Game of Thrones fans will once again be transported to the world of Westeros when HBO’s House of the Dragon arrives on Sky Atlantic on 22 August in the UK.
Steaming on HBO in the US and on Sky Atlantic and NOW for UK audiences, the 10-part House of the Dragon series follows the mighty Targaryen dynasty and is set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones.
House of the Dragon is based on George R.R. Martin’s 2018 novel Fire and Blood which takes a deep dive into Targaryen history and the slow demise of a once great house through a bloody civil war.
While the show will focus primarily on the Targaryens, Hightowers and Velaryons, several of the main houses that we know from Game of Thrones will also be featured.
As House of the Dragon is a prequel set hundreds of years before Game of Thrones, we can trace the history and lineage of the various dynasties to see how the characters relate to their Thrones counterparts and get an insight into how past events shaped house loyalties and feuds.
Watch a trailer for House of the Dragon
If the prequel series is anything like Game of Thrones, it’s going to be a full-time job to keep tabs on all the characters and their intertwining plots, as George RR Martin loves a complex narrative, coupled with a gigantic cast.
The author has recently spoken about how House of the Dragon is a character-driven drama, rather than action series, writing on his live journal, not a blog: “Those of you who like complex, conflicted, grey characters (as I do) will like this series, I think.
There will be plenty of dragons and battles, to be sure, but the spine of the story is the human conflicts, the love and the hate, character drama rather than action/ adventure.”
Here’s our guide to some of the houses in the series and how they relate to Game of Thrones characters.
While House of the Dragon begins with the Targaryen’s on the coveted iron throne, fans will know that the house falls into chaos with the ‘dance of the dragon's’ civil war and tragic descent into madness.
Viserys (Paddy Considine) is the fifth king of the Targaryen dynasty who creates chaos in the realm by abandoning the male-heir tradition when he names his daughter Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy), as his successor.
Rather unsurprisingly many of the lords of Westeros do not support Rhaenyra’s claim to the throne, with Princess Rhaenys Velaryon stating' 'a woman would not inherit the Iron Throne. Because that is the order of things', as it is uttered in the most recent trailer.
Prince Daemon — played by Matt Smith — also believes he has a claim to the throne as the younger brother of King Viserys. He's a peerless warrior and dragon rider, who 'possesses the true blood of the dragon'.
The throne dispute between family members and half-siblings sparks a generational war known as the ‘dance of the dragons’, that leads to the eventual downfall of House Targaryen.
So how does any of this relate to the mother of dragons herself, Daenerys Targaryen, in the Game of Thrones series? Vaguely is probably the fairest assessment, with multiple counts of incest, madness and marriages, it can be hard to connect the apples on the Targaryen family tree.
Viserys looks to be an extremely distant uncle of Daenerys, though is never mentioned in the HBO series.
We only hear about Daenerys’ father Aerys II, better known as The Mad King, who slid into insanity during his chaotic reign.
One of the dynasties appearing in House of the Dragon will be House Hightower, one of the oldest and cashed up houses in the Seven Kingdoms, which can trace its ancestry from the days of the First Men.
In the source novel Fire and Blood, House Hightower is best known for being instrumental in causing the civil war. Traditionally, the family weren't interested in playing the 'Game of Thrones' but that all changed during the era of the Dance of the Dragons, as they start to become involved in the scheming and politicking of the Seven Kingdoms.
One member who will be a prominent character is Otto Hightower, (Rhys Ifans), the Hand of the King to three Targaryen rulers including Viserys I. His daughter Alicent (Olivia Cooke) becomes the second wife of King Viserys Targaryen and supports the claim of her son, Aegon, to the throne.
House Hightower can still be found in the Game of Thrones timeline and features in the source novel, A Song of Ice and Fire novels as an influential family with strong ties to the Tyrells.
Fans of the HBO series will know that the family’s legacy in the show lies in their stronghold of Oldtown. It’s an important location in the seven kingdoms as it’s home to the Citadel, which is where the Order of the Maesters lives.
The ancient house Velaryon will feature heavily in House of the Dragon with legendary seafarer Lord Corlys Velaryon, 'the Sea Snake’ having a pivotal role in the prequel series.
Lord Corlys (Steve Toussaint) is a renowned nautical adventurer in Westeros and built House Velaryon into a powerful and rich seat that rivals the wealthy Lannisters. The family hail from Driftmark, west of the Targaryens' island home of Dragonstone and are thought to be early settlers of Westeros.
Some fans will just be learning about the Velaryon dynasty, as they aren’t a part of the Game of Thrones TV series, though they do have a major role in some of the Throne’s novellas.
Like many of the dynasties, the Velaryons help to shape the overall narrative of the Game of Thrones universe and their influence ripples through the timelines. Their close relationship with the Targaryens proved to be their weakness during Robert’s rebellion and the family was subsequently iced out.
In A Clash of Kings, the Velaryons still have a powerful navy which is utilised when Lord Monford Velaryon answers Stannis Baratheon when he calls on his bannermen in the War of the Five Kings.
In the early House of the Dragon trailer, we hear Lord of Winterfell Rickard Stark pledging allegiance to King Viserys.
Fans of House Stark have been left wondering who Rickard is and how he fits into the overall timeline, given he isn’t on the current cast list.
It’s not entirely clear how Rickard relates to the later Starks, (other than via typically convoluted house lineage), who were the primary protagonists in the Game of Thrones series and source novels.
With Rickard bending the knee alongside Corlys Velaryon and Boremund Baratheon in the teaser trailer, it seems that Starks are assuming their classic role as wardens of the north and will only venture south when necessary.
If House of the Dragon closely follows its source material novel, we can also assume that the Starks won't play a huge role in early episodes, and will come in later, with the signing of the Pact of Ice and Fire.
House of the Dragon airs on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW from 22 August.