WarnerMedia dropped a bombshell at the end of its HBO Max presentation last night with a bit of news: it gave a straight-to-series order for a Game of Thrones prequel series set 300 years before the events of the main show called House of the Dragon. Now, author George R.R. Martin has followed up with a blog post that sheds some more light on the new series.
HBO revealed some basics for the series: the first season will be 10 episodes, and it was created by Ryan Condal (Colony), based on some of the Westeros lore seen in Martin’s faux history, Fire & Blood. Furthermore, frequent Game of Thrones director Miguel Sapochnik will helm the first episode of the series, as well as an unspecified number of additional episodes.
Martin provided a lengthy blog post on his website about the news. Here’s what we learned.
Ryan Condal is a newcomer to HBO’s franchise. Martin noted that he met Condal when the director was in New Mexico, working on a “pilot for a fantasy western that was not picked up.” Condal was a fan of the books, and the two stayed in touch, and Condal initially wanted to do an adaptation of Dunk & Egg, something that Martin says he’s not ready to do “until I’ve written quite a few more stories.”
House of the Dragon has been in the works since 2016. That’s about when HBO announced that the series would come to an end with Season 8. HBO President Casey Bloys said at the time that they’d talked about spinoffs, but indicated that there weren’t “concrete plans for it at the moment.”
Read Martin’s stories in his fantasy anthologies Dangerous Women and Rogues. Those stories ended up in Fire & Blood, something that Martin has indicated folks should read if they wanted a rough idea of what the series would be about.
There’s still a lot of work ahead of the show. Martin says that the series needs to now be written — Condal needs to put together a writers’ room, script the episodes, assemble a cast and crew, and so forth. He also doesn’t know where they’ll be shooting, although “I expect we will revisit at least some of the countries David & Dan used for Game of Thrones (Ireland, Iceland, Scotland, Croatia, Morocco, Malta, and Spain).”
Martin won’t be writing any scripts, at least for now. The author notes that he’ll be involved in the production, but to head off fans bugging him about finishing his long-overdue Winds of Winter, he says that “I am not taking on any scripts until I have finished and delivered Winds of Winter,” and that the story remains his priority. But, he notes that “I may even be able to script a few episodes, as I did for the first four season of Game of Thrones,” if all goes well — either meaning that they’re expecting the series to run for multiple seasons, or that the book is nearly done. Who can say at this point?
All of those other successor shows? They ded. Martin confirmed that all other spinoff shows were no longer moving forward. At one point, HBO had five shows in the works: one helmed by Bryan Cogman was killed off earlier this year, while word broke yesterday (And Martin confirmed) that HBO shut down Jane Goodman’s project (tentatively called The Long Night), which when to pilot this past summer. As of earlier this summer, Martin noted that there were three projects in “moving forward nicely” — presumably House of the Dragon, The Long Night, and a third one. That third one was in the script stage and was presumably “edging closer” to a pickup along with House of the Dragon. Martin noted that he was sad that that Goldman’s show wouldn’t be continuing, and wasn’t sure why, only that “I do not think that ti had to do with House of the Dragon. This was never an either/or situation.”