House of the Dragon Season 2: what to expect when the series returns – everything Ryan Condal has revealed

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Everything the House of the Dragon showrunners have revealed about Season 2, collected in one handy list

House of the Dragon Season 2 is, more likely than not, well over a year away. It’s currently understood that the series won’t return until early 2024, given the scale of the production and the complexities involved in bringing the show to screen.

Still, we have a bit of an idea about what we might see when the Game of Thrones prequel does return – since the finale, showrunner Ryan Condal has done a number of interviews teasing the show’s future, and reflecting on the lessons learned from Season 1.

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Here’s everything we know about what to expect when House of the Dragon Season 2 eventually arrives.

A Dance of Dragons

Milly Alcock as young Rhaenyra Targaryen, the Iron Throne and her father looming large behind her (Credit: HBO)Milly Alcock as young Rhaenyra Targaryen, the Iron Throne and her father looming large behind her (Credit: HBO)
Milly Alcock as young Rhaenyra Targaryen, the Iron Throne and her father looming large behind her (Credit: HBO) | HBO

The Dance of Dragons – the name given to the Targaryen/Hightower civil war that plunges Westeros into chaos – began in earnest during series finale ‘The Black Queen’. According to Condal, season 2 will “get to the spectacle”.

He continued by comparing it to the parent show, explaining that “series two will hit the rhythms people came to expect from the middle run of Game of Thrones” and arguing that because of the first season’s slower buildup “it will have been earned, and viewers will feel the tragedies because we put the work in”.

A Helping of Humour

Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen in House of the Dragon, smirking from the sidelines (Credit: HBO)Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen in House of the Dragon, smirking from the sidelines (Credit: HBO)
Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen in House of the Dragon, smirking from the sidelines (Credit: HBO) | HBO

One of the more persistent criticisms levelled at House of the Dragon – not one I’d share, but anyway – is its lack of humour. Its parent series, Game of Thrones, often was quite funny, especially in the scenes featuring Peter Dinklage’s Tyrion Lannister; there’s not quite an equivalent character in House of the Dragon, argue some, leading to something of a more dour, more serious tone in the spinoff.

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Ryan Condal has suggested that House of the Dragon Season 2 will aim to address this, introducing “natural pathways into moments of levity” when the series returns. He also suggested that Matt Smith’s Prince Daemon might be their counterpart to Tyrion, explaining that he thinks “Matt Smith is very funny. If there is one character that does not care, it is Daemon.”

A Lot of Light

Emma D’Arcy as Rhaenyra and Matt Smith as Daemon in House of the Dragon, in quiet conversation at Dragonstone castle (Credit: HBO)Emma D’Arcy as Rhaenyra and Matt Smith as Daemon in House of the Dragon, in quiet conversation at Dragonstone castle (Credit: HBO)
Emma D’Arcy as Rhaenyra and Matt Smith as Daemon in House of the Dragon, in quiet conversation at Dragonstone castle (Credit: HBO) | © 2022 Home Box Office, Inc. Al

Another criticism of House of the Dragon – though not a unique one; people often said it of Game of Thrones too – is that it was too dark. Not metaphorically or thematically, but literally: people couldn’t see what was happening on screen.

While noting that there was always a limit to how much a television show can hedge against the myriad viewing experiences of its audience, Condal conceded that the comments had been taken onboard and would be considered going forward. "The visual continuity of the show is certainly something that we will look at,” said Condal to The Hollywood Reporter. “These are one of the things that you learn in the making of a show […] The feedback was certainly heard. I get it. And we want the show to be a great viewing experience for everybody.”

Enter Taylor – Sapochnik? Bye

Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower in House of the Dragon (Credit: HBO)Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower in House of the Dragon (Credit: HBO)
Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower in House of the Dragon (Credit: HBO) | HBO

Miguel Sapochnik departed House of the Dragon before the series finished airing. A director of a number of Game of Thrones episodes, Sapochnik acted as co-showrunner with Ryan Condal – the directing producer to Condal’s writing producer, if you like. His departure was planned from the beginning, with Sapochnik ready to move on from Westeros and only ever intending to be involved in House of the Dragon’s first series.

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Alan Taylor – director of a number of Game of Thrones episodes himself, as well as Thor: The Dark World and Terminator: Genisys – has begun work on House of the Dragon Series 2 in Sapochnik’s place. One of Taylor’s Thrones episodes was Series 1 episode 9, Baelor; the penultimate episode of the series saw the death of Sean Bean’s Ned Stark, and is widely regarded as a series highlight still.

Fourth time lucky

Tom Glynn-Carney as Prince Aegon Targaryen, Ewan Mitchell as Prince Aemond Targaryen, and Phia Saban as Helaena Targaryen (Credit: HBO)Tom Glynn-Carney as Prince Aegon Targaryen, Ewan Mitchell as Prince Aemond Targaryen, and Phia Saban as Helaena Targaryen (Credit: HBO)
Tom Glynn-Carney as Prince Aegon Targaryen, Ewan Mitchell as Prince Aemond Targaryen, and Phia Saban as Helaena Targaryen (Credit: HBO) | © 2022 Home Box Office, Inc. Al

George R.R. Martin maintains that the story of the Targaryen/Hightower war will take four seasons to tell in full. “It is going to take four full seasons of 10 episodes each to do justice to the Dance of the Dragons, from start to finish,” he wrote on his blog. Martin, an executive producer on the series, will no doubt have some control over that – and, having been vocally disappointed by Game of Thrones concluding after eight seasons rather than his preferred ten, will no doubt try and use his influence thusly.

Condal has been, understandably, less willing to commit. Asked by The Hollywood Reporter about Martin’s comments, Condal agreed “there’s definitely more storytelling to come after season two”, but didn’t want to put a firm number on it. “I don’t know yet is the honest answer,” Condal continued. “But we will take the time that we need to tell this story and when it dramatically needs to come to an end, it will come to an end.”

House(s) of the Dragon(s)

Emma D’Arcy as Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen, a hearth fire glowing behind her (Credit: HBO)Emma D’Arcy as Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen, a hearth fire glowing behind her (Credit: HBO)
Emma D’Arcy as Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen, a hearth fire glowing behind her (Credit: HBO) | HBO

Of course, the end of the story might not be the end of the show. House of the Dragon is currently telling the story of a period in Westerosi history called the Dance of Dragons – but, notably, that’s not the title of the show. (You will likely have noticed that already on your own.)

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In an interview with fansite westeros.org, Ryan Condal alluded to the possibility that House of the Dragon might eventually go on to become an anthology show. “The show is called House of the Dragon, it’s not called The Dance of the Dragons,” Condal said, having also noticed this. “It’s about the Targaryen dynasty in all of its forms, it’s about the Targaryen house, really, and I think there’s many fascinating periods to be told there.”

Later in the interview, Condal alluded to both the possibility of telling the story of Aegon’s conquest (the first Targaryen King to rule Westeros) or the rule of Daeron and Baelor Targaryen (the first Kings to rule Westeros after the extinction of the dragons), suggesting that the series could move forward of backward in the Targaryen timeline.

You can watch House of the Dragon on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV. You can sign up for NOW TV here.

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