Game of Thrones fans should find a lot of the show quite familiar when House of the Dragon first premieres on HBO on August 21. Like the flagship series upon which it was spun off from, House of the Dragon is a complex undertaking. The show features a large cast of Kings Landing schemers, tons of twists and turns, and more dragons than the side of a 1970s panel van.
Despite adapting a smaller portion of George R.R. Martin's source material, House of the Dragon might end up feeling as epic or more intense as Game of Thrones. Interestingly, the showrunner initially had a much smaller, more intimate vision of Martins Westeros.
Ryan Condal, who was previously a member of Colony and Rampage, has a long history with George R.R. Martins' epic novels.
Condal tells Den of Geek that when I first discovered Georges' books back in 2001, I was sort of lost, trying to figure out what I should do next. At a very different time in my young life, I was beginning to write screenplays of my own.
Condal joined the entertainment industry while shooting his first television pilot near Santa Fe, where Martin has lived for the majority of his life. This is why when HBO decided to look into possible Game of Thrones spinoffs, Condal was invited to share his thoughts. However, the idea he had at the time was not quite acceptable to HBO.
I talked a lot about Dunk and Egg and why I was so enthused by it. It's a lot smaller picture on this vast canvas, like doing The Mandalorian versus a massive $250 million Star Wars film. I think they were more interested in doing something much, much different at that point.
The Legend of Westeros is a collection of prequel stories from A Song of Ice and Fire, which are based on Game of Thrones. The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword, and The Mystery Knight are three novellas, each with at least four other books planned.
The Mandalorian's comparison to Tales of Dunk and Egg is appropriate because the novellas focus is limited to Dunk and Egg's extensive cast, rather than Thrones's entire cast, just like The Mandalorian follows the titular Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal, also of Game of Thrones) rather than the rest of the Star Wars galaxy's movers and shakers.
The Mandalorian had not yet premiered on Disney+, and thus had not yet proved the smaller franchise story on television path to be viable. In the wake of that announcement, HBO announced a series of new projects, including the one that would eventually lead to the House of the Dragon.
Ironically, HBO eventually saw Condals Dunk and Egg idea. On January 21, 2021, Variety reported that HBO was working on a TV adaptation of Martins three Tales of Dunk and Egg novellas. In March of 2022, Martin confirmed the program would be in the works with Steve Conrad (Patriot) writing and the first season would cover the events of The Hedge Knight.
On HBO and HBO Max, House of the Dragon episode 1 will premiere on Sunday, August 21 at 9 p.m. ET.