There's a joy in knowing how a book ends as you watch the television show, so you know who to pay attention to, and have a sense of the broader sweeps of the plot. This is especially true for House of the Dragon, when there is a sprawling cast with characters that seem similar to those in Game of Thrones.
While some viewers prefer a zero spoiler policy—even staying off the internet until they've watched the full episode—we have a feeling if you clicked into this article, you want to know what happens in House of the Dragon. We have you covered: here's what happens in Fire & Blood, the George R.R. Martin book that the TV show is based on.
What happens in Fire & Blood?
The book is a history of the Targaryen family, starting with Aegon the Conqueror. But, most relevant for House of the Dragon viewers are the chapters that start with "Heirs of the Dragon," which focus on what happens following the reign of King Jaehaeyrs I Targaryen when King Viserys I takes the throne. (Here's a family tree of all the Targaryens.)
The main question becomes: Who will succeed Viserys? Will it be his brother, Prince Daemon? His daughter, Princess Rhaenyra? After Viserys's first wife, Aemma, dies, he names Rhaenyra his heir. But soon after, he remarries Alicent Hightower, and Alicent gives birth to sons, including Aegon, her eldest child.
The court then divides itself into those who support Rhaenyra's claim and those who support that of Alicent and her sons. As Martin writes, "In 111 AC, a great tourney was held at King's Landing on the fifth anniversary of the king's marriage to Queen Alicent. At the opening feast, the queen wore a green gown, whilst the princess dressed dramatically in Targaryen red and black. Note was taken, and thereafter it became custom to refer to 'greens' and 'blacks' when talking of the queen's party and the party of the princess, respectively."
Around 120 AC (or 'after conquest' in Martin's dating system), he writes, "There was never any doubt that King Viserys still meant for his daughter to follow him upon the Iron Throne, and her sons to follow her in turn." Yet, Martin explains "the bloody seeds of the Dance of the Dragons had been planted" in the animosity between Rhaenyra's sons and Alicent's sons—and between Rhaenyra and Alicent themselves.
Flash forward a bit, and when Viserys dies in 129, Aegon is crowned Aegon II, and Rhaenyra isn't told of her father's death. This leads to an all-out civil war between the Targaryen families, and many of them dying. It ends with Princess Rhaenyra and Prince Daemon's son Aegon III marrying Alicent's granddaughter, Jaehaera, thus uniting the two feuding branches of the Targaryen house.
The fates of all the House of the Dragon characters, according to Fire & Blood
King Viserys dies at age 52, having reigned over Westeros for 26 years.
Princess Rhaenyra rules as Queen Rhaenyra for about half a year on the Iron Throne. As many of her children are killed, she flees King's Landing after a riot known as the Storming of the Dragonpit, and is eventually caught. Her half-brother, Alicent's son Aegon II, feeds her to his dragon, Sunfyre.
Alicent Hightower, aka Queen Alicent, survives the Dance of the Dragons. However, she was confined to her chambers in the last year of her life, and in the books, she goes insane and dies during an outbreak of Winter Fever in 133 AC.
Prince Daemon marries Rhaenyra following the death of his second wife, Laena Velaryon, and they have three children. When he is riding his dragon during the Battle Above Gods Eye, he leaps from his dragon to kill Aemond, one of Alicent's sons with Viserys. Daemon's body is never found.
Lord Coryls Velaryon supported Rhaenyra in her claim to the throne, but after a series of events, is accused of treachery and arrested. After news of his arrest circulates, his men begin to abandon Rhaenyra's forces, and after Rhaenyra flees Dragon's Landing, he is released from the dungeons. Alicent offers him a pardon in exchange for support of King Aegon II, and Corlys negotiates that Aegon III and Jaehaera should be wed. He dies of old age.
Ser Laenor Velaryon, who married his cousin Rhaenyra, is killed by his friend, Ser Qarl Correy, three years after the birth of Joffery. In the books, multiple reasons are given for Qarl killing Leanor: either out of jealousy that Leanor was enamored with someone else, or that Daemon had Leanor killed.
Jacaerys, Lucerys, & Joffrey Velaryon: Rhaenyra and Leanor's three sons (like to actually be the sons of Ser Harwin Strong) are all killed during the Dance of the Dragons.
Aegon II, known as Aegon the Elder, is Alicent and Viserys's eldest son who rules as king. During the Dance of the Dragon, he is badly burned in a battle and his legs are crippled. He dies from poison at age 24.
Helaena Targaryen, the only daughter of Viserys and Alicent, is married to her older brother Aegon II. They have three children: twins Jaehaerys and Jaehaera, and Maelor. During the Dance of the Dragons, Jaehaerys is killed, and Helaena is taken captive after King's Landing falls to Rhaneyra. Helaena dies by suicide.
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