Highly anticipated Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon is just around the corner and will tell a completely different story from a different time in Westeros's history.

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It will be set long before poor old Ned Stark lost his head, before Joffrey took the throne, before Jon Snow went north of The Wall.

It therefore features an entirely new cast of characters, focusing on Emma D'Arcy's Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, Matt Smith's Prince Daemon Targaryen and Paddy Considine's King Viserys Targaryen, amongst others.

But just when is the show set and how does it connect with the Game of Thrones timeline? Read on for everything you need to know.

When is House of the Dragon set?

Paddy Considine in House of the Dragon
Paddy Considine in House of the Dragon HBO

HBO has confirmed that the series is set 200 years before the start of Game of Thrones, meaning the chances of Jon Snow or Tyrion popping up for a cameo are slim to say the least.

With the way George RR Martin's books have been adapted for the screen, it's unlikely that we'll be able to place the series in a specific date within the timeline, which works with BC and AC timelines (meaning before and after Aegon's conquest).

Game of Thrones reportedly took place in 298 AC, which could mean this series places around 100 AC – however, that's not yet been confirmed by Martin or any of the show's producers/creatives.

How is it connected to the Game of Thrones timeline?

Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) - Game of Thrones
Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon in Game of Thrones HBO

Of course everything we see in House of the Dragon will eventually lead into Game of Thrones, so this show will depict the beginnings of how Westeros came to be as we saw it in the original series. However, with it being set so far before, it still won't tell the whole story up to that point.

For instance, the series takes place a long time before Robert's Rebellion, which saw the Targaryen dynasty fall and Robert Baratheon ascend the Iron Throne. When we start House of the Dragon, the Targaryens will be seen ruling in an apparent state of peace – Targaryen rule lasted for approximately 300 years in total.

One of the showrunners, Ryan Condal, explained in a recent featurette: "This period in Westeros was a very decadent time, so you get to see what the realm looks like before it descends into the detritus and post-decadence of war that you see in the original series."

However, that decadence won't necessarily last for long, as the story is set to explore the Dance of the Dragons, a civil war between the Targaryen household to decide who should succeed King Viserys I Targaryen on the throne. It therefore shows the beginning of the end for House Targaryen, which eventually led to Daenerys's quest to retake the throne in the original series.

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Condal said in his featurette interview: "I was fascinated about going back to that time and seeing the Targaryens at their height and learning what it was that Daenerys lost and is trying to win back throughout the story."

Which houses does House of the Dragon focus on?

Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower and Emma D'Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon
Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower and Emma D'Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon. HBO

House of the Dragon particularly focuses on the Targaryen family, as they ruled over the realm at the time with their dragons as protectors. In the original series, the Targaryens have been all but wiped out and their dragons with them.

However, they won't be the only family on screen. While we have yet to hear of Starks or Baratheons appearing, we do know that House Hightower, House Velaryon, House Strong and House Lannister will all have representatives seen throughout the season, with the Hightowers and Velaryons taking on particular prominence next to the Targaryens.

Of course there are sure to be surprises in store for viewers that have been hidden by the showrunners, and with the show planned out for three or four seasons, new characters from different houses could emerge at any time.

House of the Dragon will launch on Sunday 21st August on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW. Check out more of our Fantasy coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.

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