After House Of The Dragon:1 Night King Mystery Is Very Different
House of the Dragon season 1 has already impacted Game of Thrones in a few key ways, including a change to part of the Night King’s story.
Warning: Contains SPOILERS for House of the Dragon season 1, episode 1.
The reveal of Aegon the Conqueror’s dream in House of the Dragon changes how one part of the Night King’s story in Game of Thrones is perceived. House of the Dragon season 1, episode 1 saw King Viserys Targaryen tell Princess Rhaenyra about Aegon’s dream, A Song of Ice and Fire, wherein he foresaw a terrible winter that would spell the end of the world of men. It’s a major revelation that wasn’t in Game of Thrones and, so far, hasn’t been in George R.R. Martin’s books either. It’s a surprising moment with a lot of impact on Game of Thrones season 8 in particular, because it states only with a Targaryen on the Iron Throne can the darkness be defeated.
That changes several moments, since much of Game of Thrones season 8 revolved around the Night King and the White Walkers, who were battling against the army of the living led by Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow (himself a Targaryen). That means Aegon’s dream did come true in a way, but it also goes beyond just Game of Thrones’ two main Targaryens. One of the show’s biggest mysteries towards the end was why the Night King wanted to kill Bran Stark, something that feels different after House of the Dragon.
The Night King wanted to kill Bran because he was the Three-Eyed Raven, and in turn the Night King wanted to kill the Three-Eyed Raven because he was Westeros’ memory. To eliminate him was to ostensibly remove any hope for the future of the world (though Game of Thrones kept things rather vague here), but there’s an interesting re-framing after House of the Dragon’s Aegon dream reveal. Prior to Bran, it’s believed the Three-Eyed Raven was Brynden Rivers, a Targaryen bastard of King Aegon IV who fought in the first Blackfyre Rebellion. Nicknamed Bloodraven, he eventually joined the Night’s Watch and became Lord Commander, before disappearing beyond the Wall. The books’ version of the character – known as the Three-Eyed Crow – is said to have been a Lord called Brynden, which would fit with him being Bloodraven. With that, it creates an interesting parallel: a Targaryen must be present to defeat the Night King, but also the Night King’s success depended on him killing a (likely) Targaryen.
House Of The Dragon Makes The Night King’s Story A Bigger Targaryen Battle
Assuming the Three-Eyed Raven before Bran was a Targaryen bastard, then it makes the character even more important. Though his power was already clear, and his significance defined thanks to his incredible greensight and connection to the Children of the Forest, it adds an even deeper layer to the character’s involvement in the story. It turns him from someone rather unknowable, with motivations that aren’t fully stated, into a being with a clearer aim: if the Three-Eyed Raven knew of Aegon’s A Song of Ice and Fire prophecy, then it would make even more sense to position him as a key line of defense against the White Walkers.
Doubly so, if he was able to help maneuver events to his advantage, then everything he did could have been in service not only of Bran becoming the Three-Eyed Raven, but of a Targaryen (such as Jon) leading Westeros in the fight against the dead. In turn, that helps to give even greater meaning to Aegon’s White Walker dream and cement its place in Westeros history. This way, it isn’t just a prophecy passed down from King to heir that none of them actually had to reckon with, but makes it an even grander battle waged between House Targaryen and the White Walkers.
Unfortunately, Game of Thrones left a lot of questions about the Night King unanswered, because with the retcon of Aegon’s prophecy it would have been fascinating to learn just what he knew about it (if anything) and whether he knew the Three-Eyed Raven, at the point of his return at least, had Targaryen blood running through his veins. House of the Dragon sets up the Targaryens as the opposition of winter, the fire that can conquer the ice, and having the Night King’s ultimate enemy, at one point anyway, being from within that Targaryen family tree is a great addition to that story that gives it even more weight and importance.
House of the Dragon releases new episodes Sundays on HBO and HBO Max.
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