The last time San Diego Comic-Con was held in person was 2019, only a few weeks after Game of Thrones’ final season ended. For the event’s 2022 return, HBO brought the follow-up prequel series House of the Dragon to the main stage in Hall H, complete with new footage, appearances from the main cast, and even a speech from author George R.R. Martin to talk about the new show. These House of the Dragon details from the SDCC 2022 panel will get fans fired up for the return to Westeros.
The panel included co-showrunner Ryan J. Condal and author Martin. (The other co-showrunner, Miguel Sapochnik, was unable to travel.) As for the cast members, some were familiar faces to SDCC, like Doctor Who’s Matt Smith (Daemon Targaryen), but most were attending the event for the first time. Fans got to meet Paddy Considine (Viserys I), Eve Best (Princess Rhaenys), and Steve Toussaint (Lord Corlys). Also, the panel brought Emma D’Arcy and Milly Alcock (who play Rhaenyra Targaryen at different ages) and Olivia Cooke and Emily Carey (who play Alicent Hightower at different ages) to talk about how the show covers such a significant stretch of timeline.
But these deets were only the tip of the iceberg. Here are some of the most important takeaways from the House of the Dragon panel.
1. House Of The Dragon Is Loosely Based On U.K. History
Game of Thrones was famously (very) loosely based on the English period commonly referred to as “The War of the Roses.” The Westeros period commonly referred to as “the Dance of the Dragons,” is also (very) loosely based on English history; Martin said he was inspired by the era known as “The Anarchy.”
In the 12th century, England was ruled by a powerful and highly respected monarch, Henry I. Unfortunately, his heir, William, passed away when his ship sank, leaving Henry with only a daughter, Matilda. Henry forced his lords to swear loyalty to her, but the moment he was gone, so were most of their allegiances. They switched their fealty to Henry’s nephew, Stephen, rejecting a female ruler and objecting to her husband (who was from a rival family). The resulting conflict was never really won by either side. However, Matilda’s son succeeded Stephen (who had no heirs, male or female) and became King Henry II.
2. The Series Will Directly Address Westeros’ Misogyny
The above revelation got the cast talking about how strong the Targaryen women are in the new series and how it makes no sense for them not to be honored as rulers. Condal told the panel (and the audience) that this is part of what the show will address over the coming seasons, should they play out. Much of Westeros society’s trajectory and mores stem directly from this period, and it will be a chance to see how the continent became the way it is in GoT.
3. Adapting From Fire & Blood Was A Challenge
As Condal explained, Fire & Blood is a faux-history text that reads like something out of a middle school classroom, very dry and straightforward “Event A was followed by Event B” type stuff. That can give a false sense of inevitability to events. Condal said from the very beginning, he and Sapochnik had to learn to fill in those gaps for themselves and flesh out the roads not taken, so these events don’t feel like they were always going to be the outcome.
4. There Are 17 Dragons In The Series
There are a lot of dragons in this show. The era that proceeded the Dance of the Dragons was the pinnacle of Targaryen rule, and although their dragons didn’t grow as large as those of Aegon I’s time, they were at the peak of their population.
However, the show won’t introduce all 17 in the first season. Some of these dragons won’t turn up until later on down the line. Condal said they’ve all been designed and their personalities taken into account. Hopefully the show will run long enough for fans to meet them all.
5. Not Every Targaryen Rides A Dragon
Even with so many dragons, not everyone jumps on dragonback and flies around. Steve Toussaint, who plays Princess Rhaenys’ self-made Sea Snake husband, Lord Corlys, admits his character is jealous of those in his family who get to fly. And Paddy Considine, who plays Westeros’ ruler, King Viserys I, also never gets to ride. When asked, he said the only dragon he’s even gotten to ride is the one from The Neverending Story.
6. The Two Timelines Did Not Film Together
As noted above, one of the big reveals of the panel is that it will have two versions of Princess Rhaenyra and Alicent Hightower. How the timelines fit together still isn’t perfectly clear, but the younger and older cast did not film together, nor did they work together to develop their characters. That suggests these are entirely separate parts of the show that could switch back and forth, much like Westeros and Essos did in GoT.
7. Season 2 Is Already Being Prepped
HBO has not formally greenlit House of the Dragon Season 2. But it came up a lot in passing on the panel, with Condal talking as if it were already a given the show will get another season. That suggests HBO has given the provisional go-ahead to start working, so when a decision is made, the series will be ready to start production. Hopefully a formal announcement for more seasons will come once the show premieres.
House of the Dragon Season 1 debuts on Sunday, August 21, at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and will follow a weekly release schedule. The series streams simultaneously starting the same day on HBO Max.