HOUSE OF THE DRAGON Casts Its King Viserys Targaryen

The Targaryen family’s storied past will soon unfold onscreen in HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon. It’s based on Fire and Blood, George R.R. Martin’s history of the Targaryen dynasty. But which era and which monarchs will it bring to life? And when will the series premiere? Here’s everything we know about the show so far.


The show’s first official cast member is The Outsider‘s Paddy Considine. He will play King Viserys I, the Targaryen ruler who foolishly did not anticipate the war of succession that would follow his death. HBO’s description of Viserys I (Daenerys’s brother would have been King Viserys II) gives viewers an idea of what to expect from the character:

“Viserys was chosen by the lords of Westeros to succeed the Old King, Jaehaerys Targaryen, at the Great Council at Harrenhal. A warm, kind, and decent man, Viserys only wishes to carry forward his grandfather’s legacy, but as we’ve learned from Game of Thrones, good men do not necessarily make for great kings.” 

HOUSE OF THE DRAGON Finds Its King with Paddy Considine_1HBO

A previous casting call also included descriptions for two female leads who appear to be the would-be Iron Throne ruler Princess Rhaenyra, and her stepmother Queen Alicent. They are two of the central figures in the civil war.

Release Date

In January 2020, HBO programming president Casey Bloys said the series was likely to have a 2022 release date for its ten-episode first season. However, with COVID-19 shutting down productions around the world, it’s not clear if House of the Dragon‘s premiere will also be delayed. The show was still in early pre-production when Bloys announced the aforementioned year of release. At that time, no casting decisions had yet been made, and scripts were still being written.


The series is based on part one (of an announced two) of George R.R. Martin’s extensive Targaryen family history, 2018’s Fire & Blood. HBO said in a press release that the prequel is set 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones. That’s when Aegon the Conqueror united six of the seven kingdoms under his rule, launching a nearly three-century dynasty.

While we thought that might mean House of the Dragon would be an anthology series, the show will instead focus on the first Targaryen civil war, known as “The Dance of the Dragons.”

A three-headed dragon on a burning flag on the cover of George R.R. Martin's Fire & BloodBantam Books

That war, roughly 130 years after Aegon stepped foot on what became King’s Landing, contributed to the extinction of dragons, House Targaryen’s greatest source of power. Another dragon was not seen until Daenerys hatched three nearly 150 years later.


Two dragons stand in the snow on Game of Thrones.HBO

George R.R. Martin co-created the series with Ryan Condal (Colony, Hercules). Condal will write for the show and also serve as joint showrunner with veteran Game of Thrones director Miguel Sapochnik.

Sapochnik led some of the biggest, most famous episodes on the original series. His résumé includes “Hardhome,” “The Winds of Winter,” “The Long Night,” and “Battle of the Bastards,” which earned him a directing Emmy. He will direct House of the Dragon‘s premiere and additional episodes.

The Canceled Prequel

The series is unrelated to the other Game of Thrones prequel that HBO passed on. Unlike House of the Dragon, which received a straight-to-order pickup, that series actually shot a pilot. Known unofficially as Bloodmoon, it was set thousands of years earlier, during the mysterious era when Westeros’s Age of Heroes descended into the first Long Night.

We know a lot less about that time period than we do House Targaryen’s time on the Iron Throne. Yet we still know more about that cancelled prequel than we do House of the Dragon. So far.

Which is why we’ll keep updating this post with new information when it comes available.

This post was originally published on July 29, 2020..

Featured Image: HBO