The release date for “House of the Dragon” has been set, which means the spinoff will already defy one Game of Thrones tradition. Following the conclusion of Game of Thrones in 2019, HBO stated that there would be further storylines set in Westeros. The first is “House of the Dragon”, which was created by George R.R. Martin, author of A Song of Ice and Fire, and Colony’s Ryan Condal, based on his own Fire & Blood book.
Set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, “House of the Dragon” will recount the narrative of House Targaryen during its heyday as rulers of the Seven Kingdoms, with the family and Westeros torn apart by civil war. “House of the Dragon” was first revealed by HBO in 2019; production began in 2021, and the Game of Thrones spinoff is almost ready to be published, despite certain COVID-19-related delays. HBO has previously stated that it would premiere in 2022, but they have now confirmed the specific date, with “House of the Dragon” due to premiere on August 21, 2022.
As a result, the “House of the Dragon” release date defies one of Game of Thrones’ most enduring traditions: the Spring premiere. The first season of Game of Thrones premiered on HBO in April 2011, and practically every subsequent season premiered around the same time, with the majority premiering in April and season 3 premiering on March 31, 2013. The lone exception was Game of Thrones season 7, which premiered in July 2017, although it was primarily due to a longer production period as the episodes grew in size, and season 8 was pushed back to April. Of course, “House of the Dragon” has had its own obstacles in production, which helps to explain its later release date, but it also immediately distinguishes it from Game of Thrones.
Given that HBO had stated that “House of the Dragon” would be released in 2022, the August release date makes plausible. It’s apparent from the show’s production timetable – and the extensive post-production necessary – that it wouldn’t have been able to make a Spring release, and sticking to the Game of Thrones tradition would’ve meant pushing the program back to 2023, which wouldn’t have been a viable choice either. Game of Thrones’ Spring release dates was chosen in part to keep it in competition for the Emmys each year, but “House of the Dragon” could still be a contender for the most prestigious television prizes when the 2023 version arrives. It also reflects a shift in the TV landscape due to streaming: Game of Thrones season 8 was perhaps the final genuine watercooler event program, and with more streaming services and options, when a show premieres, it may not matter as much.
It’s impossible to avoid comparisons between “House of the Dragon” and Game of Thrones, but at the very least, this serves to set it apart. While the House of the Dragon release date is simply a date, it does fit with the idea of the program doing its own thing and stamping out its own identity separate from Game of Thrones, which will be vital to its long-term success. If nothing else, having a firm release date for “House of the Dragon” provides a definite goal to work towards, which should lead to even more excitement now that summer is approaching.