Warning: contains spoilers for House of the Dragon episodes 1 – 3 and Game of Thrones seasons 1-8.
The Game of Thrones TV show is set in the years 298 – 305 AC (After Conquest, referring to Aegon the Conqueror’s conquest of Westeros, unification of the Seven Kingdoms, and the establishment of the Targaryen dynasty on the Iron Throne). New prequel House of the Dragon starts almost 200 years prior to that, in the year 101 AC, and then quickly jumps to nine years into the reign of King Viserys I. That means – centuries-old sorceress Melisandre aside – no character from one could possibly cross over into the other.
However, the majority of House of the Dragon’s characters are obviously ancestors of characters we’re familiar with from the original series. To help us all keep it straight in our minds, here’s how the prequel bunch connect down the line to the Targaryens, Starks, Lannisters and Baratheons we already know.
The characters below feature in House of the Dragon episode one. We’ll keep this updated with new arrivals as the series continues.
House Targaryen: Ancestors of Queen Daenerys
This one’s straightforward – or as straightforward a lineage can be when incest is widely practised and everybody’s wife is also their aunt and sister. House of the Dragon’s Targaryens have been the royal family in Westeros for over a hundred years, since their ancestor Aegon the Conqueror founded the Targaryen dynasty and united the Seven Kingdoms under the Iron Throne. In total, the family would rule for 300 years until Robert Baratheon led a rebellion against Mad King Aerys II and usurped the Iron Throne.
In Game of Thrones, the only surviving Targaryens are brother and sister Viserys (who died when Khal Drogo gave him a molten ‘golden crown’), Queen Daenerys (who died when Jon Snow murdered her after the sack of King’s Landing), their nephew Jon Snow/Aegon Targaryen – the secret child of Lyanna Stark and Viserys and Dany’s brother Prince Rhaegar, and the secretly-a-Targaryen Night’s Watch Maester Aemon.
House Hightower: Targaryen and Tyrell Allies
The Hightowers are a powerful house allied to the Targaryens and the Tyrells of Highgarden in House of the Dragon. They include recent widower Otto Hightower – Hand of the King to Viserys I, the father of Alicent and Gwayne, and the younger brother of Hobert Hightower, who swore fealty to Princess Rhaenerya at the end of episode one.
The only Hightower we really saw on Game of Thrones was in Bran’s flashback vision of Jon Snow’s birth at the Tower of Joy. In Season 6 episode ‘Oathbreaker’, Bran watched his father Ned Stark kill Gerold Hightower, who was Commander of the Kingsguard for the Mad King Aerys II, and one of the knights guarding the tower containing Lyanna Stark, the lover of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen (Dany’s brother, killed in battle by Robert Baratheon). Ned’s sister Lyanna died in the tower giving birth to her and Rhaegar’s son, who was raised by Ned Stark as his own bastard, Jon Snow.
Hightower blood runs along important (but spoiler-filled, so we’ll stay vague) familial lines in the history of the Seven Kingdoms. By the time of Game of Thrones, it’s found its way into House Tyrell via Alerie Hightower who married Mace Tyrell and became the mother of Queen Margaery and Ser Loras Tyrell, both of whom died when Cersei blew up the Sept of Baelor and extinguished the Tyrell line.
House Lannister: Twins Ser Tyland and Ser Jason
As Cersei and Jaime show in Game of Thrones, twins run in the Lannister line. Two centuries before Queen Cersei sat on the Iron Throne, a pair of identical Lannister twins are part of the Targaryen royal court in House of the Dragon. Ser Tyland Lannister of Casterly Rock serves on King Viserys I’s Small Council, and his brother Ser Jason Lannister is among those hoping to marry the King’s daughter, Princess Rhaenyra and advance his family’s position. Tyland and Jason are played by the same actor – Jefferson Hall, who played Torstein in Vikings, Thorne Geary in Taboo and Pete in Devs.
House Baratheon: King Robert’s Ancestors; Related to Princess Rhaenys
The Baratheons unseated at the tourney by Prince Daemon Targaryen are Lord Boremund and his son Borros, of Storm’s End. Lord Boremund Baratheon is the uncle through her mother’s side of Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (whom he quasi-treasonously styled as “The Queen Who Never Was”). Though Boremund swore fealty to Princess Rhaenerya at the end of the episode, he supported his niece’s claim to the throne over that of her cousin Viserys I.
Boremund is an ancestor of King Robert Baratheon and his brothers Stannis and Renly, the royal family by the time of Game of Thrones. King Robert led a rebellion against the mad King Aerys Targaryen, earning him the title of ‘Usurper’ among Targaryen devotees. By the end of the series, the lord of Storm’s End is Gendry Baratheon, King Robert’s bastard son who was legitimised by Queen Daenerys.
House Stark: Bit Players in House of the Dragon; Centre Stage in Game of Thrones
Blink and you’ll miss him, but Rickard Stark, Lord of Winterfell turns up to swear fealty to Princess Rhaenerya at the end of episode one. You won’t need reminding that he’s an ancestor of Ned Stark (his great, great, great, great, great-grandfather, if we’ve counted right?), who was the father of Stark siblings Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran and Rickon. The Starks supported Princess Rhaenys’ (unsuccessful) claim to the throne over that of her cousin Viserys I.
House Royce: Alluded To But Not Seen
It’s mentioned that Prince Daemon Targaryen is married to a “bronze bitch” in the Vale. She was born Lady Rhea Royce, whose family were relatives of Lord Yohn Royce of the Vale in the time of Game of Thrones, and who styled themselves “the Bronze Kings” after the colour of their sigil. Yohn Royce fostered young Lord Robyn Arryn at his home of Runestone, sent his troops north to save Sansa Stark from Ramsay Bolton, and became a supporter of Sansa’s claim to the North.
House of the Dragon Families Not In the GoT TV Show
House Velaryon: King Viserys I’s cousin Princess Rhaenys is married to Lord Corlys Velaryon, aka the Sea Snake, and Lord of the Tides. The Velaryons are Targaryen allies sworn to Dragonstone whose bloodlines intermingled through various marriages and whose history also reaches back to Old Valyria. Though House Velaryon was missed out of the Game of Thrones TV show, Lord Corlys’ descendants are still around in the A Song of Ice and Fire books and end up swearing fealty to Stannis Baratheon, then Lord of Dragonstone, in the War of the Five Kings.
House Beesbury: Master of Coin and Treasurer for Kings Jaehaerys and Viserys I, Lord Lyman Beesbury sits on the Small Council. His House is allied to House Hightower.
House Strong: Master of Laws on the Small Council is Lord Lyonel Strong, the father of Harwin and Larys, and the Lord of Harrenhal. The castle was taken from its Ironborn creators by Aegon the Conqueror and eventually passed down to the extinct-by-Game of Thrones House Strong. In Game of Thrones, Harrenhal was given to Janos Slynt, used by Tywin Lannister and eventually went to Petyr Baelish, or Littlefinger, until his death at the hands of Arya Stark.
House Cole: Ser Criston Cole fights Prince Daemon Targaryen in the episode one tourney. By the time of Game of Thrones, House Cole’s only mentioned survivors are exile mercenaries serving in the Golden Company. The Coles are historical allies of House Dondarrion, relatives of Lord Beric Dondarrion, who was brought back to life multiple times by Thoros of Myr, and who started the Brotherhood Without Banners.
House of the Dragon airs on Sundays at 9pm on HBO in the US and on Mondays at 2am and 9pm on Sky Atlantic and NOW in the UK.