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.
Cobra Kai Season 4 – Review
Cobra Kai season four is out now on Netflix and the All Valley is back and better than ever. Here’s our review.
SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the show, but if not there are spoilers ahead.
It’s January, and new shows are popping up everywhere. This brings us to the show that I and my friends have been holding our breaths for: the fourth season of the hit Netflix series Cobra Kai! After three seasons, I wondered if there was anything left to mine from the Karate Kid lore or the Johnny/Daniel dynamic. I am happy to report that this might be my favourite season yet! It manages to not only expand upon the universe it has created, but to bring in a new villain, who is so bad that he threatens to outdo even John Kreese!
Season four sets us off where the third left off, with Johnny and Daniel having joined forces to fight Cobra Kai. Their friendship arc is the glue that holds this season together. The story focuses largely on whether they will be able to pull it together and make their partnership work. As in previous seasons, their relationship has its ups and downs. The stakes are heightened, however, as the season leads up to the All-Valley Tournament. A bet between the three senseis – Kreese, Daniel, and Johnny – means that losing the All Valley is losing the title of sensei.
This season explores the ways that both Johnny and Daniel work with the kids. It also examines the kids’ struggles as they prepare for the All Valley while dealing with conflict within the ever-changing network of friends and enemies in the dojos. Robbie has left juvenile hall and decided to join up with Cobra Kai as a means of inflicting revenge on both his dad and Daniel. Tori and Sam continue their rivalry. And John Reese’s old friend Terry Silver (of Karate Kid 3 fame) shows up to kick Cobra Kai into high gear.
Daniel’s son, Anthony, who has largely been absent until now, faces his own dilemma when his friends begin bullying Kenny, the new kid in town. This soft-spoken middle school character brings us into the world of the younger kids, setting up yet another storyline. Kenny becomes the victim of a gang of kids (including Anthony), enduring round after round of bullying before Robbie takes him under his wing. After his induction into Cobra Kai, the formerly shy middle-schooler becomes a bully himself.
Shades of grey
This brings me to one of my favourite things about the show. The constant back and forth dynamic between characters makes us feel that anything is possible. There is no black and white in the world of Cobra Kai. Where the Karate Kid told us that Daniel was good, and Johnny was bad, this show gives us a very different point of view. It’s a world where we’re never sure who to root for. In this season, we even see Hawk make a return to the “good guys” side after giving up his spot at Cobra Kai.
With Eagle Fang (Johnny’s new dojo) and Miyagi-Do teaming up, the kids – and the adults – have to learn to work together. Of course, complications ensue. Johnny becomes jealous of what he perceives as Miguel’s preference for Daniel over him. Sam wants to learn both her dad’s karate style and Johnny’s, despite her father’s discouragement. Meanwhile, at Cobra Kai, Kreese is losing his grip on the dojo. His former war buddy, Terry Silver, puts off a rather benign appearance in episode one, growing more and more evil with each episode.
This season is lacking in many of the big fight scenes of the previous seasons, instead choosing to focus their energy on the characters. The All Valley Tournament features several great karate matches and offers a satisfying conclusion to Johnny and Daniel’s arc. In the end, Cobra Kai takes the tournament win, but Johnny and Daniel have reached an understanding.
Tori defeats Sam to take the women’s All Valley trophy but later overhears her sensei paying off one of the referees. It’s clear that Cobra Kai has pulled yet another fast one. But the season ends on an even more ominous – and unexpected – note. Terry Silver assaults the over-aged former Cobra Kai member, Stingray, sending him to the hospital. He then makes a deal with Stingray to blame the crime on Kreese. We end the season with Kreese in handcuffs, Terry Silver set to take over Cobra Kai, and the future of Eagle Fang and Miyagi-Do uncertain. In a last shocking twist, Miguel leaves town in search of his biological father.
Although some may miss the school hallway throw downs, I found this one satisfying in a different way. It just goes to show that the ever-expanding Cobra Kai universe can keep bringing surprises season after season.
CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 9/10
Thank you for reading our review of Cobra Kai season four. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.
Check out our Hawkeye episode one and two review HERE.
Read IMDB information about Spider-Man: No Way Home HERE.
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