Let's break down the new House of the Dragon season 2 posters

HBO has gifted us with a bevy of new House of the Dragon posters. Let's comb them for easter eggs!
House of the Dragon season 2. Photograph by Courtesy of HBO
House of the Dragon season 2. Photograph by Courtesy of HBO /

We're less than two months out from the second season of House of the Dragon, HBO's moody fantasy prequel to Game of Thrones. We know the show is coming in June, but we don't know the exact date...for now. That's likely to change tomorrow, when the studio is expected to unveil a new trailer for the series. Yes, it'll have dragons and warring nobles in platinum blonde wigs, but it's also all but assured to have a release date. The return to Westeros is coming!

We still have plenty to talk about before then. Today, the official House of the Dragon Twitter account has unveiled a slew of new posters for the season, which fit together to make one stunningly pretty banner:

The banner showcases the Greens on the left and the Blacks on the right; those are the two factions vying for the Iron Throne during this bloodsoaked era of Westeros' history. The Greens are led by King Aegon II Targaryen (Tom Glynn-Carney) while the Blacks are united behind Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D'Arcy).

This civil war is known as the Dance of the Dragons, where Targaryen slaughtered Targaryen in the name of power. This schism is reflected pretty clearly in the posters, as each side bears fluttering banners which sport the colors for their faction, in addition to wearing either black or green outfits. We're going to run through each poster and break down all the little easter eggs we can find in them. And of course, we must start with the one true heir to the Iron Throne:

House of the Dragon season 2. Photograph by Courtesy of HBO /

Rhaenyra Targaryen

When last we saw Rhaenyra Targaryen, she was setting cameras on fire with her glare after discovering that her son Lucerys Velaryon (Elliot Grihault) was murdered by her half-brother Aemond Targaryen (Ewan Mitchell). In season 2, we'll see Rhaenyra head to war to avenge Lucerys and attempt to claim the Iron Throne, which her late father King Viserys decreed was to be hers. No hands are clean in Westeros, but if anyone can be said to have a righteous claim here, it's Rhaenyra.

The fact that Rhaenyra is now a war-time queen is reflected in her costuming. In the poster, Rhaenyra is actually wearing something very similar to what Daenerys Targaryen wore on Game of Thrones. Specifically, it's almost exactly the same as Dany's costume in seasons 7 and 8, when she was warring against the Lannisters to win the Iron Throne. Shoutout to @nyracult on Twitter for catching this great detail.

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones /

Is this a traditional Targaryen war vestment? Was Daenerys copying her ancestor Rhaenyra's iconic style from the Dance of the Dragons? Or is the House of the Dragon costuming team just drawing sartorial parallels between two characters born many years apart? I doubt we'll get a specific answer, but the attention to detail is certainly appreciated.

Of course, we also have to mention the billowing Targaryen flags behind Rhaenyra. They're black with a red dragon, the traditional Targaryen colors. Keep that tucked in the back of your mind, because it'll be relevant in a moment. Rhaenyra is also wearing her father's crown, which was made by her grandfather King Jaehaerys the Conciliator.

And one last cool detail: Rhaenyra and her allies appear to be on the island fortress of Dragonstone, where she's been living with her family for years. It's even clearer in some of the other posters, but the biggest clue in Rhaenyra's poster is the window design. At first I thought that was a King's Landing window, but then I remembered that Alicent Hightower had the King's Landing windows redesigned to have a Seven-Pointed Star set in them, as you can see in her poster:

House of the Dragon season 2. Photograph by Courtesy of HBO /

Alicent Hightower

Unlike Rhaenyra's stoic demeanor, Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke) looks pretty concerned. That's fitting, considering that Alicent stoked the fires of this war in order to keep her children safe from the imagined threat of Rhaenyra culling her political rivals, only to have it all spiral wildly out of control. Much more than in George R.R. Martin's book Fire & Blood, Alicent is a tragic figure.

Alicent is, of course, wearing one of her trademark green dresses, from which her faction drew their name. As we can see in the flags behind her, that green motif is going to be spread far and wide in season 2. The Greens will get new flags featuring a golden dragon on a green field rather than the traditional black and red of House Targaryen.

Another great detail here is that Alicent appears to be in the Small Council chamber; note the chairs off to the left. And as I mentioned, you can see windows sporting the Seven-Pointed Star that remind us of how the Red Keep has changed under her stewardship.

House of the Dragon season 2. Photograph by Courtesy of HBO /

Daemon Targaryen

Next up is Rhaenyra's husband (and uncle) Daemon Targaryen, played by Matt Smith. Daemon is drawing his Valyrian steel sword Darksister here, the blade passed down to him from his ancestor Visenya Targaryen. He was one of the breakout characters of season 1; if you watched it, you probably don't need me to tell you how charismatic Matt Smith was in the part.

As with Rhaenyra's poster, this appears to be on Dragonstone. Note the chair to the left of Daemon, as well as the austere stonework in the background. And once again we have the red and black Targaryen banner.

A few other details: Daemon has a dagger on his belt, because one blade is never enough when you expect that anyone could be a duplicitous backstabber. He's also wearing his Targaryen sigil ring.

But my favorite detail about the Daemon poster is how it mirrors his nephew Aemond's poster. Both men have their swords drawn, eyes locked across the poster-scape. Rhaenyra and Alicent may be the two main players clashing here, but Daemon and Aemond are their warrior counterparts who will defend their causes with fire and blood. Notably, neither Daemon nor Aemond is dressed in armor, but instead sharp tunics in the colors of their respective factions; black for Daemon and freen for Aemond.

House of the Dragon season 2. Photograph by Courtesy of HBO /

Aemond Targaryen

Ah, Aemond Targaryen, everyone's favorite one-eyed agent of chaos. When last we saw Alicent's second son, his dragon Vhagar had just chomped his nephew Lucerys to bloody bits. I wonder how the rest of Aemond's family will take this news?

That's likely to be one of the very first questions House of the Dragon season 2 answers. But from the Fire & Blood source material, we know that Aemond has a huge role to play in the coming war. Here he draws his sword, staring across the portrait-scape at Matt Smith's Daemon. As with Alicent's poster, we can see the trappings of the Small Council room behind him, including chairs and the Small Council table, complete with one of those little plates the council members use to hold their marbles.

This is also as good a time as any to note the dragons on the Green banners: they have two legs, as opposed to four like the ones in Rhaenyra's traditional Targaryen banners.

Another fun tidbit in Aemond's poster is the swords sticking up from the ground in the bottom left. Those would be the beginnings of the Iron Throne, which has swords affixed in the floor surrounding it during this time period. You can see more of them in the following poster, which features the famed throne itself:

House of the Dragon season 2. Photograph by Courtesy of HBO /

Aegon II Targaryen and Criston Cole

That's King Aegon II Targaryen lounging on the Iron Throne, with Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) standing beside him. While Alicent and Rhaenyra may have more personal beef, this war will largely be fought between Aegon and Rhaenyra; they're the two claimants to the throne, after all. But at this point in the story, Aegon is very much a puppet. He didn't want the throne, and he'll have to weather a period of being tugged to and fro by advisors such as Criston Cole, who will become one of his key battle commanders, before he's truly a force in his own right.

This poster in particular has plenty of juicy easter eggs to nerd out over. To start, Aegon isn't wearing his crown, but rather holding it nonchalantly in front of his face. That's a stark contrast with Rhaenyra, who exudes regality with her bearing, her crown atop her head. Aegon's crown belonged to their forebear Aegon the Conqueror; you may remember that Aegon opted to wear that crown instead of King Jaehaerys' crown at the end of season 1, which was convenient since a member of his own Kingsguard stole Jaehaerys' crown to give it to Rhaenyra anyway.

As mentioned earlier, Aegon is surrounded by green dragon banners with golden dragons upon them. That golden dragon symbolizes Aegon's own gold-colored mount Sunfyre, who we'll hopefully see more of in season 2. One of those banners lies over the swords beneath the Iron Throne in the foreground, with a blade piercing up through it. Is that giving us an ominous hint about the ruin of House Targaryen ahead? Or is it just a cool design choice? You decide!

By far the most exciting easter egg in this poster to me is the dragon looming in the window behind Aegon and Criston. That looks like Aemond's mount Vhagar; note the jowly mouth. While the Greens have plenty of dragons on their side, Vhagar is the biggest symbol of their draconian might. She is the largest and oldest living dragon in Westeros, the last holdover from the days of Aegon the Conqueror. It makes sense to feature here in a poster, especially since we'll probably see quite a lot of her next season.

House of the Dragon season 2. Photograph by Courtesy of HBO /

Rhaenys Targaryen and Corlys Velaryon

Last but certainly not least, we have Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best) and her husband Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint). This power couple stands as the lynchpin in Rhaenyra's campaign; yes, Daemon brings dragons and there are soldiers loyal to Rhaenyra, but it's the Velaryon fleet and wealth which helps put her on equal footing with her half-brother Aegon.

A few things to note about the background here: those windows again appear to be a style I would associate more with Dragonstone than King's Landing. Seeing as how that will serve as the base of Rhaenyra's operation, it makes sense that the posters would include the setting. The edge of what appears to be a table is in front of Corlys, with what looks like a map on it — I don't think that's the Painted Table, the big one that is itself an enormous map of Westeros. Maybe they couldn't fit it on the poster, so they're just putting this other table in to keep the spirit of it.

The big easter egg is once again a dragon flying outside the window behind Corlys and Rhaenys. This one's a little harder to be certain of, but my money is that it's Meleys, Rhaenys' mount. You may remember Meleys as the dragon which burst out of the floor of the Dragonpit in the penultimate episode of season 1, spoiling Aegon's coronation. We won't get into spoiler territory, but Meleys has an important role to play in the war to come. It's gonna be a big season for her and her rider, Rhaenys Targaryen.

House of the Dragon /

Notable absences

House of the Dragon has a big cast, and we didn't expect every character to get spotlighted on a poster. Still, a couple prominent members of the rival families are conspicuous by their absence, including:

  • Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans): Alicent's father and the grandfather to Aegon and Aemond, Otto's scheming was vital in getting Aegon on the throne. He'll play a large role in season 2, poster or no.
  • Helaena Targaryen (Phia Saban): Alicent's only daughter and the sister-wife of King Aegon, Queen Helaena isn't as warlike as her brothers, so she probably would want to take part in this bloody photoshoot anyway.
  • Jacaerys Velaryon (Harry Collett): Although her son Lucerys is dead, Rhaenyra still has several living sons, the eldest and most proactive of which is Jacaerys, or Jace.

Also missing are Daemon Targaryen's daughters from a previous marriage: Baela and Rhaena Targaryen, played by Bethany Antonia and Phoebe Campbell respectively. All of these characters will have roles to play. Who knows? Maybe their characters will develop throughout season 2 to the point where they'll have posters of their own ahead of season 3.

The House of the Dragon season 2 trailer is expected to drop tomorrow, and the season is expected to debut in June! Which side will you choose?

Next. grrm. George R.R. Martin explains why he can't serve as showrunner on Game of Thrones series. dark

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