Fire & Blood

House of the Dragon will give us one epic showdown Game of Thrones never did

House of the Dragon has the potential to be even bigger than its parent series.

HBO is returning to the world of Game of Thrones later this year with the premiere of its first Thrones spin-off series, House of the Dragon. Set a few hundred years before Game of Thrones, the new show promises to dive deep into the history of one of Westeros’ most important families, the Targaryens. But House Targaryen won’t be the fallen dynasty it was in Game of Thrones.

Instead, House of the Dragon will begin with the Targaryens at the height of their powers in Westeros. That, in turn, means the upcoming HBO series has the chance to top Game of Thrones in one epic way.

Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen in House of the Dragon.Ollie Upton/HBO

Let Them Fight — When Game of Thrones begins, dragons have gone extinct. That’s why the birth of three new dragons is not only a big deal throughout all of Westeros, but the moment when Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) becomes a major political and military force. However, there was a time long before Game of Thrones when there were far more than just three dragons alive.

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When House of the Dragon begins, there are many more dragons in the world than fans might expect, and they’re all under the control of House Targaryen. As a result, the Targaryens have a firm hold over all of Westeros.

That said, House of the Dragon also revolves around a conflict known as the Dance of the Dragons, which is essentially a Targaryen civil war. That means House of the Dragon won’t just bring more dragons to life than Game of Thrones ever did, but that it will feature multiple sequences in which two dragons (and their riders) come to blows in the sky.

Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) approaches her dragons in Game of Thrones Season 7.HBO

A Fall From Grace — From a technical standpoint, House of the Dragon’s Targaryen conflict has the potential to make it an even more visually stunning show than Game of Thrones ever was. However, it’s worth noting that the series’ inevitable dragon fights won’t just serve as major action scenes. The sequences will also make one aspect of Westerosi history that was frequently referenced throughout Game of Thrones viscerally real, and that’s the fall of House Targaryen.

The fact that the Targaryens went from being the most powerful royal family in the history of Westeros to being nearly wiped out during Robert’s Rebellion is a major focus of Game of Thrones, and it’s one of the reasons why Daenerys’ rise to power is as important as it is. But Game of Thrones avoided using too many flashbacks throughout its run, which meant House Targaryen’s demise was mostly only talked about.

While the Dance of the Dragons isn’t the conflict that resulted in House Targaryen’s ouster, it’s a war that seriously weakened them. The Dance of the Dragons, which resulted in the deaths of many dragons, is arguably the reason why the Targaryens became vulnerable enough to one day be forced out of power.

Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon.Ollie Upton/HBO

The Inverse Analysis — House of the Dragon’s central Targaryen civil war gives it the chance to be a bigger and more visually ambitious show than its parent series, but that’s not the only reason why Game of Thrones fans should watch it. By focusing on the Dance of the Dragons, the series is going to give fans a chance to see House Targaryen both when it was at its most powerful, and when its legacy began to crumble.

House of the Dragon premieres Sunday, August 21 on HBO.