House of the Dragon trailer breakdown

House of the Dragon Trailer King's Landing Red Keep

The House of the Dragon’s official trailer was exactly the shot in the arm I needed to get through this week (and I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way), so it is with great joy that I break this trailer down with you, shot for shot, to see what we can learn.

Here we go.

We open on a shot of Rhaenyra Targaryen staring out at the ocean while someone on V/O says, “What is this brief, mortal life if not the pursuit of legacy?” I can’t recognize the voice of the actor, but thematically it makes most sense to be King Viserys speaking.

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We cut to this gorgeous shot of Dragonstone-

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-where Daemon Targaryen, Mysaria and some gold cloaks confront Otto Hightower flanked by Kingsguard and … Maesters? I don’t see any chains around their necks but those robes definitely look like what Maesters wear, right?

Going by the dragon egg in Daemon’s hand, it’s pretty clear that season 1 will cover the bitter conflict that erupted between Daemon and Viserys over a dragon egg that Daemon wanted to gift Mysaria.

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Ah, then we get the very shot I’ve been looking forward to since House of the Dragon was announced: a dragonrider flying over King’s Landing like it’s no big deal. No muss, no fuss. Just another day for the Blood of Valyria.

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We then see a young Rhaenyra Targaryen kneeling before her father King Viserys. The lords of Westeros, Rickard Stark –

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Corlys Velaryon –

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and Boremund Baratheon –

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– pledge loyalty to King Viserys (man, do I love this book accurate Iron Throne) –

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– and to young Rhaenyra whom Viserys has named his heir. I can’t get over how much I love the embroidery on Rhaenyra’s dress.

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Daemon Targaryen leads the gold cloaks in some nasty business-

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– while Rhaenys tells young Rhaenyra “Men would sooner put the realm to the torch than see a woman ascend the Iron Throne.”

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It’s an interesting editing choice, as it implies that Daemon opposes Rhaenyra’s claim to the throne, which uh … he doesn’t. Spoilers, I guess, but of all the terrible, awful things Daemon Targaryen does, sabotaging Rhaenrya’s bid for the crown is never one of them.

Anyway, from the look on young Rhaenyra’s face, she’s more than up for challenges that lie ahead.

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Adult Rhaenyra stands before a map of Westeros designed to resemble cooling magma, as four people, one of whom looks like Rhaenys, walk away.

While I assumed the map was a House of the Dragon original, @Liesandarbor and our own @lukanieto pointed out that it’s the same map that Stannis and Melisandre, uh, conceived that Shadow Baby on, but with different paint.

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It’s at this point in the trailer (:44 to be precise) that we get a magnificent rendition of Ramin Djawadi’s dragon theme sung by a choir. On my first viewing I literally got weak at the knees.

Next we get a shot of what is most likely the Great Council of Harrenhal, a meeting where a dispute of succession was resolved and legal precedents with plot relevant repercussions were established.

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A heavy chest is brought forth and for some reason, I’m assuming it’s filled with dragon eggs. To the best of my knowledge there was no attempted hatching at the Great Council but dragon eggs was the conclusion my brain jumped to when I saw this shot. Maybe it’s because dragon eggs and Harrenhal have such a great history together.

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Alicent Hightower struts down the throne room and pecks a worried King Viserys on the cheek.

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Then we see the dragon egg that Daemon was carrying earlier getting broiled over a fire, similar to how Daenerys tried to hatch her eggs early in season 1. It makes me wonder if the aforementioned dispute between Daemon and Viserys over an egg won’t be expanded into a dragon hatching plot.

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Otto Hightower tells Alicent, “We play an ugly game. You have the determination to win it.” Yes, but an ugly game of what, Otto? A game of what?

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House Velaryon enters the throne room. It’s the same shot from the teaser but I’m glad it was included in the official too.

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Daemon smiles at young Rhaenyra dancing with Laenor Velaryon. I wonder how they’ll handle the relationship between Daemon and Rhaenyra in the show, whether they’ll lean into Daemon’s creepiness or mitigate it to play up the romance. Judging from this shot, I suspect the former.

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There’s an extremely brief shot of a dance in the Red Keep where Alicent and Otto Hightower, King Viserys and Corlys and Rhaenys Velaryon are sitting at the high table.

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A Velaryon funeral is held and, unfortunately, I can’t speculate on which family member might be in that coffin without veering into legit spoiler territory.

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Rhaenyra and Alicent, backed by Criston Cole, exchange glances.
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Two white cloaks toss a disheveled Daemon to the ground, possibly before he’s sent into exile. It’s hard to think of another situation in which the Rogue Prince would look this undignified.

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Criston Cole beats the hell out of someone while onlookers watch, horrified.

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Blood oozes from between someone’s fingers. Um, ok. The embroidered fabric, coupled with the fact that the next shot is –

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-of Rhaenyra and Daemon together makes me wonder if this might be the handfasting ceremony at their secret wedding. Still not sure how to explain the blood, though.

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We then return to the earlier confrontation between Daemon and Otto, as the former draws his sword.

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Keeping with the theme, Alicent comes at Rhaenyra with the catspaw, as we saw in the teaser trailer.
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Lastly, Daemon carefully approaches a dragon while someone on V/O (presumably the same character from the start of the trailer) says, “History does not remember blood. It remembers names.”

My first guess was that the dragon we see here is Caraxes and that this is Daemon’s first attempt to bond with him, but perhaps Daemon is attempting to steal the egg that appears in the rest of the trailer instead.

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Boom. The trailer ends on a fiery Targaryen sigil as a cello plays those five immediately recognizable notes from the Game of Thrones theme.

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I couldn’t be happier with the trailer, but what did you think? What are your speculations? Tell us below.

24 Comments

  1. I consumed Fire & Blood, positively devoured it, but aside from the most basic of details, it went in one ear and out the other. So cannot wait for what will be a mostly spoil-free affair. Great tease!!

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  2. Thank you for the breakdown! I’m really hyped for this show!

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  3. @lukanieto pointed out that it’s the same map that Stannis and Melisandre, uh, conceived that Shadow Baby on, but with different paint.

    I noticed the table as well! I wouldn’t say it’s with newer paint though, just what it looked like in all its glory at that time pre-demon shadow baby conception and pre-Jon Dany war planning. Also I noticed that the actor who plays a young Princess Rhaenyra is slated for 10 episodes. I’m assuming that there will be flashbacks throughout the season because of this? I’m interested in how that will be integrated. Also completely agree about her embroidered outfit. It looks marvelous especially with the Targaryen sigil in the centre.

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  4. I haven’t read Fire & Blood, although it’s on my bookshelf. I wanted to watch HotD unspoiled, but that would mean I need to stay away from any comments or discussions. I did read the two stories, ages ago, so not completely unsullied, but can’t remember much about them. Hmmm. What to do.

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  5. Grandmaester Flash,

    You know I was thinking about it in the other thread after posting. I mean it’s not like I spoiled anything for the HotD plot, still after Brian mentioned that he goes into this one blind on purpose, I just feel weird. Once the show starts I’m sure we’ll all be much more careful about what we’re typing. It’s not like I plan to be an asshole and ruin it for everyone else!

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  6. mau,

    I was impressed with the WoT trailer. Not so much after seeing the entirety of the first season. The Witcher is something else. I just love that series and the trailers have always seemed to me incredible.

    Thank you for the breakdown.

    I see I missed Ser Criston Cole beating the living shit out of someone. I’m going with a strong suspicion this is happening at a wedding…

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  7. Thanks for the breakdown! It seems like we have young/adult actresses for the two main ladies to show the passage of time. I get the impression here they will do this with Daemon’s hair? Starts very long, then gets cropped short (

    perhaps during his exile?

    ), then grows out from there??? Agree on them seemingly leaning into the creepiness angle re Daemon/Rhaenyra but I liked the wedding shot, they look determined.

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  8. Grandmaester Flash:
    I haven’t read Fire & Blood, although it’s on my bookshelf.I wanted to watch HotD unspoiled, but that would mean I need to stay away from any comments or discussions.I did read the two stories, ages ago, so not completely unsullied, but can’t remember much about them.Hmmm.What to do.

    I may discuss the story premise here but I have no intention of going into plot details of the story ahead… into something actually directly spoilerish. And its because I decided to actively not make comparisons when it comes to visual works that have source material, trying to treat visual medium as independently as possible.

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  9. GOT was love at the first sight for me (I started to read the novels after the first season); I was mesmerized by the characters, always extremely important, I think, and by various civilizations – the dragons were a bonus and a great surprise! Now I am looking forward to admiring dragons and I hope to find the characters in HotD as interesting as those in GOT. I have really missed Martinverse!

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  10. “Man, do I love this book accurate Iron Throne…”

    It IS closer to how the Iron Throne is described in the books… but not quite there. The Iron Throne in the book was a commanding presence in the throne room… even from a distance you had to look UP at it. I don’t think any actor would want to have to climb up into a TRULY book-accurate Iron Throne.

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  11. Oh my – this looks wonderful! Know nothing about the book so I am going in cold.
    Still feel as excited as I did when GOT premiered!

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  12. TormundsWoman:
    mau,

    I was impressed with the WoT trailer. Not so much after seeing the entirety of the first season. The Witcher is something else. I just love that series and the trailers have always seemed to me incredible.

    Thank you for the breakdown.

    I agree with your opinion of Witcher. I loved the series so far. I don’t really compare it to GOT. It’s fantasy, but the comparisons end there for me. I had trouble watching WOT. I think for me it was a problem with casting. I never felt connected enough with the main characters to care enough about their journeys. I loved the casting in Witcher. It looks like I’m going to love the casting in HotD too.

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  13. Azor Asshai,

    Considering what he’s saying and how it all ends up for him, it is actually iconic as well as ironic HE is the one talking about legacy and history remembering names rather than blood (see: a spin on the word, as in “blood” relations/descendants).

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  14. I’ll give this series a try. I quite liked WOT and The Witcher and I’m not worried if not all the main characters aren’t played by pale pink people* which seems to have bothered some mega-fans of those series. I’ve only read one book of WOT (which I thought was not a bad book but it didn’t** draw me in like the first three ASOIAF books) and have listened to the end of the The Stryga story in an audio version of The Witcher. WOT was changed to some extent but I guess that’s inevitable with a series that is 14 books long. I’m not going to read further WOT tomes so that I don’t get confused by any changes made in page to screen (also I’m in my early 70s so getting on a bit for a VERY long series – now all the people come out of the woodwork about long series that people ‘up there’ in age have read).

    I know it’s difficult to judge from a short trailer but the actors in HOD seem to have solid acting chops.

    * I’m a pale pink person myself except if I don’t wear correct sun protection in bright sunlight in which case I can burn badly.

    ** It’s possible that WOT the book series is more suited to young readers or people who read the books first when they were young. It’s okay to disagree with me if you feel otherwise.

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  15. I think that they want to show us some valyrian wedding ceremony – notice that both Daemon and Rhaenyra have blood on their lips. Maybe with their kiss they want to pledge keeping the bloodline pure?

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  16. Zuza,

    I’m not sure that would be true as, from what I recall, that wasn’t the reason for their marriage. Additionally, prior to this marriage to one another, both Daemon and Rhaenyra have married outside of the Targaryen family and have children with their first spouses. It’s also believed the true father of Rhaenyra’s first three children is Harwin Strong. Rhaenyra, herself, has Arryn blood via her mother Aemma Arryn.

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  17. Going in cold as well. Like others have said, I saw the first season, loved it, and immediately bought and read all the books. So spoiled myself for future seasons but still loved both the books and the show. Seeing as I didn’t have as bad an opinion of the final seasons as others (granted they certainly weren’t the best seasons) I still enjoyed them and love both books and show whereas I saw a lot of book purists vs show watcher debating amongst the fanbase. Think I may take that route again but we’ll see after the first season.
    Regarding WOT, I read maybe half the series back in the day. I watched the first season recently and it was ok.. not mind-blowing like GOT was to me but still ok. It wasn’t the casting that made it just mediocre for me, although they have already recast my favorite character from the books so that sticks in my craw, but that the relationships and emotional moments between the characters felt forced for the sake of drama rather than contributing much to the story. I’ll probably give the second season a go, though.
    Haven’t seen The Witcher or played the games. What’s the consensus there? Is it worth getting into? If it’s a main star monster of the week type deal with few side characters it probably wouldn’t be my thing.

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  18. Wereheim Wolf:
    “Man, do I love this book accurate Iron Throne…”

    It IS closer to how the Iron Throne is described in the books… but not quite there.The Iron Throne in the book was a commanding presence in the throne room… even from a distance you had to look UP at it.I don’t think any actor would want to have to climb up into a TRULY book-accurate Iron Throne.

    Yeah, according to the producers or GRRM (can’t remember who), GRRM’s version of Iron Throne is so big it wouldn’t even fit through the main door of the studio where they were filming GoT and they would need a set like St. Paul’s cathedral if they wanted to film scenes with such throne. It would probably be quite impractical as well because the king/queen would need to communicate with their subordinates by shouting if they sat so high up and that likely wouldn’t work well for TV adaptation.

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