Fire & Blood

House of the Dragon Just Redefined Game of Thrones’ Most Divisive Prophecy

Could the Song of Ice and Fire predict the end of the Dance of Dragons?

Rhaenyra (Emma D'arcy) sneaks through King's Landing in House of the Dragon
HBO
House of the Dragon

It’s admittedly been a long time coming, but House of the Dragon is finally giving the people what they want. Season 2 has been slow to depict the Dance of Dragons, the civil war that divides the seven kingdoms and splits House Targaryen in two. And though its latest episode does treat us to a blistering battle at Rook’s Rest, it’s the quiet moments between characters that still pack a bigger punch.

Episode 6 notably puts Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy) center-stage. After mourning her son in the early episodes of Season 2, and hesitating to go to war in the season’s second act, the would-be queen has finally found the strength to fight for her inheritance. That’s largely due to a scene at the end of last week’s episode, which saw her reuniting with her childhood friend — and stepmom — Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke). Rhaenyra learned that her father, King Viserys (Paddy Considine), always wanted her to succeed him. When he named her his heir in Season 1, Viserys told her all about a prophecy passed down from the time of King Aegon I: the Song of Ice and Fire. Alicent misinterpreted that prophecy in order to get her son Aegon II (Tom Glynn-Carney) on the Iron Throne — but now that both she and Rhaenyra know the truth, it’s clear that Alicent made a huge mistake.

The Song of Ice and Fire is considered a fairy tale to most, and for those who saw it fulfilled in Game of Thrones, it ultimately felt like a bit of a letdown. In House of the Dragon, however, it takes on a new meaning. In Episode 5, it’s the very thing that justifies Rhaenyra’s claim to the Iron Throne. And in this week’s episode, it might even confirm which Targaryen family is “meant” to rule the realm.

Spoilers ahead for House of the Dragon Season 2 Episode 4.

After her encounter with Alicent, Rhaenyra is now a true believer in the Song of Ice and Fire.

HBO

Aegon’s prophecy is mentioned briefly in House of the Dragon Episode 6. Shortly after Rhaenyra sends a dragon to intercept Team Green’s army at Rook’s Rest, she sits down her son and heir Jace (Harry Collett) to share her motivations. “The horrors I have just loosed cannot be for a crown alone,” she says. “That is why I must believe what Viserys told me when he named me his heir.”

It’s here that Rhaenyra officially tells Jace about the Song of Ice and Fire, explaining that a Targaryen may be the only thing that can protect the Seven Kingdoms from a common enemy in the future. “My father believed that I alone was meant to be this Protector,” Rhaenyra tells Jace. That’s why she finally sends the dragons to war: it’s her way of honoring Viserys’ dying wishes, and upholding the prophecy that’s been passed from sovereign to heir for generations. Despite her setbacks and mistakes, destiny seems to be on Rhaenyra’s side. She and her descendants may be favored to rule, since only they know about Aegon’s secret.

Team Green is on the back foot in House of the Dragon’s latest episode, but will that always be the case?

HBO

By rehashing the Song of Ice and Fire a second time, House of the Dragon comes pretty darn close to positioning Team Black as the heroes of this story, and Team Green as the villains. This scene between Rhaenyra and Jace is especially potent paired with Alicent’s comments from earlier episodes. After the gruesome events of Blood & Cheese, Alicent claims that the gods are punishing her family — likely for usurping Rhaenyra. “They punish me,” she adds, and it’s hard to disagree. The events of Rook’s Rest only puts the Greens at a further disadvantage... but there are casualties on both sides. And with the war officially begun, there will be more casualties to come.

House of the Dragon has made one thing pretty clear: the upcoming battles will plunge the realm into disarray. No matter who wins, either side still has a lot to lose. Rhaenyra’s cause may be righteous, but does that mean she’ll emerge victorious? And even if she wins the throne, what more will she have to sacrifice to get it?

House of the Dragon is now streaming on Max.

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