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House of the Dragon panel recap: Everything we learned about the Game of Thrones spinoff

The Targaryens are back, and they’re messier than ever.

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Do people still care about Game of Thrones? If the House of the Dragon panel at San Diego Comic-Con was any indication, the answer is a roaring yes. Fans crammed into the spacious Hall H to get the latest updates on the first official spinoff of HBO’s hit fantasy show. Here’s what we learned.

The cast of House of the Dragon cast was joined on stage by executive producer Ryan Condal and George R.R. Martin, who wrote the books that inspired the entire franchise. Martin, who’s been isolating for years while working slowly on his next book in the series, told the crowd he’s seen nine out of 10 episodes and approves.

“Ryan has done a great job of adapting the book so far,” Martin said. “Our cast here is amazing. I’m very happy.”

When the topic of Winds of Winter came up, Martin admitted that he’s still working on the long-delayed book and made a surprising promise.

“I don’t see visiting the set or doing anything until I deliver that book,” the author said. “And then if the show’s still going, I’ll show up.”

If that happens, it wouldn’t be the first time he did a cameo for HBO.

“I did do a cameo of the original Game of Thrones pilot but they reshot it,” he revealed.


On the topic of dragons, Condal went into detail on how they worked hard to make each CGI monster stand out.

“There are 17 dragons at the height of this,” he said. “So it was important to differentiate them in how they look and behave. That was one of the earliest things we started concerting on a year before we started filming. Worked with conceptual designers. And of course George gave us the gift of specifying color and size and age. We took all that and tried to extrapolate. Caraxes is very cantankerous, always moving and flexing and never sits still. Vhaga is the biggest dragon alive right now.”

“We’ve designed dragons you won’t even see in Season 1,” Candor added. “There’s much moe to come.”

Milly Alcock, who plays Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, revealed that the filmed the dragon-riding scenes using the Volume, the LED backdrop technology used on The Mandalorian and Thor: Love and Thunder.

“We worked on a volume stage,” she said.

What’s the House of the Dragon plot?

Based on the Fire and Blood books by George R.R. Martin, House of the Dragon recounts the political infighting among House Targaryen 200 years before Game of Thrones begins. Already ruling Westeros, the series marks the beginning of the end for the powerful dragon-riding clan leading up to a Targaryen vs. Targaryen conflict known as the Dance of Dragons. On that note, you can also expect a lot more dragons here than we got in GoT, where the beasts were rare and believed to be a myth by many.

At the panel, Martin went into more detail on the premise, revealing that he based this story on The Anarchy, a conflict in England and Normandy from 1138-1153 over the crown between Henry the First’s daughter Matilda and her cousin Stephen.

“My books are fantasies but I do follow history a lot,” Martin said. “I get inspiration from history and turn it up to 11. This show was base on an earlier English period called The Anarchy. When Henry the First’s only legitimate son drowned while trying to cross the English Channel, he was left with only one legitimate child, his daughter Mathilda. He made her his heir. After he died, here comes her cousin Steve who crosses the channel and steals the treasury. And you enter a period called The Anarchy.”

Paddy Considine, who plays King Viserys Targaryen (the Henry I character) also offered a few more details about his character and role in the show

“He’s a kind man,” Considine said. “A good scholar and a man of temperament. Trying to keep the peace going. But he’s also carrying something else that’s kind of a secret that’s revealed in the show, which reveals the potential fall of man in the future.”

Where does House of the Dragon take place?

Expect all the usual Game of Thrones locations, like King’s Landing. However, the series will also take viewers to Driftmark, an island near Dragonstone and the seat of power for House Velaryon

“The home of the great Sea Snake is a new world we explore quite a bit,” Martin said.

What’s the House of the Dragon cast?

  • Paddy Considine as King Viserys I Targaryen
  • Emma D'Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen
  • Milly Alcock as young Rhaenyra Targaryen
  • Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen
  • Olivia Cooke as Lady Alicent Hightower
  • Emily Carey as young Alicent Hightower
  • Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon
  • Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Velaryon
  • Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole
  • Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria
  • Rhys Ifans as Ser Otto Hightower
  • Bethany Antonia as Lady Baela Targaryen
  • Phoebe Campbell as Lady Rhaena Targaryen
  • Harry Collett as Prince Jacaerys Velaryon
  • Ryan Corr as Ser Harwin Strong
  • Tom Glynn-Carney as Prince Aegon Targaryen
  • Jefferson Hall as Lord Jason Lannister/Ser Tyland Lannister
  • David Horovitch as Grand Maester Mellos
  • Wil Johnson as Ser Vaemond Velaryon
  • John Macmillan as Ser Laenor Velaryon
  • Theo Nate as young Laenor Velaryon
  • Graham McTavish as Ser Harrold Westerling
  • Ewan Mitchell as Prince Aemond Targaryen
  • Matthew Needham as Larys Strong
  • Bill Paterson as Lord Lyman Beesbury
  • Phia Saban as Princess Helaena Targaryen
  • Gavin Spokes as Lord Lyonel Strong
  • Savannah Steyn as Lady Laena Velaryon

House of the Dragon premieres August 21 on HBO.

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