Game of Thrones: Aegon Prequel Series Must Finally Correct The Long Night’s Mistakes
HBO's planned Aegon the Conqueror prequel could settle a prophetic debate between Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon
If HBO has its way, pretty soon the average TV-watcher is going to know more about the Targaryen dynasty than their own respective country’s history.
According to an exclusive report from Variety, HBO and parent company Warner Bros. Discovery are actively discussing a second Game of Thrones prequel that would follow King Aegon I Targaryen a.k.a. Aegon the Conqueror as he invades and ultimately unifies the continent of Westeros roughly 300 years ago in the franchise’s timeline. Though no writers are yet attached to the project, HBO is also considering a “feature” component for the series and might attempt to produce a feature film that would lead in to the eventual series.
The backstory of Aegon’s Conquest has been well established in both Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon but for those who require a Targaryen history refresher, allow us to help. A little under 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones, a powerful dragonlord from the fallen Valyrian Freehold named Aegon Targaryen decided to both invade and unite the continent of Westeros. Prior to Aegon’s Landing in the year 1 (Yes, literally “1” – his arrival in Westeros reset the calendar like the birth of Jesus Christ), Westeros had never been a united political entity but rather many disparate kingdoms all striving for supremacy.
Aegon, his two sister-wives Visenya and Rhaenys, and the trio’s three dragons, all brought an end to that petty squabbling by conquering six of the seven biggest kingdoms and establishing a new capital in the form of King’s Landing on the Blackwater Bay. Aegon’s Landing is an historical event akin to the American Revolution and the legend of Aegon’s Conquest is recounted several times through George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series, upon which Game of Thrones was based. In 2018, Martin published Fire & Blood, a fictional historical account of the Targaryen dynasty from the year 0 through around the year 150. That source material would eventually inspire the first Thrones prequel House of the Dragon and now it seems as though the network is ready to delve into the book yet again.
Pondering a second Targaryen-related prequel right after House of the Dragon‘s successful first season is the latest sign yet that HBO sees the future of Game of Thrones as inextricably linked to the Targaryen family. The original series, of course, featured dozens of powerful dynastic families vying for political power in the Seven Kingdoms, with the most prominent and popular among them being the Starks of Winterfell. Interestingly, HBO’s first attempt at a Game of Thrones spinoff, Bloodmoon, was to be set in The North thousands of years in the past and would have dealt primarily Starks and other Northern houses and cultures.
When that pilot wasn’t picked up, HBO decided to do what it probably should have done in the first place and returned to Martin’s original texts. Given that Fire & Blood was freshly published when HBO was in the market for a spinoff, that book’s Dance of the Dragon passages ultimately inspired what would eventually become House of the Dragon.
With this newly invested focus on House Targaryen, the Aegon the Conqueror prequel has a rare opportunity to set an important bit of Game of Thrones lore straight as well. The final scene of the House of the Dragon premiere featured a bit of information that was shocking to both A Song of Ice and Fire book readers and TV watchers-only alike. In it, King Viserys I (Paddy Considine) shares with his daughter and his chosen heir Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) that their ancestor Aegon I didn’t invade Westeros solely because it was a fun thing to do. No, he had a vision that he needed to unite the continent to save the world. Viserys tells Rhaenyra:
Our histories, they tell us that Aegon looked across the Blackwater from Dragonstone and saw a rich land ripe for the capture. But ambition alone is not what drove him to conquest. It was a dream. And just as Daenys foresaw the end of Valyria, Aegon foresaw the end of the world of men. It is to begin with a terrible winter gusting out of the distant north. Aegon saw absolute darkness riding on those winds. And whatever dwells within will destroy the world of the living. When this great winter comes, Rhaenyra all of Westeros must stand against it. And if to the world of men is to survive, a Targaryen must be seated on the Iron Throne. A king or queen strong enough to unite the realm against the cold and the dark. Aegon called his dream the song of ice and fire. This secret has been passed from king to heir since Aegon’s time. Now you must promise to carry it and protect it.
Not only is that a fascinating update to the Game of Thrones story but it also apparently came with George R.R. Martin’s blessing, with showrunner Ryan Condal revealing that Martin shared the details of Aegon’s dream with the House of the Dragon writers. Aegon’s vision, tantalizing called the “song of ice and fire,” is therefore about canon as canon gets in the Game of Thrones universe.
This untitled Aegon the Conqueror prequel will have the opportunity to reconcile the canon between Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon in a meaningful way. Viserys’ interpretation of Aegon’s dream is clear: it says that a Targaryen must be seated upon the Iron Throne when the White Walkers come to unite Westeros and save the world. Those who have seen the final season of Game of Thrones, however, know that a Targaryen was very definitively not on the Iron Throne and yet the world was still very much saved.
Was the real meaning of Aegon’s dream lost in a game of “Telephone “from Targaryen heir to Targaryen heir? Was the inclusion of the Iron Throne in the Song of Ice and Fire purely metaphorical? Was it enough to just have someone with Targaryen blood invested in mankind’s survival? These are the kinds of questions that perhaps only an Aegon the Conqueror story can answer.
We’re still holding our breath and crossing our fingers for a cheeky little Dunk & Egg spinoff but in the meantime, the sheer lore treasure trove of an Aegon the Conqueror prequel series should give us plenty to pore over while we wait for The Winds of Winter.