Game of Thrones is now a decade old, meaning it's been ten years since Joffery Baratheon ordered Eddard 'Ned' Stark's execution and started wars across Westeros, amid a rising threat from the North. As the series progressed and expanded several subplots throughout the eight-season run, it also left easter-eggs and references to some of the most famous background stories hinted in the source material, A Song of Ice and Fire, written by George R.R. Martin.
We heard stories of Aegon Targaryen's conquest of the seven kingdoms, the legend of Brandon the Builder, the tales of Night's Watch, end of the Long Night, and hundreds of instances referenced to the great rise and fall of House Targaryen. After Game of Thrones ended two years back, unfortunately with a surprisingly disappointing conclusion, all we needed was to get back into that mystical and fantastical universe with the old sense of enthusiasm and excitement. And the wait is over.
The spin-off prequel to the series, House of the Dragon, based on George R.R. Martin's Fire & Blood, is finally under pre-production and will unravel the tales and epic history of House Targaryen. An entire unit of production consisting of showrunners, directors, and an amazing cast members is all set to revisit the lands of Westeros at HBO. Here's everything we know of House of the Dragon, all compiled in one place for you guys.
House of the Dragon Storyline
The source book, Fire & Blood is more of an amalgamation of House Targaryen's tales and lore. The manuscripts of House Targaryen stories are compiled into two volumes, with the second one still unpublished. The first volume, titled Fire & Blood will serve as the inspirational source to HBO's series. The book spans across seven generations of House Targaryen, starting with the conquest of seven kingdoms led by Aegon I and his two sister-wives and ends with Dance of the Dragons, the war which ended with boy-king Aegon III crowned as the new king.
The novel introduces many new characters as well as the ones hinted at and mentioned in the original novel series A Song of Ice and Fire. It's pretty much under the wraps as to how expanded will the television adaptation of the book will become, but, the first season is directly hopping at the end of Volume I, focusing more on the stories and events that eventually led up to the Targaryen civil war, Dance of the Dragons.
What was Dance of the Dragons?
The roots of the civil war started sprouting after Viserys I was crowned king of the seven kingdoms. He was married to Aemma Arryn, with whom he had a daughter Rhaenyra Targaryen. His wife passed away during labor, which was followed by the death of his newborn infant son.
Over the years, Viserys I made his only child, Rhaenyra, his heir, garnering support from various lords and ladies of his council. But, given his young age, Viserys, on suggestion of his Grand Maester, took Alice Hightower as his second wife. Lady Hightower was the daughter of Lord Otto Hightower, who at the time was serving as Hand of the King. Though Rhaenyra and Alice got together well initially, the tensions between the two rose when the new Queen bore sons to King Viserys I.
While he King was adamant on Rhaenyra succeeding him, two different factions supporting the two women rose within his kingdom, who were later dubbed as in context t Green (faction supporting Queen Alice, given her fondness of dressing in a green gown) and Blacks (faction supporting Rhaenyra, named in context to her black dress). After King Viserys I passed away, the civil war broke between the stepmother and stepdaughter.
The war went on for two years, which involved both combat and political warfare, as Houses switched sides and changed support to both parties over its course. The war witnessed Targaryen dragons colliding and wreaking fire and blood upon each other enemies' often colliding in air with their riders atop them, which gave the war its name, Dance of the Dragons.
The Spin-Off Storyline
The initial premise of House of the Dragon is mostly under the wraps. But given the cast and character confirmation, the spin-off is likely to take on the events from King Viserys I Targaryen's marriage to Lady Alice Hightower, which may lead further seasons (if renewed) to the eventual civil war outbreak. As per the casting, the show is yet to find Aegon II, son of King Viserys I and Queen Alice, but it will probably start at a point where she'd have given birth to sons with Viserys I, and tensions concerning the heir to the throne will already be in place.
The show is also going to have other primary characters, including Hand of the King, Otto Hightower; Lord and Lady Velaryon, Mysaria, and most importantly, King's brother Prince Daemon Targaryen.
Prince Daemon was Viserys' brother, who wished to sit on the throne, only to be later ousted from his brother's active council, when made Commander of the City Watch. He later became familiar with city brothels and criminals, winning over the common people and gaining a reputation as "Prince of the City". His newfound fame among the low-borns further led King Viserys to discard his claim to the throne, naming his daughter his heir instead. However, Daemon served as Rhaenyra's commander during the Dance.
How these characters will spawn across the lore of House of the Dragon and what relationship they will share together will be a new experience even for the ones who have read the book, as the show will probably take a new approach towards the representation of these characters.
It's definitely going to introduce certain new characters, or merge some of them to form composite characters just like the original series, Game of Thrones. The series shall also introduce some new subplots as well. It will honestly be amazing to introduce House Stark into the storyline, who sided with Rhaenyra's claim to the throne in the source material.
House Stark has been the oldest royal household in the seven kingdoms. Many have believed that a king can't rule Westeros without a Stark at his side in the North, as the icy lands expand to an area larger than all the other kingdoms combined. Though it won't be possible for this subplot to feature in the first season, one can keep hopes high for a possible second season .
Principal Cast of House of the Dragon
- Paddy Considine [Peaky Blinders] as King Viserys I
- Matt Smith [Doctor Who] as Prince Daemon Targaryen
- Emma D'Arcy [Truth Seekers] as Rhaenyra Targaryen
- Olivia Cooke [Ready Player One] as Alice Hightower
- Steve Toussaint [Skins, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time] as Corlys Velaryon
- Eve Best [The King's Speech] as Rhaenys Velaryon
- Rhys Ifans [The Amazing Spider-Man, Anonymous] as Lord Otto Hightower
- Sonoya Mizuno [Ex Machina, Annihilation] as Mysaria
- Fabien Finkel [The Serpent] as Ser Criston Cole
The show's pre-production began with script-reading between showrunners with Paddy, Matt, Emma, Olivia, Ifans, and Toussaint present at the table.
Miguel Sapochnik, who directed Emmy-Award winning episode "Battle of Bastards" in Game of Thrones as well as "The Long Night", will serve as showrunner along with screenwriter Ryan Condal. The show will also mark the return of music composer Ramin Djawadi, who also scored the amazing soundtrack of all eight seasons of Game of Thrones, giving us mesmerizing tracks such as"The Long Night" and "Light of the Seven".
When will House of the Dragon Air?
Though there is no confirmed date assigned for the show to air, it will probably debut on television next year. Special designated social media handles going by the name of the show's title on Instagram and Twitter are up and live as of this moment and viewers and fans can stay tuned to receive the latest updates on the show on these handles as everything progresses.
House of the Dragon is not the first spin-off of Game of Thrones the network had planned. Earlier, right after season eight's infamous conclusion, a prequel, tentatively titled Bloodmoon went underway. The show was supposed to follow a storyline set 10000 years before the original series and would've set in the far north, focusing on the first arrival of Andals and possibly, the first Long Night. An entire cast, led by Naomi Watts was confirmed to play different characters and it was teased that the show would take a darker approach with its setting and subplots.
However, the show was cancelled by October 2019, and House of the Dragon was greenlit. Notably, the first-ever pilot of Game of Thrones was straight-away discarded by HBO, which cost the network ten million dollars.
House of the Dragon will debut with a ten-episode season which is officially under pre-production. Awesome fan art above by Carlos Gonzalez.