Of all the Game of Thrones spinoff projects that are currently in the works, House of the Dragon is surely the most hotly anticipated, simply because we know more about it than any of the others (although the stage show sounds like a total mood, too.)
Production on the new series began in April 2021 and includes two new dragons alongside actors Paddy Considine, Olivia Cooke, Emma D’Arcy, Matt Smith, Steve Toussaint, Rhys Ifans, Eve Best, Sonoya Mizuno, and Fabien Frankel.
On May 6, 2021, first-look photos for the House of the Dragon set were released featuring D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen; Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon; Ifans as Otto Hightower and Cooke as Queen Alicent Hightower.
Speaking to Collider, Cooke has said that Queen Hightower is “very complex and I think people are gonna want to see the worst in her.”
“What’s amazing about Game of Thrones, like we saw in the past series, is that one season, you hate a character, and the next, you absolutely love them and will go to the ends of the earth for them,” she told the publication.
“You just don’t know what you’re gonna get with these characters. They’re so well-written. Such is the human condition, you can do some horrendous things, but then you can also do some wonderful things as well. It’s very complex, and it’s not black and white at all.”
House of the Dragon takes place 100 years prior to the Game of Thrones series, with Cooke explaining how that might temper the expectations of the audience—and herself.
“It does help that the story is of a hundred years prior,” she said. “We’re in the world of Game of Thrones, but you can also put yourself in a different headspace as well and know that, for an actor, you don’t have to necessarily follow on from what anyone else is doing.
“But at the same time, yeah, it’s utterly bizarre, after the year, or year and a half, or fucking 10 years that we’ve had, looking down and just being like, ‘What am I wearing? What am I doing? This is mad’.”
Author George R.R. Martin is involved in House of the Dragon, meaning his attention has been diverted once more from writing the next instalment in the series of books that made him a household name and spawned the award-winning HBO series.
Speaking to PBS in Chicago back in June 2021, Martin revealed that the finale—which disappointed many fans— was not exactly what he had in mind, either.
“Looking back, I wish I had stayed ahead of the books,” he said. “My biggest issue there is when they began the series, I had four books already in print, and the fifth one came out just as the series was starting in 2011. I had a five-book head-start, and these are gigantic books, as you know.
“I never thought they would catch up with me, but they did. They caught up with me and passed me.”
He continued, “That made it a little strange because now the show was ahead of me and going in a somewhat different direction. So, I’m still working on the book, but you’ll see my ending when that comes out.”