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'House of the Dragon' Explains 'Game of Thrones' White Walker Detail

According to Episode 1, the Targaryens conquered the Seven Kingdoms because of the looming threat.

Jennifer Bisset
Jennifer Bisset
Jennifer Bisset Former Senior Editor / Culture
Jennifer Bisset was a senior editor for CNET. She covered film and TV news and reviews. The movie that inspired her to want a career in film is Lost in Translation. She won Best New Journalist in 2019 at the Australian IT Journalism Awards.
Expertise Film and TV Credentials
  • Best New Journalist 2019 Australian IT Journalism Awards
Jennifer Bisset
2 min read
Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen at his wife's death bed

King Viserys I Targaryen made big decisions in episode 1.

Photograph by Ollie Upton/HBO

House of the Dragon has kicked off on HBO, and it already looks to have squashed any doubts it'll be another high fantasy winner. Aside from breaking viewing records, the prequel series has also wisely dangled connections to Game of Thrones, including an explanation for why Westeros ended up the way it did.

Spoilers ahead.

After deciding to name Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) his heir, King Viserys (Paddy Considine) passes on to her a Targaryen family secret.

"Our histories, they tell us that Aegon looked across the Blackwater from Dragonstone, saw a rich land ripe for the capture," Viserys says, referring to Aegon the Conqueror, the first Targaryen ruler of Westeros. "But ambition alone is not what drove him to conquest. It was a dream."

Viserys explains why Aegon set out to conquer the Seven Kingdoms in the first place.

"Aegon foresaw the end of the world of men. It is to begin with a terrible winter gusting out of the distant North. Aegon saw absolute darkness riding on those winds and whatever dwells within will destroy the world of the living."

He continues: "When this great winter comes, Rhaenyra, all of Westeros must stand against it. And if the world of men is to survive, a Targaryen must be seated on the Iron Throne. A king or queen strong enough to unite the realm against the cold and the dark."

A mid shot of Milly Alcock as Princess Rhaenyra standing outdoors with a crowd of people (who are blurred out)

Milly Alcock as Princess Rhaenyra.

Photograph by Ollie Upton/HBO

In a nutshell, Aegon wanted the Targaryens to conquer the Seven Kingdoms and Westeros because he believed that only his descendants would be able to unite the realm and thwart the rise of the White Walkers. These descendants turn out to be Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen, who defeat the White Walkers with the help of Daenerys' powerful dragons.

For anyone still heartbroken about Daenerys' fate, at least there's the tiniest bit of solace in knowing she succeeded in fulfilling her family's worthy mission.

Aegon's vision of a great winter, the White Walkers and their threat to Westeros is named almost exactly the same as the title of George R.R. Martin's series of novels: A Song of Ice and Fire.

"Aegon called his dream The Song of Ice and Fire," Viserys says. "This secret, it's been passed from king to heir since Aegon's time. Now you must promise to carry it."

Whether Princess Rhaenyra succeeds in passing down the family secret remains to be seen.

Episode 2 of House of the Dragon hits HBO on Sunday at 9 p.m. PT.

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