Low ratings in its final season can't keep the Game of Thrones franchise down. The groundbreaking series has a new face: HBO's House of the Dragon, set 175 years before the events of its predecessor.
A little more than halfway through its first season, the show already has fans ecstatic – and not just from the traditional battles and drama. The show is rife with intentional details ranging from minute to enormous, relating to both Game of Thrones and its source material, the 2018 novel Fire and Blood.
Here are 10 of the most interesting details shown so far in "House of the Dragon." How many did you catch?
A New Iron Throne
The Iron Throne is the iconic image of Game of Thrones. It is the Skywalker lightsaber, the ruby slippers, the Maltese Falcon for the most popular show of the 2010s. While most royal seats across cinematic, literary, or even real kingdoms are magnificently cozy, fit for a king. The Iron Throne was designed to invoke fear. It was the seat of power in the Seven Kingdoms; royalty wasn't fitting for the comfortable but for those who ruled absolutely.
Even as intimidating as it was in the show, Martin described it a bit differently. In his novels, it was a monstrosity. It was huge and asymmetrical, made from the swords of 1,000 vanquished enemies. "House of the Dragon" showed a version that was more in tune with Martin's description. It sprawled across the throne room and caused wounds on those who sat upon it.
The Brutality of the Gold Cloaks
Another piece of House of the Dragon pulled straight from Matin's novels was the brutality Daemon instilled upon the Gold Cloaks. This group was the City Watch, of which Daemon was the commander. He goes beyond his orders, ignoring due process and using torture, death, and dismemberment as means to rid King's Landing of criminality. This brand of justice was the same punishment used by Daemon and his Gold Cloaks in Fire and Blood.
Daemon's Not Always the Bad Guy
Daemon is often shown committing crimes and scandals, but he's also been shown doing some good. He's shown with his wife, Laena, who's been pushing through hours of labor with their third child. He's asked if she should be cut open to save the child. If this happens, she will not survive. He doesn't consent and Laena is able to live out her last breaths as she wishes, with dignity.
An Unusual Name for a Velaryon
Rhaenyra shows the newborn prince to Alicent and King Viserys. The latter is pleased to meet the boy, saying he has his father's nose. The queen asks the child's name, to which Rhaenyra says they haven't decided. Laenor says the name Joffrey. Alicent remarks that that's an unusual name for a Velaryon.
Joffrey was the name of Laenor's lover, shown brutally murdered in Episode 5. Alicent is undercutting the future king consort's alleged son being named for the father's dead lover. It can also be taken that she knows that this child, along with the rest, is not really Laenor's, whose sexual preferences are an open secret.
Rodent Problem in King's Landing
Rodents have been spotted scurrying across the screen in several episodes of House of the Dragon thus far. The clearest occurrence was the rat that drinks the blood of Joffrey as Laenor and Rhaenyra exchange their vows. There are two theories as to what these rodents mean.
One comes straight from the book, involving an upcoming plotline (the exact plot would be an enormous spoiler) by characters names Blood and Cheese. The other theory is that House of the Dragon could include a character who's a greenseer like Bran Stark and the rodents are being used as spies.
Like in Martin's books, "House of the Dragon" has costuming that is meant to be symbolic and significant to the story. Alicent's green dress is the most overt of these. Interrupting her husband's wedding toast, she walks through the throne room in this green dress and sucks the attention from the king and his heir. Larys Strong asks what color House Hightower uses to call its people to war. The answer: Green. She's using this gown to proclaim that she wants her song Aegon II to be King, an act that prepares characters and the audience for the coming civil war.
Hold the Mushrooms
Source material, Martin's Fire and Blood novel, is a fictional collected history compilation, coming from several sources who know different events from different points of view. The most detailed of narrators is Mushroom, a dwarf in King Viserys' court. His position as fool led nobles to believe he truly was foolish, possibly allowing him to hear secrets of those whose guard has been let down. He hasn't yet shown or been confirmed for "House of the Dragon," but one background character fits the description.
This character appears at the beginning of Rhaenyra and Laenor's wedding, wearing Targaryen colors and playing music with the band, not unlike a court jester. Is this a meaningless Easter egg for fans of the novel, or does it mean something more?
The Bronze B****
The regrettable pet name comes from Prince Daemon toward his wife, Lady Rhea Royce. Their marriage isn't a happy one, they haven't consummated their marriage, and Daemon spends little time in her homeland. The second part of the pet name is clear; the "Bronze" part is not.
Bronze doesn't refer to her hair or skin colors but to her family crest, her lineage. House Royce traces its roots to the First Men, the "Bronze Kings" who ruled until House Arryn took power. Their flag is a bronze square; they wear bronze armor. She, too, wears bronze armor while hunting in Episode 5. Each half of the pet name is derisive in different ways; the first part is him demeaning her house's standing.
Drunken Viserys laments to his brother that Daemon was "always mother's favorite." Pushing past Daemon's protests, the King continues that Princess Alyssa – their mother – had no regard for customs, traditions, or rules and that he himself was no great warrior. In the book, Alyssa did in fact favor Daemon. She took him on rides with the dragon from the time he was a child. The King is upset at how proud she would have been of the dragonriding fighter Daemon compared to his dragonless self.
To be a Dreamer
Viserys tells Rhaenyra in episode three that she will be named heir, only wavering once in that decision. He wonders to his wife if that is the right decision, drunkenly rambling at how there are many dragonriders among the Targaryens but few dreamers. He certainly isn't a dragonrider; he wishes to be a dreamer. His vision of a son taking the Iron Throne must come true, not for the act itself, but for what the fulfilled dream represents. He wants his dreams to mean something. This calls back to the trailer, in which Daemon says, "Dreams didn't make us kings; dragons did."
With a lot of ways to go in the show, these details are sure to keep coming. Check out House of the Dragon each Sunday on HBO and let us know what new details you can spot.