The team behind House of the DragonHBO is coming Game of Thrones prequel series, has a lot to say about what fans can expect.
Their Saturday panel at Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con featured Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke and Paddy Considine, in addition to Blood & Fire author George RR Martin, whose book forms the basis for the project, spoke to the crowd about what awaits when the highly anticipated series launches on August 21.
The series revolves around the conflict in Westeros dating back 150 years to the original series, and executive producer Ryan Condal explained that the series starts when the Targaryens bloom and have 17 dragons, which is the most they would have. “It’s just before the rose blooms start,” he said.
Martin said he has seen nine of the ten episodes of the first season and feels a mixture of emotions. “It’s pretty exciting,” he said. “You’re always nervous at first because these books, these characters are just like my kids.”
He continued: ‘I’ve been very lucky here. I think Ryan has done a great job adapting the books – so far – and our cast here is amazing.”
Paddy Considine, who plays King Viserys, said his character will struggle to maintain stability despite his best efforts. “He’s a nice man who tries to keep peace in the kingdom,” Considine said, teasing a secret Viserys is hiding. “There is a great tragedy in it. He loves his family and cares about his position, but he has something else with him.”
Smith promised that things will become tense between his character, Prince Daemon Targaryen, and his older brother, Viserys. “It’s a complicated relationship,” the actor said. “It’s all about his brother for Daemon.”
Steve Toussaint plays Lord Corlys Velaryon, whom he described as a self-made man. “The moment we meet him, he is an extraordinarily rich man in his adventures,” he said.
Not all the drama happened in front of the cameras. Fabien Frankel, who plays swordsman Ser Criston Cole, admitted he accidentally made unexpected contact with Smith during the beginning. “Our first rehearsal with Matt, I hit him in the face with a sword,” he said. Smith agreed, adding, “Pretty well drawn.”
Emma D’Arcy, who plays Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, said her character is motivated by fire. “I think she’s fed by the old Targaryen stuff,” she teased.
Cooke acknowledged that viewers might expect her character, Lady Alicent Hightower, to be the villain of the show, but she said things won’t be that simple and the show introducing Alicent at a young age gives her plenty to explore. “She’s so versatile – she has so many layers,” said the actress. “I’ve never had the freedom to create such a whole person before.”
This led Martin to point out that all aspects of right and wrong will be treated in a subtle way. “We won’t have anyone called Lord Evil or Mister Atrocity,” he joked. “But there is certainly evil. I’ve always believed that the most interesting characters are great characters.”
When a fan asked if he would appear in a cameo, Martin suggested he’s too busy working on the latest book of A song of ice and fire. “There’s this book I’m writing – it’s a little late,” he said.
Toussaint was referring to dealing with any criticism of a person of color that appears in this world. “That’s a problem they have to deal with,” the actor said confidently of any haters. “I do not need.”
Cooke stressed that the team has worked so hard on the show that she hopes it can live up to fans’ expectations. “We are so grateful for what came before it, and we hope this has the same legacy,” she said. “I just hope you like it.”