House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones aren’t really part of the same timeline anymore

The more House of the Dragon dives into the mysteries of the Targaryens’ past, the less it seems to take place in the same universe as Game of Thrones.

While the series may be a prequel to Game of Thrones, it’s becoming clear that the new show’s creative team is comfortable diverging from the original,

concluded HBO series in favor of a story that’s still ongoing in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series. By Martin’s own account, his books are setting up a longer and much more complicated ending.

[Ed. note: This post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones, all of A Song of Ice and Fire, and the first eight episodes of House of the Dragon.]

The division between House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones is more about themes and feelings than it is about plot, at least right now. In House of the Dragon episode 8,

“The Lord of the Tides,” the show delved even deeper into Aegon the Conqueror’s royal prophecy, which suggests that a Targaryen has to sit on the Iron Throne to save Westeros from a frozen and deadly threat that waits to the north.

As much as this prophecy holds obvious importance for A Song of Ice and Fire fans, who know where the story is going,

and that The Others are on their way, its impact on House of the Dragon is much more immediate.

The prophecy is an animating force for the series’ characters. Each person that interacts with it does so in a completely different manner, letting the ideas of fate, fortune, and destiny shape their world and decisions in unique ways.

For Viserys, the prophecy is a final legacy that must be passed on, the duty of a king to guard his realm and people.

For Rhaenyra, it’s a lifelong sword of Damocles, a burden she secretly carries as she moves toward the Iron Throne.

For Alicent — and maybe for her children — it’s a misunderstood warning, a last-minute sign that Viserys may have changed his mind on who the realm really needs to be ruled by after his death.