From Obi-Wan Kenobi to Better Call Saul to Rings of Power, prequel television shows are all the rage in the world of IP, and HBO isn’t content to let the Game of Thrones franchise sit idly by when there are still more stories to be told. After multiple brief teases, today we have our first full look at House of the Dragon, the upcoming series (premiering August 21) that will depict the events of the infamous and bloody Targaryen civil war that was referenced so often during the OG series. Executive produced by GoT veteran Miguel Sapochnik—the director behind the iconic “Battle of the Bastards” episode—and featuring beloved character actors like Doctor Who’s Matt Smith, Rhys Ifans, Paddy Considine, and Sonoya Mizuno, House of the Dragon’s pedigree is encouraging, at least on paper. But after the widely cursed-at ending of GoT, will viewers be interested?
Based on this extended teaser, with its ominous shots of the Iron Throne, conniving successors, and circling dragons, the prequel certainly looks and feels like its part of the GoT family. The trailer quickly establishes the stakes of the events that transpired about 200 years before the main series began: As the reign of King Viserys I Targaryen (Considine) begins to wane, a contentious battle for control of the throne breaks out between his daughter,
Phoebe Bridgers Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy), and his wife Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke), who wants their son to rule. You’d be hard-pressed to glean these politics from the trailer, which plays up the initial tension between Princess Rhaenyra and her husband/uncle (what is a GoT story without some Targaryen incest!), Daemon (Smith), who believes he should rule.
At this point in the history of Westeros, a Queen has never ruled the land, something that Rhaenyra seeks to change by creating a “new order,” not unlike another certain Targaryen descendant who spoke about breaking a wheel. The significant difference between GoT and House of the Dragon is that the prequel takes place before dragons became (temporarily) extinct, and many of the players involved have fully-grown, fire-breathing pets—which makes the stakes even higher. Think of them as nuclear missiles , that the powers involved unleash at will and without remorse. (The trailer shows off plenty of those dragons—and their CGI looks rather good.)
Fans will learn more about what’s to come during a Comic-Con panel event this weekend, and then, there’s only about a month’s wait before the series hits HBO and HBO Max and you can judge for yourself.