With a series as intricate and complex as “Game of Thrones” was, the devil was truly in the details. For much of its run, viewers quickly embraced the HBO flagship show’s impressive worldbuilding, its focus on the intricacies of ruling a kingdom, the questions of what makes a great leader, and, yes, the occasional spectacle-filled battle sequence. Still, until the series’ much-maligned ending, few ever would’ve argued that the creative team didn’t have a wonderfully nerdy sensibility and attention to detail when it came to adapting author George R.R. Martin’s ambitious fantasy series.
When it came time to develop the spin-off/prequel series “House of the Dragon,” envisioning the world of Westeros a few centuries before the events of “Game of Thrones” necessitated a few creative divergences. For one thing, the Iron Throne needed a bit of a facelift to present a gaudier and more ostentatious display, reflecting the Targaryen family dynasty at the peak of its powers. In another departure from the parent series, the creators set their sights on a somewhat less noticeable target: the dragons displayed in the sigil of House Targaryen.
Truly only the most hardcore of fans would even notice this sort of thing in the first place, but it goes to show that — for those still suffering from a debilitating case of distrust after how “Game of Thrones” ultimately went down — perhaps “House of the Dragon” is in the safest possible hands.
‘Every choice we made on this show … was made with a reason’
Those most familiar with “Game of Thrones” know how important the symbolism of sigils and mottos (for example, the famous “Winter is coming” words of the grim Starks in the north) are to the most powerful families in Westeros. Co-creator and co-showrunner Ryan Condal has maintained that important connection in “House of the Dragon,” though with a few tweaks. If you ever wanted an in-depth discussion about whether dragons ought to have two legs or four, well, you’ve come to the right place.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Condal actually observed that this “new” four-legged sigil isn’t so new, after all.
“I will say every choice we made on this show, down to even smaller minutia than that [sigil], was made with a reason. I would say stay tuned. But I also say that the sigil that you’re seeing in this show you did see in the original show, as well.”
EW accurately notes that both the two-legged and four-legged versions were featured in “Game of Thrones.” The four-legged dragon made its first appearance at the end of season 6 when Daenerys finally launched her fleet of ships to reclaim Westeros: her decision to revert to the older sigil symbolizing the Targaryen bloodline’s return to its former strength. But Condal says “House of the Dragon” will offer even more insight for the lore-obsessed fans out there:
“That was how far and high the Targaryen dynasty had fallen, that the sigil did not exist really anymore until Daenerys brought it back about. So we chose to go down a road that I think honored where Daenerys left us off versus where people think it all started. But I will say, stay tuned. Hopefully it will all make sense in due time.”
“House of the Dragon” premieres on HBO August 21, 2022.