerys by Prince Aemond Targaryen and his dragon, Vhagar.

A war, it seems, is imminent.

It’s been a long time coming. The kindling for the battle had begun to collect in the second episode of the first season, when King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) chooses to take Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey) as his second wife, fracturing the friendship between Alicent and his daughter, Rhaenyra. And things only go south from there.

But while there was political intrigue, sudden (and gory) death and a few huge dragons on screen, the series itself left a fizzling impression. Dubai-based Julian Perico, who calls himself a GoT fan, for instance, explains: “I couldn’t finish the first season of HoD. I tell all my friends this: it felt like watching a Mexican telenovela with dragons in the background.”

But with the release of the second season, he is tempted to sit through it all. “I’ve heard the second might be better. If that’s the case, I’ll go back to having my weekend marathons with my friends like I used to do with GoT,” he says.

Dubai-based Jericho Dizon admits the first season had some dragging bits, but explains that it was natural because a whole new world with new characters needed to be introduced to the audience. “I had to watch the last episode again to remember where the story stopped,” he says.

And so, he is ready for Season Two, which, he says, he will be watching alone or with his wife. “The House of the Dragon story tends to have a lot of dialogues and deeply connected stories and flashbacks. I prefer to watch it alone or only with my wife to avoid distractions.”

He’s quick to give a nod to the makers, though, saying, “The CGI and the way Rhaenyra Targaryen progresses as a character after the death of her son are impressive.”

George R.R. Martin, the author of the GoT books and Fire and Blood, and Ryan Condal, whose credits include Hercules and Rampage, are co-creators of the show.

Lina Nader has been refreshing her memory of the series of late, so she knows exactly where we left the Greens (those aligned with the Hightowers) and the Blacks (those with Rhaenyra).

“I’m most looking forward to watching the Dance of the Dragons unfold, since we’ve only ever heard about it through retellings and mentions in A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones. Team Rhaenyra all the way. Some reviewers have said we’ll meet five new dragons, which makes this even more exciting,” she adds.

‘Like a history channel’

Besides, says Nader, “I read somewhere that the show may become an anthology that follows different generations of the Targaryens and I think that’s what has me really interested in the series, it almost feels like a history channel retelling of ‘real’ events in Martin’s fictional world.”

Gavin Cameron, who is a fan, says: “I’ve read the books the show is based on already, so I kind of know what's coming — depending on whether any changes are made from the source material, of course — I’m looking forward to a lot more action and dragon fights.”

But before you wander into the realm of dragons and politics (never thought we’d say those two words in the same sentence), here are five things you need to know that happened in Season One:

1 Aegon has been named the king

King Viserys’ deterioration, which began in Season One, comes to its natural conclusion and as he is about to die, he mentions a prophesy known as Aegon’s Dream. He gasps the word ‘Aegon’ and misunderstanding his sentiments, Alicent now believes that Viserys wants their son, also named Aegon, to be named king, and achieves the coronation with the help of her father, Otto Hightower.

Tom Glynn-Carney, who plays Aegon, explains his character’s development in an interview with “Aegon is adopting this new persona of power and strength. It’s the first time he’s had any form of purpose. And he’s taking it in his stride — or at least trying to look as if he is.”

2 Princess Rhaenys joins Rhaenyra’s team

When she is imprisoned for not supporting Aegon’s claim, the strong-willed sister of King Viserys is not deterred. Once she has been freed by Ser Erryk, she hops aboard her own dragon and rages fire on the coronation ceremony before heading back to Dragonstone.

3 Rhaenyra becomes Queen

While Rhaenyra may not be the official occupant of the iron throne, she definitely has a claim. In Season One, Viserys, fed up of his brother (and future son-in-law) Daemon Targaryen’s antics, decides to declare her his intended heir and gets many lords to swear their fealty to her.

4 Daemon is Rhaenyra’s husband

Yes, power play features heavily in relationship politics. He’s a volatile person with many complexes, so can he truly be loyal to his wife? Matt Smith, who plays Daemon, told Variety in an interview: “You never really know which way he’s [Daemon’s] going to go. I always viewed him as an agent of chaos.”

5 Aemond and Vhagar kill Lucerys Velaryon

The spark that lit the flames of war; when Rhaenyra sends her second-born son, Lucerys Velaryon, to Storm End to gather allies, little does she know he’s not coming back. He runs into Aemond Targaryen, who has already secured the Baratheons of Storm End’s loyalty for the Greens. As Lucerys begins his flight home, Aemond, who holds a grudge against him, tries to intimidate him. Unfortunately, he loses control of his dragon who kills the boy and his ride.

Cunning tricks, tantrums and tactics meld together in this dragon-seared tale of love and loss, of greed for power and the destruction of the House of Targaryen.

Will it be worth it? There’s only one way to find out. Dracarys!


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