Why most changes to the Fire & Blood storyline work for House of the Dragon

Most of the time, we'd prefer a TV show adaptation to tell the actual story from the books. House of the Dragon has substantially changed some of Fire & Blood, and most of those changes work perfectly.
House of the Dragon season 2
House of the Dragon season 2 /

There’s no doubt that we’d usually like TV adaptations to tell the story from the source material. There are always complaints from book fans of any show, whether it’s Game of Thrones, Outlander, or even Marvel comics! However, the changes from the Fire & Blood story in House of the Dragon make a lot of sense.

There have been a lot of changes to the Fire & Blood story. Just look at how characters have been shown on the screen.

Alicent and Rhaenyra were friends in the series until Alicent ended up marrying Rhaenyra’s father. We saw a much harsher and darker Daemon than the Fire & Blood story tells us he is. Then there’s even the change to Laenor’s “death,” which gave us an innocent man killed and posed as him so he could get away.

There are changes coming in the second season as well. Some of these I’m on the fence with because of what they change in the meaning of the story, but a few of them, I’m on board with. This is one of those books that actually works with the story being changed.

Fire & Blood isn’t written as a novel

Something to keep in mind is that George R.R. Martin didn’t write Fire & Blood as a novel. This isn’t a story told through viewpoints of characters like the Game of Thrones books. It’s more of an historical account of things that happened.

The book is written by a maester, who takes the accounts of three people in particular from that time period. These people have different accounts of the story at times. They sometimes put themselves into the story, or they will go off on tangents at times. They share what they saw—or what they heard—and all of this is written down to allow for interpretation by the reader.

So, what actually happened? We don’t know.

House of the Dragon tells us what really happened

We get to find out the events through House of the Dragon. The series gives us a look at the events in real time, instead of via a story after the fact.

The stories in Fire & Blood can’t tell us what happened behind closed doors. “The room where it happened” is one of those places where secrets remain. As a TV show, we get the chance to see things play out. We get to see the people as people, rather than as individuals written about by people who may not have even known them.

Remember that history is always written by the victor. We can’t always believe what we read in books, and those books don’t really show us personalities.

The TV show has been able to add character to the individuals. We’ve been able to see what they are really interested in and what drives them. This is one of those times where changes to the book story works wonderfully.

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