5. House of the Dragon episode 1: “The Heirs of the Dragon”
The premiere episode of House of the Dragon does a great job introducing viewers to King’s Landing in a time much different than where we left it in Game of Thrones. Set 172 years before the birth of Daenerys Targaryen, the first episode sees King Viserys and his wife Aemma expecting a child. Viserys is convinced it’ll be a boy, who he will name the heir to the Iron Throne. But unsurprisingly, that doesn’t go as planned.
Viserys and Aemma have one child, a daughter named Rhaenyra who wants to spend all of her time riding her dragon Syrax, much to Alicent’s dismay. Right off the bat, it’s easy to connect with the characters and want to know what’ll happen next. We also get to meet Viserys’ brother Daemon, who’s a complete troublemaker. Rhaenyra and Daemon have an interesting relationship that might go beyond family.
The biggest moment in the premiere happens toward the end when Viserys decides he’ll name Rhaenyra his heir after Aemma and their newborn son die. Before the ceremony takes place, Viserys informs his daughter of a Targaryen family secret she can’t tell anyone about. As the future queen, she must hold the secret with her and let it guide her decisions. This would be Aegon I’s prophetic dream, which he called the song of ice and fire. This bit isn’t part of Fire & Blood and was added just for the show, and I think it really works.
I like Rhaenyra in Fire & Blood but really love her in the show, which is a testament to how well the writers handle her character.