House of the Dragon’s opening has secret meaning you probably missed

Fans of Game of Thrones loved its intro which told the history of Westeros but did you know House of the Dragon's opening has a secret meaning of its own?

Paddy Considine in House of the Dragon

Who’d have thought that Game of Thrones would ever be popular again? After the fantasy series dropped the ball spectacularly in its final season, it seemed like the TV series would be consigned to the pop culture rubbish dump.

Despite this, House of the Dragon has managed to do the impossible and make the show relevant again. Speaking personally, I knew from the moment I saw the opening that I would be hooked. It was that damned theme tune. It sent a nostalgic shiver down my spine and made me forgive that disastrous ending.

Still, if you’re like me, you may have been caught up in the music and ignored the visuals; you’ll have missed a secret hidden in the House of the Dragon opening. That’s right, all that blood-gushing over Viserys’ model city isn’t just a tribute to the horror movie The Shining; it actually has a very specific meaning.

The Game of Thrones YouTuber Alt Shift X notes that the opening sequence actually tells the story of the Targaryen dynasty, and the blood and seals we see as we move through the city are, in fact, a visual representation of the House of the Dragon’s family tree.

In the first seal, we can see Valyria, the Targaryen homeland and the wellspring of their blood. This blood then flows over a representation of Aegon’s conquest when the first Targaryen King used his dragon Balerion the Black Dread to unite the real under his iron boot.

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The blood then splits into two streams representing Aegon’s two heirs, Aenys and Maegor. We only follow Aenys’ line because Maegor died before producing any heirs. The blood then flows into Jaehaerys’ symbol and splits into nine different streams representing his children.

As the blood continues on its path down, we follow the line leading to Viserys, the current king, during the events of House of the Dragon. Eventually, after a lengthy sequence involving a raging torrent of blood (possibly representing the chaos surrounding Viserys’ attempts to produce a son), we get to Rhaenyra, the current heir to the Iron Throne.

Now you might think that’s a rather obvious ‘secret’, but Alt-Shift X notes one other secret in the opening. The blood is all flowing downwards, representing the decline of House Targaryen and the eventual destruction of the house in Robert’s Rebellion.

If you can’t get enough of Westeros, check out our list of the best Game of Thrones characters, or if you just love magic, we have a guide to the best fantasy movies.