Author George R.R. Martin says the upcoming HBO series House of the Dragon improves upon one character from his original book. A prequel to the hit HBO show Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon is based on Martin’s novella collection Fire & Blood, which came out in 2018. The series is expected to premiere on August 12 with a ten-episode season 1.
House of the Dragon will be set 200 years before Game of Thrones, and chronicle the history of House Targaryen, up to and including the Targaryen Civil War, also known as the Dance of the Dragons. The series will star Paddy Considine, Emma D’Arcy, Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Sonoya Mizuno, and Rhys Ifans. Martin has previously talked about his high hopes for House of the Dragon, believing it can reach a wide audience in the same way Game of Thrones did.
Now, on his site Not a Blog, Martin writes about having seen the rough cuts of House of the Dragon season 1’s first nine episodes, and gives some first impressions about what he enjoyed. He singles out Considine’s performance as King Viserys, saying the English actor brings a tragic dignity to the role that Martin’s character never really achieved in the source material. He also mentions how showrunner Ryan Condal and his writers have made a few other improvements to the storyline. Read Martin’s quote below:
[T]here are some changes from FIRE & BLOOD — we could not present three alternative versions of every major event, not and keep our sanity — but I think Ryan Condal and his writers made good choices. Even some improvements. (Heresy, I know, but being the author, I am allowed to say so). For years, as some of you may recall, I have been saying the TV version of Shae, as portrayed by Sibel Kekilli, was a deeper, richer, and more nuanced characters than the Shae in my novels. In a similar vein, I am vastly impressed by the show’s version of King Viserys, played by Paddy Considine, who gives the character a tragic majesty that my book Viserys never quite achieved. Kudos to Paddy, Ryan and his writers, and Miguel and the other directors.
With Martin having already given his seal of approval to House of the Dragon, even in its unfinished form, it’s good news for fans of the book that he has enjoyed what he’s seen of the adaptation so much. The fantasy author has also praised the other cast members, especially ones with less name-recognition. With The Winds of Winter still some years away, Westeros fans will need another project to satiate their thirst for such high-quality fantasy.
Since Game of Thrones ended, there’s been a void to fill in primetime television for high-budget fantasy that’s both accessible and entertaining, and House of the Dragon could be what viewers have been waiting for. Despite Game of Thrones having a badly received ending, the worldbuilding of Westeros is rich enough for many more stories, which House of the Dragon is eager to tell. With the endorsement of Martin himself, a strong cast led by Considine, and the full backing of HBO, House of the Dragon could shape up to be a worthy successor to Game of Thrones, and fans will only have to wait till August 12 to find out.