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Release Date, Cast, How to Watch

At a glance:

  • Based on the 2018 book Fire & Blood by George R.R. Martin, House of the Dragon is a new series set centuries before the events of Game of Thrones.
  • The series premiered on HBO Max August 21, 2022. Read io9’s recap of the episode here.
  • Unlike the original Game of Thrones, this is expected to have a smaller, less expansive cast, focusing primarily on the titular House of the Dragon, the Targaryen family, and the immediate members of their court.
  • Martin is working with authors Elio M. García Jr. and Linda Antonsson to create an illustrated history of the Targaryens based on the lore in Fire and Blood and beyond, due out October 25, 2022.

Last updated 09/8/2022.

What is House of the Dragon about?

House of the Dragon is set during the “Dance of the Dragons,” a period of civil war between members of the Targaryen family that occurred two centuries before the events of Martin and HBO’s Game of Thrones. As they’re the rulers of Westeros when House starts, their dissolution had wide repercussions in ways that this new series will offer deeper insight on. (Read more: The Civil War That Tore Westeros in Half, Long Before King Joffrey.)

Though House of the Dragon is a canonical Game of Thrones prequel, and is adapting material from hundreds of years before the events depicted in the original show, the show’s creative team have emphasized that it will have its own identity and tone that will evolve and emerge over the course of the show. (Read more: The Game of Thrones Prequel Will Have Its Own Unique Tone.)

In other words, the show will feature all the political maneuvering, explicit bloodshed, and giant CGI dragons that Game of Thrones fans have come to expect, but it will still make sense to viewers who didn’t watch the original series. (Read more: House of the Dragon’s Cast and Crew on HBO’s Return to Westeros.)

One thing House of the Dragon probably won’t feature: Gratuitous violence towards women, a frequently criticized element of Game of Thrones. (Read more: Game of Thrones Prequel Star Olivia Cooke Believes the Show Won’t Have ‘Egregious Violence Towards Women’.)

Who is making House of the Dragon?

The co-creators of House of the Dragon are Ryan Condal, a producer and screenwriter best known for the TV series Colony and the movie Rampage, and George R.R. Martin, author of the books that inspired Game of Thrones. Condal and Miguel Sapochnik, who directed six Game of Thrones episodes including the Emmy-winning “Battle of the Bastards,” are the showrunners. (Read more: Go Behind the Scenes of Last Night’s Astonishing Game of Thrones Battle.) After episode two of House of the Dragon aired, Sapochnik announced he would be stepping down ahead of season two; fellow Game of Thrones vet Alan Taylor is taking his place.

In December 2021, Martin wrote on his personal blog that he’d 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,” he said. “Ryan and Miguel have done an amazing job, and the cast… just as with Game of Thronesmost 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.”

Emmy-winning Game of Thrones and Westworld composer Ramin Djawadi will score the series. To the relief of many, Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss are not involved in House of the Dragon.

Is there a House of the Dragon trailer?

House of the Dragon | Official Trailer | HBO Max

Yes! We first saw footage of the show in a brief first teaser trailer that was released on October 5, 2021. (See more: Who’s Who in House of the Dragon’s Fiery First Trailer)

On May 5, 2022, HBO Max gave us a second teaser that gives a little more flavor about the conflict over the successor to the Iron Throne that sparks the major conflict of House of the Dragon. (See more: A New House of the Dragon Trailer Sets Westeros on Fire)

Posters have also been released by HBO Max. The official trailer came out on July 20, 2022. (See more: The Latest House of Dragon Trailer Promises a New Throne Game)

Why this story, and not one of G.R.R. Martin’s other tales?

HBO says it chose to tell this story because the book it is based on, Fire & Blood: 300 Years Before A Game of Thronesis already completed and published, so the producers will have a full roadmap to the series. (Read more: Here’s Why Game of Thrones Spin-Off House of the Dragon Was Chosen Over the Others.) You can read an excerpt from the book here.

Fans who are waiting for a Dunk and Egg TV series are going to have to wait.

Who is in the cast? Who do they play?

First images from Games of Thrones spin-off House of the Dragon. Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen.

Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen.
Image: HBO

  • Paddy Considine plays King Viserys Targaryena kind man who has been chosen to rule by the lords of Westeros.
  • Olivia Cooke (you might remember her from Ready Player One) is Alicent Hightower, daughter of the Hand of the King.
  • Emma D’Arcy plays Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, the king’s first-born child, and named by him to be the next ruler of the seven kingdoms.
  • Matt Smith (yes, the Eleventh Doctor) is Prince Daemon Targaryen, younger brother of King Viserys I, and would-be heir to the throne as the closest male relative to the King—if he didn’t ultimately side with his niece in the coming civil war.
  • Steve Toussaint is Corlys Velaryon, aka “The Sea Snake,” lord of a Valyrian bloodline as old as House Targaryen.
  • Eve Best is Princess Rhaenys Velaryon, wife to Lord Corlys Velaryon, known as “The Queen Who Never Was” because she was passed over as heir to the throne in favor of her cousin Viserys.
  • Rhys Ifans is Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King.

Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower and Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower in HBO's House of Dragon.

Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower and Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower.
Image: HBO

Other cast members include Sonoya MizunoFabien Frankel, Milly Alcock, Emily Carey, Ryan Corr, Jefferson Hall, David Horovitch, Graham McTavish, Matthew Needham, Bill Paterson, Gavin Spokes, and Ewan Mitchell.

How can I watch House of the Dragon?

The show is broadcast on the HBO cable network, and available on-demand via the HBO Max streaming service. Both require a subscription.

What other Game of Thrones shows are in the works?

HBO Max is reportedly working on at least three animated shows set in Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” universe, including one focused on the Golden Empire of Yi Ti. (Read more: Game of Thrones May Cross the Narrow Sea With Even More Animated Series.)

HBO was working on another prequel serieswhich was written by Jane Goldman, starred Naomi Watts, and set thousands of years before the first show. A pilot had been filmed and was in post-production when HBO canceled the show. Several other rumored Game of Thrones projects also appear to be canceled or in limbo.

What if I need even more Game of Thrones in my life?

Robert Baratheon is likely to be front and center in a new Game of Thrones Broadway show.

Robert Baratheon is likely to be front and center in a new Game of Thrones stage production.
Image: HBO

There is also a Game of Thrones Broadway show in the works, which will focus on “the Great Tourney at Harrenhal,” an event often referred to in the original TV series and books because it kickstarted the war between Robert Baratheon and the Targaryens.

For more news, coverage, and episode recaps on all House of the Dragon look below:

More news and coverage:

Daemon Targaryen, Westeros’ John WickCorrection 10/7/2021, 4:45 p.m. ET: A previous version of this post misstated the Targaryen heirs’ status.

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