House of the Dragon co-showrunner Ryan Condal explains the change with the Targaryen Sigil in the show. The highly-anticipated Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon, will take viewers two centuries back in time, before the events of the mothership series. The show chronicles the events leading up to House Targaryen’s fall, showcasing the fateful Dance of the Dragons civil war. House of the Dragon was filmed between April 2021 and February 2022, with the 10-episode first season slated to premiere on HBO on August 21, 2022.
Although House of the Dragon is faithful to Martin’s books and the original series, the prequel show has introduced some changes to franchise lore. In the show, House Velaryon is predominantly Black, and the relationship between Corlys (Steve Toussaint) and Vaemond Velaryon ( Wil Johnson) is also different. The stories of Ser Harrold Westerling (Graham McTavish) and King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) have been seemingly tweaked, presumably to give the characters more importance. Additionally, the Iron Throne in House of the Dragon is a more massive structure, but that alteration was explained in Game of Thrones season 2. One change, however, that fans are still confused about is associated with the Targaryen sigil, although it now seems that the dilemma has been resolved as well.
In discussion with EW, Condal explained the alternate Targaryen sigil. In Game of Thrones, the sigil comprised a three-headed dragon with two legs, but in House of the Dragon, the design has been changed into a quadrupedal dragon. Condal explains that this modification isn’t exactly new. And as some hardcore fans may recall, the four-legged dragon symbol also appeared previously in Game of Thrones seasons 6 and 7. Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) had brought the original sigil back in the season 6 finale as she prepared for the show’s endgame, which was reclaiming Westeros. So Condal chose to incorporate the same design for House of the Dragon to honor Daenerys and as a callback to where she left off her journey. Read what Condal said below.
“I will say every choice we made on this show, down to even smaller minutia than that [sigil], was made with a reason. I would say stay tuned. But I also say that the sigil that you’re seeing in this show you did see in the original show, as well.
The truth of the matter is you think you’ve seen the Targaryen sigil a lot in the original Game of Thrones, but actually it’s not in Game of Thrones that much. You’ve seen it on books and Funko Pops and things like that. That was how far and high the Targaryen dynasty had fallen, that the sigil did not exist really anymore until Daenerys brought it back about. So we chose to go down a road that I think honored where Daenerys left us off versus where people think it all started. But I will say, stay tuned. Hopefully it will all make sense in due time.”
Daenerys’s decision to revert to the original Targaryen sigil was a statement of restoring the House’s full strength. So it makes sense why the makers chose to stick with that design for House of the Dragon. Of course, the different versions of the sigil have some deeper meaning. But Condal is teasing that the change will make sense in due course once the show premieres. This reflects the keen attention to detail on the part of the creative team; they are aware that obsessed fans notice follow Game of Thrones‘ symbolism closely, which is why they have littered Easter eggs around the sigils and mottos that complement the story and preview some of its more momentous events.
As far as the Targaryen sigil is concerned, there is an established interpretation of its three heads in the franchise, where it represents Aegon the Conqueror and his sisters Visenya Targaryen and Rhaenys Targaryen. There is no similar explanation about the dragon’s legs. But it seems from the context of House Targaryen’s powers that they represent the far-reaching influence of the noble family. At the beginning of House of the Dragon and around season 7 of Game of Thrones, House Targaryen was the most powerful of all the Seven Kingdoms, so the additional legs on the sigil presumably signified a greater control of Westeros. But after the fall of the House, Targaryen power subsided, so it may be then that the 2-legged version of the sigil was introduced, reflecting a loss of authority. Although the argument seems logical, it is still speculation, and the full details will become clear once House of the Dragon is released.