all the nerdy things you need to know

(CNN)– “Game of Thrones” fans, it’s time to put the trust issues of Season 8 aside and head back to Westeros for another emotionally draining adventure! HBO’s new spinoff “House of the Dragon” promises to have all the rich lore of the original series, plus an extended budget for CGI dragons.

Emma D’Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen and Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen in HBO’s new “House of the Dragon.”

As with any good fantasy tale, your “House of the Dragon” experience will likely benefit from a bit of nerdy homework. Here’s everything you need to know before watching the series so you can avoid typical questions like “Why are all these blonde people so sad?” or “Wait, are they related?”

(HBO and CNN share parent company Warner Bros. Discovery.)

We are in a past full of dragons

Do you remember them? There’s more where they came from.

“House of the Dragon” (HoD) is a prequel series that focuses on the Targaryen dynasty; those of myth, madness, incest and purple shampoo. In the original “Game of Thrones” (GoT) show and “Song of Ice And Fire” book series, the powerful House Targaryens have all but died thanks to regicide and what appears to be a family lack of impulse control from generations of inbreeding. Daenerys Targaryen is one of the few left in GoT times, and even she is prematurely sent to the Shadowlands by her nephew-lover, Jon Snow. (The Targaryen family tree is very narrow, but complicated. The Targaryen family’s system of moral conduct, if you will.)

Anyway, HoD takes place 200 years before the events of “Game of Thrones,” when the Targaryens are in full power and about to enter a very nasty and fierce succession war known as the “Dance of the Dragons.”

Keep in mind that, during the height of their power, the Targaryens were the dragon-riding terror, hence their house motto: “Fire and Blood.” His massive steeds brought the family from their original Valyrian home and helped them conquer all of Westeros. In the original GoT series, all of those dragons have been dead for a while. In HoD, they are (presumably) alive and well.

There is a house (Targaryen) full

Paddy Considine as a very tired Viserys Targaryen king in “House of the Dragon.”

Since this is just before the eventual fall of House Targaryens, there are many active Targs. Too many Targs, one could argue. Some name tags would be nice.

  • King Viserys I is the current King of Westeros. He’s actually a pretty cool guy. To give an idea of ​​the time frame here, Viserys I is Daenerys’ great-great-grandfather. His children and his loved ones are the ones fighting to inherit power for when he finally leaves it.
  • Princess Rhaenyra is the daughter of Viserys by his first wife. Her father favors her as his successor, but there are several other contenders at stake. It looks like most of her action will be focused on her. Think of her as the Daenerys of this series. She wants to rule, she has the makings, but a lot of guys get in her way. Her dragon’s name is Syrax.
  • Prince Aegon II is the firstborn son of Viserys and half-brother of Rhaenyra. He is another possible successor and a very important part of the war to come.
  • Prince Daemon is the brother of Viserys and the uncle of Rhaenyra. He is the typical Hamlet type—and “always a prince, never a king.” He’s a bit of a rake and there’s a lot of sexual tension between him and Rhaenyra, which is, again, normal as far as this family goes.
  • Alicent Hightower is Viserys’s second wife and Rhaenyra’s stepmother. She is the mother of Aegon II and has plans to be the first queen regnant of Westeros, so she doesn’t get along with her stepdaughter. An evil stepmother? Innovative. At this point, let’s just assume everyone is corrupt and power-hungry. (Also lots of Margaery Tyrell vibes. RIP the queen.)

Milly Alcock as the young Rhaenyra and Emily Carey as the young version of her best friend Alicent in “House of the Dragon”.

There are many more Targaryens and people close to the Targaryens to follow, but we are going to control our pace.

Another good thing to remember is that many people in Westeros believe that the Targaryens have a genetic tendency towards madness. (Ser Barristan Selmy put it best: “Every time a new Targaryen is born, the gods flip a coin and the world holds its breath.) So even the good guys are, theoretically, a slight inconvenience away from murder in dough.

Much of Westeros will seem familiar to you

The Iron Throne definitely exists, as it was built by the first Targaryen king, Aegon. You’ll recall that many GoT characters spoke in awe of Aegon and his two sister-wives, Rhaenys and Visenya, who were the first generation of Targaryens to come to Westeros to (literally) set things off. They became the first ruling house of the Seven Kingdoms in Westeros. So at this point when HoD takes place, the current political system has only seen Targaryen rulers.

The Red Keep was also Aegon’s doing, so it’s there too, as is the surrounding city of King’s Landing.

You will recognize some houses! The High Towers have representation, of course. There are some Baratheons scattered everywhere. The Lannisters at this point in Westeros’ history are just minor characters, albeit very wealthy. We’ll learn more about House Velaryon, another house of Valyrian descent that was occasionally mentioned in “Game of Thrones.” Don’t expect to see familiar faces from the original “Game of Thrones” series, though.

Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon and Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Targaryen.

And lastly, you’ll spend half your time learning everyone’s names

Are you fully oiled for a new era of “Game of Thrones”? Are you absolutely sure? Excellent! Here’s a sampling of Targaryen names from the “Game of Thrones” universe.

  • Aegon
  • Aegor
  • emon
  • aemond
  • aenys
  • rhaenys
  • Rhaena
  • Rhaella
  • rhaegar
  • rhaegel
  • Rhaelle
  • Jaehaera
  • jaeherys
  • Viserys
  • Evil
  • Daeron
  • Deliver
  • bael
  • Maelor

No wonder everyone went crazy. Fortunately, only a small portion of these names will appear in “House of the Dragon,” but it does make one yearn for the good old days of GoT when the main character simply went by “Jon.”

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