Say what you will about the way Game of Thrones ended — it’s hard not to get excited for the upcoming prequel House of the Dragon. The spinoff takes place 300 years before the events that kicked off Game of Thrones, and it is based on the George R.R. Martin book Fire & Blood.
You can expect some major Targaryen vibes, complete with the signature white hair and cringy incest. It's one of the first HBO-supported spinoffs to actually have some meat to it, however, and fans likely want to know what the House of the Dragon release date is. But let’s face it — anything involving George R.R. Martin and Game of Thrones can’t come soon enough.
What is the 'House of the Dragon' release date?
Right now, the House of the Dragon premiere is still far off. In April 2021, HBO finally started production, however, and the plan is for the prequel series to launch in 2022. The official Twitter page for Game of Thrones released a photo showing the cast hard at work and, although it's just the beginning, the announcement was certainly promising.
HBO also announced ahead of its release date that House of the Dragon Season 1 will be 10 episodes long, so at the very least, there will be enough time to set the tone for the new series. And with George at its helm, it’s hard to imagine a show from the Game of Thrones universe that doesn’t win over fans almost immediately.
What will 'House of the Dragon' be about?
If you’re looking for the closest thing to a play-by-play of the show's plot, you can refer to George's companion book Fire & Blood, on which the new series is based. It chronicles the entire history of House Targaryen. A lot of the family’s history was hinted at throughout Game of Thrones, but House of the Dragon takes place 300 years before the original series began.
The new show will likely focus on how the Targaryens took over Westeros with their fleet of dragons and united the Seven Kingdoms. There might also be some cursory mentions of other important houses in Westeros, like the Lannisters and Starks, because in other ways, they are just as important to the history of Westeros as the Targaryens are.
Who will be in 'House of the Dragon'? New stills revealed key characters.
You won't see Emilia Clarke reprise her role as the dragon queen Daenerys Targaryen, first of her name, etc. But you will meet other Targaryens and a ton of other characters never before known to the casual Game of Thrones fan.
The main cast consists of Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen, Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon ("The Sea Snake"), Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower, and Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower.
HBO has released the first official character descriptions along with new stills for the main characters, and it sounds like House of the Dragon will be equally as twisty as Game of Thrones. Princess Rhaenyra is described as "the king’s first-born child, she is of pure Valyrian blood, and she is a dragonrider. Many would say that Rhaenyra was born with everything… but she was not born a man."
Her exact opposite, Matt Smith's Prince Daemon is "the younger brother to King Viserys and heir to the throne. A peerless warrior and a dragonrider, Daemon possesses the true blood of the dragon. But it is said that whenever a Targaryen is born, the gods toss a coin in the air..." Perhaps the prince is as "Daemonic" as his name suggests?
A new noble house is also introduced in the show with the character of Lord Corlys Velaryon, "Lord of House Velaryon, a Valyrian bloodline as old as House Targaryen. As 'The Sea Snake,' the most famed nautical adventurer in the history of Westeros, Lord Corlys built his house into a powerful seat that is even richer than the Lannisters and that claims the largest navy in the world."
Olivia Cooke's Alicent Hightower is anticipated to become very important to the show, as a rumored ex-flame of Prince Daemon and future queen. She is described as "the daughter of Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King, and the most comely woman in the Seven Kingdoms. She was raised in the Red Keep, close to the king and his innermost circle; she possesses both a courtly grace and a keen political acumen."
And Rhys Ifans' character, Otto Hightower, might not remain the Hand of the King for long, based on his spat with Prince Daemon. "The Hand of the King, Ser Otto loyally and faithfully serves both his king and his realm. As the Hand sees it, the greatest threat to the realm is the king's brother, Daemon, and his position as heir to the throne."
Fans might argue about which house on Game of Thrones is best or most important, but there’s no denying how important the Targaryens were before most of them died out and left behind Daenerys, Viserys (the third of his name), and the half-blood Targaryen, Jon Snow.
It’s still going to be a long wait before House of the Dragon premieres on HBO, but if it’s anything like its predecessor, the wait will be worth it.