House of the Dragon: Release date rumours, cast, trailer and news for Game of Thrones spin-off

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

Matt Smith and Emma D'Arcy in House of the Dragon

House of the Dragon is officially winging its way towards us, with a first-look trailer revealing the look and feel of the Game of Thrones prequel including a different design for the iconic Iron Throne.

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Also showing us more of the series’ action (in tournament and duel form) and key characters like Matt Smith’s Prince Daemon Targaryen and Olivia Cooke’s Alicent Hightower, the trailer concludes with a vague airdate –2022 – and hints of fiery conflict for House Targaryen.

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 200 years earlier, eliminating the opportunity for surprise cameos. Unless the Night King drops by for a visit.

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.

Meanwhile, a number of new faces have recently been confirmed to be joining the cast – including Australian actor Ryan Corr.

Here’s everything you need to know about House of the Dragon.

House of the Dragon release date

It has been confirmed that the series will air in 2022, so there’s not too long to wait.

And 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.

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

House of the Dragon trailer

A first-look trailer was finally released in October 2021, soundtracked to a slow version of the classic Game of Thrones theme but introducing a host of new characters and story ideas, including a different design of the Iron Throne. You could say it’s looking pretty sharp…

House of the Dragon cast

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.”

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 courtly grace and 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…”

Emma D'Arcy
Actress Emma D’Arcy has been cast in the project (Getty)

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.

Meanwhile, in October 2021 it was revealed that Australian actor Ryan Corr (Packed to the Rafters, The Secrets She Keeps) was joining the cast as Ser Harwin ‘Breakbones’ Strong, described as a”‘knight from House Strong, heir to Harrenhal” who also happens to be the strongest man in the Seven Kingdoms.

Another Australian, Milly Alcock (Uptight), has also been cast as young Rhaenyra Targaryen, while Jefferson Hall stars as Lord Jason Lannister, David Horovitch as Grand Maester Mellos and Graham McTavish as Ser Harrold Westerling.

Will any Game of Thrones characters return in House of the Dragon?

Game of Thrones

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

The series is set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, meaning that none of the characters we’ve grown to know and love would appear.

However, it is possible that we’ll 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?

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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.

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 when it becomes available. You can also buy the DVD boxset for seasons 1-8 on Amazon for £99.99.

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We’ll keep this page updated with more House of the Dragon news as soon as we have it. Looking for something to watch tonight? Check out our full TV Guide or visit our Fantasy hub for more news.