Game of Thrones final season may have polarized (to say the least), but the show was a global phenomenon based on a popular book series. And it spent most of a decade collecting awards, including 59 Emmys. Now, HBO and its premium streaming service HBO Max are hoping to re-tap that fan excitement with a Game of Thrones prequel: House of the Dragon.
There’s a lot to consider in the world of Westeros, with a huge catalog of backstories and worldbuilding. Before the show premieres, here’s a rundown of what to expect, what it’s all about, where it fits in the Game of Thrones timeline, who’s involved, and more. Read on to find out everything we know about House of the Dragon.
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What is “House of the Dragon” about?
Based on George RR Martin’s Fire & Blood novel, House of the Dragon is set in the Game of Thrones universe.
According to HBO, the Game of Thrones prequel series tells “the story of the House of Targaryen,” which fell at the beginning of Game of Thrones, with young Daenerys Targaryen trying to reclaim the throne of her family.
HBO hasn’t revealed much about the show’s plot, and the official teaser doesn’t reveal much, though a conflict is brewing.
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Fire & Blood has received mixed reviews since its release in 2018 and is often viewed as a dry, fictional story rather than a compelling novel. As such, it can only be a stepping stone for the series and not just serve as starting material. The trailer certainly gives the impression of a show very similar in tone and style to Game of Thrones.
On the other hand, it could be a faithful adjustment. HBO leaves a lot of space to surprise us one way or another.
How does it fit in with Game of Thrones?
It’s hard to say how much, if anything, House of the Dragon will tie in with Game of Thrones. It is set very much in the same fictional world of Westeros, but it is also set “200 years before the fall of the throne”.
For non-Game of Thrones fans, the fall of the throne refers to the events of this series. And unlike other fantasy epics like The Lord of the Rings, the characters in Westeros generally seem to lead lives comparable to that of people in the real world. In short, these will be new characters with new stories. It is like looking back to the early 19th century from today’s perspective.
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That being said, there are certainly some connecting threads. Game of Thrones was a series that is deeply invested in history. The conflicts over the Iron Throne – and power over the Seven Kingdoms – were rooted in deep-rooted family rivalries and historical power struggles. We hear characters literally tell stories about some of the characters that will appear in House of the Dragon.
We also see the same state structures. A character roster provided by HBO includes the Hand of the King, the Minor Council, and a Grand Master. These are all positions within the King’s Landing government during Game of Thrones.
The characters also include members of the Lannister family, who eventually betray the Targaryen and usurp the Iron Throne. It would be surprising if the seeds of this conflict weren’t planted, or at least hinted at, in the Game of Thrones prequel.
When and where can I see House of the Dragon?
The 10-part House of the Dragon series will premiere sometime in 2022.
Game of Thrones aired Sunday evenings and is widely considered to be one of the last few water-cooled shows, with viewers raving about last night’s episode on Mondays at work. Whether HBO will try to recreate this with House of the Dragon or try a new approach is still unknown.
HBO has also not announced whether it plans to produce future seasons. Fire & Blood has a second part planned, so there is likely to be a lot of source material to draw on if the first season proves to be a success.
Who is involved
House of the Dragon was developed jointly by series writer George RR Martin and Ryan Condal. Miguel Sapochnik and Condal act as showrunners, and the two produce alongside Martin, Vince Gerardis, Sara Lee Hess and Ron Schmidt.
Sapochnik, who directed the standout Game of Thrones episodes “The Battle of the Bastards” and “The Long Night,” will also direct. He is supported by fellow series directors Clare Kilner, Geeta V. Patel and Greg Yaitanes.
Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and DB Weiss are not officially involved in the new prequel series.
On camera, House of the Dragon features a stacked cast. Below is a list of the confirmed actors and the characters they will play:
- Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen
- Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower
- Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen
- Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen
- Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon aka “The Sea Snake”.
- Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Velaryon
- Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower, the King’s Hand
- Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria
- Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole
- Milly Alcock as the young princess Rhaenyra Targaryen
- Emily Carey will play Young Alicent Hightower, daughter of Otto Hightower
- Ryan Corr as Ser Harwin “Breakbones” Strong
- Jefferson Hall as the twins Lord Jason Lannister and Tyland Lannister
- David Horovitch as Grand Maester Mellos
- Graham McTavish as Ser Harrold Westerling
- Matthew Needham as Larys Strong
- Bill Paterson plays Lord Lyman Beesbury
- Gavin Spokes is Lord Lyonel Strong
- Wil Johnson as Ser Vaemond Velaryon
- John Macmillan as Ser Laenor Velaryon
- Savannah Steyn as Lady Laena Velayron
- Theo Nate as Ser Laenor Velaryon
Wasn’t there another Game of Thrones prequel?
House of the Dragon marks the second attempt to revive Game of Thrones on HBO.
This project was also a prequel, but it was set 5,000 years before the original series. It has been said to be about the descent from the Golden Age of Heroes in Westeros and less concerned with the events that directly preceded Game of Thrones. The show was rumored to be titled Bloodmoon and had some big names in the cast, including Naomi Watts.
HBO announced House of the Dragon almost immediately after the cancellation, and many wondered what the fate of other Game of Thrones spinoffs could be. So far, House of the Dragon is the only one that is officially in operation.
What to expect from House of the Dragon
HBO has kept its cards pretty tight at House of the Dragon. The Game of Thrones prequel doesn’t seem too deviated from what we’re already expecting, but it’s certainly hard not to wonder what the show has in store.
We get a few clues from the official teaser, the most exciting of all is the growling of dragons and what looks like a sleeping dragon wrapped in smoke. House of the Dragon is set in Westeros before the dragons become extinct, and several characters in the new series are listed as “Dragon Riders”. We won’t know what role Dragons appear in until HBO releases more footage, but for now, those clues look promising. (In contrast, Game of Thrones started at a time when dragons were considered extinct forever. They didn’t return until the end of season one.)
We also hear a voice speak the words “gods, kings, fire and blood,” suggesting that power in Westeros may not be an orderly affair just because the war for the throne won’t happen before Game of Thrones. We know from Game of Thrones that the Targaryens historically felt entitled to power and the line “Dreams didn’t make us kings. Dragons did ”suggests we will get a taste of it.
We know that so far about the Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon.
It’s still a long way from that, so we’ll likely learn more in the months ahead. We’ll definitely keep you updated as more details become available.
For now, we just have to look forward to 2022.
If you want to see Game of Thrones before House of the Dragon, all eight seasons can be seen on HBO Max, which is where you can also watch the new show. You can click the link below to sign up.