House of the Dragon: what can we expect from the Game of Thrones prequel? | house of the dragon

HThe House of the Dragon is now a month away, and to say it has an uphill battle ahead is an understatement. It’s a Game of Thrones spin-off that needs to regain everyone’s trust after Game of Thrones fell apart so thoroughly in its final season. It also whipped out the rug underneath when it was announced that HBO would be doing another Game of Thrones spin-off starring Kit Harington as Jon Snow. And possibly worst of all, it will rival Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, which has already made waves as the most expensive television series of all time.

And these challenges could explain why the press attack on the house of the dragon has already begun. Little by little we’re learning more about the series and why HBO desperately needs us to see it. Here’s what we know so far.

The occupation

Photo: HBO

Some of the earliest information released about House of the Dragon concerned its stars. Matt Smith and Emma D’Arcy play the blondes. Rhys Ifans, Paddy Considine and Olivia Cooke play the brunettes. Steve Toussaint plays the only black man in Westeros. Gallen and inevitably, Toussaint has reported that he has already been the subject of racial slurs from Game of Thrones fans.

The plot

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.  Paddy Considine in the new (C)HBO series: House of the Dragon (2022).  Synopsis: The story of House Targaryen takes place 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones (2011).  Ref: LMK110-J8103-160522 Supplied by LMKMEDIA.  Editorial only.  Landmark Media is not the copyright holder of these film or TV stills and provides a service to reputable media companies only.  pictures@lmkmedia.com2J8J4J8 USA.  Paddy Considine in the new (C)HBO series: House of the Dragon (2022).  Synopsis: The story of House Targaryen takes place 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones (2011).  Ref: LMK110-J8103-160522 Supplied by LMKMEDIA.  Editorial only.  Landmark Media is not the copyright holder of these film or TV stills and provides a service to reputable media companies only.  pictures@lmkmedia.com
Credit: Landmark Media/Alamy

Taking place 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon will see the Targaryens in all their glory, although judging from nudges and hints from those in the know, this may not last for the entire duration of the series. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, co-showrunner Miguel Sapochnik said House of the Dragon will be centered around four characters: “There’s the king, his brother, the king’s daughter and her best friend. Then the best friend becomes the king’s wife, and thus the queen.” Essentially, the story is, “What if your best friend gets involved with your father?” which would be pretty gross for most people, but is comparatively normal in im Compared to a family unfamiliar with the concept of incest.

The structure

Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen in House of the Dragon
Photo: HBO

The Hollywood Reporter also points out that there will be several multi-year jumps throughout the House of the Dragon. In that respect, it’s going to be less like Game of Thrones (the story of a royal family gone mad with power and wealth) and more like The Crown (which it is).

How it came about

House of the DragonHouse of the Dragon - -Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower & Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower
Photo: HBO

This is one of the most interesting aspects of the whole thing. HBO essentially created House of the Dragon with an apprenticeship. Teams of people were asked to come up with spin-offs, with the resulting ideas ranging from the absurd (a show about the gods of Westeros learning how to be gods) to the incredibly plausible (Bloodmoon, Jane Goldman’s prequel, based on eight Lines of text in George RR Martin’s books turned into a $35 million pilot starring Naomi Watts and then thrown in the bin). In the end, HBO settled on House of the Dragon, possibly because Martin wrote extensively about that part of the story, or possibly because all the blonde wigs are the closest thing to the Game of Thrones logo.

It will be faithful

Emma D'Arcy in House of the Dragon.
Photo Credit: Album/Alamy

Martin never really wrote books for the casual reader, with so many characters having so many nearly identical names that it takes real dedication to remember them. This also applies to House of the Dragon, which will feature both a Princess Rhaenyra and a Princess Rhaenys. According to the Hollywood Reporter, there was a meeting to see if some names could be changed to make it easier for viewers to follow them. That request was denied, underscoring the fact that this is a serious show for people in awe of George RR Martin.

It will be like the Game of Thrones you remember…

Press photo by George RR Martin
Photo: Carolina Webb

One of the few people on earth who has seen House of the Dragon is George RR Martin himself, who wrote online: “Those of you who like complex, contradictory, gray characters (like me) will like this series, I think. There will certainly be plenty of dragons and battles, but the backbone of the story is the human conflicts, love and hate, character drama rather than action/adventure.” What seems more reassuring than anything is that House of the Dragon’s first few seasons of Game of Thrones will be sonically similar, rather than the insane, pitch-black CGI slugfest of the finale.

… Although not exactly

Throughout the Hollywood Reporter play, various higher-ups wrestle their hands over all of the unnecessary nudity that filled much of Game of Thrones’ earlier seasons. Instead, House of Dragons will be much more stripped down, with stridently feminist themes. For one thing, the patriarchy would rather tear itself apart than have a female leader. Another apparently deals with the inherent dangers of childbirth. This is great news for anyone who really enjoys boring online discussions about how wakefulness spoils everything.

There is much, much more to come

This image released by HBO shows Emilia Clarke (left) and Kit Harington in a scene from the final episode of Game of Thrones.  On Tuesday, July 16, 2019, the program was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series.  (HBO via AP)
Photo: AP

Alongside House of the Dragon (and the Jon Snow spin-off), HBO is determined to get more out of the Game of Thrones intellectual property. There will also soon be a direct sequel to Game of Thrones, a Dunk and Egg series, a prequel series about Toussaint’s character, and four different animated Game of Thrones shows. Simply put, if you’re hooked on House of the Dragon, remember that feeling. If HBO catches on, you’ll soon get fed up with it.

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