Fans were in for a surprise when the second episode of House of the Dragon, “The Rogue Prince,” aired this past Sunday. After featuring no opening credits in the premiere episode, the highly anticipated prequel series finally debuted its own opening sequence. The new one uses the same iconic theme song from Game of Thrones and takes many stylistic cues from the original visuals.
Game of Thrones‘s opening was famous not just for how cool it looked, but for how practical and informative it was, zooming around the map to show us which locales we’d see in the episode, what major Houses were in control of them, and more. House of the Dragon’s opening also contains information, but it might take a minute to work it out, as seen above. (The original opening from Game of Thrones is below.)
Now that we’ve all had a couple days to sit on the House of the Dragon opening, people are starting to piece together the meaning behind the graphics. In a nutshell, the opening is showing the progression of the Targaryen dynasty’s bloodline; specifically, it’s showing us how the bloodline from Old Valyria flows from one ruler to the next, right down until it gets to Rhaenyra Targaryen.
The Targaryens had different branches in their family, not all of whom are represented here. Maegor the Cruel, for instance, doesn’t show up in the opening credits, perhaps because he usurped the throne from his older half-brother Aenys I’s family and his lineage didn’t continue to rule afterward.
The @Throne_Facts Twitter account put together a great video that matches up each character and historical figure to their corresponding sigil in the opening. But since there’s always another detail, there are also some other things we’ve picked out as well.
1. Aegon I Targaryen and the Blood of Old Valyria
The first sigil we see represents Aegon I Targaryen as well as the fact that the Targaryen bloodline comes from Valyria. The opening shot of the sigil shows four dragons set against a volcano being wracked by storms. This represents the Doom of Valyria, the ancient freehold from which Houses Targaryen and Velaryon are descended. As blood wells up over the sigil, it covers everything except the shape of a crown. This crown is markedly different looking than the one Viserys wears; that’s because Aegon the Conqueror had a trademark crown made of Valyrian steel.
2. Rhaenys and Visenya Targaryen, the First Wueens of Westeros
From there, the bloodline flows downhill, where it splits into two more sigils. These represent Aegon’s two sister-wives, Visenya and Rhaenys. The camera follows the bloodline as it spills forth from Rhaenys Targaryen’s sigil; it is her and Aegon’s descendants who rule over Westeros for most of House Targaryen’s reign. It’s hard to make out what exactly the image on the sigil is here, but Rhaenys was known for being as playful as she was fierce, and loved music and poetry. Maybe it’s an instrument of some kind?
3. Aenys I Targaryen
Next, the blood flows down a level to Rhaenys and Aegon’s only child, Aenys Targaryen. Aenys was a weak king who left the realm in such turmoil by the time of his death that it allowed his half-brother Maegor (Visenya and Aegon’s only child) to steal the throne. Aenys spurned the Valyrian steel crown made a much gaudier golden one, which we see on the sigil. Another bloodline comes in from offscreen to meld with Aenys’s—this is because he married outside the family, to Alyssa Velaryon.
4. Jaehaerys, Good Queen Alysanne, and Their Many Children
From there, the bloodline jumps down several levels until it streams into two more sigils. Once it hits those, the blood fans out into nine separate little streams. The two sigils we see here represent King Jaehaerys and Good Queen Alysanne, who ruled Westeros for more than five decades. They had 13 children, but only nine of them lived to adulthood, hence the nine smaller blood streams. Jaehaerys’s symbol is the crown he and Viserys wear in House of the Dragon. Jaehaerys had that crown made after he ascended the throne.
5. Baelon I and Alyssa Targaryen
The nine little streams spreading out from Jaehaerys and Alysanne dribble down to the next level, where two of them hit other sigils, which represent Baelon I and Alyssa. These two children of Jaehaerys and Alysanne married each other. The bloodline meets again on the other side of their sigils, representing their union, before it drops down off a cliff.
6. Viserys and Daemon Targaryen
In this next bit, we get a very particular moment where the camera zooms in on a cliff face where the bloodline splits once more. The two streams here are for Viserys and his brother Daemon, the children of Baelon and Alyssa Targaryen. Daemon is the younger brother; note that the stream on the right falls off the cliff slightly before the leftmost.
7. House Velaryon
We then see a very brief moment where the camera focuses on a trio of sigils in the background. They’re so far back that it’s hard to make out details, but our best guess is that the large, teal sigil on the wall represents Corlys Velaryon. There’s another sigil on the floor in front of it, which is most likely Rhaenys Targaryen, the Queen Who Never Was; note that the blood flowing out of her sigil is thicker, because it is the blood of the dragon.
Those bloodlines meld and go into another sigil, which may represent Laena Velaryon. This is interesting because Rhaenys and Corlys have two children—Laena and her brother Laenor. In the brief glimpse you get of the blood beginning to come out of that last sigil, it appears to be branching out in two more separate streams again, which could represent the coming of Baela and Rhaena Targaryen.
8. House Hightower
From there we’re back to the main bloodline of the throne, gushing down the halls of this model of Valyria. It heads into the sigil representing Viserys, which bears the crown we see him wear on the show. In the background on the wall above, there are two other sigils most likely representing Otto Hightower and his deceased wife (whose name we do not know). It’s kind of fitting that their bloodline appears in the background of Viserys’s, as Otto operates in the shadows of the king’s rule.
9. Viserys I and Aemma Arryn
Once the bloodline hits Viserys’s sigil, it then connects to another sigil next to it representing Aemma Arryn. After that, it sweeps straight down a channel in the center of the screen. However, in the moment right before the camera cuts away, you can see another small blood stream beginning to flow out of the bottom-left corner of his sigil, which represents his second marriage to Alicent Hightower.
10. Alicent and Otto Hightower
In our second-to-last scene, the camera pans away from Viserys’s larger blood river to those background sigils we saw a moment ago, showing how the blood comes from Otto Hightower down to one final sigil, which may represent Alicent Hightower. It would make sense to highlight Alicent as the second-to-last character of the montage.
11. Rhaenyra Targaryen, Heir to the Iron Throne
From there we’re off to the final sigil of the video, which bears the image of Rhaenyra Targaryen’s Valyrian steel necklace, which is given to her by her uncle Daemon in the series premiere. As Viserys and Aemma’s bloodline flows into Rhaenyra’s sigil, it overflows, the camera pans under a doorway with a relief of a dragon on it, and we get the big zoom out to the entire city complex that the blood has been trickling through. Surprise, it is King Viserys’ model of Old Valyria, showing how the blood of the ancient freehold flows all the way down from Aegon to his descendent Rhaenyra.
Hopefully, this sheds a bit more light on what you’re looking at when you watch the House of the Dragon opening credits again next week. Given that this family will be changing, with new children coming into the picture as the season goes on, it’ll be intriguing to see whether the opening adjusts accordingly.
New episodes of House of the Dragon premiere Sundays on HBO and HBO Max.
Do you consider yourself an expert on all things television? Here's your chance to prove it. Pick up a copy of our new book, The Curious Viewer Ultimate TV Trivia & Quiz Book, which includes hundreds of little-known facts about your favorite TV shows and dozens of entertaining quizzes inspired by the most bingeable series.