Movies & TV

House of the Dragon: Everything You Need to Know About the Targaryen Prequel

It’s the first Game of Thrones spin-off to be greenlit by HBO.
IMAGE HBO
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It was recently announced that HBO greenlit the Game of Thrones (GOT) prequel House of the Dragon, the first spinoff to get the thumbs up from the network. No premiere date has been given, but here’s everything we know so far:

George R.R. Martin is on board.

He still has to finish writing the original book series, but it looks like Martin has enough time on his plate to co-executive produce the new 10-episode prequel series, which is being written by Ryan Condal of Colony acclaim. Meanwhile, directing alum of the original series, Miguel Sapochnik, will be the showrunner alongside Condal.

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Sapochnik will also direct the pilot and other episodes. In case you weren’t aware, Sapochnik is a seasoned battle director having directed the GOT episodes “Battle of the Bastards,” “Hardhome,” and “The Long Night.”

Photo by HBO.

It’s the only spinoff approved so far.

A number of spinoffs were reportedly in the works, but so far, only House of the Dragon has received a thumbs up from HBO’s big wigs.

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Word had already gotten out that a Targaryen prequel was on its way, but most of the fans’ attention was focused on The Long Night, a spinoff that would have told the story of the first Starks, the Night King, and the people of the North and Beyond the Wall.

However, the series, which was supposed to star Naomi Watts, got the ax and was officially dropped from the list of potential GOT spinoffs. News of House of the Dragon’s greenlight came only hours after news broke of The Long Night’s end.

According to Entertainment Weekly, House of the Dragon was the only spinoff based on an “established history penned by Martin to serve as a backbone for the story.” The other pilot, which was wasn’t specified, only had “vague references to build on.”

Given the fact that GOT’s season eight was lambasted for straying from the core of the series, it makes sense the HBO went with the pilot with a sturdier foundation. Plus, after the disastrous final season, it makes sense that producers are ready to put the Starks behind and give House Targaryen the retelling it deserves.  

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It’s based on Fire and Blood.

Fire and Blood is less of a novel and more of a fictional history of the House Targaryen, from which Daenerys hails. Written by GRRM, it’s a detailed tome that covers 300 years of Targaryen history, from Aegon the Conqueror’s landing in the fractured Seven Kingdoms to the downfall and usurping of Aerys II (aka the Mad King, aka Dany’s father).

If you’re a true A Song of Ice and Fire fan, you’ll know that Fire and Blood contains some of the most violent and intriguing moments in Westerosi history—and it’s all thanks to the Targaryens. If you thought the Lannisters were bad, wait till you see the full fury of the House of the Dragon.

Warning: Beware of spoilers from the books from this point on. And some hardcore nerding out.

Photo by HBO.
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Expect a lot of dragons and Targaryens

Since it’ll cover the 300 years before the events of GOT’s first episode, i.e. Robert Baratheon on the throne, the series will feature two things that were supposedly (almost) extinct in season one: Targaryens and dragons. And plenty of them. The series will supposedly start with Aegon’s landing and build its way to the true prize: The Dance of Dragons, aka the Targaryen civil war that led to the death of the last dragon in Westeros.

Here are the three main periods that you’ll need to know about before the series premieres:

Aegon’s Landing

This marks the beginning of the Targaryen’s reign over Westeros. Aegon and his sister-wives Visenya and Rhaenys (yes, expect a hell of a lot of incest in the new series) were born and raised on a small island, Dragonstone, in the Narrow Sea. Back then, the Seven Kingdoms were still separate feuding states, and it wasn’t until Aegon conquered them all (but Dorne) that they were unified under one ruler. Also, Aegon and his sisters had three huge dragons. This period saw a Stark kneel, an entire family burned to death, and the beginnings of many of the houses in GOT. It was a brutal, glorious, and triumphant start for the Targaryens.

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Characters we’re most excited to see: Balerion the Black Dread (Aegon’s dragon), Visenya Targaryen, and Orys Baratheon

The Faith Militant Uprising

Taking place after Aegon passed away, this period follows his two sons as they attempt to appease and ultimately overpower the Faith of the Seven, who were not keen on their incestuous and blasphemous ways. It also follows the beginning of the family's manipulative dynamics when, after Aegon’s successor and son Aenys (yes, basically pronounced anus) dies, the crown is passed on to Aegon's second son, now known as Maegor the Cruel. The amount of family brutality is shocking according to Fire and Blood, but it’s nothing compared to what happens next.

Characters we’re most excited to see: Maegor the Cruel, Rhaena Targaryen, and Jahaearys Targaryen

The Dance of Dragons

The supposed endgame of House of the Dragon, the Dance of Dragons was the civil war to end all civil wars—at least with dragons. It occurred due to a succession crisis that divided House Targaryen, its members, and its dragons into two factions, both of which vied for the crown. It was essentially the beginning of the end of the family as brother fought brother and dragon fought dragon. Expect great battles of dragon versus dragon, rider versus rider, dragon versus town, and dragon versus Targaryen.

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Characters we’re most excited to see: Rhaenys the Queen Who Never Was, Daemon Targaryen, and Aemond Targaryen

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Anri Ichimura
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