This article contains House of the Dragon spoilers through episode 7 and some light speculative spoilers from Fire & Blood.
The race for the world’s most uncomfortable chair is heating up, as House of the Dragon leans into the fire half of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire saga. You might need a copy of Martin’s Fire & Blood book to keep track of the various Targaryens, Velaryons, and Hightowers, but as we approach the season one finale, the major players are coming into focus.
With there being more time jumps than illegitimate bastards, the young actors playing the children of Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy) and Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke) are due another recast in episode 8. Those up on their family history will know there are big things to come for Aegon Targaryen (Tom Glynn-Carney/Ty Tennant) and younger brother Aemond “One Eye” (Ewan Mitchell/Leo Ashton), but what about their sister? If you’ve been paying attention, it’s clear Helaena (Phia Saban/Evie Allen) could be more important than both her brothers combined.
Although Helaena has been a background character, her potential powers were teased in the show’s sixth episode when learning about millipedes with her mother. More than being a bug-obsessed princess with a calmer temperament than her brothers, many think Helaena is actually a dreamer. When Alicent told a downtrodden Aemond he’ll get a dragon one day, Helaena quipped, “He’ll have to close an eye.” There was also a mention that “the last ring has no legs at all,” which many think is a wink to Bran Stark’s legacy and the fact he spends his days in a wheelchair. It could also be Aegon II, but that would be going into spoiler territory.
As for Helaena’s first prophecy, this was some bang-on foreshadowing for episode 7, where Aemond claimed Vhagar from Daemon Targaryen’s (Matt Smith) kids, but had his eye slashed out by his cousin, Lucerys (Harvey Sadler). Fans had already predicted Helaena’s dreamer potential, but October 3’s “Driftmark” hammered it home even more. While her brothers discussed marrying her to keep the bloodline pure (we won’t spoil what happens there), Helaena was playing with a spider and repeatedly muttering the following: “Hand turns loom, spool of green, spool of black, dragons of flesh, weaving dragons of thread.”
Unlike a subtle Andor Easter egg, Helaena’s latest musings are a grim prophecy about the upcoming Dance of Dragons. The event will undoubtedly define House of the Dragon as a series, as the Targaryen civil war sees Team Alicent (the Greens) go against Team Rhaenyra (the Blacks). “Dragons of flesh” seems to allude to Rhaenyra and Daemon marrying each other to solidify the Targaryen lineage, while “hand turns loom” undoubtedly refers to the return of Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) as the Hand of the King. Even more than Alicent, Otto has proved to be the mastermind behind everything we’ve seen so far, telling his daughter: “We play an ugly game, but now for the first time, I see that you have the determination to win it.” Things definitely stack up that Helaena is a dreamer.
If you need a refresher on what a dreamer means for the Throneverse, it suggests Helaena shares similar future-predicting powers to Jojen Reed (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) or Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright). Even though Jojen was underused in the show, he kept his source material ability of greensight. The blood of Old Valyria running through the Targaryens means their powers are tied to their dragons – instead, calling them “dreamers.” Keeping it in the family, there’s another famous Targaryen who helped shape the house. Daenys “the Dreamer” Targaryen lived in Valyria and predicted the fall of their homeland by prophesying the well-documented ’Doom of Valyria.’ Her father Aenar Targaryen fled with his family and brood of dragons to Dragonstone.
Many years later, Aenar’s great-great-great-grandson would unite six of the Seven Kingdoms, forge the Iron Throne, and etch himself in the history books with Aegon’s Conquest. Speaking of Aegon, the man who spurred the events of Thrones into action was name-dropped in the House of the Dragon premiere, when King Viserys (Paddy Considine) explained the importance of the catspaw dagger and how Aegon predicted the “end of the world of men.” Looping everything back to Game of Thrones’ ending, Aegon called his dream “A Song of Ice and Fire” – which is what Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) named the fight against the Night King.
Dreamers are a dime a dozen in the Targaryen bloodline, and as well as Daeron the Drunken’s dreams being written off as boozy ramblings, Maester Aemon (Peter Vaughan) was a secret Targaryen who spoke about his dreams in Game of Thrones. Closer to home, even King Viserys is something of a dreamer. Vis said he saw his son sitting on the Iron Throne while wearing Aegon the Conqueror’s crown, which led him to question Rhaenyra as his successor. It remains to be seen what’s next for Helaena when Saban takes over, but if she keeps giving away spoilers, there will be no need to tune in. We can’t wait for her to dream about Joffrey’s Purple Wedding as payback for him ruining Rhaenyra’s fate in Game of Thrones season three.
New episodes of House of the Dragon premiere Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max in the U.S. and Sky Atlantic in the U.K.