It has been almost exactly three long years since HBO’s groundbreaking fantasy series Game of Thrones concluded, and it seems high time that we finally get a spin-off. Fortunately, HBO is more than willing to go back to Westeros in pursuit of the ever-more demanding streaming market. A teaser trailer for the upcoming House of the Dragon series has just been released, primarily featuring stars Matt Smith and Emma D’Arcy as members of the melanin-impaired Targaryen royal family. If you have been missing the glowering intrigue, shadowy, grand imagery, and fire-breathing dragons of Game of Thrones, this will certainly be exactly what you have been looking for. Check it out:
The trailer begins with a white-haired figure standing on a stone parapet, which is very Game of Thrones. It then swiftly cuts to a dragon flying towards the towers of The Red Keep, which we last saw in ruins at the end of the first series:
In House of the Dragon, Matt Smith is reportedly playing Prince Daemon Targaryen, a warrior and dragonrider several steps away from The Iron Throne, which does not bode well for anyone. He also is an expert in creepy smirks, as you can see here:
House of the Dragon is set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, during the apex of Targaryen. Dragons are plentiful and the ancestors of the Stark, Baratheon, and other Great Houses are seen in the foreboding throne room bending the knee before King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) (the elder brother of Matt Smith’s character).
We also see Emma D’Arcy being proclaimed the heir to The Iron Throne. It swiftly becomes clear that while Targaryen power is unquestioned, naming a woman as her apparent to The Seven Kingdoms is an unprecedented and unpopular move.
And finally, we get to see what we all came for: Matt Smith facing off against a dragon:
House of Dragons comes at a delicate time for HBO. The competition among streaming services has become fierce in recent years, with the once-dominant Netflix beginning to lose ground to HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+ (with others like Paramount+ and Peacock sniffing around the edges). The various platforms have concentrated on developing original content to hook in new subscribers (or at the very least, not lose them). Game of Thrones was a paradigm-shifting series for HBO, and others have taken note of the sudden mainstream popularity of high fantasy. Netflix has The Witcher starring Henry Cavill, Amazon Prime Video is soon to unleash The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, and HBO is now going back to the George R.R. Martin well.
House of the Dragon does have a fantastic cast, with Matt Smith and Emma D’Arcy being supported by Rhys Ifans, Olivia Cooke, Sonoya Mizuno, and Steve Toussaint among many others. The series was recently announced to premiere its ten-episode first season on August 21, and we will just have to see whether it recaptures that old Game of Thrones blood magic.