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One Line in House of the Dragon Just Created a Big Game of Thrones Plot Hole

Season 2 takes a brief detour at Winterfell, and teases one of the biggest threats to the Seven Kingdoms.

Cregan Stark (Tom Taylor) takes Jacaerys Velaryon (Harry Collett) on a tour of the Wall
HBO
House of the Dragon

House of the Dragon certainly has the feel of a self-contained story, but the prequel series is still very much beholden to the events of its predecessor, Game of Thrones. Whether you pledge allegiance to Team Black or Team Green, the battle between these two families is just one of many significant struggles in Westeros. The Dance of Dragons will have huge repercussions on the realm, but Thrones fans know that a much bigger war — one that will affect every faction in the Seven Kingdoms — is brewing.

On the surface, Game of Thrones is focused primarily on the war for the Iron Throne. In reality, though, every moment of the series has been quietly building to the Great War: the long-standing conflict between humanity and the undead White Walkers beyond the Wall. Thrones’ later seasons lean hard into this, focusing on the North’s efforts to convince the southern kingdoms that this threat exists at all. But even the leaders of the North needed some convincing in the beginning. That gave the entire series some compelling tension — but House of the Dragon suggests that, even 200 years before Jon Snow was sworn to the Night’s Watch, the White Walkers were always a threat to the North.

Cregan Stark makes a surprising appearance in House of the Dragon Season 2.

HBO

Season 2 of House of the Dragon picks up directly where its first season finale left off, with Princess Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) sending two of her sons to ensure the loyalty of two powerful allies. While Luke Velaryon (Elliot Grihault) was tragically killed during his mission, his older brother Jace (Harry Collett) is making headway in Winterfell. Episode 1, “A Son for a Son,” opens with Jace on a tour of the Wall. His guide, Lord Cregan Stark (Tom Taylor), doesn’t waste any time renewing his fealty to Rhaenyra, but with winter fast approaching, a Targaryen civil war is actually the least of his worries.

“In winter, my duty to the Wall is even more dire than the one I owe to King’s Landing,” Cregan tells Jace. His army has to stand ready against much more than the Wildlings living at the edge of civilization. Those posted at the Wall are there to keep death itself at bay, Cregan ominously explains. It’s the closest House of the Dragon has come to teasing Thrones’ future conflict, and the earliest acknowledgement of the White Walkers in franchise history.

The Starks of House of the Dragon already have a leg up in their conflict with the White Walkers. What changed?

HBO

Whether Cregan is explicitly aware of the White Walkers, it’s clear the Starks know that something threatens humanity from beyond the Wall. That brief scene doesn’t have much bearing on the rest of the episode, since Jace clearly has no idea what Cregan is talking about (and is shortly interrupted with news of his brother’s death). But this reference, however, subtle, ties House of the Dragon even closer to the events of Game of Thrones. It’s the kind of scene that serves as a knowing wink to the audience: Showrunner Ryan Condal even calls it fan service. That said, it may hurt the franchise a bit more than it actually helps.

House of the Dragon notably takes place 200 years before the events of Thrones, which gives the series a lot of leeway where continuity is concerned. Still, it feels weird to encounter members of House Stark that are explicitly aware of a dark, mysterious threat beyond the Wall, and are actively preparing to go to war against it. That’s a big departure from the Starks in Thrones’ earlier seasons, who treat the idea of Walkers as an old wives tale. The 200 years between Dragon and Thrones were clearly uneventful enough for the Starks to abandon their most important oath. Frustratingly, though, we’ll probably never get to see how the White Walkers eventually faded into legend — which makes this bit of fan service feel utterly disconnected from the rest of the saga.

House of the Dragon is now streaming on HBO and Max.

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