House of the Dragon season 2 is flying towards HBO with an updated release date window. Filming has concluded on the Game of Thrones spinoff series and post-production work is underway.
House of the Dragon season 2 will have eight episodes, not 10, according to Deadline. Reportedly, it's "part of a long-term plan for the show" and some major plot points are being moved to season 3.
The series is based on George R.R. Martin's in-universe history tome Fire and Blood, which chronicles the Targaryen family. House of the Dragon concentrates on the civil war that takes place about 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones. Known as Dance of the Dragons, the devastating conflict pitted Targaryen against Targaryen.
House of the Dragon season 2 will follow up on what's already taken place. The death of King Viserys has triggered a succession crisis. Though his named heir is Princess Rhaenyra, his wife Queen Alicent and her father Otto Hightower have schemed to put Aegon II on the Iron Throne. But Rhaenyra and uncle-husband Prince Daemon aren't going to back down from her claim.
The season 1 House of the Dragon finale kicked off the Dance of the Dragons, with the first battle in the sky. And more are surely to come.
Here's everything we know so far about House of the Dragon season 2.
House of the Dragon season 2 release date window
House of the Dragon season 2 will premiere in "early summer 2024," according to remarks made by HBO boss Casey Bloys at a press event on Nov. 2.
Production on House of the Dragon season 2 began on April 11, 2023, a little later than the March 2022 date that Spanish newspaper Hoy had suggested. A press release quotes Ryan Condal (a man of many hats, as co-creator, showrunner and executive producer) as saying “House of the Dragon has returned. We are thrilled to be shooting again with members of our original family as well as new talents on both sides of the camera. All your favorite characters will soon be conspiring at the council tables, marching with their armies, and riding their dragons into battle. We can't wait to share what we have in store.”
Filming continued and concluded despite the SAG-AFTRA strike since the mostly British cast members work under Equity contracts. Now, House of the Dragon season 2 enters post-production, which should be significant considering the special effects required to depict dragons.
House of the Dragon season 2 cast
The confirmed House of the Dragon season 2 cast members include many of the key figures from the first season, including:
Emma D'Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen, the named heir to her father King Viserys I and rider of the dragon Syrax.
Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen, Rhaenyra's uncle and second husband. He rides the dragon Caraxes.
Olivia Cooke as Queen Alicent Hightower, Viserys' second wife and a former friend of Rhaenyra.
Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower, Alicent's father who served as Hand of the King to Viserys twice.
Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Velaryon, Viserys' cousin and wife of Lord Corlys Velaryon who was once passed over for the throne. She rides the dragon Meleys.
Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon aka "The Sea Snake," Lord of Driftmark and head of House Velaryon.
Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole, the Commander of the Kingsguard and sworn shield to Alicent.
Matthew Needham as Larys Strong, the Lord of Harrenhal and a confidante to Alicent.
Tom Glynn-Carney as King Aegon II, Viserys and Alicent's eldest son who was crowned king, usurping his half-sister Rhaenyra. He rides the dragon Sunfyre.
Phia Saban as Queen Helaena Targaryen, Viserys and Alicent's eldest daughter who is married to Aegon and seems to have premonitions. She rides the dragon Dreamfyre.
Ewan Mitchell as Prince Aemond Targaryen, Viserys and Alicent's second son who lost an eye. He is a capable fighter and rides the dragon Vhagar.
Harry Collett as Prince Jacaerys Velaryon, Rhaenyra's eldest son publicly by Ser Laenor Velaryon. He rides the dragon Vermax.
Bethany Antonia as Lady Baela Targaryen, the elder twin daughter of Prince Daemon Targaryen and Lady Laena Velaryon. She rides the dragon Moondancer.
Phoebe Campbell as Lady Rhaena Targaryen, the younger twin daughter of Prince Daemon Targaryen and Lady Laena Velaryon.
Other cast members who are very likely to return include:
- Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria, a former brothel worker and onetime paramour of Daemon. She is known as the "White Worm" and runs a spy network in King's Landing.
- Graham McTavish as Ser Harrold Westerling, former Commander of the Kingsguard.
- Jefferson Hall as twins Lord Jason Lannister and current Master of Ships Tyland Lannister
- Steffan Rhodri as Lord Hobert Hightower, ruler of Oldtown and older brother of Otto
- Elliott Tittensor as Ser Erryk Cargyll, a member of the Kingsguard loyal to Rhaenyra
- Luke Tittensor as Ser Arryk Cargyll, a member of the Kingsguard loyal to Aegon
- Anthony Flanagan as Ser Steffon Darklyn, a member of the Kingsguard
- Kurt Egyiawan as Grand Maester Orwyle
- Roger Evans as Lord Borros Baratheon, Lord of Storm's End
Some new faces will grace the hallways of King's Landing and the battlefields across Westeros. Simon Russell Beale joins the cast as Ser Simon Strong, the Castellan of Harrenhal and great uncle to Lord Larys Strong. Freddie Fox is Ser Gwayne Hightower, son of Otto Hightower and brother to Queen Alicent. Gayle Rankin plays Alys Rivers, a healer and resident of Harrenhal. And Abubakar Salim is Alyn of Hull, one of the most famous Velaryons in Westeros history.
As far as the crew, co-creator Ryan Condal will be back as showrunner, though Miguel Sapochnik is exiting the series. Alan Taylor, who directed multiple Game of Thrones episodes, will step in as an executive producer and helm several House of the Dragon season 2 episodes.
House of the Dragon season 2 plot and season 1 ending, explained
The first season of House of the Dragon essentially served as a prologue to the Dance of the Dragons. It covers the last 20 years or so of King Viserys I's rule, after he names eldest child Princess Rhaenyra his heir. He keeps to his pledge despite having three sons with second wife Queen Alicent Hightower. But when he finally dies, it triggers a succession crisis that will nearly destroy the Targaryens and roil Westeros.
So, what will happen in season 2? Let's recap how the first season ends. Viserys' eldest son, Aegon, has been crowned king after scheming on the part of his mother, grandfather Hand of the King Otto Hightower and (most of) the Small Council. Rhaenyra vows to take back the Iron Throne, but needs the support of other major houses. While her side has five dragons, she needs an army and money.
She sends sons Jacaerys and Lucerys on dragonback to deliver messages to various lords. While visiting Storm's End, Luke and Arrax are drawn into a battle with his uncle, Prince Aemond on Vhagar. Luke and Arrax are killed, the first significant victims of the Targaryen civil war.
Luke's death will only fan the flames and provoke Rhaenyra to seek revenge. She has someone on hand who is very good at delivering payback: her uncle-husband Daemon, a renowned warrior.
House of the Dragon writer Sara Hess told The Hollywood Reporter that Rhaenyra and Daemon's bond will be further explored in season 2. "Right now, we’re writing season two and figuring out, what is the nature of his relationship with Rhaenyra?" Hess said. "There are many interpretations [in George R.R. Martin’s book Fire & Blood] to that."
Beyond possible vengeance, Rhaenyra will still need soldiers. And for that, she must rely on the other great houses of Westeros. It's possible the show will bring back or introduce families like the Starks, Tullys, Greyjoys, Tyrells, Blackwoods, Tarlys and others. And then there are the Martells of Dorne, which remains an independent kingdom, as well as the rulers and nobles of foreign cities in Pentos and Volantis.
One thing that will be different from season 1: No more time jumps. As showrunner Ryan Condaol told Deadline, "We tell the story in real time from here forward. The actors are playing these characters until the end. We’re not recasting anybody. We’re not making any huge jumps forward in time."
For more detailed, book spoiler-filled speculation about House of the Dragon 2, continue reading below.
Once again, this is a warning that spoilers from Martin's books follow.
After Luke's death, Daemon promises Rhaenyra that he will be avenged. Daemon contacts Mysaria to hire a former City Watch soldier known as Blood and a rat-catcher called Cheese to sneak into the Red Keep. They hold Alicent, Helaena and the latter's three young children captive. Blood and Cheese force Helaena to choose which of her sons will die. She reluctantly chooses Maelor, but they kill the elder Jaehaerys (Aegon's heir) instead.
Blood is caught trying to leave King's Landing with Jaehaerys' head. Under torture, he reveals Daemon is behind the plan. Cheese and Mysaria have disappeared.
The incident drives Helaena to madness and enrages Aegon. This is when the war truly gets underway. The first major battle takes places in the Riverlands between House Blackwood (for Rhaenyra) and House Bracken (for Aegon). The Brackens lose, leaving Aegon with no supporters in the Riverlands.
After that comes a period of mostly politicking, as both sides recruit houses. House of the Dragon season 2 could end with the next major dragon fight, which occurs at Rook's Rest, seat of House Staunton (Team Black). The Greens lay siege to the castle, so Princess Rhaenys flies in on Meleys to lend firepower.
Then, Aegon on Sunfyre and Aemond on Vhagar arrive. The three dragons fight in the sky and they all end up crashing. Only Aemond and Vhagar emerge unscathed. Aegon and Sunfyre are severely wounded, while Meleys is ripped to pieces and Rhaenys burned to death.