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The opening scene, which sees Viserys chosen as Jaehaerys’s heir, takes place at Harrenhal, which you might remember is the ruined castle where Arya, Hot Pie, and Gendry are kept as prisoners in Game of Thrones (and where Arya becomes Tywin’s cupbearer).
Rhaenyra’s flight over King’s Landing calls to mind the last time we saw a Targaryen doing so — when Daenerys torched the city on the back of Drogon. We also hear the familiar Targaryen theme play over this scene.
We also get a good look at the dragonpit as Rhaenyra flies toward it. This is the location that is in ruins by the time we see it on Game of Thrones (where significant meetings are held in the last two seasons), but, of course, during House of the Dragon it’s very much intact and in use.
The throne room is another iconic location from Game of Thrones that we see a very different version of in House of the Dragon — understandably, as it goes through hundreds of years and many regimes in the meantime.
Corlys Velaryon mentions the Triarchy Alliance that has formed in the Free Cities, and the army that has amassed in the Stepstones led by Craghas Drahar.
Meanwhile Rhaenyra and Alicent discuss Princess Nymeria and her 10,000 ships — whose story isn’t particularly relevant to House of the Dragon, but is one of the other Game of Thrones spinoffs that HBO is developing.
Aemma says she wouldn’t be surprised if she “hatched an actual dragon” after her “miserable pregnancy,” which calls to mind what happened to Daenerys and the stillbirth of her son Rhaego — who Mirri Maz Duur describes as having scales and wings.
The juxtaposition of the tourney with Aemma dying in childbirth reinforces what she said earlier to Rhaenyra that “the childbed is our battlefield.”
Viserys names the baby Baelon, after his father.
As with Game of Thrones, there are a lot of intricate details in the costumes that reveal a lot about the characters and their houses — House Targaryen’s clothes and armor, for instance, are full of dragon motifs. But a really interesting detail is the way Viserys’s crown features the sigils of all the great houses, reinforcing the fact the Seven Kingdoms are united and at peace at this time.
At the tourney, there are a few family connections of Rhaenys Velaryon you might have missed.
Otto Hightower describes Daemon as “a second Maegor, or worse” which, as you might have guessed, is NOT a compliment.
The model Viserys is building in his room is of Valyria before the Doom.
Viserys playing with the flames of the candles serves as a reminder of his dragon blood.
Rhaenyra and Viserys stand in front of Balerion’s skull — Balerion was Aegon the Conquerer’s dragon, whose skull we saw several times in Game of Thrones, notably when Cersei tested her anti-dragon weapon on it.
Perhaps one of the most significant moments in this episode is when Viserys tells Rhaenyra of Aegon the Conquerer’s “dream” — how he invaded Westeros not just because of his lust for power, but because he foresaw the end of the world of men.
What’s interesting in this scene is that not only is Viserys’s story juxtaposed with flashes of Rickon Stark, Ned’s ancestor, swearing fealty to Rhaenyra, but we also get several close-ups of Viserys’s dagger — which will be very familiar to Game of Thrones fans.
Finally, Viserys saying, “Promise me, Rhaenyra, promise me,” in relation to the song of ice and fire is eerily similar to Lyanna Stark saying, “Promise me, Ned,” when she begs Ned Stark to take care of Jon Snow — who, some fans believe, is the song of ice and fire.
What was your fave detail from the House of the Dragon premiere? Let us know in the comments below!