The Game of Thrones prequel series
Heard about the Targaryen-lead Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon? We’re about to spill some serious tea on everything from the main characters to their deadly dragons…
The conclusion of Game of Thrones left a huge, dragon-shaped void in most of our lives. Even if it was the worst ending to an otherwise amazing series. But with a GoT prequel getting the greenlight, we’re already counting down the days for HBO’s next TV epic, House of the Dragon.
Although it’s still in the early stages, there are a few key details that have been made official. And some others that we’re just enjoying theorising.
SPOILERS: The following contains some spoilers from the book Fire & Blood, as well as other published works from George R.R. Martin.
What will the Game of Thrones prequel series be about?
The House of the Dragon prequel series is based on George R.R. Martin’s book, Fire & Blood. It will tell the story of House Targaryen (a.k.a. the House that gave us the Mother of Dragons herself, Daenerys Targaryen) and take place 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones.
The series tells the story of a turbulent period for House Targaryen; one that set sibling against sibling and dragon against dragon. The point of contention: who should rule on the Iron Throne, of course.
“If you’d like to know a bit more of what the show will be about… well, I can’t actually spill those beans,” Martin teased in his blog. “But you might want to pick up a copy of two anthologies I did with Gardner Dozois, Dangerous Women and Rogues, and then move on to Archmaester Gyldayn’s history, Fire & Blood.”
For those of you who haven’t read (or don’t plan on reading) any of those. Dangerous Women is “about the Dance of the Dragons. The vast civil war that tore Westeros apart nearly two centuries before the events of A Game of Thrones.”
Rogues chronicles “the early life, adventures, misdeeds, and marriages of Prince Daemon Targaryen,”. He was considered “one of the biggest rogues in the entire history of Ice and Fire”.
Finally, the novel Fire & Blood, released in November 2018, is the first novel of a two-part history of the Targaryens in Westeros. According to the book’s description on Martin’s site: “Centuries before the events of A Game of Thrones, House Targaryen. The only family of dragonlords to survive the Doom of Valyria. Took up residence on Dragonstone. Fire & Blood begins their tale with the legendary Aegon the Conqueror. The creator of the Iron Throne, and goes on to recount the generations of Targaryens. Targaryens who fought to hold that iconic seat, all the way up to the civil war that nearly tore their dynasty apart.”
Have any cast members been confirmed for House of the Dragon?
Not only have HBO now published the names of four of the lead characters, they’ve also confirmed who they’re set to play in the series.
Paddy Considine (The Third Day) as King Viserys Targaryen. Viserys was chosen by the lords of Westeros to succeed the Old King, Jaehaerys Targaryen, at the Great Council at Harrenhal. A warm, kind, and decent man, Viserys only wishes to carry forward his grandfather’s legacy, but as we’ve learned from Game of Thrones, good men do not necessarily make for great kings.
Olivia Cooke (Ready Player One) as Alicent Hightower. She’s the daughter of Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King, and the most comely woman in the Seven Kingdoms. She was raised in the Red Keep, close to the king and his innermost circle; she possesses both a courtly grace and a keen political acumen.
Emma D’Arcy (Truth Seekers) as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen. The king’s first-born child. She is of pure Valyrian blood, and she is a dragonrider. Many would say that Rhaenyra was born with everything…but she was not born a man.
Matt Smith (Doctor Who) as Prince Daemon Targaryen. The younger brother of King Viserys and heir to the throne, Daemon is a peerless warrior and a dragon rider who possesses the true blood of the dragon. But it is said that whenever a Targaryen is born, the gods toss a coin in the air.
Which other characters might we see in House of the Dragon?
Knowing that the series will be based on Martin’s book, Fire & Blood, here are some of the other characters that may make an appearance in House of the Dragon.
Ser Laenor Velaryon – Married his reluctant cousin Rhaenyra, who remarked to her father, “my half-brothers would be more to his taste.” His dragon was named Seasmoke.
Rhaenys Targaryen and Lord Corlys Velaryon – Parents of Laenor Velaryon. She was known as The Queen Who Never Was because she was passed over as heir to the throne in favour of her uncle. Corlys was known as “The Sea Snake,” because of his prowess at sea.
Harwin Strong (aka “Breakbones”) – son of Lord Lyonel Strong and heir to Harrenhal, he was Rhaenyra’s lover while she was married to Laenor.
Princes Jacaerys “Jace,” Lucerys “Luke,” and Joffrey “Joff” Velaryon – Rhaenyra and Laenor’s children, though rumoured to have been fathered by Strong because they had dark hair like Strong, while cousins Laenor and Rhaenyra both had the Targaryen light silver/gold hair. The boys’ dragons were, respectively: Vermax, Arrax, and Tyraxes.
King Aegon II (129–131 AC) – Viserys I’s eldest son by Alicent, married his sister. His dragon was named Sunfyre, “the Golden.”
Helaena – Aegon II’s sister-wife, had three children with Aegon. His dragon was named Dreamfyre.
Twins Jaehaera and Jaehaerys and their younger brother Maelor – the offspring of Aegon II and Helaena.
Blood and Cheese – hired killers who murdered Jaehaerys in front of his mother, sparking her descent into madness.
Mysaria – a prostitute who served as Daemon’s mistress of whisperers in Flea Bottom. The prince impregnated her, but she lost the child during a voyage to Lys to escape Viserys I’s anger over Daemon’s attempts to give the child a dragon egg, per Targaryen custom.
Aegon III (131–157 AC) – the son of Daemon and Rhaenyra Targaryen, he ruled after his uncle Aegon II, and at a very young age, married his cousin Jaehaera, who died young. His rule marked the end of the Dance of Dragons. He had five children by his second wife, Daenaera Velaryon. As a child, he grew melancholy after escaping a naval attack by mounting his dragon, but leaving his brother Viserys behind and believing that he had died. The brothers reunited later in life. His dragon was named Stormcloud.
Mushroom – a fool in the courts of Viserys I Targaryen, Aegon II Targaryen, Rhaenyra Targaryen, and Aegon III Targaryen. His accounts of his days at court teemed with tales of debauchery and scandal.
Dragonseeds – Nettles, Hugh the Hammer, and Ulf the White were purportedly bastard Targaryen offspring. They each claimed dragons and fought for Rhaenyra, though Hugh and Ulf later switched allegiance.
Prince Qoren Martell – Dornish ruler who supported the Triarchy (an alliance of the Free Cities of Myr, Lys, and Tyrosh) in a war for the Stepstones against Prince Daemon Targaryen and Lord Corlys Velaryon.
What about the dragons?
We may not see any of the characters mentioned above (and thus, nor will we see their dragons). But of the characters HBO have confirmed, expect to see some spectacular dragons in the new prequel series.
Here’s a bit of history on the three main creatures.
King Viserys I and his dragon, Balerion – his dragon was especially notable: Balerion, the Black Dread, who King Aegon I Targaryen rode back during the Conquest of Westeros. Born in Valyria, Balerion was the last living dragon to have seen the Freehold, which the Targaryens left 12 years before the Doom. He was black-scaled with black wings and even black fire, which burned so hot that it melted the stone towers of Harrenhal (you saw the ruins in Game of Thrones when Arya Stark served as cupbearer to Tywin Lannister). Balerion died at around 200 years old in 94 AC, less than a year after Prince Viserys claimed him and while the prince was still very young; therefore, it is unlikely that House of the Dragon will show Balerion alive unless the writers change the story or in flashback.
Daemon Targaryen and his dragon, Caraxes – his dragon was named Caraxes, but was also known as the Blood Wyrm for his red scales.
During the Dance of the Dragons, Caraxes was ridden by Daemon when he assaulted Harrenhal, and due to their fearsome reputation, Simon Strong surrendered the castle immediately. Later on, Caraxes killed and was killed by Vhagar, last of the three original Targaryen dragons and largest living dragon during the civil war, in the Battle Above the Gods Eye.
Rhaenyra and her dragon, Syrax – Rhaenyra’s dragon, Syrax, had yellow scales. She was huge and formidable, but not as fearsome or experienced in battle as Caraxes.
In King’s Landing, Syrax was kept within the walls of the Red Keep in a stable in the outer ward that had been emptied of horses and given over for her use. She was kept in chains and exceedingly well-fed. The chains were long enough to allow her to move from the stable to yard but kept her from flying off riderless. The three other dragons belonging to the blacks were kept in the Dragonpit along with Dreamfyre.
Any familiar locations we’re likely to see in House of the Dragon?
Much of the drama takes place in King’s Landing and Dragonstone. But the fighting and bloodshed primarily happen in the Riverlands (led by House Tully at Riverrun). Many of the bloodiest battles occur around Harrenhal and The God’s Eye.
- King’s Landing – the capitol
- Dragonstone – House Targaryen’s family home
- Driftmark – House Velaryon’s family home
- Dorne – The southernmost kingdom in Westeros, it was not under Targaryen rule during the Dance of the Dragons.
- Oldtown – kept safe the Targaryen riches during the Dance of the Dragons
- Lys – one of the Free Cities of Essos; known for its brothels
- The Stepstones – the broken land bridge between Dorne and Essos
- Harrenhal – the massive fortress above God’s Eye, melted by Balerion the Dread.
Who’s working on the prequel behind the scenes?
There’s a slew of talented directors and producers working on the new Game of Thrones inspired series.
Martin and Ryan Condal (Colony, Hercules) are the co-creators. Miguel Sapochnik and Condal will be showrunners. The pair will also serve as executive producers along with Martin, Vince Gerardis, Sara Lee Hess and Ron Schmidt.
Sapochnik (who is credited for directing six Game of Thrones episodes) won Emmy and DGA honors for ‘Battle of the Bastards’. He was nominated for another Emmy in 2019 for directing ‘The Long Night’ and won the Emmy for Best Drama Series as an executive producer for the final season.
Clare Kilner (The Alienist: Angel of Darkness) and Geeta V. Patel (The Witcher) will also direct the series. Greg Yaitanes (Banshee, House) is Director and co-executive producer.
When is it due to air?
HBO programming chief, Casey Bloys, told select media outlets at the Television Critics Association winter press tour in January that viewers could expect to see it on screen sometime in 2022. Although, with COVID-19 restrictions, nothing is set in stone.
However, we do already know where the 10-episode series will air in the UK: Sky Atlantic and NOW TV. The same place that aired Game of Thrones, with the broadcaster re-upping its deal with HBO after House of the Dragon’s announcement.
What does George R.R. Martin think of it all?
The GoT prequel series has Martin’s seal of approval. In fact, in response to news of the series pickup, he wrote on his blog, “House of the Dragon has been in development for several years (though the title has changed a couple of times during that process). It was actually the first concept I pitched to HBO when we started talking about a successor show, way back in the summer of 2016.”
Although 2022 is a while off, we couldn’t be more stoked for the new GoT-inspired offering. The Long Night is over; now the long wait begins. But remember…
Dragons are coming.
What do you think about HBO’s upcoming Game of Thrones prequel series, House of the Dragon? Are there any actors or actresses you’d like to see in the next cast announcement? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below.
Discover the Game of Thrones ending that we all deserved HERE
Read IMDB information about House of the Dragon HERE.
Loki Episode 6 – Review
Episode six of Loki from Marvel is here, streaming now on Disney Plus. It’s time for the series finale. Here’s our review.
SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the show, but if not there are spoilers ahead.
More to come
The post-credit scene showed that a second series has already been ordered, meaning this finale is essentially the end of Part One. Thank goodness it is. Because if this was the denouement of the entire Loki story then there’s a good chance it would go down in television infamy as one of the more unusual series endings.
Introducing the big bad
We pick up from Sylvie and Loki’s defeat of The Alioth as they look at the citadel upon the rock at the end of time. They make their way to the entrance, and upon being invited in they’re met by Miss Minutes. It’s been widely predicted that ‘she’ would be an agitator in this series. And at last her role has been revealed. She is an emissary of Kang The Conquerer, embedded within the TVA.
She offers Loki the earth, almost literally, as she tries to coax him to betray Sylvie. Her offers of infinity stones, defeating Thanos etc. Happily, Loki rejects all the trinkets that she offers. Instead, he and Sylvie head into the lift where they meet ‘He Who Remains’ aka Kang The Conquerer. A 31st-century scientist and the true timekeeper.
Sylvie attempts to kill him but he quickly demonstrates some of his powers by dodging and weaving her before she gives in and the three of them sit down for a very long discussion. To sum up what was a lengthy and occasionally fairly tedious scene. He Who Remains (HWR) asks Loki and Sylvie to kill him and take over the role of controlling the timeline. Loki is extremely reticent but Sylvie, angry at what HWR’s meddling has done to her life, is desperate to do so.
Meanwhile, back at TVA HQ, Renslayer is informed by Miss Minutes of HWR’s plan. Showing her dual role and playing on Renslayer’s desperation to keep the TVA active and relevant.
Loki and Sylvie get into a physical fight over what to do with HWR. With Loki recognising how the timeline will fragment with branches springing up all over the place. But Sylvie is consumed by her rage and eventually overpowers Loki, sending him back to the TVA and then kills He Who Remains.
Setting up season two
Loki finds Mobius and tries to explain what has happened. But then discovers the terrible effects of what Sylvie has done by apparently killing HWR. Mobius has no idea who Loki is. This situation is then made worse when Loki looks out to see a statue of He Who Remains adorning TVA HQ. Loki realises that he is in a different timeline branch. One where HWR or Kang is in control of everything. Sylvie has been manipulated into apparently killing him which has enabled him to increase his power further.
Jonathan Majors was masterful as He Who Remains. Which is what you’d expect from someone with a Masters in acting from Yale. He was flamboyant, powerful and mesmerising, which is exactly what you want from a major villain. He will be back in AntMan 3 as Kang The Conquerer and is set to be the key villain in the next phase of the MCU post-Endgame and Thanos.
I have been extremely positive about this series, as I think it has been the strongest and most cohesive of the Marvel series so far this year. But I can’t disagree with anyone who felt short-changed by this finale. My 11-year-old son was pretty vocal in his disappointment the moment the credits rolled, and he was absolutely right. He is one of the most obsessive Marvel fans around and if he was underwhelmed, I feel pretty sure he was reflecting the majority view. Nothing I’ve seen online since has dissuaded me from that either.
Phase 4 groundwork
It seemed that the finale was essentially an exercise in introducing He Who Remains or Kang to our screens ahead of AntMan 3. While this isn’t necessarily a problem, it meant that the focus shifted away from being the climax of this series. Instead of being a prologue for the next phase of the MCU, which does seem a peculiar decision.
There are those who feel that the series original premise of Loki and Mobius teaming up to find Variants dotted around time and space was dropped after the first two episodes. Instead, it was replaced with a love story between Sylvie and Loki and a voyage of discovery with Mobius reduced to a bit part for the rest of the series.
But, the cliffhanger at the end of the series as Loki returns to the TVA does give me hope that Series Two will be an even better follow up.
CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 6/10
Thank you for reading our review of Loki episode six. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.
Read our Loki episode five review HERE.
Read IMDB information about Loki HERE.
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