All House of the Dragon Show vs. Book Differences so Far

Artistic liberties, or oversights?

by J.R. Waugh

House of the Dragon is another adaptation of the world created by George R.R. Martin, first established in ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ as the greatest high fantasy sensation over the last decade. HotD tells the story of the Targaryen dynasty, who for the longest time, was the ruling family who oversaw all of Westeros, but this is the dramatic telling of when they entered their period of decline. But much like any adaptation of fantasy source material, there are bound to be differences, often for the sake of artistic liberty and enhancing the drama for the viewers. Read on for our guide on All House of the Dragon Show vs. Book Differences so Far!

All House of the Dragon Show vs Book Differences so Far


It should come as no surprise that HotD’s show takes liberties when adapting the Targaryen history – it’s not had as in-depth an examination by GRRM as the case of Game of Thrones, but even then, there are some deviations from the history of the family as originally told. It’s a lot like if you based a TV series off the most compelling books you could find in Skyrim. This is especially important in that the plot of House of the Dragon is largely adapted from a fictional Westeros Archmaester, essentially an abridged set of family chronicles, so this show allows proper exposure and greater freedom to flesh out the characters mentioned within. These differences include:

  • Rhaenyra and Alicent weren’t described as friends in the original stories – their friendship on the show enhances the drama of their rift after Viserys chooses to marry Alicent.
  • Fire & Blood, the ‘historical text’ from which the show is inspired, rely on conflicting accounts from people including Maesters, Septons, and even court jesters. The show does not appear to have an unreliable narrator, choosing instead to run a singular narrative path.
  • The dream that Aegon had, foretelling the events of Game of Thrones, the ‘Song of Ice and Fire’? This is a brand new piece of the canon thrown out there by the show, seemingly as an attempt to remind fans of the show’s connection to GoT.
  • The second episode, in which Daemon steals a dragon egg, is far more drawn-out than initially told in Fire & Blood, where he is simply ordered by Viserys to return the egg and complies, begrudgingly. This is likely a way to flesh out the otherwise brief story and showcase character motivations.
  • Alicent Hightower’s role as partner to Viserys was initially more complicated in Fire & Blood, with claims of her being a companion to Jaehaerys, but also to Daemon, and even alleged affairs with Viserys while Aemma was still alive.

More differences will be added as they are noticed. But so far the show has been able to balance artistic liberty with a faithful, fascinating adaptation of a glamorous kingdom in Westeros. We’ll be excited to see more as it comes out.

This concludes our coverage of All House of the Dragon Show vs. Book Differences so Far! Be sure to check out our entertainment column for more stories like this!

House of the Dragon premiered on August 21, 2022, on HBO. You can also stream the series on HBO Max.

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