In a nutshell:
House of the Dragon is a Game of Thrones prequel set 200 years before the events of the blockbuster HBO series and inspired by the Targaryen dynasty.
Who’s writing and directing House of the Dragon?
Miguel Sapochnik, who directed many of Game of Thrones’s most epic battle scenes, and Colony’s Ryan Condal are acting as showrunners for the program, with George R. R. Martin overseeing the scripts. Helping the fantasy author to build out Condal’s pilot? Writers Wes Tooke, Claire Kiechel (who recently worked on Watchmen), and Ti Mekkel. Other directors helming particular episodes include Clare Kilner (The Alienist), Emmy-winner Greg Yaitanes (House), and Geeta V. Patel (The Great).
What will the House of the Dragon costumes be like?
Particularly in the latter seasons, clothes were integral to the development of Westeros’s female leaders thanks to costume designer Michele Clapton. Jany Temime, who took care of the wardrobe for the Harry Potter films as well as several movies in the James Bond franchise, is responsible for the costuming in the prequel—posting an image on set at Leavesden Studios in Watford earlier this year. The first teaser and trailer, below, gives a sense of the way in which different noble houses’ insignias will be worked into the clothes, as well as the ice-blonde Targaryen wigs.
Is the plot of House of the Dragon inspired by a book?
House of the Dragon is reportedly based on George R. R. Martin’s Fire and Blood, which traces the Targaryen dynasty’s conquest of the Seven Kingdoms. As a reminder, the Targaryens originally lived within the Valyrian freehold, a civilization that spanned much of Essos, the continent east of Westeros, for thousands of years. When a series of natural disasters known as the Doom destroyed Valyria, the Targaryens fled to the island of Dragonstone (where Daenerys Targaryen memorably establishes her war council in the penultimate season of Game of Thrones).
Cut to the rule of Aegon I—also known as Aegon the Conqueror, rider of Balerion the Dread—and the Targaryens set about conquering Westeros, forging the Iron Throne in King’s Landing. Several generations of incestuous Targaryen marriages later, though, King Viserys I attempted to name his daughter with his first wife, Princess Rhaenyra, as his heir, triggering dissent in court and ultimately giving rise to the Dance of Dragons, a bloody civil war. Given what we’ve learned about the characters in the House of the Dragon thus far, it’s likely that this conflict will be at the heart of the plot.
Tellingly, Martin also recommends fans study his Targaryen-focused anthologies, Dangerous Women and Rogues, to get a sense of what to expect. The latter follows Prince Daemon Targaryen, Viserys’s mercurial younger brother and one-time heir, while Dangerous Women follows the conflicts between Viserys’s second wife, Queen Alicent Hightower, and Rhaenyra. While the Queen and her supporters, known as the “greens,” believe the crown belongs to her son Aegon II, the Princess (and her army of supporters, named the “blacks”) insist that her father’s wishes should be upheld.
Is there a trailer for House of the Dragon?
HBO shared a first teaser for House of the Dragon on October 5, 2021, confirming that the plot will take place 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, and offering a glimpse of the series’s leads in action.
A second teaser followed on May 5, 2022, complete with a first glimpse of the dragons that made House Targaryen into the most powerful family in Westeros.
Who’s in the cast of House of the Dragon?
The Crown’s Matt Smith will appear as Daemon, a fabled dragonrider and warrior who also happens to be Westeros’s most notorious libertine and the heir to the Iron Throne when the series begins, according to HBO. Emma D’Arcy, meanwhile, will step into the role of his niece Rhaenyra, whose quest to rule in spite of patriarchal resistance will lend House of the Dragon a feminist bend.
Also at odds with Westeros’s misogynist political system? Princess Rhaenys Velaryon (Eve Best), who got passed over for the throne in favour of Viserys, and her husband, the spectacularly wealthy Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint), nicknamed the Sea Snake thanks to his many voyages around the world in search of spices, cloth and treasures.
Back on land, Rhys Ifans and Olivia Cooke will star as father-daughter duo Otto and Alicent Hightower. As the Hand of the King, the former has a deep aversion to Daemon and intends to prevent his succession, while Alicent has been raised in the Red Keep and is a smooth political operator in her own right.
Rounding out the main cast? Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria, who becomes a trusted ally and confidante to Daemon, and Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole, a member of the Kingsguard.
How should I entertain myself before House of the Dragon premieres?
Start by adding George R. R. Martin’s Fire and Blood to your reading list, for one. The author is still a long way off finishing the A Song of Fire and Ice series, so if you’re missing the Starks, content yourself with revisiting Game of Thrones’s most dramatic episodes—no doubt House of the Dragon will contain several Easter egg references to the original HBO hit. GoT completists will also love the podcast Game of Owns, which sees hosts Hannah Hosking and Zack Luye dissect Westeros’s history and interview the likes of Dothraki creator David J. Peterson. And for those whose interest in fantasy extends beyond the Iron Throne and those in its orbit? Consider making your way through J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth canon, including The Hobbit and The Silmarillion, before Amazon Prime Video’s Lord of the Rings prequel drops on September 2, 2022.
When is House of the Dragon coming out?
House of the Dragon is due to premiere on HBO and HBO Max on August 21. There will be 10 episodes in the first season, most likely running at around 60 minutes each.
This article was originally published on Vogue.com