The Dance of the Dragons explained! Causes and consequences

House of the Dragon would detail a devastating conflict known as the Dance of the Dragons, but it’s hard to say who will emerge victorious. King Viserys I rules Westeros at the start of the miniseries, some 200 years before the events of the original Game of Thrones, in the midst of what is often considered the height of House Targaryen rule.

Because the tragedy of Valyria prompted the very first Targaryens to cross the strait, the successful administration of the beloved King Jaehaerys I trained more dragons and more Targaryens to saddle them.

But what is “Dance of the Dragons” aka Death of the Dragons? Without further ado, let’s find out.

What is the dragon dance

In House of the Dragon, we see a schism develop within the Targaryen family as the members battle for control of the Iron Throne. The uprising is known as the “Dance of the Dragons” due to the spectacular battles between the Targaryens and their legendary dragon mounts.

When his grandfather, King Jaehaerys, died, his grandson, King Viserys I Targaryen, was chosen as his successor in a Grand Council. This was done at the expense of her cousin, Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, for claiming the Iron Throne and the idea that no woman should ever rule Westeros.

King Viserys in the House of Dragons

Since Viserys had no male successor, the possibility of his rogue brother and current commander of the Night’s Watch, Daemon Prince Targaryen, being declared successor to the Iron Throne was controversial, prompting the king to take a bold step.

Viserys, on the advice of Ser Otto Hightower, a loyal King’s Hand declared his daughter Rhaenyra Targaryen her successor, gave her the appellation of Princess of Dragonstone and made all the nobles of the kingdom swear to respect the declaration and to respect Rhaenyra as their queen. However, when his first wife, Queen Aemma Arryn, dies in childbirth, King Viserys marries Lady Alicent Hightower.

Fire and Blood depicts a happy and successful relationship in which Alicent has many beautiful children, including legal sons. However, Viserys only ever recognized his own daughter, Princess Rhaenyra, as the rightful successor to rule the Seven Kingdoms. Inevitably, two groups form in the novel: the “Blacks”, who support Princess Rhaenyra and her offspring, and the “Greens”, who support Queen Alicent Hightower and her offspring.

Lady Alicent and Rhaenyra Targaryen

Queen Alicent donned a green garment and Princess Rhaenyra sported the black and red of the Targaryens in a cold tournament celebrating the fifth commemoration of Viserys and Queen Alicent’s marriage. After that, their fans wore identical shades on the game to express their loyalty. These differences eventually lead to a schism within the ruling family and a bloody conflict that lasts for decades and costs the lives of many people and the flying beasts.

Rhaenyra and Aegon II both die

Winning a multitude of wars, Rhaenyra was finally able to take over King’s Landing, where she was initially welcomed. The townspeople quickly grew frantic, angry and hungry as his enemies emptied the coffers. Shepherd, a zealous preacher, incited the common populace to revolt and launch an assault on the dragon’s lair.

The dragon population quickly dwindled as a result of these assaults and fights between Dragonriders. As the Greens, along with the Blacks, fought after fight, Targaryen’s population dwindled at an alarming rate. Queen Rhaenyra fled King’s Landing following the Troubles, however, she was tricked into retreating to the Dragonstone controlled by her adversaries, where Aegon fed her flesh to her fire breather.

Dragons of Westeros

Almost all dragons are slain in the Dragon Dance, along with Queen Rhaenyra, Prince Daemon, Queen Helaena, and her children Daeron and Aemond, Lady Rhaenys, and Rhaenyra’s three sons from her first union. The burning and devouring of Rhaenyra by Sunfyre, King Aegon II’s mount, essentially ends the battle.

Although Rhaenyra’s demise may slow her northern armies led by Lord Cregan Stark, he was horribly crippled by the events of the Dance of the Dragons. The king is advised to submit, but Aegon refuses to do so. King Aegon II is weak and resentful, so his advisors chose to make their own offer and had the king poisoned. This makes Daemon and Rhaenyra’s child Aegon the de facto ruler of Westeros.

dragon dance

Alice’s last years were spent in isolation, consumed by despair. There was no clear winner in the Dance of the Dragons, as everyone met their untimely death on a path littered with the shattered remains of their family members and dragons. If the same is true in the House of the Dragon, then perhaps the God of Death is the only one to triumph in the end.

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