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Here's How ‘House of the Dragon’ Levels up the 'Game of Thrones' Universe

House of the Dragon

 Let us welcome you back to Westeros.

To say the Game of Thrones finale was polarizing is being kind. Many fans were not happy with how the HBO series ended its run. One thing fans could get behind, however, was the idea of spin-offs for some of the most beloved characters (we see you, Jon Snow). While we will, indeed, get another dose of Snow in the future, as confirmed by GoT author George R. R. Martin, the first addition to the saga’s universe is House of the Dragon, a Game of Thrones prequel premiering August 21.

We recently got a better taste of the new series, inspired by Martin’s novel Fire & Blood, with a full-length trailer that understood its assignment. There are Targaryens, dragons, and many, many platinum blonde wigs. Here for all of it, we’re particularly excited about the way this prequel, set 200 years before the start of Game of Thrones, gives us the origin story of the House of Targaryen. And it does this all while building a bigger and better universe for these tantalizing stories.

Judging by the trailer, and what those involved with the show have shared, here’s what has us most excited as we count down to the premiere!

The Diversification of the Cast

One of the quibbles viewers had with Game of Thrones was its lack of diversity among the cast. Series showrunners Miguel Sapochnik and Ryan J. Condal wanted to address that in House of the Dragon, casting actors and actresses of different races and backgrounds.

"The world changed a lot between 2011 and 2021 and what audiences expect to see on camera,” Condal told The Hollywood Reporter. “The conversations Miguel and I had were: How do we create a diverse cast for 'House of the Dragon' but still do it in a way that feels organic to the world and doesn't feel like pandering or tokenism — and also have them not be pirates, slaves and mercenaries like you tend to see in high fantasies?"

The Dragon Pit’s Glow Up

When we first got a glimpse of the dragon pit it was exactly that — a pit. Sure, the dragons were awesome, but the place had certainly seen better days. Now, with House of the Dragon, we get to see that golden era! The pit is spectacular and really dives right into more of that epic dragon lore.

The Game of Thrones Easter Eggs

Considering this series takes place eons before Game of Thrones, you might be worried there isn’t enough here to connect you with the characters that got you hooked in the first place. Don’t worry, you’ll see some hidden details scattered throughout House of the Dragon that will make your Game of Thrones knowledge very useful. Take, for example, the Faith of the Seven medallion Alicent Hightower can be spotted wearing in the trailer. This is the religion followed by the Targaryens and many throughout Westeros (sans the Starks and Iron Islanders).

Even More Powerful Women Characters than in Game of Thrones

Sure, there were plenty of powerful women in Game of Thrones, but House of the Dragon seems to up the ante on that. Against all odds, Rhaenyra Targaryen wants to be respected and believed as the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. With a civil war in play because of her father’s decision to hand her the reign, the women are the ones to watch in this powerful first season.

The Time Jumps

If you thought Game of Thrones had a lot of characters interconnected in various ways, just wait until you go down the rabbit hole of House of the Dragon. There will be time jumps aplenty, so you might want to take episodic notes to make sure you’re on top of things as the drama unfolds. Characters will start out as the young versions of themselves, aging up midway through the season.

The wait is finally over—House of the Dragon premieres on HBO on Sunday, August 21st. In honor of this momentous event, Xfinity’s got you covered with free Game of Thrones episodes, plus content extras like behind the scenes looks, cast interviews, and much more. And don’t worry if you’re not a current HBO/HBO Max subscriber as Xfinity has loads of free episodes to watch now on X1, Flex or on the Xfinity Stream app. Here’s the rundown:

  • Free now through 9/5: Watch the complete first season of the hit HBO Original series Game of Thrones
  • Free now through 10/31: Enjoy 16 episodes of the Best of Targaryen, a curated collection from the HBO Original series Game of Thrones 
  • COMING SOON: 9/6 – 9/10: Mark your calendars for the House of the Dragon Free Preview Event and watch the first three episodes free.

All you need to say is “Dragons are Coming” into your Voice Remote to access it all.

 

Here's more ways to "escape" with great TV . . .

- Before You Watch House of the Dragon See If You Can Pass Our Game of Thrones Trivia Challenge

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