‘House of the Dragon’: Everything We Already Know About Season 2
Game of Thrones fans are used to long waits: The hiatus between the last two seasons of that HBO series lasted nearly 20 months, and George R. R. Martin’s readers have now waited more than 11 years for the next book in his A Song of Ice and Fire series.
House of the Dragon, HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel, seems to be continuing the tradition, with the second season still months or even a year or more away.
But Season 2 is coming, at least, albeit with a shorter season of 8 episodes rather than the ten we got for the first season. It was recently revealed by Deadline via an HBO spokesperson, who said the move was “story-driven” and part of a “long-term plan” for the series. This change will see various story elements, including a big battle sequence initially planned for Season 2, shifted to the third season, which HBO is said to be mulling over a renewal.
HBO renewed House of the Dragon in August 2022, just days after the series premiere’s ratings broke records for the premium cable channel.
“We are beyond proud of what the entire House of the Dragon team has accomplished with Season 1,” Francesca Orsi, HBO’s EVP of programming, said at the time. “Our phenomenal cast and crew undertook a massive challenge and exceeded all expectations, delivering a show that has already established itself as must-see-TV. … We couldn’t be more excited to continue bringing to life the epic saga of House Targaryen with Season 2.”
And in the months since, fans have gotten ravens from the House of the Dragon team about what to expect in that sophomore season. (Many more dragons, for starters.) Here’s what we know about Season 2 so far — with a warning of potential spoilers ahead!
The show likely won’t premiere until 2024 — maybe even summer of 2024
In February, HBO, and HBO Max chief content officer Casey Bloys told Variety that it’s a “good guess” that House of the Dragon’s second season wouldn’t arrive until 2024 and would probably miss that year’s May 31 deadline for the 2024 Emmy Awards.
Bloys spoke along similar lines last October, saying to Vulture that Season 2 would come sometime in 2024. “We’re just starting to put the plan together, and just like last time, there are so many unknowns,” he said. “It’s not to be coy or secretive, but you don’t want to say it’s going to be ready on this date, and then you have to move it.”
Ryan Condal is the sole showrunner for Season 2 after Miguel Sapochnik’s exit, though Game of Thrones veteran Alan Taylor is pitching in
In August 2022, Miguel Sapochnik announced that he would remain executive producer of House of the Dragon but was stepping down as the show’s co-showrunner, leaving Ryan Condal to oversee the series solo. “It was incredibly tough to decide to move on, but I know that it is the right choice for me, personally and professionally,” he said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
Meanwhile, veteran Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor joined the production to serve as executive producer and to helm episodes of Season 2. “It’s a pleasure and an honor to be back at HBO, immersing myself in the world of the Targaryens,” Taylor said in his statement. “Returning to Westeros will be a huge undertaking, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Season 2 was in the works before it was officially announced
“Because of the incredibly demanding production schedule of the show, facets of the show have to overlap with one another, which means that we were writing Season 2 long before they ever announced it, while we were in [post-production] in Season 1,” Ryan Condal told Variety in October. “So we really have to storm right into the making of Season 2 now in order to keep pace with our fans’ healthy appetites for material and HBO’s need and desire to release the show in a reasonable timeframe from season to season.”
The narrative pace is accelerating in the second season
After the events of House of the Dragon’s first-season finale, the Targaryen civil war known as the “Dance of the Dragons” has begun in earnest, and Condal told The Sunday Times that fans could expect more action and less character-building in Season 2. “We will get to the spectacle,” he said (per IndieWire). “But you have to understand these people’s complexities before they’re thrown into war.”
He added that Season 2 “will hit the rhythms people came to expect from the middle run of Game of Thrones, but it will have been earned, and viewers will feel the tragedies because we put the work in.”
The show will “expand its scope” to new lands — including never-before-seen locations
“The show definitely has to expand its scope in the second season,” Condal added in his Variety interview. “We’ve lived a good bit in three different worlds through this show: King’s Landing, Dragonstone, and Driftmark. I think those will continue to be the home bases for the show. But a war is coming that requires allegiances from different kingdoms and armies all over the map of Westeros. I don’t think we’re going to get quite as vast as the original Game of Thrones did in its final analysis. But there are definitely many more new worlds to come, and new worlds that you haven’t necessarily seen in the original show, either.”
The second season may feature the “Blood and Cheese” plotline
In November 2022, House of the Dragon writer Sara Hess indicated to Variety that the book’s infamous “Blood and Cheese” plot line — a revenge scheme against Alicent (Olivia Cooke) for the death of Rhaenyra’s son Lucerys (Elliot Grihault) — would play out on screen. “We are currently writing the finale of Season 2,” Hess said. “I don’t think you will be disappointed.”
Cregan Stark and Daeron Targaryen might pop up, too
In the season finale, Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) sends her son Jacaerys (Harry Collett) away on dragon back to ask Cregan Stark, head of House Stark and Lord of Winterfell, to join her side in the war to come. “We will cast Cregan Stark at some point, but no comment otherwise,” Condal told Variety.
The showrunner was also cagey about whether and when we’ll see Daeron Targaryen, Alicent’s fourth child. “He does exist,” Condal said. “No worries, everybody. … It’s not our modern day, where if you had a 6-year-old, you would FaceTime them every day and see how they’re doing and write letters. He’s there. That’s the fact. When he is relevant to be mentioned — and he will be — he will be mentioned.”
Five new dragons will burn up the screen
Condal gave a small spoiler for Season 2 at a For Your Consideration event in Los Angeles this month. “You’re going to meet five new dragons,” he said, per The Hollywood Reporter.
It likely won’t be the last season
With ratings for House of the Dragon such as they are, HBO would be more foolish than Vaemond Velaryon not to renew the show for Season 3. And that’s a good thing, considering Martin says there’s much more story to cover. “It is going to take four full seasons of 10 episodes each to do justice to the Dance of the Dragons, from start to finish,” he wrote on his blog in October.