As Viserys I (Paddy Considine) is proclaimed as King Jaehaerys I Targaryen’s (Michael Carter) heir, the first season of House of the Dragon is infamous for its time jumps, as it ends with Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock and Emma D Arcy) and Aegon II
(Ty Tennant and Tom Glynn-Carney), two of Viserys’ children, House of the Dragon’s first season spans almost twenty years in total, in contrast to its forerunner Game of Thrones, which used a more basic, linear approach to narrating its story.
George R.R. Martin, the author of Fire & Blood and a co-creator of the series, has already discussed the limitations of streaming TV in delivering these grand, vast tales, but he has also recently expressed a desire for the show to begin even earlier.
Aegon I’s conquest of Westeros and his control over the seven kingdoms are the first events in Fire & Blood, the book on which House of the Dragon is based, which takes place approximately 100 years before Viserys I is recognized as successor. Before arriving at the beginning of the series, the book also covers the reigns of King Aegon I’s successors, King Aenys I, King Maegor I, and King Jaehaerys I.
Martin didn’t say he would have gone back to Aegon I in a recent interview with his publisher, Penguin Random House, but he did say he would have started it about 40 years earlier with the episode he would have called The Heir and the Spare, in which Jaehaerys’ two sons, Aemon and Baelon, are still alive.
We can observe the rivalry as well as the friendship between the two sides of the grand home. You see, Aemon is inadvertently killed on Tarth by a Myrish crossbowman, and Jaehaerys then has to determine who will be the new heir. Is she the daughter of the older son who recently passed away, or is she the adolescent female second son, who is a man and has sons of his own?
Martin continues by acknowledging that he was the only person who was truly excited about the notion of beginning the series early. It’s hardly surprising that the creators of the House of the Dragon television series, Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik, decided against starting the series before Viserys’ rule because twenty years of the plot is already a sizable amount of time for only ten episodes.
Starting the season 40 years earlier would probably have required even more time leaps and actor recastings if the season’s ultimate objective had remained the same, which was to prepare us for the Dance of the Dragons.
The whole interview with George R.R. Martin is available to view below.
Condal told Deadline following the season 1 finale that the time leaps and recasts are over. From this point on, the narrative is told in real-time. These characters are played by the actors all the way through.
No one is being recast. Not many significant time jumps are being made. We’re going to narrate the narrative of the Dance of the Dragons right now.
Therefore, if you disliked the time leaps this season, you should take solace in the knowledge that they are finally finished and that things could have been much, much worse if George R.R. Martin had his way.