It’s been over a year since HBO’s most ambitious TV series came to an end. A multi-million dollar endeavour that set the bar in terms of writing, action setpieces and fantasy. Look, I enjoy Merlin as much as the next guy but Game of Thrones was on a whole other level. That being said, it certainly wasn’t perfect with the quality of the show waxing and waning throughout the seasons. It was not without controversy either with its ending being extremely polarizing. I have my own thoughts on the matter but a great number of fans found the series finale to be nothing short of an embarrassment. There was even an online petition to remake the final season. When all was said and done, I thought that HBO would be done with the series for sure. Turns out, they’re not.
In fact, they’re planning of launching a whole new prequel series set to come out in 2022. It’s called House of the Dragon. A series set 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones. The series is based on writer George R. R. Martin’s book Fire and Blood which covers the rise and fall of the Targaryen Dynasty. After much distance from the original series and time to think, I’m wondering, should we be excited about this?
Focus on the Family
Game of Thrones has always prided itself on its intricate worldbuilding, diverse characters and rivetting political scene. One issue that fans, myself included, had with the series was in its later seasons. After the fourth season of the show, the series began diverting heavily from George R. R. Martin’s books. No doubt due to the fact that the author takes his time in writing. He’s a fantastic storyteller but really, it’s been nearly a decade since A Dance with Dragons came out. We’re still waiting on The Winds of Winter. In any case, creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss began to take the story into new, uncharted waters. Some creative decisions were inspired while some were nothing short of lazy.
There were multiple subplots and character arcs that were shaved, omitted or wholly butchered for the sake of convenience. From the High Sparrow’s takeover of King’s Landing to Daenerys’ Dothraki capture, it all felt deeply uncharacteristic of the gritty medieval caper we’ve come to know and love. Based on these reasons, I’d understand why some people might be hesitant to get back into the world of Westeros. However, I don’t think House of the Dragon will be suffering from this particular problem, seeing that the book it’s based on, Fire and Blood is completed. So for all you purists out there, don’t worry, they can’t ruin this ending.
House of the Dragon will be focused mainly on the Targaryen family, who ruled Westeros for centuries before Robert’s Rebellion. Long before Dany, Jon or Cersei appeared on the scene. The information released about the series has been vague so far. I can almost certainly confirm though that House will cover the events of Aegon’s Conquest, the first king and dragonlord of Westeros. The founder of the Targaryen Dynasty. If you thought the draconic battles of Game of Thrones were nuts, you ain’t seen nothing yet!
The battles in Fire and Blood are insane with massive armies, ingenious strategies and horrific destruction. I’m definitely looking forward to their adaptation of the infamous “Field of Fire”. A battle that saw Aegon and his sisters’ dragons burn 4,000 soldiers alive before utterly massacring the enemy host. Oh but it doesn’t stop there, there a ton of other Targaryen stories to tell. Tales of heroic deeds, foolish blunders and frightening madness. Some have speculated that House of the Dragon‘s plot will be touching on the Targaryen civil war known as the “Dance of the Dragons”. A tumultuous period of time in which Aegon II fought with his half-sister Rhaenyra for their father’s throne.
Needless to say, a lack of source material will definitely not be an issue here. There’s a treasure trove of exciting stories that could easily go up to 15 seasons if HBO wanted to. All the aerial dragon battles, medieval politicking, sexual intrigue and gore you can handle! How the source material, or rather who will be handling it, is another question altogether.
The Pen and the Sword
Weiss and Benioff’s handling of the series’ final two seasons left the community seriously divided. One thing that we all can agree on is that Miguel Sapochnick’s work on the show was phenomenal. No joke, this guy is the director and architect behind some of Game of Thrones most ambitious episodes. Till this day, the massacre at Hardhome in the fifth season will go down in my book as one of the most jaw-dropping moments in television. The way he weaves mystery and horror within a thrilling supernatural battle between the living and dead is a thing of beauty.
He’s also the man responsible for the “The Battle of the Bastards” episode in the series’ sixth season. There, he once again displays a remarkable instinct for creating atmosphere. Having the entire battle descend into a nightmarish prison of bodies and corpses for Jon and company. So when I heard that Sapochnick was coming on to be both showrunner and co-creator of House of the Dragon, I was over the moon. Sapochnick’s sure to offer up plenty of great moments and grand battles. As a veteran of Game of Thrones, he can take this opportunity to learn from Weiss and Benioff’s successes and failures while also giving House his own spin.
Then there’s the other creator of the show, Ryan J. Condal. A relatively obscure writer whose produced and written for TV series like Colony and films like Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson’s Hercules and Rampage. Not terribly impressive if I’m being completely honest. Strangely enough, Condal and George R. R. Martin have a pretty good relationship prior to House of the Dragon. The two of them even discussed the prospect of adapting one of Martin’s other works into a film. If Martin says this guy is a “terrific writer”, then I suppose we can trust him.
So to answer the question: Yes, you should be excited but remain cautious. Earlier this year, HBO President of Programming, Casey Bloys announced that fans can expect the series to drop sometime around 2022. A few weeks ago, a casting call for House of the Dragon was released, looking for actors and actresses to play Aegon Targaryen and his sisters. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on any new developments as this project takes flight.