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House of the Dragon: HBO release date, cast and more for the Game of Thrones prequel

House of the Dragon, Game of Thrones prequel
(Image credit: HBO)

Fire and blood will rain down again soon in House of the Dragon, HBO's Game of Thrones prequel about the Targaryen dynasty. And the first member of the dragon-riding family has been cast — Paddy Considine will play King Viserys.

Winter already came and went on Game of Thrones, which concluded its eight-season run in May 2019. But HBO naturally didn't want to let go of the biggest show in its history. Even before GOT ended, the network began developing five potential Game of Thrones spinoffs. They landed on one: House of the Dragon. And recent reports have confirmed that the show is moving forward with a casting call. 

House of the Dragon had a bit of a winding road to existence. HBO first selected an entirely different project for a spinoff, set during the time of the Age of Heroes. But after filming a pilot starring Naomi Watts, that project was scrapped. 

Then, HBO made a surprise announcement that it had gone ahead and ordered 10 episodes of House of the Dragon. The series is based on George R.R. Martin's fantasy novel "Fire & Blood," which chronicles the House of Targaryen's rule, beginning with Aegon I Targaryen's conquest of Westeros some 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones.

Writer Ryan Condal (Colony) and Game of Thrones veteran director Miguel Sapochnik will serve as co-showrunners. Sapochnik directed blockbuster Game of Thrones episodes, including Hardhome, The Long Night and the Emmy-winning Battle of the Bastards. 

Here's everything we know about House of the Dragon so far.

House of the Dragon release date

House of the Dragon does not have a release date. 

HBO announced the series order in October 2019. In late July 2020, the first rounds of casting began. But that still leaves a lot of steps: filming, editing, visual effects. The latter may take a significant amount of time, since a Targaryen-focused series will have to include dragons. 

"My guess is sometime in 2022," HBO President of Programming Casey Bloys told Deadline in January 2020.

He added, "Obviously it’s a big, complicated show."

If it's anywhere near as complicated as Game of Thrones, consider this: Season 8 required nine months of filming, then took nine months until its premiere. If House of the Dragon follows a similar timeline, then we're looking at a release date circa March or April 2022. That would actually make a lot of sense, since almost every season of GOT premiered in those months.

House of the Dragon cast

The House of Dragon cast has its first actor. Entertainment Weekly reports Paddy Considine will play King Viserys. He's described as being "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 good men do not necessarily make for great kings."

Additionally, the NSFW site Recapped claims that HBO is also casting two female leads for House of Dragons. According to their unconfirmed report, the two roles are Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower. They're key figures in the Targaryen civil war called Dance of the Dragons. Rhaenyra is King Viserys I eldest daughter from his first marriage, who believes she should be her father's heir. Alicent is the king's younger second wife, who wants her son to rule. It's a literal game of thrones.

House of the Dragon plot

House of the Dragon is set several hundred years before the events of Game of Thrones. It's based on Martin's novel "Fire & Blood," which chronicles the rule of House Targaryen from the beginning. The story starts with Aegon I Targaryen's conquest of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.

Based on the casting, it seems House of the Dragon will focus on a particular part of the Targaryen history: The Dance of Dragons. It was a bloody and brutal Targaryen civil war that takes place 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones. (That's a little more than a century after Aegon I's conquest.)

King Viserys I's death sets off a struggle for succession between his daughter from his first marriage, Princess Rhaenyra, and his son from his second marriage, Aegon II. Princess Shireen Baratheon recounted this story in a fifth-season episode of Game of Thrones. 

"Brothers fought brothers, dragons fought dragons," she reminded her father, Stannis. "By the time it was over, thousands were dead."

As Shireen noted, the conflict took its toll on the Targaryens, as almost all of their dragons died in the war. The beasts remained extinct for a century and a half, until Daenerys Targaryen hatched her three dragons in Game of Thrones.

House of the Dragon trailer

House of the Dragon does not have a trailer yet. 

HBO could include a mention of the series in the network's look-ahead teaser for the fall or for 2021.