House of the Dragon’s premiere episode opened with a flashback to 101 AC and the Great Council’s decision to put Viserys on the throne over Rhaenys. At the time, fans assumed this was like any fantasy cold open, a flashback to set the scene of the present-day events — little did they know the entire season would basically become one long series of time jumps. House of the Dragon’s Season 1, Episode 8 promo continues this trend.
Warning: Spoilers for House of the Dragon Season 1, Episode 7 follow. Not every episode jumps ahead; Episode 7, “Driftmark,” picks up only days after Episode 6’s conclusion with Laena burning by dragonfire rather than face a caesarian section. Her passing left Daemon a free man again, and this time, Rhaenyra wasn’t going to let blood being spilled prevent her from marrying the man she wants. It did mean removing one awkward obstacle — her current husband, Laenor — but Daemon accomplished that handily, paying Laenor’s no-good boyfriend, Qarl, to get Rhaenyra’s inconvenient spouse out of the picture.
In the end, Laenor’s murder was staged; he and Qarl escaped to Essos to live happily ever after (or at least safely away from Targaryens). But that loose end will have to wait, as the next episode’s promo shifts the action forward again, with Daemon and Rhaenrya’s blended families facing down the Hightowers as Viserys’ health falters yet again.
House of the Dragon Season 1, Episode 8 is titled “The Lord of the Tides,” Lord Corlys Velaryon’s official title as the ruler of Driftmark, which Laenor would have inherited. (And maybe still can?)
As you can see in the promo, some significant time has passed, as the younger generation has grown up a lot. Like the original Game of Thrones, Martin’s House of the Dragon stories focus on characters who reach ruling and marriageable ages in their early to mid teens. That’s awkward for modern viewers, to say the least. Game of Thrones solved that by casting older actors — Jon Snow, Robb Stark, and Theon Greyjoy went from 14 to 21, while Joffrey and Sansa went from being 13 and 12 respectively to 15 and 14 at the start of things. Here, House of the Dragon does the same by time jumping and fudging a few dates, allowing Aegon, Helaena, Aemond, Jacaerys, Lucerys, Baela, and Rhaena to all reach their late teens and early 20s in time for the Dance of Dragons conflict to begin in earnest.
House of the Dragon continues with new episodes every Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max.