House of the Dragon Season 2: The Starks’ Role in the Targaryen Civil War

Harry Collett as Jacaerys Targaryen and Tom Taylor as Cregan Stark in 'House of the Dragon' Season 2.

Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Season 2 premiere of .

In the Season 1 finale of House of the Dragon, Jacaerys Velaryon (Harry Collett) and his dragon, Vermax, embarked on a mission to secure alliances with the Arryns and the Starks in support of his mother’s claim to the Iron Throne. Now, nearly two years later, we know the outcome of his efforts to negotiate with the Vale and the North.

The Season 2 premiere of House of the Dragon picks up shortly after the events of the previous episode, with Jace having reached the northernmost border of the Seven Kingdoms, the Wall, alongside Lord Cregan Stark (Tom Taylor), the head of House Stark known as the Wolf of the North. As they ascended the 700-foot ice barrier, Jace—and viewers—received a crash course on the importance of the Wall and its guardians, the Night’s Watch, in keeping “death,” i.e. the White Walkers, out of Westeros.

Anyone who watched Game of Thrones already knows about the White Walkers. But Cregan’s explanation of his Stark ancestors provided context for understanding why the North would support Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy) as the rightful heir, rather than her younger half-brother, Aegon II Targaryen (Tom Glynn-Carney).

As Game of Thrones fans know, the Starks are devoted to duty, honor, and so on. It makes sense that Cregan would uphold the oath his father, Lord Rickon Stark (David Hounslow), swore to King Viserys I (Paddy Considine) in Season 1 to support Rhaenyra. Jace also reminded Cregan that while he may feel his main duty is to the Wall, there was a reason his ancestor, Torrhen Stark—the final Stark to rule as King in the North before Robb Stark reclaimed the title following Ned Stark’s death in Game of Thrones—pledged loyalty to Aegon I Targaryen when he conquered Westeros and established the Targaryen dynasty nearly 130 years earlier.

“Surely the great Torrhen Stark would’ve sooner died than bent the knee,” Jace told him. “Unless he believed the Conquerer could bring unity to the Seven Kingdoms.”

While Cregan ultimately agreed to pledge thousands of seasoned (read: old) Northern soldiers nicknamed graybeards to Rhaenyra’s cause, he also recounted how his father once brought Viserys’ predecessor, King Jaehaerys Targaryen, and his queen, Alysanne, to see the Wall. They witnessed how their dragons, the greatest power in the known world, refused to cross it. It was a reminder that, while the Starks may not be aware of the White Walkers, they are committed to protecting Westeros against whatever darkness lurks beyond.

Cregan will eventually play a major role in the Dance of the Dragons—which you can find out more about by reading George R. R. Martin’s book Fire & Blood, the A Song of Ice and Fire companion novel on which House of the Dragon is based. For now, Sara Hess, a lead writer on the show, has cautioned fans against expecting a substantial Season 2 storyline about House Stark.

“Expect very little,” . “Our POV is the Targaryens, and our POV is split between King’s Landing, Dragonstone, and then when Daemon goes to Harrenhal. We just don’t have the eyes to really be everywhere at the same time.”