by Dave Argento ’21 A&E Staff
Just three days before the 10-year anniversary of the premiere of the record-breaking series Game of Thrones, HBO officially announced production of the highly anticipated prequel series House of the Dragon. Fans of George R.R. Martin’s high fantasy universe have been anticipating House of the Dragon since the show was unveiled by WarnerMedia in October 2019. Co-creators Martin and Ryan Condal will have an upward battle in producing the first official project from the Song of Fire and Ice world since what many consider to be one of the most disappointing final seasons and finales in television history.
House of the Dragon will take place 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones and will follow the story of House Targaryen using material from Martin’s 2018 book Fire & Blood. The ancestors of Daenerys Targaryen (a.k.a. the Mother of Dragons) ruled the lands of Westeros prior to Robert’s Rebellion which had preceded the Game of Thrones story arc. Considering the series will take place during the peak of Targaryen military power, the massive budget of $15 million per episode as the most expensive show to date should suffice to provide fans with all of the CGI dragon action one’s heart could desire.
The massive project will surely have the production value and media buzz to succeed, but the quality of the writing will be observed incredibly closely considering the bad taste left in fans’ mouths as a consequence of House of the Dragon’s predecessor. Some good indications have come from the staff announced to create the show as the likes of Miguel Sapochnik who has directing credits for six Game of Thrones episodes for which he won an Emmy and DGA honors for “Battle of the Bastards” will be involved.
Contrary to the last seasons of Game of Thrones, where it was rumored George R.R. Martin and co-creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss had severed ties over creative differences, Martin is back to being a more active contributor to the new project. Many attribute Martin’s absence and lack of source material to why the ending to Game of Thrones was what most consider a tremendous failure in story writing, so at least these two corrections seem to have been made. There will likely be a mix of hope and skepticism as diehard fans would love to see more of Martin’s highly regarded writing come to life on screen without the disappointment that was felt throughout the fandom following the finale approximately two years ago.
House of the Dragon lacks an official release date, but HBO programming chief Casey Bloys suggested in a January interview that it might premiere sometime in 2022. Other Game of Thrones spinoff series are likely to come in the coming years, but production delays and budget cuts during the COVID pandemic have led to even more questions surrounding if and when such projects might come to life. House of the Dragon serves as a new opportunity to dive into George R.R. Martin’s genius and incredibly detailed fantasy universe, causing fans to eagerly await any content to come in the coming months of production.