The House of the Dragon release date has been confirmed, and it means the spinoff is already breaking from one Game of Thrones tradition. Following Game of Thrones’ ending in 2019, HBO made it clear that there would be more stories to come from Westeros. The first of those is House of the Dragon, which has been created by A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin, based on his own Fire & Blood book, alongside Colony’s Ryan Condal.
Set around 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon will tell the story of House Targaryen during its glory years reigning over the Seven Kingdoms, with Civil War set to tear the family and Westeros apart. House of the Dragon was first confirmed by HBO back in 2019; production started in 2021 and, after some COVID-19 related delays, the Game of Thrones spinoff is almost ready to be released. HBO had long since announced it would debut in 2022, but have now revealed exactly when, with House of the Dragon’s release date set for August 21, 2022.
With that, the House of the Dragon release date breaks one of Game of Thrones’ biggest traditions: its Spring release slot. Game of Thrones first released on HBO in April 2011, and almost every season after that debuted around the same time, with most first airing in April and season 3 beginning on March 31, 2013. The only exception to this was Game of Thrones season 7, which released in July 2017, but that was only because of an extended production schedule as the episodes got bigger, and it reverted back to April for season 8. House of the Dragon has had its own production setbacks, of course, which help to explain its later release date, but it also sets it out as being different from Game of Thrones right away.
With HBO previously confirming that House of the Dragon’s release date would be in 2022, then the August spot makes sense. It’s clear from its production schedule – and the lengthy post-production required for the show too – that it wouldn’t have been able to make a Spring release, and trying to stick to that Game of Thrones tradition would’ve meant pushing the show back to 2023, which likely wouldn’t be a viable option either. A major factor for Game of Thrones’ Spring release dates was to put it right in contention for the Emmys each year, but House of the Dragon should still compete for the biggest TV awards when the 2023 version comes around. It also shows a shift in the TV landscape with streaming: Game of Thrones season 8 was arguably the last true watercooler event show, and with more streaming services and options then it perhaps doesn’t matter as much when a show releases.
Comparisons between House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones are inevitable, but at the very least this helps to differentiate it to a degree. The House of the Dragon release date, while only just a date, of course, does further fit with the idea of the show doing its thing and stamping out its own identity beyond its relationship to Game of Thrones, which will ultimately be crucial to its long-term success. If nothing else, then having a firm House of the Dragon release date gives a fixed point to build towards and should allow for even greater excitement now that Summer is coming.