Game of Thrones fans have been in a holding pattern since 2019, when the hit HBO fantasy series ended amidst howls of anger and confusion. The prequel series House of the Dragon was greenlit at the same time, and ordered straight to series, because HBO knows a good thing when it sees it. It has been three years since then, with only a few scattered images of dragons and series star Matt Smith at a table read to tide a very fervent audience over. However, HBO Max just released a new post on Instagram that at least gives fans a key piece of information that they have been waiting on for literally years now: a release date for House of the Dragon. Check it out here:
As you can see, appropriately for a show called House of the Dragon, the posted image appears to be a close-up on a scaled egg. It is glowing with heat and there are a few scattered sparks around it, as well as a sinister-looking crack showing up that shows us we will likely be seeing a few new baby dragons in the HBO show. Most importantly, though, at the top of the picture in that now-classic Game of Thrones font, we see the all-important release date for House of the Dragon, which will be August 21. So mark your calendars, get your speculations ready, and try not to get too upset when you think about that last season of Game of Thrones, because this summer, it’s time to go back to Westeros.
House of the Dragon is based on George R.R. Martin’s prequel novel Fire & Blood, although it is a tiny bit more complex than it would seem. Blood & Fire is a collection of world-building prequel texts to Martin’s Song of Ice & Fire series, rather than a novel proper. It also is being published in two parts; the first of which was released in 2018. Naturally, House of the Dragon is based on the second part of the first volume of Fire & Blood, while the second volume is yet to be released. This makes the perpetual delay of Martin’s long-awaited The Winds of Winter seem pretty straightforward.
Game of Thrones was an undeniable cultural moment when it was first broadcast on HBO in 2011, turning a previously critically acclaimed series into a publishing blockbuster and mainstreaming high fantasy as a genre. It quickly became a tentpole series for HBO, and developed the kind of rabid fanbase that is both desired and feared by showrunners (not to mention the beleaguered George R.R. Martin). As such, House of the Dragon has a lot riding on it to both soothe the still bristling hackles who felt let down by the final season of Game of Thrones and to reinvigorate the property. HBO has assembled an immensely talented ensemble cast including Paddy Considine, Rhys Ifans, Matt Smith, and Olivia Cooke, and Ryan J. Condal and Miguel Sapochnik (both veterans of Game of Thrones) will act as showrunners. Come August, we’ll see if they can recapture that dragon magic.