Ever since HBO released its first Game Of Thrones (GOT) spin-off – House of the Dragon (HOTD), fans have been rejoicing. So far, the series has proven to be nothing short of a masterpiece, nailing its storytelling in every episode. The internal division among the Targaryens has split them into two factions – the “Greens” (those with Aegon II) and the “Blacks” (those with Rhaenyra). However, those who have read the original source material – fire and blood, I think the show so far has been a bit skewed in favor of “Black people”. They feel the show shows black people as the victim and green people as their aggressor.
But does he? And even if so, what could be the true intention of the writer behind it? Let’s analyze.
The dragon dance
The civil war that broke out during the Targaryens’ rule of the Seven Kingdoms from 129 to 131 AD, was known as the Dance of the Dragons, also known as the Dying of the Dragons. The war was primarily fought over the succession to the Iron Throne between Aegon II Targaryen and his half-sister Rhaenyra Targaryen. Those in favor of Aegon II were called the “Greens”, and those in favor of Rhaenyra’s claim were called the “Blacks”. At the end of the war, the two rival monarchs were slain and Rhaenyra’s son, Aegon III, was crowned king.
It all started when, after the death of King Viserys, Ser Criston Cole of the Kingsguard took his crown and, instead of passing it to Rhaenyra, placed it on the head of Prince Aegon, Viserys’ eldest son by his second wife, and named him King Aegon II. Rhaenyra was furious, denouncing Cole as a traitor and summoning his armies. Both sides (Green and Black) suffered heavy casualties throughout the battle. Also, many major and minor houses were destroyed during the war. Almost all of the surviving dragons at the time on both sides were wiped out.
The Greens have the upper hand
So far in HOTD, the Greens seem to have the upper hand. Alicent Hightower is the queen, her father Otto is the hand of the king, and her husband Viserys died recently at the end of the last episode. Alicent has developed an imposing personality over time. Her eldest son – Aegon, is Viserys’ most likely successor (at least that’s what she thinks her husband wanted before he died). Aemond, her second son, had been seriously injured by one of Rhanaeyra’s sons. But at the same time, Aemond claimed Vhagar – the greatest living dragon. Otto used all his cunning to ascend his nephew Aegon II to the Iron Throne, despite what Viserys had said. The Greens dominate King’s Landing at the moment and have Hightowers’ backing.
However, on the other hand, Rhaenyra, Daemon and their children (the Blacks) seem to be the victims of the Greens’ schemes. Although the Blacks also have the support of Velaryons, they are obligated to do as the Queen orders. However, Black has more firepower (Dragons) at their disposal. But, Rhaenyra has been self-righteous and selfless so far. Rhaenyra and Daemon’s scheme that allowed Laenor to escape King’s Landing with her partner, regardless of what happened in the books, put Blacks in a good light. Even Rhaenyra’s children – Jace, Luke and Joffrey seem to be sweet compared to Alicent’s (Aegon and Aemond). The public is driven to sympathize with them. However, is this the whole truth?
The Fate of Blacks
The Targaryens are notorious for eventually following a dark path, regardless of how they began their journey. Take Daenerys from GOT as an example. She started out as a strong, independent, and righteous character; but ended up being a confused, crazy and unjustifiable woman. Therefore, a Targaryen, no matter how good, never meets a good ending, and even if they do, they end up dooming themselves. Examples are – Baelor I, Rhaegal, Aerion, Aerys II, Viserys and Daenerys. Theoretically, this happens due to their practice of intermarrying within the family (consanguinity). They feel that by doing this they are strengthening their house by keeping their bloodlines pure. But all this only weakens their genetic diversity and, therefore, drives them away from reason.
The Dragon Dance was no exception. It can be said that the Greens were defeated in the war and the Blacks won because eventually Rhaenyra’s son ascended the Iron Throne. But the Black side’s loss toll was much heavier and severe, thanks to some of their own overconfident decisions.
There could be various reasons why the series is seemingly tilted towards black people. One of them could be that the writers try to make the audience sympathetic towards them. So when they meet their eventual end, the impact it has on the audience, the “shock value” is high. This was one of the main highlights of the success of its predecessor GOT. But at the same time, the show sometimes makes us empathize with the Greens too, also justifying their actions. Both sides will have their equal shares of “good guys and bad guys” in the war. However, such a portrayal would surely keep the fire burning among fandoms supporting both sides.
If that’s the case in reality, hats off to the directors for going that route. And even those who have read the source material (someone like me) would no doubt love whatever happens next in the series. And we just can’t wait!