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How and when to watch House of the Dragon, the Game of Thrones prequel

Go back 200 years on Aug. 21 and learn the secrets of House Targaryen

Viserys sitting at his council table with his council around the table and a guard behind him at the window. His daughter is pouring him some wine and he’s looking at her Photo: Ollie Upton/HBO
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

House of the Dragon, the prequel series to HBO’s epic Game of Thrones, premieres Aug. 21. The show is available on both HBO and HBO Max, which means we’re back to the good old days of a combined network/streaming air date and time.

Here’s what Game of Thrones fans need to know for watching House of the Dragon the moment new episodes are available.

When does House of the Dragon premiere?

The first episode of House of the Dragon airs Sunday, Aug. 21 at 9 p.m. on HBO and HBO Max. As TV subscribers know, HBO has East Coast and West Coast feeds for cable TV providers there. So if you get HBO West but also subscribe to HBO Max, you can catch the episode at 6 p.m. PDT instead of waiting to 9 p.m. PDT.

When will the rest of the episodes air?

From there, House of the Dragon will air weekly on Sundays by the same 9 p.m. schedule for both HBO and HBO Max. There will be 10 episodes in all for House of the Dragon, meaning the season 1 finale will air Oct. 23.

What do I need to know heading into House of the Dragon?

As a prequel, you can go into this having never seen a minute of Game of Thrones (though you can now catch up in 4K and HDR on HBO Max). But of course, half of the intrigue will come from seeing events that are referenced in dialogue or flashback from the main series.

If you’re curious, or you need to study up before sinking into episode 1 on Sunday, we’ve published a primer on House Targaryen, the central figures of House of the Dragon. The show is based on the second half of George R.R. Martin’s 2018 novel Fire & Blood and it is set about 200 years before the events of the original series.

Who stars in House of the Dragon?

Paddy Considine is King Viserys Targaryen, the heir to the Iron Throne and successor to Jaehaerys I Targaryen. Emma D’Arcy portrays his daughter, Princess Rhaenyra, and Matt Smith is Viserys’ younger brother Prince Daemon. Rhys Ifans is Otto Hightower, Hand of the King to Viserys, and Steve Toussaint is Lord Corlys Velaryon, whose family is an important Targaeryen ally.

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