Catch up on Targaryen history before House of the Dragon premieres

Catch up on Targaryen history before House of the Dragon premieres ...

House of the Dragon on HBO is bringing us back to Westeros, but not to the Westeros most people are familiar with onscreen, since the original series was set almost 200 years before, and that means a completely different set of characters and events to learn about.

House of the Dragons is based on George R.R. Martin's book Fire & Blood, which serves as an in-universe history of the Targaryen family in Westeros. There are a few things you may need to know to see the first episode.

Who is King Jaehaerys?

Jaehaerys I Targaryen was born into the Iron Throne before Viserys and played a key role in establishing the precedent of male succession in Westeros when he allowed the Great Council of 101 AC to name Viserys his heir rather than his older daughter, Rhaenys. He left his son Viserys with a huge legacy to live up to.

Who are Aegon the Conqueror and Daenys the Dreamer?

Although they have both died for many years before the opening of the House of the Dragon, you can think of these two as the ones that launched the Westeros Targaryen dynasty, which is why they are still relevant to this story.

The Targaryens are from the Valyrian Freehold, a region of Essos on the Valyrian Peninsula. Despite their great wealth and status, the Targaryens fled the city unexpectedly when Aenar Targaryen moved his family out of Valyria to Dragonstone, a small island near the mouth of Westeros Blackwater Bay. Twelve years after the family moved, she was proven correct as the Valyrian Death began.

Aegon I Targaryen set his sights on Westeros with the intention of conquering the continent and unifying its various conflicting kingdoms and factions nearing 100 years after the Targaryens moved to Dragonstone. After all, Aegon's assumption proved correct and he united all of Westeros (except Dorne).

Do the Targaryens always marry family members?

Targaryens married family members in order to keep the integrity of their bloodline strong. This is especially true of Targaryens who are unlikely to be heirs to the Iron Throne.

In its first episode, House of the Dragon gives us an introduction to Rhaenys Targaryen, a different one who also hails from Valyria, but who left the Freehold long before the Targaryens, owing to her lack of dragon riding ability and standing within the region. Despite this, house Velaryon has always been a key player of the Targaryens, which has since earned the nickname The Queen Who Never Was.

The Targaryen kings still marry their children at the start of Game of Thrones, nearly 200 years after House of the Dragon. King Aerys II, also known as The Mad King, was actually married to his sister Rhaella.

Before watching the program, you should let George R.R. Martin answer any other questions himself in the video preview he provided for House of the Dragon.