Redeem Yourselves: Newly Released ‘House of the Dragon’ Stills Builds More Excitement Among ‘Game of Thrones’ Fans - Arts & Culture

The prequel to the popular HBO series, which is reported to have a budget bigger than $50 million per season, happens centuries before the events of GOT, which ended with a whimper.

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HBO has released the first official images of the soon-to-be released Targaryen-focused Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon. Based on George R.R. Martin’s novel, Fire and Blood, the series is set to premiere in 2022.

Stellar cast

The set of stills introduces the key characters from Martin’s novel, fully-dressed in their costumes.

Leading the way are Emma D’Arcy (Truth Seekers) who plays Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, the King Viserys’ first-born child, a pure Valyrian blood, and a dragonrider. She is joined by Matt Smith (The Crown and Doctor Who) as Prince Daemon Targaryen, the younger brother of the king, heir to the throne, warrior, and also a dragonrider.

The rest of the cast are also filled with familiar faces from different movies and shows. Steve Toussaint (Doctor Who) is Lord Corlys Velaryon or The Sea Snake, the lord of House Velaryon, the most famed nautical adventurer in the history of Westeros, and the power behind the largest navy in the world. Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill) plays Otto Hightower, the loyal Hand of the King and a believer that Daemon is the greatest threat to the king and his realm.

Ready Player One and Sound of Metal’s Olivia Cooke, meanwhile, Alicent Hightower. She is the daughter of Otto Hightower and was raised close to the king, and is described as having both courtly grace and a keen political acumen.

Eve Best (Nurse Jackie and The King’s Speech)isViserys’s daughter Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen. Ex Machina and Crazy Rich Asians actress Sonya Mizuno plays Mysaria, Also called  Lady Misery, she was a dancer from Lys who became the paramour of Prince Daemon Targaryen and the unofficial mistress of whisperers to Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen during the Dance of the Dragons.

Fabien Frankel from The Serpent is Ser Criston Cole, a knight from House Cole who rose to become Lord Commander of the Kingsguard for the king.

Bloody dynasties

Released in 2018, Martin’s new novel begins 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones and covers major battles such as the Dance of Dragons or the Targaryen civil war, and the aftermath of the Doom of Valyria.

“Centuries before the events of A Game of Thrones, House Targaryen—the only family of dragonlords to survive the Doom of Valyria—took up residence on Dragonstone. Fire and Blood begins their tale with the legendary Aegon the Conqueror, creator of the Iron Throne, and goes on to recount the generations of Targaryens who fought to hold that iconic seat, all the way up to the civil war that nearly tore their dynasty apart,” reads the synopsis.

At the 2020 Television Critics Association meet-up, Casey Bloys, HBO’s programming president says the source material is the reason for creating the show.

“[When] we looked at House of the Dragon, one of the advantages it had was the text from Martin and the Targaryen history,” he says, as reported by “There was a bit more [of a] roadmap. It was an easier decision to say, ‘Alright, let’s go straight to series.’ It’s just sometimes these things click and sometimes they don’t.”

Massive production

Production has already started as of April 26, with a glimpse of a socially-distanced cast at a table read, as well as images of what the dragons in the series would look like. Compared to Game of Thrones, however, the cost to bring House of the Dragons to life is expected to be even more expensive.

“A $50 million [per season budget] would never fly for what we are trying to do,” Francesca Orsi, HBO’s senior vice president for drama series, has said in an interview. “We are going big.”

Though there are no exact figures for the series’ budget, it is known that HBO has ordered 10 episodes for the series, with Martin and screenwriter Ryan Condal as co-creators. Condal and Miguel Sapochnik, the latter being the director of GOT’s Battle of the Bastards, are co-showrunners and executive producers.

Martin, Vince Gerardis (Jumper), Sara Lee Hess (Orange Is the New Black), and Ron Schmidt are executive producers, too. Meanwhile, Clare Kilner (The Alienist: Angel of Darkness), Geeta V. Patel (The Great), and Greg Yaitanes (House) are additional directors.

A Daenerys cameo?

On whether Emilia Clarke’s role as GOT’s Daenerys Targaryen, the Mother of Dragons, will make an appearance in this prequel remains an unanswered question.

Clarke, however, has said in a Jimmy Fallon interview back in October 2019, that she has no idea about the House of the Dragon.

“I genuinely don’t know anything about it,” she says, adding that she and her co-stars only talked about it in a group chat. “Someone popped it on today and was like, ‘Look at that.’ We were like, ‘Ooh.’ And that’s pretty much it.”

In the same interview, Fallon insisted on a cameo saying that “we want it” and “we need it” because Emilia was “so good,” to which the actress replied, “Well, what else am I going to do? I’ve sort of killed everyone and flown off on a dragon. Spoiler: I am no longer alive”

“I know, but in this, you can be,” Fallon adds. “You can live forever.”

A GOT redemption?

House of the Dragon comes two years after the rather controversial finale of the Game of Thrones, which received mixed reviews from fans who have followed all of the latter’s eight seasons.

The spinoff is brewing expectations among some GOT fans who were left disappointed and building up excitement among those who dearly missed Martin’s work in television drama form.

Whether the spinoff—one of the many in the works at HBO—lives up to expectations or is worth all the anticipation, remains to be seen.

House of the Dragon will premiere in 2022 on HBO Max.

Banner Photo from @houseofthedragonhbo on IG

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