Yesterday we had a lot of news related to Game of Thrones, or at least the word of A Song of Ice and Fire to be more specific, the novels upon which the Game of Thrones TV show were based. We found out that the first prequel show to film a pilot, dubbed The Long Night had been canned, then later on, we heard the second prequel show, now called House of the Dragon had been ordered not just to pilot, but to series at HBO.
I think looking back at it, I can see why HBO were keener to go with the latter option. For a start, author George R.R. Martin has detailed a lot of the history for this period in his previous writings, whereas the era of The Long Night is still very much shrouded in mystery. This means as a basis for the show, there is already far more groundwork laid out for House of the Dragon from Martin’s own writing, and we all saw how things went a little off when Game of Thrones moved beyond Martin’s own story.
So now that we know we are definitely getting at least one season of House of the Dragon, I thought it best to have a little discussion about the kind of content that could be involved here, along with some of the difficulties the show will face in adapting the work of Martin on this.
What can we expect from House of the Dragon?
House of the Dragon is going to be about the dynasty of the Targaryens, which lasted for over 300 years in Westeros, from Aegon’s Conquest of Westeros, an event talked of during both the show and the books. This was when Aegon and his two sister wives (they are Targaryens after all) used their three massive dragons to conquer all of Westeros, and forge what we know as the Seven Kingdoms in Game of Thrones. Prior to this, there were many kings of many kingdoms, all squabbling over land between one another, until Aegon forced all of them to bend the knee, well, all except Dorne for now, but there’s no need to get too specific here.
Will House of the Dragon begin with this conquering of Westeros? That we cannot answer. It could well begin here, or it could begin with the actual events of this conquest having already taken place. The only clue we may have is how the official statement talks about 300 years prior to the events of Game of Thrones, and if we go back the full 300 years, we are firmly in the territory of Aegon’s conquest. However, this could easily be set a few years after this conquest has taken place without actually having to show the effects heavy battles right at the start, which could cost a pretty penny to put on screen.
The events of this show will be largely based on Martin’s most recent work which was his first volume in the history of House Targaryen, Fire & Blood. The events of this history book only detail the first 150 years of House Targaryen, with a second volume expected sometime in the future to fill in the second 150 years up to the events of Robert’s Rebellion, which of course was well covered in the Game of Thrones books and show. So, is House of the Dragon really going to cover 300 years’ worth of Targaryen infighting and political intrigue?
Honestly, we don’t have an answer to that yet, but it is possible. Some fans think this show will work very differently to that of Game of Thrones, and each season will follow different generations of Targaryen’s and the stories that shaped Westeros under their reigns. For example, Season 1 could follow the fallout from Aegon’s conquest and take us through to his death and the subsequent succession will be the focus of Season 2 etc. Though this could present a few issues that would be tricky to deal with for the show if they go down this route.
The problems with adapting Fire & Blood
As mentioned above, the main problem the showrunners are going to have adapting the Fire & Blood content is that it is written as a history book, it’s not a narrative story with dialogue and characterisation, this will therefore prove a challenge more akin to later season of Game of Thrones than those earlier where they had Martin’s words to work from.
Also as mentioned above, we have a problem in terms of the timeline. If as some fans are predicting, each season will focus on a different era of House Targaryen, then we are looking at a completely different cast for each season of the show, and that’s not something that would seem like an attractive option for writers, or HBO themselves I am sure. It means a full recast in between season, or at least the majority would be recast, even if the same character appears, he or she could be a child in one season and an adult ruler the next. I do have a hard time imagining HBO signing off on that. However, perhaps we are being a little too blinkered and imagining a show that lasts for five or six seasons. They could look to stretch this out across multiple seasons going to Season twelve or thirteen before they end things, and by stretching the narrative out more, they may only have to make smaller jumps in the timelines between certain seasons,
The event within this narrative that fans seems to want to see the most, is that of the famous Dance of Dragon’s, a civil war of Targaryen’s for the Iron Throne that saw dragon vs dragon. This would also be the event I would have pegged as the most likely period covered in this show before we had any clearer details. However, that is not 300 years prior to the events of Game of Thrones, so perhaps the show will build up to this civil war across several seasons, again we cannot say for sure.
Until we get some more details around this show, which could take some time, it’s going to be hard to predict exactly what periods of the story we are going to have covered in House of the Dragon. But rest assured that if you liked the political gamesmanship of Game of Thrones, then this show will have that in spades one would imagine, with probably not a sign of White Walkers. This was the period when eventually dragons, and with them magic, died off in Westeros.
So, we already know everything that is going to happen?
Ok, we do kind of know what the most important events are in this show, and we will know the ultimate resolution of the events, but that doesn’t mean we know everything that is going to happen. When Martin writes about Targaryen history he does it from the point of view of a character actually recording these historical events down in later years. One of the things Martin loves to have in his work is unreliable narrators, and even his history books are written by characters who might have an agenda.
So we may well know which king sits on the throne during which period, but we may not know everything about these characters that we think. Martin has always written his stories from the standpoint of the victors recording the history. Therefore what we think we know are the way events went down, may be skewed by the victors to make themselves look better and their defeated opponents look worse.
That can still give us exciting stories that we don’t know the resolution to, we may well find some shocks that present events far differently from the way Martin wrote them and he is serving as an executive producer on the show and consulting with the writing teams. I think Martin is also genuinely excited by this show far more than he was The Long Night, and I think he will have a lot of fun changing things around that were written by him for Fire & Blood.
Should I watch this show?
It doesn’t exist yet, and there are many things that can go wrong with this show, but I feel that fans who enjoyed Game of Thrones, especially the earlier seasons are going to be right at home with House of the Dragon. Of course, we need to await Season 1 before we can really judge how well the narrative pulls the audience in, but I feel like even the fans who fell out of love with Game of Thrones towards the end are going to be coming back to check out House of the Dragon. Whether they stick around, well that will depend on the quality of the show, won’t it?
I’ll be tuning in with keen interest, and I can’t wait to see how this show develops and find more information about the eras involved and the casting of the roles. We here at LRM will be sure to keep you well up to date with any news about House of the Dragon as soon as we come across it.
Are you excited by the prospect of House of the Dragon, what concerns do you have about this prequel show if any? Pay the iron price and share your thoughts in the usual spot below.
Don’t forget to share this post on your Facebook and Twitter using the buttons at the top! Or you can react to the post down below.
Have you checked out LRM Online’s official podcast feed yet The LRM Online Podcast Network, which includes our flagship podcast Los Fanboys, our premiere podcast Breaking Geek Radio: The Podcast, and our morning show LRMornings? Check it out by listening below. It’s also available on all your favorite podcast apps!