Fire and Blood

House of the Dragon's Epic New Opening Credits Are Inspired by Real-Life History

A stitch in time.

HBO
House of the Dragon

Nothing says Game of Thrones more than Ramin Djawadi’s epic title theme, so it was no surprise HBO kept the music for the prequel series House of the Dragon. The pounding instrumental track played under an exploration of a map of Westeros in Game of Thrones, introducing viewers to the regions and great houses at play. House of the Dragon Season 1 shifted its focus to the mighty Targaryen family, with rivers of pouring blood showing how important familial connections were to the upcoming civil war.

Now, with the Dance of Dragons officially underway, House of the Dragon Season 2 has changed its approach again, this time going with embroidered depictions of key plot points. Check out the new opening below, then keep reading to learn how this new credits sequence is enmeshed in real-life history.

The embroidered style was inspired by a real-life historical artifact: The Bayeux Tapestry. “We decided to go with radical change. Now that the page has turned and we’re at war, this is a living history and we want to depict that history in a visual way and give the fans new things to take apart and dive into,” showrunner Ryan Condal told The Hollywood Reporter. “This really great titles company, called yU+co, came in and I pitched them the Bayeux Tapestry, which is this famous work of art that is both a piece of art and also the story of a very particular period in medieval history.”

The Bayeux Tapestry is a 230-foot-long embroidery (technically not a tapestry) depicting the Norman Conquest of England, ending with the Battle of Hastings in 1066. It’s crucial to British and French history as a monumental work of medieval art, and as a historical account of the clash between the Anglo-Saxon King Harold II and the Norman King William the Conqueror.

William the Conqueror — an obvious influence on Aegon the Conqueror, the historic Targaryen shown in the Season 2 opening — eventually won the battle, becoming arguably the first true King of England. Told through a series of vignettes on a seamless piece of linen, this tapestry is an effective storytelling tool that remains stunning almost 1,000 years later.

The Bayeux Tapestry depicts William the Conqueror’s defeat of King Harold II.

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Like the Bayeux Tapestry, House of the Dragon’s new opening titles begin with the historical context of its epic clash. The show opens with depictions of Old Valyria and the Dragonriders, while the tapestry begins with Edward the Confessor on the English throne before shifting to King Harold’s coronation and the appearance of a bad omen that we now know to be Halley’s Comet.

“It gives us a lot of places to go,” Condal said. “The story obviously starts on Valyria and then at some point in the sequence, you’re like, ‘Oh, I remember that from Season 1’ and you see how we’ve moved from Aegon the Conqueror’s time and pass through all the kings, and now we’re telling the story as we’re seeing it unfold and also seeing it literally being stitched into this tapestry.”

Aegon II and Rhaenyra on their respective thrones in the House of the Dragon Season 2 opening sequence.

HBO

It’s not the first time the Bayeux Tapestry’s epic depiction of a monumental battle has been compared to the Game of Thrones universe. In 2017, HBO and the Tourism Board of Northern Ireland (a frequent shooting location for the series) commissioned The Game of Thrones Tapestry, which depicts the series' events. By the time it was finished in 2019, it was longer than the Bayeux Tapestry.

The events of Game of Thrones were inspired by England’s 15th-century Wars of the Roses, while House of the Dragon looks further back into both fictional and real-life history. Now it’s clear just how deep that inspiration runs, and just as Hastings changed history forever, the Dance of the Dragons will have an impact Westeros will feel for centuries.

House of the Dragon Season 2 is streaming on Max.

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