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.
The Game of Thrones prequel is called House of the Dragon.
House of the Dragon’s Plot
The series is based on Fire & Blood, the first of George R.R. Martin’s two volumes diving into the extensive Targaryen history. According to HBO, the prequel is set 300 years before the events depicted in Game of Thrones. It’s during that era when Aegon the Conqueror, the first of three centuries of Targaryen rulers, united six of the seven kingdoms of Westeros. But, most likely, especially given what we know about the cast, the series will focus on the first Targaryen civil war, a.k.a. “The Dance of the Dragons.” It’s during this “dance,” more than a century after Aegon’s rule, that dragons went extinct. Well, until Daenerys hatched three 150 years later.
Behind the Scenes
George R.R. Martin co-created the series with Colony‘s Ryan Condal. The latter 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.
One area we know the prequel will live up to the original series will be in the music department. Emmy-wining Game of Thrones‘ composer Ramin Djawadi will return to Westeros to score House of the Dragon.
House of the Dragon’s Cast
As in all of Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire works, and its HBO predecessor, House of the Dragon boasts a large ensemble cast. Paddy Considine was the show’s first official cast member. He’s playing King Viserys I, the Targaryen ruler who foolishly did not anticipate the war of succession that would follow his death.
Olivia Cooke, Matt Smith, and Emma D’Arcy are playing a trio of the most important characters in the series. And, of course, the events that eventually tear the Targaryen family apart. Cook is Alicent Hightower, the second wife to King Viserys I, who schemed to have her son seated on the Iron Throne. Smith is “Rogue Prince,” Daemon Targaryen, Viserys’ younger brother. D’Arcy will play Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, the would-be queen who was her father’s named successor who ultimately marries Daemon.
Other major initial castings were Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon a.k.a. “The Sea Snake”; Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Velaryon, Rhys Ifans as Hand of the King Otto Hightower; and Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria. Fabien Frankel will play Ser Criston Cole of Dorne who plays a major role in the civil war. George R.R. Martin has teased a few major things on his blog.
Meanwhile, the latest batch of castings teases several of the major families during this era in Westeros… including a Lannister. Outlander‘s Graham McTavish will Kingsguard member Ser Harrold Westerling; Ryan Corr as Ser Harwin ‘Breakbones’ Strong; Jefferson Hall as Lord Jason Lannister; David Horovitch as Grand Maester Mellos; Matthew Needham as Larys Strong; Bill Paterson as Lord Lyman Beesbury; and Gavin Spokes as Lord Lyonel Strong.
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.
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.
Originally published on July 29, 2020.