After months of secrecy, it seems we may finally have a hint at what HBO’s Targaryen-focused Game of Thrones prequel series, House of the Dragon might be about.
The hint comes by way of a casting rumor from NFSW movie blog Recapped, which reports the show, co-created by George R.R. Martin and Ryan Condal (Colony), is currently casting for two roles: Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower, two central figures in the Targaryen civil war commonly referred to as the “Dance of the Dragons.” This was the period most fans assumed the show would cover, but if these casting reports are true, it would confirm the suspicion. Sources close to production confirm to Polygon that casting is underway on the series.
In the world and history of A Song of Ice and Fire, the Dance of the Dragons began over a royal-succession dispute between Rhaenyra and Alicent. King Viserys I Targaryen’s first wife never gave him a son, so he named his eldest daughter Rhaenyra his heir to the Iron Throne — breaking the established patrilineal succession that was traditional (but not exactly law) at the time.
However, the King’s second wife and eventual widow, Alicent, instead handed the throne to her eldest son Aegon II Targaryen after King Viserys died — which would have been the more traditional line of succession in Westeros. After Aegon II’s coronation Rhaenyra called together all those who supported her claim to the throne and swore revenge on Aegon and Alicent. Eventually all of Westeros was pulled into a bitter civil war.
The people of Westeros divided themselves into camps of either blacks, those who supported the claim of Rhaenyra, or greens, those who supported Alicent and her son. But while the royal family’s conflict was fought by all of Westeros, the war’s most famous combatants were the Targaryen dragons, which fought on both sides, and are sure to get plenty of attention (not to mention CGI battles) in the House of the Dragon series.
We already knew for sure that House of the Dragon, which Condal and Thrones veteran Miguel Sapochnik will oversee together, would follow certain events from the book Fire & Blood, which is all about Targaryen history. However, in Fire & Blood’s first volume, Martin covers over 100 years of the family’s history, so there was no way to be sure exactly which events the show might include.
Whether Dance is only be a part of the show or its focus, the story does take up a large portion of the first Fire & Blood volume, so it wouldn’t be surprising if the civil war was the focus for at least the first few seasons of House of the Dragon.
For now, this casting is just a rumor, however Recapped — which is a blog mostly dedicated to reporting on Hollywood sex scenes — has a very solid track-record for its casting rumors including reporting Henry Cavill and Anya Chalotra several weeks early for The Witcher and reporting on the casting of Naomi Watts in the, since cancelled, Game of Thrones spin-off series about the Long Night. Polygon reached out to HBO about the series’ pre-production and casting, but the network was unable to comment at the time of publication.
Whatever the eventual plot of House of the Dragon, it will still be a couple of years before we actually get to see it. According to HBO programming chief Casey Bloys, in an interview with Variety from before the COVID-19 pandemic forced Hollywood to shut down production across the world, his best guess was that House of the Dragon would arrive sometime in 2022.