House of the Dragon: trailer, cast and release date of Game of Thrones spin-off series - and when is it set?

House of the Dragon is a fantasy series set long before the events of Game of Thrones and focusing on the Targaryen dynasty

House of the Dragon is a prequel series to the epic fantasy show Game of Thrones, which brought the genre into the mainstream when it aired from 2011-2019.

Both House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones are HBO projects based on the dense novels of George Martin - the latest series is based on Martin’s 2018 novel Fire and Blood.

Several TV projects which take place in the same universe as Game of Thrones have been planned by HBO, and House of the Dragon will be the first of these to make it to air.

Other projects include The Sea Snake, Ten Thousand Ships, an untitled Jon Snow sequel series, The Tales of Dunk and Egg, and animated prequel series The Golden Empire.

Following the disastrous final season of Game of Thrones, which many fans considered a huge disappointment, House of the Dragon will provide an opportunity to rehabilitate the fantasy franchise.

Matt Smith in House of the Dragon

The series is set in Westeros, the fantastical continent where most of the action in Game of Thrones also took place, and will follow the civil war known as the Dance of Dragons.

When King Viserys I died of old age, it was expected that his daughter Rhaenyra would inherit the iron throne and become the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms.

However, Rhaenyra’s succession is challenged by Viserys’ brother, Daemon, who claims the throne for himself, and a bloody civil war begins.

Who is in the cast of House of the Dragon?

Paddy Considine plays King Viserys Targaryen, a benevolent ruler whose reign brought prosperity to the Seven Kingdoms. He spends his final years planning his succession but is unable to prevent the bloodshed that follows his death.

Considine is known for his roles in the drama film Dead Man’s Shoes, dark comedy Death of Stalin, and for playing Father John Hughes in Peaky Blinders.

Emma D’arcy will play Viserys’ daughter, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen. D’arcy will be recongised for her roles as Naomi Richards in Wanderlust and Astrid in Truth Seekers.

Paddy Considine as Viserys I

Matt Smith will play Prince Daemon Targaryen, the man who will launch the greatest contest to Rhaenyra’s rule. Smith is best known for playing the 11th Doctor in Doctor Who, as well as for playing Prince Philip in The Crown.

Other cast members include:

  • Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower, Viserys’ second wife
  • Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon 
  • Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Velaryon
  • Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower, Hand of the King
  • Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria
  • Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole
  • Milly Alcock as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Young)
  • Emily Carey as Alicent Hightower (Young)
  • Ryan Corr as Ser Harwin ‘Breakbones’ Strong
  • Jefferson Hall as Lord Jason Lannister
  • David Horovitch as Grand Maester Mellos
  • Graham McTavish as Ser Harrold Westerling
  • Matthew Needham as Larys Strong
  • Bill Paterson as Lord Lyman Beesbury
  • Gavin Spokes asLord Lyonel Strong

When is House of the Dragon set?

The series is set more than 150 years before the events of Game of Thrones, during the reign of the Targaryen Dynasty.

The series takes place in the years before and after VIserys’ death in 129 AC - AC refers to Aegon’s Conquest, the year the first Targaryen ruler conquered the Seven Kingdoms.

Targaryen rule of the Seven Kingdoms ended in 283 AC following  Robert Baratheon’s rebellion, and the first season of Game of Thrones is set in 297 AC.

When is the release date of House of the Dragon?

The first episode of House of the Dragon will be released on HBO in the US on 21 August, but UK audiences will not have long to wait.

The show will premiere in the UK a day later, on 22 August on Sky Atlantic and will also be available to watch on NOW.

There are ten episodes in the series and they will be released weekly.

Is there a trailer for House of the Dragon?

Yes there is, and you can watch it right here:

Will there be a second season of House of the Dragon?

HBO has not officially given a second season the greenlight, however it is very likely that this will happen soon.

The Hollywood Reporter stated that HBO is prepared to commission a second season very quickly after the first season premiere.

House of the Dragon is set to replace Game of Thrones as one of HBO’s flagship shows, and if the viewing figures hold up, then a second season is all but certain.

Watch this space for updates on the fate of a second season.