George RR Martin is a fan of House of the Dragon — but will you be?

Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Matt Smith is Prince Daemon Targaryen in House of the Dragon
(Image credit: HBO)

House of the Dragon, the first Game of Thrones spin off to make it to series, has a rough road ahead of it — on account of the original show’s terrible ending. But the show has been given the stamp of approval by author George RR Martin.

Speaking at the House of the Dragon panel at San Diego Comic-Con, Martin confirmed he’s seen nine episodes of the show’s first season. Apparently the show is “pretty amazing” and that the author is “really very happy” with what he’s seen so far.

Martin wrote the books both Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon are based on, so his opinion holds a lot of weight. However, House of the Dragon is based on the book Fire and Blood, which spans several decades and is written more like a history textbook than an actual novel. That makes the adaptation process a little trickier.

There’s no option to copy scenes verbatim, as Game of Thrones did in its early days. To have such a positive reaction from Martin suggests that the showrunners have done a fairly good job of filling in the blanks.

“These books are like my kids but when you give them up for adoption, you’re nervous on how they’ll turn out,” Martin said. “But I’ve been very, very fortunate here.” Martin also added that show-creator Ryan J. Condal has “done a great job of adapting the books so far, and our cast is amazing.”

Martin also confirmed he will not be cameoing in the first season of House of the Dragon. Much like his scrapped cameo in Game of Thrones, Martin’s scene was in the pilot episode and ended up being cut after reshoots. The author suggested he may have another somewhere down the line, but only once he’s finished his next book.

“You may not know this but there’s a book I’m writing and it’s a little late. So I won’t be doing any acting until I finish that book, so maybe if the show is still running then," Martin said. 

That doesn’t give us much hope about the fate of The Winds of Winter, which has been in the writing process since at least 2010. It’s now got to the point where the whole thing has stopped being funny. The prospect of another multi-season series concluding before the book is released is not one fans will be particularly happy about.

This is assuming House of the Dragon gets more than one season, and doesn’t join the growing list of canceled shows.

The reception of Game of Thrones’ final season was an unmitigated disaster, and in the three years since the show has fallen away from the pop culture landscape. Unlike other poorly-received franchise instalments, Game of Thrones doesn’t even have the advantage of living on through memes — like the Star Wars prequels of Spider-Man 3.

So House of the Dragon has to prove itself worthy of both existing, and continuing on from one of the most spectacular crashes and burns pop culture has seen in recent years. Fortunately, the show’s recent trailers paint a pretty positive picture, and the newly-released San Diego Comic-Con trailer doesn’t hold back on the dragons or the action.

Maybe this show will be able to win people over after all. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take another eight seasons for Martin to finish writing his darn book.

House of the Dragon's first episode arrives on HBO and HBO Max on August 21, with subsequent episodes coming each week.

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.