HBO reveals new photos from Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon

Step right up and meet some of the Targaryens who came before Daenerys -- and their friends and enemies.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
2 min read

Game of Thrones fans finally have some photos from upcoming prequel House of the Dragon to pore over. The HBO show is based on Game of Thrones' author George R.R. Martin's enormous book Fire & Blood, which delves into the violent and fascinating history of the Targaryen family, hundreds of years before Daenerys came along. Yes, this is the family with the whitish-blond hair, fierce dragon-riding skills and penchant for marrying their own relatives.


Emma D'Arcy plays Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Matt Smith is Prince Daemon Targaryen.

Ollie Upton/HBO

In a statement, HBO says production on the show has just started and it will be available to stream on HBO Max in 2022. HBO shared a not-very-revealing photo in April, showing various members of the production team seated at computers. But these images are much better, showing actors in full costume and makeup.

Emma D'Arcy, shown above, plays Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, a dragon rider and the firstborn of the king. But as in many royal families, the only problem is she wasn't born male.

Matt Smith, known to many as the eleventh Doctor in Doctor Who, and Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh in The Crown, plays Prince Daemon Targaryen, the younger brother to King Viserys and heir to the throne, a peerless warrior and a dragon rider.


Steve Toussaint plays Lord Corlys Velaryon, The Sea Snake.

Ollie Upton/HBO

Steve Toussaint plays Lord Corlys Velaryon, aka a nautical adventurer known as The Sea Snake. He's the lord of House Velaryon, which claims the largest navy in the world and is even richer than the Lannisters (remember them?).


Olivia Cooke plays Alicent Hightower and Rhys Ifans is Otto Hightower.

Ollie Upton/HBO

Olivia Cooke plays Alicent Hightower, daughter of Otto Hightower, the hand of the king, and "the most comely woman in the Seven Kingdoms."

Welsh actor Rhys Ifans plays Otto Hightower, a loyal and faithful servant to both his king and his realm. But he believes the greatest threat to the realm is the king's brother, Daemon, and his position as heir to the throne.


The long-awaited show takes place before the events of Game of Thrones.


And with the show's focus on a family of dragon riders, you bet there will be dragons. HBO released looks at the concept art of the dragons back in December. In 2019, Sven Martin, one of the designers of the Game of Thrones dragons, told CNET the fantastical creatures are actually based in part on real animals and how they move.

Game of Thrones stars, from season 1 through today

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