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George R.R. Martin shares behind-the-scenes look at HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ prequel

Published Nov 11th, 2019 7:06PM EST
Game of Thrones prequel
Image: Anatoly Maltsev/EPA/Shutterstock

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HBO finally made it official at the end of October, confirming weeks of speculation and chatter about the possibility of a Game of Thrones prequel series by giving a 10-episode order to House of the Dragon. The show will be a dramatization of the events described in Fire & Blood, a history of the Targaryen dynasty that George R.R. Martin published in book form a year ago this month.

That fact alone gives us a pretty good indication of what we’re in store for with this new prequel series. The book presents a history of the Targaryen kings, from Aegon the Conqueror to Aegon III, and it’s set 300 years before the events Game of Thrones fans are most familiar with — those laid out in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Unlike those books that formed the basis for the wildly successful HBO show, though, Fire & Blood is written as a historical account supposedly offered by Archmaester Gyldayn of the Citadel, with what Martin has described as a sweep similar to The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

On Martin’s official blog over the weekend, meanwhile, the author shared more of a peek into how this new series came together — who all is involved, and how they’ve been working to bring it to fruition. “Even Aegon the Dragon couldn’t conquer the Seven Kingdoms all by himself … He needed the help of his sisters Rhaenys and Visenya,” Martin mused, by way of introducing the key people involved in the series.

Besides Martin himself, Miguel Sapochnik (who directed GoT’s epic Battle of the Bastards episode) is lending a hand with directing. Meanwhile, Ryan Condal (who co-created the USA sci-fi series Colony) has written the pilot episode for House of the Dragon as well as the so-called show bible that serves as the go-to reference for writers containing details on the show’s characters, settings, plot, and more. And, according to Martin’s blog, three other people also helped out:

  • Colony writer Wes Tooker
  • Claire Kiechel, whose writing credits include Netflix’s The OA and HBO’s Watchmen
  • and Ti Mikkel, a writer’s assistant at Martin’s production entity called Fevre River Packet Company

“Those unfamiliar with the way television works may wonder … if Ryan Condal wrote the pilot and the bible, what did Wes and Claire and Ti do?” Martin writes on his blog. “The answer is: a lot.

“They sat with Ryan every day in a writer’s room at HBO for months, talking story, going over drafts, giving notes, correcting errors (not that Ryan or I ever made any, no sir, not us), catching inconsistencies, discussing character and plot, offering ideas and suggestions, filling in gaps, breaking down the episodes to come and drawing up a roadmap for the first season and all the seasons to follow.”

House of the Dragon, Martin continues, could not have been made without the help of those three additional writers. “They have my thanks, and Ryan’s.”

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.