George R.R. Martin reveals the big House of the Dragon change he wanted

George R.R. Martin smiling at HBO's San Diego Comic Con 2022 panel.
Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin. (Image credit: FilmMagic/FilmMagic for HBO via Getty)

*This article contains spoilers for House of the Dragon season 1*

House of the Dragon's first season might already have come to an end, but Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin has revealed that there was one big thing he would have changed about the series: the point at which the series began.

House of the Dragon's first season began with a flashback detailing how a young Prince Viserys Targaryen (played by Paddy Considine) was named as the successor to King Jaehaerys at a Great Council meeting instead of his cousin, Princess Rhaenys (Eve Best).

We then skipped forward nearly a decade into Viserys' rule over the Seven Kingdoms, where he cause all sorts of trouble by naming Rhaenyra Targaryen (then played by Milly Alcock) as the heir to the Iron Throne. This controversial decision then set the stage for all the drama that played out across the first season.

Paddy Considine as Viserys Targaryen.

King Viserys Targaryen. (Image credit: Sky)

In a recent interview with fellow fantasy writer, David Anthony Durham (as reported by Entertainment Weekly (opens in new tab), George R.R. Martin revealed that he would have preferred the series to start much earlier, and he said there were 'spirited discussions' among the writers when they were deciding where the HBO adaptation was going to start.

"One of the writers wanted to begin it later, with Aemma dying. Skip the Great council, skip the tournament, a scream sounds out, Aemma is dead, that's where you begin. That was one possibility", Martin told them. "Another of the writers wanted to begin even later than that, with Viserys dying. But what happens there? Then you have to present all that material in flashbacks or dialogue, which becomes challenging too. But we discussed all these possibilities."

Martin went on to explain that he was actually in favor of starting much earlier in the Targaryen timeline, though he claims he was "the only one who was really enthused" about his plan. 

"I would've begun it like 40 years earlier, with an episode I would've called "'The Heir and the Spare'. Jaehaerys' two sons, Aemon and Baelon, are alive, and we see the friendship but also the rivalry between the two sides of the great house."

"Then Aemon dies accidentally when a Myrish crossbowman shoots him by accident on Tarth, then Jaehaerys has to decide who becomes the new heir. Is it the daughter of the son who's just died, or the second son who has children of his own and is a man where she's a teenager? You could've presented all that stuff, but then you would've had 40 more years, and even more time jumps and recastings. I was the only one who was really enthused about that."

You can watch the full interview below:

House of the Dragon season 1 has finished airing. The whole season is available to stream on HBO Max and on Sky TV and NOW in the UK.

Martin Shore
Staff Writer at WhatToWatch.com

Martin is a Staff Writer with WhatToWatch.com, where he produces a variety of articles focused on the latest and greatest films and TV shows. 

Some of his favorite shows are What We Do In The Shadows, Bridgerton, Gangs of London, The Witcher, Doctor Who, and Ghosts. When he’s not watching TV or at the movies, Martin’s probably still in front of a screen playing the latest video games, reading, or watching the NFL.