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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.

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.


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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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