"If you can’t handle the heat, get off the Iron Throne" seems to be the motto of HBO’s House of the Dragon - and if anyone is feeling that pressure, it’s Paddy Considine’s Viserys Targaryen.


The much-hyped Game of Thrones prequel is fleshing out George R R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire saga, but this time, we’re charting the blonde-haired Targaryen lineage some 172 years before Daenerys Targaryen is born.

Based on Martin’s Fire & Blood novel, House of the Dragon has wasted no time in adapting the illustrated history for the small screen. More than just retelling the events of who lived and who died in the race to sit on the world’s most uncomfortable chair, House of the Dragon is diving deep into the mythos of the Seven Kingdoms.

We’re only four episodes in, and already, it looks like showrunners Miguel Sapochnik and Ryan Condal have debunked a major Game of Thrones theory.

While Martin has never specifically confirmed it, a popular theory flowing over from David Benioff and D B Weiss's series is that Targaryens are immune to fire. This comes from the fiery arc of Emilia Clarke's Daenerys Targaryen. It harks all the way back to the iconic scene in season 1, where she stepped into the funeral pyre of Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) and emerged holding her newly hatched dragons.

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Instead of leaving the mystery up in the air, the showrunners hammered home Dany’s apparent abilities when she torched a temple of Dothraki Khals in season 6.

Now, House of the Dragon has confirmed fireproof Targaryens aren't a thing. Eagle-eyes fans noted something in the return of Matt Smith’s Daemon Targaryen in episode 4.

After defeating the Crabfeeder a year earlier and proclaiming himself King of the Stepstones and the Narrow Sea, Daemon was back to stir up trouble in King’s Landing. The previous episode saw him best the Triarchy, but not before being struck by a flaming arrow in the opening scene

In the latest episode, you can see he carries a burn mark, seemingly confirming Targaryens aren’t immune to fire.

Martin has always maintained that Targaryens aren’t some fireproof deities, and when talking about the first book in 1998, he said some were reading too much into the idea of the dynasty being impervious to flame. Hammering home the point in a 1999 chat with fans, Martin categorically said, "Targaryens are not immune to fire!"

Explaining the Dany situation, he added, "The birth of Dany’s dragons was unique, magical, wondrous, a miracle. She is called The Unburnt because she walked into the flames and lived. But her brother sure as hell wasn’t immune to that molten gold."

Basically, Dany’s apparent magical powers were a unique feature added to the series. Even in the books, she doesn’t possess the same abilities, with her now-iconic pyre scene leaving her without any hair and severe burns on her body.

For those up on their Targaryen history, immunity from flame was never the case, and in fact, there’s a fiery farewell on the horizon. Warning for those who don’t want to know a major House of the Dragon spoiler: turn back now.

We know House of the Dragon won’t employ the same immunity that Dany had because a major character will meet a grisly fate in which they are torched and then eaten by a dragon.

Across the history of the realm, there have been numerous examples of the Targaryen family tree being injured by fire or even burned to death.

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen standing in Khal Drogo's funeral pyre
Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen standing in Khal Drogo's funeral pyre. HBO

In particular, the Tragedy at Summerhall took place in the year 259 AC (after Aegon’s conquest), and claimed the lives of both King Aegon V Targaryen and Prince Duncan Targaryen. Aerion 'Brightflame' Targaryen perished in 232 AC when he drank wildfire, thinking it would turn him into a dragon. Instead, he was burned from the inside out.

Closer to home, remember that Daenerys's brother died when a pot of molten gold was poured on his head. Although critics will likely point out that Viserys III Targaryen was killed by a boiling liquid rather than by fire itself, it’s a similar plot point. After all, it was Dany that said her brother wasn’t a true dragon because "fire cannot kill a dragon".

Finally, there’s Jon Snow, AKA Aegon Targaryen. The show backed itself into a corner with the whole Targaryens are immune to fire theory when Jon badly burned his hand protecting Jeor Mormont from an attacking Wight.

House of the Dragon is sure to double down on burning Targaryens with the upcoming Dance of the Dragons we keep hearing about. The clue is in the name, but with the Dance of the Dragons being a who's who of Targaryens and their rides, expect the House of the Dragon burn ward to be pretty full in the aftermath. For now, though, another Song of Ice and Fire theory can count itself as thoroughly torched.

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House of the Dragon airs on Sky Atlantic and is available on NOW. Check out more of our Fantasy coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.


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