The Game of Thrones universe may take place in a world far different than our own, but the franchise has never been afraid to reference the world we live in. Whether it’s subtle — like confirming a long-standing fan theory or inserting and entire Ed Sheeran to show Arya that the King’s Guard are people too — there’s always been room for our world to leak into theirs.
In the finale, this led to a hugely meta moment, one that was strangely repeated in the House of the Dragon premiere.
When Viserys names daughter Rhaenyra to be his heir, he speaks with about what it all means for the kingdom. This includes some exclusive information that only the rulers know, about a prophecy that Aegon Targaryen once foresaw: a long winter and the end of the age of man, an event that would only be survived if a Targaryen was on the throne. Viserys says Aegon called this prophetic dream “The Song of Ice and Fire.”
Yes, ha ha. What a meta reference to the original books. But... doesn’t that sound familiar in another way, too? The last time we visited the Game of Thrones universe, the series finale was tied up for us in a nice little bow, with Samwell presenting a book to Tyrion called A Song of Ice and Fire. Sam even claims the title was his idea.
So how could there possibly be two different Songs of Ice and Fire? Well, there’s a number of different explanations, each at varying levels of conspiracy theory. If you want to go the cynic’s route, you can simply write this one off as House of the Dragon trying to tie itself to the original books without giving much thought to the first series.
If you want to look at it as a slight, this could be more evidence that House of the Dragon is looking to render the later seasons of Game of Thrones illegitimate. Seeing how those seasons are widely reviled by the fanbase, that could be a legit explanation.
But maybe the most forgiving explanation relies on a tried and true fact of Game of Thrones: Samwell Tarly is a huge history nerd. Maybe, in his research of Targaryen history, he saw a parallel to the rise of the White Walkers and thought the name would be fitting for the events of the present. After all, if that is what the prophecy was predicting, why wouldn’t the actual events have the same name as the prophecy?
Whether you’re willing to give House of the Dragon the benefit of the doubt or if you think this is all an underhanded ploy to rewrite history, it’s clear there’s nothing more tempting than the idea of tying this high fantasy world into our humble, mundane one.
House of the Dragon Episode 1 is now streaming on HBO Max.