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House of the Dragon hits the biggest Debut on HBO With 10 Million Views.

by Clover Shaw
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The first episode of House of the Dragon has a tragic birth scene. Many question the importance of that scene and that too in the first episode. But in actuality, this birth scene sets the foundation for the plot’s main conflict.

House of the Dragon is a prequel to HBO’s Game of Thrones. The timeline of this series is roughly set around 2 centuries before the previous movie’s events. House of the Dragon narrates the family history of House Targaryen when they ruled the Seven Kingdoms. The events specifically focus on Viserys I reign and the war for succession that blows up following his death.

Since the series focuses on deciding succession and heir to the Iron Throne, birth scenes play a significant role in the story. House of the Dragon celebrates the birth of the king’s son, highlighting that Sons are generally preferred over daughters for succession. Tragically, the birth events do not go as planned, leaving Viserys without a male heir. Therefore, the scene sets a course of events in motion that will finally lead to civil war. Besides the importance of succession, the first episode birth scene is also important for another reason.

House of the Dragon, episode 1

Image Courtesy: Vox

In House of Dragon, episode 1, “The Heirs of the Dragon,” we see Aemma Targaryen dying while giving birth to her son Baelon. Unfortunately, the infant also dies a day later. While the incident is heartbreaking for King Viserys, it is equally catastrophic for the realm. The second reason that signifies the scene is the depiction of all the dangers a woman faces while giving birth to humankind. The circumstances were particularly dire in the medieval era. In simpler words, it shows what women had to endure to give heirs to the Iron Throne. So, it’s important to recognize those dangers, generally and specifically, to understand the importance of women’s roles in House of Dragon.

Aemma and her son’s death will not be the last childbirth in House of the Dragon. The first episode ends with Rhaenyra becoming the heir and the possibility of other Targaryen males conceivably arguing a stronger claim to the throne. House of the Dragon has already teased Daemon, Viserys’ brother, as a contender. However, in the years that we will see in upcoming episodes, more male Targaryens will be born and challenge Rhaenyra’s succession to the throne. Even Rhaenyra will have her own children, which will help her seek the claim. All these births will have consequences for the House Targaryen’s future.

Miguel Sapochnik, the executive producer, explained to THR, “We have a number of births in the show and basically decided to give them different themes and explore them from different perspectives the same way I did for a bunch of battles on Thrones.”

Miguel’s statement indicates that Aemma death during childbirth significantly sets up events far more than disputes over succession. It creates the status quo where we can feel how a woman’s life was worthless at that time compared to the children she could produce. It is obvious from the scene when Viserys chooses his son over his wife’s life when he is given the option. However, even Aemma’s painful and violent death could not save his son as he died the next day.

Many would say it was a difficult choice for a king like Viserys. Many will make the same choice even in today’s modern world, where women are more empowered than centuries ago. In any case, the scene shows that the king made Aemma’s life decision without even consulting her. It shows that her life was not as important as that of a male heir. So, in essence, the scene is a way for the series to highlight the themes surrounding women in society.



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