Well before Game of Thrones wrapped up its eight-year run with that controversial final season in spring of 2019, there was talk dating back to 2017 that HBO was planning on releasing not one, but several spinoff and prequel series set in A Song of Fire and Ice author George R. R. Martin’s fantastical universe. While one show that was supposed to take place thousands of years before the events of GoT and star Naomi Watts got the go-ahead to film a pilot before the network ultimately decided to pull the plug on it, other optioned shows are still in the works.
One of them could be here fairly soon, actually. House of the Dragon, which was already given a full-season order back in fall 2019, is the first of the spinoffs coming down the pipeline. Little is known about the series right now, but anyone who’s read the books or seen the original should be able to recognize based on the title alone that the upcoming show is about the Targaryen family, the clan from which Daenerys and Jon Snow are descendants. While HBO and George R. R. Martin start to light the embers on their latest collaboration, here’s everything we know about House of the Dragon so far.
When will House of the Dragon be released?
HBO’s parent company WarnerMedia gave an update on the release dates of a number of its highly anticipated titles in late December 2020, and House of the Dragon was among them. The company shared a clip online, which confirmed the GoT prequel will arrive sometime in 2022.
Fans anxious to head back to Westeros should be happy to know that it seems possible that the show will arrive in the first half of 2022 (should the pandemic’s affect on television production continue to improve). Deadline reported at a February 2021 TCA panel that HBO’s chief content officer Casey Bloys revealed that the series is currently scheduled to go into production in April. So, if all goes well and Season 1 completes filming in the summer, and then goes into post-production shortly after-which could take a little while because, you know, CGI dragons-it’s possible new episodes could soar into HBO around late winter/spring of next year.
What will House of the Dragon be about?
Set 300 years before the events of GoT, House of the Dragon chronicles the origins and end of the reign of House Targaryen, according to THR. As shared by Entertainment Weekly, that includes the infamous Dance of the Dragons, or the Targaryen civil war that tore Westeros apart. It’s based on Martin’s 2018 book Fire & Blood and-considering the announcement that the character Viserys is leading the cast (more on that below)-seems to specifically start its timeline on the chapter “Heirs of the Dragon” about the transfer of power from Jaehaerys Targaryen to Viserys. With that in mind, it sounds like at least in part the series will follow Viserys’ journey in becoming (or failing to become) the ruler of Westeros.
Aside from that vague description, there aren’t many other details of the plot-but in the meantime you could get to reading the 700+-page Fire & Blood for some background. (That’s just Volume 1, though; Volume 2 has yet to be released.)
Who’s in the cast?
HBO announced the first big casting news of House of the Dragon in October 2020. Deadline reported English actor Paddy Considine (The Outsider, The Third Day) is one of the leads on the show, playing King Viserys Targaryen. According to Deadline, Viserys was “chosen by the lords of Westeros to succeed the Old King, Jaehaerys Targaryen, at the Great Council at Harrenhal.” The publication noted he’s said to be a “warm, kind and decent man” who “only wishes to carry forward his grandfather’s legacy,” but his goodness doesn’t necessarily make him a strong ruler.
The Targaryen clan will be rounded out by Emma D’Arcy (Truth Seekers) and Matt Smith (Doctor Who, The Crown), who Variety reported were cast in late 2020. D’Arcy will be playing the king’s first-born, dragon rider Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, and Smith taking on Daemon Targaryen, King Viserys’ younger brother and heir to the throne who is said to be a fearless warrior.
Even though it’s House of the Dragon, they won’t be the only family on the show. Members of the just-as-old bloodline House Velaryon have also be cast, according to Variety. Steve Toussaint (Small Axe) plays Lord Corlys Velaryon, who’s also known as “The Sea Snake” for being a “famed nautical adventurer” with the “largest navy in the world.” His wife Princess Rhaenys Velaryon will be played by Eve Best (Nurse Jackie, Fate: The Winx Saga), who is actually a dragonrider of Targaryen blood, but her spot on the throne was overlooked and instead went to her cousin Viserys because of her gender. (Sounds like the familial tension is already building!)
Variety shared that the House of Hightowers will also appear, including Otto Hightower, who is played by Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill, Snowden), and the faithful Hand of the King. He’s said to see Matt Smith’s Daemon as a threat. Olivia Cooke (The Sound of Metal, Bates Motel) will play Otto’s daughter, Alicent, “who was raised in the Red Keep” which gave her an insider’s knowledge to the games of politics.
Plus, Sonoya Mizuno (Devs, Ex Machina) will play Daemon’s No. 1 ally Mysaria, who sounds like an interesting character, as she “came to Westeros with nothing” and managed to rise in authority to be the potential heir’s right-hand advisor.
Who are the showrunners?
Game of Thrones showrunners D. B. Weiss and David Benioff aren’t involved with House of the Dragon at all-so you don’t have to worry (yet) that your soon-to-be new favorite characters’ fates will be derailed. According to Deadline, the show was created by George R. R. Martin himself along with Ryan Condal (Colony, Rampage). Condal and GoT alum Miguel Sapochnik, who will also direct a handful of episodes, will serve as co-showrunners. They, plus Martin, Vince Gerardis (GoT, Flashforward), and Sarah Lee Hess (Orange Is the New Black, House), will also executive-produce the series.
How many House of the Dragon episodes will there be?
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the first season will consist of 10 episodes. That seems like a good number, considering that’s what GoT went with in its first six seasons.
Will there be dragons?
Of course there will be! It is called House of the Dragon, and the Targaryens have long been one of the few families of dragon lords, so obviously those beautiful, high-flying, fire-breathing CG beasts will be back. HBO shared concept art of the House of Dragon‘s dragons on social media in late 2020, and they look every bit as badass as Daenerys’ magnificent Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion.
Are the other Game of Thrones spinoffs still in the works?
After HBO made the decision not to move forward with the prequel starring Naomi Watts, it became a little less clear which of the other spinoffs, if any, still have a shot of a series order. The details are scarce, but in early 2021 Deadline reported that HBO is planning to develop multiple shows based on Martin’s world-so essentially, at some point in the (probably distant) future, HBO will be one massive Songs of Fire and Ice network with multiple shows set in the universe airing at once.
One of them is said to be an adaptation of the Tales of Dunk & Egg novellas, and the others are likely to be other prequels similar to House of the Dragon, as Bloys explained that the prequels lend themselves to the expansive history that already exists in the novels. With the new series, fans might be saying goodbye to some of the impressive Thrones special effects. Why? There’s talks of them being developed as adult animated series, according to Deadline. Bloys said there’s been conversations about what animation might look like in a GoT series, and even talks with writers about it. He did stress, though, that these are “really, really embryonic” ideas, so don’t get too excited at seeing some bloody battle in 2D form anytime soon. At least, in the meantime, we have House of the Dragon.
Continue to check back, as we’ll continue to update this post as more information regarding the Game of Thrones prequel gets announced.Need help finding something to watch? Sign up here for our weekly Streamail newsletter to get streaming recommendations delivered straight to your inbox.