'House of the Dragon' Season 2's Length Shortened by 2 Episodes

When House of the Dragon returns for its second season at HBO, it will be a bit shorter than its debut season run. Deadline reported Monday that the second season of the hit Game of Thrones prequel series will consist of just eight episodes, which is two fewer than Season 1's episode count.

The decision to trim the season down to just eight episodes is not the result of Warner Bros. Discovery leadership's recent cost-cutting focus. Instead, it seems to be part of a long-term plan for the series. Although the original plan for the season was reportedly for another 10-episode arc, an HBO spokesperson stressed to Deadline that the episode count trim was story-driven. House of the Dragon's creative team has reportedly been envisioning a three or four-season run for the show, and as work began on Season 2, executive producer-showrunner Ryan Condal, working with author/executive producer George R.R. Martin, took a step back "to take a big-picture view of the series... and figure out the overall narrative flow, including how to break up the stories season-to-season and what battles to include and when." Amid this overview, a portion of the plot originally intended for Season 2 was moved to Season 3.

Supporting this report is the fact that HBO is already reportedly considering a green light for a third season. Per the new report, HBO is "seriously considering committing to moving ahead with scripts, casting and a production plan as the network too is trying to think long-term instead of season-to-season." Part of Season 3 has already been mapped out and a renewal announcement seems imminent. Sources also told the outlet that it seems House of the Dragon will run for just four seasons, though Condal and Martin continue to go back and forth on the number of seasons needed to tell the full story.

Although a Season 3 renewal is reportedly being eyed, fans will likely have to wait sometime before Season 3 ever arrives. HBO and HBO Max chief content officer Casey Bloys previously revealed that Season 2 likely won't premiere until 2024, sharing, "We're just starting to put the plan together, and just like last time, there are so many unknowns. It's not to be coy or secretive, but you don't want to say it's going to be ready on this date, and then you have to move it. Don't expect it in 2023."

Premiering in August 2022, House of the Dragon is based on George R.R. Martin's book Fire & Blood and is set approximately 200 years before the events in Game of Thrones. The show focuses on House Targaryen's rule over Westeros, starting with its high point and extending into one of its darkest chapters. It stars Paddy Considine, Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Emma D'Arcy, Steve Toussaint, Eve Best, Fabien Frankel, Sonoya Mizuno, and Rhys Ifans, among others.