Devotees of all things Westeros, our long night of pining after the new “Game of Thrones” series is nearly over – “House of the Dragon” is finally hatching this summer.
The highly anticipated prequel to HBO’s fantasy megahit will premiere August 21, the network announced this week, after months of teasing photos and clips to rabid fans. (CNN and HBO share parent company WarnerMedia.)
The prequel, set some 200 years before the events of the original series, follows House Targaryen, the blonde, dragon-riding clan from which Khaleesi herself, Daenerys Targaryen, descended. “Thrones” viewers will also remember the long line of Targaryens driven mad, resulting at one point in a civil war called the “Dance of the Dragons.”
Starring Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Rhys Ifans and many more (plus some CGI dragons), “House of the Dragon” already has the stamp of approval from author George R. R. Martin, whose book “Fire & Blood” provides the basis of the new series. In a March blog post, he wrote that he’d seen snippets of the 10-episode season and “loved” what he’d watched so far.
Fans of “Thrones” who took issue with its final season (in which fan favorite Daenerys, like her ancestors, went mad, torched King’s Landing and murdered its residents with dragon fire before her nephew/lover Jon Snow ended her brief reign of terror) may take heart in knowing that the original series’ creators, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, are not involved in “House of the Dragon.”
Instead, Martin and filmmaker Ryan Condal are credited as the prequel’s creators, and Miguel Sapochnik, who directed essential “Thrones” episodes like “The Battle of the Bastards,” is among its executive producers.
What will those dragon-riding Targayens get up to this time? Martin’s readers may know, but hopefully it’ll involve less genocide than Daenerys’ arc did. We’ll find out on August 21, when “Game of Thrones” Sundays return.