What to Remember From ‘Game of Thrones’ for HBO’s ‘House of the Dragon’

The new series takes place 200 years before the events of “Thrones,” but has some serious connective tissue

Princess Rhaenyra and Daenerys Targaryen (HBO)
Princess Rhaenyra and Daenerys Targaryen (HBO)

Appointment watching is back Sunday nights with the debut season of HBO’s “House of the Dragon,” a prequel series to “Game of Thrones.”

The two fantasy dramas don’t have any of the same characters, but they are deeply connected both behind the scenes – with “Thrones” series author George R.R. Martin serving as a co-creator and executive producer of this series, and Miguel Sapochnik, a veteran “Thrones” director, now the co-showrunner of this show (alongside Ryan Condal) — and through the ancient family Houses that make up the cast of characters.

Here are a few things to remember before watching the first episode of “House of the Dragon” (check back weekly for further updates as we learn more about the show):

House Targaryen: The Main “Dragon” Characters Are Daenerys’ Ancestors

“HOTD” is about the reign of the Targaryens, the white-haired extended family who ruled the Seven Kingdoms with the help of dragons. They are the ancestors of Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Viserys Targaryen (Harry Lloyd, whose character was killed after insulting his pregnant younger sister and her husband, Khal Drogo, and ended up with a “golden crown” in Season 1). 

Dragons have long been instinct when “Game of Thrones” begins, but Daenerys, of course, helps hatch three seemingly fossilized dragon eggs at the end of Season 1, eventually riding them and wielding the power. And, just like Dany, the Targaryens in “House of the Dragon” are the lone House that control and ride the dragons. We already know ahead of the season premiere the Prince Daemon (Matt Smith) and Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) are dragon riders.

It’s also worth remembering that in “Game of Thrones,” the Seven Kingdoms fell into chaos when the Mad King, Aerys II — who was a Targaryen — lost his mind, turning increasingly brutal and violent, and putting wildfire (a very flammable substance) batches underneath King’s Landing, with plans to torch it all (something Jamie Lannister killed him for) during his reign. Targaryens are known to combine similar DNA strands (think the Hapsburg chin), and Aerys was married to his sister, so their temperament in “HOTD” and “GOT” is unpredictable.

House Hightower: A Connection to Margaery Tyrell

We know there are several prominent Hightower family characters in “House of the Dragon,” including Otto Hightower, Hand of the King (Rhys Ifans), and Alicent (Emily Carey and Olivia Cooke), his daughter. They’re ancestors to a less prominent character in “Thrones” – Alerie Tyrell. Alerie was born a Hightower, but married Mace Tyrell, so she is the mother of Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) and the Knight of the Flowers, Loras Tyrell (Finn Jones). We never saw Alerie in “Thrones.” 

House Lannister: Yep, They’re Here Too

It would be hard to forget the Lannister family of “Game of Thrones” – twins Cersei (Lena Heady) and Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), and younger brother Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), or their horrible father Tywin (Charles Dance). Their House motto is “a Lannister always pays his debts,” and they are incredibly wealthy. 

Back in the days of “House of the Dragon,” there were also Lannisters. We don’t know much about them yet, but we can presume that they too are sitting atop a mound of gold at Casterly Rock when they aren’t jockeying for more power.


House Baratheon: Ancestors to King Robert

There are ancient Baratheons in the realm of “House of the Dragon.” It’s worth remembering they are a strong and noble family, and good fighters, and that they eventually took the Throne during Robert’s Rebellion (mentioned in “GoT”), where, with the help of Ned Stark (Sean Bean), they overthrew the Targaryens and their allies. Robert Baratheon was king when “Thrones” began, married to Cersei Lannister. He had two brothers – Renly (Gethin Anthony) and Stannis (Stephen Dillane).

House Stark: To Be Continued…

House Stark, aka the “winter is coming” family, are an ancient House from the North. We haven’t seen confirmation that the ancestors of Ned Stark are in “House of the Dragon,” but seeing as they’ve been around so long, it seems likely that we will see some of them. The most prominent Starks in “Thrones,” of course, are Ned and Catelyn, and the children Robb, Jon (Ned’s “bastard” who turned out to be legitimate son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Ned’s sister Lyanna Stark, and therefore the true heir to the Iron Throne), Sansa, Arya, Bran and Rickon.

Arya (Maisie Williams) and Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) in "Game of Thrones"
Warner Media


Maesters are of course the professors of the realm and have long researched and dispensed knowledge from The Citadel, where they train up new maesters. Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) began training to be a maester after being sent there from the Night’s Watch in “Thrones.”


The Kingsguard are the small group of soldiers that protect the king and the high ranking members of the royal family. They exist in “GoT” and “HoTD.”

Gold Cloaks/The City Watch

The Gold Cloaks, also known as the City Watch, are essentially the police that enforce the rules and dish out punishments in King’s Landing in both shows.

The Red Keep

The Red Keep is the palace at King’s Landing where the royal family takes up residence. The Throne room is in this location, too.

The Iron Throne

In “Game of Thrones,” the Iron Throne is of course the seat of power. In “House of the Dragon” it also exists, but is surrounded by even more melted down swords.