What you need to know about the ‘Game of Thrones’ prequel

Game of Thrones Fans, Your Prayers Have Been Answered: On August 21, HBO will premiere the series’ first spin-off, titled House of the Dragon.

However, there is no Jon Snow or Cersei Lannister or Dothraki here (as far as we know). Instead, this new drama series focuses on House Targaryen, from whom the Mad Queen Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) is descended.

Since the series is set two centuries before the events of the first episode of Game of Thrones, you don’t necessarily have to watch the latter to enjoy the new series. (Damn, you could watch) House of the Dragon and then watch the whole of Game of Thronesand maybe you’ll have a good time.)

But whichever viewing order you choose, let’s take a look at the who, what and where of this new series.

What’s? House of the Dragon about?

House of the Dragon was promoted as the “beginning of autumn” of House Targaryen, giving way to its descendants (Daenerys and her brother Viserys) to be nearly extinct two centuries later, by the time we first met them during Season 1 from Game of Thrones.

The base of House of the Dragon is this: King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) presides over House Targaryen, but is now embroiled in a soon-to-be-violent debate over who will rule in his stead when he dies. Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock plays the young princess; Emma D’Arcy is the grown-up), with that familiar braided platinum blonde hairdo, is the king’s firstborn and plans to claim the Iron Throne as her birthright.

Several wrinkles, as is their custom, then appear. They include, but are not limited to: A woman has never sat on the Iron Throne. Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith, a former holder) doctor who), a fierce warrior and the younger brother of Viserys, believes the Iron Throne belongs to him.

Lord Corlys (Steve Toussaint) is the head of House Valeryon and an unrivaled navigator; his wife Rhaenys (Eve Best) has a somewhat less fortunate existence, for although she was once eligible for the Iron Throne, her candidacy was withdrawn when her grandfather, King Jaehaerys, appointed her cousin Viserys.

The full trailer for House of the Dragon involves starting a campaign to convince Lady Alicent Hightower’s (Olivia Cooke as an adult, Emily Carey as a child) to compete for the Iron Throne. Alicent is the daughter of Ser Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans), the hand of the king and half of a vicious two-man feud with Prince Daemon.

Perhaps the most interesting subplot, to me, of the series is Mysaria, played by Sonoya Mizuno, a dancer born in a faraway land. Although she started her life in Westeros as a sex worker, she has risen through the ranks of Westeros’ nexus of criminals to become Prince Daemon’s wisest and most trusted ally.

And lest we forget, the dragons are back! Because we didn’t meet full-grown dragons in Game of Thrones until much later in the series, HBO makes up for it by including adult dragons in House of the Dragon.

These creatures are actively used in wartime (and probably peacetime as well) by House Targaryen during the prequel era. As you might imagine, the sheer number of conflicting interests sparks a civil war known as the ‘Dance of the Dragons’. The Civil War and its impact on our cast of characters – and their dragons! – will be the main driver for the series.

House of the Dragon is also based on a book by George RR Martin

House of the Dragon is based on the 2018 novel by George RR Martin Fire and Bloodwhich serves as a prequel to his A song of ice and fire series of novels, on which Got was based. It is not yet known whether House of the Dragon is a faithful adaptation of the novel or will feature other storylines, but Martin’s involvement in this new series – including recommending co-creator/showrunner Ryan Condal to HBO and issuing direct demands for what should be part of the project – is reason for fans to be cautiously optimistic.

Martin, according to Miguel Sapochnik, co-showrunner of House of the Dragon, had a “bee in his hood” about his demands for the new series; this is probably because Martin has previously stated that he was let out of the loop in season 5-7 of Got.

This series has been a long time coming

In November 2018, Martin stated that every new Game of Thrones TV series would be based entirely on Fire and Blood. Almost exactly a year later, in October 2019, HBO… House of the Dragon a straight-to-series order. This came five months later Game of Thrones aired its final episode to divided reactions.

Moreover, House of the Dragon is an edit of a pitch Got producer Bryan Cogman first brought it to HBO in April 2019. The network turned it down, leading Cogman to declare to the press that he was “done with Westeros”. Cogman then became a consultant for the upcoming adaptation of JRR Tolkien by Amazon Video Lord of the Rings books.

Cogman isn’t the only one who’s been heartbroken by HBO when it comes to Game of Thrones spin-offs. House of the Dragon is just one of many series in development in the months and years since its predecessor’s finale.

Naomi Watts was cast as lead actor blood moona prequel to Got that was set in a primitive age, before there were even seven kingdoms to quibble over. Martin himself said the series was a “very difficult assignment” because it was based on a story that had not appeared in his novels. Network executive Francesca Orsi said the series’ narrative thrust included a “thematic conversation at the center of the series about deprivation of rights in the face of colonialism and religious extremism.”

Sets were built; scripts were written, approved and recorded. By its end, HBO had spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $30-$35 million (!) on the pilot, but no one, not even Martin, has ever seen the final cut. In October 2019, the network announced: blood moon had died without any information about the reasons for the decision. Instead, it followed up the cancellation with optimistic news of a potential pilot order for House of the Dragon.

While blood moon did not survive, House of the Dragon sure looks like it. It is not known how many seasons are planned in terms of story. But since the network made nearly $3 billion from Game of Thrones alone, it’s safe to say House of the Dragon isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

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