The 'House Of The Dragon' Book Series Explainer For All You Non-Readers

In case you were as distracted as Alicent during the last episode, House of the Dragon is back for season two, and it’s bloodier than ever. Thanks to that little shit Joffrey in Game of Thrones, we actually know how the show will ultimately end. I can forgive the murder and tyrannical behavior, but I draw the line at spoilers. 

In case you missed Joffrey’s sneaky mention or have blocked the entirety of Game of Thrones thanks to that final season, don’t worry, there’s another place to learn all about the ending of this sexy yet savage show. Let’s talk about Fire and Blood, the book that House of the Dragon is actually based on. Exactly how does the House of the Dragon “book” end? Let’s get into it. Spoilers ahead, obviously.  

What book is House of the Dragon based on?

Rather than an entire series of books like Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon is based on chapters from the Targaryen history book, “Fire and Blood.” This book consists of chapters detailing various aspects of those white-haired, cunty royals, but the series zooms in on the succession conflict following the death of King Viserys I. It includes the conquests and reigns of Aegon I Targaryen, Aenys I Targaryen, King Maegor I Targaryen, and Jaehaerys I Targaryen — what a tongue twister. It ends with Aegon III’s reign in the “Aftermath” text.

The book is said to have been written by Archmaester Gyldayn from history shared with him. This also explains the differences between the book and the show, as he might not have known everything that occurred. And um, because of dramatic effect and slay scenes like Alicent riding Criston Cole.

In 2017, George R. R. Martin said that the story had grown too big for one book and that there would be a second part, but it remains unwritten. The show is currently covering this second part. 

How does the Dance of the Dragon war start?

Okay, if you hate spoilers, leave now!!! You can’t blame that little shit Joffrey this time!! GO!

Still here? Well, let’s dive into how the House of the Dragon book ends, and how we can expect the show to end if they’re faithful to the inspiration.

The main conflict in this tale is that King Viserys I loses his wife and newborn son, and as a result, names his daughter Princess Rhaenyra as his heir. This pisses off his brother Prince Daemon (Matt Smith is so sexy when he’s angry, sorry). Then Viserys marries Alicent Hightower, who is besties with his daughter!!! Can you imagine how awkward Thanksgiving would be?

Alicent gives birth to sons, including her eldest, Aegon. In the series, we see that Allicent believes Viserys wanted Aegon to succeed him, but in the book, this is presented more as a coup she organizes. Alicent believes a male heir should be prioritized over a female one and that Rhaenyra is unfit to rule. The book also presents the war as largely due to the tensions between the children of Rhaenyra and Alicent and their previous conflicts.

In the novel, Martin writes, “There was never any doubt that King Viserys still meant for his daughter to follow him upon the Iron Throne, and her sons to follow her in turn.”

Rhaenyra is crowned Queen at the Targaryen ancestral seat of Dragonstone while Aegon is playing king in King’s Landing. The two sides are quickly named “The Greens” and “The Blacks,” following the color most often worn by Alicent and Rhaenyra, respectively.

Rhaenyra’s second-born son Lucerys, and King Aegon’s younger brother Aemond both take their dragons to seek the support of Lord Borros Baratheon of Storm’s End. But Aemond and his massive dragon Vhagar kill Lucerys and his dragon Arrax. In revenge, Rhaneyra’s uncle and second husband, Prince Daemon (yep, you gotta just take the incest as it comes), has Aegon II’s elder son and heir, Jaehaerys, murdered by a pair of assassins. THIS IS ROUGH!! I thought I was vindictive but WOW.

How does the House of the Dragon book end?

house of the dragon book series ending
Image Credit: HBO

Okay, so the war of succession is now in full swing, and it is known as the “Dance of the Dragons,” given that, duh, both sides ride dragons. It is vicious, and initially, the Greens are slaying, but then Rhaenyra turns the tide and assaults the capital of King’s Landing. She expels Aegon II and captures many Greens. Girlboss!!!

But that’s not where it ends, unfortunately. The Greens had been emptying the treasury, forcing Rhaenyra to enact super harsh taxes. She is also still mega-paranoid and vengeful, so she keeps executing perceived traitors. As a result, a violent riot erupts in the capital, and angry mobs storm the Dragonpit and kill most of the remaining dragons — CRY!! They also murder Joffrey Velaryon, her last surviving son from her first marriage to Laenor Velaryon. After only half a year of queening it, Rhaenyra is forced to flee. 

There have been a LOT of deaths by now, including Aegon II’s two brothers, Aemond and Daeron, as well as his only remaining son, Maelor. Aegon has been left crippled and no longer fertile, meaning no more sons for him uh oh! As for Rhaenyra, her three eldest children have all been killed along with her husband, Prince Daemon — NOT MATT SMITH! 

Rhaenyra is betrayed and captured by Aegon II, who savagely executes her by having his crippled dragon Sunfyre burn her alive before devouring her in six bites. This is the part Joffrey ruined for us in Game of Thrones when he was once bragging to Sansa. 

Is the war over now? NOPE. Blacks supporters rally behind Rhaenyra’s fourth son, Aegon the Younger, even though he is still imprisoned by Aegon II. As the last living male member of House Targaryen (other than the lost prince, Viserys Targaryen), Aegon the Younger is named by Aegon II as the heir. Which is a nice way to tie things up, I guess. Like sorry, I murdered your mom and whole family about succession, but you’ll be king!! He also still threatens to murder him all the time.

But Aegon II has to give up that throne quicker than he imagined when the Greens’ last army is annihilated at the Battle of the Kingsroad, and he is assassinated by his own men, who then surrender unconditionally to the Blacks. Aegon the Younger is freed and crowned as King Aegon III, and the war is over!!! But almost all of the dragons are gone now, with the remaining ones going feral or dying during his reign. As a result, his nickname is “Dragonbane.” He marries Jaehaera, Aegon II’s daughter and Alicent’s granddaughter, which unites the two feuding branches of the Targaryen house.

As for our girlie, Alicent, she survives this entire thing! But she is confined to her chambers (the dream) for the last year of her life, and goes kinda mad, finally dying during an outbreak of Winter Fever in 133 AC.

House Targaryen continues to reign through Rhaenyra’s direct family line for the next 200 years, until they’re overthrown by Robert Baratheon, leading to the events of Game of Thrones

The end!!! Wow, I am exhausted.

Fleurine Tideman
Fleurine Tideman
Fleurine Tideman, a European-based copywriter. She’s interesting (cause she’s from Europe), speaks multiple languages (again, she's from Europe), and is mentally unhinged (despite socialized healthcare). You can find her European musings on Twitter @ByFleurine and her blog, Symptoms of Living, both of which are written to the sounds of unhinged Taylor Swift playlists.