WARNING! This post contains minor SPOILERS for House of the Dragon’s season 1 finale and George R.R. Martin’s book, Fire & Blood!House of the Dragon’s season 1 finale sets up the Tully family’s humorous connection to The Muppets. Many of the names in Game of Thrones’ world are difficult to remember or notable for being slight variations on common English names; Catelyn is close to Caitlin, Benjen is close to Benjamin, Samwell is a variation of Samuel, and Alicent is adjacent to Alison. Many House of the Dragon names are based on the characters’ cultures, such as the Targaryens having Valyrian names, but House Tully’s monikers come from a more familiar real-world source: Jim Henson’s Muppets.
In House of the Dragon season 1, episode 10, both Rhaenyra Targaryen and Otto Hightower namedrop Grover Tully, the Lord of Riverrun, who begins the family’s odd association with The Muppets. Lord Grover Tully’s name is inspired by Sesame Street’s blue furry monster. House of the Dragon’s future character Elmo Tully – Grover’s grandson – continues the trend as his name is derived from Sesame Street’s most popular red monster. Elmo Tully’s two sons in House of the Dragon are named Kermit (The Muppets’ green frog) and Oscar (Sesame Street’s grouchy trash can-residing monster). According to George R.R. Martin’s co-authors (via Twitter), the only reason for House Tully’s Muppets names is that it amuses Martin.
House Tully’s Geography Continues HOTD’s Muppets Easter Egg
George R.R. Martin’s clever Muppets Easter egg in House of the Dragon goes even further with the geography associated with House Tully and Riverrun. The Trident, the large river that runs through the Tully-led Riverlands, is separated into three major branches: The Red Fork, Blue Fork, and Green Fork. Not coincidentally, the names of the Trident’s three main rivers align with the colors of House Tully’s inspirational Muppets: The Red Fork for Elmo, the Blue Fork for Grover, and the Green Fork for Kermit and Oscar.
Why Game Of Thrones’ Tullys Don’t Have Muppets Names
Fire & Blood and The World of Ice & Fire, the two books that feature House Tully’s characters inspired by The Muppets, were released after Game of Thrones. As such, Martin likely decided to give House Tully their own cultural names ahead of time, but when it came to the era of House of the Dragon, decided to add a fun Muppets joke with the names that still align with the style of the Tullys’ historic monikers. The Tullys may have humorous Muppets names in House of the Dragon, but the Game of Thrones characters by the names of Catelyn, Edmure, Brynden, Lysa, and Hoster are more representative of common Riverlander titles.
Considering Game of Thrones’ Tully characters having Muppets-inspired names may have been somewhat distracting, Martin made the right choice by saving this joke for House of the Dragon. House Tully doesn’t play a major role until toward the end of the horrifying Dance of the Dragons, with their purpose largely being fulfilled by skill in battle rather than integral political strategy (aside from Kermit). These are the types of characters that Martin can typically have more fun with, as the author is known for using smaller plot lines or figures to include countless tributes and allusions to works like The Lord of the Rings, The Three Stooges, and even the NFL.