The House of the Dragon showrunner has released a small, but fiery tease of what fans can expect from HBO’s season two Game of Thrones precursor.
“You’re going to meet five new dragons,” co-creator Ryan Condal said Tuesday at an FYC screening of the hit series in Los Angeles. Condal added that the upcoming season would begin filming “very soon” in 2023.
Condal was joined by eight cast members from House of the Dragonalong with George RR Martin, his co-creator and author of the fantasy novels on which both Game of Thrones and the new drama show are based. Actors on stage were Rhys Ifans (who plays Otto Hightower), Eve Best (Rhaenys Targaryen), Steve Toussaint (Corlys Velaryon), Fabien Frankel (Criston Cole), Matt Smith (Daemon Targaryen), Olivia Cooke (Alicent Hightower), Paddy Considine (King Viserys/Targaryen) and Emily Carey (young Alicent Hightower).
After a screening of the eighth episode of season one, “The Lord of the Tides,” the panel engaged in a Q&A session with Josh Gad, who played an odd but amusing role as moderator. “If you’re wondering what I’m doing here, I’m asking myself the same question,” Gad teased.
“This is a favorite of mine. Of course I’m not being objective,” Martin told the audience when announcing the episode. “I thought it was really powerful. This man [Condal] has a great writing staff. Because if you read my book Fire and blood, what you should do, it’s a fake history. So there are a lot of details that are absolutely amazing and moving that aren’t in the book. They added things, and they added good things, which is important.”
From the pressure of following HBO’s past Game of Throneswhere Martin was quick to point out that he holds the record for the most Emmy Award wins of any fiction series, the author instead focused on the questions still looming over the upcoming, long-awaited final books in his A song of ice and fire series. Fan outrage over the stories’ lack of closure to this day haunts him.
“The pressure of trying to follow the original series is nothing compared to the pressure of trying to finish the novel,” Martin said. “That has given me sleepless nights. The show? That’s Ryan’s problem.’
But Martin made it clear how impressed he is not only with how Condal adapted his novel, but also with the creative additions to his skeletal material. “Fire and blood is a sketch, and you cannot present a sketch on television. So it must be completed. And that’s where Ryan and his writing staff have done a great job.”
From the cast’s point of view, meanwhile, Considine reminisced about the acting decisions that shaped King Viserys’ now-famous walk to the Iron Throne in episode eight. “He’s bandaged up and you see his emaciated body and the amount of pain he was in. It just made me think about that walk to the throne because he’s in such terrible shape,” said the English actor. “I thought that would be a monumental walk through the Red Keep to the Throne. So when I came shooting [I thought] I’m really going to take my time, I’m really going to struggle and keep these people waiting.
Gad bombarded Cooke and Carey with questions about how they portrayed the same character, Alicent Hightower, at different ages without ever actually meeting.
“Yeah, we haven’t spoken,” Carey said with a straight face.
“Right. There’s actually a nasty little rumor I want to clear up that we were forcibly kept apart,” Cooke interjected. Not true, the actresses claimed.
The assembled cast and crew ended the discussion by talking about their favorite moments from filming season one, as the chat quickly devolved into the lame jokes they played on each other.
“Honestly, we’re a bunch of giggles,” Frankel said of the chemistry between the stars. “It only took a glint in someone’s eye to kind of freak everyone out. So anyway, yes, there was a lot of laughter for such a serious show.
Martin, who is released The winter winds now had a different view of the working environment every day.
“Well, unfortunately I wasn’t there for all the fun. I was back in Santa Fe working on this novel,” Martin said. He concluded that his greatest pleasure is in watching House of the Dragon has seen what were once just “strange, disturbing visions in my head” come to life on screen.
“That,” he said, “was exciting.”