House of the Dragon season 2 may be bringing back Queen Aemma Arryn, a surprising decision that could have big implications for the show. Aemma was one of the first deaths in House of the Dragon season 1, episode 1, passing away during childbirth when King Viserys made the decision to save their baby rather than his wife. That was seemingly the end of her story, with Viserys marrying again and decades passing, but viewers might not have seen the last of the character.

In response to news of House of the Dragon season 2’s release being confirmed for June 2024, agency Independent Talent, which represents Aemma actor Sian Brooke, posted on X a celebration of the reveal. It listed multiple clients of theirs who are involved with the Game of Thrones prequel’s upcoming episodes, including Brooke herself. While not 100% confirmed that she’ll be back, it does certainly suggest that possibility, which is intriguing to consider.

How Aemma Arryn Can Return In House Of The Dragon Season 2

There’s no need to be concerned that House of the Dragon season 2 will be doing a Jon Snow and resurrecting Aemma, as there are some fairly simple ways to bring the character back. The clearest answers here are that Aemma, if she is indeed returning, will feature in either flashback sequences or a vision/dream experienced by one of the characters.

The show has already made the importance of dreams quite apparent, with Aegon the Conqueror’s dream of White Walkers a core part of the show. Helaena Targaryen’s prophecies are also of a similar ilk, albeit none of these have actually been represented on screen. Game of Thrones itself rarely used flashbacks, but did show a young Cersei Lannister with Maggy the Frog, while Bran Stark had visions of his own. Therefore, it’s very possible for any of these scenarios to happen.

Why Aemma Arryn May Return In House Of The Dragon Season 2

The bigger question is not how Aemma returns in House of the Dragon season 2, but why she comes back. The character has long since passed, and the person she had the strongest connection to was Viserys, who remembered her on his deathbed. That makes Rhaenyra Targaryen the most likely candidate, with a couple of options.

The House of the Dragon season 2 trailer showed Rhaenyra continuing to grieve for Lucerys, so Aemma’s appearance could connect to that and the pain of motherhood and loss of family. Aemma’s own death was brutal – and didn’t cast Viserys in a good light – so this could be a means of reckoning with that even more.

The other option is that it comes after Rhaenys Targaryen is killed, which happens at the Battle of Rook’s Rest, set to take place sometime in season 2. Rhaenyra may have visions or dreams about the people she’s lost, which could be how and why Aemma returns.

Fire & Blood explores the rise and fall of the Targaryen. Here is how every main House of the Dragon character dies according to Westerosi history.

Of course, it’s also possible that Aemma comes back for Rhaenys’ storyline itself: flashbacks that flesh out her character and show more of her past – and being overlooked by the Great Council of 101 AC – could be used to set up her death, and involving Aemma would be natural. This may also include Rhaenys and Aemma discussing the latter’s own children and potential heir to the Iron Throne, which would thematically connect to Rhaenyra becoming Queen after Rhaenys was overlooked for being a woman.

Aemma Arryn Sets Up Other House Of The Dragon Character Returns

If Aemma Arryn comes back, then one exciting prospect – or drawback, depending on viewpoint – is that it very much opens the door for other characters to return as well. The biggest of these is King Viserys himself – if Aemma does indeed return in any of the above scenarios, then bringing back Viserys and actor Paddy Considine would be an organic part of it too. The potential pitfall is that Viserys’ ending was so good it’d be a risk to see more of him, but at the same time, his performance was so good it could elevate everything around it.

House of the Dragon season 1 is streaming on Max, with season 2 set to release in June 2024 (exact date TBC).

There are various other dead characters who’d be able to return, such as Ser Harwin Strong, but the most interesting flashbacks would be young Rhaenyra and Alicent. Milly Alcock confirmed she’s not in House of the Dragon season 2, but if the show is indeed using flashbacks as a narrative device, then that could always change in the future. The show has to be careful not to overdo it, of course, but there’s rich potential to the idea as well if done right.