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External Link Starring roles named in House of the Dragon. While everyone may be talking about Disney's major Star Wars and Marvel reveals, HBO wants to remind everyone that it's in the franchise game, too, by announcing today who will be headlining its first Game of Thrones spinoff, House of the Dragon. Joining the previously announced Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen are Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower, Emma D'Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen, and Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen.

External Link King Viserys I cast for HBO prequel. English actor Paddy Considine has been cast as King Viserys I Targaryen in House of the Dragon, the first casting announcement made for the Game of Thrones prequel. Considine has a long and accomplished resume, appearing in movies like Hot Fuzz (alongside several Game of Thrones alums), In America, and The Bourne Ultimatum, and received a Tony nomination just last year for his work on Broadway in The Ferryman. You may have recently seen Considine on HBO, as he was one of the leads in the Stephen King's The Outsider miniseries.

External Link House of the Dragon begins casting. James Hibberd of Entertainment Weekly reports that HBO is taking the next step on its Game of Thrones prequel: House of the Dragon has begun casting. There are no official breakdowns yet, so he -- like so many of us -- are left to speculate on what characters the new show will include. Since House of the Dragon is said to be based in part on George R. R. Martin's Fire & Blood, we can expect to see plenty of Targaryens; they are the subject of GRRM's book, which comprehensively (albeit dryly) documents their reign over the Seven Kingdoms in the centuries leading up to the events of Game of Thrones.

Hibberd presumes that House of the Dragon will at some point feature the "Dance of the Dragons," a pivotal event in Westerosi history that is rife with family drama, political intrigue, and hot dragon-on-dragon action. HBO could do far worse than spend a few years bringing this Targaryen civil war to our screens, a mini-Game of Thrones that also benefits from having a beginning, a middle, and, yes, an ending as already written by GRRM.

As Hibberd notes, there is also the possibility that House of the Dragon could be an anthology series, with each season focusing on a different era of Targaryen lore. The Dance of the Dragons would of course be part of this, but this approach would also allow the show to spend time with Aegon I and his sisters as they conquer Westeros, and with Jaehaerys I during his long, progressive, and sometimes sad tenure, and maybe even follow Dunk and Egg on their wacky adventures. At first I wasn't sold on the anthology idea, but HBO (and viewers) might be happier with a non-serialized show that isn't so dependent on how well (or how badly) it executes its final season.

We haven't really addressed House of the Dragon here, so let's start with the basics. What kind of show would you prefer it be: a serialized story or an anthology? Which characters are you most interested in seeing? What is the one thing you would demand of the show, if you were an all-powerful producer? Personally I was always a little disappointed by Game of Thrones' lack of diversity early on, and I'm worried that House of the Dragon will be even more limited in this regard because of its singular focus on a family of fair-haired, purple-eyed beauties. Nevertheless I remain hopeful that the show will both learn lessons from its predecessor and find a way to get out of its huge shadow by the time it debuts, perhaps as early as 2022.

External Link Game of Thrones prequel announces director, cast. During the Golden Globes ceremony on Sunday, HBO released a tiny snippet of new footage for Season 8, in which Sansa says to Daenerys (with Jon Snow watching), "Winterfell is yours, Your Grace." We know who those characters are, where Winterfell is, and what the significance is (if not the sincerity?) of that full statement. We don't, however, know much about the upcoming Game of Thrones spinoff, aside from the fact that it will take place before Game of Thrones during the Age of Heroes, its showrunner is Jane Goldman, and it will star Naomi Watts.

But HBO has just revealed a slew of announcements for the Game of Thrones prequel. The show still has no title, but we have a director for the pilot now -- SJ Clarkson -- and a core cast -- Naomi Ackie, Denise Gough, Jamie Campbell Bower, Sheila Atim, Ivanno Jeremiah, Georgie Henley, Alex Sharp, and Toby Regbo. You may not recognize all the names, but the new cast and crew seemingly comes from all parts of the pop culture universe, with various roles in Star Trek, Star Wars, Twilight, Black Mirror, Narnia, and Fantastic Beasts, among other things. Furthermore, Bower is technically a Game of Thrones alum; he played Ser Waymar Royce in the show's original pilot. Check out the Entertainment Weekly article for photos of the new crew and their credits.

Unsurprisingly, we have no idea who the new characters will be, but the network and the media outlets are making a big deal about the prequel's diversity. With this in mind, do you have a guess as to where in the world of Westeros the prequel might take place? Do you think some of the new characters will be related, or will they not even know each other at the start of the show? Do you prefer not knowing anything about the new show, or was it more fun last time around because you were already familiar with the characters being cast?

External Link Naomi Watts joins Game of Thrones prequel. Two-time Academy Award nominee Naomi Watts has been tapped to lead the upcoming Game of Thrones spinoff, set during the legendary Age of Heroes. Little is known about her role (and the new show in general), but Deadline reports that Watts will play "a charismatic socialite hiding a dark secret." Watts has a lengthy film résumé that includes Mulholland Dr., King Kong, and Birdman, and she recently appeared on the small screen in the Twin Peaks revival and Netflix's Gypsy.

It's not an accident that Naomi Watts is the first casting decision we've heard about the prequel. Aside from being a high-caliber, in-demand name that the network probably couldn't wait to announce, HBO is setting expectations that the prequel, with showrunner Jane Goldman, will prominently feature female characters, perhaps more so than its predecessor. (Though Deadline previously reported that HBO's president of programming Casey Bloys cautioned, "There are very strong female characters but it's an ensemble; there are men and women.")

More than nine years ago, Peter Dinklage became the first actor to be officially attached to HBO's Game of Thrones. Seven seasons and three Emmys later, Dinklage continues to set the tone for the show and his Tyrion Lannister is perhaps the show's most recognizable character. Will Naomi Watts follow in his footsteps and become the prequel's enduring prestige actor, is she destined to be more like Sean Bean, a high profile actor hired to draw in viewers only to depart as the story just begins?

In any case, Naomi Watts is just the first of what we anticipate will be many additions to the cast. The Game of Thrones prequel is "actively casting for numerous roles and also seeking a director" and is set to begin filming a pilot episode in early 2019. Do you think this is a good first step for the show? Will Naomi Watts be the biggest name to join the show, or will another actor of equal or even higher esteem be part of the show?

External Link Jim Broadbent announced for Season 7. In the vacuum of space that is Game of Thrones off-season, any scrap of news that us hordes are thrown can be blown up to swelled proportions in the hope of having something Westeros-related to talk about. However, yesterday we were treated to a genuine piece of gold, a news story that would be big-time any time of year.

Entertainment Weekly announced that Game of Thrones have gone out and snatched a big name for a new character in Season 7, and that name is none other than Jim Broadbent.

Broadbent is likely the most publicly well-known name that's been added to Thrones in the last several seasons. He is an Oscar winner (best supporting actor, Iris), a man of many roles and one of those actors who has been in way more of your favourite films than you realise. Not only that, but he's got his fantasy chops sorted, as well as a talent for coming on board just before the climax (he entered the cinematic world of Harry Potter in The Half-Blood Prince as Professor Slughorn).

Broadbent is an incredible actor, capable of inducing a huge emotional response. His talent will slip right in with the rest of the Thrones actors.

Now, excuse me, Jim, but enough of the actor, and onto the role. As Izembaro famously said, "There are no small parts." He was dead on, apparently. Broadbent's character is touted as having a "significant role." So, as we tumble in our off-season vacuum, let us debate over just who this mystery character could be (in full knowledge this is D+D and it could well be some awesome character none of us know about it).

External Link Dickon Tarly cast for Season 6. It looks like Sam Tarly will encounter at least one familiar face when he travels south next season -- familiar to him, that is. Freddie Stroma has been cast as his younger brother Dickon. You'll recall that Lord Randyll Tarly favored his youngest son so much that he forced Sam to join the Night's Watch enabling Dickon to become his true heir. If Dickon makes it to the screen, can the renowned hardass Randyll be far behind? Viewers may recognize English actor Stroma, who played Cormac McLaggen in the Harry Potter films, had a small role in the first Pitch Perfect, and recently starred in Lifetime's UnREAL.

External Link Euron Greyjoy cast for Season 6. When you've been exiled from the Iron Islands -- home to Westeros' most amoral and disloyal band of brigands -- there's a decent chance that you're one pretty bad dude. And it's safe to say that few characters will be welcoming the return of Euron Greyjoy, Balon's younger brother who has seemingly aggrieved every single member of House Greyjoy. But viewers ought to welcome Pilou Asbæk, who has just been confirmed in the fan favorite role. Asbæk is an acclaimed Danish actor has credits in TV's The Borgias, recent films like Lucy, and the upcoming Ben-Hur. Asbæk joins Ian McShane and Max von Sydow as Game of Thrones' most notable cast additions in Season 6.


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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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