George R.R. Martin Wanted House of the Dragon Plot to Start 40 Years Earlier

By Jessica Lerner 

If George R.R. Martin had his way, House of the Dragon would have started 40 years earlier.

There were discussions among the Game of Thrones spinoff’s writers about when to start the series.

One writer wanted the show to start with the death of Aemma Arryn, the wife of King Viserys I Targaryen, during childbirth, which another wanted it later than that with Viserys’ death. Both of those major plot points happen after the start of the series.


Martin, for his part, had other ideas.

“The other possibility we discussed — which was actually my favorite, but nobody liked it except me — I would have began it much earlier,” he said during a Penguin Random House Q&A. “I would have began it, like, 40 years earlier, with an episode I would have called ‘The Heir and the Spare,’ in which Jaehaerys’ two sons, Aemon and Baelon, are alive. And we see the friendship, but also the rivalry, between the two sides of the great house.”

That era of the Targaryen saga had its succession crisis.

“Aemon dies accidentally when a Myrish crossbowman shoots him by accident on Tarth, and then Jaehaerys has to decide who becomes the new heir. Is it the daughter of the older son who’s just died, or is it the second son, who has children of his own and is a man, and she’s just a teenage girl,” Martin recounts.

But starting 40 years earlier may not have always been practical.

“Then you would have had 40 more years, and you would have had even more time jumps, and you would have had even more recastings,” said Martin. “And yeah, I was the only one who was really enthused about that.”