House Of The Dragon Flips A Key Jon & Daenerys Story From Game Of Thrones
Jon and Daenerys are known for not punishing children for the sins of their parents in Game of Thrones. House of the Dragon has different ideas.
Warning! SPOILERS for House of the Dragon episode 8
House of the Dragon tells a new Targaryen story through Rhaenyra and Alicent, a choice that flips a main Jon and Daenerys storyline from Game of Thrones. In Game of Thrones season 7, episode 1, Jon Snow forgives the surviving members of House Umber and Karstark after their betrayal in siding with Ramsay Bolton. Jon states, “I will not punish a son for his father’s sins.” Similarly, while Daenerys is by no means a benevolent figure, her aim to “break the wheel” coincides with the intention to leave the trespasses of her father behind her. In Game of Thrones season 7, episode 3, Daenerys echoes Jon’s words and pleads for him “not to judge a daughter by the sins of her father.” This recurring thematic element of Game of Thrones has been flipped in House of the Dragon, as Rhaenyra and Alicent’s children inadvertently suffer the repercussions of the sins of their parents.
Jon and Daenerys aspire to not punish children for the crimes of their parents, an ideal that Rhaenyra and Alicent do not share. Although Rhaenyra and Alicent forgive each other in House of the Dragon season 1, episode 8, these amends are much too late, as the seeds for violence have already been sown in their children. While Game of Thrones generally portrays Jon and Daenerys Targaryen as calculated, House of the Dragon flips the script as the consequences of recklessness, neglect, and miscommunication are expertly conveyed through the lens of the Targaryen children.
House Of The Dragon Has Introduced A New Side To The Targaryens
In House of the Dragon, the Targaryens are at the height of their power. Dragons are prevalent, and the realm is in a state of decadence following the rule of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen. Conversely, in Game of Thrones, the Targaryens are reeling, as Daenerys and her three dragons are all that remain of the once powerful house. House of the Dragon bridges the gap between these two eras, chronicling the Dance of Dragons, a Targaryen civil war. While Daenerys is portrayed as a more cautious ruler (until later seasons), the leadership of King Viserys and his named heir Rhaenyra is marred with controversy and conflict.
Although Viserys’ love for Rhaenyra is evident, he is deceitful towards her in choosing to conceal his meetings with Alicent. When Viserys reveals that he has decided to marry Alicent, Rhaenyra feels betrayed and cast aside. This deception persists in Rhaenyra when she elects to lie to Alicent about her infidelity, further driving a rift between the greens and blacks. Rhaenyra lives a lie in feigning the legitimacy of her children, while Alicent has mostly fulfilled her duty with virtue.
House Of The Dragon’s Targaryens Flip Jon & Daenerys’ GOT Stories
While the revelation that Jon Snow is Aegon Targaryen is saved for the later seasons of Game of Thrones, Daenerys Targaryen’s journey to the Iron Throne is a primary focus of the show. Jon and Daenerys’ union is initially promising, as their shared sentiment regarding the forgiveness of past sins is the first step in their allegiance. However, Daenerys’ decision to attack King’s Landing is her undoing, as a lust for power begins to consume her just as it did her father, splintering her relationship with Jon. Daenerys’ downfall is a somber one, but different shades of Targaryen tragedy are depicted in House of the Dragon.
As opposed to making a conscious choice not to punish children for the sins of their parents, the Targaryen children in House of the Dragon are subject to negligence and face the repercussions of their parents’ actions. House of the Dragon‘s children are raised knowing nothing but violence and conflict from a young age. Their desires to provoke each other and engage in combat are not only left unchecked and undisciplined by Rhaenyra and Alicent, they are encouraged. Although the Targaryen stories in Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon may differ, both are laced with the potent message that the violent fire running through Targaryen blood is inescapable.
The Changes To the Targaryen Story Are Important For The Future of HOTD
House of the Dragon has successfully built on notable Game of Thrones themes while layering in additional nuance to the story of the Targaryens. Although the consequences of recklessness, violence, and lust are explored in both shows, the recurring theme of miscommunication is paramount for House of the Dragon‘s future. House of the Dragon episode 8‘s end scene with Alicent at Viserys’ bedside epitomizes the lack of understanding between the show’s characters, as they selfishly misinterpret each others’ words and actions. Viserys has perpetually withheld information from both Rhaenyra and Alicent throughout the series, and this failure to properly communicate will have serious ramifications for House of the Dragon‘s future. The looming Dance of the Dragons is the beginning of the end for House Targaryen, a conflict of fire and blood that is tragically extinguished nearly 200 years later in Game of Thrones with the death of Daenerys Targaryen at the hands of Jon Snow.
House of the Dragon releases new episodes Sundays at 9pm ET on HBO.
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