Game of Thrones Prequel Show, “House of the Dragon”. Photo: redanianintelligence
Game of Thrones Prequel Show, “House of the Dragon”. Photo: redanianintelligence

Game of Thrones fans finally have some photos from upcoming prequel House of the Dragon to pore over. The HBO show is based on Game of Thrones' author George R.R. Martin's enormous book Fire & Blood, which delves into the violent and fascinating history of the Targaryen family, hundreds of years before Daenerys came along. Yes, this is the family with the whitish-blond hair, fierce dragon-riding skills and penchant for marrying their own relatives.

Whether Westeros and its surrounding lands still have captivating stories to tell remains to be seen, especially given the disappointment that was GoT’s final season—a sting that, for many, has yet to wear off. But the fervor over new House of the Dragon photos released from set could serve as a bellwether, reminding jaded audiences of just how much they loved GoT at its best.

Production just started

The dragons are coming. The Game of Thrones successor show, House of the Dragon, has begun production, the official Game of Thrones Twitter account said Monday, after a series of tweets that showed the fire emoji. The tweet included a photo of members of the production gathered at individual tables, each with computer screens.

The new show takes place before the events of Game of Thrones, the blockbuster fantasy series based on George R.R. Martin's novel series. It focuses on the Targaryens, an incestuous, dragon-riding royal family who eventually produces Daenerys Targaryen, a major character in Game of Thrones. It's inspired by the events of Martin's gigantic 2019 Targaryen history, Fire & Blood Vol. 1.

The cast reportedly includes Paddy Considine, Olivia Cooke, Emma D'Arcy, Matt Smith, Steve Toussaint, Eve Best, Rhys Ifans, and Sonoya Mizuno. The 10-episode series is scheduled for release in 2022, Cnet cited.

House of the Dragon latest news

  • HBO released official character photos of cast members as their characters, including Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and the Sea Snake.
  • Set photos show Matt Smith and Emma D'Arcy filming scenes on a beach.
  • Production has started on House of the Dragon, with the cast gathering for a socially-distanced table read.

House of the Dragon release date

Photo: stylecaster
Photo: stylecaster

House of the Dragon does not have a release date, but HBO has an idea of when the show will air.

HBO announced the series order in October 2019. In late July 2020, the first rounds of casting began. But that still leaves a lot of steps: filming, editing, visual effects. The latter may take a significant amount of time, since a Targaryen-focused series will have to include dragons.

"My guess is sometime in 2022," HBO President of Programming Casey Bloys told Deadline in January 2020. "Obviously it’s a big, complicated show."

Production is set to begin in April, according to Casey Bloys, chief content officer at HBO and HBO Max.

If it's anywhere near as complicated as Game of Thrones, consider this: Season 8 required nine months of filming, then took nine months until its premiere. If House of the Dragon follows a similar timeline, then we're looking at a release date circa March or April 2022. That would actually make a lot of sense, since almost every season of GOT premiered in those months, according to Tomsguide.

It will be based on the George R. R. Martin book Fire & Blood.

Martin's tome about the history of House Targaryen, originally released in November 2018, will serve as the source material for the upcoming series. The story begins 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones we know, and, according to its synopsis, it covers major battles like the Dance of Dragons (the Targaryen civil war) and the aftermath of the Doom of Valyria.

A part of the synopsis on Martin's website reads …

"Centuries before the events of A Game of Thrones, House Targaryen—the only family of dragonlords to survive the Doom of Valyria—took up residence on Dragonstone. Fire and Blood begins their tale with the legendary Aegon the Conqueror, creator of the Iron Throne, and goes on to recount the generations of Targaryens who fought to hold that iconic seat, all the way up to the civil war that nearly tore their dynasty apart."

Cast

Paddy Considine stars as Viserys Targaryen.

Considine of The Outsider, Peaky Blinders, Hot Fuzz, and more will play King Viserys Targaryen, becoming the first cast member announced for House of the Dragon. Entertainment Weekly obtained a new description for the character, teasing potential plot points for the series.

"King Viserys Targaryen is 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."

Olivia Cooke stars as Alicent Hightower.

The Ready Player One and Sound of Metal star plays Alicent, daughter of Ser Otto Hightower, the hand of the king. Alicent is said to be "the most comely woman in the Seven Kingdoms," according to an HBO description. "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," the network added.

Matt Smith plays Prince Daemon Targaryen.

From The Crown and Doctor Who, Smith will play the younger brother of Viserys and the 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 teases.

The rest of the cast

  • Emma D'Arcy (Truth Seekers) plays Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, Viserys's daughter
  • Steve Toussaint (Doctor Who) plays Lord Corlys Velaryon, the Sea Snake
  • Eve Best (Nurse Jackie) plays Princess Rhaenys Velaryon
  • Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill) plays Otto Hightower
  • Sonoya Mizuno (Devs, Ex-Machina) Mysaria
  • Fabien Frankel (The Serpent) as Ser Criston Cole

There will be 10 episodes

HBO has ordered a full, 10-episode series of House of the Dragon. Martin and screenwriter Ryan Condal (Rampage, Colony), who is writing the series, are co-creators.

Condal is also a co-showrunner and executive producer with Miguel Sapochnik, who directed some of GoT's biggest and most famous episodes. (Does "Battle of the Bastards" ring a bell?) Martin, Vince Gerardis (Jumper), Sara Lee Hess (Orange Is the New Black), and Ron Schmidt are executive producers too.

Additional directors include Clare Kilner (The Alienist: Angel of Darkness), Geeta V. Patel (The Great), and Greg Yaitanes (House), who is a co-executive producer as well. The pilot will be directed by Sapochnik, Game of Thrones previously announced.

Bloys explained at the TCAs that the decision to make the show had to do with the source material. "[When] we looked at House of the Dragon, one of the advantages it had, was it had text from George R.R. Martin and had the Targaryen history," he said, per The Hollywood Reporter. "There was a bit more of a roadmap. It was an easier decision to say, 'Alright, let's go straight to series.' It wasn't like there was anything glaringly wrong about the pilot; it's just sometimes these things click and sometimes they don't." Harpersbazaar reported.

Daenerys Targaryen knows nothing

Emilia Clarke, who portrayed the Mother of Dragons herself for eight seasons on Game of Thrones, admitted that she doesn't know anything about the Targaryen-centered spin-off. "I genuinely don't know anything about it," the actress told Jimmy Fallon in October 2019.

She and her costars, however, did discuss the show in their cast WhatsApp group chat, but it wasn't a very exciting conversation. "Someone popped it on today and was like, 'Look at that.' We were like, 'Ooh.' And that's pretty much it," Clarke explained.

When Fallon brought up the possibility of a Daenerys cameo in the forthcoming series (perhaps as a peek into the future of the Targaryen lineage), Clarke didn't seem so down. "What else am I going to do?" she asked.

First Official Photos of ‘Game of Thrones’ Prequel

Photo: deadline
Photo: deadline

On Wednesday, HBO revealed a first look at the leads in House of the Dragon, along with their character descriptions.

Below are images of Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen and Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon (also known as the Sea Snake), and Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower and Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower.

House of the Dragon is one of six GoT-related prequel projects in the works at HBO, plus there’s a stage show in development for Broadway/West End that will feature new actors playing iconic characters from the original series. One of the other projects in development is centered around Toussaint’s character above.

The character descriptions from HBO are listed below:

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 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…

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.

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.

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, Hollywoodreporter wrote.

Who’s behind the scenes?

Martin and Ryan Condal (Colony, Hercules) will serve as co-creators on the series.

Miguel Sapochnik and Condal will be showrunners, and the pair will also serve as executive producers along with Martin, Vince Gerardis, Sara Lee Hess and Ron Schmidt.

Sapochnik, whose directing credits include six Game of Thrones episodes, won Emmy and DGA honors for “Battle of the Bastards.” He was nominated for another Emmy in 2019 for directing “The Long Night” and won the Emmy for Best Drama Series as an executive producer for the final season.

Clare Kilner (The Alienist: Angel of Darkness, The Wedding Date) and Geeta V. Patel (Meet the Patels, The Witcher) will also direct the series. Greg Yaitanes (Banshee, House) is director and co-executive producer.

Game of Thrones and Westworld composer Ramin Djawadi will score the series, HBO noted.

House of the Dragon trailer

House of the Dragon does not have a trailer yet.

HBO could include a mention of the series in the network's next big look-ahead teaser for upcoming shows in 2022.

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