House Of The Dragon Features A Newly Canonical Connection Between House Targaryen And The White Walkers

The White Walkers were a huge part of the mythology in "Game of Thrones," starting in the very first scene of its pilot. Those undead frozen creatures and their silent ruler, the Night King, would continue to haunt the series for most of its run, up until the Night King had a most unfortunate run-in with a Valyrian steel dagger part-way through the final season (well, unfortunate for him, anyway). Banking on their popularity, HBO had originally intended to bring those frosty zombies back in a prequel/spin-off series exploring their secret origins, only to scrap the project after deciding it just wasn't coming together the way the company had hoped.

If you thought that would be the last we'd hear of those pesky monsters, think again. "House of the Dragon," a series picking up 200 years before "Game of Thrones," takes place at a time when the people of Westeros have come to regard the White Walkers as little more than legend (what with the creatures having managed to keep a low profile north of the Wall for thousands of years). But as it turns out, the show will reveal a brand-new link between House Targaryen and the White Walkers — one that may come as a bit of a surprise to fans, even those who have already read George R.R. Martin's source material, "Fire & Blood."

'That came from George'

"House of the Dragon" begins with King Viserys I Targaryen (Mr. Considine) as the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, prior to the vicious war of succession that would go on to bring down House Targaryen (a conflict known as the "Dance of the Dragons"). In a new interview with Vanity Fair, co-showrunner Ryan J. Condal talked about the intriguing secret passed down between Viserys and his should-be successor, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock), and how it relates to the White Walkers:

"I think the 'Game of Thrones' nerds were very interested and intrigued and compelled by the secret that Viserys tells Rhaenyra, connecting Aegon [the first king of the family and the original Westeros conqueror] with the prophecies that we know about the Long Night and the Others [a.k.a. the White Walkers] and the Night King coming out of the North — and how maybe the Targaryen dynasty was aware of it long before we think they were."

Those prophecies mentioned by Condal would, of course, come to be fulfilled by Viserys' descendants, Daenerys Targaryen and Aegon Targaryen (or, as he's better known, Jon Snow) hundreds of years after "House of the Dragon." What's more, the series goes so far as to suggest the Targaryens knew about the prophesied ties between them and the White Walkers for a whole century before Viserys passed that knowledge onto Rhaenyra. 

According to Condal, however, this all came directly from George R.R. Martin himself:

"I think they were very intrigued by that. A lot of them said I committed A Song of Ice and Fire heresy, but I did tell them: 'That came from George.' I reassured everybody."

It hasn't been written (yet)

If those who've read both "A Song of Ice and Fire" and "Fire & Blood" are wondering if they somehow missed this significant detail in George R.R. Martin's books, you can take comfort in knowing that — imitates John David Washington's voiceit hasn't happened yet. Yes, as Martin explained to Vanity Fair, this is one of the many things he intends to explain in full (if? when?) he finally gets around to finishing "The Winds of Winter" and its follow-up:

"I don't want to give too much away, because some of this is going to be in the later books, but this is 200 years before the events of 'Game of Thrones.' There was no sell-by date on that prophecy. That's the issue. The Targaryens that know about it are all thinking, Okay, this is going to happen in my lifetime, I have to be prepared! Or, It's going to happen in my son's lifetime. Nobody said it's going to happen 200 years from now. If the Dance of the Dragons had not happened, what would've happened to the next generation? What would've happened in the generation after that? Yeah, there's a lot to be unwound there."

For the most part, though, it sounds like "House of the Dragon" will be more focused on the power struggle tearing House Targaryen apart than some vague prophecies alluding to the family's role in events to come long after the characters on the show are dead. Still, leave it to the White Walkers to cause trouble simply by being mentioned in passing.

"House of the Dragon" premieres on HBO on August 21, 2022.