The first ‘House of the Dragon’ pictures set up a Targaryen showdown

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Night gathers and our watch begins anew: HBO has finally released pictures from the Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon. This show is the second Thrones prequel greenlit and the first to be ordered to series after that untitled Age of Heroes pilot went nowhere, so it’s been a while since new Thrones images showed up to stoke hype for HBO’s Westerosverse. Thronesverse? We’ll work on that.

Meet Rhaenyra and Daemon

The first of the pictures shows Matt Smith as Prince Daemon (DAY-mun Targaryen and Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra (Ray-NYE-ruh) Targaryen. Don’t get it twisted — these two Targs aren’t brother and sister. Rhaenyra is the first born daughter of King Viserys Targaryen and Daemon is King Viserys’ brother, so we’re looking at an uncle and niece.

It’s hard to tell from the setting where exactly Daemon and Rhaeynra are in Westeros, but the beach suggests that they are either on the island of Dragonstone, the Targaryen family stronghold, or on the beaches of King’s Landing, where it make sense for any royals to hang out for some fun (or plotting) in the sun.

Hello, Lord Corlys

Second up is Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon, also known as the Sea Snake. House Velaryon didn’t play a role in Game of Thrones, but at the time House of the Dragon is set they are the second most powerful house in Westeros. Part of this is because they share Valyrian heritage with the Targaryens, which allows them to marry into the royal family without reducing whatever genetic or magical gift allows them to tame dragons. Lord Corlys here is married to a Targaryen princess (not Rhaenyra, a different one) for that reason. The other part of their power is that the Velaryons are rich as hell.

Corlys is called the Sea Snake because he is an accomplished sailor whose journeys to the end of the world made him the richest person in Westeros for a while (take that, Lannisters), and his strength at sea is unparalleled (take that, Greyjoys). So yeah, he’s a rich badass with tons of power and a royal wife. You go, Corlys.

A Queen and a Hand

The third image shows Olivia Cooke as Queen Alicent Hightower and Rhys Ifans as her father Otto Hightower. Queen Alicent is King Viserys’ second wife; his first was Princess Rhaenyra’s mother. After the first queen’s death, Alicent stepped up to marry the king with all the wealth and power of Oldtown (that’s the place where Sam goes to become a maester in Game of Thrones) coming with her.

Her father Lord Otto Hightower also came with her, and a lot of that power stems from his position as Hand of the King. Queen Alicent has two sons by King Viserys, and even though the king acknowledges Rhaenyra as his firstborn and heir, the fact that Alicent’s queen’s children are male makes her wonder why her stepdaughter Rhaenyra should inherit the throne over her precious boys…

Now that HBO has broken the seal for House of the Dragon news, it’s possible there will be more pictures and information about Season 1 of House of the Dragon coming soon. The show is still set to premiere in 2022, so the best advice is to remain vigilant and watch out for dragons.

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