HBO is taking us back to Westeros again, this time with more Targaryens, more fire and more blood. The network has a handful of Game of Thrones spinoffs in the works, but the first one, House of the Dragon, is set to premiere in a matter of months. Now, fans can meet the cast and prepare to love and hate their characters to various degrees.
House of the Dragon is based on a portion of Fire & Blood — a fictional history book written by George R.R. Martin about the reign of House Targaryen over Westeros. It is set about 180 years before the events of the main book and covers a civil war fought between two factions of the Targaryens, both with dragon-riders on their sides. The main players have been cast, and some set photos have already been released, along with a brief teaser. Putting these together with the source material makes for an exciting teaser.
Fire and Blood covers about 130 years' worth of history in Westeros, ending shortly after "the dance of the dragons" — the civil war that House of the Dragon will be about. It lays out all the major events but only in a historical style, not in a straightforward narrative. This means the show will only use about a third of the book's content and will focus on a few years of the characters' lives where the book describes them from birth to death.
Still, it is enough to introduce the main players and their roles in the conflict to come. There are plenty more characters that need to be cast or revealed, as well. House of the Dragon is expected to premiere sometime in 2022 on HBO. Fire and Blood is available now in print, digital and audiobook formats. In the meantime, here's a look at who has been cast so far, and who they will be playing.
Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen
Paddy Considine will play King Viserys I Targaryen — after whom Daenerys' brother is named in the main series. He is the fifth king of the Targaryen dynasty, taking over after his grandfather, King Jaehaerys I Targaryen passed away. Viserys is a dragon rider, though by the time he took the throne his dragon had passed away, and he never bonded another. He is also a widower and is described by Martin as an amiable man averse to conflict.prevnext
Emma D'Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen
Emma D'Arcy will play the king's eldest child, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen. Rhaenyra is the only living child from the king's first marriage to Queen Aemma Arryn, so he publicly declared her his heir to the Iron Throne. However, King Viserys would later remarry and have more children, including boys. This will call Rhaenyra's claim to the Iron Throne into question — something she is not happy about at all, and it is never wise to displease a dragon rider like the princess.prevnext
Olivia Cooke as Lady Alicent Hightower
Alicent Hightower is the second wife of King Viserys I Targaryen, though she is closer in age to Princess Rhaenyra. She is an ambitious woman, eager to see her own sons on the Iron Throne in spite of the king's earlier declaration that Rhaenyra is his heir.prevnext
Steve Toussaint as Corlys 'The Sea Snake' Velaryon
Steven Toussaint has been cast as one of the most interesting characters in Fire and Blood — "The Sea Snake" Lord Corlys Velaryon, Lord of the Tides and Master of Driftmark. House Velaryon did not feature heavily in Game of Thrones, but in the books, it is an island-dwelling great house with close ties to House Targaryen. That's because it too traces its ancestry back to Old Valyria — though its ancestors were never dragon riders.
Corlys is an old man by the time of the dance of the dragons, but the book details his entire life, including his travels around the entire known world. HBO is reportedly developing another spin-off series tentatively titled 9 Voyages, about the Sea Snake's famous nine voyages away from Westeros. If that's the case, Toussaint may have more work ahead of him than any of his castmates.prevnext
Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen
Matt Smith will play the rogueish Prince Daemon Targaryen — another figure described from birth to death in Martin's book, but who is middle-aged at the time of this story. Daemon is arrogant, ambitious and bloodthirsty, and rides the formidable dragon Caraxes. At one point before the dance of the dragon, he even declared himself "king" of a small island chain off the coast of Westeros.
In this story, Daemon may remind fans of Jaime Lannister in the original series. While he is undoubtedly a murderer and a warmonger, he seems to be pursuing a bit of redemption arc here. Hopefully, fans like the ending he receives better than the one Jaime got.prevnext
Rhys Ifans as Ser Otto Hightower
Rhys Ifans will play Ser Otto Hightower — Lady Alicent's father and a shrewd player of the "game of thrones." Otto served as Hand of the King to Viserys' predecessor, King Jaehaerys, and then to Viserys himself. He then bound himself to the throne even further by persuading the aging king to marry his own daughter in the hopes of having more children to protect the line of succession. Otto will continue playing these political games throughout House of the Dragon.prevnext
Rhaenyra and Daemon
One of the first set photos released shows D'Arcy and Smith in costume standing on a beach, which fans speculate may be the shore of Dragonstone, or perhaps the island of House Velaryon, Driftmark. Either way, seeing the silver-blonde wigs back in action finally made the adaptation feel real for many fans out there.prevnext
The Sea Snake
Fans were also ecstatic to get a first look at Toussaint in costume as Lord Corlys Velaryon, one of the most interesting characters from Fire and Blood. Many had not imagined the character as Black in the books — though it makes sense and even enhances the story as Martin wrote in, in some ways. For book readers and casual viewers alike, "The Sea Snake" is sure to become a fan-favorite character.prevnext
Alicent and Otto Hightower
Finally, the last photo released so far shows Cooke and Ifans in costume as Lady Alicent and Lord Otto Hightower, again on a mysterious beach. The inclusion of Otto in these early photos implies something about the story, letting fans know that the character may loom larger here than he did in the book. However, at its hear the war is between Rhaenyra and Alicent.prevnext
To Be Cast0comments
A few actors confirmed to be cast in House of the Dragon have not yet been featured in production photos — Eve Best as Princes Rhaenys Velaryon, Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole and Sonoya Mizuno as the mysterious Mysaria. Meanwhile, other key players remain to be cast — including the sons of both Princess Rhaenyra and Lady Alicent, and the contemporary leaders of all the great houses of Westeros. Fans are likely excited to meet Tyland Lannister, Cregan Stark, Borros Baratheon, and so on.
House of the Dragon is in production now, and is expected to premiere on HBO sometime in 2022. Fire and Blood is available now in print, digital and audiobook formats wherever books are sold.prev