House of the Dragon’s first season is racing towards an inevitable climax: the breakout of civil war between the myriad factions of the titular House Targaryen. But where does it go from here? Well, the good news is that George R.R. Martin knows exactly where, and how long it’ll take.
Discussing House of the Dragons’ myriad time jumps in its debut season on his Not A Blog personal site, Martin pondered the time need to cover the story of this fateful period of Westerosi history. Acknowledging that there were things that the series had already chose not to cover from the loose details of history we knew from Martin’s writing in Fire & Blood—like Alicent and Viserys’ fourth child, Daeron, who is “down in Oldtown, we just did not have the time to work him in this season,” according to the writer—Martin also reflected on the shortening of TV seasons in his long tenure as a writer for the small screen.
“When I was a boy, shows had 39 episodes a season. By the time I was writing for Beauty and the Beast, it was down to 22. Cable shrunk that even further. The Sopranos had 13 episodes per season, but just a few years later, Game of Thrones had only 10 (and not even that, those last two seasons),” Martin mused. “If House of the Dragon had 13 episodes per season, maybe we could have shown all the things we had to ‘time jump’ over… though that would have risked having some viewers complain that the show was too ‘slow,’ that ‘nothing happened.’ As it is, I am thrilled that we still have 10 hours every season to tell our tale.”
As such, Martin also confirmed that House of the Dragon will continue to tell that tale for another three seasons, should HBO continue to renew it. “It is going to take four full seasons of 10 episodes each to do justice to the Dance of the Dragons, from start to finish,” Martin concluded, before adding, should anyone be ready to ask him about pages, “but right now, Ryan Condal’s focus is on HOT D season two, and mine is on The Winds of Winter.”
Aside from the fact that it is utterly delightful that George R.R. Martin also calls the show “Hot D,” because secretly deep in side we’re all children, it’s a good and refreshing thing from the get go that it seems the creator and the creative team behind House of the Dragons actually have an agreement on just how long this show could, and should, play out. That’s something that clearly became a sticking point on Game of Thrones as it drew towards its divisive conclusion, and why Martin has spent his time since its end either asking us to shut up about The Winds of Winter’s release date or letting us know that his books will do things differently.
It’s hard to say if this plan for House of the Dragon may persist. A lot could happen in the time it takes to make another 3 seasons, the show has already made a grand job of expounding on the details Martin shared of this period in Westeros in Fire & Blood, and it’s clearly been incredibly popular so far. HBO want might more, who’s to say. But for now at least, it’s relieving that House of the Dragon is seemingly building to something its predecessor struggled with: an end point it knows well in advance.
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