To paraphrase Cersei Lannister, when you play the game of big-budget fantasy prequel TV shows, you win or you die. Okay, so the outcome of a fight between warring streamers isn’t that existential, and she was also talking about playing a different kind of game — “the game of thrones.” Even so, that still doesn’t lower the stakes of the highly anticipated TV matchup that gets underway this weekend, with the debut on HBO Max of the Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon.
Following hot on its heels will be Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. That one is another lavish prequel series with a massive budget, and it‘s coming on September 2. It serves, of course, as a prequel for the J.R.R. Tolkien story brought to life in director Peter Jackson’s movie trilogy. And it should tell you all you need to know about how important it is to Amazon’s streaming video service, that the company bought airtime to show off early footage during this year’s Super Bowl.
First up, though, is House of the Dragon. And we’ll tell you all about it below.
Cast, trailer, release date
Make of this what you will, but it’s surely a positive sign that Thrones creator George R.R. Martin has not only seen all 10 episodes of House of the Dragon. He also says, via his personal blog, that he’s “loved what I’ve seen.”
The House of the Dragon cast includes: Paddy Considine, Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Emma D’Arcy, Steve Toussaint, Eve Best, Fabien Frankel, Sonoya Mizuno, and Rhys Ifans. The show debuts on Sunday, August 21, with subsequent episodes released each Sunday (which takes us through October 23).
The House of The Dragon trailer that HBO Max released on July 20, meanwhile, has racked up more than 18.3 million views on YouTube as of the time of this writing. Check it out below.
What will House of the Dragon be about?
Here’s the logline from HBO Max. “Based on George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, the series, set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, tells the story of House Targaryen.”
If you want to get an early sense of what House of the Dragon is all about, definitely get your hands on a copy of Fire & Blood. It’s set a few hundred years before the events in Westeros that Game of Thrones fans are already familiar with. And it’s written by the Archmaester Gyldayn of the Citadel, in a style that Martin’s publisher has compared to The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
As for the show’s tone and style? In the House of the Dragon trailer above, Corlys Velaryon can be heard intoning at one point: “What is this brief, mortal life, if not the pursuit of legacy?”
That pursuit is about to begin in earnest.
More HBO Max coverage: For more Netflix news, check out the latest new HBO Max movies and series to watch.