I’ve written a couple handy primers to help us all get in the right headspace, but essentially: Forget what you know, you won’t need it much. House of the Dragon opens about 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones. The now 100-year-old Targaryen Dynasty is at its height, as the royal family holds the reins to 10 full-grown dragons.
We open at Harrenhal, the vast ruined castle that got famously dracarysed by Aegon the Conqueror, founder of the Targaryen Dynasty, a century before. We’re witnessing the Great Council of 101 AC, where the inheritor of the Iron Throne will be decided.
In that corner: the king’s grandson Viserys Targaryen, standing beside his wife Aemma Arryn, who is pregnant with their daughter, Rhaenyra Targaryen. (I know, I know — we’re not even two minutes in and already there’s a Rhaenys and a Rhaenyra to contend with. Not to mention the fact that most of the characters are sporting the same long, plantinum-blonde wig. Welcome to the Targaryen Dynasty. Edgar Winter is coming.)
Opening credits! Which expressly do not send us swooping over a map of Westeros to visit clockwork versions of the various locales that will figure in this week’s episode. Instead, we just zoom into the three-headed dragon sigil of House Targaryen.