As the premiere approaches, a surprising new detail about House of the Dragon's story and timeline has been revealed. The Game of Thrones prequel is set during a civil war called "the dance of the dragons," but that storyline may not go as long as fans have been thinking. Afterward, the showrunners are interested in tackling other parts of Martin's timeline.
House of the Dragon is based on George R.R. Martin's book Fire & Blood – an "imaginary history book" that covers a period of about 130 years in Westerosi history, from Aegon Targaryen's conquest of the Seven Kingdoms to the end of the civil war. The "dance of the dragons" takes up about a third of the book, and fans were excited to see it adapted and expanded in TV form. Now, sources close to the show tell The Hollywood Reporter that the storyline could be finished in as little as three to four seasons. If so, the showrunners hope they will be allowed to make further seasons jumping around in the timeline – perhaps even going back to the conquest itself.
The insiders said that "nothing is carved in stone," but right now the writers are pacing the show so as to complete the "dance of dragon" plot in about four seasons. This should be much easier than it was to pace Game of Thrones, since House of the Dragon is based on a completed book. The creative team reportedly hopes that the end of the "dance" wouldn't be the end of House of the Dragon, but that the show could instead explore more chapters of Targaryen history forward or backward in time.
"The Targaryens span both directions," said co-showrunner and director Miguel Sapochnik. "So as a spine to other possible stories and spinoffs... this is a great place to start."
THR asked co-showrunner and writer Ryan Condal if HBO is interested in this idea, and he replied: "They are – today. Endings are the easiest thing to do in television."
The report even mentions that the showrunners are interested in going backward so that future seasons would cover Aegon's Conquest – the war that forged the Seven Kingdoms into one realm under the first Targaryen king, Aegon I, with the assistance of his two sisters Visenya and Rhaenys. Fans went wild for this idea on social media, as many have built up complex fan theories around this time period and the mysteries it holds.
Blackfyre rebellion could be fun, and tie in nicely with the Dunk and Egg show 👀— who is arbaccio (@anniearlert) July 20, 2022
However, the report also mentions the Doom of Valyria – an even more mysterious time in Westeros' past. As a reminder, Valyria was an ancient civilization of dragon-riders that ruled much of Essos in Martin's fictional history, but did not conquer Westeros. About 400 years before the events of the main series, a Targaryen woman with a mysterious gift for foresight dreamed that Valyria would fall, and her family took it so seriously that they moved their residence to Westeros. About 12 years later, a volcanic cataclysm destroyed Valyria in one fell swoop, leaving the Targaryens as the only dragon-riders left in the world. It would be another hundred years before Aegon decided to conquer Westeros with that power.
A TV adaptation of "The Doom" could shed a lot of light on the mystical elements of Westeros that fans have longed to understand – perhaps even having some implications for the main series. Meanwhile, this kind of time-skipping format could vindicate some fans' theories that House of the Dragon would be an anthology-style series. By dedicating a few seasons each to the historical chapters that Martin has only written about in broad terms, House of the Dragon could go on for many years and enrich the A Song of Ice and Fire franchise greatly.
House of the Dragon is the first Game of Thrones spinoff to reach the air, but there are at least four other live-action shows in development and a few animated series as well. Hopefully, fans will be able to continue enjoying Westeros in various forms for years to come. House of the Dragon premieres on Sunday, Aug. 21 on HBO and HBO Max. Fire & Blood is available now in print, digital and audiobook formats.