House of the Dragon Trailer Breakdown

POSSIBLE SPOILERS MAY ABOUND. This article is speculation based on the materials available: Fire & Blood, A Song of Ice and Fire, and other Game of Thrones canon materials. With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s get into the fun!

The first official House of the Dragon teaser trailer came out on October 5, 2021, with much acclaim and also some trepidation. As a huge fan of Game of Thrones ever since my friend introduced me to it, I’m absolutely ecstatic for this show. In fact, “ecstatic” doesn’t cover the endless rambles, rants, and research I’ve done regarding this franchise. Adding fuel to the fire (pun intended), House of the Dragon isn’t set up to run into the pitfalls that plagued our beloved characters in Game of Thrones. The source material is readily available, Martin himself is reportedly happy with the work being done, and Game of Thrones is still beloved in many hearts, including my own. Thus, both the passion, resources, and energy are there for HotD. It’s safe to say both fans and newcomers can expect not only the lush cinematic extravagance GOT fans are used to but the glorious twisting and turning plot that put asses in seats from the start.

In this article, I’m breaking down some of the most important shots from the teaser trailer. This show will cover the Dance of the Dragons, a tumultuous and visceral section of Targaryen history from ASOIAF lore. For clarity and simplicity, here’s a brief summary of what is sometimes referred to as the Dance:

The Dance of the Dragons was a civil war between two factions of Targaryen rule. It started as a war of succession between half-siblings Rhaenyra Targaryen and Aegon II Targaryen over who would inherit their father, Viserys I’s, throne. The Dance lasted from 129 to 131 AC, and without spoiling how it ends, suffice it to say there will be 17 dragons in House of the Dragon, and canonically, many of them aren’t making it out alive. (As a note, if you truly want to be surprised all the way around–though often television takes creative liberties–maybe don’t read Fire & Blood, the fandom wiki, or this article just yet.)

Now, let’s get into what we can expect from House of the Dragon, Season One. Screenshot by screenshot. Yep, better buckle in, ‘cause shit’s about to get fictionally historical up in here.

BALERION, THE BLACK DREAD

Named after an ancient deity of the Valyrian Freehold, Balerion the Black Dread came with the Targaryens as they fled the Doom of Valyria. Notably, he was the last living creature to have seen Valyria at its peak. The enormous dragon served as Aegon Targaryen’s mount during the Conquest (Aegon’s conquering of Westeros) and saw the Iron Throne change hands many times before his death in 94 AC, less than a year after Viserys I Targaryen claimed him as his mount. Viserys is the current king we are looking at in the trailer to give you an idea of where that stands in the timeline. He rode Balerion once before his coronation, before the dragon's death, and Balerion did not live to see the events of the Dance. His death is an important timestamp and is likely why it is one of the first images we get to see. It may tell us when the show will kick-off. 

HAND OF THE KING

Here, we see Otto Hightower, who served as the Hand of the King under Viserys I Targaryen’s father Jaehaerys Targaryen’s rule. He continued as Viserys’ Hand and is father to Alicent Hightower, who became Viserys’ wife and the mother of Aegon II Targaryen (among other children). Aegon II rivals Rhaenyra (Viserys’ elder daughter) in the Dance for the succession, though some sources say he accepted the crown unwillingly. Here, the focus on the pin helps viewers place Otto as the current Hand of the King. 

BLACKFYRE

Blackfyre, a hand-and-a-half Valyrian steel longsword, was most famously wielded by Aegon the Conqueror. It has been passed down through the Targaryen lineage and went from Jaehaerys to Viserys’ eldest son Aegon II. This sword is legendary throughout the history of Westeros, along with Dark Sister, which was wielded by Aegon I’s sister and wife, Visenya. Let’s not get started on the Targaryen tradition of incestuous marriages; this article isn’t long enough to cover the absolute ick. This screenshot shows the seated king tightening his grip on the blade. While the sword is reportedly historically wielded by Jaehaerys and then Aegon II without Viserys in between, perhaps creative liberties are being taken. Before his death, Viserys was often beset with requests to change the line of succession from his eldest daughter, Rhaenyra, to his eldest son by Alicent, Aegon II. We may be seeing one such moment of contention here. 

Geek Moment: Can we talk about how cool these sword names are? “All the best swords have names, you know.” - Jon Snow

RHAENYRA TARGARYEN

Rhaenyra, daughter of Viserys, precedes Aegon II in birth order but contends with him after their father’s death for her inheritance–the Iron Throne. I initially thought the trailer was showing flashbacks. However, upon reading further into Fire & Blood, I think the show may be starting before the Dance officially begins. Here, we likely see a young Rhaenyra before her father Viserys’ death. She was being prepared to rule for some time and was named his heir. In fact, there is a moment in Fire & Blood where Rhaenyra sits near the Iron Throne, and lords and landed knights pay obeisance to her. Based on the position of the swords in the background of this image, I’d bet that’s what’s happening here. 

DAEMON TARGARYEN

Daemon Targaryen is brother to Viserys I and second husband of Rhaenyra. He was an experienced warrior at the time of the Dance, a dragon rider who wielded Dark Sister and rode Caraxes, and a prominent supporter of Rhaenyra’s claim to the Iron Throne. He and Rhaenyra are pictured here, looking out over the water. You can see dragons in the distance if you watch the trailer at a slower speed, at this timestamp [ 0:13 if you need a YouTube video, that’s here. ].

What are they looking at, you may wonder? I have some theories. One theory is that this has something to do with the Dance over Shipbreaker Bay, which makes the most sense chronologically. Prior to this event, Rhaenyra sends two of her sons, Jacaerys and Lucerys, to win houses for her cause. During this mission, the dragons Vhagar (ridden by Alicent’s second son Aemon) and Arrax (ridden by Rhaenyra’s second son Lucerys) fight in a raging storm. I won’t spoil who wins. 

There is also the Battle of the Gullet, which is one of the bloodiest sea battles ever to take place in Westerosi history. However, if the theory of an early beginning to the series holds true, that may be beyond the scope of the first season. The Battle occurs in 130 AC, which would be about halfway through the Dance.

Thirdly, in my personal theory, I think this is the scene where they are sending Rhaenyra’s two sons on their mission to rally certain major houses to their mother’s cause. It would explain the dragon wings in the far distance, the timing, and the somewhat worried faces. 

A TOURNEY & A DUEL

There are a few options for the events here, as well.  The second screenshot above is probably Daemon Targaryen, complete with his dragon helm. Daemon fought Ser Criston Cole at the Tourney for King Viserys’ accession. Perhaps this is that fight, which timestamps this scene as a precursor to the Dance and holds with our early-start theory. 

Another somewhat stronger theory is that this will be the Tourney of 111 AC, held on the fifth anniversary of Viserys and Alicent’s marriage. Rhaenyra wore red and black at this event, and Alicent wore green. Thus, denoting their respective Targaryen factions thenceforth as the “blacks” and the “greens.” Regardless of which theory holds up, this scene places us chronologically before Viserys’ death and the beginning of the Dance. 

HOUSE VELARYON 

House Velaryon is a proud and ancient house descending from Old Valyria. Front and center in this screenshot, we have none other than Corlys Velaryon himself, the Sea Snake. I am incredibly excited to see such an important character from Fire & Blood brought to life, and I am so, so happy to see diversity in the onscreen adaptations. To his left is his wife, Rhaenys Targaryen. Behind them, his daughter Laena and son Laenor. To Corlys’ right presumably stands Ser Vaemon Velaryon, eldest of Corlys’ six nephews. 

House Velaryon is an ancient house with historical ties to the Targaryens, and for a time, they were the richest house in Westeros. Corlys is Master of Driftmark, Lord of the Tides, and the head of House Velaryon, making him a pivotal player in the game. Rhaenys and her and Corlys’s children Laena and Laenor were all passed over in succession for the throne when it was given to Viserys after the assembly of the Great Council of 101 AC to determine Jaehaerys’ successor. Notably, Laenor and Rhaenyra were married for a time before Laenor’s death, preceding when the true brutalities of the Dance commenced. Are we arriving for a wedding? The faces look a little stern, but that might be expected considering the tumult of the time. 

MYSARIA 

Mysaria is a dancer from Lys who became Daemon Targaryen’s paramour. Beyond this, she becomes known as the unofficial mistress of whispers to Rhaenyra during the Dance. Also known as Lady Misery, she is far more than a consort. Daemon, Rhaenyra, and Mysaria develop a complicated relationship, and Mysaria strongly allied with Rhaenyra’s faction. Here, we may be seeing an early moment in their story when Daemon sent her back to Lys after Viserys learned Mysaria was pregnant. Daemon had given Mysaria a dragon egg for the child, which angered his brother, Viserys, and prompted Viserys to have Daemon send her away. Mysaria lost the child on the voyage, and Daemon’s heart hardened against his brother, the king.

VALYRIAN STEEL DAGGER

This is (probably) the blade that killed the Night King in Game of Thrones Season 8. Here, Alicent Hightower races forward carrying this highly recognizable dagger. This may be the same weapon used in Bran Stark’s attempted assassination, wielded by Arya Stark, and eventually plunged into the Night King’s frozen heart hundreds of years after the Dance of the Dragons. 

I thought I knew what was going on in this scene. I thought it was the Small Council Meeting of the “greens” where Queen Alicent and her people conspired about the succession and set plans for her son, Aegon II’s ascension to the Throne. However, the presence of Ser Harrold Westerling throws off that theory and timestamp. According to the source material, Westerling died in 112 AC and was succeeded as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard by Ser Criston Cole, and the Dance starts in 129 AC.

With that said, and Ser Harrold mentioned, can we please direct our attention to the Kingsgaurd in the background who looks suspiciously like Graham McTavish? Uncharted, Outlander, and Witcher fans will recognize him here as the aforementioned Ser Harrold Westerling, Lord Commander of the Kingsgaurd under Viserys I Targaryen (again, presumably). Though his presence complicates the timestamp for what I thought this scene was, as with Game of Thrones, where many characters outlived their time in the books on the show, maybe Ser Harrold sticks around. If that’s the case, Alicent may be racing toward Lyman Beesbury, who is on the cast list and a supporter of Rhaenyra’s claim.

I'll be content with being pleasantly (or unpleasantly, as it looks pretty violent) surprised. 

THEORY: Laenor’s Death?

There would have been two contenders for this scene; however, after further research, if we really are looking at the events leading up to the Dance, that leaves one main possibility. This may be Laenor Velaryon’s death. Laenor died in 120 AC while in Spicetown attending a fair and was slain by one of his favoured knights, Ser Qarl Correy. Possibly, the show is taking some creative liberties with the location, which may be why they’re in a castle instead of the scene in Spicetown. Ser Correy reportedly stabbed Laenor to death after a loud quarrel beforehand. 

First of all, can we talk about how much more book accurate this Iron Throne is? Here, we see who I presume to be Viserys I seated upon the Iron Throne in the Red Keep’s throne room. Walking in, based on the silver hair, this is probably Rhaenyra. Could this be a private confrontation between father and daughter? Is he telling her she is named as his heir? We’ll have to wait and see.

Regardless, I’m so happy that the swords Balerion forged during Aegon’s Conquest are more accurately represented here than in the Game of Thrones TV show. Plus, you can see that the Red Keep is still under construction, somewhat, at this time which is fantastic worldbuilding. We know that Martin is very happy with how things on the show are going, and that gives me both joy and hope. 

So, to bring this article to somewhat of a summary, we have the possibility of the following events in chronological order (more or less):

Balerion’s Death

The Tourney for King Viserys’ Accession 

Tourney on the Fifth Anniversary of Viserys and Alicent’s Marriage

Rhaenyra and Laenor’s Marriage 

Laenor Velaryon’s Death

Viserys’ Death

The Small Council Meeting

Again, this is all theorized until the show airs, but it’s based on chronology, the known ASOIAF canon, the information presented in Fire & Blood, and what we know from House of the Dragon’s casting

I, for one, am beyond excited for House of the Dragon. It should have all of the storytelling prowess, political intrigue, action, and dragons Game of Thrones is beloved for without running into the perils that befell its final season (which I still enjoy, though I acknowledge the flaws). I think it would be a fantastic end-of-season shot to have Aegon II’s coronation in the Dragonpit juxtaposed with his sister Rhaenyra’s coronation on Dragonstone, with dragons roaring in the background. With the first season covering the events leading up to the Dance, viewers will have a firm understanding of the plot, characters, and stakes, which sets up for a strong series from a storytelling perspective. One thing is for certain: I will be sitting right in front of the biggest, loudest TV I can find, snacks and drinks in hand, cell phone on silent, and I will not be interrupted. 

What about you? Are you tuning in for the premiere, or would you rather wait to see how our new glimpse at Westeros is received first?

Uncharted Movie Trailer 2 Breakdown

Sony and Playstation dropped a longer second Uncharted movie trailer that gives us a LOT more footage, one-liners, crazy action set pieces, and wait for it... a Sully mustache! Sony clearly hoping this will quell fans' fervor over the Mark Wahlberg casting as Victor Sullivan. If you haven't seen the trailer yet check it out below then let's break it all down.

Overall this trailer gives away WAY too much. There's a lot in here that I would've loved to be surprised by. The first Teaser Trailer that dropped did a much better job at getting fans and newcomers a taste of what's to come. The teaser also had a needle drop from Led Zeplin that gave it a bit more panache. Let's go through it scene by scene.

We've seen this scene from the Teaser Trailer. Based on the banter this is how Sully and Nate meet but there's a good chance Sully's had his eye on Nathan Drake for a while from afar and now's the time to bring Nate into the life of adventure.

It's not an Uncharted film unless we get a bit of a history lesson. Here we see some foreshadowing on the lost Magellan ships that Nate and Sully will be looking for along with a brief write-up in the pages about the 5 ships and 270 men Magellan set sail with but lost 4 of the 5 ships and only 18 men survived his journey. Feel free to zoom in or hit the Wikipedia page for how the ships were lost.

Nate looks around what's probably either Victor Sullivan's room or Antonio Banderas character (Moncada?) study both of whom are obsessed with finding the lost Magellan treasure (5 billion dollars worth of treasure we learn in dialogue). Really digging the set design and lighting here.

This is where things get interesting. An old Carrack class ship rising out of the water. I'm not seeing any floats or wires attached to the boat. So unless this is channeling some supernatural Pirates of the Caribbean ghost ship themes this is a bit of a mystery on how this ship is doing this. If you have theories post them in the comments. The next shot we even see the tattered sail unfurl but by who...possible flashback?

It's Antonio Banderas storytime. Narrating the first part of the trailer is the sexy Banderas voice, giving us the history lesson on the lost treasure. "500 years ago my family found the world's biggest fortune...then was betrayed." "So much blood" Sounds like either Moncada is a Magellan ancestor or more likely was a crewman on one of the ships Magellan led and was betrayed by Magellan because you know...greed.

Puzzle-solving time. There is a lot of footage out of order here and it's pretty obvious. This is clearly later in the film after they've stolen the cross and found the map that gives them the clear where the treasure is buried. Nice shot though.

Giving off some strong UC3 and UC4 game vibes as well as a bit of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade... all clues are hidden in old churches. This looks like Nate (Tom Holland), Sully (Mark Wahlberg), and Chloe (played by Sophia Taylor Ali).

Yay! Uncharted puzzle! Although this one doesn't seem really complicated like the ones found in the games. Turn clockwise isn't exactly clever. They make a joke about it to put a pin on the idea that this puzzle and booby trap is kinda lame. It's not that funny and Nate kinda comes off less witty and funny and a little too serious. I guess he was more serious when he was younger? This sequence takes place after they steal the cross from Moncada and most likely this opens up a passage into the underbelly of the church where the real prize lies...probably a map.

Here we are tomb raiding with Nate and Chloe. I'm guessing this is below the church from the previous shot. Chloe looks like she's having a blast while Nate again seems frustrated. If they do make Nate the straight edge to Chloe and Sully's comedy that will be a huge character departure from the games.

The hero and villain meet. Pulled right from Uncharted 4 there is an auction going on and both Nate and Sully and Moncada want the jeweled cross and Sully bids on the cross while Nate distracts everyone so they can steal the cross under everyone's noses. "This cross has a very tragic history. So much blood." Moncada warns Nate here.

Nate is good at distracting people by using his inhuman ability to climb and swing from things while escaping from security. To be fair his line "This is gonna suck." followed by "ahhhh" are pretty much want I expect Drake to say before leaping off a balcony and swinging on a light chandelier.

No surprise here. Nate and Sully swipe the cross and Sully's using it as a teaching lesson. This is likely pretty early on in the film soon after Nate and Sully team up. The cross is the first piece of the puzzle.

The famous plane sequence from Uncharted 3 video game is again shown briefly here. There's more footage in the teaser trailer. While some don't like that this looks shot for shot the same as the game even the car gag at the end knocking him off the plane after working really hard to climb his way back in. I for one am excited to see it come to life in live-action. It's one of the best set pieces from all the Uncharted games and it's no surprise why they wanted to use it for the film. It's going to be awesome.

Another moment that feels like it's pulled right from the games is Nate driving this speed boat across the blue Caribbean waters that are a big part of Uncharted 4's gameplay. It's another beautiful shot and we see Nate is alone here and not with either Sully or Chloe. This is likely after the plane sequence and Nate has to catch up with the bad guys and hopes that Sully and Chloe stay out of trouble before he arrives to save the day.

He's our first look at what's probably Nate's apt. (that lighting is on point. Even if the film's story isn't good. This movie looks great.) He's opening a chest full of memories including some photos of wait for it...

Here's our first look at Sam Drake, Nathan Drake's lost and assumed dead (in the games) brother. Does anyone know who this actor is? Surprising that they showed his face in the trailer let alone the film. I assumed Sam would show up as an end-credit scene in a Spanish prison setting up the next film. Will this actor play a slightly older Sam in the movie? Or will they cast someone else? Does Sam show up in the 3rd act of the film? Lost of questions still to be answered here but I do like from the get-go that Sam is a big part of Nate's motivation to find this treasure and probably has a lot to do with the choices he has made leading up to now.

The ring! Sic Parvis Magna is inscribed on Sir Francis Drake's ring which roughly translates to "Greatness from small beginnings." In the games, Nathan is obsessed with Francis Drake and takes his last name.

Chloe doing what Chloe does. The doublecross, which usually ends up being triplecross. She's arguably the most interesting Uncharted character as she isn't as wholesome as Drake and Sully but often teams up with the bad guys if it helps her achieve her goals. Here we can assume she's stealing the map from Drake in the church tomb.

Looks like Nate and Chloe get close on this adventure which makes sense in the narrative of the games. In Uncharted 2 we get the sense that before Drake meets his eventual wife Elena, that they had a pretty intimate relationship. It's actually nice to see this dance shot here as most of the clips seem related to a heist, or action piece. I'd really dig it if this film slowed down a minute to really get to know our characters a bit.

Sully meet Braddock (Tati Gabrielle). Braddock is likely a hired badass that works for Moncada to help protect him and deal with the pesky Drake and Sully. Glad to see Tati Gabrielle in this role but I hope her character isn't just a bunch of cliche bad guy lines and an excuse to have our hero's get beat up by a woman as a joke.

Is the screen color getting grey? Where's Drake's breathe meter? Let's assume he trying to escape a trap gone wrong which leads him to a really cool shot of a ship in a cave. Wait for it...

Another shot we saw in the teaser trailer and it looks like it's pulled straight out of the Uncharted 4 game. What we know now is that above this cave is a jungle so these ships aren't getting the Goonie's exit. It's a bit more dramatic. Also with a hole in the cave ceiling that big I wonder why no one found these ships already?

This is one of those moments that I wish was held back from being in the trailer or at least just teased. Right before this shot, we see two quick shots of a helicopter with a grapple line and several guys buckling the lines into the ship. Then we see one of Magellan's ships rise from the treeline. This is really cool and a moment I haven't seen in a game or movie before. This leads to the next big action set-piece...

This looks epic! Two of Magellan's ships being ferried by helicopters is a cool moment. I really wish this wasn't spoiled in the trailer. We know Drake snuck onto one of these ships. Let the high-flying action begin.

I think the bad guys know that Drake's on the other ship and happen to have these really dope grapple guns to swing to the other ship like Peter Pan's lost boys. I think the writers have been to many Pirates Dinner Adventures. We are really going all-in on the pirate theme here. Including...

When you are on an old Carrack ship and have a knife you have to slide down the sail...it's basically a bucket list item for pirates and scallywags and Nate Drake apparently. Although doing it while the ships are being flown through the air up's the danger a bit.

This is the first glimpse we see of Nathan Drake taking out a bad guy. While he's holding a gun we don't see him fire it at a bad guy in either the teaser trailer or this one. The flying knee is a solid move and no doubt this guy is not getting back up again. But it's a bit worrisome that we haven't seen any action featuring guns, rockets, or grenades when it's such a big part of the gameplay in the Uncharted games. Does Drake kill hundreds of bad guys like in the games to gain fortune and glory or is this a PG-13 Spider-Man version of Drake that doesn't kill? Even Indiana Jones had to shoot loads of Nazi's to win the day. Let's hope this Uncharted is not too watered down.

Don't fall Drake! Something tells me he's going to be ok. From a trailer standpoint, this is the crescendo moment before the Title hits and it's a bit of a meh moment. I would've chosen a cooler shot. Even the shot from the Teaser trailer when he spins around a rope and fires his gun is cooler than a slow-motion fall cliffhanger. That's ok though the trailer goes all-in for fans after the title.

And here it is. The Victor Sullivan mustache or at least the start of one. It's not quite the full bushy stache that we've come to love from the games. But let's also take note of the green button-down that's classic Sully attire along with the giant 6 shooter hand cannon he carries. Unless there's a decent time jump in the movie this is probably an epilogue moment after the hero's save the day. I'm sure Sony and Playstation wanted this to be a fun reveal at the end of the film but unfortunately, if you read any comments on the internet fans aren't too happy about the mustacheless Mark Walhberg. I'm sure even this won't be enough to quiet the fans... I can hear it now... "where's the cigar!?!".

There you have it. The race for the greatest treasure is on… if they can survive each other first. #UnchartedMovie is exclusively in movie theaters on February 18 starring Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, Sophia Ali, Tati Gabrielle, and Antonio Banderas.

Let's us know what you think of this second Uncharted Trailer.

If you want to hear what Nolan North, the voice and actor for the Uncharted games, think of the Uncharted films you can watch several episodes from CouchSoup including Trailer Talk where we break down more things.