While it’s only been two years since we waved goodbye to “Game of Thrones,” it feels like an eternity since we last traveled across Westeros.
A lot has happened since HBO ordered “House of the Dragon” back in 2019, so here’s everything you need to know about the highly anticipated prequel series.
It will debut in August
The 10-episode first season of “House of the Dragon” will debut on August 21 with weekly releases. While Season 2 of the “Thrones” prequel has not been officially confirmed, HBO and HBO Max chief Casey Bloys told Variety that “it’s probably a pretty good bet” that the network will order a second season of the show. “Generally speaking, we usually let something air and see how it does, but obviously, we’ll make preparations ahead of time to make sure we’re ahead of the game,” he said.
The Targaryens are front and center
Based on George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” companion book “Fire & Blood,” “House of the Dragon” takes place 300 years before the events of “Game of Thrones.” The series will follow the Dance of the Dragons, the Targaryen civil war between siblings Aegon II and Rhaenyra, who fought for the throne after the death of their father Viserys I. The Dance of the Dragons pits Westeros’ great houses — including the Lannisters and Starks — against each other and resulted in the death of House Targaryen’s most powerful dragons. Soon after the war, they would go extinct until Daenerys Targaryen would give birth to three dragons three centuries later.
George R.R. Martin executive produces
Similar to his involvement in “Game of Thrones,” Martin executive produces “House of the Dragon” alongside Vince Gerardis and showrunners Miguel Sapochnik and Ryan Condal. Sapochnik directed six “Game of Thrones” episodes and won an Emmy for his work on “Battle of the Bastards.” In February, Martin announced on his personal blog that shooting on Season 1 of “House of the Dragon” had wrapped. “I have seen rough cuts of a few of them, and I’m loving them,” Martin wrote. “Of course, a lot more work needs to be done. Special effects, color timing, score, all the post production work. But the writing, the directing, the acting all look terrific. I hope you will like them as much as I do.”
A star-studded cast joins the world of Westeros
Over the past several months, HBO has teased fans with casting news and first-look images from the set of “House of the Dragon.”
Emma D’Arcy will play Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, Viserys’ first-born child who, according to HBO, “was born with everything… but she was not born a man.” Matt Smith will play Prince Daemon Targaryen, Viserys’ younger brother, the true heir to the Iron Throne and a “peerless warrior and a dragonrider,” according to HBO.
Rhys Ifans will play Otto Hightower, Viserys’ Hand of the King who loyally serves the realm. Otto sees Prince Daemon and his status as heir to the throne as the greatest threat to the realm. Olivia Cooke will play Alicent Hightower, Otto’s daughter, who grew up in the Red Keep, close to the king and his innermost circle. According to HBO, Alicent “possesses both a courtly grace and a keen political acumen.”
Steve Toussaint will play Lord Corlys Velaryon, better known as “The Sea Snake,” the most famous nautical explorer in the history of Westeros. According to HBO, “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.”
The network also announced that Paddy Considine will play King Viserys I, and Eve Best will play Princess Rhaenys Velaryon.
Fabien Frankel will play Criston Cole, who, in “Fire & Blood,” is a knight who rose to become Lord Commander of the Kingsguard under Viserys I. Cole convinced Viserys’ son Aegon II to claim the throne after his father died, which contributed to the Targaryen civil war.
Sonoya Mizuno will play Mysaria, Prince Daemon’s paramour and Rhaenyra’s unofficial mistress of whisperers.
There will be dragons
Since the series takes place during the Dance of the Dragons, we can expect to see plenty of them, including the famed Balerion (known as the Black Dread), who was ridden by Viserys I. On Twitter, HBO has released concept art for dragons that will appear in “House of the Dragon.”
— Game of Thrones (@GameOfThrones) December 3, 2020
Ramin Djawadi scores
Ramin Djawadi, who composed the award-winning score for “Game of Thrones,” is returning for the prequel series. His work on “Thrones” inspired a world tour, in which the composer performed music from the series live in 24 cities from 2017 to 2019.
It’s the only officially greenlit “Game of Thrones” spinoff
While there are other Westeros-related series in development, “House of the Dragon” is the only confirmed “Game of Thrones” spinoff show (so far). Martin, who signed a five-year development deal with HBO, is overseeing development on various ideas, including “Tales of Dunk and Egg,” which would be based on Martin’s series of novellas “A Knight of the Seven Kingdom.” “10,000 Ships” would focus on the legendary war queen Nymeria 1,000 years before the events of “Game of Thrones,” and “The Sea Snake” (previously titled “Nine Voyages”), which would follow Toussaint’s character, Lord Corlys Velaryon. “Flea Bottom” would focus on everyday citizens born in the poorest district of King’s Landing, and the idea of an animated series is also being floated around.