After watching the first few episodes of HBO’s House of the Dragon I decided to go all in. I not only went out and bought the book Fire & Blood by George RR Martin, I have studied the Targaryen Family Tree and have even gone so far as to learning all the characters that will play a major part in the Dance of the Dragons which should be the grand finale for the first season. There has already been a renewal for Season 2 so this page could get rather lengthy. But you guys love I know going in depth. This is basically the store of Rhaenyra Targaryen vs Alicent Hightower.
Episode 1 – “The Heirs of the Dragon”
It is very difficult to know the exact date of the first episode but it seems to be around 105 AC because this is the year in which Aemma Arryn Targaryen died while giving birth to King Viscerys I Targaryen’s first born son. Unfortunately, the first born son died shortly after birth. This is when Viscerys names his daughter Rhaenyra heir to the Iron Throne. There is a character Crabfeeder in the book and this villain does play a role in a major war with the Targaryen’s. Corlys Velaryon is not black in the books but George RR Martin has stated that he made the Velaryon look different and he could envision the Lord of the Tides being black.
While Rhaenyra and Alicent Hightower look to be around the same age in the first episode, Alicent is nine (9) years older than Rhaenyra in the book. The entire friendship and potential romantic relationship between Alicent Hightower and Princess Rhaenyra is not a part of the book. We don’t even know of Alicent Hightower until she is to be wed to King Viscerys I Targaryen. We will likely see that in a future episode. Maybe the next episode!
We do know that Rhaenyra and Daemon have a very good relationship in the book and that he brought her gifts from his adventures and travels. There was never a mention of Daemon actually sitting on the Iron Throne in the book.
Episode 2 – “The Rogue Prince”
There was much in this episode that was very different from the book. The book really doesn’t get into the Daemon character until 126 AC. This would be when Rhaenyra is approaching her 20s. We have already met Daemon in the first episode when he sat on the Iron Throne and gave Rhaenyra a necklace. The book does go into some depth about the war with the Crabfeeder. Craghas Drahar, called Craghas Crabfeeder was a prince admiral from Myr who served the Triarchy. The Triarchy is a very big part of the book especially in regards to Corlys Velaryon.
In the books there is no major announcement that Alicent Hightower was chosen as queen. There was a brief mention of Corlys Velaryon urging King Viscerys I Targaryen to marry his daughter Laena. At the time, Laena was 12 and Alicent Hightower was 17.
Episode 3 – “Second of His Name”
We know that Rhaenyra and her father often bickered but there was no hunting for the white stag nor a boar scene in the books like there was during the HBO TV series. Most of episode 3 is not depicted in great depth in the book. The war with the Crabfeeder was in the book but Daemon Targaryen cut off his head. He did not drag half of his body out of the cave.
Alicent does try to make good with Rhaenyra in the book but remember that the book does not explain the friendship the two may or may not have had throughout their youth. If Rhaenyra is nine (9) years younger than Alicent, it is unlikely they have a lot in common other than their fathers working together.
The end of this episode is very graphic on TV. We basically get to see how awesome Daemon Targaryen is at fighting. He basically jumps on his airplane Caraxes also known as Blood Wyrm and finishes off the Crabfeeders’ army and marches into the cave and slices him in half. Once again, in the book Daemon decapitates the Crabfeeder but we needed to see his intestines falling out in the HBO House of the Dragon TV series.
Episode 4 – “King of the Narrow Sea”