House Of The Dragon: Biggest Changes To The Book In Episode 1

House of the Dragon is based on the Targaryen-centric George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood. These are the biggest changes made to the book for episode one. House of the Dragon Episode 1 opened to worldwide critical acclaim, albeit with some significant changes from what readers may know from George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood. Fire & Blood launched in 2018 as a prequel of sorts to Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. The novel tells the story of the Targaryen family in Westeros, from the conquest and formation of the Seven Kingdoms by Aegon the Conqueror to the Dance of the Dragons and the beginning of the end of Targaryen rule.

House of the Dragon

Warning: This post contains spoilers for House of the Dragon Episode 1.

House of the Dragon Episode 1 opened to worldwide critical acclaim, albeit with some significant changes from what readers may know from George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood. Fire & Blood launched in 2018 as a prequel of sorts to Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. The novel tells the story of the Targaryen family in Westeros, from the conquest and formation of the Seven Kingdoms by Aegon the Conqueror to the Dance of the Dragons and the beginning of the end of Targaryen rule.

In 2018, just a few months after the release of Fire & Blood, George R.R. Martin declared the potential for a Game of Thrones spin-off centered on the novel. Just a year later, showrunners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik ordered House of the Dragon straight to series at HBO, with Martin serving as co-creator and executive producer. House of the Dragon is an adaptation of the second half of Fire & Blood, which begins with the coronation of Jaehaerys Targaryen’s heir. As with any adaptation, some book-to-screen differences with the show were to be expected.

House of the Dragon doesn’t prove these expectations wrong, as it hosts a large number of changes from George R.R Martin’s original work. While the general elements of the story remain the same, some changes have been made to better fit the flow of a television show. Also, while characters like Matt Smith’s Daemon Targaryen or Paddy Considine’s King Viserys are similar to the book versions, some changes were made to certain characters to alter the character dynamics. With that being said, here are some of the biggest changes House of the Dragon made in Fire & Blood episode 1.

Rhaenys Targaryen And The Great Council

Rhaenys Targaryen And The Great Council

The opening scene of House of the Dragon begins with the Great Council, the gathering of over a thousand lords from across the land to discuss Jaehaerys Targaryen’s heir after the sudden death of his two sons. In the book, the deliberations lasted thirteen days and in total fourteen claims to the throne were heard. Initially, nine claims were quickly discarded due to their lesser strength as claims to the throne. With only five claims remaining, Archmaester Vaegon, Princess Rhaenys (the king’s granddaughter), and his daughter Laena were also discarded. This left two main candidates: Prince Viserys (Rhaenys’s cousin and Jaehaerys’s grandson) and Laenor Velaryon (Rhaenys’s son), with the former eventually being chosen as heir to the Iron Throne.

In House of the Dragon, however, the proceedings were slightly different when it came to Princess Rhaenys. While the show mentions all fourteen claims to the Iron Throne, it also establishes that the two left in dispute were Viserys and Rhaenys herself, as opposed to Rhaenys’ son Laenor. In fact, Laenor isn’t even mentioned or seen in the opening scene, with House of the Dragon opting to cast Rhaenys as the missing claimant to the Iron Throne over her cousin. This is likely due to the show’s focus on how women are not seen as rulers of Westeros and are more seen as mere tools for kings to bear children and continue their lineage. With House of the Dragon episode 1 ending with Princess Rhaenyra being crowned Viserys’s heir, Rhaenys will likely be a big part of what’s to come given her dismissal during the Grand Council.

Another small change made to the Grand Council is that Jaehaerys is present in House of the Dragon. In the book version of events, Jaehaerys stayed at Kings Landing while the Council was taking place. However, House of the Dragon puts the spotlight on Jaehaerys heavily, insisting that he knows the importance of the Council in preventing a Targaryen civil war and that the only threat to Targaryen kingship comes from the titular house of the dragon itself.

Rhaenyra And Alicent Hightower Are Of Similar Age

Rhaenyra And Alicent Hightower Are Of Similar Age

In House of the Dragon episode 1, Emily Carey plays Alicent Hightower and is the daughter of Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King. She is also established to be very close to Rhaenyra Targaryen, played by Milly Alcock, and the two are shown to be nearly inseparable in the premiere episode. This makes sense, given the closeness of Rhaenyra’s father and Alicent’s, and the closeness in age between the two young women.

However, this is a change from Fire & Blood, especially when it comes to Alicent. In the book, Alicent is born in 88 AD. C., and Rhaenyra is not born until 97 AD. C., nine years later. The change was likely made to make Alicent and Rhaenyra’s friendship easier to digest given that the two are very similar in age in House of the Dragon. As evident in the trailers for the show, a time jump will re-introduce Alicent and Rhaenyra later in House of the Dragon, with their relationship turning hostile during the time of Dance of Dragons. By bringing the two closer together in age and further strengthening their early friendship as a result, the fallout for their relationship will be even more impactful when Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke take on the roles.

Criston Cole’s Introduction

Criston Cole's Introduction

Criston Cole is part of Fire & Blood and is a Knight of House Cole who eventually became the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard for Paddy Considine’s character Viserys. In the book, Cole first appears at a tournament to celebrate King Viserys’ ascension to the Iron Throne. At the tournament, he gains the interest of the royal court by defeating Daemon Targaryen. In House of the Dragon, Cole still shows up at a tournament, however, the celebrations are held for the birth of Viserys’s heir rather than his initial ascension to the Iron Throne. House of the Dragon still includes Criston dismounting and then besting Daemon in combat, albeit later in his life than is written in Fire & Blood. This change may have been made to bring Cole closer in age to both Alicent and Rhaenyra, as the book hints at a potentially romantic relationship between Cole and the latter.

Aemma Arryn’s Spotlight

Aemma Arryn's Spotlight

Aemma Arryn is introduced in House of the Dragon episode 1 as the wife of King Viserys, pregnant with the child who will become the latter’s official heir to the throne. While Arryn’s inclusion in the story, being that of her dying in childbirth alongside her child, is the same in both media, House of the Dragon puts a little more focus on her in addition to Aemma’s birth scene than Fire&Blood. The latter simply mentions Aemma’s birth and her subsequent death, while House of the Dragon includes some scenes of her before her death. These scenes go a long way in not only establishing the show’s themes for the future, but also making her character more sympathetic and therefore her death more impactful.

Early in House of the Dragon episode 1, Rhaenyra admits to her mother that she wants to be a knight, to which Aemma warns Rhaenyra about a woman’s place in Westerosi politics. She explains to her daughter that a woman’s duty is nothing more than that of a “royal womb”, which makes the end of the episode and House of the Dragon’s Rhaenyra’s coronation all the more shocking. Also, her character becomes much more sympathetic when it is revealed that her five births in twice as many years have caused the deaths of many of her children. It’s a heartbreaking scene, and it makes Aemma’s character not only more understanding, but it depicts her dedication, honor, and care for her husband to keep trying to give her an heir.

Aegon The Conqueror’s Dream Of Ice And Fire

Aegon The Conqueror's Dream Of Ice And Fire

Arguably the biggest change House of the Dragon made in episode 1 to its source material is actually something completely new to the show that wasn’t in the book at all. Viserys reveals in House of the Dragon that Aegon the Conqueror’s initial conquest of Westeros came from a dream he had. In that dream, which Aegon called A Song of Ice and Fire (the title of Martin’s Game of Thrones books), he saw the Long Night coming from the North of Westeros, in which the army of the dead would travel and destroy the world. of men. Aegon believed that when that day came, a Targaryen would have to sit on the Iron Throne and lead a united Westeros against the threat, leading to the conquest of the Seven Kingdoms.

This ties directly into the House of the Dragon sequel series, Game of Thrones, and is brand new information, as Martin hasn’t revealed it in any books as of yet. This is the biggest change made so far and it proves that this dream will also become canon with Martin’s books as he is a co-creator of the show and included this big reveal about the overall history of Westeros and the Seven Kingdoms in The dragon house episode 1.

House of the Dragon episodes releases every Sunday on HBO Max.

Source: ScreenRant

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