House of the Dragon season 2 will have fewer episodes than season 1 — here's why

Emma D'Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon episode 8
(Image credit: HBO)

House of the Dragon season 2 will take a much shorter trip around Westeros when it arrives on HBO and Max at some future date. But fans shouldn't worry — the Game of Thrones prequel will still be "jam-packed" with action and drama. 

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, director Claire Kilner offered some insight into why House of the Dragon season 2 will feature just eight episodes, two fewer than its inaugural season. 

Earlier reports suggested the episode count had been trimmed specifically to better serve the narrative, and Kilner seems to confirm them.

"There are eight wonderful episodes with so much happening in every episode, and we have trouble, at times, bringing them down to one hour," Kilner explained. "Ryan's [Condal, showrunner] decision was to give it a good opening and a good ending, and they're jam-packed with emotional and visually exciting events."

That sounds like House of the Dragon season 2 overall could be as long or even longer, minute-wise, as the first installment.

House of the Dragon has been a smash success for HBO. Based on George R.R. Martin's Fire & Blood history tome, House of the Dragon managed to accomplish a feat that many deemed near-impossible: building upon the enormous popularity of Game of Thrones.

According to HBO, House of the Dragon managed to average 29 million viewers weekly in terms of live and digital viewers, which elevated it to the most-watched HBO series since Game of Thrones ended in 2019. 

Production continues on House of the Dragon season 2

Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen in House of the Dragon

(Image credit: HBO)

Season 2 is set to pick up after a game-changing event in the season 1 finale that will intensify the war for the Iron Throne between Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D'Arcy) and her younger half-brother Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney). 

Filming has been underway for months and Kilner describes the atmosphere on set as more relaxed, citing a sense of family among the cast. "Everybody knows one another and wants to do good work, and they know their characters so much better," Kilner shared.

For season 2, Kilner is among the returning directors, alongside Geeta Patel. The full lineup for season 2 also includes veteran Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor, who’s stepping into something of a supervisory role after the exit of original co-showrunner Miguel Sapochnik.  

Kilner praised Taylor's impact on the team. “Alan helps us up our game. He's such an accomplished director, and I really love the way he uses depth of field and focus in his storytelling,” she said.

Unfortunately, fans will likely have to wait for 2024 for House of the Dragon season 2. HBO chief Casey Bloys previously urged eager viewers to stay patient.

“We’re just starting to put the plan together, and just like last time, there are so many unknowns," Bloys told Vulture in October 2022. "It’s not to be coy or secretive, but you don’t want to say it’s going to be ready on this date, and then you have to move it.”

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Brittany Vincent

Brittany Vincent has been covering video games and tech for over 13 years for publications including Tom's Guide, MTV, Rolling Stone, CNN, Popular Science, Playboy, IGN, GamesRadar, Polygon, Kotaku, Maxim, and more. She's also appeared as a panelist at video game conventions like PAX East and PAX West and has coordinated social media for companies like CNET. When she's not writing or gaming, she's looking for the next great visual novel in the vein of Saya no Uta. You can follow her on Twitter @MolotovCupcake.