Here’s what to know about the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel show House of the Dragon, including its release date and what its story is about. After debuting back in 2011, Game of Thrones became one of the biggest TV shows in the world. While it came to a divisive end in 2019, the success of the series means it’s no surprise that HBO has been looking at several follow-ups, spinoffs, and prequels to continue exploring the world of Westeros.
Even before Game of Thrones ended, HBO started putting several ideas into early development in order to keep things going, including a prequel set during the Age of Heroes. That received a pilot order, with Naomi Watts leading the cast, but the show – created by Jane Goldman (Kingsman) and George R.R. Martin – wasn’t picked up to series. While the first attempt didn’t work out, HBO didn’t give up and is moving forward with House of the Dragon.
House of the Dragon was co-created by Martin, who developed the series with Ryan Condal (Colony), Game of Thrones director Miguel Sapochnik will serve as co-showrunner alongside Condal. Following House Targaryen, House of the Dragon will be set hundreds of years before the events of Game of Thrones, and here’s what’s been revealed so far about its cast, story, and when it might release.
House Of The Dragon Release Date
While there’s no specific date confirmed, House of the Dragon will release on HBO in 2022. Filming on House of the Dragon began in April 2021, and a teaser trailer for the series confirmed the 2022 release. Typically, new seasons of Game of Thrones premiered on HBO in April of any given year (except season 7, which had a summer debut). HBO will likely want House of the Dragon‘s release date to be something similar, which taps into that familiarity and also positions it well for the Emmys. The time between filming beginning and the show airing varied as Game of Thrones expanded over the years; for season 1, it was around eight months, but by season 8, it was roughly a year-and-a-half. House of the Dragon will likely be bigger in scale than the former but smaller than the latter, so taking its time filming and in post-production makes sense.
House Of The Dragon Cast & Characters
Game of Thrones was celebrated for its actors, and House of the Dragon‘s cast is looking to repeat that success with another mostly British roster full of familiar names. Leading the way is Paddy Considine (Dead Man’s Shoes, Hot Fuzz, The Third Day) as King Viserys I Targaryen, who is chosen by the Great Council to be the new King of Westeros following the death of Jaehaerys I and goes on to rule for over 20 years. The rest of the main cast includes Matt Smith (Doctor Who, Terminator Genisys) as Daemon Targaryen, Viserys’ younger brother and a great warrior; Emma D’Arcy (Truth Seekers) as Rhaenyra Targaryen, the firstborn child of Viserys in his first marriage, who becomes her father’s heir, and later marries her uncle Daemon; Olivia Cooke (Ready Player One, Sound of Metal) as Alicent Hightower, Viserys’ second wife; and Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) as Otto Hightower, Alicent’s father and the Hand of the King.
House of the Dragon‘s supporting cast is rounded out by Sonoya Mizuno (Maniac, Devs) as Lady Mysaria, Rhaenyra’s mistress of whisperers; Steve Toussaint (Shooting Dogs) as Corlys Velaryon, who becomes Hand to Rhaenyra; and Eve Best (Nurse Jackie) as Rhaenys Velaryon, a dragonrider, and Corlys’ wife. Newer cast members announced include Graham McTavish as Ser Harrold Westerling, Ryan Corr as Ser Harwin Strong, Jefferson Hall as Lord Jason Lannister/Ser Tyland Lannister, David Horovitch as Grand Maester Mellos, Matthew Needham as Larys Strong, among several more.
House Of The Dragon Story Details
Adapting parts of George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood book, House of the Dragon‘s initial logline was that it would chart the beginning of the end of House Targaryen. The show doesn’t appear to be going quite so far back as Aegon’s Conquest, which happened around 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones, but instead is charting the build-up to, the action of, and fallout from the Targaryen Civil War known as The Dance of the Dragons. Although the rivalries and seeds of the civil war were planted during Viserys’ reign, it’s after his death that things take a greater turn, as Rhaenyra, who was Viserys’ chosen heir, has her claim challenged by Aegon II, Viserys’ son, with Alicent, whom he had not made his heir to the surprise (and anger) of many. The outcome was a bloody, fiery, and deadly civil war that lasted two years, dividing most of Westeros into two factions: the greens (those who supported Aegon) and the blacks (those who supported Rhaenyra).
House of the Dragon’s teaser trailer reveals the story is set 200 years before Game of Thrones, which offers a chance to see House Targaryen during its peak: the powerful rulers of Westeros, with several different Targaryens alive, and over a dozen dragons still in existence, it’s a stark contrast to Daenerys ostensibly being the last one with just three dragons in Game of Thrones. The trailer also revealed the tensions that exist between Rhaenyra, Daemon, and Alicent’s side of the family. Matt Smith’s Daemon narrates the trailer, chillingly stating that it’s the dragons that made the Targaryens powerful, suggesting that whoever wields the majority of the creatures has a better shot at winning the deadly civil war.
While the series will establish its timeline as being set two centuries ahead of Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon will also go back to explore Rhaenyra and Alicent’s youth since both characters have younger actresses playing them. This could offer a lot more backstory about the characters before things take a climactic turn in their adulthood. It’s also possible the drama will expand more upon the family’s history that could explain Daenerys’ transformation into the Mad Queen in Game of Thrones season 8. While House of the Dragon’s story will be more Targaryen-focused, though, there’s still the same opportunity for lots of political machinations, family drama, and dragon-packed action in House of the Dragon‘s story.