Game of Thrones may feel a lifetime ago, but it’s only been a handful of years — the exact time needed to craft a just as epic yet completely detached follow-up series. For the Game of Thrones follow-up series, the way back is the way forward: House of the Dragon is a 10-episode series that follows the Targaryen empire and their internal clashes, fights over birthrights, and, of course, dragons. Ahead of its future showing at San Diego Comic-Con, HBO released a full-length trailer. While the juicy political intrigue abounds, it also offers a sneak peak at one of the most important locales in Westeros history. Here’s what it means for the show’s future.
The trailer contains all the hallmarks of a Targaryen-focused series you’d expect. The Iron Throne features throughout, as do dragons. But unlike the wide-spanning action of the original series, it looks like House of the Dragon is more singularly focused on the familial clashes within the Targaryen clan and the conflict between the current king’s brother and daughter.
Watch the full trailer here:
One interesting tidbit can be found in a wide shot showing a dragon flying over a building. This building is (probably) the Dragonpit, the grand arena where all of the dragons live during this time period. Author George R.R. Martin has previously said the events depicted in House of the Dragon include up to 17 dragons of various colors and sizes.
This trailer only hints at the beginnings of the Targaryen civil war that essentially led to the downfall of the dynasty, but the Dragonpit stands quite literally as a symbol of the family’s might and control over Westeros. It was constructed around 80 years before the events depicted in House of the Dragon, and it’s more or less where dragons are bred and where they bond with their Targaryen riders. Canonically, this is also where King Aegon II — who is the king at the start of this series — is crowned.
Light spoilers here, but this is going to be a crucial location in the series that’s the site of many explosive events, including the Storming of Dragonpit that leads to its ultimate destruction and the death of many remaining dragons.
About 170 years later, we see in ruins during the Dragonpit Summit in Game of Thrones Season 7. That’s when all the warring factions of Westeros join together to call a truce in order to conquer the White Walkers.
Seeing this building intact just echoes how different this series will be from Game of Thrones.
The original series starts with Westeros on the brink of collapse. Here, the Targaryen dynasty stands strong, but this internal familial civil war comes to define the entire conflict. It’s a hefty heap of dramatic irony on par with the line: “A woman could never inherit the Iron Throne.” That may be the case generations prior — when this show is set — but we know it happens several times over during the events depicted in Game of Thrones.
For those wondering exactly how this series will differ from Game of Thrones, the trailer was released alongside a monumental report by The Hollywood Reporter, where the man himself George R. R. Martin gives his thoughts on what he’s seen so far in the series.
“It’s powerful, it’s visceral, it’s dark, it’s like a Shakespearean tragedy,” he said. “There’s no Arya — a character everybody’s going to love. They’re all flawed. They’re all human. They do good things. They do bad things. They’re driven by lust for power, jealousy, old wounds — just like human beings. Just like I wrote them.”
Sounds great, George.
All in all, it looks like this series is going to be a boon to Game of Thrones fans with all the action — the article even promises a huge jousting tournament in the first episode — but also more of the scheming, intrigue, and fantastical elements that made this franchise into the institution it is today.
House of the Dragon premieres August 21 on HBO.