House of the Dragon’s Olivia Cooke jokes she’ll be “murdered” if she says too much about the upcoming Game of Thrones spinoff. Showrunner Ryan Condal and co-showrunner Miguel Sapcochnik’s House of the Dragon is set to debut later this year and serve as a prequel to HBO’s iconic fantasy series. While Game of Thrones was based on George R.R. Martin’s series of unfinished novels, A Song of Ice and Fire, House of the Dragon takes its cue from Martin’s Fire & Blood and novellas like The Princess and the Queen, which detail the history of the Targaryen dynasty. In addition to Cooke, House of the Dragon stars Matt Smith, Paddy Considine, Emma D’Arcy, Rhys Ifans, Graham McTavish, Steve Toussaint, Sonoya Mizuno, Ryan Corr, Jefferson Hall, Bill Paterson, and Eve Best.
The series is set in Westeros nearly 200 years before Daenerys laid siege to King’s Landing, following House Targaryen at the apex of its power and equipped with over a dozen dragons. Its plot will focus on a civil war known as the Dance of Dragons, sparked by King Viserys Targaryen (Considine) breaking from tradition and naming his daughter heir to the Iron Throne. Despite its source material being complete, House of the Dragon will be an extrapolation of the known history and, therefore, carry the same propensity for secrecy as the flagship series.
In a recent interview with ComicBook.com, Cooke alluded to House of the Dragon’s intense level of secrecy. Similar to Marvel Studio’s much hyped, yet entirely fictional “snipers,” it would appear HBO doesn’t mess around when it comes to beloved IP. When asked if she could tease what to expect from the series, Cooke joked: “I can’t say anything. I don’t know why people ask this question, you know, I can’t. I’ll be murdered.”
In House of the Dragon, Cooke plays Lady Alicent Hightower. As the daughter of Viserys’ hand, Otto Hightower, Alicent was raised in the Red Keep and is described as “the most comely woman in the Seven Kingdoms” with “a courtly grace and a keen political acumen.” Aside from similar character descriptions and a brief synopsis, little else is known as fans await House of the Dragon’s first official trailer. However, as previously mentioned, published material taking place during the same time frame give audiences a relatively good idea of how the Game of Thrones spinoff will explore the beginning of the end for the Targaryen family.
In many ways, Game of Thrones’ final season 8 dampened enthusiasm and raised expectations of Westerosi content. Being that the former’s source material still isn’t finished, no one knew where Jon and Daenerys’ story was headed following season 5 — which only exacerbated fan theories and, in turn, anticipation. As a prequel void of White Walkers and a “Prince/Princess that was promised,” House of the Dragon risks feeling unimportant. With the future of several other spinoffs hanging in the balance, House of Dragon is tasked with reinvigorating the franchise while contending with the other, and arguably much bigger fantasy prequel, Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. When House of the Dragon debuts on HBO on August 21, it will have to surprise fans.