House of the Dragon: Release date, episodes, plot explained - everything you need to know about the Game of Thrones prequel

Watch the trailer and find out everything you need to know about the Game of Thrones prequel, coming to Sky Atlantic on NOW, starring Matt Smith, Paddy Considine and Rhys Ifans.

By Alex Fletcher Updated: 18 August 2022 - 12.18pm
Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, played by Emma D'Arcy in House of the Dragon

Watch House of the Dragon on Sky Atlantic with NOW on Sky Atlantic on 22 August

Get ready to return to Westeros, for season one of House of the Dragon.

Set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, this thrilling fantasy series has all the dragons, blood and backstabbing you loved in the classic HBO series, but with a whole new generation of characters. 

Beginning at the peak of the Targaryen dynasty's rule with King Viserys in the Iron Throne, the show has been described as "Succession meets Game of Thrones" as it follows the family's inner turmoil and deadly rivalries.

If you liked Game of Thrones, you will love House of the Dragon, which will be available to watch weekly on Sky Atlantic with NOW from 22 August.

Here is everything you need to know about House of the Dragon...

What is the House of the Dragon UK release date?

Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen in House of the Dragon

It has been confirmed House of the Dragon will air in the UK on Sky Atlantic and NOW on Monday, 22 August.

It airs at 2am on Monday - for superfans who want to tune in at the same time as the show airs in the US.

It also airs at 9pm on Monday.

Or you can watch when it suits you, on demand on Sky Atlantic with NOW.

How many House of the Dragon episodes are there?

House of the Dragon season 1 will have 10 episodes.

New episodes will be released weekly on Sky Atlantic with NOW.

House of the Dragon episode titles and runtimes

Steve Toussaint in House of the Dragon as Corlys Velaryon
  • Episode 1 - The Heirs of the Dragon - Release date | 22 August
  • Episode 2 - The Heirs of the Dragon - Release date | 29 August
  • Episode 3 - TBC
  • Episode 4 - TBC
  • Episode 5 - TBC
  • Episode 6 - TBC
  • Episode 7 - TBC
  • Episode 8 - TBC
  • Episode 9 - TBC
  • Episode 10 - TBC

House of the Dragon trailer 

The full trailer for House of the Dragon (released on 20 July) reveals a first look at the main cast, some incredible special effects and showcases the sheer scale of the epic drama.

Set 200-300 years before the events of Game of Thrones, the trailer introduces the main characters in the series and with glimpses of dragon eggs and familiar family names, there will be plenty to excite fans of the fantasy series.

House of the Dragon is inspired by George RR Martin's Fire and Blood novel, which focuses on the history of the House Targaryen.

Talking about the new series to the Hollywood Reporter, showrunner Miguel Sapochnik said that fans can expect something different to Game of Thrones.

"It’s a different crew, different people, different tone. Hopefully, it will be seen as something else," he said.

"But it will have to earn that - it won’t happen overnight. Hopefully, fans will enjoy it for the thing that it is."

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Zai Bennett, managing director of  ontent, Sky UK, said: "If you loved Game of Thrones or are a first timer to the world of Westeros, this is going to be a must watch. Roll on Monday 22 August."

Not only has the summer premiere date been revealed, more pictures of the cast and characters in the series have revealed on social media, including Paddy Considine as King Viserys I.

What is House of the Dragon about?

Based on George RR Martin’s Fire & Blood, the series is set 200-300 years before Game of Thrones (so don’t expect any of those characters to reappear).

The Lannisters, Targaryens and Baratheons will all appear in the series, but he Targaryen Civil War will be its main focal point.

Showrunner Miguel Sapochnik told The Hollywood Reporter: "We’re standing on the shoulders of [Game of Thrones] and we’re only here because of that show. So the most important thing for us to do is to respect that show as much as possible and try and complement it rather than reinvent it.

"And I was involved in making the original show, so I feel like that’s been useful. Like, I'm not arriving going, 'Let's change everything! Let's do a different colour palette!' No, I quite like the colour palette."

Sapochnik was the director of Game of Thrones episodes Battle of the Bastards and The Winds of Winter.

11 surprising facts about House of the Dragon

House of the Dragon is loosely based on a true events

Talking to fans at Comic Con 2022, George R.R Martin explained how House of the Dragon was inspired by real events that took place in the 12th Century.

“Game of Thrones was based very loosely on the War of the Roses. This show was based on an earlier period of English history, called The Anarchy,” said Martin.

"Henry I, the King of England, his only legitimate son drowned while trying to cross the English channel. That left him with only one legitimate child, his daughter Matilda. He named her his heir and made all the Lords of the Kingdom swear an oath to her. And when he died, most of the lords of the kingdom forgot about that oath or said, ‘No, it doesn’t apply’.

"Her cousin, Stephen, then crosses the channel and takes control. It begins this period, The Anarchy, where Matilda and Stephen fought. That was the inspiration.”

What book is House of the Dragon based on?

Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower in House of the Dragon

House of the Dragon is based on George R.R. Martin's Fire & Blood novel.

Released in 2018, Fire & Blood is an extension of Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, exploring the history of House Targaryen.

House of the Dragon begins at the height of Targaryen power and focuses on the great civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons.

House of the Dragon cast

Emma D'Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen and Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen in House of the Dragon

The hefty House of the Dragon cast list is impressive.

Matt Smith plays Prince Daemon Targaryen – a peerless warrior and dragon rider, the younger brother to King Viserys and the heir to the throne.

Emma D’Arcy stars as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, who is the king’s first-born child and is of pure Valyrian blood.

Steve Toussaint as The Sea Snake in House of the Dragon

Lord Corlys Velaryon – aka The Sea Snake – is played by Steve Toussaint. His character is the most famed nautical adventurer in the history of Westeros. House Velaryon is a Valyrian bloodline as old as House Targaryen.

Paddy Considine has won the role of King Viserys I, and Eve Best will play Princess Rhaenys Velaryon.

Rhys Ifans plays Otto Hightower - the Hand of the King - and Olivia Cooke plays Otto's daughter Alicent.

Meet the characters and cast of House of the Dragon

Full cast list and character descriptions

  • Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen, chosen by the lords of Westeros to succeed the Old King, Jaehaerys Targaryen, at the Great Council at Harrenhal.  A warm, kind, and decent man, Viserys only wishes to carry forward his grandfather's legacy. But good men do not necessarily make for great kings.
  • Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen, younger brother to King Viserys and heir to the throne. A peerless warrior and a dragonrider, Daemon possesses the true blood of the dragon.  But it is said that whenever a Targaryen is born, the gods toss a coin in the air.
  • Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower, the daughter of Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King, and the most comely woman in the Seven Kingdoms. She was raised in the Red Keep, close to the king and his innermost circle; she possesses both a courtly grace and a keen political acumen. 
  • Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, the king’s first-born child, she is of pure Valyrian blood, and she is a dragonrider. Many would say that Rhaenyra was born with everything… but she was not born a man.
  • Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon, 'The Sea Snake'. Lord of House Velaryon, a Valyrian bloodline as old as House Targaryen. As 'The Sea Snake', the most famed nautical adventurer in the history of Westeros, Lord Corlys built his house into a powerful seat that is even richer than the Lannisters and that claims the largest navy in the world. 
  • Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, a dragonrider and wife to Lord Corlys Velaryon, 'The Queen Who Never Was' was passed over as heir to the throne at the Great Council because the realm favored her cousin, Viserys, simply for being male. 
  • Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole, of Dornish descent, the common-born son of the steward to the Lord of Blackhaven. Cole has no claim to land or titles; all he has to his name is his honor and his preternatural skill with a sword.
  • Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria, who came to Westeros with nothing, sold more times than she can recall.  She could have wilted... but instead she rose to become the most trusted - and most unlikely - ally of Prince Daemon Targaryen, the heir to the throne.
  • Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower. The Hand of the King, Ser Otto loyally and faithfully serves both his king and his realm. As the Hand sees it, the greatest threat to the realm is the king's brother, Daemon, and his position as heir to the throne. 

Additional Cast in alphabetical order:

  • Milly Alcock as Young Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen. She's the king’s first-born child, of pure Valyrian blood, and she is a dragonrider. Many would say that Rhaenyra was born with everything… but she was not born a man.
  • Bethany Antonia as Baela Targaryen, eldest daughter of Laena Velaryon and rider of the young dragon Moondancer.
  • Phoebe Campbell as Rhaena Targaryen, second daughter of Lady Laena and sister to Baela.
  • Emily Carey as Young Alicent Hightower, the daughter of Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King, and the most comely woman in the Seven Kingdoms. Alicent was raised in the Red Keep, close to the king and his innermost circle; she possesses both a courtly grace and a keen political acumen.
  • Harry Collett as Jacaerys Velaryon, eldest son of Rhaenyra Targaryen. 
  • Ryan Corr as Ser Harwin ‘Breakbones’ Strong. 'Breakbones', Harwin is said to be the strongest man in the Seven Kingdoms. Ser Harwin is the eldest son to Master of Laws Lyonel Strong and heir to Harrenhal. 
  • Tom Glynn-Carney as Aegon Targaryen, first-born son of King Viserys.
  • Jefferson Hall as Ser Tyland Lannister, a crafty and calculating politician, twin to Lord Jason Lannister. 
  • Jefferson Hall as Lord Jason Lannister, the Lord of Casterly Rock and twin to Ser Tyland Lannister. 
  • David Horovitch as Grand Maester Mellos, a voice of reason and trusted advisor to King Viserys.
  • Wil Johnson as Ser Vaemond Velaryon, younger brother to Coryls Velaryon and commander in the Velaryon navy.
  • John Macmillan as Ser Laenor Velaryon, son of Corlys Velaryon and  Rhaenys Targaryen.
  • Graham McTavish as Ser Harrold Westerling, who has served in the Kingsguard since the days of King Jaehaerys; he is a paragon of chivalry and honor. 
  • Ewan Mitchell as Aemond Targaryen, second-born son of Viserys, nephew to Daemon, and half-brother to Rhaenyra.
  • Theo Nate as Ser Laenor Velaryon, son of Corlys Velaryon and Rhaenys Targaryen.
  • Matthew Needham as Larys Strong, younger son of Master of Laws Lyonel Strong, brought to court by his father. 
  • Bill Paterson as Lord Lyman Beesbury, Lord of Honeyholt and Master of Coin on King Viserys's small council.  
  • Phia Saban as Helaena Targaryen, second-born daughter of Viserys, sister to Aegon and Aemond, half-sister to Rhaenyra.
  • Gavin Spokes as Lord Lyonel Strong, Master of Laws to King Viserys and Lord of Harrenhal. 
  • Savannah Steyn as Lady Laena Velayron, daughter of Corlys Velaryon and Rhaenys Targaryen.

Who is making the House of the Dragon music, theme tune and soundtrack

Game of Thrones fans can rejoice because the mastermind behind the show's iconic theme tune and breathtaking soundtrack Ramin Djawadi has returned for House of the Dragon.

The composer has promised that the music for House of the Dragon will have the same DNA as Game of Thrones - this is still Westeros and the same universe - but with some fresh twists.

Speaking at the US premiere, he told EW: "I looked at it as, we have a ton of new characters, it's obviously a completely different time, and that's why we need some new themes...

"I think what I love so much about this new show is that it's different but at the same time it feels like home.

"When I watched it for the first time, I felt immediately at home in Westeros again. It just has that vibe again, and so I wanted to make sure that, with the score, we have that familiarity but also bring some new instruments we haven't used before."

Are there going to be more Game of Thrones spin offs and TV shows?

Yes. Lots more.

HBO have started work on a series based on the adventures of Jon Snow (Kit Harington), set after Game of Thrones ends.

There are also plans for a series on seafarer Corlys Velaryon, titled The Sea Snake, a show following warrior queen Nymeria and an adaptation of The Dunk and Egg, a series of novels from George R.R Martin set before Game of Thrones.

And if that wasn’t enough, there are also three animated series currently being developed.

House of the Dragon teaser

Sky released this dazzling first-look teaser in October 2021.

Where to watch House of the Dragon in the UK

House of the Dragon is released on Sky Atlantic and NOW on Monday, August 22, 2022.

 

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