“House of the Dragon”: Differences from the Book and how does it Connect to “Game of Thrones”

Although the Story that Gives rise to "The House of the Dragon" is at a Transcendental Point, the Truth is that There are Certain Details that Make the Difference with the Book and that Could have other Consequences in the Future.

Still from the series 'The House of the Dragon'

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LatinAmerican Post | Yolanda González Madrid

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Leer en español: “La Casa del Dragón”: ¿En qué se diferencia del libro y cómo se conecta con “Juego de tronos”?

Since its premiere on August 21, "The House of the Dragon" has not stopped being a trend every Sunday. Theories, small details in each episode, as well as the love-hate relationship with certain characters, are just some of the most talked about things once the week's episode ends. The universe created by George RR Martin seems to be the only one capable of generating such a stir for a story full of medieval fantasy.

On this occasion, we will tell you about a couple of details that were adapted for the series and that had a different destiny in the book. In addition, we will also comment on the famous prophecy that begins in this story and ends up connecting with "Game of Thrones".

The Fate of Laenor Velaryon

In November 2018, the book "Fire and Blood" was published with the purpose of telling the origin of the Targaryen House and how their dynasty ruled the Seven Kingdoms. However, what very few people know is that "The House of the Dragon" covers only the second half of this novel, since it leaves out details such as the conquest of Westeros by Aegon I Targaryen and the subsequent rise of Jaehaerys I Targaryen. After the death of the latter, it is that he starts the HBO series.

Now, if there's one thing the "Game of Thrones" showrunners got us used to, it's that the series tends to drift a bit compared to the events of the books. To the surprise of a few, this same case is happening with "The House of the Dragon" which, seeking a plot twist, has left the door open for a future as uncertain as it is interesting in its plot.

One of the most important creative decisions, and perhaps the most transcendental to date, involves changing the final destiny of one of its characters: Laenor Velaryon. As you will remember, the son of Corlys Velaryon and Rhaenys Targaryen was burned to death in the eyes of his parents and the entire kingdom, although that was only a strategy on the part of Rhaenyra and Daemon to secure the ascension of the princess to the iron throne and, furthermore, so that Laenor could live with her lover away from Westeros.

However, that last detail does not occur in the original text. The future heir to Driftmark is killed, and precisely by his lover, Ser Qarl Correy. In fact, Corlys himself is a witness to the death of his son, which he says was due to a jealous dispute. But since the story of the entire book is built on unconfirmed information from a Maester, a rumor claims that Daemon had something to do with paying an assassin to kill him.

So, the panorama now changes radically, with a living Laenor, hidden, and with the possibility of returning at any time. The House of Velaryon, in "The House of the Dragon", appears fragile with the loss not only of Corlys, but also of his heirs, but this secret could open the doors to consequences that only the producers of the series will know. Will Rhaenyra or Daemon reveal this crucial piece of information? Will Laenor return to give the story another twist?

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A most heinous murder

Continuing with the bloody line that characterizes this fantasy production, viewers were surprised by one of the cruelest deaths in the series so far. Towards the end of the eighth episode, an angry Vaemond Velaryon insulted Rhaenyra and questioned the legitimacy of his children with Laenor, to which Daemon responded by suddenly decapitating him from behind. But was this how it happened in the work of George RR Martin?

As cruel as this scene may have seemed, the reality is that Vaemond had an even more atrocious ending in "Fire and Blood." There, Rhaenyra ordered Daemon to execute him, something that was minimally noted in the series. Then, the same crown princess to the throne decided to feed her dragon with the remains of the deceased. In fact, the image of Rhaenyra in the books is much darker and sadistic, a concept far removed from what is shown in "The House of the Dragon".

Also, in the books, Vaemond was Corlys's nephew and not a brother, a decision that ultimately gave his murder more notoriety in the series. Given this event, Vaemond's cousins took his wife and children to demand justice for his death, to which King Viserys responded by cutting out everyone's tongue as punishment for also questioning the legitimacy of his grandchildren. This, in the end, was omitted from the series.

The promised prince. Or the Princess?

In the first episode of "The House of the Dragon" we saw a small reference to "Game of Thrones" with something that we all know. The prophecy of the "Song of Ice and Fire" talks about a promised prince who will manage to unite all the kingdoms of Westeros to save them from a terrible winter. Of course, this does not happen until years later, but in the current events of the series it takes on a fundamental relevance.

The prophecy in question was a vision of Aegon the Conqueror, and over time it was passed on to the successors to the iron throne. Now, at one point in "Game of Thrones," Missandei tells Daenerys that a certain word in the Valyrian language has no gender and can mean prince or princess. Hence, King Viserys was certain that Rhaenyra was the promised princess that the prophecy affirms so much.

However, lying in bed dying, Viserys believes he is accompanied by his daughter and assures her that the prophecy is real, when in fact it is his wife Alicent who hears him. The misunderstanding (or not) of the Queen makes her think that the Aegon she refers to is her firstborn and not the Conqueror, so she takes action to have him ascend the throne and become the promised prince. From here begins the discord in the Targaryen House.

In the end, neither this Aegon nor Rhaenyra are the answers to the prophecy. Centuries later, already set in "Game of Thrones", it is when we see two other Targaryens starring in that dispute: Daenerys and Jon Snow (named Aegon by birth). The only thing certain is that the so-called prince -or princess- promised ended up being a distant descendant of Viserys.

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