'House of the Dragon: Inside the Creation of a Targaryen Dynasty' Book Review
Based on fantasy author George R. R. Martin's book Fire & Blood, HBO's Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon follows the rise and fall of the House Targaryen empire in Westeros. Co-creators Ryan Condal and George R.R. Martin are responsible for bringing the series to life, while Condal and Miguel Sapochnik acted as co-showrunners. The show was renewed for a second season after 9.3 million viewers tuned in for the Season 1 finale.
Adapting Martin's fantastical world for television requires incredible creative forethought. Gina McIntyre's book, Game of Thrones: House of the Dragon: Inside the Creation of a Targaryen Dynasty, charts the creative process of the show as well as behind-the-scenes details, including interviews with the cast, never-before-seen concept art, production stills, and costume renderings.
'House of the Dragon: Inside the Creation of a Targaryen Dynasty'
While House of the Dragon: Inside the Creation of a Targaryen Dynasty offers a unique look behind-the-scenes of HBO's biggest show since Game of Thrones, the hefty price tag might put off some prospective consumers, especially when "Inside the Episode" segments for the show are available for free online.
Publication date: Jan. 31, 2023
Author: Gina McIntyre
Publisher: Insight Editions
Genre: Companion book
The book is comprised of 4 chapters, each with a central theme. The first chapter, "Origins," takes the reader chronologically through House of the Dragon's creation, beginning with George R. R. Martin and Ryan J. Condal’s first meeting and a retrospective on Game of Thrones as a franchise. The second chapter, "Redesigning Westeros," explains how the production had to revisit places from Game of Thrones 200 years before.
The third chapter of the book is titled "Casting and Costumes" and features costume renderings and cast interviews. The fourth and final chapter of the book, "Production," spotlights fifteen important scenes or events from the first season of House of the Dragon with added cast and crew interviews about those scenes.
The best parts of this book are the never-before-seen renderings and the interviews with George R. R. Martin, Miguel Sapochnik, and Ryan Condal. Martin remains elusive as he attempts to finish The Winds of Winter (and a myriad of other Game of Thrones-related projects), so hearing specifically from him about how the collaboration on House of the Dragon came to be is a treat.
Interviews with production designer Jim Clay, costume designer Jane Temime, and casting director Kate Rhodes James are also insightful, especially for explaining initial renderings of characters or changes made to prominent locations from how they were in Game of Thrones.
Despite continuing the Game of Thrones universe, fans can see how House of the Dragon both builds upon previous design decisions while retaining a sense of individuality.
The quality and care that went into the crafting of this book cannot go unnoticed, with textured dragon scale endpapers and thick pages. McIntyre has clearly done her research and has great quotes from cast and crew, which only further enhance the show’s viewing experience. However, it would be remiss to withhold the price of the book, which is currently $60 USD; $60 is at least double the price of the average hardcover book in America.
For those die-hard fans who need to have House of the Dragon: Inside the Creation of a Targaryen Dynasty on their coffee tables, the price will be worth the purchase. For those who are curious but not enough to spend the money, a good alternative is to seek out HBO’s Inside the Episode clips, which are free on the official Game of Thrones YouTube account.
Season 1 of House of the Dragon is currently available for streaming on HBO Max.