HBO’s House of the Dragon season 1 was a commercial success but it strayed from the source material. House of the Dragon‘s showrunners had to make certain changes and invent new scenes to expand the show’s plots and events. Although this only partially sat well with readers of George R. R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, it was inevitably necessary.
House of the Dragon is entirely based on Martin’s 2018 Fire & Blood novel. Created as a prequel to Game of Thrones (2011–2019), it is set almost 200 years before the events in the eight seasons of GOT. Since Martin’s Fire & Blood was written like a scholarly historical narration by Archmaester Gyldayn, certain scene additions were necessary to fill in the gaps. Here are the top 5 House of the Dragon scenes that weren’t in the book.
5. The Standoff At Dragonstone
In House of the Dragon season 1, episode 2 “The Rogue Prince,” Daemon has successfully but illegally occupied Dragonstone. Daemon takes the dragon egg meant for King Viserys’ dead child, referred to as “The Heir for a Day” by Daemon. Not contenting himself with only taking the egg, Daemon declares himself the heir to the Iron Throne. Viserys sends his Hand, Otto Hightower, to retrieve the egg from Daemon. Prince Daemon is unwilling to release the egg to Otto and his entourage, using his Dragon, Caraxes, to intimidate the group. Luckily, Princess Rhaenyra arrives on her Dragon, Syrax, and retrieves the egg without any bloodbath.
Rather than being adapted from Fire & Blood, this scene was 100% cooked up by showrunners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik. In all of Archmaester Gyldayn’s sometimes conflicting narration, there’s no account of a standoff at Dragonstone. When Viserys learns Daemon has taken the Dragon’s Egg, he demands its return. Daemon obeys his King without any hesitation.
In The House of the Dragon, the inclusion of the scene helps push the narrative of Daemon being a ruthless prince capable of treason if unchecked. Having the audience believe this narrative this early in the season’s opening creates needed suspense. Targaryens are capable of anything, and having a usurper in the family is hardly surprising. Additionally, this scene helps further portray the soft spot (romantic or respectful) Daemon has for Rhaenyra.
4. Daemon’s Murder Of Rhea Royce
In House of the Dragon season 1, Prince Daemon’s disposition towards his wife is defined by hatred. In several instances, it is inferred that Daemon has refused to return to his wife in the Vale or consummate his marriage to Lady Rhea Royce. At the beginning of episode 5 “We Light the Way,” Daemon murders his wife after she berates and taunts him. He strikes her head with a stone when she falls off her horse and is then crushed by the animal.
In Fire & Blood, when Lady Rhea Royce dies in the Vale, Daemon is away fighting in the Stepstones. Although the book speaks of her death, it doesn’t state how she died. The murder of the Lady of the Vale and Daemon’s wife would likely have been something Archmaester Gyldayn would have reported. This points to the fact that she could not have been murdered.
Once again, this addition helps to paint the picture of a ruthless Prince Daemon. Since the historical account leaves out the cause of her death, showrunners saw an opportunity to create an entirely new dramatic scene. Daemon could easily have snuck into the Vale and killed his wife without anyone suspecting him.
3. HOTD Added Aegon’s Dream and the “Song of Ice and Fire” Prophecy
With no male heir to the Iron Throne, King Viserys names Rhaenyra as his heirin House of the Dragon. In a private conversation with Rhaenyra, Viserys reveals Aegon the Conqueror’s dream to her. The dream and the “Song of Ice and Fire” prophecy tell of a “terrible winter” from the North. Viserys continues by stating a Targaryen must be on the throne when this happens to unite the realm. Viserys shows Rhaenyra the Valyrian steel catspaw dagger as proof of a history-long secret from a King to an heir.
In Fire & Blood, there is no prophecy of Song of Ice and Fire or dream of that magnitude. There is no secret being passed down from generation to generation. In the book, Aegon the Conqueror did not know of the White Walkers. He conquered and united the realm for his own selfish reasons.
As a prequel to Game of Thrones, HOTD’s showrunners had to find a way to link them together. A Song of Ice and Fire links to the White Walkers and Jon Snow’s story in GOT. The passed-down Valyrian steel catspaw dagger would be the same that Arya would use to kill the Knight King.
2. Alicent’s Attempt To Kill Rhaenyra With Viserys Dagger
Episode 7 “Driftmark” contains one of the tensest scenes in House of the Dragon season 1. When Rhaenyra’s son, Lucerys, slashes Alicent’s son’s (Aemond) eye, Queen Alicent demands justice. King Viserys forbids any payback plan for Lucerys to lose an eye. Feeling defeated and angry, Queen Alicent lunges at her husband’s Valyrian steel dagger to remove the eye herself. Rhaenyra quickly steps forward to prevent Alicent from wounding her child. As Rhaenyra taunts Alicent for finally revealing her true self, Alicent mistakenly cuts Rhaenyra’s hand.
There is no record of such altercations anywhere in the book. Unlike the series, Alicent and Rhaenyra do not share a close relationship. However, this doesn’t lead to an open confrontation like this.
With Rhaenyra’s claim to the throne still being questioned secretly, the scene helps show Viserys undying love for Rhaenyra and her children. Alicent had tried hard to hide her true intentions, having others do her bidding. As Rhaenyra taunts, the scene reveals Alicent how dangerous and protective Alicent can be for her family.
1. Rhaenys Never Rode Her Dragon Into Aegon’s Coronation
The scene from House of the Dragon episode 9 “The Green Council” had viewers screaming “Dracarys” at their screens. With Ser Erryk Cargyll freeing Princess Rhaenys, Rhaenys goes for her Dragon in the Dragonpit. Rhaenys makes a grand entrance astride her Dragon, Meleys, into the coronation hall. Killing and injuring some unsuspecting civilians, she proceeds to where the House Green royals are on the platform. Queen Alicent steps forward to block Aegon from the path of the Dragon’s breath. With pleas in her eyes, woman to woman, she stares blankly at Princess Rhaenys on her Dragon. Unwilling to help fight and end the Targaryens’ battle and in acknowledgment of a mother’s plea, Princess Rhaenys flies away on Meleys.
Sadly, as beautiful as that scene was, it never happened in the book. At the time of Prince Aegon II’s coronation, Rhaenys is not mentioned to be in King’s Landing.
As the penultimate episode of House of the Dragon season 1, the scene helped build more suspense. Targaryens are ruthless and unpredictable, and no better way to show their supremacy over House Green than with their control of dragons. There’s no doubt viewers were rooting for the annihilation of House Green on that stage. Princess Rhaenys just didn’t want to get involved in a war for which she had no benefit.
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