House of the Dragon: Aegon Targaryen’s ‘Song of Ice and Fire’ prophecy, explained

Game of Thrones fans are learning a lot more about the Targaryens thanks to House of the Dragon.

HBO’s spin-off series, which has returned for a second season, is transporting viewers back to the world of Westeros – albeit one set more than 150 years before the events of Game of Thrones.

The series isn’t just aimed at viewers of the original series, though. There have already been several moments where it became clear the prequel will reward readers of George RR Martin’s Fire & Blood, as well as his A Song of Ice and Fire book series.

In the new episode, viewers were reminded of a time long before even this series started – a time when Aegon the Conqueror was ruler of the Seven kingdoms.

One key scene featured in the very first episode of the show’s first season, which was requested by Martin himself, sees King Viserys (Paddy Considine) tell his daughter and heir Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) about a vision that prompted Aegon to conquer Westeros. He tells Rhaenyra that Aegon foresaw “the end of the world of men”, which will begin “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,” he says. “When this great winter comes, Rhaenyra, all of Westeros must stand against it. And if the world of men is to survive, then a Targaryen must be seated on the Iron Throne. A king or queen, strong enough to unite the realm against the cold and the dark.

“Aegon called his dream ‘A Song of Ice and Fire.’ This secret, it’s been passed from king to heir since Aegon’s time. And now you must promise to keep it. And to carry it.”

What makes this scene particularly exciting is that we know, thanks to Game of Thrones, that Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) will one day (unsuccessfully) attempt to claim her place on the Iron Throne. We also know about the arrival of the Long Night and the battle against the White Walkers. Fans will also remember that a Targaryen by the name of Aegon – more commonly known as Jon Snow (Kit Harington) – is instrumental in saving Westeros.

Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) learns about Aegon’s dream (HBO)
Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) learns about Aegon’s dream (HBO)

Viserys’s speech also provides some context behind the name A Song of Ice and Fire, which many believed to have merely been a reference to Jon’s true heritage.

In a huge twist, though, Viserys shares the prophecy on his death bed with Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke), believing her to be Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy). It’s because of this that Alicent now believes that her husband’s final wishes were for her to ensure their son, Aegon, and not Rhaenyra’s family line, made it to the Iron Throne. It’s this misunderstanding that will lead to the wars to come.

*Spoilers follow – you have been warned*

In a scene featured in the third episode of the drama’s second season, Rhaenyra sneaks into King’s Landing and fins her way to Alicent in the hope of convincing her to put an end to a forthcoming battle between the two families. Here, Rhaenyra asks Alicent what Viserys said before his death, to which she reveals that he referred to Aegeon as “the Prince that was promised”.

Alicent misunderstanding the prophecy by Viserys’s death bed (HBO)
Alicent misunderstanding the prophecy by Viserys’s death bed (HBO)

This causes Rhaenyra to discover Viserys told her about the prophetic dream, planting the seed that perhaps Viserys didn’t realise he was talking to Alicent – especially as she knows she was the only one Viserys informed of it.

In the season one finale, Rhaenyra wrongly assumes that Dameon (Matt Smith) knows of her father’s prophecy. His response – to choke Rhaenyra and chide his brother’s belief in such “feckless” beliefs – suggests that Rhaenyra is well and truly alone in the knowledge of what Viserys intended.

Why didn’t Viserys tell Daemon about the dream? It’s a good question – and most likely because he thought his brother would never believe him.

Rhaneyra talking about ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ with Alicent in ‘House of the Dragon’ season two (HBO)
Rhaneyra talking about ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ with Alicent in ‘House of the Dragon’ season two (HBO)

Speaking about the decision to reference the prophecy in the show, co-showrunner Ryan J Condal told Polygon: “Martin 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.”

House of the Dragon is available to watch on NOW.