With eight seasons of Game of Thrones behind us, what will fill the void? HBO (the network behind GoT) hopes to keep that spot filled in our must-watch list with a new Game of Thrones show of their own making. This may have been their thinking when they picked up the sci-fi western series, Westworld, but it has definitely been one of the motivations behind the few series they’ve toyed with that would adapt more ideas from George R.R. Martin’s world. Now, the network’s executives have made a decision for moving forward and ordered a full 10 episode season of House of the Dragon, a Game of Thrones prequel.
Understandably, this raises a lot of questions. What will the new Game of Thrones show be about? Who is involved in creating it? When can we expect to see it? The word “dragon” is in the title. Do they know how much most of us want to see a whole lot of dragons?
Here’s all we know so far about the Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon.
House Of The Dragon In Production
HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon took a big step forward on July 21, 2020 when EW confirmed they’ve begun casting.
The casting process will involve portraying actors to play figures from the past of Westeros, including many of Daenerys Targaryen’s ancestors. They’re looking for someone to play King Viserys I and Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen among others.
While COVID-19 caused delays in production, it officially began on April 26, 2021. At the time, we got a look at the cast reading scripts.
House Of The Dragon’s Creators
George R. R. Martin and Ryan Condal pitched this prequel and are the co-creators for the series.
Martin is the author of the Game of Thrones book series and the original creator of this world. George R.R. Martin wrote in his blog that he will be involved in the series, but that his involvement will be stalled while he works on the sixth book in A Song of Ice and Fire, the series Game of Thrones is based on.
Ryan Condal has worked as a writer for the television series Colony and written the scripts for a few films, including Rampage and Hercules.
Bryan Cogman, who worked on Game of Thrones as a writer and producer, originally created the storyline for this new series. However, he is currently developing the new Lord of the Rings television series for Amazon. There are conflicting reports on whether he will be working as a showrunner for House of the Dragon, though it seems likely.
We do know that Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik will be showrunners for this first season.
Miguel Sapochnik was a director for six famous episodes of Game of Thrones.
Miguel Sapochnik, Ryan Condal, George R.R. Martin, and Vince Gerardis have all been announced as executive producers for the new series.
All 10 episodes of House of the Dragon season 1 will be written by Ryan Condal, one of the showrunners, executive producers, and co-creators for the series.
It’s usually a good sign when there seems to be a person behind a television series of movie that has a clear vision for what they want to create. Hopefully, Condal’s heavy involvement in so many areas of the creation of this new Game of Thrones series will translate into a clear vision for the story being told.
House Of The Dragon’s Director
Miguel Sapochnik, a showrunner for the series, previously directed six Game of Thrones episodes. He won an Emmy for his episode Battle of the Bastards, and was nominated for an Emmy in 2019 for The Long Night.
It has been confirmed he’ll be directing the pilot episode of this new Game of Thrones based series. It’s likely he’ll also take on others.
Sapochnik does not have a reputation for directing quiet episodes. His work has been on action packed stories. He directed episodes of Game of Thrones like The Bells and Hardhome. If he’s directing the pilot, we can guess that the pilot will set the tone for the show, and we can expect to see our screens packed with action scenes.
Hopefully, this translates to a lot of scenes with dragons.
The Plot Of This New Game Of Thrones Prequel
House of the Dragon takes place 300 years before Game of Thrones and follows the Targaryens. Another sign we can expect to see your HBO subscription dollars going to dragons taking over your screen.
The series is loosely going to be based on the novel Fire and Blood. This book covered the history of the Targaryen family. It spanned 150 years of the house’s history, with each chapter covering a new leader.
This particular Game of Thrones novel wasn’t very well received by Martin’s fans. There were a number of reasons for this. One reason is that fans really want the next A Song of Ice and Fire novel and did not want a prequel. There were also issues in this story with the treatment of female characters and genre expectations that were not met.
Despite poor reception of the novel, it contains a lot of material for the House of the Dragon showrunners to play with. It’s filled with kings and disasters which could be looked at in this series, though there’s currently no saying for certain where the new Game of Thrones series will focus its attention.
However, we can speculate on what House of the Dragon will be about, and luckily people behind the scenes seem to want to encourage us to do so.
George R.R. Martin posted that while he is not allowed to tell us anything about the new Game of Thrones series, fans “might want to pick up a copy of two anthologies I did with Gardner Dozois, Dangerous Women, and Rogues.” These anthologies have two novellas in them and they both mention the dance of the dragons. This was a Targaryen civil war mentioned several times on Game of Thrones and it played a major role in the dying out of the dragons in their family.
You know what this would mean? A lot of dragons. (Really. It’s all I’m asking for, HBO.)
While the Targaryens will be at the center of House of the Dragon, we can expect to see other major families appear in the series as well.
House Of The Dragon’s Cast
It’s important to note that this series takes place long long before Game of Thrones. So the cast from the original Game of Thrones series will not be featured on House of the Dragon.
First up, we have Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen and Emma D’Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen. It was hard at first for audiences to imagine these two as the characters. Matt Smith is most well known for his time on Doctor Who and a reputation for being a somewhat clumsy man. Meanwhile, his character is an experienced warrior, a dragonrider, and a man well known for wielding a sword. He’s dangerous and charming. Both characters need to have long white hair and imposing frames. Could they pull it off? Well, HBO has now released a first peek at the pair in character. Take a look below.
Next up, we have Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower. The actress is most well known for her time in Ready Player One. Now, she’s playing the second wife to King Viserys I Targaryen, played by Paddy Considine. They’re joined by Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King to Viserys I Targaryen. HBO released a still shot of Olivia Cooke and Rhys Ifans in their parts below.
Other cast announced so far include Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Velaryon, Fabien Frankel as Criston Cole, Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria, and Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon.
The House of the Dragon’s Dragons
Before they did much of anything else, HBO gave us concept art for the show’s dragons. Clearly, they know what fans want to see.
When Will HBO Air House Of The Dragon?
There was talk that we may see House of the Dragon premiere on HBO in 2021. That didn’t happen. Now, HBO has promised we’ll see House of the Dragon in 2022. Hopefully, early in the year.
Game Of Thrones Nudity
During its run on HBO the original Game of Thrones series became infamous for the amount of nudity the show was willing to air, both male and female. Don’t expect that to continue on House of the Dragon. The world has changed and things like the #MeToo movement have made it more politically correct for people to be ashamed of their bodies.
Many of the actresses who revealed themselves on the show (like Emilia Clarke) now regret it. For instance, most recently Carice Van Houten (who played Melisandre on Game of Thrones) came out and admitted she now has second thoughts about agreeing to being naked on the series.
Carice tells Insider, “When the #MeToo movement started, that’s when it started sinking in for me… And it did sort of change my perspective on my whole career, not just Game of Thrones. In retrospect, I thought, ‘Why did that scene have to be nude? Why was that normal?’ I did question things and it was not so much that I was blaming anyone, but that’s just how we evolved, and just how the movement affected me.”
Attitudes like that are sure to guarantee that even if the production has a valid artistic reason for a nude scene on House of the Dragon, future actresses are likely to refuse to do it.
About That Other Game of Thrones Prequel
At one point HBO had two Game of Thrones prequels in development. One was House of the Dragon, the other was an untitled prequel under the direction of showrunner Jane Goldman and set to star actress Naomi Watts. That other prequel even filmed a pilot, but HBO saw it and then cancelled the entire project. They’re pushing forward with House of the Dragon only, now.
What happened to the other prequel? HBO exec Casey Bloys explains…
“The Jane Goldman one was a bit of a bigger swing because there was a lot more invention. House of the Dragon, George has text and history for that era, so there is a bit more of a road map. You understood the history and what the story would be, so it’s easier to [visualize as a series].”– -HBO’s Casey Bloys on cancelling their other Game of Thrones prequel