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Everything We Know About House of the Dragon

HBO's Game of Thrones spinoff prequel—based on George R.R. Martin's writing—brings viewers back to Westeros.

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The logo for House of the Dragon, the new HBO prequel to Game of Thrones.
Gif: HBO

At a glance:

  • Based on the 2018 book Fire & Blood by George R.R. Martin, House of the Dragon is a new series set centuries before the events of Game of Thrones.
  • Unlike the original Game of Thrones, this is expected to have a smaller, less expansive cast, focusing primarily on the titular House of the Dragon, the Targaryen family, and how they rip the Seven Kingdoms apart in a bloody civil war over the Iron Throne.
  • The series premiered on HBO Max August 21, 2022, to excellent ratings. A second season was commissioned just days after the series premiere; it’s tentatively due out in 2024.
  • Currently, the show has a four-season plan.

Last updated 1/25/2023. 


What is House of the Dragon about?

House of the Dragon is set during the “Dance of the Dragons,” a period of civil war between members of the Targaryen family that occurred two centuries before the events of Martin and HBO’s Game of Thrones. As they’re the rulers of Westeros when House starts, their dissolution had wide repercussions in ways that this new series will offer deeper insight on. (Read more: The Civil War That Tore Westeros in Half, Long Before King Joffrey.)

Though House of the Dragon is a canonical Game of Thrones prequel, and is adapting material from hundreds of years before the events depicted in the original show, the show’s creative team have emphasized that it will have its own identity and tone that will evolve and emerge over the course of the show. (Read more: The Game of Thrones Prequel Will Have Its Own Unique Tone.) 

In other words, the show features all the political maneuvering, explicit bloodshed, and giant CGI dragons that Game of Thrones fans have come to expect, but it will still make sense to viewers who didn’t watch the original series. (Read more: House of the Dragon’s Cast and Crew on HBO’s Return to Westeros.)

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One thing House of the Dragon happily hasn’t featured so far: Gratuitous violence towards women, a frequently criticized element of Game of Thrones. (Read more: Game of Thrones Prequel Star Olivia Cooke Believes the Show Won’t Have ‘Egregious Violence Towards Women’.)


Who is making House of the Dragon?

The co-creators of House of the Dragon are Ryan Condal, a producer and screenwriter best known for the TV series Colony and the movie Rampage, and George R.R. Martin, author of the books that inspired Game of Thrones. Condal and Miguel Sapochnik, who directed six Game of Thrones episodes including the Emmy-winning “Battle of the Bastards,” were the original showrunners. (Read more: Go Behind the Scenes of Last Night’s Astonishing Game of Thrones Battle.) After episode two of House of the Dragon aired, Sapochnik announced he would be stepping down ahead of season two; fellow Game of Thrones vet Alan Taylor is taking his place.

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In December 2021, Martin wrote on his personal blog that he’d seen a rough cut of the first episode and loved it. “It’s dark, it’s powerful, it’s visceral… just the way I like my epic fantasy,” he said. “Ryan and Miguel have done an amazing job, and the cast… just as with Game of Thrones, most viewers will only have heard of a few of the actors, but I think you are going to fall in love with a lot of them.”

Emmy-winning Game of Thrones and Westworld composer Ramin Djawadi will score the series. To the relief of many, Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss are not involved in House of the Dragon.

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Who is in the cast and who do they play?

First images from Games of Thrones spin-off House of the Dragon. Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen.
Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen.
Image: HBO
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  • Paddy Considine plays King Viserys Targaryen, a kind man who has been chosen to rule by the lords of Westeros.
  • Olivia Cooke (you might remember her from Ready Player One) is Alicent Hightower, daughter of the Hand of the King.
  • Emma D’Arcy plays Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, the king’s first-born child, and named by him to be the next ruler of the seven kingdoms.
  • Matt Smith (yes, the Eleventh Doctor) is Prince Daemon Targaryen, younger brother of King Viserys I, and would-be heir to the throne as the closest male relative to the King—if he didn’t ultimately side with his niece in the coming civil war.
  • Steve Toussaint is Corlys Velaryon, aka “The Sea Snake,” lord of a Valyrian bloodline as old as House Targaryen.
  • Eve Best is Princess Rhaenys Velaryon, wife to Lord Corlys Velaryon, known as “The Queen Who Never Was” because she was passed over as heir to the throne in favor of her cousin Viserys.
  • Rhys Ifans is Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King.
Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower and Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower in HBO's House of Dragon.
Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower and Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower.
Image: HBO
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Other cast members include Sonoya Mizuno, Fabien Frankel, Milly Alcock, Emily Carey, Ryan Corr, Jefferson Hall, David Horovitch, Graham McTavish, Matthew Needham, Bill Paterson, Gavin Spokes, and Ewan Mitchell.


What can we expect in House of the Dragon season two?

Unfortunately, we don’t know much, as the show has only just entered pre-production and principal filming isn’t expected to begin until March. However, season one ended with the war between would-be Queen Rhaenyra and her nephew, the crowned King Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney), having essentially erupted after a cold war between the two camps.

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As Rhaenyra’s “Blacks” tried to gather support among the other Lords of Westeros for her claim, Aegon’s “Greens,” spear-headed by Aegon’s mother and Rhaenyra’s bitterest foe, Alicent, did the same. Unfortunately, both Alicent’s younger son Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) and Rhaenyra’s son Lucerys (Elliot Grihault) arrived at House Baratheon at the same time. On dragon-back, the vindicative Aemond bullied and taunted Luce and his young dragon Arrax until the scared Arrax struck back at Aemond’s mount Vhagar, causing the great dragon to swat both Luce and Arraz out of the sky. Her son’s death ensured Rhaenyra has declared war on the Greens. (Read more: House of the Dragon Showrunner Reveals What That Finale Means For Season 2)

There is one hint we’ve gotten about season two, however: When show writer Sarah Hess was asked whether season two would contain one of the “Dance of the Dragons” most infamous plotlines in its finale, she said, “I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.” The plotline refers to the assassins named Blood and Cheese who, despite their innocent name, carry out one of Game of Thrones’ most horrifying assassinations. You can learn more at the next link, but caution—spoiler warning. (Read more: House of the Dragon Is Teasing an Infamously Gruesome Plot for Season 2)

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How can I watch House of the Dragon?

House of the Dragon | Official Trailer | HBO Max

The show is broadcast on the HBO cable network, and available on-demand via the HBO Max streaming service. Both require a subscription.

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Do you have episode recaps of season one?

We certainly do:


Why this story, and not one of George R.R. Martin’s other tales?

HBO says it chose to tell this story because the book it is based on, Fire & Blood: 300 Years Before A Game of Thrones, is already completed and published, so the producers will have a full roadmap to the series. (Read more: Here’s Why Game of Thrones Spin-Off House of the Dragon Was Chosen Over the Others.) You can read an excerpt from the book here.

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Fans who are waiting for a Dunk and Egg TV series are going to have to wait.


What other Game of Thrones shows are in the works?

HBO Max is reportedly working on at least three animated shows set in Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” universe, including one focused on the Golden Empire of Yi Ti. (Read more: Game of Thrones May Cross the Narrow Sea With Even More Animated Series.) Other series are in the works at unknown stages of development, thanks to Discovery’s turbulent acquisition of Warner Bros. Entertainment, which owns HBO. (Read more: George R.R. Martin Says More Game of Thrones Spinoffs Have Been Impacted By HBO Max’s Drama)

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HBO was working on another prequel series, which was written by Jane Goldman, starred Naomi Watts, and set thousands of years before the first show. A pilot had been filmed and was in post-production when HBO canceled the show. Several other rumored Game of Thrones projects also appear to be canceled or in limbo.


What if I need even more Game of Thrones in my life?

Robert Baratheon is likely to be front and center in a new Game of Thrones Broadway show.
Robert Baratheon is likely to be front and center in a new Game of Thrones stage production.
Image: HBO
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There is also a Game of Thrones Broadway show in the works, which will focus on “the Great Tourney at Harrenhal,” an event often referred to in the original TV series and books because it kickstarted the war between Robert Baratheon and the Targaryens. There’s also a making-of book for House of the Dragon coming in January 2023 from author Gina McIntyre; check out a preview here.


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