HBO’s “House of the Dragon” takes the audience into the world of “Game of Thrones”, arguably the greatest show in history. Set some 200 years before the original series, House of the Dragon is about the brutal civil war between the two factions of the ruling Targaryen dynasty. If Game of Thrones is based on George R. Martin’s magnum opus book series A Song of Ice and Fire, House of the Dragon is the TV adaptation of certain sections of Martin’s book Fire & Blood from the Year 2018.’
As you can imagine, both programs are closely related. In House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 3, entitled Second of His Name, Viserys 1 goes hunting Targaryen (Paddy Considine) with the rest of his court in the Royal Forest and learns of the presence of White Hart in the forest. If you’re wondering what it is and if it’s ever mentioned in Game of Thrones, we’ve got you covered.
What is White Hart?
Stag is an archaic English word for male deer. White Stag therefore literally means a fully-grown white stag. In the House of the Dragon, white stags were considered a royal symbol long before dragons came to Westeros. They are believed to be magical. The hunting party accompanying Viserys captures a full-grown stag for the king to kill, using a spear given to him by Jason Lannister to slaughter the animal, although it doesn’t necessarily have to be white.
Later in the episode, Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) and Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) meet the real White Hart. Ser Criston grabs his sword, but the princess stops him. Soon the deer turns and runs away. . This whole episode is full of symbolism.
As Viserys kills the stag on the second attempt, an awkward silence falls over the crowd gathered to hunt. The non-white appearance of the stag is perhaps an indication of the legitimacy of Viserys’ rule, which dates back to the Great Council. That’s not to say that Viserys’ selection was illegitimate, but most of the lords of the Seven Kingdoms voted for him simply because he was male. In contrast, Rhaenyra is the rightful heir of Viserys, so she has an encounter with a royal white. Hard.
Ser Criston’s presence during this encounter is also quite intriguing. He is known in the books as the kingmaker in the years that followed, after convincing Aegon II, son of Viserys and Alicent Hightower, to usurp Rhaenyra and take the throne.
Is White Hart Related to Game of Thrones?
In Game of Thrones, the first book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, the white stag of Kingswood is mentioned a few times. In the third chapter of Sansa, the point-of-view character apparently has a dream in which Joffrey kills a white deer. Afterward, in Eddard chapter 11, Petyr Baelish informs Ned that the king’s party encountered a white stag, but it was already killed and eaten by wolves. This prompts King Robert I Baratheon. (Mark Addy) to hunt a wild boar, which eventually leads to his death.
In House of the Dragon, Rhaenyra also encounters a boar but survives after killing the animal with the help of Ser Criston. Robert’s death in Game of Thrones plays out exactly as it does in the books. So obviously Episode 3 clearly references the original series, in which one hunting expedition into the Royal Forest is linked to another 200 years apart. Also, the sigil of House Baratheon is a crowned stag in a field of gold. How
Cersei Lannister later admits that she orchestrated the death of her husband Robert. Since Viserys kills his stag with a spear given to him by a Lannister, this is probably no coincidence.
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