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Team Green or Team Black? House of the Dragon returns June 16th

Having read the A Song of Ice and Fire series and watched all eight seasons of Game of Thrones, the idea of a prequel always excited me. Based on George R. R. Martin’s book Fire and Blood, HBO’s House of the Dragon, set roughly 200 years before the events of GOT follows the rise and fall of House Targaryen, a family known for their flowing silver locks, questionable marriages, and powerful dragons.

I watched season one in my first year and it did not disappoint. If you’ve watched Game of Thrones you will of course remember the Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke). The prequel takes us back to the time in Westerosi history when House Targaryen was at the height of its power. Season one begins with the reign of King Viserys I (Paddy Considine), the fifth Targaryen ruler, and follows the events that unfold after he names his daughter, Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock & Emma D’Arcy), heir to the Iron Throne

While there are many familiar names mentioned, including the Starks, Baratheons, and Lannisters, the biggest players in the series, alongside the Targaryens, are House Hightower; this is where my debate begins: Are you Team Green or Team Black? For those of you who may be a bit lost, let me give you some context. 

The first question we must ask is who has the better claim to the Iron Throne, Aegon II or Rhaenyra?

At the end of season one, King Viserys I dies (sorry for the spoiler). His designated heir had always been his only surviving child from his first marriage, Rhaenyra Targaryen. However, his wife at the time of his death, Queen Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey & Olivia Cooke), claims that her son Aegon II (Ty Tennant & Tom Glynn-Carney) should be the heir. This sparks a civil war; “the Dance of the Dragons”. The ‘greens’ and ‘blacks’ refer to the house colours of Alicent Hightower and Rhaenyra Targaryen; those who are aligned with the Queen are considered the greens, while those who support the princess are dubbed the blacks. As such, the greens and blacks will be the two main factions at the outset of the civil war which will begin properly in season two of the series. The question is — whose side are you on?

The first question we must ask is who has the better claim to the Iron Throne, Aegon II or Rhaenyra? Under the typical laws of succession, Aegon II would be crowned King over Rhaenyra, simply because he is the first-born son. However, back in season one, Viserys I officially names his eldest daughter heir to the Iron Throne and secures this claim by calling many noble lords to court to pledge their support to her as his successor. In addition to this, Rhaenyra has been trained and raised in anticipation of her ascension to the Iron Throne while the realm has long been preparing for her to take the crown.

At the end of season one, we see Alicent and Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) conspire to put Aegon II on the Iron Throne, directly against the decree of Viserys I, the man that Aegon justifies his claim by in the first place. Yes, Aegon II may have a strong claim in terms of being Viserys’ eldest male child, but Rhaenyra’s claim is by far the stronger. However, such a claim only matters so far as another with more power doesn’t try to take it away…and this is exactly what we are going to see in season two.

The marketing and teasers for season two have been genius. The Official Green Trailer and the Official Black Trailer, one for each Targaryen faction in the series were released on YouTube in March 2024. It is very clever marketing to increase the hype, reinforcing the idea that neither faction is wholly good or bad and encouraging the audience to take support one side or the other in the war. 

We must consider the all-important question — who has the better dragons

Interviews involving the cast have also been two-sided, with the cast being told to Defend Your Council and asked questions such as ‘Why should Team Green be on the Iron Throne?’ or ‘Why should Team Black be on the Iron Throne?’ The cast are very good at getting into character and defending their side.

So, who are Team Black and what can we expect from them? Siding with Team Black means you have a determined sense of justice… and revenge. Team Green are usurpers and Team Black are the rightful heirs, having been named by the King. According to Harry Collett who plays Rhaenyra’s son, Prince Jacaerys Velaryon: “We are more of a functioning family. We do things the right way.” Siding with Team Black means your siding with the likes of Daemon Tagaryen (Matt Smith), Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint), Rhaenys Velaryon (Eve Best) and the noble houses promised to Rhaenyra’s banner: House Stark, House Tully, House Blackwood, House Darry, House Arryn, and House Strong.

But what about Team Green? What do they bring to the table? Siding with Team Green means you are cunning, manipulative, and ambitious. Ewan Mitchell, who plays Prince Aemond Targaryen, brother of Aegon II, says the Blacks are “gonna get what’s coming to them.” In response, Matt Smith, who plays Daemon Targaryen of the Blacks directly states, “No chance, I’m coming for his head. I’m going to put it on a spike” Team Green is composed of Alicent Hightower, Otto Hightower, Aegon II, Aemond, and Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel), who currently rule the Seven Kingdoms from King’s Landing. The Greens also have the great houses Baratheon and Lannister backing them. They are determined to stay put and not let the Blacks overpower them. However, we must consider the all-important question of who has the better dragons? 

The characters have pledged their loyalties. Now, it’s your turn

Over the course of the series viewers can see up to 17 different dragons. Make sure you visit the Official Dragon Index for a quick look at which dragon is which. In House of the Dragon the ownership and control over a dragon is the biggest form of power. Hand-to-hand combat, ownership of land, even the strongest claim to the throne, is nothing without dragons. At the end of season one, Daemon counts how many dragons each of the sides have:

The greens have four: Aegon’s Sunfyre, a relatively young dragon who hatched shortly after the newly crowned king’s birth; Helaena’s Dreamfyre, a roughly century-old dragon who was once the mount of Rhaena Targaryen and whom Helaena doesn’t fly often; Aemond’s Vhagar, the massive instrument of war who dates back to Aegon’s Conquest; and Daeron’s Tessarion, another young dragon.

The blacks, however, have the upper hand. The most important are Daemon’s Caraxes, Rhaenys’s Meleys, and Rhaenyra’s own Syrax, the youngest of the three, and a dragon who has never seen battle. Rhaenyra’s three sons also have dragons: Jacaerys rides Vermax, Lucerys rides Arrax, and Joffrey rides Tyraxes. Daemon’s daughter Baela also has a dragon, Moondancer. The blacks also hold Driftmark and Dragonstone — where many unclaimed dragons reside.

The Blacks seem to be in a very strong position in terms of dragons, but we mustn’t forget the power of the Greens. They have spies, cunning connections, and sheer determination. They are not backing down easy and will do anything to keep Aegon on the Iron Throne.  Make sure you head over to YouTube and watch the most recent House of the Dragon trailer to decide which side you are on by 16th June, 2024. The characters have pledged their loyalties. Now, it’s your turn.

Comments (2)

  • This is a hard choice, but I think I’d choose Team Black! They have legitimate succession, much more experience of leadership and ruling a kingdom, and supporting Rhaenyra’s rule ultimately challenges the patriarchy and paves the way for future generations! 🙂

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