'House of the Dragon' Will Be 'Succession' With Dragons, Says Showrunner

The writers of HBO's Game of Thrones prequel looked to Succession and The Crown for inspiration.

Meara Isenberg Writer
Meara covers streaming service news for CNET. She recently graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where she wrote for her college newspaper, The Daily Texan, as well as for state and local magazines. When she's not writing, she likes to dote over her cat, sip black coffee and try out new horror movies.
Meara Isenberg
2 min read
Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen looking pensive.

House of the Dragon begins its TV reign in less than two weeks. 

Video screenshot by CNET

Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon will finally transport us back to Westeros on Aug. 21 to witness the story of House Targaryen. Trailers for the fantasy series have teased dragons, thrones and a tense atmosphere, but now we have something new to stew on: Apparently, HOTD isn't incomparable to another HBO show, Succession. 

When asked by SFX Magazine in a Q&A, published Tuesday, if House of the Dragon fans should be expecting "Succession with dragons," co-showrunner Ryan Condal responded, "I think that's actually a great metaphor." Succession is a dark comedy that follows the various power struggles involving three siblings and their aging father, the CEO of a media conglomerate. The show's third season racked up the highest number of 2022 Emmy nominations

Condal, who also co-created the sci-fi drama Colony on USA Network, told SFX that HOTD writers turned to Succession and Netflix's historical drama series The Crown for inspiration. "The things we referenced in the [writers'] room the most were The Crown and Succession, just as tonal analogs and as shows that we, the writers, were really enjoying and immersed in," he said.

Historical comparisons explain the prequel's differences from the original show. Condal compared Game of Thrones to the real-life 15th century Wars of the Roses, because it was about rival dynasties clashing over the throne. Whereas the prequel series is all about the Targaryens, the tragic tale of "a civil war that happens within a singular family."

That "makes it much more engrossing and tragic," Condal said, "because you see people who are blood relatives turning against each other and going to war." 

House of the Dragon is based on George R.R. Martin's novel Fire & Blood and stars Matt Smith, Paddy Considine, Olivia Cooke, Emma D'Arcy, Steve Toussaint, Eve Best, Fabien Frankel, Sonoya Mizuno and Rhys Ifans. The first season will consist of 10 episodes. Miguel Sapochnik, who most recently directed the 2021 postapocalyptic film Finch, is also a showrunner. 

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