House of the Dragon Episode One Outline w/ Easter Eggs

The Westeros Cinematic Universe is upon us with our first 'Game of Thrones' extension - the story of the Targaryen Kings and their family civil war: House of the Dragon

by Girls Go Books Deep

Season 2, Episode 15 Girls Go Books Deep Podcast

Let’s meet Daenerys’ family members…

What’s Up, Weirdos! I’m Amanda.  Janae is busy editing at the moment, and we are Girls Go Books Deep.
We take deep dives into the Fantasy & Science Fiction content you love the most. Today, we’re catching up on what’s going on in Westeros again – Finally! I’ll be breaking down all of the Easter Eggs in Episode 1 of House of the Dragon [*add dragon roar*] based on George R R Martin’s 2018 book Fire and Blood. 

*Intro Music*

Hello Everybody! Thank you so much for joining the conversation.  Today, we are discussing the first episode of the highly anticipated House of the Dragon [*roar]. Major Spoilers from this point forward. You have been warned… Sorry that it’s just one of us – this will only happen once in a blue moon.  We realized too late that what we had recorded should be split into one that was just a breakdown and one that delves much deeper into the family history, so we’re both currently bringing you the best content we can.

Episode 1 is named Heirs of the Dragon, which is the name of the chapter where this story starts exactly. If you want to catch up and know what’s going on a little bit more than the average TV watcher, then grab a copy of Fire and Blood – or! You could follow us on TikTok…

Oh yeah – shameless self-plugging segue – We’re running a giveaway right now because we need your help! In order to be able to live stream on TikTok, you must have 1000 followers. So, we’re giving away a hardcover copy of George’s Fire and Blood to one lucky listener once we’ve hit our goal of 1000 followers on TikTok. 

This way we could add TikTok to our Live After Show! Girls Go Books Deep is hosting the “Girls Go After HotD” LIVE After Show! directly after House of the Dragon, every Sunday at 10pm EST. Currently, you can view our live after-show on YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook. We would love to add TikTok to that lineup, but we can’t without your help. You’ve already taken us farther than we thought we’d go, so we just want to say we appreciate you guys so much!!  So now, let’s get into it.


House of the Dragon

Episode 1 : Heirs of the Dragon


  • The show opens with the maesters bringing the results of their vote count to Old King Jaehaerys in Harrenhall at the Great Council of 101AC (after Aegon’s Conquest).
    • They actually do it justice! It definitely looks big enough to house 1000 people, and it’s fully packed. 
    • This whole thing has George’s hand all over it.  They never miss a chance to drop subtle hints and callbacks or echoes of a different character from another time.
    • All of the great lords of Westeros have convened here at Harrenhal to vote on the matter of gender and succession.
    • King Jaehaerys I has lost both of his eldest sons to tragedy and a decision needs to be made, not just for now but one that will prevent any problems in the future.
  • It comes down to his two eldest grandchildren. Princess Rhaenys and Prince Viserys.
This is a Rhaenys Stan site… FWI.
  • Princess Rhaenys is passed over for being a woman.
    • In the book, she and her daughter were already passed over once when her father (the eldest son) died. This time, she has a son, Laenor, who is a child at the time. So the decision is actually down to Prince Viserys and Prince Laenor.
      • Primogeniture Favors Laenor – His mother was the eldest child, of the eldest son of the king. He’s also a dragon rider and his parents are *both* very powerful people.
      • Proximity Favors Viserys – He was the last Targaryen Prince to claim and ride Balerion the Black Dread. He’s a man of 24 years old who is already married and fathered a child, Rhaenyra, with another on the way. [Laenor is a boy of 7 years old.]
  • In the end, the lords thought the male line should matter more than the female line – so Viserys was chosen.  Viserys’ younger brother, Daemon, is the presumed heir until he produces a male child.
  • We don’t get an opening sequence in this episode, just a cold open.  But we do get a sort of title card with just the Targaryen sigil (shown in gold, hmmmm) on a black background.
  • Next, it is an absolute gorgeous flying scene of Rhaenyra in the clouds and over King’s Landing on Syrax [a she-dragon named after a Targaryen Goddess], landing in the Dragon Pit looking almost exactly like Dany in her black coat and hoping in a carriage with Alicent for the long ride back to the Red Keep.
    • The opening sentiments tell us that this is 172 years before the birth of Daenerys and nine years into Viserys’ reign – which puts the time period we are seeing as 111-112AC.
    • In the books, Rhaenyra would have been around 15 years old, but Alicent is actually about 10 years older than her. Aging her down to make it more of an emotional break for them in the future is a great idea I think. 
      • I didn’t catch this from the book, but this first interaction we see between Rhaenyra and Alicent – do we have shipping vibes?
      • Then we see Graham McTavish playing the head of the King’s Guard, Ser Harrold Westerling! Where are my Outlander fans at?! There are actually a few different actors who’ve been on Outlander that made their way onto the HotD.
  • We get amazing sweeping shots of the Red Keep filled with people during its prime while following Rhaenyra around the castle for her usual morning. 
    • A lap on the dragon
    • Carriage ride with the bestie
    • Visit mom for a bit and check in on her
    • Cupbearer duties, morning small council meeting.
  • It’s great to see the relationship between Rhaenyra and Aemma as well. As women, especially “just the mother” you get little to no information about her in the historical telling of the information in the book. Very accurate. But that’s why this show is going to be so amazing – the room they have to spread their wings and writing chops is immense.
    • “We have royal wombs, you and I.  The childbed is our battlefield.  We must learn to face it with a stiff lip.” Wow.
  • We enter into the small council meeting with Viserys in the midst of telling the punchline of a dirty joke and everyone laughs – all but Corlys.  A man who’s very much about his business. And we’re already hearing about the Triarchy! 
    • You can tell he already brought it up, it reminded Viserys of a joke – so he told it – and Corlys let everyone indulge him, waited… and then proceeded to talk about the adult problems, you know… what they’re here to do.  Yet, he gets sidestepped by the Hand who wants to just switch the subject to something lighter that the King would be happy to discuss, the tourney for his unborn child. The silent protest of wine was enough said. 
  • Rhaenyra comes into the room to fulfill cupbearer duties as we hear details about the Craghas Crabfeeder, and she’s lovingly chided by her father for being late and smelling like a dragon. (Very adorable – very, very appropriate.  The family and small court dynamic are set up beautifully in such little time.)
  • Then Ser Westerling takes Rhaenyra to the throne room to see her uncle who’s just come in this morning and no one else knows is there.  They open the doors to see him sitting on the Iron Throne and Ser Westerling almost faints, lol. But Rhaenyra says it’s fine and sends him away.
    • No one else knows that he’s here, she’s being brought to the room, and he has a gift for her. It’s safe to say that *he’s* the one who requested this meeting.
    • It’s a very sweet yet savory vibe we get from this Uncle/Neice pairing… if you thought there was too much incest in Game of Thrones – this might not be the one for you.  Not going to lie, George pulls from real-world history *a lot* to influence his world-building and incest is a rather normal part of royal life through the ancient (as well as not-so-ancient) times. Don’t believe me, look it up for yourself. Just google the Hapsburg Chin, lol.
  • Now Rhaenyra is lounging in the God’s Wood with Alicent, in front of a Heart Tree.  (We can see the face in the background!)  Alicent quizzes her on the story of the Warrior Queen Nymeria and her 10,000 ships.  
    • You can read the short story about this in the World of Ice and Fire.  This is actually a great way to not only call back GOT (because Arya named her direwolf Nymeria) but also drop hints to non-book readers about the world’s lore and history.  Nymeria’s 10,000 ships are slated to be one of the many different spinoffs coming from HBO as they develop the Westeros Cinematic Universe.
  • Another deviation from the book that actually makes total sense is that we see Viserys getting treated by a maester for a small cut on his back from the Iron Throne that just refuses to heal. I personally think this might be cancer because a small wound that goes unhealed and unchecked for too long can definitely develop into cancer. (That’s how Bob Marley died…) 
    • First, it’s well known by the Westerosi court that if the Iron Throne cuts you, you are not destined for a long reign. It’s a very uncomfortable and precarious seat to hold, on purpose. So not only do we hear him say that he’s been cut by the throne before, we also see it happen again later in the episode.
    • Second, the book actually never mentions *how* Viserys dies.  It just says that he died in his sleep one afternoon during a nap in 129AC, and then it recounts the immediate actions taken by his Hand, his wife the Queen, and the Small Council. 
  • Viserys has a sweet conversation with Aemma in the bath, and she gets pretty real with him. After so many pregnancies that don’t result in a happy baby, she just can’t bring herself to try again after this time.  This will be her last time going through labor. Both of their faces look as if they both bear too much weight.
    • She says a line about having a dragon instead of a baby – that’s sort of a book easter egg. There are so many deformed, dragon-like babies and stillbirths that happen in the Targaryen lineage. (And yes, Aemma is half Targaryen, she’s Viserys’ cousin. #Incestuous) This includes Rhago, the baby of Daenerys and Drogo.  Mary Maz Dur says it was a misshapen thing with a tail and bat wings.
  • The Dragon Dreams are really mentioned in the Fire and Blood or World of Ice and Fire books so much. It is much more a plot device of the Starks and Targaryens in the Song of Ice and Fire novel series.  But with the show, we’re getting so much more than the novels could possibly give us!!
    • The Dream: Born wearing Aegon’s iron crown.  Heard the sound of thundering hooves, splintering shields, and ringing swords.  I placed our son upon the Iron Throne as the bells of the Grand Sept tolled and all the dragons roared as one.
      • “Born wearing a crown. God spare me, birth is unpleasant enough as it is.
    • Foreshadowing. DUH Duh duh
    • So no one has seen Daemon for some time now, and Lord Beesbury was talking shit at the small council meeting because they’ve just recently given Command of the City Watch over to Daemon, and he had them outfitted with everything they need – new, and top of the line + some snazzy new gold cloaks. And they’ve been training. So, that’s where he’s been. Daemon is a season war veteran, a certified badass. He may not be the **best** fighter in Westeros, but he’s still a damn good one. And he’s been training all of these guys to get the town ready for the tourney. Training and getting really familiar with Flea Bottom.  So familiar in fact, they commoners now call him Lord Flea Bottom. Which, if you don’t remember from GOT, Flea Bottom is the slums of King’s Landing. 
  • The last scene fades into the pounding of the City Watch on their chest plates before Daemon makes a rousing pre-game speech. Now is when he’s going full tilt and displaying the King’s Justice – legit Medieval style. Thieves are getting their hands chopped off, rapists are being gelded, and murders get Dark Sister.  One could say it’s effective, but we don’t see very many lawyers or jury members down there, so…
  • At the next morning’s Small Council meeting, of course, Otto has something to say about what and how Daemon has done his job. They proceed to cut each other down and call each other out until Otto gets “emotional” and Viserys has to step in and say something. 
    • True Daemon speaks crudely about the man’s late wife, but as we can see from later in the episode – he clearly regards nothing as all that sacred, as long as it benefits *him*
    • Otto cuts people off while they’re speaking, talks shit about people’s marriage, and then gets butt hurt when you do the same back to him. He forces the issue of succession mere right after the friggin funeral and then sends his daughter to keep the king company.  He is a Pompous Ass. 
    • I love how they use direct quotes from the book when they have the rare opportunity to have quotes from characters.  Daemon calls his wife his “bronze bitch” and mentions the line about everyone fucking sheep in the vale. I was cracking up.
    • Matt Smith does a fantastic job of capturing Daemon’s charismatic asshole swagger.
    • I could believe that Otto was Rhys Ifans, my eyes ….. I’m just like wow.
  • This is when we meet Misaria, Daemon’s favorite pleasure lady that he likes to visit in Flea Bottom. In the book, people call her Misery, the White Worm – but it’s never said why.  She becomes a bigger player in things later, but it’s easy to see why he favors her now.  She seems to say all the right things to him.  H doesn’t have to be the toughest SOB when he’s around her. He can relax and let his other side show.
  • The Tourney Looks So AMAZING!!! Especially compared to the sad display during Robert’s reign. (Not gonna lie, it made me want to watch A Knight’s Tale, lol #RIPHeathLedger)
    • Easter Egg for ASOIAF nerds like me!! At the tourney, right after making mention of a “Mystery Knight” Princess Rhaenys is called upon for her favor by a Baratheon (her cousin, she’s half Baratheon and actually has brown hair in the books), and what is her laurel made of? Blue Winter Roses!! My brain when BOOM when I saw that! That is all George!
      • He’s confirming a conspiracy theory for us! That at the Tourney of Harrenhall during the Year of the False Spring, the Laughing Tree Mystery Knight *was* in fact Lyanna Stark. (This is probably the day that she and Rhaegar fell in love.)
      • Princess Rhaenys is an “echo” of Lyanna, whose favorite flower was the Blue Winter Rose.  And when she was sitting with her brothers and the Baratheons at the Tourney of Harrenhall when Rhaegar was about to tilt in the Joust, he asked for her favor and it was of what? Yes – Blue Winter Roses.  
      • If Rhaegar had lived through Robert’s Rebellion and become the next Targaryen King, he probably would have taken Lyanna as either a paramour or a 2nd wife for prophecy reasons. So, Lyanna too can also be called “The Queen Who Never Was.”
  • Totally didn’t notice the first time watching because I was bugging out over blue roses and the wonderful faces coming from Steve Toussaint – but I love that Lord Beesbury puts 5 Dragons on Daemon to win when he tilts against Otto’s oldest son!! LMAO
  • Then, just to be extra, he shoves the lance down by the horse’s legs and trips Hightower super dirty, nasty style. Then has the nerve to go and ask Alicent for her favor right afterward.  The look on Otto’s face when she goes to grab her favor to give to him – I lost it! What do you want her to do?! It’s not like she can be blatantly rude to a member of the royal family, come on!! But yeah, she’s still def smiling from ear to ear while giving him the favor and that’s just extra minty tea right there.
  • Viserys gets called away from the games because things are not going well with Aemma.  [Did anyone else notice how the maester came to speak to Otto first, and then Otto is the one who said something to Viserys…….. Fishy. Fishy. Fish.]
  • Grand Maester Mellos says that the baby is breached and there’s nothing else that they can do.  They’ve already given her as much milk of the poppy as they possibly can – but now he must make a hard decision.  Either lose both wife and child or act fast and possibly save the child – but it would have to be through a Cesarian. 
    • Everything compounds in this moment & all of his past losses, his duty as a monarch, the conversation with his wife… it all comes down to this decision. He chooses his heir, the one he feels that he desperately needs in order to keep everything peaceful and running the way it should. This is the tipping point. And without even consulting her on the matter, they perform a medieval C-section without any kind of local anesthetic or anything.
    • All the while, this scene is juxtaposed with the scenes of men “playing at war” as Rhaenys put it, are also dying in a bloody and gruesome way.  Except we’re used to this kind of gore. No one wants to look at or talk about the violence that happens in the birthing bed. And that’s the light that was shined on women in this episode. It’s heart-wrenching and the tone takes a serious nose dive from this point forward. We’re not so giddy about the flying dragons anymore. And that’s on purpose. This isn’t going to be a story of a pretty princess and her flying dragon friend. It’s going to be harsh, dark, and gritty. I hope you guys are ready.
    • This is actually a great moment when we’re faced with the question of the Grand Maester Conspiracy! Did they really do everything they could do? Janae and I dive into that a bit deeper in our Spoilers Episode, coming out at the same time as this one. Check that one out on our Patreon!
  • The funeral is so sad.  Even Daemon is quiet and somber.  He truly is the grayest of characters on this show. Rhaenyra is quite angry at the entire situation, but most of all her father, as well as she, should be (from her perspective). Yet Daemon is there to remind her that her father will need her more now than ever before. He is a dragon, but the dragon’s blood runs thick. He is a family man above all else. 
  • At the end of this scene, Viserys can’t bring himself to do the hard thing, the thing he doesn’t want to do. He leaves it up for his teenage daughter to stand up and speak the word Dracarys to light her mother’s funeral pyre.  It speaks volumes about the type of King he is, unfortunately. 
  • Directly after the funeral though, Otto pushes the matter of succession and the Small Council discusses Daemon and how he shouldn’t be the one to inherit because of his impulsivity and pension for violence. All the while he listens behind a wall of some kind, laughing when his brother says that he doesn’t believe his brother wants the throne. This man is willfully blind.  They also put forth Rhaenyra, but Lynel Strong (master of laws) reminds everyone that this is against the law technically! Of course, Corlys makes mention of his wife, but he also mentions that he would support Daemon – so Otto blatantly disregards anything he has to say. Everyone starts to argue and Viserys is irate at the very thought of being forced to talk about this at this moment. Paddy Considine commands the scene respectfully and shuts everyone down. He’s right, and yet… this will not be the last we hear about the matter. 
  • After, we see Otto writing a letter to be sent to Oldtown, presumably to his older brother Lord Hightower who lives there.
    • In the book, if I’m right, the letter reads: “‘On no account can Prince Daemon be allowed to ascend to the Iron Throne,’ the Hand wrote his brother.  ‘He would be a second Maegor the Cruel, or worse.’  It was Otto’s wish (then) that Princess Rhaenyra succeeds her father. ‘Better the Realm’s Delight than Lord Flea Bottom,’ he wrote. Nor was he alone in this opinion.”
    • And how do we know what Otto wrote to his brother? Because the maesters make copies of every message that is sent and received to their liege lords, to keep in the records.  Some lords can’t read or write, so the maester does it for him….
  • As he sends this letter off, Alicent comes in.  Poor Alicent, she’s been crying. She too loved the queen as many people did. She seems like a very sensitive girl.  A good girl who does what she’s told to do by her father, who is a very powerful man. 
  • What does it say to us that when he asks her to go and keep the kind company, she seems to immediately know what he means?  Telling her to wear one of her mother’s dresses just solidifies what he’s telling her, but she does not seem surprised by this at all… Things that make you go hmmmmmm
  • But she’s a good, dutiful daughter who does what she’s told, so she does what she’s told. Even going so far as to do her hair up.  Yet, when she gets there – it doesn’t seem overt or blatant grossness.  She’s very sweet and considerate because she knows what it’s like to lose someone you love – so she takes the time to tell him that she’s sorry for his loss.  And brings a history book because they both seem to be into reading about history, he’s sitting there with a perfect model of the Valerian Freehold – his ancestral homeland. 
  • Then… Daemon shows his ass.  This is will be a running thing, especially between these two brothers. Things are good – V likes to party, and D gives them plenty of reasons to party – but he’s always fucking up in some way and getting kicked out. This is one of those times, and Viserys gets pretty damn angry – rightly so.
  • Otto reports that Daemon was basically throwing a big party down on the Street of Silk in Flea Bottom, all for the baby Baelon whom he dubbed “Heir for a Day”  OUCH!! That doesn’t fly very well.
  • So Viserys has him come to the throne room and finally puts his foot down over something, but not without Daemon going off and hitting him with a little bit of some truth before he bounces.
    • I found it interesting that he calls Otto a “Second Son who stands to inherit nothing he doesn’t seize for himself.” And I’m like, does that not describe you Daemon?? 
  • He calls Viserys weak to his face and says that his council of leeches knows it and uses it to their advantage. [where’s the lie?]
  • This whole thing cuts so deeply to Viserys that he makes a judgment call right then and there.  A confrontational and quite scandalous decision.  He basically says fuck all of the decisions and decrees that have ever come before me, even the one that put ME on the friggin throne – I’m naming Rhaenyra as my heir. Now what?
  • Because of this, Daemon basically says Fuck all you guys, I’m out.  He grabs Mysaria, his white worm, and Caraxes, his Red Wyrm, and gets the hell out of there.
  • Next, we see a beautiful shot of Balerion the Black Dread’s skull in a place of honor, surrounded by candles when Rhaenyra meets with Viserys.
    • He tells her that she is now his heir and that he is so very sorry for overlooking her for so long. It was wrong of him. BUT THAT’S NOT ALL!
      • “The idea that we control the dragons is an illusion. They are a power man should never have trifled with.  One that brought Valeria to its Doom – it could happen again”
      • This is all spliced with images of the great lords of Westeros kneeling before her, pledging their loyalty.
      • “Our histories tell us that Aegon was just a conqueror and saw a land ripe for the picking – but that wasn’t all of it.  IT WAS A DREAM!
      • “Just as Daenys foresaw the end of Valeria, Aegon foresaw the end of the world of men. Tis to begin with a terrible winter from the distant North.  Aegon saw absolute darkness riding on those winds. Whatever dwells within will destroy the world of the living.  When it comes all of Westeros will stand against it and to survive, a Targ must be on the throne. (QUE?)  A king, or queen, strong enough to unite the realm against the cold. *Grabs catspaw dagger* This secret has been passed down from king to heir. Now you must promise to carry and protect it.”
Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO Paddy Considine, Milly Alcock HBO House of the Dragon Season 1


The Episode opens with a precedent being set and it closes with that precedent being broken – Loudly.

So, 1. The Catspaw dagger. I have so many questions!! It’s amazing, how did the Baratheons know they also hand down this dagger? Because Joffery had it, got it from his Dad. But I doubt they knew anything about this secret. Yet the catspaw dagger still found its way to kill the Night King.  Is that what’s being suggested when Viserys grabs it while talking about the terrible scourge coming from the North?

Also, 2! The fucking Iron Throne makes so much more sense now!!

In the first season of Game of Thrones, we hear old Nan telling Bran about the White Walkers and how they hate the sun, warmth, and *Iron* – this is exactly why all of the Stark ancestors in the crypt have an iron sword on their lap.  It will keep them from rising with the dead during the Long Night.  The fact that the Iron Throne is 100% made of and surrounded by iron swords is a way of protecting the Targaryen King when this evil comes to play.  So many things make so much more sense now!!!! With one fucking episode, Ryan and George have answered more questions than Dan & Dave did with a whole damn final season. Sorry, I had to say it. Got it out of the way, lol.

My brain is going to break! Check back in for everything that this enormous reveal could mean because it’s going to take some time to connect all of the dots. In the meantime, we also have a special spoiler edition podcast with Extra Extra information.  Head over to our Patreon to get our Subscription-based content! @GirlsGoBooksDeep

Just another quick reminder:

We’re running a giveaway right now because we need your help! In order to be able to do our live-streamed After Show on TikTok, we need 1000 active followers. So, we’re giving away a hardcover copy of George R R Martin’s Fire and Blood to one lucky listener once we’ve reached our goal of 1000 TikTok followers. 

Don’t Forget! Girls Go Books Deep hosts the Live House of the Dragon After Show “Girls Go After HotD”, every Sunday at 10pm EST on YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook. (that’s tonight!) We would love to add TikTok to that lineup, but we can’t without your help. So please follow @ GirlsGoBooksDeep

Thank You So Much, and we’ll see you tonight after Episode 2: The Rogue Prince!

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Girls Go Books Deep
Two millennial best friends who (couldn't be more opposite, but) love to talk about Fantasy/SciFi TV Shows & Movies, especially when they're based on literature or graphic novels.
Listen to the Podcast anywhere and everywhere or enjoy Janae & Amanda's *Live Reactions & Discussions* on the YouTube Channel under the same name: Girls Go Books Deep
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