Differences between Fire & Blood and House of the Dragon

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This article is about the differences between the novel Fire & Blood and the television adaptation House of the Dragon.

Author George R. R. Martin has written Fire & Blood as an in-world history book by Archmaester Gyldayn. Gyldayn writes long after the events he describes happened and uses different sources—Septon Eustace, Grand Maester Munkun, and the court fool Mushroom—that are often contrary. Ryan Condal and his team of writers are therefore working with bias sources from the start when adapting this story. Condal explained in interviews the show will either favor one of those sources over the others, portray a mix of them, or disregard them completely and create a new interpretation of events.


House of the Dragon was primarly filmed at the Leavesden Studios in England. Under UK filming law, a fictional character can not be portrayed having sex under the age of 16 no matter the age of the actor. This has for consequence that the younger characters have to be age-up and thus move around somewhat the timeline from the source material (it is for this same reason that Daenerys Targaryen was age-up three years from 13 to 16 years old at the start of Game of Thrones, an adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire). Rhaenyra and Alicent are 14 years old in the first episode of House of the Dragon,[1] but Rhaenyra is 8 years old when her mother died in Fire & Blood.

The first episode starts with a prologue scene depicting the Great Council of 101 AC. A voice over from the actress playing the older Rhaenyra (Emma D'Arcy) confirms the same date is used in the show. The show proper starts in 112 AC,[2] the ninth year of King Viserys I Targaryen's reign.[3]

Characters ages in Season 1
Episodes 1
112 AC
112 AC
115 AC
116 AC
116 AC
126 AC
126 AC
132 AC
132 AC
132 AC
Rhaenyra Targaryen 14[1] 15[4] 17[5] 19 19 29 29 35 / 35
Alicent Hightower 14[1] 15 17 19 19 29 29 35 35 /
Laenor Velaryon 14[6] / 17 / 19 29 29 / / /
Laena Velaryon 12[6] 12[4] / / 16 26        
Daemon Targaryen 31[7] 31 34 35 35 45 45 51 / 51
Aegon II Targaryen     2[5] 3[8] / 13 13 19 19 /
Helaena Targaryen       1[5][8] 1 11 11 17 17 /
Rhaena Targaryen           8[9] 8 14 / 14
Joffrey Velaryon           0[9] / 6 / 6
Aegon III Targaryen               4[10] / /
Lyman Beesbury 56 56 59 60 60 70 / 76 76[11]  
Lucerys Velaryon           8 8 14 / 14[12]
Visenya Targaryen                   0[12]

Season 1

Episode 1: The Heirs of the Dragon


  • Princess Rhaenys Targaryen was first introduced in the The Princess and the Queen novella published in 2013 where she was described as having the typical silver Targaryen hair. It was retconned in Fire & Blood published in 2018, to give her the black hair from her Baratheon mother. The show decided to depict Rhaenys with silver Targaryen hair to not confuse the more casual viewers.[13][14]
  • Mysaria has a typical Lysene appearance, with skin as pale as milk but she is portrayed by a Japanese actress and has an East Asian appearance.[15]
  • All described members of House Velaryon have fair skin but they are portrayed by blacks actors in the show.[16]


  • King Jaehaerys I Targaryen is not present at the Great Council of 101 AC as he did not want to influence the election. In the show, he is present. Also the final election is between Viserys and Rhaenys' son, Laenor Velaryon, in the books rather than Rhaenys herself.[17]
  • Lord Corlys Velaryon is not Viserys' master of ships as he has resigned that office in 92 AC after his wife, Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, was passed over in the succession of the Iron Throne.[17]
  • Depending on the timeline (see section above), Grand Maester Mellos on the TV show could be an amalgamation of two Grand Maesters from the books, Runciter and Mellos himself.[17]
  • The office of "Commander of the City Watch" is not automatically given a seat on the small council in the books, though some commanders have been known to have one during their tenure such as Lord Qarl Corbray and Lord Janos Slynt.[18][19] In the show, Otto Hightower notes that Prince Daemon Targaryen has a seat at the small council as Commander of the City Watch.
  • Rhaenyra Targaryen is nine years younger than Alicent Hightower rather than being the same age.[17]
  • Laenor Velaryon is two years older than his sister Laena Velaryon rather than being two years younger.[6] He is also the same age as Rhaenyra and Alicent instead of being three years older and six years younger respectively.[17]
  • The mother of Alicent Hightower is never mentioned in the books. On the show, she is recently deceased,[3] and was a pious woman following the Faith of the Seven which was passed on to Alicent.[20]
  • Ser Gwayne Hightower is simply described in the books as Alicent's "youngest brother" (though it is not specified if he is older or younger than her) thus he is Otto's youngest son.[17] In the show, he is Otto's "eldest son".
  • The coat of arms of House Velaryon depicts a real seahorse rather than an heraldic one.[21] The idea of depicting the mythological seahorse (half-horse half-fish creature) on the show came from Jim Clay (Lead Production Designer) and it was designed by Alicia Martin (Lead Graphics Designer). Ryan Condal knew of the book accurate Velaryon sigil and weighed in the two versions before choosing Clay and Martin's version.[22]
  • The Targaryens sigil depicts a two legged[citation needed] and three headed red dragon on a black field in the books.[23] The show changed that to a four legged dragon. The reason for that change will be explained in the show later on. However, the two legged version can be seen on some of the props in the show alongside the four legged version. This is due the art departments not all starting production at the same time, and the artists who made the earliest props in production were not all aware of that change and went with the book accurate design.[22]
  • The tourney grounds in King's Landing are located outside the city's walls near the King's Gate in the books.[24] They are located within the city in the show.
  • Relatively little is known of House Cole, other than that they have served as stewards to House Dondarrion of Blackhaven in the Dornish Marches in the Stormlands.[17] In the show, Ser Criston Cole is described as being of partial Dornish descent, and having common origins.[25]
  • Lord Hightower's given name is unknown in the books. He is given the name "Hobert" in the show.
  • There is no "Heir's Tournament" for Prince Baelon Targaryen's birth in the books. However, this tourney is heavily influenced by another tourney described in the books, the tourney for King Viserys I's accession at Maidenpool in 104 AC.[17]
  • There is no description of the death of Queen Aemma Arryn in childbirth in the books. The way her death is portrayed in the show is very similar to the description of the death of Queen Alyssa Velaryon (Aemma's great-grandmother), however.[26]
  • The heart tree of the Red Keep's godswood is an oak in the books rather than a weirwood tree.[27]
  • Aegon the Conqueror is never described as having prophetic dreams in the published books, nor that it has played a role in his decision to conquer Westeros. In interviews, Ryan Condal revealed that this idea came directly from George R. R. Martin.[28] However, the way Martin intends to introduce this notion in the books and its effect on the story remain a mystery.
  • The show created a personal arms for Prince Daemon Targaryen by mixing the gold of the City Watch and the traditional Targaryen sigil. No arms are described for him in the books.

Episode 2: The Rogue Prince

  • Laena Velaryon is 12 years old in both book and show when she is proposed as a new wife for King Viserys I Targaryen. As the proposition did not lead to anything, she didn't need to be age-up for the show. This means that show-Laena was born in a later year than book-Laena. In the books Laena is older than Rhaenyra but younger than Alicent, but in the show she is younger than both of them.
  • Corlys Velaryon refers to Houses Targaryen and Velaryon as the "two great surviving Valyrian Houses". In the books, House Celtigar is another Westerosi noble house with Valyrian ancestry.[29] In an interview, Ryan Condal explained that Corlys was slighting the minor House Celtigar in that scene to promote the interest of his own House. Ryan and his fellow writers are aware of the Celtigars' Valyrian descent (they even had a running joke in the writer's room that Lord Celtigar would always be in the background insisting that he also had Valyrian blood) and he disclosed that members of that House will be appearing in the show later on.[22]
  • Scenes from this episode imply Houses Targaryen and Velaryon have not intermarried recently. In the books, the mothers of kings Aegon the Conqueror and Jaehaerys the Conciliator are noblewomen from House Velaryon.[30]
  • Corlys states that Rhaenyra is the first female heir to the Iron Throne. In the books, King Maegor I Targaryen named his five-year-old great-niece and stepdaughter, Princess Aerea Targaryen, as his heir in 47 AC. It is unknown if Maegor bestowed the title of Princess of Dragonstone on her or not, however. When King Jaehaerys I Targaryen took the throne the following year, he recognized Aerea as his heir until he can have children of his own but did not grant her the title of Princess of Dragonstone.[31][32]
  • In the books, Prince Daemon quits his post as Commander of the City Watch and goes to Dragonstone with Mysaria after Viserys names Rhaenyra as his heir in response to the "Heir for A Day" incident. There Daemon impregnates his paramour and gives her a dragon egg for their unborn child. Hearing of this, Viserys demands Daemon to return the egg, to send Mysaria back to Lys (her city of origin), and to return to his wife, Lady Rhea Royce of Runestone. Mysaria miscarries at sea during a storm as she is returning to Lys.[17] The show somewhat changed these events as Daemon is ordered by Viserys to go back to Runestone in the first place but defies this order by staying at Dragonstone with some of his gold cloaks. Mysaria's pregnancy is a lie concocted by Daemon to get his brother's attention and Ser Otto Hightower volunteers to go retrieve the egg from Daemon. In the end, Rhaenyra succeeds to retrieve the egg in place of Ser Otto and Daemon is not punish for his actions once again.

Episode 3: Second of His Name

  • The main setting of this episode, the great hunt for Aegon's second nameday, was completly invented for the show. In the books King Viserys does not have a taste for hunting.[17]
  • With the three-year-timeskip between episode 2 and 3, Rhaenyra is now of age but still resides at the Red Keep in King's Landing. In the books, Rhaenyra took possession of Dragonstone as her own seat when she came of age in 113 AC.[17]
  • In the book, Vaemond Velaryon is the eldest nephew of Lord Corlys Velaryon whereas in the show he is his younger brother.[17]
  • In the book, Laenor Velaryon is not a martial man and is given his knighthood rather than earning it. He does not participate in the war for the Stepstones and he loves to ride his dragon, Seasmoke, which is his "pride and passion". In the show, Laenor is already a knight when he participate in the war. He speaks in the war council and enjoys ridding Seasmoke.[17]
  • The conflict in the Stepstones against the Crabfeeder takes two years and is financially supported by King Viserys in the books whereas it takes three years in the show and has no direct involvement from the Crown.[17]
  • The idea of betrothing Rhaenyra and Aegon is brought by Otto Hightower in the show but by Alicent in the books. Their ages when the idea is brought up are slightly different, Rhaenyra and Aegon are 17 and 2 in the show but 16 and 6 in the books.[17]
  • Rhaenyra and Alicent did not share any particular bond prior to Alicent marrying Viserys in the books as Alicent is nine years older than her. When Alicent and Viserys were 18 and 29 years old respectively when they marry. The relationship between Rhaenyra and her new step mother was amicable during the first few years of the marriage and only soured after the birth of Alicent's first two sons. In the show, Rhaenyra and Alicent are best friend prior to the marriage and their friendship is broken by it.[17]
  • During his courtship of Princess Rhaenyra, Lord Jason Lannister proposes to build a dragonpit to house dragons at Casterly Rock. While this did not happen in Fire & Blood, the idea of Lannisters seeking a dragon of their own to match the power of House Targaryen is developed in the books; Lord Lyman Lannister hosted Princess Rhaena Targaryen for a time before Rhaena realized he wanted her to marry one of his sons and wanted a dragon for House Lannister.[33]
  • In the books, Viserys proposed Prince Qoren Martell of Dorne as a potential match for Rhaenyra, this role seems to have been given to Lord Jason Lannister in the show. In both case, the idea was declined.

Episode 4: King of the Narrow Sea

  • Viserys mentions that his father, Prince Baelon Targaryen, was Hand of the King for five days. In the books, the precise amount of time Baelon served at this office is unknown but it is more than a few days as he was named in 100 AC and died the following year.[17]
  • Rhaenyra is touring the realm to find a spouse among her suitors. She visits Storm's End in this episode and is presented with suitors from the Stormlands and the riverlands there. In the books, she is known to have travelled in the Westerlands, the Reach, and the riverlands.[17]
  • During her visit at Storm's End, a duel is fought between Willem Blackwood and Jerrel Bracken with Willem killing Jerrel. In the books, Samwell Blackwood and Ser Amos Bracken also have a duel for the princess's favor but it is Bracken that wins and nobody dies.[17]
  • Daemon returns from the Stepstones on Caraxes and gives up his crown to Viserys in the throne room. In the books, Daemon arrives at King's Landing during a great tourney celebrating the fifth anniversary of King Viserys I and Queen Alicent's marriage. He lands on the tourney grounds, and gives up his crown to Viserys. In both versions, Viserys and Daemon are reconciled for a short time before Daemon is exiled again after rumors between him and Rhaenyra having sexual encounter spreads.
  • In the show, Mysaria is nicknamed the "White Worm" because she often dresses in white and deals secrets. In the books, her sobriquet comes from her pale complexion.[15]
  • Viserys mentions in this episode that his brother Daemon was always their mother's favorite. In the books, Princess Alyssa Targaryen is not known to have a favorite child and she died when her children were still young (Viserys was 7 and Daemon was 3).[17]

Episode 5: We Light the Way

Episode 6: The Princess and the Queen

  • Ser Harwin Strong is a captain in the City Watch in the books,[17] not the Commander.
  • Baela Targaryen and Rhaena Targaryen are twins in the books with Baela being the older of the two.[17] In the show, Baela remains older than Rhaena but the two are not twins.
  • Laena Velaryon tells her daughter she became a dragonrider at the age of 15. In the books she was 12.[17] Her death in this episode was also changed slighty from the book material. In the book she did gave birth to a son who survived only an hour and got a childbed fever afterwards and her health deteriorated. Three days after the delivery, the delirious Laena left her bed to fly on Vhagar one last time but collapsed and died on her way. In the show, Laena was not able to deliver the child and rather than die in the child birthing bed choose to die on her accord by fire from Vhagar.[17]
  • The show makes it clear that the great fire at Harrenhal that killed both Lord Lyonel Strong and his son, Ser Harwin Strong, was a ploy by Lyonel's youngest son, Larys Strong. In the books, the fire was blamed on the curse of Harrenhal, although several non-mystical suspects have been brought up by the historians, such as Prince Daemon Targaryen, Lord Corlys Velaryon, King Viserys I Targaryen, and Larys Strong.[17]
  • Helaena Targaryen is rather plump in the books.[17] The actresses portraying her in the show is relatively slender.

Episode 7: Driftmark

Episode 8: The Lord of the Tides

  • The question about the inheritance of Driftmark is presented a bit differently in the books:[17]
  • The double betrothals of Corlys' grandchildren occurs a lot earlier in the books when Laena Velaryon is still alive and Daemon has not yet married Rhaenyra. At the time Jacaerys is four, Lucerys is three and the twins Baela and Rhaena are two.[17]
  • The events featured in this episode are presented as the final days of King Viserys I Targaryen. However, in the books they occur at different times thoughout the final years of his life. In the books, King Viserys dies on the third day of third moon of 129 AC,[13] whereas as the timeline of the show places Viserys' death in 132 AC.
    • The Velaryon succession crisis and Ser Vaemond's death occur in 126 AC.[17]
    • The family dinner occurs in the first day of 127 AC.[17]
    • Viserys' health began to seriously worsen in the year 127 AC.[17]

Episode 9: The Green Council

  • Ser Erryk Cargyll is the sworn protector of Prince Aegon Targaryen on the show, but he was Rhaenyra's after the death of Ser Harwin Strong in the books.[17] During the course of the episode, Ser Erryk is shown to be more and more apprehensive of Aegon's behavior and does not deem him worthy of being king. He chooses to free Princess Rhaenys and to leave King's Landing to join Rhaenyra. Thus by the end of the episode the Cargyll twins have chosen the same side as their books counter part: Arryk remains in King's Landing and supports Aegon and Erryk leaves for Dragonstone and supports Rhaenyra.
  • The plots surronding Larys Strong, Mysaria, and Rhaenys Targaryen presented in this episode were completly invented for the show as by that point in the books Larys is on the small council as master of whisperers and takes part in the coup by the greens,[13] Mysaria is known to be in King's Landing in this period but Fire & Blood does not elaborate on her activities, and Rhaenys is on Driftmark when King Viserys dies and does not interfere in Aegon's coronation.[13]
  • In the books, Ser Criston Cole is the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard when King Viserys dies, having succeeded Ser Harrold Westerling seventeen years prior. As such he has a place on the green council where he plays a more active and important role in convincing Prince Aegon to accept becoming king. Just like in the show, he is the one who places the Conqueror's crown on Aegon's head during the coronation, thus earning him the moniker of the "Kingmaker". Queen Alicent is the one to crown her daughter, Queen Helaena Targaryen.[13]
  • Prince Aegon is reluctant to become king in this episode up until he is cheered on by the crowd assembled for his coronation at the Dragonpit. In the books, Aegon is also reluctant at first but once he is convinced by Ser Criston to take the crown, he grows tired of the secrecy of the green council and demands to be crowned. Aegon's coronation takes place on the tenth day of the third moon of 129 AC, seven days after Viserys' death. Some of the citizens of the capital are surprised by Aegon's coronation and call for the Princess Rhaenyra instead but the coronation goes on without problem. Aegon mounts his dragon, Sunfyre, and flies thrice over the city before landing at the Red Keep and sitting on the Iron Throne for the first time.[13]

Episode 10: The Black Queen

  • Ser Erryk Cargyll arrives alone on Dragonstone with the stolen crown of kings Jaehaerys I and Viserys I Targaryen and Ser Steffon Darklyn is already on Dragonstone. In the books, Ser Steffon flees the capital with his squire, two stewards, four guardsmen, and the crown. Rhaenyra later makes him her first Lord Commander of her Queensguard wheere as Ser Erryk is already on Dragonstone.[13]
  • Princess Rhaenyra is a few months pregnant when she hears about her father's death. In the books, she is eight months pregnant. In both cases she gives birth to a malformed stillborn daughter.[13]
  • In the books, Grand Mester Orwyle brings the greens's terms to Dragonstone and Rhaenyra strips him of his maester's chain.[13] While Orwyle is present during that scene in the show too, it is Ser Otto Hightower who brings the terms and he is stripped of his Hand of the King pin by Rhaenyra.
  • Ser Erryk Cargyll mentions a "three headed green dragon banner". In the books, the greens uses King Aegon II Targaryen's personal arms as their symbol, a golden three headed dragon on black. The gold coloring coming from Aegon's dragon, Sunfyre the Golden.[34]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Business Insider: Rhaenyra and Alicent
  2. Twitter: The making of House of the Dragon book
  3. 3.0 3.1 House of the Dragon, Season 1, "The Heirs of the Dragon".
  4. 4.0 4.1 House of the Dragon, Season 1, "The Rogue Prince".
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 House of the Dragon, Season 1, "Second of His Name".
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Deadline: HOTD Pilot Script (June 23, 2023)
  7. Indepedant: Emma D'Arcy: "I really like playing women and I'm really good at it" (9/24/2022)
  8. 8.0 8.1 House of the Dragon, Season 1, "King of the Narrow Sea".
  9. 9.0 9.1 House of the Dragon, Season 1, "The Princess and the Queen".
  10. https://www.starnow.com/jakeandroryheard
  11. House of the Dragon, Season 1, "The Green Council".
  12. 12.0 12.1 House of the Dragon, Season 1, "The Black Queen".
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 13.7 13.8 Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Blacks and the Greens.
  14. The Princess and the Queen.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Triumphant.
  16. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 12, Cersei III.
  17. 17.00 17.01 17.02 17.03 17.04 17.05 17.06 17.07 17.08 17.09 17.10 17.11 17.12 17.13 17.14 17.15 17.16 17.17 17.18 17.19 17.20 17.21 17.22 17.23 17.24 17.25 17.26 17.27 17.28 17.29 17.30 17.31 17.32 17.33 17.34 17.35 17.36 Fire & Blood, Heirs of the Dragon - A Question of Succession.
  18. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 57, Sansa V.
  19. Fire & Blood, The Year of the Three Brides - 49 AC.
  20. Official HOTD Podcast Episode 2 "The Rogue Prince"
  21. Velaryon seahorse
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Westeros.org: Interview with Ryan Condal (September 28, 2022)
  23. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
  24. The Lands of Ice and Fire, King's Landing.
  25. Official Guide: Criston Cole
  26. Fire & Blood, Birth, Death, and Betrayal Under King Jaehaerys I.
  27. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 25, Eddard V.
  28. Gizmodo: Big Game of Thrones Secret
  29. The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
  30. The World of Ice & Fire, Appendix: Targaryen Lineage.
  31. Fire & Blood, The Sons of the Dragon.
  32. Fire & Blood, Prince into King - The Ascension of Jaehaerys I.
  33. Fire & Blood, A Time of Testing - The Realm Remade.
  34. Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Red Dragon and the Gold.