The world of Game of Thrones is set to grow again.
Following the successful first season of prequel series House of the Dragon, and the announcement of another prequel in A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, HBO has commissioned yet another show set in Westeros’s distant past. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Game of Thrones network is now actively developing a show about Aegon’s Conquest, to be written by The Batman II co-writer Mattson Tomlin.
While the story of Aegon I, creator of the Targaryen royal family’s continent-spanning dynasty, has been bandied about as a potential spinoff option for years, this latest news suggests that HBO is finally ready to commit to it. And at first glance, an Aegon I series makes perfect sense. As evidenced by the flagship series’ strong early seasons and House of the Dragon‘s successful debut, Game of Thrones TV efforts tend to work best when they have plenty of source material from George R.R. Martin’s novels to work through.
Aegon’s mythic status is well-established by the backstory that gradually unfolds in Martin’s books. Aegon is basically the George Washington of the Seven Kingdoms, which means that every man, woman, child, and dragon in Westeros knows the major events of his life. Martin would later go even further in depth on Aegon’s Conquest in his fictional historical tome Fire & Blood, which also recounts the Dance of the Dragons civil war that House of the Dragon adapts.
Born on Dragonstone when it was part of the crumbling Valyrian Freehold empire to the east, Aegon woke up one day and decided that the continent of Westeros needed to be one political entity. So with the help of his two sister-wives Visenya and Rhaenys, and their dragons Balerion, Meraxes, and Vhagar, Aegon invaded the disparate Seven Kingdoms, conquered them, and made them one (save for Dorne but that came later). He then ruled his new country until his death, having established many of the laws and norms that the Seven Kingdoms was still using by the time of Daenerys Targaryen’s birth in the year 298 AC (After the Conquest).
Thanks to his important position in Westerosi history, viewers already know so much about Aegon the Conqueror that this series about him runs the risk of feeling anticlimactic. Basically everything a Game of Thrones fan needs to know about Aegon is right there in his epithet: he conquered. End of story. Or it was the end of story at least until House of the Dragon episode 1 premiered. Now we can’t help but wonder if there’s more to Aegon’s story than even the source material has let on thus far. Allow us to explain.
House of the Dragon‘s premiere episode ends with a major bit of Game of Thrones lore that hadn’t previously appeared in the original series or any of Martin’s books (yet). In the closing scene, Viserys I (Paddy Considine) shares with his daughter Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) that his great grandfather Aegon I had a prophetic vision that has guided the Targaryen dynasty since his landing on the continent. That vision featured hordes of White Walkers climbing over The Wall and bringing icy ruin to everything. Aegon invaded Westeros to prevent that fate and a Targaryen must always sit the Iron Throne to ensure that it doesn’t come to pass. According to HotD showrunner Ryan Condal that information comes directly from Martin himself.
“He told us that Aegon was a dreamer and that was the reason he decided to go and conquer, and unite, Westeros. He’s remembered as a conqueror, but he really meant to be a uniter, which is why he approached things the way he did,” Condal told Den of Geek.
With that context in mind, the Aegon the Conqueror series suddenly has a chance to be far more dramatically interesting than it did previously. Conquering something is pretty straightforward – you either do it or you don’t and Aegon, bless him, did it. There’s not much a story to tell there. Uniting something, however? Well, that’s a hell of a lot more challenging. Especially when you’re trying to “unite” someone with the business end of your 100,000-ton dragon.
Aegon’s status as a “dreamer” will also be fascinating to further delve into. Many members of the Targaryen family have been said to have precognitive dreams, including Daenys the Dreamer who foretold Valyria’s fall and even Daenerys. If Aegon knew about the White Walker threat to the North what else did his dreams tell him? We don’t know but after House of the Dragon‘s unexpected reveal, we’re excited to find out.