Only a little more than a week after WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar revealed that principal photography on George R.R. Martin, Miguel Sapochnik, and Ryan Condal's House of the Dragon and released new logo key art and two pieces of dragon concept designs, we're learning Olivia Cooke (Pixie, Little Fish), Emma D'Arcy (Truth Seekers), and Matt Smith (Doctor Who) are set to join Paddy Considine (The Outsider, The Third Day) on the Game of Thrones prequel series. In addition, Clare Kilner, Geeta V. Patel, and Greg Yaitanes round at the directing team, with Yaitanes also co-executive producing.
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.' D'Arcy's Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen is the king's first-born, 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. Described as 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…" 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.
Written by a writing team headed by Condal and including Sara Lee Hess and based on Martin's novels, 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.
With Martin's novel Fire & Blood covering 150 years in the history of Westeros, there is definitely not a lack of other potential characters to consider. The initial reports that casting was underway also referenced that the Dance of Dragons (the Targaryen Civil War that destroyed nearly all of Westeros) is in the series' long-term plans, with the series expected to begin a slow build towards the bloody event. If that turns out to be the case, then some of the characters that could be folded into the television series could also include Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, Queen Alicent Hightower, and Aegon II Targaryen.
During HBO's Television Critics Association's winter press event in January, WarnerMedia's Casey Bloys revealed that writing was already underway with a look to 2022 for the show's debut. On his blog, Martin revealed that he expects to be involved with the series and possibly write a script or two, but not before he's wrapped the next novel, The Winds of Winter. While keeping details close, the author recommended Archmaester Gyldayn's Fire & Blood as well his two anthologies with Gardner Dozois (Dangerous Women, Rogues) as a little pre-series "homework." Martin mentioned on his Not A Blog about the Hollywood slowdown caused by COVID-19 but said that work on the prequel was "flying along wonderfully thanks to Ryan Condal and his writers, and the tireless Ti Mikkel."