Rhaenyra’s Ice & Fire Ties Explained By House of the Dragon Showrunner

WARNING! SPOILERS ahead for House of the Dragon episode 10 and George R.R. Martin’s Fire & BloodHouse of the Dragon showrunner Ryan Condal reveals how Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) fits in to Aegon the Conqueror’s Song of Ice and Fire. King Viserys (Paddy Considine) reveals the prophecy passed down the Targaryen lineage about their destiny to his daughter Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) early on in House of the Dragon’s run. The prophecy he describes, Aegon’s dream, speaks of a great Winter and darkness from the North, which only the Prince That Was Promised, believed to be descended from the Targaryen line, can stand against. The knowledge Aegon I possessed led him to unite the realm in preparation for the threat and pass the information down to his descendants.

Once the king broke tradition and named Rhaenyra as his heir despite her gender, he supported her claim until the end of his life, defending her from naysayers and even proclaiming on his deathbed that she was the one the prophecy spoke of. However, his wife Alicent (Olivia Cooke) misinterpreted his words, believing that his mention of Aegon was in reference to their son, and that Viserys wished him to rule instead of Rhaenyra. This fatal communication error set up the civil war to follow, despite having little to do with the prophecy Viserys was actually referring to. Considering the Song of Ice and Fire’s resurgence in Game of Thrones, it’s interesting to see how Rhaenyra fits into that history nearly two centuries prior.

While speaking with Deadline, Condal explains Rhaenyra’s connection to the prophecy in more detail. The showrunner describes the queen’s difficult position, emphasizing her steadfast belief in her father’s mission and commitment to peace and unity. When asked why Rhaenyra was concerned about the prophecy since Aegon also has Targaryen blood, Condal is quick to dispel the idea that the prophecy boils down to genetics. Check out what he has to say below:

It’s not as easy and clear cut as that. I think what Rhaenyra is struggling with is this idea that her father has entrusted this charge with her, and that she is the named heir, and the other side has seized the throne. She’s been told that Viserys changed his mind on his death bed but I don’t think Rhaenyra believes any of that for a minute, because he backed her. We saw him in episode eight climb the throne in that beautiful scene and essentially back her claim. So she’s dealing with the fact that she is the named heir and also that she thinks she is uniquely qualified to be somebody who keeps the realm at peace and to unite everybody. She does not think that Aegon is the guy to carry on the charge, nor does she believed that Viserys ever entrusted the secret with him. So she’s wrestling with the idea that she’s been asked to keep the realm of peace, but also she’s the rightful heir. That’s the thing that she’s really struggling with over the course of episode 10, when all the men around the table just want to charge off for war.

Fans of Martin’s work know that prophecies are fickle, ever-changing, and unreliable. Ultimately, it is men that give them meaning through the actions they take while being informed by those supposed prophecies. Though Viserys and Rhaenyra’s goal of unity and peace is noble, Rhaenyra’s belief that she has been anointed by a higher power to rule the realm will be part of what leads her to commit further bloodshed. However, the queen’s future actions will also be informed by the betrayals enacted against her, the losses she has suffered at the hands of the Greens, and her desire to uphold her father’s wishes. In House of the Dragon season 2, Rhaenyra will be on a brutal path to reclaim her destiny, hardened by everything that was taken from her in the season 1 finale.

The Song of Ice and Fire’s importance to the Game of Thrones franchise as a whole cannot be understated, and though viewers of the prequel series know the prophecy’s events will not come to pass in Rhaenyra’s time, the words are less important than her interpretation of them. The knowledge of Aegon’s dream unites her with her late father, while also strengthening her own dedication to her claim, since her quest for the throne comes from something bigger than herself. Condal’s depiction of the character’s inner struggle shows the queen’s measured capability for restraint and reasoning, but House of the Dragon season 2 will reveal just how far she will go to carry on her father’s vision for the Targaryen dynasty.

Source: Deadline