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 the series bring to life? And when will it premiere? Here’s everything we know about the show so far.
#HouseOfTheDragon, a #GameofThrones prequel is coming to @HBO.— Game of Thrones (@GameOfThrones) October 29, 2019
The series is co-created by @GRRMSpeaking and Ryan Condal. Miguel Sapochnik will partner with Condal as showrunner and will direct the pilot and additional episodes. Condal will be writing the series. pic.twitter.com/9ttMzElgXm
HBO has announced three new leads. The newest cast members include Olivia Cooke (Ready Player One), Emma D’Arcy (Truth Seekers), and Matt Smith (Doctor Who). Cooke will play Alicent Hightower, the second wife to King Viserys I. She schemed to have her son seated on the Iron Throne. D’Arcy will play Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, the would-be queen who was her father’s named successor. And Smith will play the “Rogue Prince,” Daemon Targaryen. Visery’s younger brother was a hero to some, a villain to others, and ultimately husband to his niece Rhaenyra. These are arguably the three biggest roles on the series, with each playing a major part in the Civil War that tore house Targaryen apart.
The show’s first officially announced cast member was 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.
These are the official descriptions for each character:
King Viserys Targaryen: 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.
Alicent Hightower: She’s the daughter of Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King, and the most comely woman in the Seven Kingdoms. She was raised in the Red Keep, close to the king and his innermost circle; she possesses both a courtly grace and a keen political acumen.
Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen: The king’s first-born child. She is of pure Valyrian blood, and she is a dragonrider. Many would say that Rhaenyra was born with everything…but she was not born a man.
Prince Daemon Targaryen: The younger brother of King Viserys and heir to the throne, Daemon is a peerless warrior and a dragonrider who possesses the true blood of the dragon. But it is said that whenever a Targaryen is born, the gods toss a coin in the air…
HBO will begin production for House of the Dragon in 2021. And they confirmed in December 2020 that the show will arrive in 2022.
The news also came with new art work for dragons.
— Game of Thrones (@GameOfThrones) December 3, 2020
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.”
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. No one saw another dragon until Daenerys hatched three nearly 150 years later.
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, and last updated on December 11, 2020.
Featured Image: HBO