Closer to Gods than Men?

Josh H
7 min readAug 22, 2022

Discussing S1 E1 House of the Dragon

Image provided by HBO/Max

Great to be back for another season of discussing episodes of a Game of Thrones adjacent show. Sure we might have had to wait until the end of the show, but wasn’t it great to hear the Game of Thrones theme music again?

As always, spoilers ahead, if you have not watched this episode, you probably should stop now.

Okay, let’s start with the obvious…To my knowledge (and I have read all of the books including Fire & Blood, the Dunk & Egg stories & the history of Westeros) Aegon the Conqueror has never been revealed, to my knowledge, to have had a dream foretelling the events of the Game of Thrones series of books (for those who don’t know Aegon the Conquerer was the Targaryen who first united and ruled Westeros).

It is an interesting idea to have all of the Targaryen kings motivated by this notion that their job — and part of the reason that is so important to them to maintain their line — is out of a sense of altruism (to eventually protect the entire realm, and all of humanity, from the future rise of the White Walkers). I am not sure it was necessary to add this bit of “history” to a story that is already fairly detailed, but, it is interesting and certainly adds a new element of motivation to a story that we now know ends fairly badly for the Targaryen’s.

Viserys did not choose his child over his wife in the book, but that is certainly a powerful dramatic choice made by the showrunners. One could certainly assume that one of his motivations was to continue the dynasty in order to protect the realm (especially given his obvious doubts about his brother Daemon). It does add some context to his choice here to find out later how much credence Viserys gives to the content of dreams. At the same time, one of the showrunners said in the discussion after the credits that Viserys had no real choice and that his wife was dead either way (it was only a question of if he could save the child).

I do think it exposed the flawed character of Viserys that he chose not to tell his wife about the situation with her pregnancy complications and give her agency over what they should do. I suspect that a lot of the meat of the show will ultimately deal with the misogyny at the heart of Westerosi law…In fact, it would not be hard to…



Josh H

Author, Criminal Justice Reform Advocate, Co-Host of the "Decarceration Nation" Podcast, Television critic and Movie Reviewer,