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House of the Dragon will be the first Game of Thrones prequel to premiere on HBO. And while it’s very much its own series with its own tone, House of the Dragon will have some things in common with its predecessor. One of those commonalities is the inclusion of a controversial relationship. 

But, instead of sibling incest like Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), the prequel will feature a relationship between an uncle and niece.

House of the Dragon stars Emma D’Arcy as "Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen" and Matt Smith as "Prince Daemon Targaryen”
Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen | Ollie Upton/HBO

‘House of the Dragon’ focuses on House Targaryen

The new series from author George R. R. Martin and showrunner Miguel Sapochnik is based on Martin’s book Fire & Blood. And it’s set approximately two centuries before the events of Game of Thrones

All of those platinum blonde wigs in the trailer made it clear that this story is all about House Targaryen. Specifically, the series tells the story of a bloody civil war among Daenerys’ (Emilia Clarke) ancestors known as the Dance of the Dragons.

The fight for the Iron Throne is just as central to the prequel’s story as it was to Game of Thrones. The civil war is sparked with claims being made by everyone from Matt Smith’s Daemon and Emma D’Arcy’s Rhaenyra to Olivia Cooke’s Queen Alicent Hightower and her son Aegon Targaryen (Tom Glynn-Carney).

Which Targaryens have a controversial relationship in the prequel?

HBO has not revealed the specific details about the House of the Dragon storyline, but we do know that it will once again feature a controversial relationship. This time, the incest is between an uncle and a niece — Daemon and Rhaenyra — in an attempt to keep those bloodlines pure.

The teaser promised that the prequel will have more sex, death, incest, and betrayal than ever before. It also sparked a fan theory that Daemon and Rhaenyra can be seen in the trailer on the beach post-coitus, which has caused an intense debate online.

‘House of the Dragon’ features ‘different characters’ in a ‘different time’

The ending of Game of Thrones caused a massive divide in the fandom, while subsequently squashing a lot of the excitement for prequels and spinoffs. Sapochnik says they will “pay homage” to Game of Thrones in a few ways and be respectful of what the original series is because it was so groundbreaking. 

But at the same time, Martin points out that this series features “different characters” in a “different time.” It’s the same world, but a different story. And, there’s no guarantee that fans will accept the prequel after the disastrous ending of Game of Thrones.


‘House of the Dragon’: George R.R. Martin Is Well Aware the ‘Game of Thrones’ Prequel Will Have Some Stiff Competition

Martin told The Independent that all you can do is tell your story and hope the audience will stand and applaud instead or “pelt you” with rotten fruit.

“If it is rotten fruit, you’ve just got to duck and run backstage and invent another story to tell the next time. That’s what I do. I’m a storyteller,” Martin said.

House of the Dragon premieres Sunday, August 21 on HBO. All eight seasons of Game of Thrones are available to stream on HBO Max.