House of the Dragon: The Opening Credits, Explained

The devil is in the details. 
IMAGE HBO

We always knew that House of the Dragon was going to be bloody, and now, the opening credits have all but promised that. Season 1 Episode 2 finally introduced the GOT prequel’s opening sequence, and it couldn’t be more Targaryen if it tried.

Blood, stone, and doom—the opening credits are an homage to Old Valyria. Partnered with the iconic song from Game of Thrones, the intro is so epic, that only fools would click “skip.” It’s easy to get caught up in the rivers of blood, and if you blink, you could miss the easter eggs that litter the intro. The devil is in the details, and we’re here to break them all down for you. 

Read more about House of the Dragon:

The Real History That Inspired the Dragon Civil War

A Complete Guide to the Dragonriders in House of the Dragon

House of the Dragon’s Opening Credits, Decoded 

Where Game of Thrones’ opening credits centered on a map of Westeros, House of the Dragon’s opening credits present the Targaryen bloodline. These dragonriders are all about keeping the bloodline pure (hence, the incest. Yikes) because the power to bond with dragons comes from their blood. Let’s not forget that Old Valyria was all but made—and destroyed—by blood magic. 

Perhaps symbolism for the machinations that keep the wheel going, the intro spotlights gears that represent key players in the Targaryen legacy, following family lines and succession. The seals bear symbols, usually crowns, that represent certain people. When the gears fill with blood, it’s a sign these people have died. So keep an eye out for future episodes and seasons as dragonriders drop from the skies like flies in the upcoming war. 

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Breaking Down House of the Dragon’s Opening Credits 

The Doom of Valyria and Aegon’s Conquest

Photo by HBO.

The dark volcanic city in the background is Valyria before the doom, which the Targaryen’s survived by hightailing it to Westeros thanks to a prophetic dream. The Targaryens are the last dragonriders in the world, and the legacy of their nation rests heavily on their shoulders. The three gold dragons represent Aegon Targaryen and his sister-wives Visenya and Rhaenys when they conquered Westeros, built the Iron Throne, and installed their family as kings and queens. 

Visenya and Rhaenys 

Photo by HBO.
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Recommended Videos

The second seals represent King Aegon’s sister-wives (incest-galore!), focusing on Rhaenys as it’s from her line that the rest of the family descends. Visenya’s son Maegor was a monstrous piece of shit, but that’s a whole other story. Worthy of another HBO show? Probably. But we digress. 

Aenys 

Photo by HBO.

The crown of King Aenys, Rhaenys’ son, is the fourth seal to appear. The poorly-named king died from stress dealing with his brother, which began the first succession crisis in the Targaryen family. 

Jaeherys and Alysanne

Photo by HBO.
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

The fourth and fifth children of King Aenys, this incestuous duo wasn’t meant to rule, but after Maegor offed their siblings and started a war, Jaeherys and Alysanne were the last ones standing. They had to fight for their crown, and eventually, they managed peace. The bloodlines sprouting from their union represent all their little kids/incest-fest. 

Baelon and Alyssa

Photo by HBO.

The next seals are a little less obvious, but if we had to guess, the two represent Prince Baelon and Princess Alyssa, the children of Jaeherys and Alysanne. Baelon was the presumed heir after his elder brother, Aemon (Rhaenys Velaryon’s father), died. Sadly, the two died before their father as well. 

The Succession Crisis

Photo by HBO.
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Two roads diverged. The literal “bloodline” splits, representing the succession crisis that appeared at the start of the series. The lords converged at Harrenhaal to vote between the two heirs: Rhaenys, Jaeherys’ first son’s only child, or Viserys, Jaeherys’ second son’s only child. Guess who they went with? 

Rhaenys Velaryon 

Photo by HBO.

Before the bloodline reaches Viserys’ seal, we see Rhaenys’ seal in the background. A dragonrider, Rhaenys’ status as a woman prevented her from becoming queen. But will she let the same thing happen to her niece? We’ll see. 

Viserys I and Aemma 

Photo by HBO.
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

When we finally see Viserys’ seal, featuring the crown he wears throughout the show, we also see another seal beside his. It belongs to Aemma, but the seal quickly fills with blood as she dies a gory death in Episode 1 thanks to her loving husband. 

The Hightowers 

Photo by HBO.

The shot then zooms out to show two seals connected to the bloodline. We’re guessing these represent the Hightowers, Otto and his daughter Alicent. Or, could it be Alicent and her future son with Viserys? Hmm. 

Rhaenyra 

Photo by HBO.
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

And finally, we get to the seal that matters the most in this show: Rhaenyra. The elaborate design of her gear shows just how much of a focal character she will be, and luckily for us, it’s not filling up with blood. 

The Dance of Dragons 

Photo by HBO.

The bloodline ends there since that’s as far as the show goes, but the intro then pans to point at a stone engraving of the Dance of Dragons, aka the Targaryen civil war. House crests are divided into two factions to represent how the war will divide Westeros. 

Old Valyria 

Photo by HBO.
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Behold, Old Valyria, the dragon city that’s referenced about a thousand times throughout Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon. Build with dragons, dark magic, fire, blood, and slavery, the destroyed civilization is represented quite well by this gloomy and almost archaic replica. 

House of the Dragon 

Photo by HBO.

If all roads lead to Rome, then all blood leads to Targaryens. The coat of arms of House Targaryen are the last image we see. But don’t be distracted by the fire silhouetting the golden dragon seal. In the dimly lit shot, you can see all the blood pouring through the cracks, right into the seal of the dragon.

A foreboding of the death and trauma to come.

Watch the full intro here: 

Stream House of the Dragon on HBO Go in the Philippines. New episodes drop every Monday at 9 a.m. Philippine time. 

Read more about House of the Dragon:

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

House of the Dragon: The Best Quotes From George R. R. Martin's Fire & Blood

Here’s When Each Episode of House of the Dragon Will Be on HBO Go

The Rings of Power vs. House of the Dragon: The Tale of Two Fantasy Epics

More Videos You Can Watch
About The Author
Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
View Other Articles From Anri
Latest Feed
Load More Articles
Connect With Us