HBO's Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon is preparing to take flight. It has been announced that Olivia Cooke (Ready Player One), Emma D'Arcy (Wanderlust), and Matt Smith (Dr. Who) will lead the long-awaited new series, along with some other familiar faces that have yet to be announced. Greg Yaitanes (Banshee) will serve as a director and co-exec producer, with Clare Kilner (Snowpiercer) and Geeta V. Patel (The Witcher) attached to direct more episodes.
House of Dragon is based on George R.R. Martin's Fire & Blood, which is set 300 years before the events of HBO's wildly successful Game of Thrones. Matt Smith will portray Prince Daemon Targaryen in the series, who is the "younger brother to King Viserys and heir to the throne. A peerless warrior and a dragonrider, Daemon possesses the true blood of the dragon. But it is said that whenever a Targaryen is born, the gods toss a coin in the air."
As for Olivia Cooke, she will be portraying Alicent Hightower, who is "the daughter of Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King, and the most comely woman in the Seven Kingdoms. She was raised in the Red Keep, close to the king and his innermost circle; she possesses both a courtly grace and a keen political acumen." Emma D'Arcy is set as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, who is described as "the king's first-born child, she is of pure Valyrian blood, and she is a dragonrider. Many would say that Rhaenyra was born with everything... but she was not born a man."
House of Dragon is really starting to take shape, which should come as an excellent surprise for Game of Thrones fans who have been waiting for updates. Olivia Cooke, Emma D'Arcy, and Matt Smith join he previously announced cast member, Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen, who was "chosen by the lords of Westeros to succeed the Old King, Jaehaerys Targaryen, at the Great Council at Harrenhal. A warm, kind and decent man, Viserys only wishes to carry forward his grandfather's legacy. But good men do not necessarily make for great kings."
House of Dragon will consist of 10 episodes and is co-created by Martin and Ryan Condal. Condal wrote the script alongside Sara Lee Hess and serves as co-showrunner alongside Game of Thrones veteran Miguel Sapochnik. As for George R.R. Martin's long-awaited Winds of Winter Game of Thrones installment, it is unclear when it will hit bookshelves. The author has promised a release date several times, and has yet to deliver any solid news to fans. At this rate, House of Dragon will likely be heading into a second season when Martin gets his act together. The Hollywood Reporter was the first to announce that Olivia Cooke, Emma D'Arcy, and Matt Smith have joined the House of Dragon cast.