Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin reacts to the first nine episodes of House of the Dragon season 1, which is slated to premiere on August 21 on HBO. Martin’s best-selling A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series started in 1996 with A Game of Thrones and the fifth and most recent installment, A Dance With Dragons, came in 2011. The sixth and seventh books, The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring, are still forthcoming, but in the meantime, Martin published the 2018 prequel novel Fire & Blood, upon which House of the Dragon is based.
Set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, HBO’s upcoming adaptation will focus primarily on the Targaryen House and their tragic fall from grace by covering the events leading up to the civil war known as the “Dance of the Dragons,” and the ensuing bloodbath. Like its predecessor, House of the Dragon features an immense ensemble cast, including Paddy Considine, Matt Smith, Emma D’Arcy, Olivia Cooke, Steve Toussaint, Eve Best, Fabien Frankel, Sonoya Mizuno, and Rhys Ifans. House of the Dragon has repeatedly been praised by Martin, boding well for the prequel series.
On the “Not a blog,” portion of his official website, George R.R. Martin shared his unfettered reaction to the first nine episodes of House of the Dragon, which he has now seen rough cuts of. Though he couldn’t speak to the quality of visual effects, which are still unfinished, the author admits to being impressed by the show, saying “the look of it is great, and the acting, the directing, and writing are first rate.” Martin also assured book fans that the HBO show is a faithful adaptation of Fire & Blood, although it does make some changes to the story. Read what he shared below:
I’ve now watched rough cuts of nine of the ten episodes, and I continue to be impressed. I cannot speak to the SFX, many of which are not in yet, but the look of it is great, and the acting, the directing, and writing are first rate. And yes, for all you book fans, it IS my story. Sure, there 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).
It’s exciting to hear Martin’s praise for House of the Dragon and assuring to hear him admit that showrunner Ryan J. Condal and his writers have actually improved some aspects of the source material in their adaptation. This is something the Song of Ice and Fire scribe has never been afraid to admit, as he has maintained for years that Game of Thrones’ version of Shae (played by Sibel Kekilli) was a much better character than the one depicted in his books. Similarly, Martin was blown away by Considine’s portrayal of King Viserys in House of the Dragon, who imbues the character with a “tragic majesty” that Martin admits he never could have never achieved with the novel.
Martin has shared his reaction to House of the Dragon multiple times now and all of them have been glowing. The Fire & Blood author clearly approves of how his source material is being adapted to television. Martin is credited as a creator of the prequel series, though he appears to be more of a spectator rather than having any direct involvement in the show’s production process. It’s worth noting that Martin has only seen the first nine episodes of House of the Dragon, meaning the season 1 finale is being held back for the time being, so it should be interesting to see how he reacts to the season’s conclusion.