House of the Dragon: when is the Game of Thrones spin-off released? What is it about?

George RR Martin and Ryan Condal are dragon us back to Westeros with a new series about the Targaryens starring Paddy Considine

Game of Thrones' dragon

Game of Thrones spin-off House of the Dragon has finally stopped, er, dragon its feet, with first-look details about the casting and story revealed after months of speculation.

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Paddy Considine will star in the series, set around 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones, in a story that follows a good king whose reign still begets a deadly and damaging civil war.

With no returning Game of Thrones characters given the long gap between the two time periods, the series is sure to offer a very different take on Westeros and House Targaryen, the royal line which eventually begets Emilia Clarke’s Daenerys Targaryen.

Of course, a lot of details about the series are still being kept under wraps – but here’s what we DO know about House of the Dragon.


When will the Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon be on TV?

Currently, this is some way off. HBO have made a series order so production will begin to ramp up soon, but at the time of writing the show has only just begun to begin to cast the drama.

In an interview with Deadline, President of HBO Programming Casey Bloys estimated an air date sometime in 2022, but couldn’t be any more specific than that.

However, we do already know where the 10-episode series will air in the UK – Sky Atlantic and NOW TV, the same place that aired Game of Thrones, with the broadcaster re-upping its deal with HBO after House of the Dragon’s announcement.

To catch up, you can watch Game of Thrones seasons 1 – 8 on Amazon Prime today or on NOW TV when it becomes available. You can also buy the DVD boxset for seasons 1-8 on Amazon for £99.99.

Who’s in the cast?

Paddy Considine (Getty)
Paddy Considine (Getty)

Paddy Considine has been announced as the series lead King Viserys I, a King whose reign ended up causing the Targaryen-vs-Targaryen civil war known as The Dance of the Dragons when he left behind two rival claimants for the throne.

“Viserys was chosen by the lords of Westeros to succeed the Old King, Jaehaerys Targaryen, at the Great Council at Harrenhal,” an official statement said.

“A warm, kind, and decent man, Viserys only wishes to carry forward his grandfather’s legacy, but as we’ve learned from Game of Thrones, good men do not necessarily make for great kings.”

Other cast are currently unknown but we’re probably looking for platinum blondes OR people with some solid wig experience. And whoever they are, we’re sure they’ll be hitting up Emilia Clarke for some dragon-riding tips soon…

We do know that a casting call went out in February 2020 for key roles of Aegon, Visenya and Rhaenys Targaryen, as reported by Knight Edge Media, which could suggest a role for flashbacks given that these figures existed many years before Viserys took the throne.

Other more recent reports suggest that a casting call went out for female leads Rhaenyra Targaryen (described as late 20s), and Alicent Hightower (described as slightly older).

We can give a quick rundown of these two new characters here. In Westerosi history, following the death of Viserys I (Considine) there was a clash between two rival factions of the royal Targaryen family, led by Rhaenyra and Alicent. Viserys’ daughter Rhaenyra had been named as the dead King’s heir – however, his second wife Alicent thought her son should rule instead, with all of Westeros splitting allegiances between the two groups.

In other words, yes these are some pretty key figures in the story, and we can’t wait to see who ends up being cast.


Will any Game of Thrones characters return?

Game of Thrones

Probably not – unless the Night King or some Children of the Forest make a cameo.

The series is supposedly set 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones, meaning that none of the characters we’ve grown to know and love would appear.

However, if the series does adapt the period in Westerosi history that it’s rumoured to, we will see the ancestors of the Starks, Lannisters, Baratheons and other families that we’re more familiar with. Depending on exactly how much ground is covered we could also see original Westerosi conquerors Aegon, Visenya and Rhaenys Targaryen, as hinted by early casting announcements, though this hasn’t been confirmed.

And there is one familiar face that we might seen again – that of famously large dragon Balerion the Black Dread, Aegon’s mount whose skull resided in the dungeon’s of King’s Landing throughout most of Game of Thrones, and who was “historically” ridden by King Viserys I at one point.

Though he might have a little bit more skin on his bones this time…


What will the Game of Thrones Targaryen prequel be about?

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Based on Considine’s character description, it seems likely that the Targaryen Civil War – known as the Dance of Dragons – will be the focus of the prequel. EW seems to think so, and recent casting rumours suggest that key Dance of Dragons figures will be the main female leads, adding credence to the theories.

Thrones author George R.R. Martin said: “For what it’s worth, those who have read Fire & Blood will realise it contains enough materials for a dozen shows.

“I can say that there will be dragons. Everyone else has said that, so why not me?”

While the specific plot details are yet to be nailed down, we do know that the Targaryen family will be front and centre throughout.

Casey Bloys, president of HBO programming, said after the show’s announcement: “The Game of Thrones universe is so rich with stories. We look forward to exploring the origins of House Targaryen and the earlier days of Westeros along with Miguel, Ryan and George.”

We’ve gone into a bit more depth about potential storylines here…


Who’s making the series?

George RR Martin, who wrote the original A Song of Ice and Fire book series that Game of Thrones is based on, has been working on the series with Ryan Condal, the creator of sci-fi TV series Colony. 

“[The series] has a script and a bible, and both of them are terrific, first rate, exciting,” Martin said.  “They’re the work of Ryan Condal.”

“He’s a helluva strong writer, and a huge fan of A Song of Ice and Fire, Dunk & Egg, and Westeros in general. I’ve loved working with him, and if the Seven Gods and HBO are kind, I hope to keep on working with him for years to come on this new successor show.”

Director Miguel Sapochnik will also serve as co-showrunner with Condal, and has been tapped to direct the first episode as well as several others, having previously helmed prolific Game of Thrones chapters including Battle of the Bastards and Winds of Winter.

Regular Game of Thrones writer Bryan Cogman reportedly worked on an earlier version of the idea that has now been shelved.


To catch up, you can watch Game of Thrones seasons 1 – 8 on Amazon Prime today or on NOW TV when it becomes available. You can also buy the DVD boxset for seasons 1-8 on Amazon for £99.99.

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