New 'House of the Dragon' opening credits will tease themes for season 2 and beyond

Matt Smith, Emma D'Arcy HBO House of the Dragon Season 1 - Episode 10
(Image credit: Ollie Upton / HBO)

If you didn't already know that "House of the Dragon" was a "Game of Thrones" prequel series, those opening credits were a pretty clear clue. That same rousing theme song — a cello line composed by German composer Ramin Djawadi — from the original HBO series also kicks off each weekly edition of its spinoff, though the visuals differ for each show. 

"House of the Dragon," which is set 200 years prior to its predecessor and focuses on the succession war within House Targaryen, shows a literal bloodstream flowing across King Viserys’ detailed model of Old Valyria to signal different branches of the Targaryen family tree. Along with introducing the individuals that make up the show's cast and crew, the opening sequence also shows which Targaryens are connected and how, important info going into the show's second season as the "Dance of the Dragons" civil war between Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D'Arcy) and her half-brother King Aegon II (Tom Glynn-Carey) rages on. 

However, it looks like those "House of the Dragon" opening credits graphics will get a makeover for season 2, which premieres on HBO and Max on Sunday, June 16 at 9 p.m. ET. Instead of blood cascading over the stone model, the names of actors, producers and other crew members will be embroidered throughout a cloth tapestry, displaying the tumultuous history of the Targaryen family as blood seeps through the fabric. 

In an interview with Gizmodo’s io9, "HOTD" showrunner Ryan Condal shared the reasoning behind the new season 2 title credits: “We did decide to go with the new main title sequence this year. When we were looking at the sequence we did in season one, which I think works very well, it was visually dynamic and interesting, but it was really about—it was essentially a family tree. It was about the bloodlines of this generational family that begins with Viserys and then goes down through Rhaenyra and Alicent and then on to the generation of their children.”

House of the Dragon Opening Credits 4K | Season 1 (HBO) | Game Of Thrones Extras - YouTube House of the Dragon Opening Credits 4K | Season 1 (HBO) | Game Of Thrones Extras - YouTube
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However, now that Westeros fans are better acquainted with the show's main power players — from Daemon (Matt Smith) to Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) to Alicent (Olivia Cooke), and so on — Condal and Co. felt that fans didn't need as much of a refresher on the old family tree.

“The family is kind of set at [this] point,” Condal told the outlet. “Game of Thrones loves an evolving title sequence, and we just didn’t really know where to go with it from there. So the idea was, if the first season was about ancestry and bloodlines, season two is now about [being part of] this living history, this period that becomes very seismic, both in this time and then for all the decades to come. 

"This is such a famous time in history that even characters in the A Song of Ice and Fire books are thinking back to the Dance of the Dragons, which is the most brutal and bloody civil war fought in this time.”

The opening credits switch-up is far from the only change this season: along with fewer episodes than season 1 and a slew of both new characters and new dragons, "House of the Dragon" also made a much-anticipated update when it comes to the show's lighting after fans bemoaned the dimness of many scenes from last season. Still, be sure to change these three TV settings before watching "House of the Dragon" season 2.

That means you'll be able to clearly see all of those fiery dragons and family backstabbing when the show returns on June 16. Tom's Guide will keep you posted on all updates surrounding "House of the Dragon" season 2, and in the meantime, you can revisit the first season of "HOTD" with a Max subscription. 

Christina Izzo

Christina Izzo is a writer-editor covering culture, food and drink, travel and general lifestyle in New York City. She was previously the Deputy Editor at My Imperfect Life, the Features Editor at Rachael Ray In Season and Reveal, as well as the Food & Drink Editor and chief restaurant critic at Time Out New York.