We are less than a month away from the premiere of Dragon Houselong-awaited HBO game of thrones successor series. This new prequel will be set approximately 200 years before the original series and will detail a civil war between rival factions off the Targaryen family. They called it the Dance of the Dragons.
Before the Dance, the Targaryens are at the height of their power, their dynasty having functioned uninterrupted for a hundred years and the sky filled with their dragons. After the dance, well… let’s just say the slow decline of House Targaryen begins with the story we’re all about to see in August. “It’s right before the flower starts to come out of the rose,” showrunner Ryan Condal said at last weekend’s Comic-Con in San Diego, referring to the beginning of the end for the Most Powerful Family. ruler of Westeros.
Dragon House stars speak at San Diego Comic-Con!
It’s been two years since an in-person Comic-Con was held in San Diego, and Dragon House stepped out in style to mark the occasion. In addition to a very cool interactive exhibition where fans could get up close to replicas of iconic props like Balerion the Black Dread’s skull and the Iron Throne, Dragon House also had a panel in the famed Hall H, where many of Comic-Con’s biggest moments have happened over the years.
Actors Matt Smith (Daemon Targaryen), Paddy Considine (Viserys Targaryen), Emma D’Arcy (Rhaenyra Targaryen), Olivia Cooke (Alicent Hightower), Steve Toussaint (Corlys Velaryon), Eve Best (Rhaenys Velaryon), Fabien Frankel (Criston Cole), Emily Carey (young Alicent) and Milly Alcock (young Rhaenyra) were all there, along with showrunner Ryan Condal. Even George RR Martin himself made a surprise appearance after announcing only the day before that he had canceled his travel plans due to COVID concerns. The only one missing was Dragon House fellow showrunner Miguel Sapochnik, who did unfortunately went down with COVID just before the event. But overall it was a Westeros theme party, and everyone had ideas about the new series.
For Martin, it was a mix of emotions to see another of his works adapted. “It’s quite exciting. You’re always nervous at first because these books, these characters are like my children,” the author said. “I was very lucky here. I think Ryan has done a great job adapting the books – so far – and our cast here is amazing.
Martin added that it was the first time he had met most of the Dragon House cast members. They all had a lot to say about their characters as well. Martin has seen the first nine episodes of Dragon House, and one actor he was particularly enthusiastic about is Paddy Considine, who plays King Viserys I Targaryen. Viserys is kind of a clumsy ruler in Martin’s book Fire & Bloodbut according to the author, Considine infused the character with a “tragic majesty” that his book counterpart lacked.
“He’s a nice man trying to keep the peace in the kingdom,” Considine said of Viserys. “There is a great tragedy in this. He loves his family, he cares about his position. But he’s carrying something else that’s kind of a secret that’s revealed on the show.
Whatever secrecy hangs over Viserys doesn’t sound right. Considine teased that it “refers to the fall of man”, which seems about right for this story.
Viserys tries hard to keep everyone in his family from fighting, but he doesn’t get much help. Viserys’ younger brother Daemon constantly pushes the envelope, which eventually leads to Viserys stepping over his younger brother as heir to the Iron Throne. “It’s a complicated relationship,” Matt Smith said. “It’s all about his brother for Daemon.”
As we saw in the trailer, Viserys decides to name his daughter Rhaenyra as heir instead of Daemon. According to actor Emma D’Arcy, Rhaenyra is powered by “that old Targaryen thing”. So expect fire and blood; Rhaenyra is tied to conquerors like Daenerys and Aegon, and it shows. Expect lots of scenes of her riding her dragon Syrax. We’ll see Rhaenyra on dragonback as both an adult and a teenager.
As for Rhaenyra’s rival Alicent Hightower, Emily Carey said that while fans might expect her character to be the “villain” of the show, the situation is much more complicated. “She’s got so many facets — there are so many layers to her,” Carey explained. “I’ve never had the freedom to create an entire human being like this before.”
This led George RR Martin to chime in, reminding viewers that nearly every character in Dragon House is morally grey; don’t expect a Jon Snows here. “We’re not going to have someone called Lord Evil or Mister Atrocity,” Martin joked. “But there is certainly evil. I’ve always believed that the most interesting characters were the gray characters.
Steve Toussaint responds to racist backlash over his casting as Corlys Velaryon
Speaking of bad, Corlys Velaryon actor Steve Toussaint has had to deal with a lot of racist nonsense since being cast as Corlys Velaryon, a powerful overlord in Westerosi. Corlys is probably white in Fire & Bloodthough aside from his great looks and Valyrian hair color, his appearance is portrayed so nebulously and unrelated to the story that it’s hard to imagine how anyone could misrepresent himself about Corlys being black in the series.
But lo and behold, the people are awful, and Toussaint has been “racially abused” a lot about it. He spoke about it during the panel. “[O]Other than some people’s perspective on someone who looks like me playing this role, that didn’t really play into the role, in my experience working with my fellow actors,” Toussaint explained. “As I said, there are people out there who are having a bit of a hard time with someone who looks like me playing this role. But it’s a problem they have to deal with and I don’t have The problem is always the same, just say the lines convincingly and avoid bumping into the furniture.
It’s good to hear that stuff didn’t invade Toussaint when he was working on the show. Hoping it fades once people see his performance.
Dragon House is not “anti-women”
During the panel discussion, George RR Martin also addressed another topic of discussion regarding Dragon House when he elaborated on one of the themes of the show: that the patriarchy would rather destroy itself than see women in power.
Martin was asked why Westeros seems so opposed to the idea of female domination. “I don’t think Westeros is particularly anti-woman or more misogynistic than real life and what we call history,” Martin said, according to Weekly entertainment. “I take inspiration from the story, then I take elements of the story and go up to 11. games of thrones is, as many people have observed, very loosely based on the Wars of the Roses. [House of the Dragon] is based on an earlier period in history called the Anarchy.
Whether or not you dislike the way Westeros handles these sorts of issues, it’s pretty obvious that Martin is transparent about it: Anarchy was a civil war that broke out in England in the 12th century when King Henry I died and left his daughter. as heir to the throne. There are many clear parallels with Dragon House.
As for whether we’ll see Martin himself on the show, he says he’s a little busy right now, so it’s probably best not to count on it. “There’s this book I’m writing – it’s a bit late.”
A lot of hard work has gone into Dragon Housebut in the end, there is still a lot to do. game of thrones was a groundbreaking television series, and the cast and crew of its successor are hopeful. “We’re so grateful for what’s come before, and we just hope it has the same legacy,” Olivia Cooke said. “I just hope you like it.”
Dragon House premieres August 21 on HBO and HBO Max.
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h/t Hollywood journalist, Variety, Weekly entertainment