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House of the Dragon

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House of the Dragon
House of the Dragon logo.jpg
Genre
Created by
Based onFire & Blood
by George R. R. Martin
Starring
Theme music composerRamin Djawadi
Opening theme"Main Title"
ComposerRamin Djawadi[1]
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes7
Production
Executive producers
Producers
  • Karen Wacker
  • Angus More Gordon
  • Alexis Raben
  • Kevin Lau
Production locations
Cinematography
Editors
Running time53–67 minutes
Production companies
  • GRRM
  • Bastard Sword
  • 1:26 Pictures Inc.
  • HBO Entertainment
DistributorWarner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution
Release
Original networkHBO
Picture format
Audio formatDolby Atmos[a]
Original releaseAugust 21, 2022 (2022-08-21) –
present (present)
Chronology
Related showsGame of Thrones

House of the Dragon is an American fantasy drama television series. Serving as a prequel to Game of Thrones (2011–2019), it is the second show in the franchise, created by George R. R. Martin and Ryan Condal for HBO. Both series are based on the A Song of Ice and Fire novels by Martin. Condal and Miguel Sapochnik are the showrunners. Based on parts of the novel Fire & Blood, the series is set about 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, 172 years before the birth of Daenerys Targaryen, descendant of the eponymous royal house, and 100 years after the Seven Kingdoms is united by the Targaryen Conquest. It portrays the beginning of the end of House Targaryen, the events leading up to and covering the Targaryen Civil war of succession, known as the "Dance of the Dragons".

House of the Dragon received a straight-to-series order in October 2019, with casting beginning in July 2020 and principal photography starting in April 2021 in the United Kingdom. The series premiered on August 21, 2022, with the first season consisting of ten episodes. Five days after its premiere, the series was renewed for a second season. Sapochnik departed as showrunner after the first season, leaving Condal to serve as the sole showrunner for the second season.

Cast and characters

Starring

  • Paddy Considine as King Viserys I Targaryen:[3] The fifth king of the Seven Kingdoms. Known as "a warm, kind, and decent man", Viserys was chosen by a council of lords to succeed his grandfather, King Jaehaerys I Targaryen, as king.[4] Viserys is the firstborn son of King Jaehaerys' second son Prince Baelon Targaryen and his sister-wife Princess Alyssa Targaryen.[5]
  • Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen:[6] The younger brother of King Viserys Targaryen and the uncle of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen. Known as the "Rogue Prince" for his unpredictable behavior, Daemon is also a fierce warrior and an experienced dragonrider on his dragon Caraxes.[4]
  • Olivia Cooke (adult) and Emily Carey (teenager) as Lady / Queen Alicent Hightower:[7] Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen's childhood companion and best friend, and later the second wife and queen consort of King Viserys Targaryen. She is raised in the Red Keep as part of the King's inner circle, and is known as the most comely woman in the Seven Kingdoms.[4]
  • Emma D'Arcy (adult) and Milly Alcock (teenager) as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen:[7] King Viserys Targaryen's daughter and heir apparent, the firstborn and only surviving child of Viserys and Queen Aemma Arryn. Praised as the "Realm's Delight" during her youth, she rides the young dragon Syrax.[4]
  • Rhys Ifans as Ser Otto Hightower:[7] Alicent Hightower's father and the Hand of the King to King Viserys Targaryen. He is haughty, blunt, and domineering.[4]
  • Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon:[7] The head of House Velaryon, one of the wealthiest and most powerful families in the Seven Kingdoms, and Master of Ships to King Viserys Targaryen. Known as the "Sea Snake", he is the most famous seafarer in Westerosi history.[4]
  • Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Targaryen:[7] King Viserys Targaryen's cousin and wife of Lord Corlys Velaryon. Rhaenys is the only child of Prince Aemon Targaryen, King Jaehaerys Targaryen's late heir apparent and oldest son, and Jocelyn Baratheon, Jaehaerys' half-sister. Known as the "Queen Who Never Was", she was once a candidate to succeed her grandfather King Jaehaerys as ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, but was passed over in favor of her younger cousin Viserys due to her gender.[4] She is a formidable dragonrider who rides the dragon Meleys.[5]
  • Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria:[7] A foreign-born brothel dancer who has risen to become Prince Daemon Targaryen's paramour and most trusted confidante.[4]
  • Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole:[7] A skilled swordsman from the Dornish Marches and the common-born son of the steward to the Lord of Blackhaven.[4] Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen selects Cole to be added to the Kingsguard due to her liking towards him. However, his allegiance soon changes after Rhaenyra ditches his plan and later he becomes the sworn protector of Queen Alicent.
  • Graham McTavish as Ser Harrold Westerling:[7] A seasoned knight and member of the Kingsguard who has served the Crown since King Jaehaerys Targaryen. He is tasked with watching over and protecting Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen. Upon the death of Ser Ryam Redwyne, he is named the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard.[4]
  • Matthew Needham as Larys Strong:[8] The younger son of Lord Lyonel Strong, he is known as "Clubfoot" due to a birth abnormality that causes him to walk with a limp. Queen Alicent trusted confidante and later the Master of Confessor to Aegon II.[4]
  • Jefferson Hall as identical twins:[9]
    • Lord Jason Lannister: The Lord of Casterly Rock and head of House Lannister. An arrogant hunter and warrior, he vies for the hand of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen.
    • Ser Tyland Lannister: Lord Jason Lannister's younger brother, a cunning politician who later replaces Lord Corlys Velaryon as Master of Ships.[4]

Recurring

  • Gavin Spokes as Lord Lyonel Strong: Lord of Harrenhal and head of House Strong, and Master of Laws to King Viserys Targaryen. He later replaces Ser Otto Hightower as Hand of the King.[4]
  • David Horovitch as Grand Maester Mellos: Member of the small council, as well as serving as King Viserys Targaryen's personal physician.[4]
  • Bill Paterson as Lord Lyman Beesbury: Lord of Honeyholt and head of House Beesbury, and Master of Coin to King Viserys Targaryen.[4]
  • Ryan Corr as Ser Harwin Strong: The eldest son to Lord Lyonel Strong and heir to Harrenhal. Known as "Breakbones", he is said to be the strongest man in the Seven Kingdoms. He was Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen secret lover and father of her first three son's.[4]
  • Steffan Rhodri as Lord Hobert Hightower: The head of House Hightower and ruler of Oldtown, and the older brother of Ser Otto Hightower.[10]
  • Julian Lewis Jones as Lord Boremund Baratheon: The Lord of Storm's End and head of House Baratheon.[10] In the series, he is referred to as "cousin" to Princess Rhaenys Targaryen.[11] But in Martin's books, he is the only son of Lord Rogar Baratheon and Dowager Queen Alyssa Velaryon, which makes him half-brother to King Jaehaerys I Targaryen, maternal uncle to Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, first-cousin-once-removed to Lord Corlys Velaryon (the Sea Snake), and half-grand-uncle to King Viserys I Targaryen. He is also the great-grandson of house-founder Orys Baratheon, the "base-born" half-brother and best friend of King Aegon the Conqueror.[5]
  • John Macmillan as Ser Laenor Velaryon: Son of Princess Rhaenys Targaryen and Lord Corlys Velaryon, and the first husband of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen. He is a dragonrider who rides the dragon Seasmoke.[12]
    • Theo Nate portrays young Laenor Velaryon.[12]
    • Matthew Carver portrays child Laenor Velaryon.
  • Tom Glynn-Carney as Prince Aegon Targaryen: The firstborn son of King Viserys Targaryen and Queen Alicent Hightower, and half-brother to Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen.[10] He is a dragonrider who rides the dragon Sunfyre.
  • Phia Saban as Princess Helaena Targaryen: The secondborn child and only daughter of King Viserys Targaryen and Queen Alicent Hightower.[10] She has a unique interest in bugs and often speaks in cryptic language. She is a dragonrider who rides the she-dragon Dreamfyre.
    • Evie Allen portrays young Helaena Targaryen.[10]
  • Ewan Mitchell as Prince Aemond Targaryen: The third child and second son of King Viserys Targaryen and Queen Alicent Hightower.[10] He aspires to be a dragonrider and later rides the legendary she-dragon Vhagar.
    • Leo Ashton portrays young Aemond Targaryen.[10]
  • Harry Collett as Prince Jacaerys Velaryon: The firstborn son of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Ser Laenor Velaryon.[10] He is a dragonrider who rides the dragon Vermax.
    • Leo Hart portrays young Jacaerys Velaryon.[10]
  • Elliot Grihault as Prince Lucerys Velaryon: The secondborn son of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Ser Laenor Velaryon.[10] He is a dragonrider who rides the dragon Arrax.
    • Harvey Sadler portrays young Lucerys Velaryon.[10]
  • Nanna Blondell as Lady Laena Velaryon: Daughter of Lord Corlys Velaryon and Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, and later the second wife of Prince Daemon Targaryen.[12][14] She is a dragonrider who rides the old, legendary she-dragon Vhagar, before committing suicide by dragon immolation after her life was in danger during her delivery.
    • Savannah Steyn portrays young Laena Velaryon.[10]
    • Nova Foueillis-Mose portrays child Laena Velaryon.[10]
  • Bethany Antonia as Lady Baela Targaryen: The elder twin daughter of Prince Daemon Targaryen and Lady Laena Velaryon. She is a dragonrider who rides the young dragon Moondancer.[10]
    • Shani Smethurst portrays young Baela Targaryen.
  • Phoebe Campbell as Lady Rhaena Targaryen: The younger twin daughter of Prince Daemon Targaryen and Lady Laena Velaryon.[10]
    • Eva Ossei-Gerning portrays young Rhaena Targaryen.
  • Wil Johnson as Ser Vaemond Velaryon: Younger brother to Lord Corlys Velaryon, and a commander in the Velaryon navy.[12]
  • Elliott Tittensor as Ser Erryk Cargyll: Twin brother of Ser Arryk Cargyll and member of the Kingsguard.[10]
  • Luke Tittensor as Ser Arryk Cargyll: Twin brother of Ser Erryk Cargyll and member of the Kingsguard.[10]
  • Anthony Flanagan as Ser Steffon Darklyn: A member of the Kingsguard.[10]
  • Phil Daniels as Maester Gerardys.[10]
  • Kurt Egyiawan as Maester Orwyle.[10]
  • Paul Kennedy as Lord Jasper Wylde: The Lord of Rain House and head of House Wylde, he is known as "Ironrod".[10]
  • Roger Evans as Ser Borros Baratheon: Son of Lord Boremund Baratheon and heir to Storm's End.[10]
  • Arty Froushan as Ser Qarl Correy: A knight and lover of Ser Laenor.

Guests

  • Sian Brooke as Queen Aemma Arryn: The queen consort and first wife of King Viserys Targaryen.[10] She is a granddaughter of King Jaehaerys Targaryen through her mother, Princess Daella Targaryen, making Viserys her first cousin. She dies giving birth to Prince Baelon Targaryen, who also dies within the day of his birth.[5]
  • Michael Carter as King Jaehaerys I Targaryen: The fourth king of the Seven Kingdoms, and the grandfather of King Viserys Targaryen, Prince Daemon Targaryen, Princess Rhaenys Targaryen and Queen Aemma Arryn. Known as the "Conciliator" or the "Old King", he ruled over half a century and ended up outliving all his children, and eventually had to organize a great council to choose an heir from his grandchildren.
  • Frankie Wilson as Captain Randyll Barret: A commander in the City Watch of King's Landing under Prince Daemon Targaryen.
  • David Hounslow as Lord Rickon Stark: The Lord of Winterfell and head of House Stark.
  • Daniel Scott-Smith as Craghas Drahar: A Myrish prince-admiral who served the Triarchy and conquered the Stepstones, plaguing the Westerosi sea trade. He is known as "Crabfeeder" for his practice of feeding his enemies to crabs and died during a duel with Daemon Targaryen.
  • Solly McLeod as Ser Joffrey Lonmouth: A knight of House Lonmouth, the battle companion and lover to Ser Laenor Velaryon killed during the green wedding by Ser Criston Cole.[10]
  • Alfie Todd as Willem Blackwood: One of Rhaenyra's many suitors during the Princess's tour for a consort in the stormlands. Willem is from the ancient House Blackwood, descended from the blood of the First Men who ruled as riverland kings during the Age of Heroes. Willem killed Jerrel Bracken in a duel of swords, after the latter called him "craven".[15][16]
  • Rachel Redford as Lady Rhea Royce: The heir to Runestone and Prince Daemon Targaryen's estranged first wife.
  • Owen Oakeshott as Ser Gerold Royce: Cousin of Lady Rhea Royce.

Episodes

No.Title [17]Directed byWritten byOriginal air date [18]U.S. viewers
(millions)
1"The Heirs of the Dragon"Miguel SapochnikRyan CondalAugust 21, 2022 (2022-08-21)2.17[19]
With both sons dead, old King Jaehaerys I Targaryen convenes a Great Council to choose an heir. The Westerosi lords select Jaehaerys' eldest grandson, Prince Viserys, over his eldest grandchild, Princess Rhaenys. Nine years into his reign, King Viserys organizes a tournament to celebrate Queen Aemma Arryn's pregnancy, confident she is carrying his long-awaited male heir. The Small Council disregards Master of Ships Lord Corlys Velaryon's warning that the Triarchy, an alliance of Essos' Free Cities, threatens to cripple Westerosi shipping lanes. The Hand of the King, Ser Otto Hightower, criticizes Viserys's brother and heir, Prince Daemon, for his brutality as the City Watch commander. At the tournament, Ser Criston Cole, a common-born knight, outcompetes Daemon, while Aemma dies in childbirth. Her newborn son, Baelon, dies shortly after. Viserys refuses the council's pleas to appoint a new heir until Ser Otto reveals that Daemon mockingly styled Baelon as, "The Heir for a Day." Outraged, Viserys banishes Daemon from King's Landing and appoints his only living child, Princess Rhaenyra, heir to the Iron Throne.
2"The Rogue Prince"Greg YaitanesRyan CondalAugust 28, 2022 (2022-08-28)2.26[20]
Six months after Rhaenyra is named the heir, Daemon has illegally occupied Dragonstone, supported by loyal City Watch guards. When Prince-Admiral Craghas Drahar, known as the Crabfeeder, menaces the Stepstones archipelago at the Essos Triarchy's behest, Rhaenyra suggests showing force. The Small Council dismisses this and instead relegates Rhaenyra to appointing a new Kingsguard knight. Ignoring others' advice, she chooses Ser Criston, the only knight with actual battle experience. Ser Otto sends his teen-aged daughter, Lady Alicent, to privately console the grieving king; she advises that Viserys and Rhaenyra should discuss his kingly duty to remarry. Lord Corlys and his wife, Princess Rhaenys, propose that Viserys unite their Valyrian houses by marrying their twelve-year-old daughter, Laena. Meanwhile, the Small Council learns that Daemon, proclaiming himself the true heir, stole a dragon egg and intends to marry his mistress, Mysaria, as a secondary spouse. Ser Otto and a small detachment sail to Dragonstone to retrieve the egg. Rhaenyra follows on her dragon, Syrax, and forces Daemon to renounce his false claims and return the egg to her. Viserys announces he will wed Lady Alicent, angering Lord Corlys, who then seeks out Daemon to propose an alliance.
3"Second of His Name"Greg YaitanesGabe Fonseca & Ryan CondalSeptember 4, 2022 (2022-09-04)1.75[21]
For three years, the Stepstones conflict has escalated. Lord Corlys and Prince Daemon battle Craghas Drahar and his pirates without the Iron Throne's support. Meanwhile, King Viserys plans a great hunt to celebrate his and pregnant Queen Alicent's son Aegon's second birthday. Rhaenyra resents her father's excessive attention towards her half-brother, Aegon. The ailing king insists that Rhaenyra, now seventeen, must marry to form a strong alliance and protect their lineage. Among the suitors is Lord Jason Lannister of Casterly Rock, a match Rhaenyra opposes. Even two-year-old Prince Aegon is proposed. Lord Lyonel Strong recommends Ser Laenor Velaryon, Lord Corlys' son, to mend the rift between the two houses. Overcoming his previous doubts, Viserys assures Rhaenyra she will remain his heir and can choose her consort. Meanwhile, brothers Hobert and Otto Hightower secretly scheme to make Prince Aegon the successor, furthering their family's power and prestige. After Ser Vaemond Velaryon pleads for the king's help, Viserys agrees to send aid to the Stepstones. Seeing his brother's support as ending his chance to prove himself, Daemon acts as bait to ambush the Triarchy warriors, killing the Crabfeeder and winning the ensuing battle before the crown's forces arrive.
4"King of the Narrow Sea"Clare KilnerIra ParkerSeptember 11, 2022 (2022-09-11)1.81[22]
Rhaenyra prematurely returns to King's Landing after an unsuccessful months-long tour to choose a consort. Daemon also returns after conquering most of the Stepstones and being named "King of the Narrow Sea". Daemon swears allegiance to Viserys and hands over his crown. As the reunited brothers celebrate, Alicent confides her loneliness to Rhaenyra, who misses their friendship. After dark, Daemon and Rhaenyra sneak out to explore King's Landing, drinking, attending a bawdy play, and visiting a brothel. Daemon seduces a willing Rhaenyra, but unable to consummate their affair, he abandons her there. Returning to the Red Keep, Rhaenyra entices Ser Criston into having sex. Informed by his spy, Ser Otto tells the king about Daemon and Rhaenyra's carousing. Alicent overhears them and privately questions Rhaenyra, who denies having sex with Daemon. Viserys confronts Daemon who, hungover and disheveled, seemingly confirms the accusations and proposes he wed Rhaenyra. Viserys claims Daemon only wants the crown and exiles him to the Vale. To avoid scandal and strengthen the throne, Viserys orders Rhaenyra to marry Ser Laenor Velaryon. Viserys dismisses Ser Otto as his Hand after Rhaenyra alleges that Otto manipulates him for personal gain. Grand Maester Mellos gives Rhaenyra a precautionary abortifacient tea at Viserys' request.
5"We Light the Way"Clare KilnerCharmaine DeGratéSeptember 18, 2022 (2022-09-18)1.83[23]
In the Vale, Daemon murders his wife, Lady Rhea Royce. Rhaenyra and Ser Laenor Velaryon are betrothed, mollifying Lord Corlys. Understanding Laenor's homosexuality, Rhaenyra proposes fulfilling their duty to produce heirs, then take lovers. To restore his honor, Ser Criston proposes that he and Rhaenyra elope and marry under new identities. Rhaenyra rejects this and proposes continuing their sexual liasions, upsetting Criston. Before leaving King's Landing, Ser Otto warns Queen Alicent that Rhaenyra becoming queen makes Alicent's children a threat to the crown. Alicent questions Criston about Rhaenyra and Daemon, but Criston misunderstands and confesses to being Rhaenyra's lover. During the celebrations for Rhaenyra and Laenor, Alicent arrives late, interrupting Viserys' speech while wearing a green gown, the signal color for House Hightower's call to arms. Daemon arrives and denies having murdered Rhea. Laenor's lover, Ser Joffrey Lonmouth, surmises Criston is Rhaenyra's paramour. When Joffrey suggests guarding the wedding couple's secrets, Criston perceives this as blackmail and brutally kills a dagger-wielding Joffrey, devastating Laenor and horrifying the guests. Rhaenyra and Laenor are privately wed late that night. Viserys collapses at the end of the ceremony. Meanwhile, Alicent intervenes as Criston is about to commit suicide.
6"The Princess and the Queen"Miguel SapochnikSara HessSeptember 25, 2022 (2022-09-25)1.86[24]
Ten years later, Rhaenyra has given birth to three boys—Jacaerys, Lucerys and newborn Joffrey. All lack the Targaryen/Velaryon silver hair, but Viserys rejects Alicent's accusation that Laenor is not their father. Alicent tells Aegon that he must prepare to one day fight Rhaenyra for the throne. Daemon and his wife, Laena Velaryon, visit Pentos with daughters Baela and Rhaena. The Prince offers them a lordship in exchange for an alliance against a resurgent Triarchy. Unable to give birth after an agonizing labor, Laena commands her dragon Vhagar to incinerate her. Ser Criston, now loyal to Alicent, goads Ser Harwin into attacking him by implying that Harwin fathered Jacaerys, perpertuating rumours of Rhaenyra's infidelity with Harwin. To soothe family tensions, Rhaenyra proposes Jacaerys marry Helaena, Alicent's daughter, which Alicent rejects. Ser Lyonel Strong offers his resignation as Hand of the King. Viserys refuses it, but permits Lyonel to escort the disgraced Harwin to Harrenhal. Harwin bids an emotional farewell to Rhaenyra and her children. After Alicent confides to Larys Strong that she wishes her father, Ser Otto, was still the king's Hand, Larys recruits three condemned criminals to start a fire at Harrenhal, killing Lyonel and Harwin. Rhaenyra moves her household to Dragonstone, including Laenor's lover Ser Qarl Correy.
7"Driftmark"Miguel SapochnikKevin LauOctober 2, 2022 (2022-10-02)1.88[25]
King Viserys and his court attend Lady Laena's funeral in Driftmark. Rhaenyra and Daemon reunite and are physically intimate. Prince Aemond claims Vhagar as his dragon, leading to an altercation with his cousins and nephews in which Lucerys slashes Aemond's eye. Queen Alicent demands that Lucerys' eye be gouged out as retribution. When Viserys refuses, a distraught Alicent attempts to attack Lucerys. She struggles with Rhaenyra, and stabs the Princess' arm. After claims that Rhaenyra's children are bastards, Viserys decrees that anyone questioning his grandsons' legitimacy will have their tongue cut out. Reinstated as Hand of the King, Otto Hightower privately tells Alicent they will soon prevail. Rhaenyra and Daemon unite against Alicent and her supporters. Laenor is apparently murdered by his lover, Ser Qarl Correy, with Princess Rhaenys and Lord Corlys believing the found charred body is Laenor's. Meanwhile, Daemon and Rhaenyra are married in the Old Valyrian tradition to continue the pure Targaryen bloodline, their respective children attending the private ceremony. Following his fake death, Laenor, his head shaved, secretly flees Driftmark with Ser Qarl.
8"The Lord of the Tides"TBATBAOctober 9, 2022 (2022-10-09)TBD
9"The Green Council"TBATBAOctober 16, 2022 (2022-10-16)TBD
10"The Black Queen"TBATBAOctober 23, 2022 (2022-10-23)TBD

Production

Development

In 2015, with Game of Thrones still in production, HBO executives approached A Song of Ice and Fire writer George R. R. Martin regarding possible successors or spin-offs to the series.[26] In November 2018, Martin stated that a "potential spin-off series would be solidly based on material in Fire & Blood."[27] Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss stated they wanted to "move on" from the franchise and declined involvement in subsequent projects.[28] By September 2019, a Game of Thrones prequel series from Martin and Ryan Condal that "tracks the beginning of the end for House Targaryen" was close to receiving a pilot order from HBO.[29] The following month, House of the Dragon, which is based on Martin's book Fire & Blood, was given a straight-to-series order. Condal and Miguel Sapochnik, who won an Emmy Award for directing the episode "Battle of the Bastards", were selected to serve as showrunners. Sapochnik was also hired to direct the series premiere as well as additional episodes.[30] The series takes place 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones during the reign of King Viserys I Targaryen, ultimately leading to the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons.[31][32] The project is a reworking of the rejected spin-off concept from Game of Thrones writer Bryan Cogman, on which HBO officially passed.[33]

On August 26, 2022, less than a week after its premiere, the series was renewed for a second season.[34] On August 31, it was announced that Miguel Sapochnik would leave the series after its first season, stepping down as director and co-showrunner, but remaining an executive producer. Sapochnik stated, "It was incredibly tough to decide to move on, but I know that it is the right choice for me, personally and professionally."[35] Alan Taylor, who directed multiple Game of Thrones episodes, will join in season two and serve as an executive producer and direct multiple episodes.[35] On September 26, it was reported that Jocelyn Diaz would not be returning as executive producer for the second season.[36]

Writing

In January 2020, Casey Bloys, HBO's President of Programming, stated that the writing process had begun.[37]

Changes from the novels

In the novels, House Velaryon are generally described as "having pale skin, silver hair, and purple eyes".[38] However, Condal and Sapochnik wanted to include more racial diversity with its casting.[39] Condal stated, "We wanted to find a way to put diversity in the show, but we didn't want to do it in a way that felt like it was an afterthought or, worse, tokenism. The world is very different now than it was 10 years ago when Game of Thrones all started. It's different than 20 years ago when Peter Jackson made The Lord of the Rings. These types of stories need to be more inclusive than they traditionally have been. It was very important for Miguel and I to create a show that was not another bunch of white people on the screen, just to put it very bluntly." According to Condal, Martin had previously considered or at least toyed with the idea of making the Velaryons a House of Black nobles who came from the other side of the ocean conquering Westeros in his novels.[38]

Casting

Casting began in July 2020.[40] In October 2020, Paddy Considine was cast as Viserys I Targaryen.[3] By December, Olivia Cooke, Matt Smith, and Emma D'Arcy were cast as Alicent Hightower, Daemon Targaryen, and Rhaenyra Targaryen, respectively.[6] In February 2021, Rhys Ifans, Steve Toussaint, Eve Best and Sonoya Mizuno were added to the main cast.[41] By April, Fabien Frankel joined the cast as Ser Criston Cole.[42] In May, Graham McTavish was spotted on set in full wardrobe.[43] In July 2021, Emily Carey and Milly Alcock were added to the cast as younger counterparts of Alicent Hightower and Rhaenyra Targaryen respectively.[44]

Filming

Principal photography on the ten-episode first season of the series began in April 2021.[45] The series was filmed primarily in the United Kingdom.[46] During the last week of April 2021, filming took place in Cornwall.[47] According to Production List, additionally, parts of the first season were filmed in Spain and California.[48] House of the Dragon was the first production to be shot at Warner Bros. Leavesden Studios' new virtual production stage.[49] On July 18, 2021, production paused for two days because of a COVID-19 case.[50]

The Spanish publication Hoy reported that House of the Dragon would be filmed in the Province of Cáceres in western Spain between October 11–21, 2021.[51] The provincial capital of Cáceres along with the town of Trujillo were used in scenes for King's Landing.[52] From October 26–31, the series was filmed in Portugal at the Castle of Monsanto.[53]

Additional filming locations included Trujillo, Cáceres, a medieval town. Locations in Cornwall, England included St Michael's Mount, Holywell Beach and Kynance Cove. Other locations included Castleton, Derbyshire, in areas such as Cave Dale, Eldon Hill Quarry and the Market Place. Some scenes were shot in Aldershot, Hampshire.[54] In February 2022, HBO confirmed that the first season of House of the Dragon had wrapped production.[55]

The second season is set to begin filming in Spain in the spring of 2023.[56]

Language

Game of Thrones linguist David J. Peterson returned to continue his work on the constructed language High Valyrian.[57] Emma D'Arcy reports enjoying learning it, while Matt Smith initially dreaded it and found it daunting.[58]

Budget

According to Variety, each episode of House of the Dragon cost under US$20 million.[59] In comparison, its parent series Game of Thrones, cost around $100 million per season beginning with nearly $6 million per episode from seasons one to five, around $10 million for every episode in seasons six and seven, and up to $15 million each episode in its eighth and final season, earning $285 million in profits per season over its eight seasons.[60][61] The overall production budget of the first season of House of the Dragon was nearly $200 million, while the marketing budget according to Deadline Hollywood was in excess of $100 million, comparable to the marketing budget for a tentpole theatrical film.[62]

Release

House of the Dragon premiered on August 21, 2022.[63] It is HBO's first new series to stream in 4K, Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos on its streaming platform HBO Max.[64] The first episode was released for free on YouTube on September 2, 2022.[65]

International broadcast

In New Zealand, the series is distributed by Sky's SoHo TV channel and Neon streaming service.[66] In the Philippines, SKY broadcasts the show via its main cable television services and other digital streaming platforms.[67] In India, Disney+ Hotstar distributes the show.[68] In the UK, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, the series airs on Sky Atlantic and its accompanying streaming service Now.[69] In Canada, House of the Dragon is available on Bell Media's Crave streaming service and its HBO linear channel.[70] In Australia, the series is available for streaming on Binge and Foxtel.[71]

Reception

Critical response

House of the Dragon: Critical reception by episode

Percentage of positive critics' reviews tracked by the website Rotten Tomatoes[17]

On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds an approval rating of 86%, based on 716 reviews.[17] On Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, the series has received a score of 69 out of 100 based on 43 critic reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[72]

Viewership

The day after the series premiere, HBO said the episode had been viewed by an estimated 9.99 million viewers in the U.S. on its first night of availability – including linear viewers and streams on HBO Max – which HBO said was the largest single-day viewership for a series debut in the service's history.[73] In announcing a second-season renewal four days later, the network said the episode had been watched by over 20 million linear, streaming, and on-demand viewers in the U.S. by that point.[74] After one week of availability, the viewership rose to nearly 25 million in the U.S. across all platforms.[75]

The size of the audience during the show's premiere caused HBO Max to crash for some users, particularly those using Amazon Fire TV devices.[76][77] Downdetector reported 3,700 instances of the application not responding.[76] There were also reports of widespread streaming issues on Canadian partner service Crave.[78] According to Nielsen, the episode had a viewership of 327 million minutes on HBO Max in the U.S. during its first day.[79] Samba TV meanwhile stated that 4.8 million U.S. households streamed the episode in the first four days.[80] Whip Media, who track viewership data for the 22 million worldwide users of their TV Time app, stated that it was the most-viewed debut for a show in the app's history based on viewership over three days following the premiere.[80]

The second episode was watched by 10.2 million U.S. viewers on all platforms when it premiered, based on data from Nielsen and HBO. This was an increase of 2% from the first episode.[75] According to Whip Media, it retained 74 percent of the viewers on HBO Max compared to the first episode.[80] For the third episode, Nielsen stated that the total viewership for four airings on HBO during its premiere night was 2.5 million, a decrease of one million or 28.6 percent compared to the second.[81] Overall it was watched by more than 16 million viewers on all platforms over the first three days.[82]

During the week of August 22–28 the show garnered a viewership of 741 million minutes in the U.S. on HBO Max according to Nielsen, ranking fifth among all streaming titles.[83] For the week of August 29 – September 4 it was streamed for 781 million minutes, again ranking fifth.[84] Data by analytics company MUSO revealed that it was the most pirated TV show worldwide for the week of September 6–12, accounting for 38.1 percent of all unlicensed downloads and streaming.[85] According to Variety, the average viewership over the first five episodes across all platforms was 29 million.[86]

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ a b 4K, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos only available through HBO Max and some international partner services.[2] The originating HBO TV channel does not have a 4K feed and is limited to 1080i HDTV and Dolby Digital 5.1.

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External links