House of the Dragon premiere features two major Game of Thrones references you probably missed

Paddy Considine as King Viserys in House of the Dragon
(Image credit: HBO)

Warning: Major spoilers ahead for House of the Dragon episode 1! Turn back now if you haven't seen the new episode yet! 

House of the Dragon reintroduces us to Westeros and the dragon-riding Targaryen family, and, despite being set almost 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, the prequel show still finds a way to reference its predecessor. 

When King Viserys meets his daughter Rhaenyra by the huge dragon skull, about to make her heir to the Seven Kingdoms, he tells her about the prophecy of the Song of Ice and Fire, AKA the events of Game of Thrones season 8. The first Targaryen king, Aegon the Conqueror, foresaw the end of humankind, brought about by a terrible winter from the North. When that time comes, according to Aegon, a Targaryen must be on the throne to unite the realm. As Viserys is explaining, he implores his daughter to protect the secret and pass it on to her heir: "Promise me this, Rhaenyra. Promise me." 

The line echoes what Lyanna Stark tells her brother Ned Stark when he finds her just after giving birth to Jon Snow… whose real name is Aegon Targaryen (son of Daenerys's older brother Rhaegar). "Promise me, Ned. Promise me," Lyanna says when she asks her brother to protect her newborn son. Jon Snow would seem to be the fabled Targaryen king of the prophecy – he tried to unite the realm against the threat of the White Walkers while King in the North – so this reference to his birth is a reminder that the Night King will one day be defeated by this promised figure (the prince that was promised, perhaps?). Read our full breakdown of the Song of Ice and Fire prophecy through the link. 

That's not the only callback to Game of Thrones in this scene, either. As Viserys tells Rhaenyra about the prophecy, he grips a familiar-looking dagger on his belt. It's none other than the Valyrian steel dagger that was eventually used by Arya Stark to kill the Night King and end the Long Night. It's also the weapon that Bran Stark was almost assassinated with, so it played a major part in the events that led up to the War of the Five Kings – that's the power struggle for the Iron Throne that took place across much of the series. That's one significant weapon, then.

If you're up to speed on House of the Dragon, check out our roundup of the best Netflix shows streaming now to fill out your watchlist – and see our guide to the House of the Dragon release schedule to find out when the next episode drops in the UK and US. 

Molly Edwards
Entertainment Writer

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for the site's Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after graduating with a BA in English.