Ahead of its launch in Europe on October 26, HBO Max released the first teaser of House of the Dragon — the much-awaited prequel to Game of Thrones. By Manas Sen Gupta
The epic high fantasy series, House of the Dragon, is set 200 years before the events in Game of Thrones, and focusses on the history of the House Targaryen, the family of which Daenerys Targaryen was a descendant.
House of the Dragon is adapted from George R.R. Martin’s 2018 book Fire & Blood, which is about the Targaryen royal family and their interactions with dragons.
The official Twitter handle of Game of Thrones announced the start of production of the show on December 4, 2020.
— Game of Thrones (@GameOfThrones) December 3, 2020
The first season of the show, consisting of 10 episodes, will air on HBO and HBO Max in 2022. The exact date is yet to be specified.
What is the plot?
As the title of the series suggests, it is about the house that ruled Westeros before a civil war, known as “Dance of the Dragons,” that resulted in the fall of the throne. This civil war was fought between the children of King Viserys I Targaryen — Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Prince Aegon II Targaryen — following his death.
Princess Rhaenyra is depicted as the king’s first-born child and is of “pure Valyrian blood.” She is married to her uncle, the brother of the king, Prince Daemon Targaryen, who is also a potential heir to the throne.
The war divided the land of Westeros, with other houses such as the House of Stark, which was at the centre of Game of Thrones, and the House Lannister joining either side.
A notable thing about this period in Westeros history is the existence of dragons. The teaser as well as HBO highlight their importance in the following manner: “Dreams didn’t make us kings — dragons did.”
The Targaryens were famous for their dragon-riding ability, a skill that Daenerys, the ‘mother of dragons’, showed effortlessly in Game of Thrones. The civil war is referenced through the original series and is cited as the reason behind the near extinction of dragons from the fictional world until Daenerys found three eggs centuries later.
Who are the cast members?
Paddy Considine plays King Viserys I Targaryen, who is presented as a “warm, kind, and decent man”. He is the successor of the Old King, Jaehaerys Targaryen.
The two principal characters, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Prince Daemon Targaryen, are essayed by Emma D’Arcy and Matt Smith, respectively. Emma played Astrid in the British comedy horror series The Truth Seekers (2020) while Matt is best known for his portrayal of Doctor Who in iconic series from 2010-2014.
Other major cast members include Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower, Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower —the Hand of the King and father of Alicent, Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Velaryon — the wife of The Sea Snake, Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria, Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole, and Jefferson Hall as twins Lord Jason Lannister and Tyland Lannister.
The character of Aegon II is not yet part of the series.
What do we see in the teaser?
The one-minute teaser gives us fleeting glimpses of some major characters. These include Prince Daemon Targaryen, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, Otto Hightower and King Viserys I Targaryen. It also shows The Sea Snake appearing at a feast at the King’s Landing.
We get a look of a duel on horseback, too. It appears as sort of a jousting that was done in the middle ages. The teaser clearly throws hints of something serious brewing in Westeros, an indication of things to come. The teaser’s highlight is, however, the throne itself; it appears larger and more menacing than the one we saw in Game of Thrones.
The teaser finishes with Daemon’s voice saying, “Dreams didn’t make us kings — dragons did.”
Are there more Game of Thrones spinoffs planned?
Though the series is a prequel, it is also presented as one of the many spinoffs of Game of Thrones that are in the pipeline. Variety reported in April 2021 that HBO has signed a five-year deal with Martin for multiple spinoff projects based on his writings.
Among the planned shows are Tales of Dunk and Egg which follows Ser Duncan the Tall (Dunk) and young Aegon V Targaryen (Egg) on their adventures.
Another is a series titled 9 Voyages, which is directly connected to the events of the House of the Dragon and its characters. It will follow the famed navigator Lord Corlys Velaryon, popularly known in the stories as The Sea Snake.
The character will be played by Steve Toussaint in House of the Dragon. HBO describes the character as the “most famed nautical adventurer in the history of Westeros”.
As the lord of House Velaryon, The Sea Snake is said to be richer than the Lannisters and having the largest navy in its fictional world.
Who is directing the series?
Besides George R.R. Martin, Ryan Condal is credited as a co-creator.
HBO said that Condal will join Miguel Sapochnik as show-runner. Sapochnik has previously directed six Game of Thrones episodes. He has won Emmy awards for his direction and producing the show.
Other directors include Clare Kilner of The Wedding Date fame, Geeta V. Patel of The Witcher fame and Greg Yaitanes of House. Yaitanes also serves as co-executive producer.
Martin, Condal, Sapochnik are also the executive producers along with Vince Gerardis, Sara Lee Hess and Ron Schmidt. Music for the series has been composed by Emmy award winner Ramin Djawadi, who is best known for the illustrious soundtrack of the Game of Thrones.