House of the Dragon season 2 will feel more like Game of Thrones

Image: House of the Dragon/HBO
Image: House of the Dragon/HBO /

Filming is officially underway on House of the Dragon season 2, and you know what that means: the floodgates are opening for teases, updates, and behind-the-scenes scoops. House of the Dragon showrunner Ryan Condal and King Viserys I Targaryen actor Paddy Considine appeared at Deadline’s Contender’s TV, a media event where studios plug their latest projects for Emmy consideration, to reflect on Viserys’ journey and what lies ahead in the show’s second season.

For Condal’s part, he’s “really excited to see what happens now that Viserys is gone” and the realm is headed for war. “I’m excited to pick up where we left off,” he said. “Now we get to fall into the more traditional rhythms of storytelling and Game of Thrones. We’ve always talked about this particular tale, George [R.R. Martin] has too, of being a Shakespearean or Greek tragedy. This series is very much about a house tearing itself apart from within. Now that all those pieces have been set on the board, I’m really excited to tell the next chapter, to see what happens now that Viserys is gone and no longer keeping a lid on things.”

Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO
Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO /

House of the Dragon season 2 will “pick up where [season 1] left off”

As readers of George R.R. Martin’s book Fire & Blood know, the fact that King Viserys is now out of the picture is going to cause a lot of trouble for Westeros. Despite his faults, Viserys was the one holding the Targaryen family together. Now that he’s gone, they’ll be at each other’s throats.

Considine’s turn as Viserys was masterful, and his absence will be felt in season 2. According to Deadline, Considine feels a little jealous of his fellow cast members who get to come back to work on season 2, although he wouldn’t change Viserys’ fate. “The story was told,” Considine said. “I’m glad they didn’t drag Viserys out. The fact it was put into eight episodes, it just made his arc all that stronger.”

Viserys struggled with the responsibility of being a ruler; he often made questionable decisions that prioritized the realm over his own family, or vice versa. The worse of these decisions happened in the premiere, when Viserys decides to have his own wife Aemma murdered in a forced cesaerian in an attempt to to save their baby, a boy who would have become heir to the Iron Throne. The baby died along with the mother. Viserys’ decision haunts the character throughout the rest of his life.

“She’s butchered in this process of trying to save this child,” Considine said. “He carries the weight of that all through his story. When he’s falling apart, he’s rotting, his eye’s missing, he’s not the one asking to be healed. Everybody else is, but it’s so much like he’s accepted it. The burden of the crown was too much for a man with a heart like that.”

Paddy Considine wishes he could return in House of the Dragon season 2, but wouldn’t change Viserys’ ending

Viserys’ final episode, “The Lord of the Tides,” gave Viserys a suitably heartwrenching sendoff as he finally succumbed to the wasting sickness that had plagued him for nearly two decades. His death marks the beginning of a larger war: now that Viserys is dead, the dragons will dance in season 2.

“The trick was really to show this generational conflict that began with Viserys’ generation,” Condal said. “He and Otto Hightower, his hand, passed down to Rhaenyra and Alicent as they grew up and became adults and had children of their own. This bitter rivalry grasping for power gets passed onto their children. It’s a three generational story and we needed to get through that in one season so we could get on to the Dance of the Dragons.”

House of the Dragon season 2 is currently in production! We expect it to hit HBO and HBO Max sometime in 2024.

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