The first official images of House of the Dragon have been released after the show finally went into production following an official start of filming announcement in late April.
HBO recently released House of the Dragon photos of the cast including Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen, Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower and former Time Lord Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen.
The new images show Smith in action as Targaryen alongside his niece Rhaenyra, played by Emma D’Arcy.
The new pictures also give fans a look at Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower and Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower, whose stories are closely intertwined with the Targaryens.
In addition, Steve Toussaint has been unveiled as Lord Corlys Velaryon, also known as The Sea Snake.
But if you’re hoping to be reunited with characters from the original series then you’re out of luck as House of the Dragon will be set around 300 years earlier, eliminating the opportunity for surprise cameos.
However, one familiar face is returning: Ramin Djawadi, the composer who wrote the iconic theme song for the fantasy drama, winning two Emmys for his efforts, as well as regular Thrones director Sapochnik.
Here’s everything you need to know about House of the Dragon.
House of the Dragon release date
The production team hopes the series will air in 2022, so there’s still a while to wait.
However, we do already know where the 10-episode series will air in the UK. Sky Atlantic, the same channel that aired Game of Thrones, has extended its deal with HBO after House of the Dragon’s announcement. Of course you’ll also be able to find the show on NOW.
House of the Dragon cast
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.”
Last December, HBO revealed that Matt Smith (Doctor Who), Olivia Cooke (Ready Player One) and Emma D’Arcy (Wanderlust) had joined the spin-off’s cast.
Cooke, who is best known for her roles in Vanity Fair and Bates Motel, is set to play Alicent Hightower, the daughter of Otto Hightower – the Hand of the King. “She was raised in the Red Keep, close to the king and his innermost circle; she possesses both a courtly grace a keen political acumen,” HBO teases.
Meanwhile, Smith will play Prince Daemon Targaryen – King Viserys’ (Considine) younger brother. “Daemon is a peerless warrior and a dragon rider who possesses the true blood of the dragon,” a statement reads. “But it is said that whenever a Targaryen is born, the gods toss a coin in the air…”
Also joining the cast is Emma D’Arcy, an up-and-coming actress best known for starring in Wanderlust and Truth Seekers, who’ll be playing Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen – the king’s first-born child.
“She is of pure Valyrian blood, and she is a dragon rider,” HBO writes. “Many would say that Rhaenyra was born with everything…but she was not born a man.”
In late April, Smith and D’Arcy were seen filming in-character as Daemon and Rhaenyra during early shooting in Cornwall.
Welsh actor Rhys Ifans, known for playing Hugh Grant’s flatmate in Notting Hill, will play Otto Hightower, a servant to the King, while The Honourable Woman’s Eve Best will play Princess Rhaenys Velaryon aka “The Queen Who Never Was”.
Steve Toussaint, who recently starred in Doctor Who plays Lord Corlys Velaryon, known as The Sea Snake, while Devs star Sonoya Mizuno has been cast as Mysaria, a girl from humble beginnings who somehow becomes a trusted friend of Prince Daemon.
Actor Fabien Frankel has also been cast as a member of King Viserys I Targaryen’s Kingsguard, who helped win the civil war. The British actor, who recently appeared with Game of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke in romantic comedy Last Christmas, will play Ser Criston Cole.
The news was revealed by saga author George R.R. Martin on his blog: “He is the common-born son of the steward to the Lord of Blackhaven,” Martin wrote.
“He has no claim to lands or titles, all he has is his honor and his skill with sword and lance. He is a challenger, a champion, cheered by the commons, beloved of the ladies. He is a lover (or is he?), a seducer (or is he?), a betrayer (or is he?), a breaker of hearts and a maker of kings … Welcome to Westeros, Fabien. And do keep that sword sharp.”
A casting call went out in February 2020 for key roles of Aegon and Visenya Targaryen, as reported by Knight Edge Media, which could suggest a role for flashbacks, given that these figures existed many years before the events of this series.
House of the Dragon trailer
There’s no sign of a trailer yet but that’s hardly surprising as the series has only just begun filming – bookmark this page and keep checking back, because we’ll update as soon as any footage debuts!
Will any Game of Thrones characters return in House of the Dragon?
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 (Paddy Considine) at one point. Though he might have a little bit more skin on his bones this time.
The first concept art released for the show seemed to suggest that it will indeed live up to its name.
What is House of the Dragon about?
It’s been confirmed that the Targaryen Civil War – known as the Dance of Dragons – will be the focus of the prequel. This conflict took place after two rival claimants for the Iron Throne rose up (sound familiar?) from different branches of the Targaryen family, leading to a bloody clash of men, women and dragons.
Thrones author George RR 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.”
Meanwhile, Olivia Cooke says the current script is different from the first draft she saw years ago, after writers toned down scenes featuring violence towards women.
Writers and directors experienced backlash over Game of Thrones scenes featuring Emilia Clarke’s dragon queen character Daenerys Targaryen, after she was brutally raped by Jason Momoa’s Khal Drogo.
Cooke told The Telegraph: “I wouldn’t feel comfortable in being a part of anything that has just egregious graphic violence towards women for no reason whatsoever, just because they want it to be tantalising in a way that gets viewers.
“I was lucky enough to read the script before, and it has changed a lot from the first few seasons (of Game of Thrones). I don’t think they’d be in their right minds to include any of that any more”
We’ve gone into a bit more depth here on Game of Thrones spin-off potential storylines…
Who’s making House of the Dragon?
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.
#HouseOfTheDragon, a #GameofThrones prequel is coming to @HBO.— Game of Thrones (@GameOfThrones) October 29, 2019
The series is co-created by @GRRMSpeaking and Ryan Condal. Miguel Sapochnik will partner with Condal as showrunner and will direct the pilot and additional episodes. Condal will be writing the series. pic.twitter.com/9ttMzElgXm
Regular Game of Thrones writer Bryan Cogman reportedly worked on an earlier version of the idea that has now been shelved.