House of the Dragon season one recap: Everything that’s happened in the Game of Thrones spin-off so far

House of the Dragon, the acclaimed spin-off of HBO’s fantasy phenomenon Game of Thrones, is back for a second season.

Set two centuries before the events of Thrones, the series, which debuts in the UK on Sky and streaming service NOW, follows the decline of the house of Targaryen, and the eruption of a civil war.

The first season spanned around 20 years, and featured significant time jumps across its 10 broadcast episodes.

With season two premiering on Sunday 16 June – and in the early hours of Monday 17 June in the UK – viewers may be requiring a recap of everything that’s happened in the series to date.

Here’s a runthrough of all the biggest events from House of the Dragon’s first season.

Heavy spoilers follow for the first season of House of the Dragon… obviously.

House of the Dragon begins with King Viserys (Paddy Considine) in charge of Westeros. It is an era of relative stability for the kingdom, with the biggest question being the matter of succession: he has a daughter, Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock, later Emma D’Arcy), but no male heir. Viserys’s wife Aemma (Sian Brooke) dies horrifically in childbirth, with the newborn son dying shortly after.

Paddy Considine in ‘House of the Dragon' (HBO)
Paddy Considine in ‘House of the Dragon' (HBO)

Viserys’s brother Daemon (Matt Smith), another potential heir, is banished after making a joke about the baby’s death, and goes off to wage war against an enemy force led by the Crabfeeder (Daniel Scott-Smith). The king’s chief advisor, Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans), known as the “Hand of the King”, puts forward his young daughter Alicent (Emily Carey, later Olivia Cooke), Rhaenyra’s closest friend, as a potential bride.

A few years later, Alicent and Viserys have married, and have a son, Aegon II (Ty Tennant, later Tom Glynn-Carney). Daemon is welcomed back into the fold following his military exploits, and has an incestuous kiss with his niece Rhaenyra in a brothel. Rhaenyra then begins an affair with the dashing Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel).

Rumours of her frisson with Daemon make their way back to Otto, but she denies it, leading to a schism; Otto is sacked by Viserys, and Rhaenyra, now at odds with Alicent, is named as heir to the throne.

Tasked with finding a husband ASAP, Rhaenyra is matched with Laenor (John MacMillan), the son of the king’s Master of Ships, Corlys “The Sea Snake” Velaryon (Steve Toussaint). Laenor is privately gay, and the marriage is one of convenience; Criston beats a man to death over talk of his relationship with Rhaenyra.

Olivia Cooke in ‘House of the Dragon' (HBO)
Olivia Cooke in ‘House of the Dragon' (HBO)

More years pass, and Rhaenyra now has three sons, though they are visibly illegitimate, bearing a resemblance to Harwin Strong (Ryan Corr), the son of the new “Hand to the King” Lyonnel Strong (Gavin Spokes). Alicent alerts Viserys to this, but he takes no action.

Criston spars with Harwin over the matter of the children’s parenthood, and Harwin is driven out of the city. Prompted by Alicent, Larys Strong (Matthew Needham) has Harwin and Lyonnel killed, and Otto reclaims his position at the side of the king. Viserys, however, is slowly dying, having developed a form of leprosy.

Daemon, having brutally killed his injured first wife after she fell from a horse, remarries and has two twin girls with Laena (Nanna Blondell), Laenor’s sister. After a third pregnancy results in a stillbirth, Laena takes her own life. Her dragon, Vhagar, one of the most feared and formidable dragons in the kingdom, passes contentiously to Alicent and Viserys’s second son Aemond (Ewan Mitchell).

Emma D’Arcy in ‘House of the Dragon' (HBO)
Emma D’Arcy in ‘House of the Dragon' (HBO)

A squabble between Aemond and Daemon’s two daughters leads to Rhaenyra’s second son, Prince Lucerys (Elliot Grihault), injuring Aemond, causing him to lose an eye. Laenor fakes his own death, and Rhaenyra marries her uncle Daemon.

King Viserys declares that Rhaenyra’s children are legitimate, leaving them poised as heirs, and Corlys’s brother Vaemond (Wil Johnson) is beheaded by Daemon after declaring them “bastards”. Daemon’s two daughters, Baela and Rhaena, become betrothed to Rhaenyra’s sons, Jacaerys and Lucerys.

Ewan Mitchell in ‘House of the Dragon' (HBO)
Ewan Mitchell in ‘House of the Dragon' (HBO)

On his deathbed, Viserys is heard mumbling about Aegon being king, referring actually to his predecessor, Aegon I, whose prophetic vision of the future hangs over the series. However, Alicent takes this to refer to their child, and organises for Aegon II to succeed Viserys. Aegon, a playboy, is reluctantly coronated as the new king. At the same time, in Dragonstone, Rhaenyra is made Queen, with the loyalty of the crown now completely divided, and Westeros on the brink of civil war.

At the finale of the series, Aemond challenges Lucerys, and chases him on dragonback; Vhagar disobeys his rider and kills Lucerys in midair, leaving Aemond stunned.

House of the Dragon can be watched on Sky and NOW in the UK.