Here's What The New "House Of The Dragon" Credits Actually Mean

·7 min read

With Episode 2, House of the Dragon officially got opening credits, and wow did they bring back memories.

Using the same theme music and visual style as Game of Thrones, the credits take us on a journey through Targaryen family history, with LOTS of symbolism thrown in. Let's take a deep dive into them...

First up, we don't get a good look at the overall structure that's being "built" until towards the end of the credits, but when we do, we can see it's a model of Old Valyria that looks a lot like the one Viserys has in his room.

Viserys and Alicent sit in front of a model of Old Valyria
Ollie Upton / HBO

Running throughout the structure are bloodlines that turn out to be connections on the Targaryen family tree. We follow them through the line of succession, pausing at cogs that contain the symbols of different Targaryens, most notably the rulers.

Bird's eye view of the Old Valyria model with blood running through it
HBO

The blood is interesting on a number of levels. In addition to forming a family tree, the use of blood reflects the importance of blood ties to the Targaryen family (*cough* all that incest), and the way blood is a central part of their magic — their words, after all, are "Fire and Blood."

Blood runs down a stone corridor in the Old Valyria model

Viserys hints in Episode 2 that the Targaryen's connection to dragons is at least partially the result of blood magic when he talks Alicent through the Old Valyria model and mentions blood mages in addition to the volcano from which the dragonlords drew their power. The blood magic idea tracks with what we know about how Daenerys' dragons were born.

Meanwhile, the way the blood/Targaryen bloodline in the credits is running through the streets of Valyria also emphasizes the Targ obsession with being of "the blood of Old Valyria" (remember Daenerys saying that A LOT?).

HBO

Okay, now onto the symbols we see throughout. The first one we see represents Aegon the Conquerer — that's his crown in front of a depiction of the Doom of Valyria.

A carving showing dragons falling from the sky with a crown in front of them

If you need a refresher, the Doom of Valyria was a catastrophic event that destroyed the city and surrounding area, killing the population — including all dragons — and causing the Valyrian Freehold (i.e. empire) to fall. In the books, The Doom is said to have been caused by the eruption of the 14 volcanoes in Valyria, from which the dragons originated. Others claim blood magic caused the cataclysmic event.

HBO

We saw Tyrion and Ser Jorah pass through the still-smoking ruins of the city in Season 5 of Game of Thrones.

Jorah navigates a small boat through Valyria and watches a dragon fly overhead

If you're wondering how the Targaryens and their dragons survived The Doom when no other dragonlords did — it's because they were already in Westeros, although they hadn't conquered it yet.

Before the Doom, the Targaryens were actually a minor house amongst the 40 dragonlord families that lived in Valyria. Daenys Targaryen, also known as Daenys the Dreamer, had a prophetic dream that foretold The Doom, and her father, Aenar Targaryen, actually listened to her, relocating his family and their dragons (including Balerion, whose skull we saw in Episode 1) to Westeros — to Dragonstone, to be specific. The Doom happened 12 years later, and 100 years after that, Aegon Targaryen became Aegon the Conquerer, taking over Westeros on Balerion alongside his sister-wives, Visenya and Rhaenys, and their dragons, Vhagar and Meraxes.

As for the Velaryons, the ancestors of Corlys Velaryon and one of the only Valyrian houses to survive The Doom, they had emigrated to Westeros (to Driftmark) even before the Targaryens. As Corlys explained in Episode 2 of House of the Dragon, while the Velaryons were a noble house, they weren't dragonlords, leaving them less powerful than the Targaryens, but enabling them to build a formidable navy.

HBO

Back to the House of the Dragon credits. The blood spills from Aegon's symbol and branches off to two other cogs, which likely represent his sister-wives, Visenya and Rhaenys (not to be confused with Rhaenys Velaryon, Corlys' wife in House of the Dragon).

Blood travels towards two cogs
HBO

We follow the blood that runs through what appears to be the symbol of Rhaenys, Aegon's younger sister — this is the bloodline that the "current" Targaryens we see in House of the Dragon are descended from.

Blood runs through a cog in a stone setting
HBO

It leads down to a crown symbol that appears to represent Aenys I, the son of Aegon and Rhaenys, who inherited the Iron Throne upon Aegon's death.

Blood runs through a cog with a golden crown symbol on top
HBO

From Aenys, the blood flows to and connects two symbols, which seem to represent Jaehaerys I and Alysanne, Aenys's children with his wife Alyssa Velaryon, who married and became king and queen*.

*Not to complicate it, but just to give the full context: Aenys's rule was actually followed by that of his half-brother, Maegor I, aka Maegor the Cruel, who was the son of Aegon I and his older sister Visenya. Upon Maegor's death, the crown reverted back to Aenys's line and went to his son Jaehaerys I.  

*Not to complicate it, but just to give the full context: Aenys's rule was actually followed by that of his half-brother, Maegor I, aka Maegor the Cruel, who was the son of Aegon I and his older sister Visenya. Upon Maegor's death, the crown reverted back to Aenys's line and went to his son Jaehaerys I.

HBO

As a reminder, Jaehaerys I was the Old King we saw at the beginning of the first episode of House of the Dragon.

Jaeherys sits on a golden throne flanked by Viserys, Aemma, Corlys, and Rhaenys.
HBO / Ollie Upton

Jaehaerys and his sister-wife, Alysanne, had A LOT of kids between them — 13, to be exact, although only nine reached adulthood — which is represented in the House of the Dragon credits by their joined blood branching off into many different directions.

Blood branches off in many different directions from two connected cogs
HBO

We follow two branches, which turn out to be connected to cogs that seem to represent Baelon and Alyssa Targaryen, two of Jaehaerys and Alysanne's children who married each other.

Blood flows into and from two cogs on side by side stones.
HBO

Their bloodlines join and then branch off into two, which are Viserys I and Daemon.

Blood branches off into two different directions on a stone
HBO

Yes, we've reached the characters we know and love (or hate, depending on your perspective) in House of the Dragon.

Viserys and Daemon stand in front of the Iron Throne
Ollie Upton / HBO

We then closely follow one of these streams, which turns out, of course, to connect to Viserys' crown symbol.

A cog with a gold crown symbol on it

As we saw in the show, Viserys inherited the throne from his grandfather, Jaehaerys, after a Great Council at Harrenhal was held to decide upon the Old King's heir.

HBO

It's not shown clearly in the credits, but if you're wondering how Rhaenys Velaryon fits into all of this, she is the daughter of Aemon Targaryen (one of Jaehaerys' sons) and Jocelyn Baratheon, who in turn, was the daughter of Alyssa Velaryon (Jaehaerys' mother) with her second husband, Rogar Baratheon, who she married after the death of her first husband Aenys I.

Rhaenys Velaryon stands tall with a small smile

So yes, Rhaenys is Jaehaerys' granddaughter, but also his niece. And that's only accounting for immediate family connections — on top of all the House Targaryen incest, Rhaenys is also a Baratheon, and the Baratheons are descended from Orys Baratheon, who was allegedly a bastard of Aerion Targaryen, the father of Aegon I, Rhaenys (the first one) and Visenya.

Incest upon incest upon incest!

Ollie Upton / HBO

Back to Viserys's bloodline, and we can see it branches out from his cog in two directions — depicting his marriage to Aemma Arryn, but also foreshadowing his connection with Alicent and his child(ren) with her.

Two cogs, one with a golden crown and one filled with blood, next to each other with blood running between them.
HBO

But in these credits, we follow his bloodline with Aemma, whose cog fills with blood, seemingly indicating her death.

Viserys holds a dying Aemma's hand
Ollie Upton / HBO

Viserys and Aemma's bloodline flows down to a symbol that clearly represents Rhaenyra.

A cog with a symbol that is the same as the one seen on Rhaenyra's necklace
HBO

The cog contains the same design that appears on the Valyrian steel necklace Daemon gave Rhaenyra in Episode 1.

Daemon hands Rhaenyra a necklace
Ollie Upton / HBO

The blood then shoots off in two separate directions from Rhaenyra (non-book readers, time to start speculating!), but we don't follow it at this point.

Rhaenyra's cog with blood going into it and then branching off in two different directions
HBO

Instead, we see a fresco that appears to depict the Dance of the Dragons — you can see the sigils of many of the noble houses of Westeros below two dragons that seem to be fighting.

A wall carving that seems to show two dragons fighting
HBO

This is when we then move to the shot of the Valyria model from above, with the Targaryen blood running all through it before spilling down into the three-headed dragon that is the sigil of House Targaryen.

Bird's eye view of the Old Valyria model with blood running through it
HBO

There are other bloodlines and cogs that can be seen in the background throughout the credits, and I can take some educated guesses on who they might be, but at this stage, it's probably best to avoid spoilers and leave them in the background — there's a good chance, like Game of Thrones, the credits will evolve and highlight different points of interest to match the story as it progresses.

The three headed dragon symbol with the title "House of the Dragon" over the top

So stay tuned for more!

HBO

What did you think of the new House of the Dragon opening credits?