House of the Dragon would detail a devastating conflict known as the Dance of the Dragons, but it’s hard to say who will come out on top. King Viserys I rules Westeros at the beginning of the miniseries, some 200 years prior to the events of the original Game of Thrones, amid what is often regarded as the apogee of dominance for the Targaryen household.
Because the Tragedy of Valyria prompted the very first Targaryens to traverse the Narrow Sea, the successful administration of the well-liked King Jaehaerys I resulted in a greater number of dragons and a greater number of Targaryens to saddle them.
But what really is “Dance of the Dragons” aka Death of the Dragons? Without further ado, let’s find out.
In House of the Dragon, we see a schism develop among the Targaryen family as members fight for control of the Iron Throne. The insurgency is known as the “Dance of the Dragons” because of the spectacular battles between Targaryens and their legendary dragon mounts.
When his grandfather, King Jaehaerys, died, his grandson, King Viserys I Targaryen, was selected as successor in a Great Council. This was done at the expense of overlooking his cousin Princess Rhaenys Targaryen for the claim to the iron throne and the idea that no woman should ever rule Westeros.
Since Viserys did not have a male successor, the possibility of his rogue sibling and the existing commander of the Night’s Watch, Prince Daemon Targaryen, getting declared successor to the Iron Throne was a contentious one, prompting the king to take a daring action.
Viserys, at the advice of Ser Otto Hightower, a loyal King’s Hand declared his daughter Rhaenyra Targaryen his successor, gave her the appellation of Princess of Dragonstone and had all the nobles of the realm vow to uphold the declaration and respect Rhaenyra as their queen. Nevertheless, when his first wife, Queen Aemma Arryn, dies during delivery, King Viserys marries Lady Alicent Hightower.
Fire and Blood depicts a happy and successful relationship in which Alicent has many beautiful kids, notably legal sons. However, Viserys has only ever acknowledged his own daughter, Princess Rhaenyra, as the rightful successor to rule the seven kingdoms. Inevitably, two groups form in the novel: the “Blacks,” who support Princess Rhaenyra as well as her progeny, and the “Greens,” who support Queen Alicent Hightower and her offspring.
Queen Alicent donned a green garment and Princess Rhaenyra sported the black and red of the Targaryens during a chilly tournament celebrating the fifth commemoration of Viserys and Queen Alicent’s wedding. After that, their fans wore identical hues on the game to express their loyalty. These differences eventually lead to a schism among the ruling household and a bloody conflict that lasts for decades and claims the lives of many people and the flying beasts.
By winning a slew of wars, Rhaenyra, at last, managed to seize King’s Landing, where she was at first well received. The city’s inhabitants quickly became frantic, angry, and famished when her foes drained the coffers. Shepherd, a zealous preacher, incited the common population to revolt and launch an assault on the dragon lair.
The population of dragons quickly declined as a result of these assaults and the fighting among Dragonriders. As both greens, as well as blacks, fell into fight after fight, the population of Targaryens shrank at an alarming rate. Queen Rhaenyra fled King’s Landing following the disturbances, however, she was deceived into retreating to the Dragonstone her opponents controlled, where Aegon fed her flesh to his fire-breather.
Almost every dragon is killed in the Dance of the Dragons, along with Queen Rhaenyra, Prince Daemon, Queen Helaena as well as her children Daeron, and Aemond, Lady Rhaenys, and all three of Rhaenyra’s sons from her first union. The burning and devouring of Rhaenyra by King Aegon II’s steed Sunfyre essentially end the battle.
While Rhaenyra’s demise may slow down her armies from the North headed by Lord Cregan Stark, he has been horribly crippled by the happenings of the Dance of the Dragons. The king is counseled to submit, but Aegon refuses to do so. King Aegon II is weak and resentful, so his advisers choose to do their own bidding and had the king poisoned. This makes Daemon, and Rhaenyra’s child, Aegon the de facto ruler of Westeros.
Alicent’s latter years are spent in seclusion, consumed by despair. There was no clear victor in the Dance of the Dragons, as everyone met their untimely deaths on a path littered with the shattered remains of their family members and their dragons. If the same is true in the House of Dragon, then maybe the God of Death is the only one who triumphs in the end.