Everything You Need To Know About House of the Dragon
Before you get too excited HBO’s House of the Dragon is not a sequel to Game of Thrones (GoT). Sorry to disappoint those expecting to see the Starks, the Lannisters, or any of your other favorite GoT characters. Those that survived in the end, anyway.
House of the Dragon is a Game of Thrones prequel series, set about 200 years before GoT, and it’s about when the Targaryen Family was at the height of its power. We loved Game of Thrones for its madness, political intrigue, sex, battles, and dragons; plenty of which has to do with the Targaryen Family. There are a lot of expectations and fears (GoT Season 8, anyone?) surrounding House of the Dragon, so let’s shine a light on it by looking at everything you need to know.
Behind the Scenes
You will be happy to know that George R. R. Martin is an executive producer and co-creator of the show, alongside Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik. It’s a sigh of relief all around that D. B. Weiss, and David Benioff aren’t involved in House of the Dragon. Of course, Weiss’s and Benioff’s shoes are still pretty big to fill, particularly after—or even because of—the Season 8 debacle. Fans have higher expectations for House of the Dragon, especially since it infamously costs $20 million per episode.
The Plot of House of the Dragon
For those afraid the showrunners have had to go off book like Benioff and Weiss, fear no more. The show is based on George R. R. Martin’s brainchild Fire and Blood – a historical chronicle of House Targaryen. However, the show does not follow the entire book but zooms in on “the Dance of the Dragons,” a civil war that tore apart the Targaryen family and started the downfall of its dynasty.
Set 105 years after the Targaryen conquest of Westeros, when the family was at the height of its power, House of the Dragon depicts a time when every Targaryen of note rode on a dragon to burn their enemies.
The Cast of the Show
These are some of the Targaryens you should watch out for (and the actors that play them):
Paddy Considine, best known for his role in the 2004 revenge film Dead Man’s Shoes, plays King Viserys I, the fifth Targaryen king of the Seven Kingdoms, which should put into perspective the show’s timeframe.
Eve Best, best known for her roles in Nurse Jackie, American Experience, and The Honorable Woman, plays Rhaenys Targaryen, King Viserys’s cousin. She was the rightful heir to the throne but was voted out by the lords of Westeros in favor of Viserys I.
Emma D’Arcy, best known for their roles in Truth Seekers and Wanderlust, plays Princess Rhaenyra, the King’s favorite for the throne. Rhaenyra has both the capability and means to rule, but is constantly fighting with others for the Iron Throne.
Doctor Who’s Matt Smith plays Prince Daemon, the King’s younger brother and Princess Rhaenyra’s uncle.
What To Expect That’s Different From Game of Thrones
Dragons and Targaryens: Both Targaryens and dragons were rare species in GoT. However, it is the exact opposite in House of the Dragon. The Targaryens and their scaly, fire-breathing mounts are the focus of this show, as compared to Game of Thrones which featured the many houses and great families of Westeros and beyond.
Mild depictions of sexual violence: GoT was criticized for many things, its explicit display of sexual violence perhaps the most notable. Although sexual violence is still a predominant topic in the show, House of the Dragon’s approach to sexual violence is vastly different from GoT. The showrunners have said that they aim to show the impact of sexual violence, especially against women, but will not show the violence as it unfolds.
History: The progression of history is, in my opinion, the best selling point for House of the Dragon. The show takes us down memory lane to a different time, where dragons were a key weapon of war and Targaryens ruled the skies. It also allows you to take a peek into the minds of the kings of the seven kingdoms, unlike GoT, which centered more on winning the Iron Throne. It is fun to watch what has changed since GoT ended in 2019; hopefully, the showrunners have learned from the mistakes of GoT Season 8.