‘House Of The Dragon:’ What Is The Significance Of Aegon’s Dream Of Ice And Fire?

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House of Dragon very much lived up to the best seasons of its predecessor, Game of Thrones; the show is brimming with obscenely wealthy, dangerously inbred sociopaths, obsessively feuding over titles, crowns and child marriages, the nasty stuff Thrones excelled at.

Aside from shamelessly reusing the Thrones theme tune, the show was fairly restrained, rarely acknowledging Thrones, beyond being set in the same continent, ruled by the same Houses. Except for the repeated mention of Aegon’s prophetic dream – the Song of Ice and Fire.

What is Aegon’s Dream?

The good King Viserys (Paddy Considine) is burdened by the weight of the crown, but he is also troubled by an old family secret. His legendary ancestor, King Aegon the Conqueror, had a vision that the world of men would fall, and understood that only his family of Aryan inbreds could save it.

Viserys tells his daughter, Princess Rhaenyra, that Aegon “foresaw the end of the world of men. It is to begin with a terrible winter, gusting out of the distant North. Aegon saw absolute darkness riding on those winds and whatever dwells within will destroy the world of the living … if the world of men is to survive, a Targaryen must be seated on the Iron Throne.”

According to Viserys, this is why Aegon conquered Westeros – out of a sense of duty – and this is why Viserys names Rhaenyra his heir (inadvertently, and ironically, sparking a terrible conflict).

Is Aegon’s Dream Canon?

Aegon’s dream isn’t mentioned in George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, but it was brought up by Martin himself in a conversation with the House of the Dragon showrunners. In an interview with Polygon, showrunner Ryan J. Condal said:

“That actually came from [Martin] … He told us very early on in the room — just as he does, just casually mentioned the fact that Aegon the Conqueror was a dreamer who saw a vision of the White Walkers coming across the wall and sweeping over the land with cold and darkness. So, with his permission, of course, we infused that into the story because it was such a great way to create resonance with the original show.”

Aegon the Conqueror is described as a mysterious, solitary person who didn’t seem to have much of an interest in ruling Westeros once he conquered it. His true motivation for invading is left open to interpretation, and the dream frames his conquest in a much more noble light.

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Prophecies in Martin’s books are treated as influential, but dangerously vague, either outright inaccurate, or misinterpreted by the powerful people who take them seriously. In contrast, Aegon’s dream is a very direct prediction, but considering what happened at the end of Game of Thrones, somewhat confusing.

After all, there was no Targaryen on the throne during the Long Night. Both John Snow (who is a Targaryen) and Daenerys Targaryen prove crucial in fending off the White Walkers, but it is Arya Stark who lands the killing blow, destroying the Night King and his army with a single stab.

Perhaps this was a departure from Martin’s original plan, as it doesn’t quite line up with the significance of the prophecy, especially considering how quickly the White Walkers were defeated (the Long Night lasted only a single night).

Does Aegon’s Dream Change Anything?

It changes the motivations of the Targaryens, to some degree. For Viserys, who is a genuinely noble king, the Ned Stark of his time, it shows that his decision to name Rhaenyra his heir as a selfless act, rather than a simple desire to see his family keep the throne.

Rhaenyra seems to take the prophecy quite seriously, although it’s not like she’s fighting to keep a Targaryen on the throne; she’s fighting to keep her side of the family on the throne. It’s unclear if pride, or the prophecy, is steering her actions.

Queen Alicent seems to deliberately interpret the prophecy in her son’s favor, but it does it even matter? After all, the Small Council already had a plan ready to deny Rhaenyra’s claim, based on self-interest and good old-fashioned misogyny.

The prophecy seems both a serious motivator, and a self-righteous justification for a power grab. After all, these are still members of the aristocracy, the kind of people who casually crush commoners while riding their dragons, and send the masses to fight and die based on family feuds.

But the prophecy does add an extra dimension to the struggle.

Is Aegon’s Dream Building Up To A Retcon?

Possibly? There is a Jon Snow spin-off incoming, that will likely be set after the events of Thrones. We don’t know any plot details yet, but Jon could face the threat of another Long Night, to “fix” the underwhelming battle of Thrones final season, which makes the prophecy seem a bit silly, in hindsight.

Or maybe that’s the point; that the prophecy was either false, or the Targaryens over-estimated their own importance. Maybe all that conquering, incest and bloodshed was for naught; that would be very George R.R. Martin.

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