After waiting years to re-enter the world of westeros, hbo finally came out with house of the dragon in 2022. Fans had no idea what to expect in terms of the execution of the show after being left in disarray after the disappointing end of game of thrones, but they were happily surprised with the release of this new series. Season 1 of house of the dragon brought fans right back into westeros and started to separate itself from the original series of a song of ice and fire. One of the ways it does this is by introducing brand new houses unfamiliar to fans of the show game of thrones, although fans of the books may have recognized these old names. It makes you realize how much history george r. R. Martin packed into this universe and also how much the wheel of power has changed from house to house.
House Hightower: “We light the way”
One of the new houses that we are introduced to is house hightower. This house is ancient and nobody really knows its origins of whether they are descendants of the first men or descendants of traders and seamen who arrived in westeros before the first men. Regardless of its origins, they have been around for quite awhile. This house is located in the reach, their seat is in old town and their words are we light the way. Much less famous than the stark words winter is coming. Fans of game of thrones can be familiar with this city because it is where the citadel is, which trains all the maesters of the realm and is also where sam tarly eventually travels to to become a maester in the nights watch. The hightowers play a huge role in house of the dragon. Early on in the series, they seem to be great allies of the targaryens as rhaenyra targaryen and alicent hightower are best friends and otto hightower is hand of the king to king viserys targaryen. When viserys wife dies, he needs a new one to replace her in order to strengthen the position and future of his house. While grieving, viserys is being dragged back and forth by the likes of otto hightower and corlys velaryon to take wives from each respective family. While viserys is teetering between the offers, otto sends his daughter alicent to comfort king viserys in his time of grief as a way for him to indirectly manipulate viserys into marrying alicent. After this marriage happens, there is much division between the families of rhaenyra and alicent because alicent had sons for king viserys but rhaenyra was already promised the crown when king viserys died. This causes a rift for the entire realm and forces each lord to pick sides in the upcoming war between the blacks and the greens.
House Velaryon: “The Old, the True, the Brave”
House targaryen is not the only family in westeros with the blood of old valyria. We learn this when we are introduced to house velaryon. This house is as ancient as house targaryen and may be even older. The biggest difference between the two valyrian houses is that the targaryens ruled the skies with dragons and the velaryons ruled the sea. House velaryon actually settled on driftmark before the targaryens settled in dragonstone. Driftmark is as far west as possible from essos without being in westerosi territory. Unlike having a prophetic dream that told them to leave valyria like the targaryens, they moved in order to give valyrians more economic influence over westeros, as they were very key roles in old valyrias economy. Their house words are the old, the true, the brave. The only mention to house velaryon in game of thrones is when in season 2 it is said that they support stannis barratheon in his fight for the throne. Unless old fans of the series remember that, this house must be very new for everyone watching. With the most powerful navy in the seven kingdoms and the known world, this house is another key player in the series. Lord corlys and king viserys had troubles in their relationship as the series went on, especially when king viserys chose alicent hightower as his queen rather than one of lord corlys own daughters were not chosen; as well as when corlys waged war in the stepstones without permission from viserys and pushed back the triarchy. Although the war in the stepstones was a positive for the realm and house velaryon, it still caused a ripple in their relationship. This was all eventually mended when princess rhaenarya was betrothed to corlys son ser laenor. Ultimately, when the time came in the beginning of the dance of the dragons, lord corlys sided with the blacks and queen rhaenyra, showing loyalty to king viserys wishes.
House cole is pretty insignificant in the story of westeros. They are from the same region as the baratheons, the stormlands and their seat is blackhaven. They have their own banner and seat, but they are still considered low-born. Their insignificance is proven though because in a conversation with alicent, rhaenyra exclaims that she has never even heard of a house cole. Although they are not a very important house, they will have a strong name in house of the dragon as we can see from the actions of ser criston in the first season.
House strong is a noble and ancient house from the riverlands that died off very early on in the show. They were some of the first supporters of the first targaryens that conquered westeros. For their support, they were given harrenhal, which is burned down not too far into the first season. The destroyed castle is even seen in game of thrones, when the lannisters were torturing and killing peasants while looking for the brotherhood. Although they were extremely noble and significant at one point in the story of westeros, their line is extinguished in one episode in house of the dragon.
As we can see, the landscape in house of the dragon is much different than that of game of thrones. Rather than watching house stark, lannister, targaryen and baratheons fight and claim the throne we are now seeing targaryens, velaryons and hightowers do it over a hundred years earlier. The wheels of power constantly change in westeros and as fans, we are extremely excited to see whats next and what other old houses are displayed in house of the dragon.