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House of the Dragon. Within hours of learning about the doomed prequel "The Long Night" (or "Bloodmoon," as I was reminded it was sometimes also called), HBO has announced that Game of Thrones is getting a successor show after all:

#HouseOfTheDragon, a #GameofThrones prequel is coming to @HBO.

The series is co-created by @GRRMSpeaking and Ryan Condal. Miguel Sapochnik will partner with Condal as showrunner and will direct the pilot and additional episodes. Condal will be writing the series.

The Ryan Condal/Miguael Sapochnik project has already managed two things that the Jane Goldman project long struggled with: 1) it's got an official title -- House of the Dragon, and 2) it's earned a full series order, not just a pilot episode. About a month ago, George R. R. Martin hinted that another prequel show was moving forward, though at the time the pilot episode had not yet been greenlit by HBO. Apparently HBO is now satisfied enough with the concept (originally pitched by Game of Thrones vet Bryan Cogman) and the current pedigree (Condal was previously the showrunner of the USA show Colony and Sapochnik arguably one of Game of Thrones' best directors) to order ten episodes straight away.

According to Entertainment Weekly's James Hibberd, the events of House of the Dragon "will eventually lead up to The Dance of the Dragons, a massive civil war in the Seven Kingdoms held between two rival branches of House Targaryen." There is plenty of established canon to adapt here; you can read GRRM's Fire & Blood for an in-depth history of House Targaryen. With this new show, we're likely to get a more personal view of the era, as opposed to the dry accounts from maesters who took a broader look at the history in the book.

But perhaps the best and most exciting thing about the new show is the thing that made "The Princess and the Queen" so memorable when GRRM first published details about the Dance of the Dragons: we're going to see legitimate, full scale dragon-on-dragon battles, the likes of which the books and Game of Thrones only hinted at. Fire will reign.


The End of the Long Night. If there's a future for more TV shows in the Game of Thrones universe, it won't be one set in the distant past during the Age of Heroes, unofficially known as "The Long Night." Deadline reports (and Variety confirms) that the high-profile project from Jane Goldman starring Naomi Watts is now dead. HBO greenlit a pilot episode for the prequel back in June 2018, but production and post-production of the pilot has since run into a few problems, and HBO must have decided that the show wasn't worth pursuing any longer.

Some key notes from Deadline's reporting:

Showrunner Goldman has been emailing the cast and crew of the project to tell them that the pilot is dead, we hear. The development has not been confirmed by HBO.

Word of the Watts-led pilot, penned by Goldman and directed by S.J. Clarkson, not going forward comes after a lengthy post-production, which included re-editing of the initial cut after it was not well received, and rumors about issues during filming in Northern Ireland.

While this is certainly a setback for fans hoping for more from the world of Westeros, HBO is still kicking around a few ideas for spinoffs, including another potential show from George R. R. Martin and Ryan Condal about the glory days of House Targaryen.

Coincidentally, we recently learned that Game of Thrones' showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have dropped out of their Star Wars trilogy. This appears to be the week that Game of Thrones producers, past and present, quietly announce the death of highly scrutinized projects.


Watchmen Open Thread. Tonight sees the debut of HBO's Watchmen, the first of several high-profile projects from HBO in its post-Game of Thrones world. From Damon Lindelof (co-creator of Lost and HBO's The Leftovers), Watchmen is set in a contemporary albeit alternate history where superheroes are considered outlaws. The new show is based on the 1980s graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, and follows a filmed adaptation from 2009 by director Zack Snyder, though the HBO show reportedly aims to tell its own story with only a few characters returning from the original source material.

Here's HBO on the new show:

From executive producer Damon Lindelof (Emmy® winner for "Lost"; HBO's "The Leftovers"), the series embraces the nostalgia of the original groundbreaking graphic novel of the same name, while attempting to break new ground of its own. Nicole Kassell directs the pilot from a script written by Lindelof. Cast includes Regina King, Jeremy Irons, Don Johnson, Jean Smart, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr., Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Tom Mison, Sara Vickers, Andrew Howard, Jacob Ming-Trent and Dylan Schombing.

The first of nine episodes of Watchmen debuts tonight at 9 PM ET, only on HBO. Let us know if you'll be watching Watchmen, and if so, what you think of it.


Final season earns Game of Thrones its final Emmys. Game of Thrones was named Outstanding Drama by the Emmys for the fourth time in its eight-season run. The show's final season was nominated for a record-breaking 32 Emmys this year. It won a total of twelve of them, tying its own record for the most wins in a single season for a scripted series. Ten of its Emmys were awarded at last weekend's Creative Arts Emmys ceremony (for casting, costumes, main title design, makeup, music, editing, sound editing, sound mixing, visual effects, and stunt coordination) and two last night (for Outstanding Drama and Outstanding Supporting Actor Peter Dinklage). Congratulations to all the winners, especially George R. R. Martin, who was the first person named by producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss during their final acceptance speech.

Thus we've reached the official end of Game of Thrones's role as a dominant force in television, the pop culture juggernaut to which all future shows — including any Game of Thrones spinoffs — will be judged, fairly or otherwise. If nothing else, we may never see a show as successful as Game of Thrones was during awards seasons. All told, Game of Thrones has won 59 Emmys over its eight seasons, most of which rightfully recognized the show's impressive technical achievements. Peter Dinklage remains the lone actor to nab an Emmy for his or her role on the show, though several actors earned nominations for the first time this year (Alfie Allen, Gwendoline Christie, Sophie Turner, and Carice van Houten). Dinklage's fourth Emmy also serves as a fitting bookend to his win after the first season, back when it really was an honor just to be nominated.

Are you satisfied with the number of Emmys Game of Thrones ultimately got? Or do you think its controversial ending should have dampened any chances it had of winning anything but a few technical awards? Is there an actor or actress who you feel should have won an Emmy, or perhaps even someone who should have been nominated over the course of the show's run?


Your Top Comments of Season 8

There were ten comments this season that earned the rare, hallowed 3-star rating, our best measurement for which comments fellow members thought were truly well-liked. Some comments were lengthy missives that would have made worthy essays of their own; others were quick quips that made plenty of us laugh. Regardless of length and context, these comments give us a snapshot of what our readers were thinking during the final episodes of the show. When compiled as we've done below, the comments offer a different kind of recap of the season as a whole.

So buckle up and maybe find yourselves a stiff drink, cause your top comments of Season 8 may be well said, but the prevailing opinions ain't pretty.


Volunteers wanted for What Is Dead, Part 2. Warning! This post may discuss events from beyond your current scope. If you're fully caught up, you can remove this spoiler warning from all similar blog entries, or view this post without bypassing the warnings of other entries.

Little Birds: The Iron Throne

Warning! This post may discuss events from beyond your current scope. If you're fully caught up, you can remove this spoiler warning from all similar blog entries, or view this post without bypassing the warnings of other entries.

Bittersweet Adieu, Game of Thrones

Warning! This post may discuss events from beyond your current scope. If you're fully caught up, you can remove this spoiler warning from all similar blog entries, or view this post without bypassing the warnings of other entries.

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Tower of the Hand is an unofficial companion to George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series and HBO's Game of Thrones, featuring chapter and episode guides, character profiles, family trees, and much more.

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