HBO has announced an August 21 release for House of the Dragon, a Game of Thrones “successor show” that follows a Targaryen civil war taking place in Westeros 300 years before the events of the original series. Starring Paddy Considine, Matt Smith, and Emma D’Arcy, among others, the show is the only GOT prequel currently green-lit despite at least three others reportedly in the works (a moment of silence for the Naomi Watts spinoff that never was). Although it may be difficult to live up to the expectations set by its epic, record-breaking predecessor, the first episode of House of the Dragon is already George R.R. Martin approved. “I’ve seen a rough cut of the first episode. And loved it. It’s dark, it’s powerful, it’s visceral … just the way I like my epic fantasy,” Martin wrote on his blog in December 2021.
“Ryan and Miguel have done an amazing job, and the cast … just as with GAME OF THRONES, most viewers will only have heard of a few of the actors, but I think you are going to fall in love with a lot of them,” he added. “(Only to have your heart broken later when … but no, that would be telling).” From the teaser to the cast to the story lines, here’s everything that’s been revealed about the project taking us back to Martin’s universe.
What is it about?
House of the Dragon will follow the Dance of the Dragons, a Targaryen civil war that took place in Westeros and is referenced in Fire and Blood and The World of Ice and Fire. This particular battle of succession is also explored in two novellas, The Princess and the Queen and The Rogue Prince. HBO released a teaser for the series on May 5 featuring all manner of Game of Thrones goodness, including Milly Alcock’s Young Rhaenyra, the all-platinum-blonde Targaryen family, and an extremely dramatic voice-over.
Who has been cast?
House Targaryen representatives will include Considine as King Viserys Targaryen with Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen, the king’s younger brother and heir to the throne, and D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, the king’s firstborn daughter. Olivia Cooke will play Alicent Hightower, the daughter of the Hand of the King, Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans). Steve Toussaint is set to take on the role of Lord Corlys Velaryon, also known as the Sea Snake, a nautical adventurer whose house boasts the world’s largest navy. Eve Best will play his wife, Princess Rhaenys Velaryon. Finally, Sonoya Mizuno will be Mysaria, an “unlikely ally” of the prince. On May 5, 2021 HBO released three photos of the cast looking very beachy.
Where was the show filmed?
While Game of Thrones was based in Northern Ireland for its entire run, House of the Dragon has opted to shoot in England instead. According to Radio Times, HBO confirmed in 2020 that House of the Dragon’s production headquarters would be at Leavesden Studios (the site of the Harry Potter films) in Watford, England. Fans also speculated early on that some scenes were shot in Cornwall, England, after noticing that a stone archway set being constructed there appears to have a Velaryon crest.
On April 27, 2021, The Daily Mail spotted Smith and D’Arcy walking together in costume on a beach along the southwest coast of Cornwall. Repping the colors of House Targaryen’s coat of arms, Smith is dressed down to his boots in black, while D’Arcy wears a gown with several shades of red. Both dragonriders, of course, are sporting icy blonde wigs that would make Daenerys proud.