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House of the Dragon, the Game of Thrones spinoff, gets a batch of first-look photos

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Meet the characters at the heart of the Targaryen civil war

Emma D’Arcy as “Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen” and Matt Smith as “Prince Daemon Targaryen” in House of the Dragon
Emma D’Arcy as “Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen” and Matt Smith as “Prince Daemon Targaryen”
Photo: Ollie Upton/HBO

HBO has released a first look at the Game of Thrones spinoff series, House of the Dragon. The network dropped the images on Wednesday in the wake of their month-long celebration of Game of Thrones’ 10 year anniversary. The announcement came with a release window of 2022.

House of the Dragon is a prequel series set around 300 years before the story most viewers know. The spinoff adapts George R.R. Martin’s Fire and Blood, which chronicles the history of the Targaryens, the most powerful and important house in Westeros. The HBO series is rumored to cover the event known as the Dance of the Dragons, which was essentially a Targaryen civil war. The first-look images are a little more subdued.

Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon, “The Sea Snake” in House of Dragons the Game of Thrones spinoff
Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon, “The Sea Snake”
Photo: Ollie Upton/HBO

The photos from set introduce a number of key figures, including Alicent Hightower, played by Olivia Cooke (Thoroughbreds, Sound of Metal) and Rhaenyra Targaryen, played by Emma D’Arcy (Hanna). The two women were at the heart of the conflict that sparked the Dance of the Dragons, a succession crisis that broke out after the death of King Viserys I Targaryen. The king named his eldest daughter Rhaenyra as the next in line for the throne, but his second wife Alicent presses the court to crown her son Aegon II Targaryen the king of Westeros.

Here’s the full character breakdown, per HBO:

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.

Matt Smith as “Prince Daemon Targaryen”: The 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 …

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.

Olivia Cooke as “Alicent Hightower” and Rhys Ifans as “Otto Hightower” in House of the Dragon
Olivia Cooke as “Alicent Hightower” and Rhys Ifans as “Otto Hightower”
Photo: Ollie Upton/HBO

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.

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.


House of the Dragon is co-created by George R.R. Martin himself and Ryan Condal (Colony). Condal and Game of Thrones veteran-director Miguel Sapochnik will serve as showrunners. The series also stars Fabien Frankel (The Serpent) and Paddy Considine (The World’s End).

House of the Dragon will premiere on HBO and HBO Max in 2022.