House of the Dragon season 1 could span at least two decades

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House of the Dragon
Image: House of the Dragon/HBO /

Funerals and secret weddings

There’s plenty of footage of Rhaenyra Targaryen and her rival Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke) as adults in this trailer as well, so obviously we’re going to be moving on from the early years. But just how far?

One key touchstone comes later in the trailer, when we see the funeral for Laena Velaryon (Savannah Steyn), Daemon Targaryen’s second wife. That event happened at the very beginning of 120 AC, when Rhaenyra is around 23 years old. It’s a dramatic event where all our major players are in the same place, and by that time there’s quite a lot of bad blood between them. It most likely leads to the brief scene we see where Alicent tries to stab Rhaenyra in the eye with the Catspaw Dagger from Game of Thrones.

Then, we get the shot above of Rhaenyra and Daemon getting married in secret. This is a huge scandal, because Laena and Rhaenyra’s former husband Laenor have both been dead less than a year when it happens. So this also takes place in 120 AC.

When does the Dance of the Dragons start?

As things stand, this is the latest point we have absolute confirmation for…however, it’s entirely possible that House of the Dragon season 1 will go past it. This is a show about the Dance of the Dragons, and 120 AC is still almost a decade away from when that war actually begins. The conflict doesn’t really start until 129 AC, when Viserys Targaryen passes away of natural causes. If there’s anywhere House of the Dragon might speed up events, I’d say it’s between Daemon and Rhaenyra’s wedding and Viserys’ passing. But then again, some of the characters are children, and it would make sense to wait until they’re old enough to meaningfully participate in the war; we know, for instance, that HBO has cast an adult actor to play the grown-up version of Alicent’s son Aemond, who is a precocious child in 120 AC. It’s hard to say for sure what HBO will do.

My theory is that season 1 will end with Viserys dying in one of its final episodes, and leave us with the uncomfortable knowledge that the war is about to begin. If it did that, season 1 could cover closer to three decades. But from the trailer alone, we know for sure we’ll be seeing events that occur over the course of 20 years, barring some kind of timeline trickery.

What about House of the Dragon season 2?

We’ll leave things with this final note: even if House of the Dragon season 1 does lean into flashbacks and time jumps to cover 20-30 years of history, that is very unlikely to be the case in future seasons of the show. The actual Dance of the Dragons war only lasts from 129 AC to 131 AC. It’s a bloody few years in Westeros, with a whole lot of crazy events going down. There won’t be a need to skip around the timeline once dragons start tearing each other from the sky and the fight for the Iron Throne begins in earnest.

House of the Dragon season 1 premieres on HBO and HBO Max on August 21.

Next. House of the Dragon: Extended scene of Alicent attacking Rhaenyra. dark

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