I recently posted about George R. R, Martin’s Fire & Blood which is a Targaryen focused text that was published while everyone has been waiting for Winds of Winter, the next book in his A Song of Ice and Fire series.
Since then HBO has released a new teaser for House of the Dragon, a prequel of sorts for Game of Thrones, taking place hundreds of years before the occurrences of that show when the Targaryens still ruled Westeros.
When Game of Thrones came out there were several books out already for years that the show (mostly) followed, especially early on, and for the most part I must say how impressed I was in how well behaved we were given that social media usually brings out the worst in people. The fandom en masse really bought into, without any meeting of any sorts, of letting people who never experienced the books understand via the show why it was such a beloved series for decades.
Now the obvious answer to what you want to read if you want to be primed for House of the Dragon is simply read Fire & Blood but that is over 700 pages of Targaryen history (and is only part 1). Worth the read if you are a diehard fan of the series for sure but if you are someone who just wants what’s probably going to be covered there is a much smaller portion of the novel to read.
I haven’t been paying a lot of attention to the build up to House of the Dragon or much of anything to be honest. My personal vibe lately has been I’ll just pay attention to shows when they are here and remove myself from build-up which is especially easy now because there’s almost always something of quality on or to read or just things to do outside and people to spend time with. Not at all knocking what brings anyone joy, please do you, but for me personally I just like enjoying the actual thing and avoid the apparatus around it. I mean it’s not supposed to be your life. It’s one of the reasons why I’m not on social media because unless you just want to be advertised too I don’t really get the point. Don’t get me wrong though, when its actually made and being presented to us I’ll be into things HEAVY.
Some of this has been pandemic related as all of this stuff has been so pushed back that you could see people straining to put out content and I just bailed and decided to just workout and indulge in what’s already available. Like reading Fire & Blood I guess lol, not to mention rewatching Studio Ghibli movies to just idk… refuel the goodness vibes in the world.
Anyway, watching this teaser trailer, it’s now easier to pinpoint the exact time period we are dealing with in the Targaryen dynasty and correlate it with specific sections of Fire & Blood. It got me rather excited because it has felt like its been awhile since we’ve had a mono-culture show, the last one probably was Game of Thrones. I think we can focus on a specific chapter in Fire & Blood that would put you in position of those “read the book” folks during Game of Thrones. Viserys Targaryen will be portrayed by Paddy Considine, with that in mind I think you can zero in on a chapter called “Heirs of the Dragon – A Question of Succession” which is roughly just 50 pages long. Now you may have read an abridged version of this already if you read the GRRM and Gardner Dozois edited anthology Rogues, which features, among other things, the Martin story The Rogue Prince.
Obviously the show could change things as adaptations tend to do at times but I’m guessing the main bullet points will remain and if I were guessing I’d say the character of Daemon Targaryen will be a popular one in the show (played by Matt Smith). He is the titular Rogue Prince of the story (and is the brother of Viserys). Like I mentioned above I haven’t really been following the build-up to these shows so the Matt Smith casting is interesting.
I know he’s popular because of his much lauded run as Doctor Who and I enjoy him on The Crown but I have to admit I do now wonder what the chatter was like when he was cast because he doesn’t exactly strike me as Daemon Targaryen, though I completely understand I’m in the minority of people in relation to the show’s audience who have read about the history of Westeros so it doesn’t really matter. I’m sure he will be fine.
Anyway I hope this helps anyone looking for a short read to get them beyond ready for House of the Dragon.
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