'House of the Dragon': Cast and release date for new 'Game of Thrones' prequel show

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Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen, younger brother to King Viserys and heir to the throne in House of the Dragon. (Sky/HBO)
Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen, younger brother to King Viserys and heir to the throne in House of the Dragon. (Sky/HBO)

Dragon season is almost upon us as the highly anticipated Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon is set to drop on 21 August in the US and on 22 August in the UK.

Steaming on HBO in the US and on Sky Atlantic and NOW for UK audiences, the 10-part series follows the mighty Targaryen dynasty and is set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones.

House of the Dragon is based on George R.R. Martin’s 2018 novel Fire and Blood which takes a deep dive into Targaryen history and the slow demise of a once great house.

Read more: Game of Thrones prequel House Of The Dragon releases first trailer

The 736-page book details the dragon-powered battle for the iron throne during their bloody civil war, better known as ‘The Dance of the Dragons,’ fought from 129 to 131 AC, in the expansive A Song of Ice and Fire timeline.

Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower and Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower (Twitter/HouseofDragon)
Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower and Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower (Twitter/HouseofDragon)

It’s expected that the series will largely follow the source material novel, unlike Game of Thrones, where the series overtook the George R.R. Martin’s novels.

Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik serve as showrunners for House of the Dragon and will be taking over from David Benioff and DB Weiss, who served as showrunners for all eight seasons of Game of Thrones.

Sapochnik is already very familiar with the world of Westeros, having directed some of the more significant Thrones episodes including 'Battle of the Bastards' and the controversial finale, 'The Winds of Winter'. Ryan Condal is a producer and writer and is the executive producer of the American science fiction drama series Colony.

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 22:  Director Miguel Sapochnik attends the
Director Miguel Sapochnik attends the Game Of Thrones panel during Comic-Con International 2016. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

The dynamic pair have recently discussed the adaptation of Fire & Blood into House of the Dragon during an appearance on the Coupledom podcast, hosted by Idris and Sabrina Elba.

In the episode, Condal tries to assure fans that he’s aiming to keep the show as faithful to George RR. Martin’s work as possible and he also talks about his unique writing relationship with Martin.

Read more: George RR Martin discusses rivalry with LOTR

After the divisive final season of Game of Thrones that resulted in 3 million fans signing a ‘Remake Game of Thrones Season 8’ petition, HBO will surely be keen to keep fans on side with House of the Dragon and get the multi-million dollar franchise back on track.

Ryan Condal at Comic-Con. (Getty Images)
Ryan Condal at Comic-Con. (Getty Images)

HBO has already cancelled another Thrones prequel, ‘The Long Night’, despite spending millions of dollars on the pilot, which should indicate how serious HBO are about getting House of the Dragon right.

Maintaining fan loyalty will also be more challenging during the important first season, as House of the Dragon is also going up against Amazon’s epic fantasy series, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, which will be streaming on Prime Video from 2 September.

Read on for everything you need to know about House of the Dragon.

House of the Dragon release date

House of the Dragon. (Sky/HBO)
Milly Alcock portrays young Rhaenyra Targaryen & Emily Carey portrays young Alicent Hightower in House of the Dragon. (Sky/HBO)

HBO has officially confirmed that the 10-part series will premiere on 21 August via HBO Max in the US and will be simulcast on Sky Atlantic/NOW in the UK in the early hours of 22 August.

The show's official Twitter account broke the news on 30 March of this year, with a simple tweet: "August 21. #HouseoftheDragon." which sent fans into a frenzy online.

A series of teaser tweets then followed featuring new shots of key characters including King Viserys Targaryen, Prince Daemon Targaryen and Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen.

As House of the Dragon is an HBO series, new episodes are likely to follow the same format as Game of Thrones and be released weekly rather than dropping all at once on streaming platforms.

Filming for Season 1 began in late April 2021 with Leavesden Studios in England acting as a home base for production, with exterior scenes shot in several UK locations including Cornwall and Devon.

House of the Dragon cast

Paddy Considine in House of the Dragon (Sky/HBO)
Paddy Considine as King Viserys I Targaryen in House of the Dragon. (Sky/HBO)

As with Game of Thrones, we get a rounded cast ensemble with some fresh talent and familiar faces entering the world of Westeros.

Peaky Blinders star Paddy Considine takes one of the lead roles as King Viserys Targaryen, the fifth Targaryen king to sit upon the coveted Iron Throne. HBO describes King Viserys as, “a warm, kind, and decent man, Viserys only wishes to carry forward his grandfather’s legacy.”

Take a quiz: How well do you remember Games of Thrones S1?

Another notable name in the cast is English actor Matt Smith, best known for playing the eleventh incarnation of the Doctor in Doctor Who and for his recent role in Morbius, the latest Spider-Man spinoff from Sony.

Emma D'Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen (Twitter/HouseofDragon)
Emma D'Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen (Twitter/HouseofDragon)

Smith will be playing Prince Daemon Targaryen, the younger brother of King Viserys and heir to the throne. Described by HBO as, “a peerless warrior and a dragon rider, Daemon possesses the true blood of the dragon.”

Beloved Welsh actor Rhys Ifans will star as Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King, who loyally and faithfully serves both his king and his realm. Ifans has racked up an impressive list of film and TV credits during his long career including, Spider-Man: No Way Home, The Five-Year Engagement, Mr Nice and Notting Hill.

House of the Dragon. (Sky/HBO)
Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole in House of the Dragon. (Sky/HBO)

Other cast members include Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower and Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon aka “The Sea Snake.”

What happens in House of the Dragon?

Fans of the source material novel, Fire and Blood will be familiar with many of the plot lines we can expect to see in the series. That is if HBO sticks to the source material of course and resists going off-grid as the seasons progress.

HBO's official House of the Dragon synopsis reads: "The prequel series finds the Targaryen dynasty at the absolute apex of its power, with more than 15 dragons under their yoke.

House of the Dragon. (Sky/HBO)
Steve Toussaint as The Sea Snake & Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Velaryon in House of the Dragon. (Sky/HBO)

“Most empires-real and imagined-crumble from such heights. In the case of the Targaryens, their slow fall begins almost 193 years before the events of Game of Thrones, when King Viserys Targaryen breaks with a century of tradition by naming his daughter Rhaenyra heir to the Iron Throne.

But when Viserys later fathers a son, the court is shocked when Rhaenyra retains her status as his heir, and seeds of division sow friction across the realm."

Given that the series will follow the bloody ‘dance of the dragons’ civil war, we can expect to see some epic dragon battles as various factions of the Targaryen dynasty and their followers face off against each other in the pursuit of power.

House of the Dragon trailer

A new House of the Dragon trailer dropped on 5 May and gave fans a better look at the principal characters and some hints at the storylines to come.

The extended teaser trailer has been viewed over 12 million times on YouTube and currently has more than 11,000 comments.

House of the Dragon will debut on Sky and NOW on 22 August.