By now, you've probably done the math, looked at your calendar, and realized that late summer/early fall will be flowing with fantasy & action. That's because on August 21, Miguel Sapochnik & Ryan Condal's "Game of Thrones" prequel series House of the Dragon premieres… followed less than two weeks by Amazon and J.D. Payne & Patrick McKay's upcoming prequel series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (arriving September 2). Well, needless to say, that has a lot of folks talking about who's going to "win" between the two shows since they'll be "going up against one another." Now, there are about a half-dozen reasons why both shows will probably end up doing very well, respectively. Between streaming, repairing, the impact of a franchise library, and so many more factors come into play that pitting the two shows against one another seems really off. One person we thought agreed with that (at least in the beginning) was GOT universe creator George RR Martin, but then things took a turn and possibly went a bit passive-aggressive.
"I know a lot of articles, the minute the dates were announced, it's: 'Oh, the battle for fantasy supremacy. It's 'Rings of Power' versus 'House of Dragon,' who will win?' I don't know why they always have to do that. I hope both shows succeed. I'm competitive enough," Martin said during an exclusive interview with The Independent. Which pretty much mirrors what we were saying above, right? But then Martin… changed his mind? "I hope we succeed more. If they win six Emmys, and I hope they do, I hope we win seven. But nonetheless, it's good for fantasy. I love fantasy. I love science fiction. I want more shows on television."
And then when he was asked about the Amazon prequel series, Martin proceeded to list off all of the works from J. R. R. Tolkien that the streamer didn't get rights to in its "weird deal" before saying that he thinks "it'll be interesting to see what they did." Maybe it's just us, but the following quote from Martin begs for a meme or GIF of Kermit the Frog sipping tea at the end: "It's kind of a weird deal, as you know. Amazon bought Tolkien, but they didn't actually get any of the books. They didn't get 'Lord of the Rings,' they didn't get 'The Hobbit,' they didn't even get 'The Silmarillion.' I don't think they got 'Farmer Giles of Ham' or 'Leaf by Niggle,' but they got the appendices, I guess, and they're constructing a Second Age story about that. There's a lot of myth about that, so it'll be interesting to see what they did."
HBO's "Game of Thrones" prequel House of the Dragon also stars Emma D'Arcy (Truth Seekers), Matt Smith (Doctor Who), Olivia Cooke (Ready Player One, Sound of Metal), Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill), Steve Toussaint (It's A Sin), Eve Best (Hedda Gabler), Sonoya Mizuno (Devs), Paddy Considine (The Outsider, The Third Day), Fabien Frankel (The Serpent), Graham McTavish (Outlander), Milly Alcock (Reckoning), Emily Carey (Get Even), Ryan Corr (Mary Magdalene), Jefferson Hall (Halloween, Vikings), David Horovitch (Miss Marple), Matthew Needham (Chernobyl), Bill Patterson (Fleabag, Good Omens), Gavin Spokes (Brexit, Hamilton), Wil Johnson (Outlander), John Macmillan (Back), Savannah Steyn (Intergalactic), and Theo Nate (Time).
D'Arcy's Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen is the king's firstborn, a pure Valyrian-blooded child who is a dragonrider. Some say Rhaenyra was "born with everything… but she was not born a man." Smith's Prince Daemon Targaryen is King Viserys' (Considine) younger brother and heir to the throne. A peerless warrior and a dragonrider, Daemon possesses the true blood of the dragon. But it is said that whenever a Targaryen is born, the gods toss a coin in the air… Cooke's Alicent Hightower is the daughter of Hand of the King Otto Hightower, raised in the Red Keep and close to the king and his inner circle. Described as 'the most comely woman in the Seven Kingdoms,' Hightower has both 'courtly grace and a keen political acumen.' Previously cast Considine plays King Viserys Targaryen, chosen by the lords of Westeros to succeed the Old King, Jaehaerys Targaryen, at the Great Council at Harrenhal. A warm, kind, and decent man, Viserys only wishes to carry forward his grandfather's legacy. But good men do not necessarily make for great kings.
Toussaint's Lord of House Velaryon comes from a Valyrian bloodline as old as House Targaryen. As "The Sea Snake," the most famed nautical adventurer in the history of Westeros, Lord Corlys built his house into a powerful seat that is even richer than the Lannisters and that claims the largest navy in the world. Danny Sapani was previously in talks for the role. Ifans's Otto Hightower is The Hand of the King, Ser Otto loyally and faithfully serves both his king and his realm. As the Hand sees it, the greatest threat to the realm is the king's brother, Daemon, and his position as heir to the throne. Best's Princess Rhaenys Velaryon. A dragonrider and wife to Lord Corlys Velaryon, "The Queen Who Never Was" was passed over as heir to the throne at the Great Council because the realm favored her cousin, Viserys, simply for being male. Mizuno's Mysaria came to Westeros with nothing and has been sold more times than she can recall. She could have wilted… but instead, she rose to become the most trusted — and most unlikely — ally of Prince Daemon Targaryen, the heir to the throne. Frankel's Ser Criston Cole is of Dornish descent, the common-born son of the steward to the Lord of Blackhaven. Cole has no claim to land or titles- all he has to his name is his honor and his preternatural skill with a sword. Alcock and Carey star as younger versions of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower, respectively.
Corr's Ser Harwin 'Breakbones' Strong is said to be the strongest man in the Seven Kingdoms. Ser Harwin is the eldest son to Master of Laws Lyonel Strong and heir to Harrenhal. Hall's Lord Jason Lannister is the Lord of Casterly Rock and twin to Ser Tyland Lannister. Hall will also play Tyland Lannister, the crafty and calculating politician, twin to Lord Jason Lannister. Horovitch's Grand Maester Mellos is a voice of reason and trusted advisor to King Viserys. McTavish's Ser Harrold Westerling has served in the Kingsguard since the days of King Jaehaerys; he is a paragon of chivalry and honor. Needham's Larys Strong is the younger son of Master of Laws Lyonel Strong, brought to court by his father. Paterson's Lord Lyman Beesbury is the Lord of Honeyholt and Master of Coin on King Viserys's small council. Spokes' Lord Lyonel Strong is the Master of Laws to King Viserys and Lord of Harrenhal. Johnson is Ser Vaemond Velaryon, younger brother to Coryls Velaryon & commander in the Velaryon navy; Macmillan is Ser Laenor Velaryon, son of Corlys Velaryon & Rhaenys Targaryen; Steyn is Lady Laena Velayron, daughter of Corlys Velaryon & Rhaenys Targaryen; and Nate is Ser Laenor Velaryon, son of Corlys Velaryon & Rhaenys Targaryen.
Written by a writing team headed by Condal and including Sara Lee Hess and based on the George R.R. Martin "Fire & Blood novels and set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, the 10-episode series has Game of Thrones director Sapochnik ("The Battle of the Bastards," "The Winds of Winter") directing the pilot and additional episodes, and partnering with Condal as co-showrunners. Martin, Condal, and Sapochnik executive produce alongside Hess and Vince Gerardis. In addition, Clare Kilner, Geeta V. Patel, and Greg Yaitanes round at the directing team, with Yaitanes also co-executive producing.