‘House of the Dragon’ Precap: One Burning Question Before Episode 7

As you probably know by now, House of the Dragon is a precursor. The Game of Thrones spin-off, based on George RR Martin’s Fire & Blood, is set nearly 200 years before the events of the original HBO series. Unlike the original series, which ran out of material to adapt by the end of the fifth season, important details of the Targaryen dynasty have already been published in Martin’s fictional history. If you want to know how the story ends, you can easily Google it — or, you know, read a book.

But since some of the bells staff has yet to read each of Martin’s novels, we’ve decided to make this weekly precap for those of you unaware of what’s about to happen. This is a dialogue for the viewers who treat House of the Dragon like a good old mystery box that spins and turns from week to week. Without further ado, let’s jump to this week’s prompt:

The Burning Question in Episode 7: Now that you’ve met the next generation of Targaryens and Velaryons, which one would you choose as an heir?

Jonathan Bartlett: Ah, to be young and free to play with your dragons, your insects, or your… swords. (Aegon, my dear!) It was a thrill to meet the little boys and ladies in the most recent episode and think about who would be best suited to rule. My personal choice is Jacaerys Velaryon, Rhaenyra’s firstborn son. Sure, he has the birthright and would be next in line after Rhaenyra anyway, but the kid shows serious potential, especially in the consciousness category. When Harwin Strong has to say goodbye to the princess, Jacaerys shows himself incredibly observant and even willing to face the tough questions, no matter how uncomfortable they may be. “Is Harwin my father?” he asks Rhaenyra. Not exactly an easy truth to face as a child!

If there is something House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones We’ve been taught is that understanding others is critical to successful leadership, and among all children, Jacaerys seems to have that in abundance. He also gets pretty good with dragons.

Miles Surrey: Provided that Game of Thrones has provided ample evidence that monarchies should be abolished: let’s give the crown to Helaena Targaryen. We only have a short scene with Helaena in House of the Dragon‘s sixth episode, but during that time she gave off some serious Luna Longevity energy while playing with a centipede. (Shout out to Alicent Hightower for her half-hearted attempt at indulging in her daughter’s weird hobby; parents across the realm can certainly understand.) Featuring her dragon-obsessed siblings (seems dangerous!) Or masturbating out of a tower window like medieval Roman Roy, Helaena easily comes across as the most level-headed Targaryen kid. Her curiosity about the centipede and the fact that she doesn’t dissect it right away – something Joffrey Baratheon would absolutely do – is a promising indication that she is at least not a psychopath. (That’s how low the bar is for monarchs in this universe!) There’s a chance Helaena could prove to be just as ineffective as her father, Viserys, but given the other options on the table, Westeros could do a lot worse than trade a model replica of one ruler of Old Valyria for another’s burgeoning insect collection.

Claire McNear: Is it too much to hope for a union between – and a shared throne by – Rhaena and Aemond Targaryen? (A perfect world would probably have a little more genetic distance, but Westeros isn’t that world.) Poor little man, completely dragonless and insecure in this fire-eat-fire-breathing world. And while we haven’t spent much time with them yet, they are free of their siblings and cousins’ early disqualifications: rampant horniness and occasional violence (Aegon), embrace of problematic parental favoritism (Baela), uncanny fondness for insects (Helaena), and brown hair (Jacaerys, Lucerys and Joffrey). They seem, dare I say, pretty nice kids, even though they’re both bullied by the toddlers whose eggs actually hatched from the crib. With war rumbles, why not put two sides together and let the many dragons of their nuclear families spend some, ahem, quality time together until these two can take to the skies too?

Megan Schuster: My first instinct is to answer “none of them” since all these kids are under 15 years old and… clear immature – unless you’re a big fan of rulers masturbating from tall windows, taunting their step-uncle with a flying pig, hopelessly inept in battle, or being literal babies. Then there’s the fact that half of my options are illegitimate: no judgment, but Jacaerys, Lucerys, and Joffrey were clearly sired by Ser Harwin Strong (RIP), and if they were discovered after ascending the Iron Throne, they would rebellion or -as we saw with Joffrey “Baratheon” in Game of Thrones-even death.

So I think the best option, or at least the least offensive, would be to crown Aegon II Targaryen. He certainly has the name for it and shares his name with the conqueror who united the seven kingdoms. And while he’s an absolute idiot in Episode 6, he can clearly fight; he is already the leader of his siblings and stepsisters; and he got a brutal lesson in politics from his mother when she warned him that his mere… to exist is a challenge for the established order of succession. If that was somehow a wake-up call, then he’s probably more ready to rule than all these other yahoos.

Arjuna Ramgopal: What if we abolished kings and queens and had elected officials? Everything would be better, right? Perhaps a dragon can come and melt the throne? What could go wrong?

Okay fine, you forced me, I choose Jacaerys Velaryon. It’s a small sample, but the boy doesn’t seem like a complete bastard like his uncle, Aegon II. He is well aware that he is, in fact, an asshole; he apparently loves his parents and family. And sure, he needs some work as a swordsman, and hopefully he’s not doomed to burn like his real dad just did (RIP, Harwin). But, as Viserys (and only Viserys, mind you) keeps telling us, Rhaenyra is the rightful heir to the throne, meaning Jacaerys is, quite rightly, next in line. So, really, he’s the rightful choice. Keeping Criston Cole 600 feet away from that kid is key as it’s pretty obvious he’s held a grudge against his mom for over 10 years. Leaving King’s Landing will hopefully prevent the kid from being ruined, but only time will tell.

Andrew Gruttadaro: Gods are good – what a disastrous pool to choose a ruler from. We’ve got a pervert, an idiot who keeps getting too close to dragons, a girl who… way also in insects, a couple of brunettes who seem to have none of the “breakable bones” power or “smeared boar’s blood on my face” intensity of their parents, and two petite ladies who have just lost their mother, so they were raised by a father determined to marry his niece. No wonder a civil war is approaching. As to this question, I have no choice but to choose the newborn Joffrey. Of course, he is named after his “father’s lover”, and surely, in the future there will be another King Joffrey who, uh, sucked. But maybe this one will be fine; it might even be a good thing that he grows up without the strange dynamics of being raised by the lord commander of the City Watch who certainly not his real father. Joff is the best we have at the moment because right now we don’t really have anything else.

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