The smash-hit HBO series Game of Thrones enjoyed monumental success throughout its eight-season run. Rather than follow one protagonist, the show centered on the royal families of a fictional kingdom called Westeros. Among the powerful people who vied for the throne was Daenerys Targaryen, the Mother of Dragons. The surviving Targaryen became a fan-favorite character and eventually returned from exile to conquer her former home in later seasons.
The next show set in the Game of Thrones universe is House of the Dragon, a prequel series centered around the Targaryen family. House of the Dragon’s co-showrunner, Miguel Sapochnik, recently told The Hollywood Reporter that the new show would have a unique tone. Sapochnik quickly clarified that the new show will also show respect to Game of Thrones while seemingly nodding to that series’ divisive final season.
Sapochnik explained, “I think we were very respectful of what the original show is. It wasn’t broken so we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. House of the Dragon has its tone that will evolve and emerge throughout the show.” His words could be an attempt to reassure both fans who loved the last season of Game of Thrones and those who weren’t impressed by it.
“But first, it’s very important to pay respects and homage to the original series, which was pretty groundbreaking. We’re standing on the shoulders of that show and we’re only here because of that show. So the most important thing for us to do is to respect that show as much as possible and try and compliment it rather than reinvent it.”
“Hopefully, it will be seen as something else. But it will have to earn that,” the showrunner admits.
The ultimate season of Game of Thrones received mixed reviews from fans and critics. While some lauded the production values and climactic battles in Season Eight, others found the plot rushed and unsatisfying. Following the closing episodes, fans speculated that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss had become tired of the show and chose to wrap it up as quickly as possible. Rumors alleged that this was due to the lack of source material for the final episodes.
The first several seasons of the show were primarily direct adaptations of the Song of Ice and Fire books by George RR Martin. However, most of the events of the later seasons take place after the most recent book by Martin, A Dance with Dragons. With this lack of source material, some fans felt that Season Eight was left without any direction.
In James Hibberd’s book, Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon, both Benioff and Weiss responded to criticism for the final season. “We didn’t want to become a show that outstayed its welcome,” Benioff explained. “Part of what we love about these books, and the show, is this sense of momentum and building toward something. If we tried to turn it into a ten-season show, we’d strangle the golden goose.”
Weiss added, “When we gave [HBO] the final outline, that helped. They were able to see why taking this and stretching it into another ten episodes would ruin this and make something that’s ideally powerful and affecting feel drawn out.”
The sixth book in Martin’s series, The Winds of Winter, STILL doesn’t have a firm release date. While fans like myself eagerly await its release, excitement for House of the Dragon is setting in. The new series will air on HBO Max at an unspecified date in 2022. In the meantime, I’ll just keep rewatching that awesome reveal trailer!