Fire will reign! But not for another two years.
HBO’s upcoming Game of Thrones spin-off series, House of the Dragon, is set to arrive in 2022. Some of us are still licking our wounds over the disappointing final season of the original show, but a two-year wait should give us the time we need to process things and get over King Bran.
To help you prepare, however, let’s go over everything we know, based on what HBO has said and George RR Martin’s own source material.
What is House of the Dragon about?
House of the Dragon is expected to be based on Fire and Blood, the most recent George RR Martin novel. Set in the Game of Thrones Universe, the novel is a “part one” for the history of Westeros -- specifically the 300-year rule of the Targaryen kings.
Actually, Fire and Blood is about the first century of the Targaryen kings. It begins with the arrival of Aegon the Conqueror in Westeros and ends 130 years later with the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons. The “part two” of Fire and Blood -- or second novel -- isn’t out yet, but it should take us right up to the events of the original HBO show.
The House of the Dragon series may follow a roadmap similar to how HBO’s Game of Thrones series is based on George RR. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels. However, it’s important to remember that the original HBO series takes place over about five years, while Fire and Blood covers over a century -- and that’s without the unreleased second book.
No one but HBO can say what exactly House of the Dragon will choose to focus on in the Fire and Blood novel, but there are a few theories.
Let’s break them down.
Theory 1: The entire Fire and Blood novel
There is a chance that House of the Dragon will methodically follow the entire Fire and Blood novel, similar to how the original Game of Thrones show was originally based on A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin.
Many fans loved Game of Thrones when it closely mirrored those novels, but when the showrunners were forced to develop new episodes -- without source material from George RR Martin -- some argued that the show dipped in quality.
Fire and Blood is a different beast from A Song of Ice and Fire, however, as there are decades between key events in the 130-year story. That might be too long of a timespan for one TV show to cover. So, this ‘entire book’ theory is highly unlikely.
Theory 2: Aegon’s Conquest
Aegon is the first Targaryen king. He arrives in Westeros following the Doom of Valyria with his two sister-wives and their dragons. This checks a lot of boxes for what you’d want in a new Game of Thrones series: Dragons, war, and large-scale political intrigue. There’s even the unfortunate incestual relations, which we’ve come to expect from George RR Martin.
But there is one reason we don’t think Aegon will be the inspiration for House of the Dragon: There’s no surprises.
Aegon easily wins his biggest battles by setting armies on fire. The climax of the war isn’t a battle, either, but rather simply the King of the North realizing he can’t defeat dragons, so he bends the knee. This time in Westeros history is also all fairly well covered in the original HBO series, which means none of this seems new and could be boring for true fans.
For more information on Aegon's Conquest, check out the animated feature above. HBO produced it for Game of Thrones' seventh season DVD. It shows Aegon's arrival in Westeros and is narrated by actors from Game of Thrones, including Sophie Turne, Pilou Asbæk, and Harry Lloyd.
Theory 3: Dance of the Dragons
This is the most likely pick for what the next entry in the Game of Thrones saga will be -- in our opinion.
Centered around a timeframe similar to that of the original show, the Dance of the Dragons is a civil war that pitted the Targaryen kings and their dragons against one another with heroes and villains on both sides. It wasn’t covered as much as Aegon’s Conquest in the original HBO show, except for the occasional reference about dragons going extinct after the conflict.
This sounds like a tortured experience Game of Thrones fans would love.
If you want to learn more about the Dance of the Dragons, HBO produced an animated short (above) included in the histories and lore section of the Game of Thrones's fifth season DVD. It's narrated by Game of Thrones actors, like Michelle Fairley, Pedro Pascall, and Mark Addy.
When will House of the Dragon premiere?
HBO’s president of programming, Casey Bloys, recently revealed in an interview with Deadline that House of the Dragon is slated to release on the upcoming HBO Max streaming service “sometime around 2022”. We assume it'll premiere on HBO as well.
How far along is development?
House of the Dragon is still in the very early stages of development, but HBO has ordered 10 episodes, according to Variety.
Bloys told Deadline there’s no new information on the upcoming series -- other than HBO has begun the process of writing it Oh, and George R.R. Martin is working on the script with a co-writer, Ryan Condal. Condal is a co-showrunner alongside Miguel Sapochnik. They're executive producers, as well. George RR Martin and Vince Gerardis will be billed as executive producers, too.
Sapochnik, who has experience directing six Game of Thrones episodes, including Hardhome, The Long Night, and The Battle of the Bastards, is supposed to direct the pilot as well as additional episodes. House of the Dragon is Sapochnik’s first project as part of a deal where he will develop and produce content for both HBO and HBO Max.
Has anyone been cast yet?
There have been no casting rumours so far.
What happened to the prequel series?
HBO decided not to pick up a pilot for a Game of Thrones prequel series that was supposed to star Naomi Watts, according to Bloys.
The show, which was written and developed by Jane Goldman, was set to take place 8,000 years before Game of Thrones, focusing on humanity’s first encounter with the White Walkers and the army of the dead.
Bloys suggested the main problem with the prequel series is that it lacks true source material: “One of the things about House of Dragons, there is a text, there is a book so that made it a little bit more of a road map for a series order.”