For Game of Thrones fans, this year’s San Diego Comic-Con felt a lot like pre-pandemic Comic Con — back when Game of Thrones was the most popular show on TV. That’s because after three long years, House of the Dragon — a prequel to Game of Thrones — is coming to HBO, and HBO decided to pull out all the stops to drum up excitement for the upcoming blockbuster series at Comic-Con. This show is set two hundred years before the events we experienced in Game of Thrones. As the show’s name alludes to, it will highlight the House Targaryen — specifically the Targaryen civil war, which Game of Thrones fans know as the Dance of the Dragons.

 

A New Princess

It was a lot of fun hearing from the House of the Dragon cast during the Q&A session. Eve Best, who plays Princess Rhaenys Velaryon, wasn’t into Game of Thrones before being cast for House of the Dragon. Best said, “I didn’t know anything about Game of Thrones but knew it was an amazing deal. When I met [co-creator] Ryan [Condal] and [producer] Miguel [Sapochnik], they were really cool, and what they had written was really cool. And I thought, ‘Gosh I want to be a part of this, and I’m really happy that I am.’”

There are going to be a lot more dragons in this show than Game of Thrones, which makes sense since Game of Thrones took place in a (supposedly) post-dragon world. 

 

Exploring House of Targaryen

Emma D’Arcy plays Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, King Viserys’s firstborn child. She is one of the rare dragon riders in this historic version of Westeros, and she’s expected to become the Seven Kingdoms’ first queen regnant. When asked about what it was like to film scenes where she’s riding a dragon, D’Arcy said, “You’re propped up on what looks like a mechanical bull, which you’ll find in a bar and lifted six feet in the air. There are four guys below with leaf blowers. It’s strange.” Even though it sounds strange when you picture it behind the scenes, we’re sure after some CGI, it’s going to be incredible to see D’Arcy riding her dragon. 

In House of the Dragon, Viserys Targaryen is the King of the Seven Kingdoms. Viserys is played by Paddy Considine. Showrunner Condal told the audience, “The thing Paddy brought to Viserys is this real inner fire. He fiercely tries to bring everyone together.”

 

Fighting for the Throne

Viserys was chosen as the successor to his grandfather King Jaehaerys over his cousin Rhaenys. As a result, Rhaenys is known as the “Queen Who Never Was.” During the Q&A session, Best said, “She [Rhaenys] should have been the Queen, and it’s kind of annoying she isn’t. And it’s annoying that people keep reminding her that she isn’t.”

In the trailer, Princess Rhaenys tries to warn Princess Rhaenyra that “a woman would not inherit the Iron Throne because that is the order of things.” However, Rhaenyra is ready to fight for her spot on the Iron Throne, and it seems like she may have some similarities with Daenerys from Game of Thrones. D’Arcy told the crowd, “I think Rhaenyra is fueled by that old Targaryen stuff, and I think the journey she goes on in the series is when to let that fire burn and when to dampen it.”

In response to being asked why Westeros seems to not be fond of women rulers, author and show co-creator George R.R. Martin said, “I don’t think Westeros is particularly more anti-woman or more misogynistic than real life and what we call history.” Then D’Arcy added, “We also haven’t fixed it, right? We still choose male rulers. It’s 2022 and we tend to pick men, and I think one of the questions of the series is, if you are a woman looking to rule, how do you convince male subjects that you’re not other? I don’t have an answer.”

 

A Sea Snake Emerges

The panel also addressed the disappointing backlash from a small (but vocal) group of Game of Thrones fans in response to the casting of Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon, the husband of Rhaenys. Velaryon is better known as the Sea Snake. These fans have been angry because the Sea Snake is not a Black man in Martin’s book, Fire & Blood, which the House of the Dragon is based on.

In response to a question about how the backlash has affected him, Toussaint said, “Other than certain people’s viewpoints about someone who looks like me playing this part, it hasn’t really played a part in the role, in my experience on the job with my fellow actors. As I said, there are people outside who find it a little hard to stomach, that someone who looks like me would play this part. But that’s an issue they have to deal with, and I don’t have to. The issue is always the same; I just have to say the lines convincingly and avoid bumping into the furniture.”

After seeing the trailer, Toussaint is a perfect fit as the Sea Snake. We can’t wait to see him and the rest of the cast in the premiere of House of the Dragon on August 21 on HBO.

 

Brush up on everything House of the Dragon with our helpful guide

 

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