LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 15: Matt Smith attends the "House Of The Dragon" Sky Group Premiere at Leicester Square on August 15, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
Movies - TV
How The Ickiest Part Of House Of The Dragon Is Steeped In Real History
The dragon-riding Targaryens are at the height of their power in the new show “House of the Dragon,” and their penchant for keeping the bloodline pure through incestuous relationships is on full display. Though the show exists in a fantasy world, marriages between siblings, cousins, and other close family members were surprisingly common among royalty throughout history.
Some of the most prolific practitioners of siblings parenting children together come from antiquity, such as the radical Pharaoh Akhenaten fathering children with his sister; King Tutankhamun was a product of their relationship. Ancient Rome also had its share of incest stories, with the most famous rumors centering around Caligula, Agrippina, and Nero.
The practices would continue into more recent periods with the Habsburgs and Queen Victoria of England being some notable examples. These types of unions over multiple generations typically lead to problems such as genetic abnormalities — what the Targaryens believe is a curse that causes madness could actually be due to their repeated inbreeding.