You should already be hyped for HBO‘s first Game of Thrones spin-off, House of the Dragon, even if the new show’s release date is still a while away. The prequel series is going to bring the infamous “Dance of the Dragons” to life, a Targaryen civil war full of scandalous hookups, palace intrigue, and fiery dragon battles. The show’s cast is already full of household names and rising stars. House of the Dragon promises to double-down on all the stuff that made Game of Thrones great, and maybe — just maybe? — reassess everything that left a sour taste in even hardcore fans’ mouths.
While House of the Dragon is still a long way off from hitting our screens, there’s already a lot we know about what the Game of Thrones spin-off is going to be like. In the George RR Martin book Fire & Blood, a fictional Archmaester named Gyldayn attempts to pull together a faithful history of the Targaryen dynasty from various sources available to him. However, as readers of Fire & Blood will note, it’s obvious that Gyldayn is juggling conflicting, and even false, accounts. House of the Dragon is going to get into the nitty, gritty, and dirty parts of the story left off the page.
HBO has also upped the House of the Dragon hype by announcing some key cast members for the series. Paddy Considine is set to play the gentle-hearted King Viserys Targaryen, Matt Smith his dangerous younger brother Prince Daemon, and Sonoya Mizuno is going to play Daemon’s lover/ally Mysaria.
So there’s already a lot for Game of Thrones fans to speculate over and get hyped about. Here’s everything we know so far about HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel series, House of the
WHEN DOES THE GAME OF THRONES SPIN-OFF HOUSE OF THE DRAGON COME OUT?
HBO has confirmed that House of the Dragon will premiere some time in 2022. Production on the series is scheduled to kick off sometime this year. While we don’t have an exact date, the fact that HBO has begun production on the series suggests we could see the series debut as early as Spring or Summer 2022.
WHAT IS THE GAME OF THRONES SPIN OFF HOUSE OF THE DRAGON ABOUT?
HBO’s official site for House of the Dragon claims the series is set about 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones, but the characters the show is focused on lived about 200 years before Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen.
House of the Dragon focuses on the reign of King Viserys I Targaryen. While Viserys’s reign was a rather peaceful time in Westeros, his ascension to the throne was full of tense family drama. Viserys was famously chosen to succeed his grandfather, the beloved “Good King” Jaehaerys at the Great Council of Harrenhal. This was controversial because he was bumped ahead of his cousin Rhaenys and her son Laenor, even though Rhaenys’s father had been older than Viserys’s. The reason for this leap in succession order? Because Viserys was a man, Rhaenys a woman, and her son a child.
The Great Council of Harrenhal established that Targaryen rule went to the next male heir in line. However, when Viserys lost his own male heir, a schemer in the court, Otto Hightower, convinced Viserys to declare his beloved daughter Rhaenyra the next-in-line for the Iron Throne.
This becomes a problem because not only does Viserys have a brother, Daemon, but his second bride gives birth to a number of healthy sons. Thus setting the stage for a violent civil war over who will take the Iron Throne upon Viserys’s death… aka The Dance of the Dragons.
WHO IS IN THE HOUSE OF THE DRAGON CAST?
Here’s everything we know about the House of the Dragon cast so far…including Matt Smith’s Prince Daemon, Olivia Cooke’s Alicent Hightower, Sonoya Mizuno’s Mysaria, and Paddy Considine’s King Viserys.
Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen
The key thing to know about Viserys is he’s a kind man; almost too kind to be king. Because he doesn’t want to be cruel, he tolerates slights and ignores threats right in front of him.
Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen
George RR Martin literally describes Daemon Targaryen as a “notorious bad boy” and “rogue in every sense of the world.” He’s also Martin’s favorite character in the history of Westeros (that’s not in Game of Thrones). Daemon is violent, ambitious, and wildly unpredictable.
Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen
As Viserys’s eldest surviving child, Rhaenyra grows up assuming that she will inherit the Iron Throne. Beautiful, passionate, and slightly haughty, she is a Targaryen through and through. (For all the good and bad that entails…)
Steve Toussaint as The Sea Snake, Lord Corlys Valeryon
Perhaps one of the most fascinating characters in all of Martin’s writing, the Sea Snake is the greatest sailor and merchant in Westerosi history. He builds a huge fortune for himself through sailing, including a gorgeous castle called High Tide in the Driftmark. He is not a dragon-rider, but he is of Valyrian blood. Indeed the Valeryon family is the only major Valyrian family besides the Targaryens to escape the Doom of Valyria.
It should also be noted that Steve Toussaint is a Black actor, meaning that for the first time we’ll meet Valyrians who are not purely pale-skinned and traditionally silver-haired and light-eyed. It’s a casting choice that diversifies the history of Westeros in a big way.
Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Targaryen
Rhaenys is the cousin who was pushed out of the order of succession so Viserys could rule. So you could say she’s not a big fan of his. Married to the Sea Snake, she still holds a tremendous amount of power in the realm. She’s also — it should be noted — a dragon-rider.
Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower
HBO’s official site describes Alicent as having “a courtly grace and a keen political acumen.” In Martin’s Fire & Blood, we learn that she cozied up to King Jaehaerys in the final years of his life before later offering her comforts to the next king, Viserys. She’s likely to be a big favorite for fans of Cersei, Margaery, and Sansa.
Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower
Otto Hightower, Alicent’s father and Viserys’s hand, is the biggest schemer in Westeros at this time. At odds with Daemon Targaryen, he pushes to put Rhaenyra ahead of him in line for the Iron Throne. That kind of backfires when his own daughter becomes Viserys’s second queen.
Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria, aka Lady Misery
HBO’s official press announcement only vaguely describes Mysaria as a survivor of sex trade who has risen to become Prince Daemon’s most trusted ally. However hardcore GRRM nerds will know her as “Lady Misery,” a snide name given to her by history. The fact that a big, exciting name like Sonoya Mizuno is attached suggests Mysaria is going to have an even bigger part to play in the show than in Fire & Blood.
That said, as Daemon’s lover and main spymaster, she probably would be written out of the “official” Westerosi History, much like Tyrion Lannister comically was at the end of Game of Thrones. The possibilities for this character to be a cross between Ros, Melisandre, and Varys are very intriguing.
Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole
George RR Martin himself revealed on social media that British actor Fabien Frankel will be playing Ser Criston Cole, the greatest knight of the era and Princess Rhaenyra’s main crush. It’s unclear in Fire & Blood how these two fell out. He was once her sworn sword and later one of her most virulent enemies. Speculation abounds over whether or not she made an advance on him or he on her and who rebuffed whom. House of the Dragon will likely reveal the truth about their complex relationship. HBO.com adds he will be of Dornish descent in the show.
Additional House of the Dragon cast, including who’s playing Laenor and Laena Velaryon, Ryan Corr’s Breakbones, and more…
When HBO unveiled the first teaser trailer for House of the Dragon, they also confirmed four more actors who had been added to the cast. Wil Johnson will play Ser Vaemond Velaryon, described as “Younger brother to Corlys Velaryon and commander in the Velaryon navy.” Theo Nate and Savannah Steyn are the teen versions of Ser Laenor Velaryon and Lady Laena Velayron, Corlys Velaryon and Rhaenys Targaryen’s children. John Macmillan will play the older version of Ser Laenor, who is married to Emma D’Arcy’s Rhaenyra. (All four actors can be seen in the teaser trailer.)
On September 24, 2021, HBO’s official House of the Dragon Twitter account tweeted that seven more actors had been added to the cast including Ryan Corr, Jefferson Hall, David Horovitch, Graham McTavish, Matthew Needham, Bill Paterson, and Gavin Spokes. According to the HBO official site, the actors play these parts:
“Ryan Corr as Ser Harwin ‘Breakbones’ Strong. Harwin is said to be the strongest man in the Seven Kingdoms. Ser Harwin is the eldest son to Master of Laws Lyonel Strong and heir to Harrenhal.
Jefferson Hall as twins Lord Jason Lannister and Tyland Lannister. Jason is the Lord of Casterly Rock. Tyland Lannister is a crafty and calculating politician.
David Horovitch as Grand Maester Mellos. He’s a voice of reason and trusted advisor to King Viserys.
Graham McTavish as Ser Harrold Westerling. Ser Harrold has served in the Kingsguard since the days of King Jaehaerys; he is a paragon of chivalry and honor.
Matthew Needham as Larys Strong. The younger son of Master of Laws Lyonel Strong, he’s brought to court by his father.
Bill Paterson plays Lord Lyman Beesbury, the Lord of Honeyholt and Master of Coin on King Viserys’s small council.
Gavin Spokes is Lord Lyonel Strong. He’s Master of Laws to King Viserys and Lord of Harrenhal.”
The most interesting of that lot is Ryan Corr’s “Breakbones,” who will find himself in the middle of Rhaenyra and Laenor’s marriage (and is part of the drama with Ser Criston Cole). Though Martin’s Fire & Blood is purposely unclear on what exactly went down between these characters to drive such enmity.
WHO IS WRITING AND DIRECTING THE GAME OF THRONES SPIN OFF HOUSE OF THE DRAGON?
House of the Dragon was created by Colony creator Ryan J. Condal and George RR Martin. Condal with co-showrun the series with director Miguel Sapochnik. Sapochnik is known for directing some of the most epic and intense episodes of Game of Thrones, including “The Battle of the Bastards,” “The Long Night,” and “The Bells.” So expect House of the Dragon to go hard on the battles.
Other House of the Dragon directors include Clare Kilner, Geeta V. Patel, and Greg Yaitanes, who is also an executive producer.
Ramin Djawadi, the guy behind Game of Thrones‘s iconic theme song, is returning to compose music for House of the Dragon.
IS THERE A HOUSE OF THE DRAGON TRAILER?
Yep! The first teaser trailer was posted on October 5, 2021. The minute and change clip is narrated by Matt Smith’s Daemon Targaryen and gave us glimpses of the revamped Iron Throne and several key characters. Decider has a full breakdown of this teaser trailer, including Easter eggs you might have missed and our own theories about the direction of the show.
WHO ARE THE DRAGONS IN HOUSE OF THE DRAGON?
While the Targaryens are all metaphoric dragons, the fun thing about this era of Westeros is that there are a TON of dragons. And they should be bigger, badder, and scarier in battle than Daenerys’s main ride Drogon ever was.
We’re seeing Targaryens and their dragons at their full strength. That means we’re also going to see a lot of dragons, period. Here’s a list of some of the key dragons and their riders from this era. (Keep in mind, we’re going off of George R.R. Martin’s “history” of Westeros, Fire & Blood, so these details are subject to change in translation to the screen.)
Balerion the Dread: DEAD in this era, but the only dragon King Viserys ever rode (originally ridden by Aegon the Conqueror). The fact that Paddy Considine’s king doesn’t take another dragon is noteworthy.
Caraxes “the Blood Wyrm”: A truly badass dragon for Matt Smith’s rogue prince, Daemon Targaryen.
Meleys “the Red Queen”: Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best) was known for riding this fierce dragon.
Syrax: Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen’s dragon, aka the one Emma D’Arcy will ride.
Seasmoke: Laenor Valeryon’s dragon
Vhagar: Laena Valeryon’s dragon (originally ridden by Visenya Targaryen at the time of the Conquest)
Some dragons we might see hatch on the show, as they will be ridden by the children of the key characters already cast…
Vermax, Arrax, and Tyraxes: To be ridden by Rhaenyra’s three eldest sons, “Jace,” “Luke,” and “Joff”
Dreamfyre: To be ridden by Heleana Targaryen
Sunfyre: To be ridden by young Prince Ageon (the son of Viserys and Alicent)
Tessarion: To be ridden by Daeron, another, sigh, prince.
It’s unclear when exactly House of the Dragon Season 1 will be set, so we may not see all of these dragons right off the bat. However, we best see Caraxes and Vhagar or I want my HBO Max subscription money back. (Just saying!).