House of the Dragon’s premeire episode opened with a flashback to 101 AC and the Great Council’s decision to put Viserys on the throne over Rhaenys. At the time, fans assumed this was like any fantasy cold open, with the Emma D’Arcy voice-over recalling the beginning of the Lord of the Rings trilogy as a critical component. Little did viewers know the entire season would be one long series of time jumps. If one includes the House of the Dragon Season 1, Episode 8 promo, the 10-episode series is, at this point, up to five episodes that jump ahead six months or more.
Warning: Spoilers for House of the Dragon Season 1, Episode 7 follow. Not every episode jumps ahead; Episode 7, “Driftmark,” picks up only days after Episode 6’s conclusion with Laena burning by dragonfire rather than face a caesarian section. Her passing leaves Daemon a free man again; this time, Rhaenyra isn’t going to let blood being spilled prevent her from marrying the man she wants. It does mean removing one awkward obstacle — her current husband, Laenor — but Daemon accomplishes that handily, paying Laenor’s no-good boyfriend, Qarl, to off Rhaenyra’s inconvenient spouse.
Little do either Rhaenyra or Daemon know that Qarl goes for having both the gold and the boyfriend. They staged Laenor’s murder and escaped to Essos to live happily ever after (or at least safely away from Targaryens). But that loose end will have to wait as the series shifts the action forward again, with Daemon and Rhaenrya’s blended families facing down the Hightowers as Viserys’ health falters one last time.
House of the Dragon Season 1, Episode 8 is titled “The Lord of the Tides,” Lord Corlys Velaryon’s official title as the ruler of Driftmark, which Laenor would have inherited. (And maybe still can?) As usual, there is no official synopsis.
Part of this new time jump is the series changing around a few things from the official Targaryen histories. Rhaenyra wed Laenor in 114 AC, and Daemon married his sister, Laena, the following year. In the Fire and Blood novel, those marriages last until 129 AC, when the two spouses pass away without weeks of each other, and Rhaenyra and Daemon marry immediately. Viserys then passes away a few months la,ter and the Dance of Dragons begins.
However, fans will note the time jump between Episodes 5 and 6 is not 15 years but 10. That pushes back Laenra and Laenor’s passings to 124 AC. (It also combines it with Aemond losing an eye, which according to the novel, occurred in 120 AC.) This shift gives the show a five-year runway for Daemon and Rhaenyra to blend their families and (more importantly) aging up their children.
Like the original Game of Thrones, Martin’s House of the Dragon stories focus on characters who reach ruling and marriageable ages around 14-15. That’s awkward for modern viewers, who prefer their protagonists to be at least 18. Game of Thrones solved that by casting older actors — Jon Snow, Robb Stark, and Theon Greyjoy went from 14 to 21, while Joffrey and Sansa went from being 13 and 12 respectively to 15 and 14. Here, House of the Dragon does the same by fudging a few dates, allowing Aegon, Helaena, Aemond, Jacaerys, Lucerys, Baela, and Rhaena to all reach their late teens and early 20s in time for the conflict to begin in earnest.
House of the Dragon continues with new episodes every Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max.
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