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House of the Dragon: Game of Thrones prequel trailer, release date and more

"Dreams didn't make us kings... dragons did." The incestuous, tempestuous Targaryens are the focus of the upcoming HBO show.

"Dreams didn't make us kings... dragons did." The Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon offers a look at the rise of the dragon-riding, sibling-marrying Targaryens 200 years before George R.R. Martin's fantasy hit. It's coming to HBO on Aug. 21. Here's what we know so far.

Extended trailer

HBO released a House of the Dragon trailer on July 20, and a slightly longer one came on July 24 at the San Diego Comic-Con. Both are filled with sumptuous sets and medieval violence. Fans rejoiced online to see King's Landing and the Iron Throne once again, and the debate about who will sit that throne is never-ending.

The trailer features Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine) as king, but who will be his heir? He has a young daughter, Rhaenyra (Emma D'Arcy), but not everyone wants a woman to take the Iron Throne. But his younger brother, Daemon Targaryen, (Matt Smith, of Doctor Who and The Crown fame) thinks he's the heir, even cutting the king off when he says he's about to name his successor. These people need a clear-cut line of succession written down somewhere like the Brits have.

The Targaryens, of course, are a dragonlord family, so those breathtaking and terrifying creatures are swooping in and out of the trailer, wreaking havoc.

Here's the extended trailer.

The basics

In 2019, Martin published a gigantic Targaryen history, Fire & Blood Vol. 1, delving into generation after generation of the dragon-riding family that eventually produced Daenerys, one of the major characters in the HBO Game of Thrones series. 

With all that tangled Targaryen drama now available, the book naturally had to inspire a new show. And yes, the book blends in plenty of other Westeros families, including the Starks and Lannisters, long before Ned and Arya and Cersei and Tyrion came along.

The new series is set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones. 

Cast and crew

Martin himself and producer-writer Ryan Condal co-creators of the series. 

Condal writes the show and serves as co-showrunner along with Miguel Sapochnik. You may know Condal as the showrunner of the USA Network sci-fi show Colony, which ran from 2016-2018. "Working with Ryan on the development of House of the Dragon has been a dream," Martin wrote on his site.

Sapochnik will direct the pilot plus additional episodes. Fans might know Sapochnik's name -- he directed five Game of Thrones episodes, winning an Emmy and a Directors Guild Award for directing the impressive Battle of the Bastards episode.

House of The Dragon HBO trailer

Paddy Considine sits on the Iron Throne as King Viserys Targaryen.

HBO

Here's the cast:

  • Paddy Considine as Viserys Targaryen, King of the Seven Kingdoms.
  • Emma D'Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, a dragonrider who expects to become the Seven Kingdoms' first ruling queen.
  • Olivia Cooke as Lady Alicent Hightower, raised in the Red Keep and known as the most comely woman in the Seven Kingdoms.
  • Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen, Viserys's younger brother.
  • Rhys Ifans as Ser Otto Hightower, Hand of the King and rival of Prince Daemon.
  • Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon, the "Sea Snake."
  • Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Velaryon, a dragonrider and wife of Lord Corlys known as the "Queen Who Never Was."
  • Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria, Daemon's most trusted ally.
  • Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole, a skilled swordsman of Dornish descent.
  • Graham McTavish as Ser Harrold Westerling, a soldier of the Kingsguard and bodyguard to Princess Rhaenyra.
  • Ryan Corr as Ser Harwin Strong, known as "Breakbones" and said to be the strongest man in the Seven Kingdoms.
  • Jefferson Hall as Lord Jason Lannister/Ser Tyland Lannister, identical twins.
  • Bill Paterson as Lord Lyman Beesbury: Lord of Honeyholt and Master of Coin on King Viserys's small council.

Release date, production info

HBO has placed a full-season order for 10 episodes of the new show. But you know that if it's any kind of a hit -- and how can it not be? -- there will be more seasons.

Martin said that the filming settings might look familiar. "I expect we will revisit at least some of the countries David (Benioff) & Dan (Weiss) used for Game of Thrones (Ireland, Iceland, Scotland, Croatia, Morocco, Malta, and Spain)," Martin wrote. And if he ever can get that pesky Winds of Winter book finished, the author said he might even write some episodes himself. As of 2022, we're still waiting on that book, but ... we can dream.

Plot rumors and theories

Damn, Fire & Blood is a big book (over 700 pages long), covering 150 years of Targaryen history. And Martin has plans for a second volume someday. A 10-episode show, even if it's renewed for multiple seasons, can't possibly cover every event in the book.

But according to Entertainment Weekly, "the show will focus on a period that leads up to, then eventually includes, the most dramatic event during Targaryen rule: The Dance of Dragons, the Targaryen Civil War."