Production on HBO’s first Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon is now underway. And we don’t even have to take the network’s word for it this time, as over the weekend grainy, far away photos and videos of actors in costume began to emerge on social media.
Since we all clearly can’t help but snoop, HBO has decided just to go ahead and release high quality photos of said actors in costume. The first three official photos of House of the Dragon today and they highlight five brand new (or technically old in this prequel’s case) characters…perhaps even a new setting as well.
Take a look below!
This striking gentleman is Corlys Velaryon a.k.a. The Sea Snake, played by Steve Toussaint. HBO’s description of the character reads: “Lord of House Velaryon, 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.”
Even that grandiose description sells the Sea Snake a bit short. Corlys Velaryon is basically the most impressive man in all of Westeros. His profile as a prolific adventurer has made him insanely rich and wildly influential. Consider him the Tywin Lannister of his time – the Lord with the power to pull all the strings, even without the Iron Throne. Though he’s not nearly as sociopathic as Lord Tywin, and he doesn’t have a grandson installed as a puppet on the throne..yet.
The setting of all three of these photos would appear to be House Velaryon’s ancestral home Driftmark. Driftmark is an island just west of the Targaryen’s seat on Dragonstone. House Velaryon is a noble Valyrian clan that actually arrived in Westeros prior to the Targaryens. Sharing common culture and history, the fates of House Velaryon and Targaryen have often been intertwined.
Alicent and Otto Hightower
Seen here are Rhys Ifans as Ser Otto Hightower, Hand of King Viserys I, and Olivia Cooke as his beautiful daughter Alicent, who just so happens to be King Viserys’s wife. Things are going well for this wealthy family that serves as Lords of Oldtown.
HBO’s description of Alicent reads: “The daughter of Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King, and the most comely woman in the Seven Kingdoms. She was raised in the Red Keep, close to the king and his innermost circle; she possesses both a courtly grace and a keen political acumen.” And the description for Otto 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.”
As you may have heard by now, House of the Dragon will be based on events in Westerosi history depicted in George R.R. Martin’s prequel historical text Fire & Blood. Chief among those events is the brutal Targaryen civil war: the Dance of the Dragons. Though the Hightowers are not Targaryens, they are in close contact with the dynastic family and will have an enormous role to play in the conflict to come.
Rhaenyra and Daemon Targaryen
Finally, some Targaryens! As one would imagine, a show called House of the Dragon is going to prominently feature the…house of the dragon. There will be more silver-haired dragonriders than we know what to do with in this series. The first two that we get to see in these first looks are crucial though: Princess Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) and her disagreeable uncle Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith).
The description for Rhaenyra reads “The king’s first-born child, she is of pure Valyrian blood, and she is a dragonrider. Many would say that Rhaenyra was born with everything… but she was not born a man.” And Daemon’s reads: “The younger brother to King Viserys 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…”
Rhaenyra plays a crucial role in the Dance of the Dragons as one of the two central claimants to the Iron Throne. Nicknamed the “Realm’s Delight,” Rhaenyra is the apple of her father King Viserys’s eye and fancies herself well-suited for the Throne. Unfortunately precedent suggests that that’s only for noble sons, not daughters. Daemon meanwhile is no one’s delight. He’s an incredible warrior but a sour man. He has a strained relationship with many of his family members…save for the lovely Rhaenyra.
We know what you’re thinking – Targaryen family members Do they uh…*crude hand gesture with finger entering finger-thumb circle*? Read Fire & Blood or watch House of the Dragon if you’d like to find out.
House of the Dragon will premiere on HBO and HBO Max sometime in 2022.