HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel show is like “Succession with dragons”

House of the Dragon. Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO
House of the Dragon. Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO /

HBO’s upcoming Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon is about an aging king and the various members of his family who hope to take his place on the Iron Throne when he dies. (Or at least that’s what the first season is about; stay tuned for more on that.) Basically, it’s about a war of succession. That’s also what Game of Thrones was about, more or less, as various factions fought to sit their chosen successor on the throne after the death of King Robert Baratheon.

Wars of succession were very common in medieval times; in fact, both Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon are based on real-life wars. “The original Game of Thrones is really the War of the Roses, so it’s the Yorks and the Lancasters [played out] with the Starks and the Lannisters – two separate families that never liked each other in the first place going at it,” House of the Dragon showrunner Ryan Condal told SFX Magazine. “This, however, is the Dance of the Dragons. It’s a civil war that happens within a singular family, which in a way makes it much more engrossing and tragic, because you see people who are blood relatives turning against each other and going to war.”

That family, of course, is the Targaryens. The new show is based roughly on the Anarchy, a bloody period of English history where family member fought family member for the throne of England.

House of the Dragon will be “engrossing and tragic”

That said, just because most of the world has done away with monarchies doesn’t mean there can’t be fights over succession. Just look at the HBO drama Succession, about an ultra-rich family with an aging patriarch and several children chomping at the bit to replace him; the show is based on the real-life troubles of the incredibly powerful Murdoch family, which is worth a Google if you have the time.

When SFX asked Condal if House of the Dragon was like “Succession with dragons,” he happily agreed. “Yeah, I think that’s actually a great metaphor, and the things we referenced in the [writers’] room the most were The Crown and Succession, just as tonal analogs and as shows that we, the writers, were really enjoying and immersed in.”

Of course, you could just as easily call Succession Game of Thrones without dragons,” so there may be a chicken-and-the-egg issue here.

In any case, this particular war of succession isn’t going to be good for anybody, not the Targaryens or the people they rule over. “George [RR Martin] had it right when he said in A Feast For Crows that, ‘When the nobles go to war, it’s the small folk who suffer,'” Condal quoted. “In this case, I think it’s when the Targaryens go to war, everybody suffers.”

dark. Next. See gorgeous new images from House of the Dragon

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