“House of the Dragon” will be quite different from Game of Thrones, even though it is a precursor. HBO wants to increase Game of Thrones’ already enormous popularity among viewers even if there was a significant backlash to the series’ conclusion. The first spinoff is “House of the Dragon,” which debuts on August 21, 2022 to kick off its 10-episode season 1. There are other spinoffs in the works as well (season 2 and beyond are unconfirmed, but seem likely).
The primary focus of “House of the Dragon“ is House Targaryen during the height of its suzerainty, beginning roughly 200 years before Game of Thrones. The dynasty is in full swing, but conditions are far from ideal as family, and political disputes threaten to split the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and the house. This results in the Dance of the Dragons, a civil war in the Targaryen realm that is among the country’s largest and bloodiest to have ever taken place.
The foundations of Game of Thrones are being built upon in “House of the Dragon,” and there will be some significant parallels. After all, this is a Westeros-based TV series with warring families, shady politics, dramatic battles, and lots of dragons focused on who is entitled to the Iron Throne. However, it should also be seen as a distinct entity. There will be some similarities, but “House of the Dragon’s” plot and characters diverge significantly from those of Game of Thrones.
How the plot and era of “House of the Dragon” differ from those of Game of Thrones
When King Jaehaerys I Targaryen convened the Great Council in 101 AC to choose his successor, “House of the Dragon” was born. That distances it considerably from Game of Thrones, and while some aspects of the power system in Westeros will remain much the same—the Starks govern the North, the Lannisters are incredibly wealthy, etc.—there are also significant distinctions. In contrast to Game of Thrones, this Westeros is governed by the Targaryen dynasty, which is still very powerful and has access to many more dragons. Key families from “House of the Dragon,” such House Velaryon, which is among the most significant in the prequel’s plot but has little to no impact (if any) on the events of Game of Thrones.
Of course, the Dance of the Dragons, the Targaryen civil war, also exists in House of the Dragon, which helps to highlight a crucial distinction. War was nothing new in Game of Thrones, whether it be the War of the Five Kings or the conflict between the living and the dead. Although the “House of the Dragon’s” battle splits Westeros in two, it is also a more internal fight, fueled by long-standing familial disputes and resentments that eventually explode as dragonfire. The program will cover almost 30 years from origin to a conclusion, whereas Game of Thrones’ timeline spanned less than a decade (flashbacks aside). It is also more intimate and highly personal because it is a family affair. In Game of Thrones, Daenerys Targaryen attempted to break the wheel, but in “House of the Dragon,” the Targaryens are the wheel and are engaged in a struggle for power that will ultimately cause them to break.
How the Characters in “House of the Dragon” Differ From Those in Game of Thrones
There are some similarities between the characters in “House of the Dragon” and those in Game of Thrones, which is tempting to do. For example, Alicent Hightower has been compared to both Margaery Tyrell and Cersei Lannister, Rhaenyra Targaryen to Daenerys, Otto Hightower to Littlefinger, Lady Mysaria to Varys, and so on. However, these are all essentially distinct from one another and will stand out from the characters from Game of Thrones. While there will unavoidably be similarities between them because they both live in Westeros and are involved in a plot focused on the Iron Throne, their distinctions should stand out. Rhaenyra might think the Iron Throne is hers and be willing to do whatever it takes to win it, but Dany has always been groomed to be queen. Otto may connive like Littlefinger, but it is obvious that he is committed to one side. Like Cersei, Alicent loves her kids and would stop at nothing to keep them safe, but she never makes the same kind of effort to seize power for herself or goes as far as to turn into a villain. While Mysaria is the mistress of whisperers, her techniques are considerably different from Varys’, and she has an entirely different dynamic with at least one person in positions of authority.
The de facto protagonists of the show, the Starks, were among the many characters in Game of Thrones that were exceedingly simple to root for. The show occasionally returned to a clearer sense of black and white, whether in battles like Jon Snow vs. Ramsay Bolton in the Battle of the Bastards or the climactic confrontation with the Night King, despite the moral complexity of many other characters. In “House of the Dragon,” there aren’t any White Walkers, and there isn’t a particularly obvious “villain” either; instead, there are even more murky areas.
How the battles in House of the Dragon will differ from those in Game of Thrones
Epic action sequences from Game of Thrones helped to define the show, and conflicts in “House of the Dragon” will probably be just as massive. It is reasonable to expect that House of the Dragon will rival Game of Thrones in terms of spectacle. However, there will be some changes in its conflicts, given that Miguel Sapochnik, the creator of “Hardhome” and “Battle of the Bastards,” will serve as co-showrunner. One is the corpse count, as there are fewer survivors after the Dance of the Dragons. The other is in the dragons themselves; “House of the Dragon” will have 17 dragons, and they are frequently directly involved in the conflicts, whether that be through raining fire from above or through dragon vs. dragon sequences, which should set it apart from the majority of Game of Thrones’ action scenes.