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.
A newly released trailer takes us into the heart of the action. Its tagline? “History does not remember blood. It remembers names.” That truly gives us the shivers.
HBO additionally released new character posters spotlighting their main players. These posters came with a handy one sentence summary reminding us of each character’s role on the show. You can take a look at all the new House of the Dragon posters here.
House of the Dragon also teased its upcoming war with a new still from the show. “The reign of House Targaryen begins with fire and blow.”
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.
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 casting annoucement 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. Additionally, Milly Alcock will play young Rhaenyra and Emily Carey will play young Alicant. Bethany Antonia, Phoebe Campbell, Harry Collett, Tom Glynn-Carney, Wil Johnson, John Macmillan, Ewan Mitchell, Theo Nate, Phia Saban, Gavin Spokes, Savannah Steyn, also star.
Official images for the main cast were also recently released, alongside detailed character descriptions. HBO shares the following about House of the Dragons‘ characters and story:
Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen, 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 good men do not necessarily make for great kings.
Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen, younger brother to King Viserys and heir to the throne. A peerless warrior and a dragonrider, Daemon 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…
Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower, 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.
Emma D’Arcy as 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.
Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon, “The Sea Snake.” Lord of House Velaryon, a Valyrian bloodline as old as House Targaryen. As “The Sea Snake,” the most famed nautical adventurer in the history of Westeros, Lord Corlys built his house into a powerful seat that is even richer than the Lannisters and that claims the largest navy in the world.
Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, a dragonrider and wife to Lord Corlys Velaryon, “The Queen Who Never Was” was passed over as heir to the throne at the Great Council because the realm favored her cousin, Viserys, simply for being male.
Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole, of Dornish descent, the common-born son of the steward to the Lord of Blackhaven. Cole has no claim to land or titles; all he has to his name is his honor and his preternatural skill with a sword.
Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria, who came to Westeros with nothing, sold more times than she can recall. She could have wilted… but instead she rose to become the most trusted — and most unlikely — ally of Prince Daemon Targaryen, the heir to the throne.
Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower. The Hand of the King, Ser Otto loyally and faithfully serves both his king and his realm. As the Hand sees it, the greatest threat to the realm is the king’s brother, Daemon, and his position as heir to the throne.
HBO began production for House of the Dragon in 2021. And they confirmed in December 2020 that the show would arrive in 2022. The news also came with new artwork for dragons.
Now we finally know this Game of Thrones prequel will turn up the heat on HBO this summer, when the show premieres Sunday, August 21.
We can’t wait to see what this new series has in store.
Originally published on July 29, 2020.