Why House of the Dragon Changed Its Opening Credits for Season 2

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One of the first things you’ll notice in House of the Dragon season 2 isn’t the green banners in King’s Landing or a snowy shot of Winterfell; it’s the new opening credit sequence at the top of the first episode. As the famous Game of Thrones theme song by Ramin Djawadi plays, the accompanying design no longer shows a 3D model of Old Valyria flooded with blood, but instead, an intricate tapestry come to life, depicting pivotal moments of Targaryen history.

Showrunner Ryan Condal talked to ELLE.com about the change.

“The season 1 sequence had changed a couple of times as the season unfolded, and I think that was a tradition started by the famous map sequence of the original series, and we wanted to continue that tradition, because we felt like that was part of the thing that’s baked into the DNA of a Westerosi show like this,” he says, noting that the original design “serves season 1 really well, but it kind of ran out of runway.”

Condal adds, “I think it got us through the storytelling [of] the first season, which is very much about ancestral bloodlines, and who’s marrying who, and what children they’re having, and [whether they are] male heirs or female heirs. But in season 2, now that this war has kicked off, it felt like it was something else, something different. We’re taking you through this really important living history of the Targaryen dynasty. And we know, from viewers looking on the outside, that this is the most important thing that happens in the Targaryen history until, essentially, the Targaryens are thrown at the end of Aerys’ reign. What does a living history look like? And I just kept going back to, it’s a tapestry.

“That’s how medieval histories were recorded, and this wonderful company called yU+co came up with this as a concept, and everybody just loved it, and we’re like, ‘That’s it,’ and got so excited about it. I’m thrilled with what they did, and I’m excited to evolve that sequence as we go on down through the history.”

House of the Dragon’s detailed-oriented fan base is sure to analyze every frame of the new sequence, but Condal is prepared for that. “I went over that with a fine-tooth comb,” he says with a laugh. He even got George R. R. Martin to weigh in.

“I had lots of people, including George, who all looked at it, but no, it’s really good. And I think the people who spend time with it, there are rewards within there, too, to be seen and found,” he says.

If you plan on doing exactly that, below, we’ve laid out what you’ll find.

First, there’s an illustration of the Doom of Valyria, the destruction of the Targaryens’ ancestral homeland.

house of the dragon season 2 opening credits

HBO

There’s an image of Aegon the Conqueror, with the famous Targaryen ancestor flying on his dragon alongside his sisters, to invade Westeros.

house of the dragon season 2 opening credits

HBO

One scene from Aegon’s Conquest is the burning of Harrenhal, which resulted in the demise of Houses Gardener and Hoare, according to Collider.

house of the dragon season 2 opening credits

HBO

There are depictions of lords of Houses Stark, Tully, and Arryn bending the knee.

house of the dragon season 2 opening credits

HBO

There’s a portrait of Maegor the Cruel, one of Aegon the Conqueror’s sons and a tyrant who lived up to his name. According to Mashable, this tableau shows his gruesome death on the Iron Throne, with a sword in his neck.

house of the dragon season 2 opening credits

HBO

King Jaehaerys, who preceded Viserys, and his wife, Queen Alysanne, make an appearance.

house of the dragon season 2 opening credits

HBO

Here he is sitting on the Iron Throne too.

house of the dragon season 2 opening credits

HBO

That’s followed by what looks like a banquet scene that shows the Greens and Blacks seated on opposite sides of each other. Alicent Hightower and Rhaenyra Targaryen are also on opposing sides.

house of the dragon season 2 opening credits

HBO

Aegon II and Rhaenyra are depicted on their dueling thrones, with him in King’s Landing and her on Dragonstone.

house of the dragon season 2 opening credits

HBO

And there’s a gutting reminder of Lucerys Velaryon’s (and his dragon, Arrax’s) death by Aemond and his dragon, Vhagar. It’s a fitting place for the sequence to end, as it’s where season 1 left off and kick-starts the events of the war we’ll see in season 2.

house of the dragon season 2 opening credits

HBO

Easter egg hunters, go forth.

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